My Butt is Frozen

Temperatures have not risen above freezing here in 12 days and are not projected above 30 degrees for two more days. That’s a whole lot of frozen! Each and every time we go out, we prepare to freeze our butts off. (Thankfully, none of us has actually lost a tushy to frost bite.)

When the weather conditions are this extreme, we get a lot of folks wondering if the horses and cows are ok. While they may be tired of the waters freezing up and eating dry hay, the animals are doing alright. Newborn calves make things a bit dicey, but we do our best to accommodate them and their mamas.

The thing that we always explain to folks is that Mother Nature (as crazy as she may be) prepares animals long before the weather changes to be ready for the extreme conditions. They are built with layers of fat under their thick winter coats and are conditioned naturally to adapt for snow, ice, and wind. In fact, they knowingly turn their hind ends into the wind to form a barrier giving them the perpetual frozen butt appearance.

The snow forms a blanket on their hair and actually insulates the animals. The covering stops wind and hardens into a pocket of warm air between the snow and animal’s coat. Yes, the animals will also hunker down in hay, straw, or on the backsides of drifts to block wind and insulate themselves with body heat, but for the most part they just keep eating and drinking to stay warm and happy.

When it comes to keeping our livestock fed and watered, farmers have to maintain equipment that is thawed and running. Trucks and tractors are particularly problematic when it comes to making things move because, once they are frozen, it’s tough to get them going. Of course, we plug in the engines that have electric warmers and put additives into the diesel tanks, but -10 degrees is sometimes too cold for the preventative practices and often we find ourselves with frozen butts waiting for a truck or tractor engine to turn over and start. We always find ways to get grain and hay to the animals and work tirelessly to ensure that water is available for drinking.

As we face this frozen phase in winter, please keep the farmers and utility workers in your thoughts and prayers. There are no virtual options for clearing roads, fixing powerlines, delivering goods, or providing food for our homes. Some folks are freezing their butts off to keep electric on, services available, and cars out of ditches. While we can’t give them all heated seats or hot tubs to soak at the end of the day, we can say prayers, send supportive messages, and offer them acts of kindness when the opportunity arises. Nothing warms the heart like a sincere “Thank you,” a hug, or a cup of coffee for a job well done. Be safe. Enjoy the beauty of the snow. And take time to appreciate everyone out there with frozen butts and jobs to do.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Atticus and my kids thought I was crazy when I wanted to take a picture of his butt. I guess Mother Nature and I have a lot in common; we are crazy and have lots to teach them.

“Safe” Words – Wise Words Wednesday

Safe Words

“You need a ‘safe’ word for when someone is doing things or saying something that hurts your heart,” – Kim Borgmeyer

As all parents do, some friends of mine and I were discussing school and the upcoming school year. Some were concerned about the amount of “just kidding” that the kids were doing and how uncertain we were that most would consider their jibes or insults as “jokes.” In addition there were some comments made about when teachers “joke” and the words do not come across as “funny” to the students.

My friend Kim suggested that each classroom have a “safe” word. A word that any student could use to the teacher or other students to signify that what was being said or done was hurtful to them. It could be anything from “rotten apples” to “pink giraffe,” but whatever the word was it would always show that the other’s behavior was not okay.

I thought, “Man, that’s brilliant.” Using a “safe” word is a terrific way to signify the impact of the moment and keep everyone aware of the power of their words and actions.

Of course everyone would need to understand that the “safe” word should only be used in real instances of bullying or disrespect. It should not be a word or phrase to be used lightly or in joking situations and everyone would have to abide by the understanding that it really was a “safe” way to say, “Hey, that’s not okay.”

This reminded me of a time when I gave a nickname to a student. All of my yearbook students had nicknames. It was our tradition. The nickname given to this particular young man was awarded completely out of comradery and friendly ribbing but, as things sometimes do, the nickname evolved to become something that was negative in my student’s life. It was not until after the spring awards banquet that I learned he thought the nickname meant I didn’t think he was smart.

Continue reading ““Safe” Words – Wise Words Wednesday”

Kindness Speaks Loudly and is Seen by All – Wise Words Wednesday

The Language of Kindness

Often we don’t notice what others are doing unless it is out of the ordinary. Kind acts aren’t out of the norm for many of us, but they are definitely something that makes us stop, watch, and listen. Kindness communicates beyond words.

Earlier this week I wrote about digging for the gold in others. Finding value in each person makes our days richer and brighter. Adding kindness to our gold diggery enhances the quality of our lives. Digging for the gold in others unfortunately is not something we do all the time. Hopefully we can all start to look and listen for the “golden” traits in those around us.

The Intentergy Challenge for today is to break away from the norm and commit acts of kindness that speak beyond words. Seek past your regular routine to make a positive impact on the life or lives of those around you. Hear cries for help or love that you don’t normally hear and answer them with compassion and understanding.

Check out April Positivity Challenge for 36 ideas on carrying out random acts of kindness.

While we cannot always see the hurt or troubles in the lives of others. We can see the impacts kindness makes. While we don’t always have the right words, our compassion and positive energy echo loudly with love and appreciation.

Humankind = Be Both

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Being kind is cool. Let’s get everyone to jump on that bandwagon.

 

Feed the Machine and other Voluntary Acts

Feed the Machine and other Voluntary Acts via Daily Prompt: Volunteer

feed the machine.jpg

Seriously, how long does it take to put paper in a copier? How hard is it to hold open a door for someone? Does picking up a piece of trash cost you anything but calories?

This may seem like a sassy start for an Intentergy post, but I was really just trying to grab your attention on this fine Tuesday morning.

The fuel, behind my intent-powered program, is energy that burns because of kindness and consideration. Voluntary acts of kindness should not always be random or rare. They should be intentional and blatant. Let others know you care enough to do nice things for them and your surroundings.

As often as possible, I make it to the workroom on my plan time and feed the copy machine. Why? Because it stinks when you are running copies right before class and the dumb machine is starving. When people see me feeding the machine, they usually join me and help unwrap the reams. We share conversation and an intentional act of kindness. It is a very fulfilling act (not just for the poor, hungry copier).

Make these intentional acts frequently. Your frequency of kindness will result in greater consideration from those around you and that leads to even more intentional kindness and before we know it, people could actually have a good day. Smiles might actually appear without provocation. Thoughtful actions might occur without having to think about them. Who knows, maybe we might get a little bit closer to that whole world peace thing and start to put an end to starvation (not just the kind that happens to copiers).

Put your energy and intent into committing acts of charity and compassion and you will never starve for kindness or consideration. You will be filled with love and gratitude and that is what having Intentergy is all about.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. This post was not intended to make you hungry, but if it did, be sure to share your snack with someone. It will taste even better.