Those who choose to serve our nation are anything but common or ordinary, but in his Veteran’s Day address to his children’s school, First Sergeant Curtis Brandt shared the powerful impacts that have resulted from the efforts of those who were doing what they considered common and ordinary.
During his 18 years of serving in the Missouri National Guard, Curtis has worked to protect and enhance the lives of individuals here on American soil and in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Panama, Germany, Kuwait and Qatar. While on his missions to help those in need and protecting those who could not protect themselves, First Sergeant Brandt has missed many moments with his children, such as first steps and first toothy grins, and faced his son not knowing who he was after a year of deployment. There does not seem to be anything “common” or “ordinary” about giving up the ability to witness defining moments in the life of one’s child.
In his speech Curtis encouraged the students to be aware of how many veterans were sitting with them at that prayer service. His message was engaging and inspired those there to be thankful for and mindful of those who serve and have served in our military. He reminded them that our nation was not always one that enjoyed liberty, or lived with the rights of speech and religion, and was not always able to provide protection from prejudice. The students were challenged to find ways to thank veterans and their own means for keeping our country united. Continue reading “Because of the Common, Ordinary People… – Wise Words Wednesday”
“I don’t care what they think.”
“Who do they think they are? Judging me?”
“Seriously, why do they think they are better than me?”
How often do we find ourselves making these snarky statements?
Our rhetoric for these loaded comments usually shows itself when we feel like someone does not like us or something we do. We immediately go on the defensive and throw down the I-don’t-care-what-you-think-of-me jargon, but inside we are battling the why-don’t-they-like-me fight.
Some of the snarkiest people I have ever met are also some of the most insecure individuals I have known. To inflate their self-perception, they preach a degrading dialogue about anyone they think they bring down. The problem with this kind of judging is that the hurtful words usually become flames in the fire of burning bridges for future friendships and work experiences.
Let me give you a for instance: When I was in college I worked for an entertainment retailer. My job included working in the book department, the cafe, and training new employees. I loved that job. There was one associate, who we will call Adam. Adam did a nice job on register and worked well with customers on the floor. He eventually made it to the ranks of shift manager. After becoming a shift manager, for whatever reason, Adam gradually became unhappy with the company. He put in his two weeks notice. One night while closing the store, I overheard him tell another associate that he never comes to work for his last day at any job. Well, I knew what was coming and planned to come in the day of his last shift. We were going to be short a manager. Continue reading “Don’t Worry…They are Struggling Too”
Monday the electric company cut down our pear tree.
It was not just any pear tree.
My babies and my nieces and nephews all ate canned pears from that tree when they were too young to eat the fresh pears. It was our safe spot in case of fire or evacuation when we lived in the old farm house. Countless pears from that tree were given as gifts to friends and neighbors. For 6 six years, Peters’ Pears were delivered for Letter “P” Show-and-Share Day at Miss Kim’s daycare. That tree was the first place we let our kids go to “alone” after we built our new house. (It is just up the driveway, but far enough away to feel like freedom.) When my children came home after a stressful day at school, I would often let them take a break to pick pears and de-stress as they ate the fresh fruit and walked the distance to and from that fruit-filled tree. Watching deer eat the fallen pears was always a fun pastime.
The only downfall to that tree was it stood 13 feet from the power line and the required distance was 15 feet. Even though it has never grown (and probably would never grow) tall enough to touch the lines, those two feet cost us our tree. Continue reading “Sometimes the Answer is “No.””
“The Serenity Prayer” is one that I pray a lot. By “a lot” I mean, I have seriously considered tattooing it to my forearm because it is that much a part of my day.
Recently I found “The OTHER Serenity Prayer” on Pinterest.
It goes like this:
God, grand me the serenity to stop beating myself up for
not doing things perfectly,
the courage to forgive myself because I am working on doing better, and the wisdom to know that you already love me just the way I am.
What a perfect prayer!
If you feel like you are struggling with your own imperfections, say this prayer for yourself.
If there is someone in your life who could use a reminder that we are all works in progress, please share this with them.
I am grateful for the wisdom and understanding this prayer brings. Bring it to someone you love, especially yourself.
Serenity is gained one forgiving, loving moment at a time. Take the time to love and forgive yourself and spread the same grace to those you meet.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. Serenity cannot be found until we discover love.
via Daily Prompt: Brave
Sometimes the fear won’t go away, so you’ll have to do it afraid.
As a matter of habit, I don’t watch the news. My husband does though, so the news is on EVERY morning. We start our day catching up on the shootings, bombings, trash-talk Tweets, and the generally tragic state of our world.
I would much rather start the day by watching something like “Friends” or “I Love Lucy,” but hubby would remind me that it is important to know what’s going on in the world and then change the channel.
The story that has been most bothersome to me lately is the one of the four soldiers killed in Niger on October 4th. Victims of an apparent ambush, these men died serving our nation and world as they worked to stop ISIS.
As they served, those men knew that there was much to fear. Their service was intended to assist in ending the evil of ISIS. They were most surely afraid, but their actions reflected the definition of bravery.
Do you know the power of “Yet”?
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu is a book by Joshua Hammer. I learned about The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu on Goodreads and I want desperately to read it. However, after laboring through the first few chapters, I realized that I do not possess enough knowledge about Timbuktu, Mali, or the plight of the Islamic peoples as they have been tortured by Al Qaeda. The words of Adbel Kader Haidara, the original Bad-Ass, were beautiful, terrifying at times, and wonderfully descriptive, but my ignorance of how to pronounce and process many of the words left me feeling lost. After page 70, I put the book back on my “To Read” list. I just wasn’t smart enough for this book.
When I told my husband about being confounded by the book, he told me that I would get it; I just might have to read it a few times. He was hinting at the “Yet.”
A few days after re-shelving The Bad-Ass Librarians, I was speaking to my friend Donna. We were discussing The End of Your Life Book Club and the reads that were recommended in it. It was fun to compare what she had read to what I had read and what we both still wanted to read. It was then that I told her about Hammer’s book. I shared my disappointment in myself for not being educated enough to read the book. That is when Donna reminded me of the power of “Yet.” Continue reading “The Power of “Yet””
You can’t always see success. via Daily Prompt: Triumph
Everyday I surmount innumerable tasks. Laundry is washed and folded. Dishes are done and put away. Kids are taken to and from school with water bottles, snacks, homework (completed), and supplied with jackets when needed. Farm book work is logged. Cows are checked. Dog is fed and watered. Papers are graded. Lessons are written. Friends are called. Groceries are added to the list. One task at a time I am conquering the world.
I am not alone in my conquest. Each and every person is successful in ways you cannot see.
Every time you buy a loaf of sliced bread, you are unknowingly celebrating the success of Otto Rohwedder. Rohwedder was the man who invented the “power-driven, multi-bladed” bread slicer in 1928. (Nix 2015) His bread-slicing success did not happen overnight. It took multiple tries and the determination to get past skeptical bread makers to bring his dream of ready-sliced bread to reality. Those shelves filled with pre-sliced loaves today are a shining example of silent success. When you hear the saying that something is “better than sliced bread,” you can thank Otto Rohwedder for that analogy and be grateful that you don’t have to slice bread for your breakfast toast. Continue reading “Invisible Success – Wise Words Wednesday”
Recently, in one of my classes, I made a joke about my crazy family. My students laughed and then began shouting out things about their families that were “crazy.” I laughed right along with them for a minute, but, after a few of the experiences shared were a bit too unfortunate, I used my teacher voice and shut down the conversation. “We are all crazy. It’s not a competition.”
Goodness knows my family and I suffer from some pretty cool idiosyncrasies but we are no different than the clan down the road. Yes, we might require dumplings (that are rolled so thin, they really should be called noodles) at EVERY family function. True, we might all suffer from a bit of OCD about things like who has to sit at the kids’ table. We have our share of skeletons in the closet, but the skeletons remain because some of us are too attached to our grudges. (Seriously, guys, let them go!) In all honesty, we are wonderfully loving and crazy in our own right.
The same goes for you and your family. Sometimes family isn’t made up of blood-relatives. Sometimes our families are those we surround ourselves with day in and day out. “Family” consists of those who make you feel loved, safe, and comfortable. They are the ones you know will love you even if you are crazy. Continue reading “There are NO Crazy Contest Champions”
I am always impressed by the way some individuals are able to encapsulate the emotions that are shared by literally millions. The sadness that has invaded our lives and hearts in recent weeks has largely been caused by fear.
The following are posts or lyrics of others that I have found quite profound. Hopefully their words will eliminate any insecurities that you may have about isolation and separation because of the fear that has invaded your thoughts and emotions.
Kelly Sanders Smith, a friend and fellow teacher, shared this thought on Facebook and opened my eyes to a sad reality about what the generations after mine sadly consider as common place.
Cami Walker, my friend and author of 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life, recently shared this post on www.29gifts.org. I love how she is taking tragedy and turning into a positive challenge of love. Continue reading “Thoughts on Fear – Thoughtful Thursday”
Tripping over your own feet. Accidentally shooting yourself with water at a water fountain. Noticing your zipper is unzipped or a shirt button is in the wrong hole. Forgetting someone’s names as you greet them.
These are small but impactful mistakes. It isn’t really the mistake that makes the failure; it’s our attitude. Our “Oops” are only failures, if we allow others to witness us wallowing in our faux pas.
When we make mistakes, we provide ourselves with jumping off points for humor, improvement, and growth.
While we may never stop tripping over our own feet and we can NEVER control the pressure of some water fountains, we can control how we prevent failure from being part of our self-perception.
When we do something right, we LOVE witnesses of our greatness. When we make a mistake, witnesses are worse than the error itself. The truth of the matter is witnessing success is not nearly as powerful as witnessing the triumph of overcoming a potentially fantastic failure.
My children witness me making some pretty terrible mistakes. These massive mistakes allow me the opportunity to show what it looks like to make an “Oops” into an “Oh yeah!” It’s totally okay is they see me fail at an attempt, it’s not okay to let them see me defeated. (I am not saying it’s not okay to suffer a defeat now and then, we just can’t remain defeated.) Every time I wipe out, it is important for them to see me get wipe myself off and try again (sometimes the mistake warrants trying something new all together). Allowing others to see us move on makes that mistake a victory.
If you find yourself in an “Oops” situation, acknowledge the “Oops” and give any witnesses the opportunity to say “Oh yeah!” as you find a successful way on to the next attempt or adventure. Don’t let them witness failure. Give them a front row ticket to the fabulous fortune in your endeavors.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. I tell myself that I make a lot of mistakes so that I can make a lot of successes. You tell yourself whatever it takes to make your failures into victories. 😉