“I’ve been getting rid of some clutter, anything that doesn’t serve a positive purpose in my life and making room for things that feel happy to me. Because I get to make my life whatever I want it to be. I get to make the room feel however I want it to feel. I get to make the closet as full or as spacious as I want it. And, if I have more clutter to get rid of after Christmas, I’m not going to wait a year, or two or three to do it.” – Jan Denise
Passing judgment, we all have been guilty of this at some point in our lives. I think one time I know I was most guilty had to do with a book signing that happened with Robert Schuller back when I worked at B. Dalton Bookseller.
Mr. Schuller came in with an entourage of people who were, quite frankly, in the way and somewhat intimidating by nature. They were dressed all in black and there was one on each side of the store. We were told they were body guards. We weren’t given a real reason why they were necessary, but then I guess that was a need to know thing.
We set Mr. Schuller’s books up in a big display in the center of the store and I was responsible for keeping people in line, orderly and making sure the displays continued to look sharp and full. Mr. Schuller looked a bit tired, so I asked him if he would like a drink of water. To my surprise he glared at me and told me he was fine, then turned and took a water bottle from one of his people. I ignored this and set up more books for his display.
Time passed and there wasn’t a great rush of people, but instead a small trickle of patrons that came in to request autographs and go on their way. I’m not sure if this irritated him more, or if he was just in an all-around bad mood, but Mr. Schuller was not pleasant to be around that day. Oh he would smile and act all pleasant around someone buying his book, but the minute they would walk away the bad attitude would return.
When there was no crowd around Mr. Schuller would bark orders at people, including me, and though we wore name tags he kept referring to me as “hey.” After about the fifteen “hey” I was getting kind of irritated myself and started watching the clock to see when he’d leave.
It was when I glanced at my watch the last time that he spoke up and said, “well, I guess you’re glad I’m out of here, aren’t you glad? Not a very nice thing to do to stand and check your watch so much.”
I said softly and up close to him, “My mom reads your books, but after meeting you in person I wonder why. You have been the most arrogant and rude author I have ever worked with, and you can report me, but I still feel like someone should tell you that what you do away from the crowd matters too.” He stood there for a moment, looked at me, then gathered his stuff and left without another word.
I fully expected to be reported and possibly fired for being so bold, but I never heard anything from anyone about it. I went home and debated on whether to grab all of his books and throw them in the trash. I didn’t.
Robert Schuller has a good message and has touched the lives of many people with his books. The man is, however, human and as a human being he too is entitled to having a bad day. Being a public figure can bring a type of stress I have not personally experienced and cannot identify with. Did I have any right to pass judgment on him? I didn’t approve of the way he treated me or the other employees that day, and I can’t say I have gone out of my way to read his books since then, but the truth is I knew nothing about what kind of day he had been having, nor why he needed extra security, or why he looked tired. So, though he wasn’t exhibiting the kindness or good attitude I thought he should have, I had no right to pass judgment.
They say that first impressions are everything and while there is some truth to that, I think that if you really want to know someone, then take the time to see behind whatever that first impression is be it good or bad. Just as it’s true that not everything that glitters is gold, it is also true not everything that is unpolished and worn should be overlooked or thrown out.
Cherry Coley ©
I remembered a conversation I had with my dad when I was about eight years old last night. It was a warm summer day and daddy had been working on the car all afternoon. He was in the backyard and scrubbing the grease off his hands using the water hose.
I had been playing on the swing set he had put up for us and it was about time to go in to eat dinner. I remember the light being just before the sun kisses the clouds at sunset. I had been thinking about my mom having a hard time with the ladies at the daycare. They were talking about money and the programs they wanted to do with the kids for Christmas and mom was frustrated. I didn’t understand all that was going on, just that it was hard on her.
“Daddy, why is life so hard?” I asked.
“Life is hard because it was designed that way,” dad said.
“Why was it designed that way?” I asked.
“Because only through the tough times do we learn to ask for help and grow, we won’t do some things unless we have too, so life was designed to bring us to our knees at times to keep us on track.” Said dad
“Sounds like a mean way to do things,” I said.
“It’s the same as me saying you have to clean house and do the dishes before you go outside to play,” he said. “You wouldn’t do it if you weren’t made to because you’re a kid and want to go play.”
“I guess, but adults don’t play much do they?” I asked.
“Sure, but only after hard work and making money to pay for things and buy the things we need and want. Life isn’t about getting something for nothing. You can’t learn unless you give and sometimes we get all involved in what we’re doing and God has to get our attention to show us that He’s got something we need to pay attention to and learn.” – he said.
“Then I want to learn to pay attention every day so God doesn’t have to knock me down to teach me things,” I said.
“I think that would be a good thing,” he patted me on the head.
Cherry Coley (c)
I was reading some articles this morning saying that erotica is now the most popular type of ebook selling. It made me pause to think about that. Really? Erotica? It must be the fascination with the “50 Shades of Grey” books.
What does this mean to us as a society? Does it mean great masses of people all want to escape into a wild, uninhibited sexual fantasy? Perhaps this is the case. It is interesting that action, mystery, horror, regular romance, Christian romance and science fiction are all taking a back seat. I had to ponder why, but there are a few things that came to mind – just my personal opinion.
First, even those people who don’t like to read much, or don’t have the ability to visualize much while reading might like erotica because well, it is very visual and mixes in all types of drama and emotion as well. Erotica doesn’t generally take a lot of concentration to read like action, mysteries, science fiction, some romances, or horror novels. Though I love each one of these genres, I confess my current bliss is running along the biography, autobiography, self-help and business book line at the moment.
So what is the draw to erotica? As I see it we live in a world that is highly social on-line. We socialize and meet people, touch-base and talk to them in person, on the phone and on-line, but the true physical interaction of going out to meet people is not even close to what it once was. Even though in many ways we are more social and more connected as a society, we are often connected at the office or in our own homes, which can lead to a lot of highly connected, but sometimes lonely people.
Not only are we lonely, but in our highly stressed day and age, sometimes we just want a good escape from reality and though all the different genres do offer escape, perhaps erotica adds in that element of mixing wild passion, high stakes and risk without the real life worry about all the diseases and problems out there. In a book you can create the environment the characters live in and erase the nightmares of reality or blow them up to epic proportions and make one of the characters a hero to save the day.
One of the great things about ereaders like Kindle, Nook, ipad, and all the other devices that you can read on, is that it’s all private. You can take whatever book you are reading to any location and read to be entertained or expand your knowledge without anyone else knowing what you are reading. This leads me to think that while a lot of people might not seek out or venture to purchase an erotica book off the shelf of the local bookstore, they can download to their hearts content and no one is really the wiser.
I’m not knocking erotica by any means. I think we have an amazing assortment of choices to choose from at any given time and with the ebooks ready, available and easy to download it has made my library expand to 3 times the size it once was, but it isn’t taking up my shelf or floor space any longer and it’s all portable.
All that being said, I have come to really love and sink into the ebook for so many reasons, the least of which is that I am getting to read and enjoy the works of new authors that might never have been published had they been made to submit and struggle through the hoops of publication from a publisher, and seasoned authors who are finding it enjoyable to release ebook singles and series. Granted there have been some books that are not that informative or up to standard, but for the most part the books I have read have had useful and up to date information.
I am thankful for this technological age and encourage people to expand their horizons, read some things they’ve never read before, touch base with some new authors, make new friends and take advantage of the information age, but don’t forget to go out in the sunshine, spend time meeting friends and get out of the house and office now and then too, heck you can take your ereader with you. ha.
Cherry Coley ©
I have been thinking a lot about my mom lately and the trials she went through. Looking back I realize there are so many things I had wrong from my limited perspective. We were so different my mom and I, but most of it was because while my mom was good at many things, divulging deep feelings wasn’t one of them. She kept many things to herself, while voicing all the things she wanted done around the house or griping about her cats.
I had a couple of odd illnesses in July, tetanus and a long round of extremely strong antibiotics and then a broken tooth that led to more antibiotics and pain pills. I also did a number on my system taking too much pain medicine and drinking too much caffeine. This all led to extremely high blood pressure. It scared me.
I didn’t understand why my blood pressure wouldn’t come down, so that freaked me out even more. I had a reaction to the medication, plus blurred vision, chest pains, migraine headaches, mood swings and nightmares that left me screaming.
I Googled everything I could find on high blood pressure and heart health. I found a diet (American Heart Assoc.) and changed my diet to include high fiber, more raw fruit and veggies, added more vitamin B12 and C, vitamin E and D, Fish oil and CoQ-10 supplements to my daily intake. I am now on a caffeine free and low sodium diet mixed with more exercise and physical activity. Within a week I felt a lot better and had much more energy. I had no side effects from the caffeine withdrawal, which was a bit odd, and by the second week my blood pressure was back to normal.
My nightmare stayed with me, and gave me an entirely different perspective. I was so disoriented and scared, I woke myself up screaming. It took me awhile to figure out the vision and why it was invoking such mind boggling fear. I was dreaming of being zipped up in a body bag.
Thoughts of mortality have been with me ever since, like a sort of backwards wake up call. It brought on the thoughts of my mom. My mom who was a 3 time cancer survivor and had so many ailments as a result of all the chemo she had to endure.
As scared as I was thinking about what would happen to my children if something happens to me? What if I got really sick? My angst cannot possibly compare to those people who have truly suffered first hand. I’ve been praying a lot more lately. Though I have been a caretaker of my parents, and helped others, empathizing and sympathizing, just as you cannot truly understand loss of a loved one until you have experienced it first hand, you cannot truly understand the fear when your body starts going down a path you never wanted to go down of its own accord.
On an interesting note, I can tell you that I am not afraid to die. The afterlife is not the thing that was scaring me. What scared me was all of the unfinished things I still have left to do here. I never expected to feel that way at all. I know now where my mom found the unbelievable strength to keep on going. She didn’t have all the support she needed and I know that now without a doubt. I was 15 years old the first time she had cancer and about the only support I could offer was just being there most of the time.
One of the things that the experience has reinforced is how very precious time is and to use it wisely, but the other is to truly create a legacy that will be here for my children and others once I am gone. Part of that legacy is sharing the gifts that God has graced me with.
If you are still here then you still have a purpose, and you too have gifts to share with the world. Make the time to do the things that you’ve always wanted to do. Don’t just exist and make it through every day, make a difference, find your voice and make it known. Your life will be more full and joyful and we will all benefit from your experiences and perspective.
Cherry Coley ©
I love looking at spider webs even though the spiders do kind of creep me out. I really like looking at them through glass, because then they can’t jump on me. It truly is amazing though the detail and design of spider webs. Our houses or even tents are not near as versatile as the portable web that can be folded up or reconstructed as necessary.
Webs are made in so many shapes and sizes, built to fit the terrain around the spider and according to what they wish to catch. Webs that are frosted or graced with drops of water are beautiful to behold, but I bet it’s pretty frustrating for the spider. Wonder if it goes out there and jumps up and down to knock the water off?
I swear my parents’ house was built on something strange because the animals in their backyard would get really big! Grass snakes were 2 feet long and they had a toad the size of a Frisbee. The freakiest thing was going out there and seeing a spider web that covered my entire bedroom window and a BIG A$$ spider that was easily the size of my fist with long dangly legs! My face locked in a silent scream as I pointed it out to my dad. He stood there staring at it a minute trying to decide whether to get a shovel or a gun to get rid of it.
My other spider night mare was when I went to the zoo on a field trip with the daycare my mom worked at. I was a teachers helper that year and the zoo keeper handed me several baby animals to hold then show the kids. I got to hold a baby raccoon, a baby possum (that wrapped its tail around my finger), a baby hedgehog, and then they put a tarantula in my hand and told me not to move. I was standing still on the outside and running away screaming on the inside. The zookeeper wondered why I was so pale, and just as he took the tarantula away another one thought they would drape a snake on my shoulders – NO!! I ducked out from under it, my feet were not failing me that time! I ran towards the door, missed it, and ran into the glass, knocked myself out for about 2 minutes.
Yes, I love looking at spiders and studying about nature. This world we live in is absolutely fascinating, from the pages of TIME and National Geographic and, of course, through glass. As for me, I have been known to break out in Kung Fu moves when walking into a spider web myself, not sure if the spider found it humorous, but my neighbors have.
Cherry Coley ©
I am suffering from hair confusion. For those who have never experienced this, it is when your hair naturally parts one way (for me, on the right) and the hair stylist decides to cut it to part the other way (on the left). So now my hair doesn’t know what it wants to do. It still WANTS to part on the right, but since it isn’t cut that way, I have to try to make it go left. It works for about an hour, maybe, then my hair gives up and just lays there in confusion.
One day the back half of the part was on the right and the front half was on the left. It will still part in the middle too, but it doesn’t look good that way either. I don’t know, I think it deserves a ponytail so it doesn’t have to try to fit into a mold that it wasn’t supposed too. I mean, I don’t want to stress my hair out, right?
One good thing about hair is that it grows.
Cherry Coley ©
“A lot of people give up just before they’re about to make it. You know you never know when that next obstacle is going to be the last one.” – Chuck Norris
“I think it would be cool if you were writing a ransom note on your computer, if the paper clip popped up and said, ‘Looks like you’re writing a ransom note. Need help? You should use more forceful language, you’ll get more money.” – Demetri Martin
Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel and left us sculptures that are with us still. Leonardo DaVinci was a great inventor, wild dreamer, and painter of many works of art that are both held in private collections and shared with the world in museums. The Wright Brothers taught us to see, then live their dream of flight. Benjamin Franklin made the world interesting and easier with electricity, while Thomas Edison turned the lights on for us.
So, what are you doing to contribute and leave your mark on the world? I think we all think about it, sometimes early in the morning when we contemplate the day, or late at night when we wonder if what we do matters at all. The answer is, yes, it all matters. You writing a thank you note, or sending that encouraging card to a friend who’s been a bit down really does matter. We each choose daily whether we will contribute and help society or merely exist.
Yet, there is more isn’t there? Don’t we all dream at some point of leaving our mark, wonder how we will be remembered, or leave something behind that will last for centuries?
You don’t have to be a sculptor, or a master artist, though it doesn’t hurt. There are so many ways to create a legacy, and it can be as small or as grand a scheme as your imagination will allow. There are those of us who write and long to write things that can make you feel, laugh, cry, become scared or joyful. There are artists who create waves of emotion with their work. There are photographers that can make us see what they see and contemplate the world from a perspective we might not usually take.
Some people put their whole lives and creativity into working with children and watch them bloom and grow into thriving adults. Still others work in the medical community and their creativity leads to new cures or better ways of doing things.
Then there are the architects and engineers who design buildings, bridges, and monuments for the world to enjoy. I also love the old houses that have been around for centuries. Let’s not forget the wonderful works of Brahms, Beethoven and Bach among many others.
Whatever your gift, your talent, the world needs you, we need you. You have a voice and a perspective uniquely your own. Don’t be afraid to share your gifts with the world, or even just your family. It’s your choice, but life truly is a gift, take the time to enjoy it, learn and share, it is what we were meant to do.
Cherry Coley ©