I faced another fear today. You see, I used to have a major fear of getting up in front of people. When I was growing up I was forced to sing solo many times in church. I hated that. I have the kind of singing voice that goes well with a duet or choir, but solo’s are not my thing.
I was also in drama growing up which didn’t go that well either. I had some mishaps on stage and most of the time I couldn’t make myself speak loud enough to be heard. Yet, after I had my kids something changed. Suddenly I was “mom” and mom’s can’t cower in corners from monsters under the bed, or spiders on the wall, they have to face fears and protect their children.
When my kids were still little I did a Christmas play, I only had a small speaking part, and just as I was about to get that familiar stage fright, I remembered that I had to speak to classrooms of kids regularly, referee, and protect my kids from bullies so why should I be afraid of saying a few words in front of people?
Still, today was a big step for me. I have felt like I should tell my story to others. After all when you’ve been through so much in life, you should share your experiences, maybe it will help someone else. I have gained some confidence in sharing things on blogs and social media, but that’s not the same as truly putting yourself in front of other people.
Today I shared part of my life’s journey in church. I feel like I did ramble a bit, but over all it went pretty well. When I stepped up I felt the old familiar fear, and all week I almost talked myself out of it, but there was a part of me that refused. I need to face my fears, they are self-made obstacles that have held me back for far too long.
A funny happens when you face fears, they dissipate just like that, they are gone. I was nervous going up to the podium, then suddenly I wasn’t afraid anymore. One fear down, many more to go. One big step forward to what might be a very interesting future.
Take time this year to look at the things that have held you back in your life. Are they real fears or are they self-made obstacles? Take a chance and find out, false fears can’t hold their ground when you stand up to them. Realize that the only limits you have are the one’s you’re placing on yourself. Choose to make this year count!
Cherry Coley (c)
I love watching commercials sometimes, they can be very entertaining or informative depending on the product and how it is being marketed. I confess that a few commercials out there are grating on my nerves, meaning I can’t stand them.
I won’t name any product names, but these commercials just bother me because of how they are promoting things. The first is with a mother and her son shopping at a store and he says, “Mom can I have a snack?” The mom goes about her business shopping while the kid is running beside the basket and riding on the basket all through the store saying, “pleeeeeaaaaaseeeee.” The camera shows other customers and the checkers at the registers looking around to see who is making the noise. Finally, instead of answering, the mom grabs the product off the shelf and hands it to the kid, he says “thanks, mom,” and runs off as she smiles.
SERIOUSLY? I find this commercial annoying. Mostly because it shows a mom giving in to unacceptable behavior and actually rewarding it with a smile! Gee, “thanks, Mom,” you’re creating yet another entitled kid that will think that it’s fine to whine and be annoying to get what he wants.
The other commercials that drive me nuts are the ones where the mom is talking at her daughter and tells her that she knows she should be talking to her about online etiquette and texting. The mom stands there talking while the daughter looks at her with a blank expression on her face. The mom laughs and says “we’re going to laugh and carry on like we are having the best time, then we’re going to wait until your father comes home.” I believe there are two different versions of this commercial.
I am appalled. Those commercials do not entertain or amuse me, they make me want to shake the mom and say, “wake up and take an interest in your kids life!” I turned in disgust and asked my teenagers if that was even remotely true, do any of their friends have parents that act that way? To my horror both shook their head yes. I think I sat with my mouth open for a while pondering that one. It really shocked me, I had to ask them twice if they were kidding.
I just don’t understand what could be so hard to talk to your kids about. Perhaps I am odd, but I started talking to my kids about drugs and sex (age appropriate) very young. I worked in a daycare and I knew that if you don’t tell them, the other kids will and the information they receive will be scattered and wrong, so my approach has been to tell them first and if they had questions – no matter what it was about – I would answer and if I didn’t know, then we would look it up. This taught them early on to not follow the crowd, but stop, think about what’s being said, check it out and see if it’s true, then decide based on facts not “say so.”
The world is a dangerous and harsh place and though I do believe 100% that childhood should be protected and treasured, I also knew that I didn’t want my kids to go out into the world as innocent and naïve as I was. My hope is that they will be better prepared to face the future, better informed, to stand firm against peer pressure – not because of just faith or belief, but with facts to hold on to as well, and to make better decisions to live a healthier, fulfilling and prosperous life.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your children about anything. They are YOUR children and if you don’t talk to them someone else will, that person may not share your values or beliefs. So if each of us makes our decisions based on our experience, what we know to be true and our support systems, how can one expect their children to make informed and intelligent choices without the information and support they need to do so?
Cherry Coley ©
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 ©
My parents had a love for the musicals. My brother performed in several musicals in high school like “Music Man,” “Oklahoma” and “South Pacific.” It was when I was working at the bookstore and musicals were first available on video that we all acquired a nice appreciation and greater love for them.
My dad and I loved “Singing in the Rain” the most, I think. We would pop some popcorn and watch that movie on nights when it was raining outside and he would go off to bed, singing either “Singing in the Rain” or “Good Morning.” His other favorite musical of all time was “Anchor’s Aweigh.” Since he was in the Navy he recognized and sang along with many of the songs, and of course, he loved Gene Kelly.
I set about collecting all the musicals and Disney movies that B. Dalton Bookseller would let me order. They were better than just about anything on television even back then. We both teared up watching Bambi and laughed at memories of Pinocchio. Pinocchio was my first movie at the movie theatre and it was also the first time I successfully dumped a large coke all over my lap then spilled the popcorn trying to get up, (I was about 4 yrs. old I think).
I got to watch musicals like “American in Paris,” “Oklahoma,” “Music Man,” “Show Boat,” “South Pacific,” Unsinkable Molly Brown,” “The King and I,” “Carousel,” “The Sound of Music,” “State Fair,” “Mary Poppins,” and of course the holiday classics like “Holiday Inn” and “White Christmas.” We watched them, sang with them, and later I shared them with my kids and clapped as they twirled around the room singing and dancing the steps while the music played.
My dad loved cartoons too, we spent many hours watching classic cartoons like “Casper”, “Mighty Mouse,” “Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes,” as well as the new musical animation like “Little Mermaid” and “Lion King.” He was always really happy to babysit the kids because they brought the latest animated movies with them. He even liked “Jimmy Neutron.”
I loved watching movies with my dad, he was always so sentimental. He would tear up like me on the mushy parts and then clear his throat a few times to cover it up. Yes, he loved the action movies, westerns, and war movies too and watched those quiet often as well, but he had a tender side too and I’m very thankful to have had a dad that was not hesitant to show that.
Cherry Coley ©
It’s interesting how we age in this life. Our body’s age every day, but our souls, our minds grow according to what we put in them, what we feed them. I am so thankful for memories and how our minds store information.
I remember being about 5-6 years old, warm spring days, and dad making us all get up really early to go fishing. I don’t remember the park where we went; just that it was a stocked pond. We each had a bamboo fishing pole with a bucket of worms for bait. I hated putting the worm on the hook, I felt so bad about hooking the poor thing. My dad would walk over and put it on for me half the time because I would take so long.
We would always park then walk over to a part of the bank of the pond with a big tree. It was nice on those warm spring days to stand or sit under the tree by the water. It didn’t really matter that we weren’t expert fishermen. There were a few times we caught little trout, but we just looked at them then let them go.
I remember my brother taking a big swing with his fishing rod, swinging the line way out, hooking dad’s hat and sending it flying out towards the water. Mom would stand by the bank and laugh and get a little frustrated over not actually catching any fish.
On those banks I heard stories of how mom used to fish with her sister and brother for their dinner. Sometimes they would eat fish for breakfast too, though mostly they ate flapjacks and biscuits.
It’s funny how sometimes those days seem so distant that they can barely be remembered, but now and then I see a large sprawling tree standing by a pond and I remember the laughter while we tried to learn to fish.
I remember the squish of the mud between my toes when I took off my shoes. How I loved to look in the water and watch the minnows playing around the wispy grass and moss on the rocks close to the shoreline. I even remember the smell of the water, the warm air, listening to the birds sing and feeling the sun shining down through the branches.
I remember being tired at the end of the day, folding up the lawn chairs, putting the cooler in the back of the station wagon then crawling in the back on top of a blanket and falling asleep on the way home.
I loved those days spent with my family. You might think that kids don’t remember, but I do, and even on days when things seem so rushed and hectic, there are times when I look back on childhood memories and I’m thankful for the moments spent in the sun in a time that wasn’t so rushed.
Cherry Coley ©
My first skates were the metal kind that fastened to your tennis shoes. We wore them outside skating up and down the street and making a lot of noise as we learned to skate and made sparks with our metal wheels on the pavement.
My mom made sure we wore knee pads and elbow pads. Looking back it’s a wonder we didn’t kill ourselves scooting around learning to skate on those metal wheels. I remember going to the skating rink not long after that and being amazed at how much faster and smoother the rubber wheels rolled. The rubber wheels intimidated me at first, after all I learned on the metal wheels; they had friction and made a LOT of noise.
Suddenly, I was in a boot instead of something that fastened to my shoe, and the wheels were practically silent, with little friction. I didn’t know you could tighten them so they wouldn’t roll so fast and no one suggested it, so I fell a lot at first. Gradually though I got the feel for it, took off in the new direction and never looked back.
So often we set our comfort zone on things we know and are used too. It’s not that those things are great, or even that we are using something we want to continue to use forever; it’s simply something we know and are accustomed too.
Yet sooner or later life will hand us the opportunity to upgrade, to reach for something new and possibly better than what we are using. If we are up to the challenge to first recognize the possibilities and take a chance, then even though we may fall a few times, in the end we can wind up zooming off in a whole new direction and wondering why we held on to the old way of doing things for so long.
Cherry Coley ©
So many times we are asked to give, then expected to keep going though we’ve grown weary and worn. As a caregiver and mom there were times the weight of carrying that kind of load seemed so heavy. Yet what do you do, you must keep going.
Many times I found myself trying to juggle being an only parent with running errands for my parents and falling short of getting everything done. Many times I’d go to bed and lie awake thinking of all the things I didn’t get done, couldn’t do and couldn’t afford.
You can wear yourself out taking care of others and everything that you know needs to get taken care of, but if you don’t take time to rest and take care of yourself, then you will suffer emotionally, physically, even mentally.
So it became that it was in the darkest moments that I sought solitude. Alone, I could meditate and pray for strength, sit under the moonlight, feel the cool night air. Meditation has been my saving grace in so many ways. I was taught to meditate by an Indian woman when I was 10 years old.
She noticed right away I was a very visual person. She taught me that when life becomes too heavy, you meditate, focus and see the darkness like liquid smoke, surrounding you, then let it begin to turn to liquid running down and seeping into the earth at your feet until you no longer feel the burden.
I also learned to meditate by walking and when I had Nacona – my malamute – we would walk about 12 miles a night. Exercise and especially walking is a terrific way to relieve stress and do some mobile meditation. I learned to see my troubles left like wet foot prints on the pavement behind me as I walked. I don’t claim to be an expert, I’m just stating a few things that have worked for me.
Now days I look back and see how much I missed by trying to be so many things to so many people. I should have been taking more time for myself, it would have benefited both me and my kids. They say hindsight is 20/20, I am not sure about that, but I will try to help my children not to make the same mistakes.
Caregivers, mentors, and parents are the heart of the world, trying hard to hold the balance, keep the peace and make sure nothing is forgotten. Yet the one thing we seem to forget is ourselves, then later when the job is finally done there are regrets in some ways and a lot of ground to make up in others. There is a period of feeling lost, like you’re coming out of a dark tunnel into the daylight and suddenly you have to adjust your eyes and try to figure out where you are.
I have learned to tell myself that I did the best I could with the information and resources I had at the time. I didn’t always succeed, I wasn’t always right, I’m not the perfect parent, I did fail now and then, I missed out a lot, but still, I did my best as far as it goes. I’m good with that. Now on to the next phase of the journey, but where do I start? Ah, yes….meditation.
Cherry Coley ©
Funny thing, fear, it can freeze you where you are at times, but there will always be fear and challenges in life. Fear can be felt in so many different ways and sometimes it is so disguised that we don’t really realize that is what it is until we take the time to really look at it.
Lately I have found myself feeling somewhat disconnected, and at yet another crossroads in my life. It seems to happen to me a lot recently. Yet another little known fact about me is that I have always loved dream interpretation. It’s something I have spent a lifetime studying and learning.
So when I began to have dreams of walking through forests I started paying attention as that usually indicates a search for meaning and a transition for me. Then when I started dreaming of looking out over a canyon at sunset I stopped and contemplated where I am. A canyon indicates deeper relationships while sunset means an ending of a cycle in life.
It all fits with many of the other things that I have been struggling with along the way. I have decided my next course of action and am now finally able to stand up at the cross roads and get ready to walk the path I have chosen. It’s interesting how taking just a little time out to meditate and pray can calm the spirit and guide.
Fear and uncertainty stopped me, but it has no place in my life other than to briefly make me pause to check my intentions, and direction. Other than that, I will push through and realize that with every experience and trial in this life there is given, at the appropriate time, grace, courage and strength to see us through.
Knowing that there is nothing to fear in what tomorrow brings, because tomorrow, the sun will shine again. The breeze will blow and greet the leaves, the birds will lift their voices to the heavens, and life will go on.
Cherry Coley ©
This is the second part of my personal, unfortunate experience with the Law of Attraction.
At the time that our apartment got broken into, there were many other things going on in our lives as well. I had been, for several months, running back and forth almost every day to check on my parents.
My dad had was just starting to be on the mend from an extended hospital stay and they had been talking to me about moving in to help them while dad was recovering.
It was the beginning of summer and my youngest daughter had stayed with my parents during the day that day. I had picked up my oldest daughter, we were headed to pick up Lindsey, race to an appointment, then drop off several bags of old toys, clothes and other items at the Goodwill. We had a Ford Winstar so we had room in the van to carry everything comfortably.
We were in a bit of a hurry and I whipped into the driveway at my parents house, threw the van in park and got out. Casey said, “mom, why is there a big can of beer on the porch?”
I was standing beside the van when two men came out of my parent’s house, one with brass knuckles on his hand and the other, covering his face with one hand and a baseball bat in the other.
My very first thought was “Oh my God, everyone is dead.” My second thought was “they’re not taking my daughter (who was sitting in the van).
The man with the bat screamed at me, “Give me your keys!”
As odd as this sounds, in my mind there was no panic, no fear, just me sizing him up and thinking, “he’s not taking my daughter and if he tries to kill me, then I’m taking him with me.”
He noticed I didn’t wince, or move and slammed the bat down on the hood of my van in front of me. I didn’t flinch or jump – I had noticed the younger guy was standing at my daughter’s door, not letting her out. I knew they were going to try to take her with them.
He stood within inches of me and raised the bat, “GIVE ME THE KEYS, BITCH!”
I stood firm and unwavering – prayed, “God give me the strength of angels.” I immediately felt stronger and protected, what’s more is I am not sure what he saw in my expression, but it unnerved him and he took a step back.
I said in a low, calm voice, “You can have the keys, but you’re not taking my daughter.”
“I give the orders!!” he yelled and swung the bat and hit the side of the van beside me, “GIVE ME THE KEYS NOW!!”
“I will give you the keys, but you’re NOT taking my daughter,” I repeated perfectly calm.
He looked at me for a moment and I actually saw fear pass across his eyes. He backed up another step uncertain why I wasn’t begging for our lives when he was obviously threatening me. I never took my eyes off of his. He told the younger guy, “get the girl out of the car!”
We stared at each other when as I was listening to him open the door and say “Get out! Get out of the car!” to Casey.
Then everyone turned to look as my oldest daughter – given courage by my demeanor said, “I want my book bag, my binder, my make-up bag, and both of our purses!”
The younger guy started grabbing stuff and throwing it out in the yard. They gave her everything she asked for and as soon as she was out-of-the-way, I handed him the keys to the van.
He grabbed the keys, they both got in the van and took off up the road at high-speed. I prayed, “God, take care of this.”
Casey was trying to call the police as I was, but then the shakes started and neither one of us could dial or get the phones to work. I told her to stay there while I go in the house, not sure of what we would find and feeling my heart skipping beats in every direction.
As I turned in the direction of the house, Lindsey burst through the front door yelling, “Mom!! Mommy!! Use this phone!” She was holding out the house phone. I grabbed her and held onto her for dear life. The intruders had scared my mom, hit the wall with the baseball bat, and threatened to kill both of them. My youngest daughter had grabbed a kitchen knife and told them to leave her grandma alone.
They had gotten the keys to mom’s car and were planning on taking it when we had driven up and parked in the way.
The cops came within a few minutes and took our statements. The detective asked me where I was headed when I stopped by.
“I had an appointment to get my breaks replaced, they are shot and if those guys get the car on the highway and go too fast, they will crash,” I replied.
The radio the cop was holding said that the suspects had been spotted on I-30 going west by Dolphin. The detective looked at me, the kids and my mom (who was crying and shaking). She put the radio to her mouth and said, “give chase, the van has bad brakes.”
Needless to say, there was a chase, the van wrecked out in Grand Prairie roughly about 45 minutes after they took it. They tried to slam on the brakes and they didn’t hold, so the van rolled. Casey and I were taken to the hospital to identify the suspects.
They had been caught and honestly looked like someone had half beat them to death. The console in the middle of the van had come down from the roof and beat them both in the head giving them concussions, the extra toys, dishes, and stuff for the goodwill had flown all over the inside of the van as it rolled and hit them from every direction. They had gashes, bloody lips and black eyes to match.
The men went to jail. God is good, and we were protected when we needed it most. I knew without a doubt I would indeed fight to the death for my family if I had too. Why do I associate this whole ordeal with the Law of Attraction? Because I had wondered, asked the question over and over – if I had a life and death situation – what would I do? Could it have been a fluke thing and not related? Possibly, but I don’t think so.
I have many good examples of the Law of Attraction working as well, but the point is that we attract what we focus on. When you focus on being afraid of something you may bring that fear to life. When you focus on a goal, a dream and don’t allow yourself to be distracted or get off track, then you will make that happen too.
Cherry Coley ©
When people talk about the Law of Attraction they usually try to promote the positive side; the “what you focus on you will bring into your world,” part.
There are some that want you to believe that if you just keep that positive attitude and focus on that, then everything will just automatically fall into place, the roses will bloom and all will be well. Then those that listen and work hard at being positive get disappointed when things don’t immediately turn around and lose hope.
I can tell you this, Law of Attraction DOES work. It works whether you believe it or not, and it works whether you are thinking positive or not. What you focus and concentrate on you will bring more of into your life. I can give you many examples, but feel the need to share an unfortunate one at this time.
About 3 years ago my mom suggested I read a book that was about a woman who struggled to live with, protect her children from, fight for, then run away from an abusive husband. At that time I was still in the middle stages of my divorce from an abusive relationship myself and the book hit home.
I was already exhausted from the fight and weary from trying to be strong alone. I went to bed every night for weeks wondering, questioning, “if my kids were in danger would I be strong like that woman now?” I felt tired, weak and honestly didn’t know. The thought bothered me and wouldn’t leave me alone; I dwelled on it, focused on it. My questions were answered in the course of a week about 3 months later.
We were living in apartments that were not terrible, but not great. They were the first apartments we had lived in on the bottom floor. I don’t like living in bottom floor apartments.
Within about 5 weeks of moving in we had a man jump onto our balcony area and try the side door with the girls and I sitting in the living room. I had called the office, made a report and we didn’t have any more trouble, other than being stared at like dessert by the construction workers that lived across the hall every day.
That summer my kids were going to summer school. I hated that I couldn’t pick them up, but found a parent of another child also going to school who was kind enough to drop off my kids every day.
It was a day in early June when my oldest daughter walked up to the door of our apartment and found it kicked in and off the hinges. She immediately ran back to the car with Mr. Duke and told him. He got the baseball bat out of his car and went to see what was going on while Casey called me. I left work without saying much of anything.
I was very thankful that Mr. Duke stayed with my kids, kept them calm and made sure they were safe until I got there. On the way I was on the phone with police and apartment personnel telling them my kids needed protection and they better do their job. There were a lot of people in our apartment by the time I got there.
They repaired the door, replaced the locks, took statements and checked for fingerprints. The intruder had gone through all our closets and clothes, but the only thing they took was my laptop. It didn’t make any sense and we all felt violated.
We huddled close to each other for nights, praying for protection, double checking windows and doors, and checking on each other. I realized then that I would fight to the death for my kids if I had too, without asking questions or hesitation.
Tragedy and stressful situations can bring a family close or tear them apart depending on how things are handled. I had not been sure how I would handle such things with it just being the girls and I, and I had received my answer. Yet, this was not the end of the lesson, there was an even greater test in store just 3 days later.
—to be continued—
Cherry Coley ©
Related articles: http://thinkcoffeemedia.com/2012/04/19/the-problem-with-the-secret/