childhood

Comfort From A Furry Friend

Lindsey Keal

Lindsey Keal

Today our black cat reminded me how comforting the presence of an animal is.  I had asthma as a child and spent many hours in bed with a vaporizer.  My cat Mitten (who I was not allergic to) would cuddle up with me and purr.

Many nights I went to sleep to the comforting sound of singing and purring of my cat.  Batman, our black cat, reminded me this morning how comforting that sound can be.  It brought back warm memories of long ago when the sound calmed me, comforted and helped me breath at a slower rhythm.

Animals add so many wonderful things to our lives.  They add entertainment and companionship, acceptance and unquestioning love.  I thankful for the furry family members I’ve known over the years, they’ve added their share of smiles and tears to my memories and will never be forgotten

Cherry Coley (c).

Challenges Are Not Permanent

cherrys iphone 182This year started out kind of rocky and wound up being one big challenge after another. Yet, I am still here and I am grateful for the things we have.

In the midst of struggle we sometimes forget to be thankful.  Things could always be worse.  Life can find ways to be challenging that you never thought of.

I am thankful for my health.  Though there have been struggles the last few months, it is just part of life and the experiences we go through.

On my birthday this year I was feeling a bit blue. I had been missing my parents and feeling alone.  Then when I was driving up a busy side street by our house I saw a big, white, fluffy puppy.  I worried that he might get ran over.  I pulled the car over and called to him, he came running up to me and I put him in my car.  We cruised around, looking for signs and put up some of our own, but no one seemed to be looking for him.

pic by Cherry

pic by Cherry

This little became my birthday present and I named him Scout.  I THOUGHT he was a white husky.  I was wrong, he is a white husky mixed with a great Pyrenees.  He is a sweet and gentle giant in the making.

It amazes me, when life can seem so bleak how one or two things can change and bring joy.

One thing is sure, life will change.  Circumstances will change.  Some things will be challenging and others will be enjoyable.  Take the time to experience life fully.  These moments are yours, the experiences are yours and they only come once.

Scout has grown and is now 8 months old.  Lord, he is a BIG boy and still growing.

cherrys iphone 315

Scout isn’t the only change in our family.

There is another significant change coming in January. She is going to be beautiful just like her mommy.  I look forward to being a grandma!

 

Casey's baby girl

Casey’s baby girl

Cherry Coley (c)

Doctor Doctor!

doctorsexterioraerial300Today I am thankful for doctors.  I spent a lot of time in hospitals with my mom over the years.  She was a 3 time cancer survivor and had other health problems that came about due to the lingering effects of the chemotherapy she had to endure.

 I am thankful for the care and kindness of the nurses that would come in and check on us, and the doctor taking the time to explain the parts of the treatment that we didn’t understand.  I am also thankful for the Chaplains who would take the time to come by and visit with mom when we couldn’t be there.

 In some of the hospitals the rooms were made where you could stay overnight if you wanted which was really nice.  I am thankful that both my parents had good attitudes while they were in the hospital which also helps. 

I had to have cesarean sections with both of my daughters.  I am thankful for the skill and care of the nurses and doctors that made sure that we were all healthy and well cared for. 

 I don’t really like to be in hospitals because they bring back so many memories, but I am thankful that we have hospitals and that they are available when we need them.  I am thankful for all the men and women who work tirelessly, under paid and many time underappreciated to give us that good care that is needed.

I do not have the stomach or the temperament to be a doctor or a nurse, but I am thankful there are people that do. When was the last time you stopped to think about your doctor and nurse as people, with homes and loved ones of their own?  I know there have been times when I called after hours and my doctor took the time to call me back to answer my questions.  That was time taken away from his family.  Take a moment today to send your doctor a thank you note, or a card of encouragement, you will make their day and remind them that what they do really does make a difference.

Cherry Coley (c)

The End or the Beginning?

“Every Beginning has an end, every end had a beginning.” 

It’s a funny quote that can lead to some deep thought if you let it.  It’s sad sometimes when things come to an end.  There are a lot of things we don’t like to see end, yet everything in life has a beginning and an end.

When relationships end it can be a sad event.  You don’t really want them to, but things just start to drift apart.  Sometimes you can stop the drifting and sometimes you can’t.  I’ve been in relationships like that where things just changed and it was time for the relationship to change too.  On a few of those occasions I was fortunate enough to see the relationship evolve and become a lasting friendship, in other cases it was simply time to say goodbye.

How we respond to the changes in life can help define who we become.  After all, if there is one thing that is constant and certain in life it is the fact that life will change.  We will lose people, animals, friends, family, in our lives.  They will leave, move, die, or just choose not to be a part of our lives anymore.  It’s just the way things go

We have a choice how we will respond to these changes.  We can hold on for dear life and choke any chance for reconciliation or healing out of existence.  Or we can learn to truly love with an open hand and realize that love, friendship, all relationships (other than those of parent and child) are a choice.  Actually, in some ways I suppose the parent and child relationship is a choice too. 

Keeping in mind that the people in your life are there because they CHOOSE to be there can lend a different perspective.  Realizing that it’s a choice that they are there can make a you appreciate the other person more, treasure and make the most of your time you do have together instead of wondering why the person falls short of all the expectations  put on them. Take a moment to appreciate that they are there because they care and they want to be there, and maybe a different approach is what is needed if there is stress in the relationship.  Take a break.

This is life, there are no dress rehearsals, no redo’s, no rewind or erasing moments that suck.  You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.  BUT…isn’t it nice, we have a choice, we can get up in the morning and change our attitude to thinking that each day, is a new beginning and then make it happen.

Tomorrow, will be the start of something new.

Cherry Coley (c) 

 

Tipping the Scales and Maintaining Balance

balanceI used to think that multitasking was one of my strongest talents.  I juggle a lot of things at the same time.  Yet, this past year I kept finding myself having to slow down and focus on just one thing and at times it felt inhibiting, frustrating even.

 The problem with constantly multitasking is that you never truly master the “one” thing if your time and focus is on a lot of other things at the same time.  There are times when single-mindedness is a true blessing and there are some people who have the gift of focusing so intently that they stay with the “one” thing until they understand it through and through before moving on to the next thing.

 Those same people with such extraordinary focus sometimes complain about not being able to multitask.  To me that is the balance the universe threw in just for fun and another case where we are shown that we need each other to make things run smoothly.

 Balance is something that is sought by most people.  There are tons of books written about how to gain balance in work and home life.  There will be just as many more written in the future as we all try the different solutions to find the one that best works for us.

 For those people who are able to attain balance, they must stay aware and keep on top of their circumstances and events in their lives to keep the balance.  We all struggle at some point.

 The answer lies within the person seeking balance.

 For me, I have many projects and interests that I weed down to a few.  From that point I take those that are related to each other and group them together.  If they can be done around the same time then all is well, if not then each project will be allotted its own time and energy individually.  Some projects will be put aside until other projects are finished.  It’s important to prioritize.

 Balance is vital to keep up a healthy, mental, emotional, social, and physical life. 

 I read a quote the other day in the book – “The Success System that Never Fails” – by James Allen.  The quote said, “Eventually you will be controlled by your circumstances, so it’s important to control your circumstances now.”  I’ve thought about that quote a lot since then, I can’t think of a better call to action, to get up, take responsibility for your health, your surroundings and your life right now than that.

 Cherry Coley ©

What’s It All About?

What is Thanksgiving?  A tradition, a celebration and reminder of a good harvest to be enjoyed with family, friends, and neighbors.  A time to thank God for a good year.

This year it was a time for the retail stores to promote their latest wears and sales, to tempt shoppers to choose between time with family and rushing to the stores.  How sad that it has come to this.  What about the workers in the stores who really wanted to stay home with their families, but were told they had to come in? 

I don’t like how commercial Thanksgiving was this year.  It is disappointing and disturbing.  Not only that, but it shows how commercial Christmas has become.  In surveys taken there were 48% of the people who now wish they could just skip Christmas.  Why? Because it’s become a time of greed, seeing what you can ask for and get for Christmas, trying to out do each other on presents, and racing out to get the latest toys.

I love the holidays.  I love the traditions we had growing up and have fought to keep them alive.  Our family doesn’t have all the latest technology, or the highest priced items.  We don’t go into debt for 6 months to pay for Christmas presents that are over the top, or spend until all the savings are gone.

So today, I am thankful I grew up at a time when Thanksgiving was about getting together with family and enjoying the time spent listening to each other.  I am thankful I grew up believing in the magic of Christmas as well as the true meaning and remembering the first birthday of Jesus.  I am thankful for Christmas eve church services with Christmas carols, and a quiet thankful spirit.

I remember many soft and quiet winter nights watching the lights on the Christmas tree, with Bing Crosby playing in the background. 

Today I am thankful for family traditions, may they live on in spite of commercialism.  It is my hope that we will slow down and take the time to remember, Christmas is not about the gifts, Thanksgiving is not about the food, both holidays are about one things only and without that thing, they become hollow – empty.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are about love, honest and true, caring and kind, love.

Cherry Coley (c)

 

 

Choose Carefully!

Today I am thankful for the wide range of emotions we are blessed with.  Emotions can make our world pleasant, sad, angry, happy, content, or restless, depending on how we apply them.

 My grandmother used to tell me a story that her grandmother told her.  It is an old Cherokee Legend that has been passed down through the generations – a bit of wisdom in story form.  I smile at how well-known this story has become, but know it’s because of such a strong message presented in a simple and memorable way.  The story goes like this:

 An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

 “It is?” said the boy.

 “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, and ego.”

The grandfather continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, comfort, humility, kindness, patience, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

 “What happens between the wolves?” the boy asked.

 “Sometimes there are great battles that rage on for a long time,” the grandfather replied. “This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

 The boy thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The grandfather replied, “The one you feed.”

I have never forgotten the message in that simple story.  It is a simple reminder that our thoughts become things.  The choice is yours – which wolf will you feed?

 Cherry Coley ©

Yay, Teachers!!

Today I am thankful for teachers.  I think most people go through a period in their life where they dream about being a teacher.  I did.  I could picture myself in a room full of children, teaching them to read, do math, history and science.  I could see the decorated bulletin boards, the slide shows, and projects that I would assign.  A few years I taught vacation bible school and helped my mom at the daycare, then reality hit and I realized I did not have the knack or the patience.

I am thankful for teachers being able to do the things I can’t.  Thank you for your patience and teaching me to read, write and even do math (though it’s still not my favorite thing to do).  Thank you for the guidance when needed.  Thank you for all the encouragement even when I am not sure I deserved it.

Teachers have the ability and daily opportunity to encourage, inspire, influence and lead.  I suppose in some fashion we all have the ability and opportunity to do those things, but teachers share their gifts with the age group of their choosing, and thereby help shape future generations as well as the present.

I have been blessed to have many memorable teachers that greatly influenced my life; their shared words of wisdom still ring in my ears even years later. 

 Thank you, Teachers, for the memories, the influence, the encouragement, the comfort when needed, the guidance and even the occasional challenge and kick in the butt to get me to try harder.  I can’t even imagine a world without teachers. 

 Cherry Coley ©

Cloudy With a Chance Of……

Today I am thankful for storms.  Storms have a purpose in life, especially thunderstorms.  The thunder and lightning combine to shake things up, and make things grow.  If we didn’t have storms we wouldn’t have produce, or flowers, or water to drink. 

While I don’t like the big storms like hurricanes, tornadoes and tsunami‘s, they too must have some purpose, though it is hard to see when you are looking at the damages.  Still they do bring communities together, remind us to pray, and allow people who would help to meet others they might not meet otherwise.

I remember growing up, almost every time there was a thunderstorm we would lose power at our house.  We had a lot of flashlights, hurricane lamps and brass candlestick holders on hand for such occasions.  In the dark, often gathered in one room we would tell stories, listen to the rain, or even play monopoly by candle light.

Life brings many storms both physical one’s, emotional and spiritual one’s.  I’ve found that no matter what kind of storm comes, the thought of a candle and the warmth it brings is the calm that gets me through.  It in the storms that we find our strength, our inner light, a light we can share with others when they are going through a storm.

I don’t particularly like all the different kinds of storms, but I am thankful for them because there is a reason for everything.

Cherry Coley (c) 

 

Random Ramblings and Pet Peeves

Comet watching TV

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 ©