Christmas

Happy New Year, New Start, New Outlook!

IMG_0100Ahead there is a new path, do not be afraid, you have not passed this way before.

It is finally here, 2013, a new year holding unlimited promise for a bright future. 

I can’t say that I was sad to see 2012 go away as it was a challenging, hard and often depressing year. 

The holidays proved to be one of the hardest times I have ever lived through, the grief was hard to keep in check and some days I simply could not do it.

So on New Years Eve I made a promise to myself that I would again do the burning bowl ritual.

I wrote all my excuses, grievances, fears and regrets on pieces of paper and offered them up with much thought, a prayer and burned release at midnight.

One by one I let go of all that was holding me back, keeping me down and blinding my sight for the future.  I am free.  The ashes of what once was are gone, scattered in the wind.  I am thankful.  I am at peace where I am, with who I am and with my past.  I am ready to move forward, to embrace the future whole heartedly. 

What are your goals?  Have you made New Years resolutions?  Have you created a calendar, set deadlines to meet along the way?

This year I decided resolutions are not enough.  This year I made commitments to myself instead.  I will eat healthier. I will exercise regularly and take my health seriously.  I will take more calculated risks. I will be involved in community and charity work. I will make a difference. I will take an active part in life and not just exist, but live, really live.

Whatever you resolved to do, or change this year, take a moment to reflect, to plan, to decide, to set goals, and celebrate when you reach those goals, find ways to hold yourself accountable, or find a partner so you can encourage and hold each other accountable along the way. 

Life is more than just struggling to make ends meet.  It’s more than going to work and coming home at the end of the day.  Life is more than routines and schedules.  Laugh, play, strive, struggle, encourage, have faith, love, and reach out to help others along the way.  Live.  Happy 2013, may this new year bring you more joy than you’ve ever known.

Cherry Coley (c)

 

 

 

Slightly Irritated with Spam

Brand new Mayan calendar and the spammers are driving me nuts!  Honestly, do you really have nothing else to do other than torment bloggers by filling up their comments sections?  Perhaps a course in time management might help you to realize how much of yours and every one else’s time you are wasting?

Perhaps your self esteem is so low that you are doing this for attention.  There are other more useful ways to get attention.  Why don’t you spend the time doing something nice for someone else instead?

It’s Christmas time, are you saying you (as a spammer) honestly have nothing else that you would rather be doing?  How sad for you.  I feel sorry for you and your lack of friends, self esteem and apparent lack of interests.  Maybe you could spend some time in a library and find something more interesting to do.

Oh well, Merry Christmas to you anyway.  I do hope you will find joy in spending time with others and find ways to enjoy, and grow the relationships with the people in your life.  Good luck to you. 

Cherry Coley (c)

Catch the Spirit – Pass it On

“He who is not thankful for little, will not be thankful for a lot.” – Chinese Proverb

I am thankful for holidays and especially for Christmas.  I am thankful Christmas symbolizes the birth of Christ, although according to Jewish calendars I think he was actually born around passover.  Still the music is beautiful, the images are wonderful and the peaceful, quiet that comes in winter with the cold weather adds to a sense of peace.

I love everything about Christmas.  The trees and beautiful decorations, the sparkling lights, the candles, the dishes, the spirit that comes to inhabit the homes of those that welcome Christmas.  I’m not talking about the commercialism and greedy parts that Christmas has grown into,  I’m speaking of the true love and caring spirit of Christmas.

What I really wish is that this spirit of Christmas would stay with us.  Not the rush, the hurried and frantic parts, but the quiet peace that is Christmas that settles after everything is done, all the presents are unwrapped, everyone is fed and happy, and content.  The quiet hush that comes after a day of excitement, sharing, celebrating and being with people that we love.

I used to love to watch my kids sleeping among their new stuffed animals at the end of the day, smiling and cuddling a new toy.  We are blessed, truly blessed.

Today and every day we can capture a little of the spirit that is Christmas.  It doesn’t have to be a holiday to show someone you care.  It doesn’t have to be Christmas to contact loved one’s you don’t talk to that often. Kindness doesn’t have a season, thankfulness doesn’t have a limit. 

In everything give thanks.  Thank you, God for giving us another day, let us use it wisely.

Cherry Coley (c) 

 

Start Something Right Now!

fellowshipThe news of the Connecticut shootings made me angry, then heartbroken.  I cannot begin to imagine the pain the families of the victims are feeling, or the pain of the children that survived and have to deal with great loss so early in their lives. 

 I don’t believe we should ever mention the criminals in these types of crimes.  They should remain nameless – “Devil Walking” – that’s how they should be referred to.  Never should they be reported by name, never should they be remembered.  Take away the fame and the pictures, the stories of their lives.  They are a Devil Walking doing unspeakable harm, and that’s all anyone needs to know. 

If they are brave enough to live through their crime spree then they should forever be stripped of their identity, they should have their names taken away and be made to spend the rest of their lives sending financial support to the families of the victims.  With a consequence like that they might think before committing such crimes.  Where are their rights? They gave them up when they took the lives of others

 Yet, the mass shooting Devils perform the ultimate cowardly act of committing suicide and going down in history.  Stop it!  They don’t need to be remembered.  The innocent lives they took – THOSE people are worth remembering, they were stripped of their lives, their hopes, their dreams, all taken in an instant. 

 On the flip side of this I can only say that mental instability is a growing problem.  The answer  - don’t just pray.  Prayer is good, but prayer is NOT ENOUGH!  Get involved, be aware of the people in your life.  Take time to get to know them individually.  Take time to find out what they are going through and if they need help, offer it if you can, or offer them a place to genuinely find help, above all – CARE

 There are at this very moment people all around each and every one of us that are hurting.  The economy is bad, there are people going through job loss, financial worries, sickness and dealing with losing family members and friends.  How many people do you ask how they are doing each day, and actually stay around to hear the answer?  Do you just want to see them smile and say “fine” So you can go on your way?  Would you like someone to ask you how you’re doing and know that they care what you say next?

 It’s interesting how in an age when we are all so “connected” with social media sites and texting, we are disconnected for the actual events in each other’s lives.  Those people that share their problems in the social media world can be shoved to the hidden lists or skipped over if they complain too much, or if things never seem to get better for them, God forbid the issues last too long.  It’s easy to stop answering the texts or stop checking on someone if they are continuously having a hard time, don’t move on, or things don’t improve after a while.  We are not a society that breeds patience. 

 Seeking help for working through problems, divorce, grief, job loss, abuse, health problems, from a therapist needs to stop being a stigma.  If you need the help, get it.  Stop worrying about what the masses think or say, it doesn’t matter what the social world thinks, what matters is that you are healthy and living the best life possible.

 What’s that saying? It takes a village to raise a child?  How about we rewrite that to read – it takes a community of caring individuals working together to create and maintain a healthy environment to live in.  Let’s start today, reach out to the people in your life and get to know them, you will be glad you did and so will they.

 Cherry Coley ©

Being Thankful

candleBeing thankful is good practice.  Keeping your mind tuned in to all the things in daily life to be thankful for will change your perspective and give you a better attitude. 

 You might not like the job you go to each day, but it is paying your bills and allowing you to keep things that make your life comfortable and easier.  You might not like going to the grocery store, but thank goodness we don’t have to hike miles to get there, or are required to grow our own food or make all of our own clothes and shoes. 

Isn’t it nice to not have to go to the stream or to the well to pump water, then boil it to be able to bathe or cook?  Isn’t it nice not to have to go find a bush or walk to the outhouse like our grandparents and their parents did?  I am so thankful for indoor plumbing!

 You might not like to read, but isn’t it nice to have so much information available just by typing a few words in a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing?   Isn’t it amazing that we have such extensive libraries where we can check out books that were written in places all over the world, and by authors both modern and from centuries past.  What about e-books?  Now there are so many books to choose from on just about any subject you can dream up, available with a click of your mouse.

 You are no longer required to read in daylight or by candle light.  Now you can read anytime the notion hits you.  You can read on e-readers, your computer, your tablet or phone.  It’s amazing the information that is so readily available in just about any form you can think of including audible books, CD’s and even cassette tapes.

 While on the subject, it’s it terrific that we can write and publish at will now?  What an amazing thing that we can write articles, protest, give opinions, or write blogs at will and about just about any subject!

I am thankful to be living here, right now at this time in history, because truly right now is a great time to be here.

Cherry Coley (c)

I Don’t Feel So Merry

christmas1It’s Christmas time.  Yesterday we had snow, just a light dusting, and it was beautiful.  There is a chill in the wind today, it makes me want to stay home by the fire and drink hot cocoa

I have been looking at Christmas decorations, but they don’t seem quiet as sparkly as they used too.  I have been avoiding Christmas music for the most part.  I simply cannot listen to much of the Christmas music yet.

I am trying, but the truth is I just don’t feel the Christmas spirit much this year.  I try to remember last year, but all I can think of is that my days with my mom were running out and I didn’t know it.  Instead she and I stayed up late talking on Dec. 11th.  We were talking about  how everything was going to be different without dad, and we should try to make new Christmas  traditions. 

We had a long conversation that night about past Christmas’, about new plans, about the Bible and our beliefs, about my kids and our family.  Mom and I talked late into the night enjoying each others company.  I missed her,  I had not seen her in a week or two since Casey was working and using my car more.

Now, the song that best describes how I feel is “Where Are You Christmas?”  The answer is, I am not sure.  I think Christmas is the same, the spirit is the same, it is me that has changed.  I am still healing, still searching for answers that don’t exist and longing for conversations I will not get to finish until I see my mom and dad again someday.

This Christmas is a little better than last year, but it still hurts, aches.  Yet I know that time, faith, and hope will eventually heal the hurts, though they won’t fill the gaping hole left in my heart where my parents once lived.  I miss them. 

If you’re parents are still here, take the time to go see them.  If they need you, listen, and be there for them as they were for you.  If you have family you haven’t talked to in awhile, here’s your chance, your excuse, break the ice, heal the rift and share the love while you still can.  Christmas is about love and that is the greatest gift of all, don’t miss out on this free and wonderful gift.

Cherry Coley (c)

 

Fa La La La La…La La..La Laaaa

Cherry's Camera Dec 2010 026Today I am thankful for music.  Music is a feast for the senses, especially with modern technology.  It’s quite a treat to be able to turn on your favorite tunes at will, sing along if you want and feel the rhythm of the music. 

Music is a language all by its self.  Often when I am feeling blue I will turn on some music to either cheer me up from my blue mood, or some soft music to go with the mood.    Music can be used to wake us up and get us moving, to entertain us while stuck in traffic, to keep us company while on a road trip, to remind us of events and people in our lives.

We have music to celebrate holidays, birthdays, and music for parties, and to celebrate just being able to get up and dance.  We have soothing music to sleep by, and lullaby’s to sing to our children.  We have love songs to say the things we feel when we can’t find the words, and sad songs for the same reason.

 Music helps us to express ourselves when we don’t really know what to say.  There have been times when I felt sad about circumstances in my life and listened to music because the words to the songs were describing exactly how I felt at the moment. 

 I can remember when I was very young, my dad singing me the anthems for the Navy, Air force, Army and Marines when I wasn’t feeling well and he was trying to cheer me up.  He had a song book with the music to many songs from the old South and war times.  He would go through the book picking out songs here and there and singing them to me while I lay beside him listening.

 I remember the soft melodies of Christmas like “Silent Night”, “Holy Night” and “What Child is This”, being played in the house at Christmas time while mom made peanut brittle and chocolate fudge.

 I remember hearing the chimes from the church bells ringing early on Sunday mornings.  One of the most haunting sounds came from an Irishman that lived several blocks over in our neighborhood, he would play 2-3 songs on the bagpipes every now and then at sunset.  My dad said his son died in the war and the man would play when he was missing him.

 I am thankful for the variety of music that is available and the ease we have to find it now.  I am thankful for the magnificent songwriters out there that put the music together, and then share their creation for others to enjoy.  I am thankful for Steve Jobs who created the ability to “put a thousand songs in your pocket.”

 I am not sure what a world without music would be like, but I don’t want to find out.  Music is such an important part of life that the impact of losing it would be devastating.

 Cherry Coley ©

 

December!!

Cherry's Camera Dec 2010 008December is here already.  It is hard to believe we have arrived at the last month of the year so soon.  Now is a good time to look at where you are, what you’ve accomplished so far this year and see if there are any last minute projects that you can wrap up before the year ends. 

 This is has been a difficult year for many people due to illness and loss.  It’s been a year of struggle for many who are still looking for work or trying to get back on their feet from having been without a job for a long while.

 Each year has its challenges that we will either rise to meet or let over take us, how we respond is our choice.

 

December is a time when I like to look at the progress made throughout the year.  That’s when I take the time to really look at things, could I have done something different? Would the results have been different if I had chosen a different approach?  What did I learn and how can I improve on things for the next year?

 Take some time today to be thankful for the blessings and events of this past year.  Be thankful for the people you’ve met along the way, and the lessons you’ve learned, even if they weren’t too pleasant.  Take some time to appreciate 2012, for we will never walk this path again. 

 Then start setting your sights on the future, 2013 is going to be a great year! 

 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)

 

 

Ba-Ling!!

Today I am thankful for glitter and sparkly decorations.  I just love glittery things.  You can add a little glitter on something and it just becomes fun.

 I used to love buying the glittery t-shirts, when you put them on the glitter would somehow wind up on your skin and hair making you look like a faery got ahold of you at some point.

 When we were in pre-school and kindergarten it was vital to have glitter to work on crafts with for Christmas and Valentine’s Day.  You have to have glitter to make your artwork stand out.

 We still like glitter on our Christmas tree and ornaments.  We add white glitter to make figurines and ornaments look like there is snow.  There are even greeting cards with glitter added in to give them that little extra something to grab your attention and make you smile. 

 Little girls love glitter on hair bows, purses, and shoes.  There are whole collections of glittery sticker designs. 

 Humans have had a love of glitter since ancient Egypt where they used the ground up iridescent shells of beetles as part of their cosmetics.  Even before that there is evidence select minerals were used in prehistoric times for cosmetics.  Glitter as we know it was born in America after WWII by a cattle farmer named Ruschmann who found a market for scrap material ground into glitter made of plastics.

I love glitter because there’s just something about it that makes you think of magic and it makes me smile.  I love glitter because it’s pretty!  Today be thankful for glitter. 

Cherry Coley ©