coaching

Save One

I love animals.  My daughters and I used to volunteer with Kittico Cat Rescue to help cats find homes.  At any given time it seems there’s a surplus of animals and not enough homes to go around.  It makes me sad.

My dad was a big animal lover.  I guess I get my love of animals from him.  I brought home cats and there was the occasional dog that would follow me home growing up.  He didn’t turn them away, though he probably should have.  He wound up feeding a lot of stray cats in the neighborhood.  It was an expensive chore, but I loved him for it.

pic by Cherry

pic by Cherry

Back in May I stopped and picked up a puppy that was trotting along on a busy street in our neighborhood.  I couldn’t let it go, he was so pretty and by himself.  I didn’t want to see him get ran over.  So, I picked up the little guy and brought him home.  He is a husky – great Pyrenees mix.  He looked tired and hungry.

We named him Scout though I have often thought I should have named him Forrest because he reminds me of Forrest Gump.  He is a big baby that thrives on gentle love.  He hates to get in trouble and doesn’t respond well to harsh discipline.

He has sky blue eyes, but his left eye is brown on top and blue on the bottom.  Scout howls now and then and even says a few mumbled words.    He has grown into quiet a character and a wonderful addition to our family.  I am glad no one ever claimed him.

Through the years I have loved on many pets and only actually paid for one dog for my daughter.  Other than that they have been the cast offs and strays that I have found along the way.  Cats, dogs, one bird, and once a few hamsters.  Animals are simple creatures to figure out.  They need love, food, water and protection.

Here is a picture of Scout now at approximately a year old.  IMG_2143[1]He’s a great big boy at 85 pounds.

I used to have the same philosophy with people.  I thought people were generally good at heart, circumstances and events happen that sometimes change them over time.  I thought it was my role to help and save them.   People and animals must want to be saved in order to be helped.  You cannot force an animal to trust you.  If they have been hurt or abused, trust will take time and patience and there’s the real possibility that you will never be fully trusted and will be permanently kept at a distance though tolerated.

People are the same way, if they have had bad life experiences, others that have betrayed their trust, hurt or abused them, then trust is proven and grown over time with the real possibility that you may never get as close as you wish.

The important thing to remember is we each have opportunities that are specific to us and our environment.  You can think about someone you know and tell yourself that “someone” should help them, but they are in your reach – you may be the someone who needs to act.

Take the time to appreciate the people and animals in your life.  Take a moment to notice those around you that need you, reach out, you may be the person that can save one more life today.  Every human touch of kindness counts no matter how small.

Cherry Coley

Journaling A Past Time, A Legacy, A way to stay Sane!

journalsJournals, blank books, are one of my favorite things to get as a gift, to buy at the store, and to give to a fellow journal writer.

They have so many different journals to choose from now.  There are leather bound journals, silk bound journals, painted journals, journals with flowers, dragons, landscapes, designs, and just about anything you can think of.

There are big journals, small journals. pocket sized journals, journals with lines and without.  There are journals with questions to help you think of what to write, to write down your memories, or dreams.  I love journals.

This year has been really hard.  I have felt quiet lost at times, missing my parents so much it hurt.  I fell into a deep depression for a time.  It took awhile and a lot of effort to get back up out of the darkness that was threatening to swallow me up.  My journals helped to save me.  I could write whatever I wanted and not worry I would offend or upset anyone.

For the first year after my parents died I kept a journal where I wrote letters to my mom everyday, sometimes several times a day.  I had been so close to her, I was used to talking to her everyday, and it was a way for me to keep talking to her, to gradually accept that she was gone, but would never be forgotten.

I shared many things in my journal written to her.  I told her a lot of the things I wish I had had the time to tell her when she was here.  I apologized for some stupid mistakes.  I shared some new experiences with her.  Then as the year drew to a close and my journal was almost full, I realized it was time to let go.  I was okay with that.  My journal had allowed me to hold her close for awhile longer as I grieved.

There’s not a day when I don’t still miss my parents and wish I could talk to them, but I’m better prepared to face a future now, and I know that they are somehow watching over me.

If you’ve never tried writing in a journal then I encourage you to give it a try.  Keep it safe, keep it private.  Unless, you are journaling with a friend or spouse where you each take a turn writing a page. Free your mind – learn to journal, try it, you might like it.

Cherry Coley (c)

Side note*  there is an App for smartphones called “Momento”  it is a daily journal.  You can even set a reminder and it will ask you – “how was your day?”  It’s a great way to start keeping track of your memories and the moments in your life.

Set Your Targets Closer and Set Your Sights High!

cherrys iphone 247Have you ever set your heart on a career or goal and then lost your focus?  Distractions and life events you didn’t have control over cropped up as obstacles and you had to put off what you were working on, or maybe you just put it aside hoping someday you might get back to your dream.  I have.  I remember dreaming of doing things, working hard to set goals and lists, then becoming discouraged because there were too many other things I was responsible for at the time and it seemed my dreams would always get shoved aside.

Here are some things you can do to stay motivated and keep making progress towards your dreams.

  • *        Focus on the outcome instead of the activities.

It’s easy to fill up a “to do” list with a lot of activities that seem necessary and valuable when we write them down, but are they?  If you aren’t careful what seemed like a good idea and vitally important can get confused with “busy work” and before you know it you’ll find yourself with a big to do list that you aren’t getting done, a feeling of despair because you aren’t making the progress you thought you would, and sometimes thoughts of giving up because you become discouraged, or feel overwhelmed with the distractions and events.

When you focus on the outcome instead of the activities – put up reminders of where you want to be.  Don’t do a big to do list, instead just focus on what you want for an outcome.  You will surprise yourself finding ways to fit in the things that must be done to get you to your goal.  What’s more is you may come to realize things you thought were important are just busy work and aren’t necessary to get you where you want to go.

Resources you didn’t see before will come into focus because you aren’t worried about the “to do list” – you’re looking for your end result.  When you keep your focus on the outcome it sets your brain and eyes in motion to look for opportunities that you might’ve otherwise missed.

  •     Set your targets closer

Another way to stay motivated is to set your targets closer.  When you want to gain self-confidence it helps to set some easily obtainable goals, once you reach your target – celebrate!!  Every success counts!  Get used to that feeling of celebration when you reach your goal, stop and enjoy it!  Build on your successes and keep the momentum going!  You can do it!

It seems silly to remind to celebrate, but how many times do you reach a goal and think, “okay, that’s done, now what?” and just move on to the next thing?  I was doing this a lot.  Where is the enjoyment? Where’s the lasting sense of accomplishment?  Well, gee, I just bypassed it and went on to the next thing.  It’s important to celebrate the little successes, it will make the big successes that much more sweet! Life is a joy to live and we need to celebrate when we reach a milestone or goal.

  •     Surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable and encourage you.

Notice I didn’t say – surround yourself with people who will beat you up and try to whip you into getting things done.  This may work for some, and I confess now and then I kick myself into gear, but put me with someone who’s going to belittle or make me feel bad for not reaching a goal on time and it has the opposite effect on me.  Eventually I may even start avoiding that person.  Who wants to talk to someone whose intent on judging you?  I’d rather find someone who will listen to my concerns and offer some encouragement and helpful suggestions.

Just keep that ant philosophy.  Ants don’t get distracted or let obstacles get in their way.  They just keep on going, up, down, around, under and through whatever gets in their way to reach their goal.  When they need help they send for reinforcements and get the job done.

Cherry Coley ©

Happiness

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“Some people pursue happiness…others create it.” – Anonymous

Now and then in the midst of the daily struggle and grind, stop and remind yourself that you are – at this moment experiencing a miracle.  Each breath that you take is a life giving miracle.  Can you feel the heart beating in your chest? Another miracle.  No doctor or scientist can explain life – they can look at it, study it, pursue answers and seek to protect and prolong it, but they can’t explain it. 

Now that you have experienced the miracle of being alive, think about the miracles that allow you to learn, to read, to have emotions, to experience life.  Amazing what we take for granted most of the time. 

Joy, laughter, happiness are around you – created for you to experience.  The birds singing, the whispering leaves in the trees, the soft touch of the wind in your hair, the warmth of the sun on your face, all wonderous things in this life for you to enjoy.

Wouldn’t it be great if humans acted with the joy and abandon of a dog being let outside to play? They run full out, leaping and rolling, barking and howling into the wind, giving it their all in a moment of pure joy! Can you imagine a place where people could play like that?

When was the last time you just went outside, closed your eyes and listened to everything you could hear for awhile?  Amazing when our mind is relaxed, eyes are closed how much we can hear. 

Or the last time you ate a plate of fruit in low light – so you can better savor the flavors of each one and allow yourself to only concentrate on the taste?

Take a moment to try something different, remind yourself of the little things that can bring joy each day.  Life is too short to rush through in pursuit of happiness, find your bliss in the little things, then share a smile with a friend.

Cherry Coley (c)

Wednesday Thoughtfulness

photo by Casey Keal

photo by Casey Keal

“Learn the wisdom of compromise,  for it’s better to bend a little than to break.” – Jane Wells

 

As children get older and go on their way to self discovery, parents sometimes get nervous and worried about the paths they are choosing to go down.  We hope and trust that we have taught them right and that they will hold true to the principles and knowledge they’ve gained while growing up.

Yet, there is a time when each person asks the question, “who am I and why am I here?” “What’s my purpose?”  “What am I going to do with my life?”

Some figure out the answers to these questions early on and hold true to their dreams, growing and learning, constantly reaching for their goals and owning their destiny.

Others of us go through different stages of growth and self discovery, a journey that lasts a lifetime, filled with ups and downs, leaps of faith, grand mistakes and endless opportunities. 

No matter the background, whether born into a life of plenty, or growing up with a struggling single parent, we each own our own destiny.  It is our response to life, to the challenges that we face and the choices that we are given that make us who we become.  Our perspective, our ability to remain open and humble enough to admit when we are wrong so we can learn new ways to do things can make all the difference.

I’ve been a parent now for over 19 years, and I am learning as I go.  I am not perfect and don’t profess to be, and neither are my children.  Yet God put us together on this journey for a reason.  Together we will face the future, learning from each other, facing obstacles in our path and offering hope and encouragement when needed. 

Take a moment today to be thankful for the people in your life, whether friends, family or co-workers, we each have a purpose for being in the life of the other. 

Cherry Coley (c)

 

Decisions, Cross Roads, Challenges and Me

askvilleEvery now and then I find myself at a crossroad in life.  A time and place where you know you need to choose a direction, make a decision and that the choice you make will affect the rest of your life. 

I’ve sat at this crossroad wondering how I got there, trying to look at it objectively and thinking that once I saw the decisions I needed to make in the clear light of day, there was no debating, no wondering, no hesitation at all, the choices are simple.

You see, when I moved away from my ex husband my self-confidence was gone, my self-esteem was non-existent, and my self-worth was hiding in a dark corner somewhere.  The verbal and emotional abuse had taken its toll and it has taken a long time to get back to…me.

So, after going through a very rough holiday season where I spent a lot of time alone, grieving and generally feeling sorry for myself, I suddenly realized that I was choosing to feel alone, choosing to grieve, choosing to feel sorry for myself.  I had to stop and think about that awhile.  What else have I been choosing either by doing nothing, trying to ignore things, or just not dealing with things I knew I needed to own up too?

The answers have astounded.  How did I find them?  By truly looking at where I was and thinking about how I want to be remembered when I’m gone.  If I were to die 3 years from now, what would the people in my life say about me?  I didn’t like the answers my mind came up with.  I have a lot of work to do.  There’s nothing like visualization to get your goals clearly back in focus. 

One thing I’ve learned is that it takes far more energy to sit down and put up with things, force yourself to accept things, and look the other way, than it does to stand up, take responsibility, own up to your mistakes and take charge of your life. 

When you find yourself feeling bored, unhappy, depressed, or just down, ask yourself why?  Are you choosing to feel that way?  Or are there things you are allowing to go on in your life that are not in sync with who you are and what you believe as a person?  Either way you have choices, you have options and possibilities.  Stand up and take action!  It will change your perspective and your life.

Cherry Coley (c)

Just Listen..and Appreciate

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“When you really listen to another person from their point of view, and reflect back to them that understanding, it’s like giving them emotional oxygen.” – Stephen Covey

Begin With the End In Mind

startHave you ever struggled trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B?  One good way to figure out how to set priorities and goals is to visualize where you want to go, see yourself there, then start thinking of what you can do to get to the place you want to be. 

What about life?  Don’t you hate it when your employer asks you that dreaded question, “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”  How about looking even further into the future? Where do you see yourself in 20 years? What about when you retire?

If you really want to have something serious to think about, what would you want people to say about you in your eulogy? If you can visualize your friends, family, co-workers and the people at your church or the charity you work with getting up to share a few words about your life.  What sort of things would they say?  What do you want them to say?

It makes you stop and think doesn’t it?  It did me.  It’s made me realize where I’ve fallen short, the mistakes I’ve made and all the work I still need to do.  It’s made me realize I need to invest a lot more time in the people I care about and appreciate. 

Life is short, time is precious and there’s no time like the present to get started.  Start with the end in mind and put your heart and soul into where you want to be, the influence you’d like to have and the legacy you’d like to leave. You will leave a legacy, the great thing is you have a choice what that legacy will be. 

Cherry Coley (c)

 

The Biggest Mistake

l_5877c808254742e986ad6762af59ea91I look back on my life and realize I’ve made some major mistakes along the way.  We try to avoid mistakes when we can.  No one likes making mistakes, whether they are big or small one’s mistakes have consequences and no one likes the fall out.

The way we respond to our mistakes says a lot about our character and how we approach our lives.  Successful people learn that making mistakes is not a bad thing.  Mistakes can teach us what to do and what not to do.

Mistakes are choices we’ve made that haven’t worked out the way we thought they would.  However, the benefit of making mistakes is knowing we are taking an active part in life, we are trying, we are making choices and even though some may wind up being mistakes, if we learn from them then there is still a benefit.

Benjamin Franklin said, “The man who does things makes many mistakes, but he never makes the biggest mistake of all – doing nothing.”

I thought about that statement today, the biggest mistake being to do nothing.  How true a statement is that? There have been times in my life when I was afraid to move forward, to take a chance for fear of making a mistake.  There have been opportunities that I missed because I took too long to think things through and choose to move forward. 

To live, to really live, is to make the choice to participate, to meet new people, try new things, experience life.  To experience life means to make mistakes.  It’s okay, there may be consequences, but you can learn from the experience.  Just don’t make the biggest mistake by choosing to do nothing, the consequences for that one is called “regret” and regret is a hard thing to live with.

Cherry Coley (c)

Touched By An Angel

Aunt Marlene and Mom

Aunt Marlene and Mom

Tonight I watched “Touched By An Angel.”  I haven’t watched that show in years, but it caught my eye while flipping channels for a moment. 

It was a show about a drug addict that had a baby and Monica and Andrew worked to help her get clean.  Being television it all worked out just in time and just fine on screen.  It really was a good story.  I miss the gentle kindness of the show and inviting it into our lives each night.

I remember so well watching “Touched By An Angel” and “Highway To Heaven” with my mom and dad.  They loved the storyline with angels walking among us, helping and interacting, directing our paths when needed.  My mom thoroughly enjoyed the shows for years.  We would talk about the episode and then how it related to the bible and real life.  Sure, a lot of it was fiction, but it was a good clean show with a heart and you don’t see many of those anymore. 

So tonight, just for a moment, I was touched by another angel.  I felt the presence of my mom come and sit down on the couch beside me and share in a memory.  It was just a moment, but I am thankful for it just the same.  It made me smile and I love memories that do that. 

Take a moment today to remember some of the good memories you’ve shared.  It’s good to appreciate where we come from, it’s better to then live in the moment and enjoy the things we have and the people in our lives.  Life a gift, don’t take it for granted, enjoy every bit of it.

Cherry Coley (c)