God

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)

 

A New Day!

100_5469I was feeling a bit down today.  The weather was a bit gloomy, hazy, wet outside, and it was just one of those days.  At least that’s what I told myself this morning.  Then I wondered why.

 Why was I just accepting that I was having a “blue” day?  Was it disappointment over something? Did I not like how someone was treating me? Was it the weather? Am I not happy about where I am or things that are going on in my life right now? What?

 Does any of that matter? The answer is no, if you are living life from a proactive perspective instead of a reactive perspective none of the above makes any difference at all. 

 Being in a proactive mindset means that I CHOOSE how I feel in the morning.  I get to choose my attitude, perspective and my approach to everything that comes into my life each day.  That’s an enormous amount of personal power if you think about it.  Does it mean if I have a car wreck in the morning I won’t react and be upset?  Not necessarily, but it is still my choice to BE upset.

 Freedom comes in knowing that you can choose how you feel about any given circumstance, event, or situation at any given time.  So think about this, if you feel unappreciated, you feel jealousy, you feel taken for granted, or you feel unloved, why not take a moment – stop and ask yourself: are these feelings and is this behavior contributing to my health and happiness? What am I getting from feeling this way? It definitely doesn’t make you feel good.  So why choose to feel that way?

 Today make the choice to take a good look at how you are responding to things in your life.  Are you being proactive and choosing how you will feel and your attitude? Are you looking for the opportunities in any given situation? Or are you living in response to things that are going on?

 When we live in response we are living with our feelings hanging out there in the open.  Emotions unchecked can cloud judgment. Clouded judgment will keep you from seeing the opportunities and choices available to you.  How many times have you felt unappreciated or unloved, had things spiral into arguments or upset, only to find out later it was a misunderstanding?

 If you’re feeling down, like I was, stop to take a moment to appreciate your blessing and the good things in your life.  When you get in the attitude of being grateful it gets harder to feel down and stay that way.  Thank God for another day, I did, then I felt much better.

Cherry Coley (c)

I Want My Mommy!

Today I miss my mom.  It’s not that I don’t miss her every day, but today the gaping hole in my chest where my parents used to be was hurting more. 

I had been doing so much better, I was moving forward, getting things done and looking forward to the future and SLAM, grief strikes again.  I hate that. 

Grief has a way of popping up at times and turning the world upside down when you least expect it.  It’s just the way it works unfortunately.  The name of this round of grief is called – “things I wish I’d done differently.”  The worst part of this round was not thinking of the things I would have done differently with my parents, (I went thru that part last year). 

This was about things I wish I’d done differently in other areas of my life, with my ex-husband, my kids, my school days, and all the time I wasted doing stuff that didn’t really matter or turn out the way I wanted in the end. 

My kids are growing up so fast and I still have questions, but no more answers.  There are things that they bring up and do that I don’t know how to approach, so I make suggestions and do research.  I feel inadequate at times, though I know it’s not true. 

If my mom were here she would listen to my worries and insecurities and tell me to “suck it up,” and “karma works,” then smile and even laugh at me because I put her through many of the same issues and how well I remember that. 

The things we thought were so fun as kids – like staying out too late, and talking on the phone all night, are not so funny as a parent.  Life is a circle, that’s for sure.

I am thankful for the time I had with my mom and my dad.  I’m thankful they always had my best interests at heart, even though they didn’t always understand me. 

I am thankful I have two daughters, that remind me that life goes on and sometimes you have to look back to appreciate where you came from before you can go forward. 

Cherry Coley (c)

Believe and Keep Walking

“If you believe, really believe, then you will persist.” – Zig Ziglar

Life can get hard at times, especially when you are a single parent.  There are days when working, trying to make ends meet, running all the errands, helping with homework, trying to keep up with everyone’s schedule and still have enough time to eat or rest seems next to impossible.

I can’t tell you the number of nights I collapsed into bed, exhausted and crying out for God to somehow hear me and make things easier or me stronger. 

I believe He did both.  There have been times when I didn’t know where our next meal would come from and a bag of groceries would be sitting in front of our door, or an envelope with a gift card to Walmart or Target

We’ve had coworkers or neighbors offer rides and help when needed.  We’ve had coats given, bags of clothes donated and our needs met when we didn’t think they would be.

There have been many days when the only thing to do was to put one foot in front of the other and keep on walking no matter the circumstances.

I have been laid off, and provided for until I found other work.  Time after time we have lived through hardship, prayed, kept going by faith and things would work out the way they were meant too.

No one ever said life would be easy, if they told you that then they either have been lying or haven’t experienced life.  Yet, life has a way of giving back what you put into it.  Through the generosity of others we survived hardship and adversity and in turn were able to be generous and pass on the blessing when we could.

We are all here to help each other on this journey, never underestimate the power of a kind word or action, and when the going gets rough, just keep believing and persist in moving forward.

Cherry Coley ©

Putting the Past in its Place

IMG_0097Don’t give your strength and focus to the things that you want to be rid of in your life.  There’s no such thing as living in the past.  What you are actually doing is spending your time now thinking about things you cannot relive or change.

It’s human nature to reflect on situations and experiences.  We look back wishing we could experience an event again, or be with a person one more time, or maybe go back and change something, not say something, or do more for someone than we did at the time.

The most useful thing about the past is that if we let it, the past can guide us to live a better future, to pay more attention to details and what matters, to spend our time more wisely.  Life is a journey and the path behind us reminds us of where we’ve been, what we’ve been through can encourage us to keep going and can remind us that we will be able to handle whatever comes our way.

However, unresolved issues, grievances and hurts can make a person think too much on what once was, how they wish it were different or long for those that have moved on.

There are a lot of people hurting and feeling alone.  You are not alone.  You are not the only one hurting.  You are remembered and loved.  You are not forgotten.  It’s amazing what these words do and how they can make you feel. 

If you are hurting, reach out and talk to the people you care about and that care about you.  You aren’t imposing, even though you might feel like you are.  When someone truly cares they are happy to know they can help.  Let them help, let them have the blessing and the loving feeling that comes when you allow someone to help you.   Someday you will be in a position to help someone else that needs it and the blessing will be yours.

Today center your heart and mind on where you are and where you want to go.  Greet the day with the spirit of gratefulness for the blessings in your life.  You still have things you enjoy, people you love, opportunities yet to be realized and exciting new things to experience.  There is much to be grateful for each day.

 Train your brain and heart to be both grateful and aware of the things and people around you.  You will start to notice a change in your outlook and it will make a difference in your life and the people around you.  Like ripples on the water, the attitude of one affects others around them.

 Start today putting the past in its place so you can embrace your future dreams and live in the present. 

 Cherry Coley ©

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 ©

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)