inspiration

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

“Lift” A Great Little App for your Phone

IMG_1288[1]The world of smart phones has come a long way in a short time.  I confess to being fairly new to smart phones and their tricks and uses.  I have an iphone and have been enjoying finding new, creative and useful apps each week.

I download and explore a lot of the free apps, though I do have a few that I liked so much I upgraded to the paid version.

One of my favorite apps I just started using is called “Lift.”  They have a website you can check out at  https://lift.do/

Lift is designed to be like a coach in your pocket.  It is a designed to help people build and keep track of better habits.  There are 3 simple steps:  Set Goals, See your progress, and Get support.

There is a list of goals to choose from, but you have the option to add your own as well.  Once you set that up, it moves the goal to a list for you.  On the list you “check in” daily when you complete your goal.  A Frequency chart appears beside the Check in button that keeps track of your progress.

Lift

Lift

Wait! There’s more!  When you “check in” it is posted on a status board showing how many times you’ve checked in and you can (if you like) put notes on your check in describing a bit more of what you are working on.

For instance: on the board for checking into “reading” you could put a note about which book you are reading.  Others on the board will see your “check in” and note (if you put one) and have the option to offer “props” with a thumb’s up sign, or to comment on your note.  I must say, it’s pretty cool to “check in” then have others come behind you with “props.”  It’s like getting a pat on the back or an “atta girl.”

Lift also offers 21 day habit training.  These are goals that are designed to help you form good habits.  The 21 day challenges come with instructions and inspiring quotes to encourage you along the way.

With Lift you can choose your goals and tasks, you can add people to follow and gain followers, invite your friends and have fun meeting your goals and encouraging others.

As an added benefit there are groups you can join like “Daily Good Deed Challenge”, complete with instructions for doing good deeds, what it means, suggestions for what to do, interesting tidbits of information and daily challenges.

Finally, on the web you have the option to export your progress to an excel or google spreadsheet for better tracking purposes.Lift

So, if you’re looking for a free and easy to use app to keep track of goals and act as a mini-coach, I recommend “Lift.”  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Cherry Coley ©

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 ©

Get a New Perspective

animals.nationalgeographic.com

animals.nationalgeographic.com

Life is challenging at times.  If we aren’t careful we can find ourselves feeling cornered, over whelmed, tired, and stressed.  Things happen, unexpected events, circumstances change in moments.

Life is merciless and can come at a rapid pace that leaves us breathless and feeling helpless.  The thing to remember at such times is, this too shall pass.  It’s a cliché, but it’s still true.  Moments both good and bad only last for moments.

Sometimes all it takes to change a situation is to change your perspective.  My art teacher taught me long ago, when getting frustrated while working on a portrait a long time, sometimes you get too close to the subject and the picture can start to look off.  The best thing to do is put the picture up awhile, go do something else, then come back to it later.  When you take it out later, turn it upside down and you will immediately see any flaws in the portrait.

There are a lot of things that work the same way.  When you work on something a long while, your stress level and emotional involvement can skew your perspective.  It’s important to work with a partner, or have trusted friends who will tell you when something is off, or perhaps help you take a break and see things differently.

Finances, for instance, can weigh heavily on the mind, cause lack of sleep, stomach aches, and stress that affects the body and mind.  Still, we have the option to ask for help, seek guidance, and the ability to look up possible solutions literally at our fingertips.

Jim Rohn said, “Everything you need is already available to you.”  I had to think about that awhile, because I tell you, it didn’t feel like everything I needed was available earlier this year.  Yet, after reading books, studying classes, searching for resources and taking advantage of just part of the things I have access too and have available to me, I realize Jim Rohn is right.

Don’t allow yourself to feel cornered or down.  You have a choice, you are in control of your attitude and the emotions you choose to use at any given moment.  If what you’re doing each day doesn’t leave you feeling fulfilled, or like your accomplishing something, happy, or content, then take a look at what’s going on in your life and how you’re responding.  Perhaps you need a break, a change in perspective.

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)

 

Change 03/05/13

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.  And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom, a man cannot ride you unless your back is bent.” – Martin Luther King

 

Never believe that a few caring people cannot change the world,  for indeed that is all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead

 

Change is the one thing in this world that is certain.  Change comes into every life, into every circumstance, and makes it’s way into every situation.  Change simply…is.

How well we live our lives is directly related to how well we handle change, whether we live proactively and in a positive state of mind, ready for whatever life might throw our direction, or whether we live reactively and wind up being controlled by our on emotional responses to things that happen.  There is a choice to be made and we make those choices each day. 

What will we do? What if?  Don’t dwell on all the worries, live today, enjoy the moment, focus on what is right in front of you right now.  If you’re talking to someone, put down the phone, concentrate and hear the person in front of you. 

So many times we forget to slow down and just “be present.”  I know I learn to appreciate the people and things I have when I take the time to enjoy and focus solely on what I am doing.  It’s important, you will never have another moment like this one, change is coming.

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)

Motivation

simonmainwaring

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. 

Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar 

Just Listen..and Appreciate

Cherry Camera 022

“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