Jesus

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) 

 

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)

 

 

Understanding the Beattitudes

I grew up in church and have listened to the Sermon on the Mount for most of my life and still wondered at the various interpretations of some of the verses.  These verses are located in Matthew 5:3 and 5 if you want to look them up.

 For instance:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,

For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are the meek,

For they will inherit the earth.

 I have seen many versions of the Bible and some even change these two verses to read: Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth.

So, why did they take out the word “spirit” in the first verse?  I think that is incorrect.  I think it should be read as originally written.  I also think that the assumption that Jesus was talking about the poor is incorrect.  It says, poor in SPIRIT.  Understand that this is my opinion, so you can disagree, but I am excited to see this because it answers a question I’ve had FOREVER that no one could really answer.

 Who is poor in Spirit?  When you think about our spirit and our minds you must realize that in order to learn, to grow, we must have the mental facilities available to us to use to understand what is being said or written.  If we do not have the ability to understand and make our own choices, then those would be people who are poor in mind and in spirit.  The ones who were born severely mentally handicapped.  The innocent brought into the world to exist and affect the lives of all those around them.  Many children who will never speak, or do things for themselves, but who are here to serve a purpose nonetheless – of what may be yet to be determined.  I know some who have had their lives forever changed by a handicapped child, and have become completely different people in the process.  These are the ones – theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

What about the meek?  I was taught to be meek was basically to be silent, soft spoken, well-behaved, prayerful, submissive, humble.  How many truly meek people do you know in this day and age?  Being meek does not mean you have to be a door mat.  What I believe this actually means is that we need to watch our ego’s and be in more of a humble mindset.  A humble person is slow to jump to conclusions, aware of circumstances and surroundings, and more eager to learn.  A humble person is not one who is quick to pass judgment or blame, or point fingers.  A humble person will listen to reason and learn from their mistakes as well as the mistakes of others.

What does it mean that the meek will inherit the earth?  I think it means that those with a humble attitude and an open mind, that seek knowledge – for them the way will be open.  When we act in humility, then things like mercy, grace, love, joy, and forgiveness all go hand in hand.  When we are meek, the other Beatitudes all fall in line, from those who hunger and thirst for righteousness – or have a hunger and thirst for knowledge and spiritual fulfillment, they shall be filled. 

 It’s an interesting thought that I came across today as I studied another ancient text.  It’s interesting to me how studying things from different angles make the words come alive and mean so much more. 

 What a gift to spend a lifetime in the pursuit of knowledge and baring witness to the changes yet to come, by studying history to keep in mind where we’ve been and learning how to live in the process.

Cherry Coley ©

Time as an Investment

Time is something we are constantly reminded of.  Each and every day there are commercials, signs, books, ads, all over the place reminding us of time passing, that we shouldn’t waste time, that time is creeping up on us, that time is getting away from us, that we should use time more wisely, on and on it goes.  If you listen to all the hype too much it starts to get to you and you feel stressed, hurried, and constantly worried that time is running out.

Time is, no doubt, our most treasured resource.  How do you look at time?  Have you ever thought about it?  How do you address time issues?  Do you say you are going to “schedule things better so I can spend my time more wisely?”  Do you “spend your time running errands, picking up kids, going to work, doing laundry, and with friends?”  Do you “spend time trying to prioritize?”

Do you often feel weary, worn out, and like you’ve wasted time when you look back at your day?

What if you changed one little word in your thinking and vocabulary?  Change the word “spend” to “Invest.” 

Now go back and rethink, readjust your day.  Today I – “invested my time with my kids, we had good conversation or sang songs in the car when I picked them up.  I invested my time doing laundry, making sure we all have clean clothes, look healthy, and well taken care of.  I invested my time going to work because I have a job to do and it helps me to be able to get the things I want and need.  Today, I invested my time with a few friends so our relationships will continue to grow, and we laugh, cry, share and support each other.”  Today matters.  Did you feel the shift and how everything seems less stressful when you are “investing” instead of “spending?”

Just one little word can make a difference in your outlook and your attitude.  Don’t follow the majority in the frantic search of how to “spend” your time, instead take a stand, be more proactive, and decide how you will invest your time.  Those decisions you make today will make a difference tomorrow.

Cherry Coley (c)

End of a Hard Week

This week has been hard.   There have been a lot of odd things to deal with in many areas.  One of the things I was working really hard on fell through and it completely threw me off track. 

My dad’s cat passed away and somehow that was like losing another piece of both of my parents again.  Yet he was an old cat and just got sick, so it was one of those things. 

I suppose there are times when the days will just seem harder, longer than others.  I don’t like it, just for the record.

I found myself spreading myself way too thin on too many things.  I still have a ton to unpack and sort through.  I will be going along and making good progress, then I’ll run across a stack of coasters my mom crocheted and get lost in the memory of sitting and talking to her while she made them. 

Or I’ll run across some pictures, an old card or note, and will just wind up staring at it for a long while not realizing how much time has passed. 

This week has also been a week of nightmares.  Sleepless nights and what sleep there was to be had was tainted with dreams of searching through fog and darkness trying to find my way.  It’s a mirror to how I’ve felt this week. 

Today, I just didn’t feel good.  Worn out tired from restlessness, allergies that are trying to turn into a cold and worry over our little dog who managed to somehow hurt himself yesterday.  Lord, I really don’t need all this right now.  I was able to get some medicine and go home to take a nap this afternoon and that made a world of difference.

Some weeks are just harder than others for no particular reason, just a lot of odd and unrelated stuff.  One thing I’ve noticed to be true though is that before good things happen, often there is a time of trail and struggles.  I am choosing to think that this week is a precursor to a much better week next week. 

Cherry Coley ©

Be A Channel For Sharing

God has given us two hands – one to receive with and the other to give with.  We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for sharing.” – Billy Graham

This quote by Billy Graham is a great reminder that we are not meant to just take in this life, but are meant to share as well.  I have been guilty of giving too much at times and not taking anything for myself. 

Life is about balance, you must have it to be healthy and feel good in general, but it’s vital to feel good about yourself.  No one can give all the time without taking the time to recharge, revitalize and fill your spiritual, physical and mental resources. 

If you don’t take the time to rest, you will quickly start to feel tired, less like running that marathon, and even weak.  It’s the same with our spiritual side – if you don’t take the time to seek solitude, pray, meditate or find your inner peace you will start to feel stress and strain more until you begin to just feel emotionally and spiritually drained.

Mental recharging is just as important!  I start to feel down if I am not stretching myself by reading or learning something new.  Seeking knowledge is more than just a hobby with me; it’s a way of life.  I have a great need to keep exercising my mind and learning new perspectives, problem solving skills and new technology. 

These are just three of the aspects of a balanced life, but I seem to have to remind myself now and then that I’ve let one thing slip a little and it’s time to take a moment to recharge that area.  You would think since we were designed for balance that it would all come naturally, but it doesn’t, that’s why it’s important to stay aware of what’s going on in our personal world. 

Interesting how it’s all set up too that we must use the balance of giving and receiving in each of these areas.  We were designed to take in knowledge, then share what we’ve learned with others, to take in spiritual experiences, and share those experiences with others who are also seeking and needing to be refreshed.  We were designed to test our limits physically, to find others along a similar path for the journey, but also to help those who need help along the way.

Take the time to be thankful for living today and then see where you are in this balancing act.  We all benefit by helping each other along the way and I’d love to hear from you!

 Cherry Coley ©

Renewal, Reflection and A New Outlook

April seems to have become a time of reflection for me.  A time to look back and see where I’ve been, decisions I’ve made, the result of those decisions, and a time for renewal. 

My parents were born in the 1920’s and as most from that generation were, they were very conservative and extremely overprotective of themselves and their families.  Girls, in particular, were to be seen, be quiet and do what they were told.  This is not an entirely bad thing and Lord knows I don’t mean it that way.  My parents were very strict and very opinionated; they taught me respect for life and my elders and most of all for myself.

Oddly enough though I find myself looking back and realizing that I have, all of my life always sought their approval for everything I did.  If I didn’t get it I would often either back down or find a way to do what I wanted then come back and show them what I’d done – but still I would somehow seek their approval.  Approval I rarely got completely.

So now I find myself at an odd part of the journey where I make my own decisions, but there’s no one to say; “don’t do that,” or “you can’t do that,” or “you shouldn’t do that,” or “that will never work, what will people say?” or “that’s just stupid.”  There are only echoes of voices inside my head, voices I am learning adjust to and put aside so that I can live.

What’s more, upon yet more reflection I’ve come to realize that I actually sought out and surrounded myself – at times – with people who would be negative, or would intentionally throw obstacles in my path making it difficult if not impossible for me to continue on with the choices I was contemplating.  What a sad thing to find out about myself, yet, I am very thankful for this discovery because it means that knowing this about myself, I will now make more informed and deliberate choices concerning the people who I choose to be closest to me.   My friends are my family that I have the ability to choose.

We all know many people and it is through the wondrous variety and input of different personalities that we learn and grow in so many ways.  I am so very thankful for all the people I have met in the last few years, weeks, days.  It’s the people I’ve met that have come into my life and make it richer and fuller in so many ways!   How I love those that challenge my thinking, make me smile, cause me to feel on deeper levels and to seek higher knowledge!

I am thankful today is Easter.  Easter truly is a time for renewal, rebirth, regeneration, reflection and resurrection. 

Cherry Coley ©

Easter Is Coming!!

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It’s Easter time!  Easter is one of the most significant times of the year for Christians.  It is when Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice for mankind.  God gave the ultimate sacrifice in allowing His son to take on all the guilt and shame of the world that was not his, so much that He could not look at His son, and had to sit silent and allow Him to be judged and die.  Easter is the celebration of the resurrection and defeat of evil and death.

I know all that, grew up with it, wrote plays about it, sang songs, took part in feasts and revivals over the years.  While Christmas is the birth of hope and joy, Easter is the birth of forgiveness and faith.

Easter is also about the Easter bunny.  Oh sure, there is a debate, but really, should there be?  I mean come on, it’s a bunny that hides eggs, is there really a contest?  It’s just for fun people, live a little, have a scavenger hunt, play with your children you know they will only be young for a little while and childhood just doesn’t last long enough now days.

So why is this year different? Well, for most people it’s not, other than it is later in the year being in April instead of March.  For me, it is different this year because this year, oddly enough, Easter falls on April 8th which is my mom’s birthday. 

Though I try to get into the spirit of the season, I confess to having a hard time this year.  It’s not that I don’t want too; it’s just a sort of hollow, bitter-sweet thing at the moment, yes, even though I know the wonderful promise that comes with Easter. 

Still, the bluebonnets are beautiful this year and the kids have had lots of fun hunting eggs, the music is beautiful as always and the weather has been exceptional.  Me?  I will keep putting one foot in front of the other, feeling the sunshine and waiting for the warmth to be more than just skin deep.  I have so very many things to be thankful for, and spring always brings new growth, beautiful flowers and birds raising their voices in song.  Nature celebrates and renews in spring and so shall I.  Here’s to a new start, a renewed spirit and a rebirth of hope and faith! 

Cherry Coley ©