“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu
Today I am thankful for indoor plumbing and appliances. As mundane as that sounds I remember all too well the stories my mom used to tell of having to walk to the well, or the creek to get water to cook with or bathe with. Imagine having to heat water on the stove then trying to fill up the bathtub enough to take a bath before it all got cold.
I heard a lot of stories how my parents would have to go to the creek in the winter to get water to cook with and have to break the ice first before filling their buckets. Many days the meals consisted of cornbread and milk. They had oatmeal, but not always sugar. Their meat they got from hunting or fishing.
In the mornings my mom and my aunt would have to go collect the eggs from the chickens. My mom hated to do that because sometimes snakes would crawl in the nest and swallow the eggs underneath the terrified hen.
They learned to survive in the harsh winters up in the mountains of Arkansas, to share and to take care of each other. Coats, clothes, shoes were all precious and taken care of so they would last for a long while. My mother learned to sew and made many of the clothes for the family.
Amazing the amount of progress we’ve made in just a few generations, going from a wood stove and an actual “ice” box where you put a large cube of ice in it to keep a few things cool to microwaves, toasters, mixers, refrigerators, washing machines, a myriad of coffee machines, and ovens you can turn on with a dial and not much thought.
I am thankful for all the stories they told of how hard life was and the obstacles they had to face just in day to day life. Even the stories of being afraid of go to the outhouse after dark for fear of animals and snakes, not to mention a practical joker for a brother.
Today I am thankful for all the creations that we have become so used to having that we take them for granted every day. Let us not forget where we came from and how far we’ve come. By keeping our roots in mind we can better see where we are today and the bright hope for the future. What’s next? The answer is whatever amazing thing we can dream up.
Cherry Coley ©
Lately it seems that there a lot more things to do than there is time in the day. I can’t even say that it is bad time management, there has just been a lot of last minute issues popping up that cannot be put off, which leads to other things not being done or completed when I would like them to be. Not being able to complete things on time – even though they are personal goals or items – brothers me at first, then quickly moves me into frustration if I let it.
I have been running sick kids to the doctor, dealing with a sprained elbow, and struggling through colds of my own for the last 3-4 weeks, running last minute errands, and attending school programs, which basically means I haven’t gotten home on time but maybe 3 days out of that time. I treasure my personal time, it’s time spent reading, writing, doing artwork, photography, walking, yard work, or spending time with friends. When that time becomes so encroached upon that I can’t manage to do those things, I start to feel cranky, then eventually worn down.
It’s not unusual to have things happen, after all life loves to throw in the unexpected for us to navigate, and I know I am not the only one struggling through all the “stuff” right now. I have had many friends tell me they are struggling with their own versions of the same issues of having to rush to get everything done and miss out on things they like to do or need to do in the process.
How do we cope? For me – taking a moment to meditate and/or pray can make a tremendous difference. Even if it is a brief moment, just to be able to relax, listen to some soothing tones, light a candle or incense, and drift off into a peaceful mindset for a bit can make the day much better and offer a bit of energy and spiritual renewal. Another way I like to recharge is to take a walk outside, but since I have been getting home after dark, there hasn’t been opportunity to do that.
Today, I am rearranging my schedule again, running errands at lunch, hoping to free up time after work. I have a lot of house work to catch up on, but as long as I can actually get home, I can multitask and knock out a lot of those type chores at the same time, even while listening to a book or catching a favorite show on television.
I hear people often say they need more hours in the day. Me? No thank you. I don’t need more hours, I just need to manage what I have better, have a few less crisis and last minute items pop up, and to multitask a bit faster and more efficiently, nothing that can’t be done as long as one can keep the right attitude and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Remember to take a moment in the middle of the chaos to stop, find things to be thankful for, people to appreciate, and be grateful for the fact that we are still here. Ask for help if you need it, find joy in the sunrise, sunset and realize that each day, no matter how stressful or wonderful it may be, is a gift. You get to decide your response to what happens along the way which will help decide the outcome. Just do the best you can and give yourself a break when you can.
Cherry Coley ©
Have you ever had a day or week when it seemed all you did was run from doing one thing to the next? There just didn’t seem to be any downtime, much less time to get inspired and actually write anything. When we get really stressed our creativity suffers, after a few days of that we start to feel strained, stressed, or down.
So what do you do to get inspired? For me inspiration can come in many forms, a good book, a blog post, a commercial or television show, nice weather, stormy weather, a song, there are unlimited ways to get inspired if you stop and notice. My problem is when I get busy I rush past things and don’t see what is right in front of me.
It’s a good reminder to not get so busy that you miss things. I think we are all guilty of that at some point. Life offers fresh ideas, new dreams, refreshing thoughts and moments, as well as little miracles each day and it all gets lost when we make a habit of just rushing through.
Yesterday I watched a squirrel playing with our dog. The squirrel was staying in the tree just above the dog as he ran in circles barking and leaping up into the air happily pointing out that there was a furry little intruder in his tree.
Meanwhile, the squirrel sat watching the dog wear himself out while munching happily on a pecan which he finished then chunked at the dog. The dog began sniffing all over the ground searching frantically for the nut.
In the mean time, the squirrel ran up the tree, leaped the branches, landed in another tree, went down that tree and up over the next door neighbors fence.
The dog couldn’t figure out where the squirrel went, and while he had been busy running around and chasing the bait, the actual prize went out of sight.
Don’t lose sight of the goals and dreams you have in the busyness of everyday life.
Cherry Coley ©
“Too often we underestimate the power of touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
The spider lilies are in bloom. It both thrills me that they are there and breaks my heart because I know who planted them. They are lasting evidence that my mom was there and they are not alone. There have been flowers and plants coming up all year in the different seasons, carefully placed and planted in the yard. My mom loved to garden.
I love the lilies, I remember going to the different garden shops each year and buying seeds and bulbs for planting. Then just as winter was ending she would dig up a large spot in the backyard to plant tomatoes, squash, green beans, mustard greens, and various other plants. She loved fresh vegetables out of the garden. She said there was just something so rewarding about planting things in the ground, and watching God make them grow.
The flowers are beautiful, just as the red bud tree’s have been this year. I wish she was here to see and enjoy them one more time.
There is a joy and a sadness as I look at the backyard with no one there to make sure the weeds don’t take over, and the garden patch sitting abandoned and empty.
I can’t help but wonder if the plants notice, isn’t that silly? Do they know that no one is pampering them, or do they simply do what plants do and depend on God, stretch out their roots and reach up to feel the sunlight?
I miss my parents more now than ever. A year ago my dad passed away on September 21st, and I can’t help but be silent and remember the weeks that followed, weeks where I wish I could go back and do a little more, be there a little more for my mom. I did what I could, but IF I could go back I would do so much more. Hindsight is really worthless.
It is a good reminder though that we should really not take anything or anyone that we love for granted. None of us are promised another day and knowing that, we should take the time to get to know those we care about, reach out to those we love, do things to show appreciation and to help without being asked or expecting anything in return.
We all have our own issues, our own struggles daily. How much better, more fulfilling would life be if we shared openly, loved without expectation, and left pride and judgement out of the picture? Sure, I know that’s probably not realistic, but still it is something to think about.
Cherry Coley (c)
Being in such a state of change and self-reflection this year has proven to be a challenging, heartbreaking, sometimes tormenting, and sometimes joyful, happy, amazing experience. The roller coaster of emotions brought on by great change can seem like too much to bear at times. Yet the times like this – depending on how we choose to respond – can offer the most personal growth.
In the process I have had to seek and out and remove some words and thought patterns from my vocabulary that have been getting in my way of either seeing things clearly or creating obstacles that turn into excuses. Some of the words and phrases are:
I have been going through and creating affirmations to ward off each of those excuses, steadfastly cutting them out of my life and silencing them as they come up to block me from moving forward. The one that I came up against this last weekend caught me off guard. I honestly didn’t realize how much I was saying it and how much energy I was spending on basically, nothing. The words I have to push away now are “I wish.”
I find myself saying things to people like – “I wish you were here,” “I wish we could go to….” “I wish we had more time together,” too much wishing. It has now bled into other areas for other reasons such as: “I wish I could get my car painted,” “I wish the backdoor would lock better,” “I wish I could travel to Ireland,” or “I wish I could go spend some time with my long distance friends.”
I just realized how truly ridiculous it all sounds. Seriously? What am I doing wishing so much? Life isn’t about “wishing” – life is about “living.” If you spend all your time and energy wishing for things you, aren’t living in the present and making things happen.
It’s interesting what we wind up seeing as our limits and how we create excuses to justify staying stuck and keeping those limits in place. The truth is that the limits you are living with – you have created yourself. The person keeping you from reaching your goals and fulfilling your dreams is you.
Do some soul searching, find the things that inner voice uses to keep you in that limited frame of mind, realize that the inner voice – is you and you can learn to silence it or reprogram it to move forward instead of staying stuck. Even more important, if you find yourself constantly wishing for things to happen, realize that you have the ability to make them happen, but you have to first realize where you are and why, then take the steps to move forward. It’s time to stop wishing and start living.
Cherry Coley ©
“We all face obstacles of one kind or another in life, but if you let your deepest passion serve as your fuel, you’ll be able to travel the road back and move on to make your dreams happen.” – Dr. Francisco Bucio
I love watching commercials sometimes, they can be very entertaining or informative depending on the product and how it is being marketed. I confess that a few commercials out there are grating on my nerves, meaning I can’t stand them.
I won’t name any product names, but these commercials just bother me because of how they are promoting things. The first is with a mother and her son shopping at a store and he says, “Mom can I have a snack?” The mom goes about her business shopping while the kid is running beside the basket and riding on the basket all through the store saying, “pleeeeeaaaaaseeeee.” The camera shows other customers and the checkers at the registers looking around to see who is making the noise. Finally, instead of answering, the mom grabs the product off the shelf and hands it to the kid, he says “thanks, mom,” and runs off as she smiles.
SERIOUSLY? I find this commercial annoying. Mostly because it shows a mom giving in to unacceptable behavior and actually rewarding it with a smile! Gee, “thanks, Mom,” you’re creating yet another entitled kid that will think that it’s fine to whine and be annoying to get what he wants.
The other commercials that drive me nuts are the ones where the mom is talking at her daughter and tells her that she knows she should be talking to her about online etiquette and texting. The mom stands there talking while the daughter looks at her with a blank expression on her face. The mom laughs and says “we’re going to laugh and carry on like we are having the best time, then we’re going to wait until your father comes home.” I believe there are two different versions of this commercial.
I am appalled. Those commercials do not entertain or amuse me, they make me want to shake the mom and say, “wake up and take an interest in your kids life!” I turned in disgust and asked my teenagers if that was even remotely true, do any of their friends have parents that act that way? To my horror both shook their head yes. I think I sat with my mouth open for a while pondering that one. It really shocked me, I had to ask them twice if they were kidding.
I just don’t understand what could be so hard to talk to your kids about. Perhaps I am odd, but I started talking to my kids about drugs and sex (age appropriate) very young. I worked in a daycare and I knew that if you don’t tell them, the other kids will and the information they receive will be scattered and wrong, so my approach has been to tell them first and if they had questions – no matter what it was about – I would answer and if I didn’t know, then we would look it up. This taught them early on to not follow the crowd, but stop, think about what’s being said, check it out and see if it’s true, then decide based on facts not “say so.”
The world is a dangerous and harsh place and though I do believe 100% that childhood should be protected and treasured, I also knew that I didn’t want my kids to go out into the world as innocent and naïve as I was. My hope is that they will be better prepared to face the future, better informed, to stand firm against peer pressure – not because of just faith or belief, but with facts to hold on to as well, and to make better decisions to live a healthier, fulfilling and prosperous life.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your children about anything. They are YOUR children and if you don’t talk to them someone else will, that person may not share your values or beliefs. So if each of us makes our decisions based on our experience, what we know to be true and our support systems, how can one expect their children to make informed and intelligent choices without the information and support they need to do so?
Cherry Coley ©
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