Journaling for Fun and Sanity

I have written about journaling before and how I use it to help me.  About a month or so ago I got out of the habit.  I was talking to a friend a lot via email and texting and just kind of put the journaling aside which is not a good thing for me. 

 Journaling catches all the wild ideas, runoff and runaway emotions, the incomplete thoughts, the stupid and unfounded worries or suspicions that don’t really make sense, and all the excuses we make for why things didn’t work, why we can’t do them right now, why we can’t afford this or that and so on.  When I don’t journal, all those things just kind of build up into an emotional bubble that will eventually pop somewhere and on someone. 

 Journaling is a great outlet and can be used in so many different ways.  I wish I had started journaling years ago in some of the different ways I use it now.  I have a few journals I write in every day, but I also have a dream journal for those dreams that just stick around and need further contemplation, or investigating.  I have a prayer and meditation journal which is a great way to keep track of issues, and the resolution of them.  I have a writing journal that holds outlines for future story ideas, characters that have walked into my head and might make their way into a story someday, and even scenes or sketches of places that I might use later.

 Dr. Wayne Dyer mentioned in his book “Excuses Be Gone,” that if you want to change a habit, sometimes you need to speak to your subconscious mind and tell it that you are now aware of that habit and you intend to change it.  This makes you more aware so that you recognize the action the next time it comes into play, and it triggers your mind to stop and make a decision to either do what you have done in the past, or change things and go a different direction.  I do this in my journals as well, I write it out and then remind myself to go back and read it to make sure I am still aware and still going in the right direction to change those habits that I want to get rid of.

 If you haven’t been journaling or haven’t kept up a journal, then I urge you to pick up the habit.  It’s a great way to put down goals, track progress, realize dreams and make things start to take shape in your life. 

 Cherry Coley ©

Be Like Water

“Be like water.” – Bruce Lee


I have thought about this quote before and what it meant to me as I was taught and later learned more from Cherokee friends.  It is a lesson that is passed down in various ways and through various religions, but the basic truth is the same – we should be like water.    I think I like the wisdom of the Tao and its explanation for being like water.


Think about water and what it does, we are nourished by it, everything has to have it to live and grow, we are made up of something like 85% water.  Water can help cleanse, heal, if it is stationary it can become stagnant, but left to flow freely it stays pure.  Water doesn’t seek elevation, instead it settles into the lowest places, gathers into our rivers, lakes, and streams where it makes its way to the seas and oceans then evaporates to become snow or rain to fall down and restart the cycle. 

Water doesn’t play favorites, it doesn’t map out things, it doesn’t plan to irrigate our crops, to quench our thirst, to provide for animals or marine life and definitely not to provide entertainment for us to be able to fish, ski, sail, and swim or scuba dive.  Water is simply doing what comes naturally to water and that is enough.  Water is what it was created to be.

Now stop and think about that quote again – “be like water.”  What does that mean according to how we should live?  It means we should not assume to put ourselves in a place of importance, but by being our authentic selves we can touch and affect many lives.  It means being receptive to everyone and aware of our surroundings as well as other people.  It means to be aware of the low places, have an open mind should you go there and be willing to cleanse, heal, and make a difference. 

Water is not irritating, it is soothing, but at the same time water should be respected, appreciated and not taken for granted.  This does not mean you should always just go with the flow.  Water, like us, wants to be free.  When we are bottled up and not allowed to be who we are supposed to be we become stagnant, poisoned and polluted with bad attitudes and clogged emotions. 

The bible says that Jesus is the Living water and we nourish our souls by Him through His word and study.  The Toa also suggests spiritual water given by God to nourish the mind and soul.  Take a moment to be thankful for water, for without it we could not live, then take a moment to be thankful that the very unassuming substance that sustains our life is also a great example of how to live.

 Cherry Coley © 


Siblings, Gotta Love Them

I love my children.  They are beautiful, talented, highly imaginative, very opinionated and independent girls.  They are complete opposites in many ways and alike in others.  It’s all fuel for the sibling rivalry that crops up now and then and roars through a lot like a Texas tornado.  I hate it when they don’t get along.

 Have you ever stopped to wonder why God, in His infinite wisdom thinks it’s so funny (I’m convinced He does) to put such different people in the same family and under the same roof?  I have.  I have sat in wonder at how both girls are artistic, but draw so differently which reflects how differently they see things.  I have watched one try to force an opinion or viewpoint on the other and tempers flare because of the disagreement. 

 I personally think that God doesn’t do this paring up of people just for kicks.   I learned many valuable lessons from my brother growing up, though we are opposites in so many ways.  I learned that while I like piano music, I am not one to play it for hours and hours until I learn the song the way it’s supposed to be played.  I would gingerly practice a little every day and make some progress while he would hammer things out until it was perfect, which of course meant that the teachers loved him, not me. 

 From my brother I learned that some people can be pushed too hard and you’d either better be able to run fast, hide quick, or prepare to be pummeled.  I learned that if I kept him up all night telling scary stories that he would (while I wasn’t looking) roll the eyes back in my dolls so they looked white, put their arms out and fake vampire blood on their mouths and terrorize me in return. 

 From my brother I learned such skills as: anger management, organizational skills – to clean my half of the room first (before he could put all the stuff on my bed), and disaster training – had to get my miniatures out of the log cabins before Godzilla stomped my village. I also learned excellent spying skills including: eavesdropping, how to find secret stashes of the other people in the house, and how to un-wrap Christmas packages and re-wrap so no one knew.  I also learned how to negotiate chores for cash and that, in general, boys do not like dish cloths and would rather do yard work than dishes.

 My brother was also the one who taught me how to drive and while he cringed at the way I drove through Whataburger and stopped 20 times before getting up to the window, he never out right laughed at me.  I was thankful for that.   

 Because of my brother and an argument we had over whether Ms. Beasley could magically talk or was a robot of some kind, we now know for certain that she had a tape recorder hooked up to a string in her back because of a difficult surgery that left her forever sounding like a chipmunk, and with really bad stitches in her butt.

 My brother and I did not always get along; in fact, there were times we stayed pretty far away from each other.  One thing I have always known is that if there were some kind of trouble and I needed a defender, he would be there for me and I for him.  Siblings might fight each other in petty squabbles, but they don’t allow someone from the outside to step in and go after their brother or sister.

 My girls don’t always get along either, but God help the stupid people out there when someone tries to hurt one of them because the other one will quite literally go after them, hunt them down and make their life miserable. 

 All that being said, I think it is obvious that God puts different people in our lives so that we can learn from them, grow with them, love them, protect them, and to remind us that life should be handled with a sense of humor, a dash of tolerance and a load of patience.  I am thankful for my family mixture of personalities.

 Cherry Coley ©

Telling Tales and Sharing Stories

Sometimes we just try too hard.  Have you ever found yourself over explaining something because you wanted the other person to understand what you were saying so bad and you wanted to make a good impression?  They sit there with a nod and a smile pasted on and you just find yourself explaining when you should probably be quiet instead. 

What’s worse are the times when you find yourself or watch someone else try too hard.  They go above and beyond explanations on to hand motions or sketches to keep on explaining something beyond the facts that are definitely known.

I have a friend that loves to embellish stories.  I suppose since we are in Texas they could someday wind up as Texas tall tales.  Sometimes they just embellish a little bit and everyone just kind of overlooks it and goes on.  Other times, the embellishment gets rather wild and things that happened to someone else suddenly become personal experiences that were much bigger and more harrowing each time the tale is told, depending on whom the tale is being told too, and who they are trying to impress.

We have a few story tellers in my family.  My aunt was one and she was a fast talker too!  My aunt and uncle came to visit us from California one year and she decided she would share with us all her stories about the same time my dad piped up and decided he would share all his with her.  Together in the same room they both chattered and no one else could get a word in upside down, sideways or otherwise.  Honestly, at night we could hear the walls still ringing with the sound of those two trying to out talk each other.

My aunt was hard to follow with her stories because she didn’t really pause between them and if you weren’t really sticking to every word she said then you could get lost and never find your way back to the conversation.  She would switch subjects and keep right on going despite all the blank looks in the room. 

It was great to see them and that they got to come visit, but I often look back on that and wonder how much more enjoyable it would have been if they had been a little more considerate of each other and the other people in the room.  How much more could we have learned from each other if everyone had taken turns sharing, stopped and listened to each story or experience, then allowed someone else to have a say.  It’s we will never know now, but it is an experience to remember.  Now when we have someone come visit we will, find ways to not allow one person or a few to dominate all the conversations all the time.  If nothing else we will make a game of it so that there is equal sharing time.

Time is fleeting and too important to waste.  Time invested with loved ones should be shared and enjoyed and one thing that makes that possible is taking the time to establish and practice good communication so that each person feels heard, valued and equally important and included in the group.

Cherry Coley ©

You are Important!

Don’t you hate it when you are in the middle of a conversation and suddenly you get lost?  The person talking is emotional and the subject is important, but somehow some where they changed subjects or switched things a little in the middle of their talk and you are struggling to get back on track and figure out what they are talking about. 

Don’t panic, it happens sometimes to the best of us, especially if it’s someone with a different personality than yours.   What to do?  Don’t just let them go on with their story and stay lost hoping they will say something that brings you back into the conversation, gently stop and ask for clarification.

It’s important in good communication that you follow what the other person is saying are understand what they need you to understand.  I have been one that would allow the conversation to go on thinking I understood, then come to find out later that I really didn’t.

After looking at the different relationships in my life, I realize that in order to cultivate them and have more fulfilling friendships and deeper relationships with my family and the people I love that it’s more important for me to ask questions than to just assume anything at all. 

I wonder now at some of the relationships in my past.  Would things have turned out differently if we had communicated better?  I don’t know.  Perhaps, in some cases, we would have realized we didn’t have much in common earlier. 

The important thing to remember is that communication is vital to all relationships.  Take the time to share, watch facial expressions, make eye contact and really listen to what’s being said.  Show the people in your life that you appreciate, respect them and that they are important to you.

Cherry Coley ©