Book Review – Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind

 book-coverI picked up this book because…who doesn’t want to better manage their day to day routine, find better focus and sharpen their creative mind?  Ha.  This is a typical book for this type of book.  It has a lot of good points about how to regain focus and create time to be creative.  It even mentions another of my favorite books – “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.  It talks about the Morning Pages which is something that I ran across years ago in “The Artist’s Way.”  It was a brilliant idea then and still is a great idea to get the creative mind going.  I am thankful for the reminder.  The author of this book also exposes the myth of multi tasking and elaborates that multi tasking is really not possible.  You can multi task by walking or driving and listening to music at the same time, but unless it is something along that line, you are really not multi tasking.  What are you actually doing is chopping small pieces of your time up and giving it to several things at once.  Before entering into trying to multi task always take a moment to look and see if it would be better and more efficient to do one thing, do it well, complete it and move on.  Good point.  I recommend this book for the insights it offers.

Cherry Coley (c)

The Draw of Netflix

I confess over the last year I discovered Netflix.  You know that feeling when you settle down to watch “a little” television then realize several hours have passed.  It’s addicting and I hear it call to me at times.

As a single mom struggling to stretch funds as far as possible, our little family went years without cable.  So signing up for Netflix has led to the discovery of many series that I had not ever watched, but had heard others talking about at work.  It also led to going back and watching childhood favorites and getting to watch the entire series of some shows where I had missed many episodes.  At first this seemed great!  We could finally catch up and know what others know and understand references to shows that we now had seen as well.

However, (you knew that was coming) Netflix, while wonderful when you have a cold or just need a break, is also very addicting.  Why?  I’ve watched some series more than once and then wondered why I was sitting and watching something I’d already seen.  Why am I spending my valuable time watching other people?  The answer is that Netflix fills a hunger, a void.  It can be entertaining when there is nothing you want to watch on regular cable or television.  It can be funny, horrifying, mind boggling, informative, or sad depending on what you choose.  In essence, Netflix is like a visual book.  What?   Yep, I said that right, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, all those streaming services are like a visual book.

Why are we so drawn to watch series on Netflix?  Is it because we are spoiled and want to watch the entire thing without the break from week to week like we get on television?  Partially, but mostly I think the essence of binge watching is caused by the need to feed your mind an ongoing story.  We get more attached to the stories when we watch them in succession.  The characters pull us in closer, we crave more until we reach the end and then, there is that same feeling as when you put down a good book, a good story, and it’s ended.  We are a little sad that our time with the characters is done.  Sometimes a little upset because it didn’t end the way we thought it would.  It’s the same.  What do you do if you want more?  You either pick another book – or series, or you go back to revisit or reread so you can be in that world a little longer.  This is why Netflix and Hulu, etc. are so popular.   So why not choose to read instead?  The imagination is so much more adept and better equipped to create that fantastic world the writer has in store for us than pictures and actors on the screen.  We say we don’t have time to read.  That’s not true.  There’s always time to read.  Reading is portable.  Oh, I know, with smart phones, tablets, watches and gizmo’s the shows we watch are also more and more portable every day.

So, it’s up to you.  You don’t have to choose one or the other, but it would be beneficial to switch things up at times.  Remind yourself of how much fun reading is.  How nice it is to let your mind be linked to another creative mind through the magic of pages for awhile.  You can read outside and decide to put the book down and take a walk.  Something that doesn’t really occur to you when you’re inside binge watching.  You choose.  Aren’t we all connected and stuck with taking in someone else’s interpretation of what they perceived something to be enough?  Take some time to do things to exercise your imagination.  Get lost in a good book and let your mind wander and explore.

Cherry Coley (c)






Get a New Perspective

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 ©

Tipping the Scales and Maintaining Balance

balanceI used to think that multitasking was one of my strongest talents.  I juggle a lot of things at the same time.  Yet, this past year I kept finding myself having to slow down and focus on just one thing and at times it felt inhibiting, frustrating even.

 The problem with constantly multitasking is that you never truly master the “one” thing if your time and focus is on a lot of other things at the same time.  There are times when single-mindedness is a true blessing and there are some people who have the gift of focusing so intently that they stay with the “one” thing until they understand it through and through before moving on to the next thing.

 Those same people with such extraordinary focus sometimes complain about not being able to multitask.  To me that is the balance the universe threw in just for fun and another case where we are shown that we need each other to make things run smoothly.

 Balance is something that is sought by most people.  There are tons of books written about how to gain balance in work and home life.  There will be just as many more written in the future as we all try the different solutions to find the one that best works for us.

 For those people who are able to attain balance, they must stay aware and keep on top of their circumstances and events in their lives to keep the balance.  We all struggle at some point.

 The answer lies within the person seeking balance.

 For me, I have many projects and interests that I weed down to a few.  From that point I take those that are related to each other and group them together.  If they can be done around the same time then all is well, if not then each project will be allotted its own time and energy individually.  Some projects will be put aside until other projects are finished.  It’s important to prioritize.

 Balance is vital to keep up a healthy, mental, emotional, social, and physical life. 

 I read a quote the other day in the book – “The Success System that Never Fails” – by James Allen.  The quote said, “Eventually you will be controlled by your circumstances, so it’s important to control your circumstances now.”  I’ve thought about that quote a lot since then, I can’t think of a better call to action, to get up, take responsibility for your health, your surroundings and your life right now than that.

 Cherry Coley ©


I was reading some articles this morning saying that erotica is now the most popular type of ebook selling.  It made me pause to think about that.  Really?  Erotica?  It must be the fascination with the “50 Shades of Grey” books.

 What does this mean to us as a society?  Does it mean great masses of people all want to escape into a wild, uninhibited sexual fantasy?  Perhaps this is the case.  It is interesting that action, mystery, horror, regular romance, Christian romance and science fiction are all taking a back seat.  I had to ponder why, but there are a few things that came to mind – just my personal opinion.

 First, even those people who don’t like to read much, or don’t have the ability to visualize much while reading might like erotica because well, it is very visual and mixes in all types of drama and emotion as well.  Erotica doesn’t generally take a lot of concentration to read like action, mysteries, science fiction, some romances, or horror novels.  Though I love each one of these genres, I confess my current bliss is running along the biography, autobiography, self-help and business book line at the moment. 

 So what is the draw to erotica?  As I see it we live in a world that is highly social on-line.  We socialize and meet people, touch-base and talk to them in person, on the phone and on-line, but the true physical interaction of going out to meet people is not even close to what it once was.  Even though in many ways we are more social and more connected as a society, we are often connected at the office or in our own homes, which can lead to a lot of highly connected, but sometimes lonely people. 

 Not only are we lonely, but in our highly stressed day and age, sometimes we just want a good escape from reality and though all the different genres do offer escape, perhaps erotica adds in that element of mixing wild passion, high stakes and risk without the real life worry about all the diseases and problems out there.  In a book you can create the environment the characters live in and erase the nightmares of reality or blow them up to epic proportions and make one of the characters a hero to save the day.

 One of the great things about ereaders like Kindle, Nook, ipad, and all the other devices that you can read on, is that it’s all private.  You can take whatever book you are reading to any location and read to be entertained or expand your knowledge without anyone else knowing what you are reading.  This leads me to think that while a lot of people might not seek out or venture to purchase an erotica book off the shelf of the local bookstore, they can download to their hearts content and no one is really the wiser. 

 I’m not knocking erotica by any means.  I think we have an amazing assortment of choices to choose from at any given time and with the ebooks ready, available and easy to download it has made my library expand to 3 times the size it once was, but it isn’t taking up my shelf or floor space any longer and it’s all portable.

 All that being said, I have come to really love and sink into the ebook for so many reasons, the least of which is that I am getting to read and enjoy the works of new authors that might never have been published had they been made to submit and struggle through the hoops of publication from a publisher, and seasoned authors who are finding it enjoyable to release ebook singles and series.  Granted there have been some books that are not that informative or up to standard, but for the most part the books I have read have had useful and up to date information. 

 I am thankful for this technological age and encourage people to expand their horizons, read some things they’ve never read before, touch base with some new authors, make new friends and take advantage of the information age, but don’t forget to go out in the sunshine, spend time meeting friends and get out of the house and office now and then too, heck you can take your ereader with you. ha.

 Cherry Coley ©

Feeling Fear and Going Forward

Funny thing, fear, it can freeze you where you are at times, but there will always be fear and challenges in life.  Fear can be felt in so many different ways and sometimes it is so disguised that we don’t really realize that is what it is until we take the time to really look at it.

Lately I have found myself feeling somewhat disconnected, and at yet another crossroads in my life.  It seems to happen to me a lot recently.  Yet another little known fact about me is that I have always loved dream interpretation.  It’s something I have spent a lifetime studying and learning. 

So when I began to have dreams of walking through forests I started paying attention as that usually indicates a search for meaning and a transition for me.  Then when I started dreaming of looking out over a canyon at sunset I stopped and contemplated where I am.  A canyon indicates deeper relationships while sunset means an ending of a cycle in life.

It all fits with many of the other things that I have been struggling with along the way.  I have decided my next course of action and am now finally able to stand up at the cross roads and get ready to walk the path I have chosen.   It’s interesting how taking just a little time out to meditate and pray can calm the spirit and guide.

Fear and uncertainty stopped me, but it has no place in my life other than to briefly make me pause to check my intentions, and direction.  Other than that, I will push through and realize that with every experience and trial in this life there is given, at the appropriate time, grace, courage and strength to see us through. 

Knowing that there is nothing to fear in what tomorrow brings, because tomorrow, the sun will shine again.  The breeze will blow and greet the leaves, the birds will lift their voices to the heavens, and life will go on.  

Cherry Coley ©

A Friend Indeed

When I was fifteen years old, I started working at B. Dalton Bookseller at Town East Mall.  I had worked at odd jobs up until then teaching toddlers to swim, teaching roller skating and being a teacher’s aide to three year olds at the daycare where my mom worked.  That year my mom became very ill and was in and out of the hospital constantly.  She knew that I wouldn’t be able to do the odd jobs without her being able to work, so she went with me to the mall and signed a waiver so that I could work.  The manager liked me, but still thought I was too young.  She didn’t want to hire me because I had just turned fifteen and because I had no experience.  I took my art work with me.  I showed her the tedious drawings, ink painting and watercolors I often worked on.  She hired me that day saying, “Okay, if you have the discipline and patience to do this, then you can work.” 

B, Dalton Bookseller logo

I worked at the Town East Mall location for two years until I graduated.  I won several awards and employee of the month working here.  By the time I was eighteen I was the youngest manager in B. Dalton’s history and was co-manager of the store in the Galleria Mall.  I also filled in for two other stores while other managers were on sick leave and maternity leave.  Working at B. Dalton Bookseller changed my life.  I met many authors and celebrities along the way. I worked for B. Dalton Bookseller for eight and a half years.  The chain of stores eventually became Barnes and Noble.  B. Dalton Bookseller has faded into the fabric of history.

In 1987, it was at the bookstore at the Galleria Mall that I met my friend John Rohde.  I was working on the magazine rack taking out the old magazines and putting the new issues in their place.  I had been struggling with a large display for Playboy when the whole thing collapsed on top of me and magazines spilled every which way, but mainly rained down on me in a tidal wave.  Two hands reached in, grabbed my arms and pulled me out of the deluge.  We both fell on the floor and watched as the whole upper half of the magazine display continued to fall all the way across.  It was a big display and had glass across the front that also fell out. 

“Are you okay?” he asked me.

“I think so,” I said.  “Never had THAT happen before,” I stood up and began to dust myself off.

“I think you are going to go down in the history of my mind as the only woman I’ve ever met who was almost killed by Playboy,” he said with a serious look on his face.  “My name is John,” he held out his hand for me to shake.

I looked at him and at the magazines and started to laugh, pretty soon we were both laughing so hard tears were running down our cheeks.

“Thank you, John, for saving me,” I said when I could speak again.  “Your quick thinking really did keep me from getting hurt.”

“Would you like to get some tea with me, or eat lunch perhaps?” he said with a half bow.  “I confess to being seventy nine years old, but I am not dead.  I would like to enjoy the company of a fair lady for a few moments.”

“Wow,” I replied.  “Chivalry is not dead and I would be delighted.”  We both laughed again.

This was the start of a wonderful friendship.  John was married to a lady named Marie and had a son named after him.  He had not spoken to his son in over ten years.  He would come up to the bookstore at least twice a week and we would eat lunch together.  If the store was busy then he would help customers (he was an avid book reader and managed a B. Dalton Bookstore himself many years before).  I learned so very much from John.  Through his eyes I saw the world as it was in the 30,s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.  Through his eyes I saw the world change, riots, innocence lost, new music born, and the world change forever.  I learned that he used to work at MGM Studio’s as a stage hand under such great performers as Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly. 

One night when he was in his late teens he got caught practicing dance steps he’d seen Fred Astaire perform in front of a mirror.  Fred walked in and waited until John finished, then clapped for him.  John was so embarrassed that he wanted to crawl away.  Fred told him not to quit his day job, with a smile on his face.  Then he gave John free dance lessons every night until the musical he was working on (American in Paris) was completed.  John learned all about the theatre and the politics that went along with it.  The performers were protected at all costs in those days.  Their reputations had to be spotless.  He was invited to many of the private premier parties, sometimes as a waiter or a chauffeur.  He didn’t care how he got to go, just that he got to go.  He met many of the big stars and learned as much as he could about singing, acting and dancing.  He was an extra in many of the films. He wrote a few plays that were later published and used on some of the small stages.

I so loved to listen to him for hours.  Oh, we got the strange looks when we went places together, but we didn’t care.  I met his wife and spent many dinners watching and listening to a completely happy and content couple.  They were good for each other and obviously still loved each other very much.  Their positive attitude and outlook was absolutely contagious.  You could not be around them and walk away without a smile on your face.

I learned that John also got to work for Walt Disney.  He met Walt on a few occasions and told me so many things about the man that I so looked up too.  Walt Disney’s story was amazing and one I had read on many occasions.  It was then that I introduced John to the new wave of musicals coming out.  I bought him “Little Mermaid” and we spent several Saturdays watching it together.  He was completely entranced with Ariel, the advances in animation and the story.  He would tell me over and over that the REAL story of “The Little Mermaid” didn’t end happily.  That it was actually a very tragic book, but Walt always thought that fairy tales should have happy endings, so he rewrote them to suit himself.  I thought this was fascinating and wound up reading many of the fairytales, and then understood why Walt Disney felt the way he did. 

When my daughter Casey was born, Marie made her a pink quilted, photo album.  They thought Casey was the prettiest baby they had ever seen.  I am not Catholic, but John and Marie were.  I made them Casey’s Godparents.  They bought Casey little outfits with Snoopy on them.  I loved Snoopy too and they thought Snoopy fit her personality.  Casey would clap her hands and throw out her arms yelling, “Noopy!” whenever John would give her a new Snoopy stuffed animal.

I deeply miss my friends John and Marie.  They are no longer here to share my life.  I am very thankful that I had twelve years to share with a couple of amazing people that changed, enriched, and greatly influenced my life forever.  What a truly happy accident.

By now you are asking yourself why I am writing this.  Here’s my point.  So many times I go to the store or to the mall and I see the elderly being snubbed, ignored, and even mistreated.  I’ve been to nursing homes where they are put in a room and simply forgotten, left to wonder if anyone will even speak to them today.  Stop!  These are people!  They have lived and they have amazing stories to share if you will take the time to listen.  So much of history is lost, simply passed by in the rush of everyday life.  Take the time now to get to know the elderly around you, whether it is a family member, a neighbor, or the little old lady sitting alone every Sunday in the church pew. Take time, you will be so glad you did.  Everyone has a story, life experiences to share and be passed on.  The life you change will be your own.  Teach your children to respect them and to listen. 

I loved my friends John and Marie, they taught me about life, love and how important each and every person in your life is.  Don’t miss the opportunity to find the treasure that lies within having an elderly friend. 

Cherry Coley (c)