Monday, May 30, 2011

Standing United

Tragedy and trials might strike us down
but, together we pull each other up from the ground.
We find strength in freedom, in liberty, in hope,
United we stand, helping each other to cope.

Our troops, then and now, have fought unselfishly,
risking their lives to bring opportunity.
Leaving families and loved ones behind as they fight,
We thank you for defending and securing our rights!
~ Stacy Coles

As a nation, we have seen devastation through natural disaster, and tragedy through terrorism. But one thing has always set the United States apart from other countries: when the dust settles, our flag is still standing. It's a symbol of our unity as a nation. A symbol that we, as a people, will buoy up our neighbor in their time of need. We will donate our time, money, efforts, love, and prayers when someone, somewhere is hurting or suffering.

As a people, we may disagree on political and religious fronts. But, we know to put our differences aside when it matters. We know that people matter; that family matters. And when tragedy strikes, we are all affected because we are a family fighting, here and overseas, to preserve our freedom, our liberty, and our hope.

As a family, we will continue to pray for our troops and for those who are suffering through loss. We, as a united family, will continue to do all we can to bring relief, support, and love to those in need. We will continue to pull each other up when we fall. We will continue to teach our children to honor the flag that flies in the wind and reminds us of all that has been sacrificed on our behalf. We will continue to feel pride when we salute those stars and stripes.

What a blessing to know that we are not alone in our battle of liberty. We stand tall with a strong army by our side and a constitution in our hearts as we defend our freedoms. And when we are hit with trials that are too heavy to carry alone, we are there for each other in our efforts to uplift, rebuild, and move on. What a truly blessed nation we live in. Even through natural disaster and terrorism, we have not lost sight that we are the United States of America; land of the free and home of the brave. We are proud to be Americans.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Procrastinate Some Other Day

"Don't put off 'til tomorrow what you can do today."
~ Author unknown

I've been meaning to write about this topic for awhile, now, but other things kept coming up and taking preference. It happens to all of us. A project that gets put on the back burner until we find more time. It might be a project that we loathe doing, or a long to-do list that makes us tired when we think about it: a junk drawer to clean out; a shelf to put up in the garage; a ceiling spot that needs to be re-painted. It might be something we enjoy doing, but is too time-consuming and we dread the effort or mess the project involves: updating a scrapbook; sewing a dress; planting a vegetable garden. 

No matter what your long-awaiting project may be, do it now. Today. Devote the next 10 minutes of your time to your project. Get out your supplies and get going. The only thing holding you back is you. No more excuses. Don't keep telling yourself, "I'll do it later," or "I'll get to it someday." You know that if you continue on this thought process, things will never get done. Someday is not a day of the week. Procrastinating on our projects leaves us feeling heavy and bogged down. No one wants to end their day feeling like they haven't accomplished anything.

So, how do you get the motivation to actually get moving on these projects? Just remember, nothing will get done unless you do something. Start somewhere. Think in the back of your mind, "If I just do it, it will be done." Thinking this can actually help get you through your project. It's the power of positive thinking.

It's an amazing feeling to finish a project that has been put on the shelf for so long. It motivates you to do more. It doesn't have to take a lot of time. Just give yourself enough time to get going. You might be surprised how much you can get accomplished in a small amount of time. And, if time permits, you might find yourself motivated to continue on your project-finishing journey. Before you know it, you'll be crossing those items off of your to-do list.

One sure way to get yourself moving is to place the items you need for your project somewhere you will see them. Someplace that will be embarrassingly visible to company when they come to visit. Someplace that will constantly be in your way during regular day-to-day tasks. This will prompt you, every time you pass this spot, to clear out that project. But, the only way to clear it out is to finish it. This technique has worked for me. It can work for you. True, sometimes life really does get in the way and you find yourself looking at a craft project sitting on your kitchen counter for a week. No matter how many times you clean your kitchen ~ around the paint and craft supplies ~ the room never feels clean because that nagging, unfinished project is staring you in the eyes. So, devote 10 minutes. That's all you need to get yourself going. After 10 minutes, you may decide you have a few more minutes to spare. You'll be finished in no time.

Putting your projects off doesn't buy you time, it just adds stress. The longer your to-do list gets, the harder it will be to accomplish the tasks. So just start. Get something done. Today. If you act now to finish a project, you'll be able to enjoy whatever it is that comes up tomorrow. And something always will.


Friday, May 13, 2011


"My mother kissed me softly goodnight after I told her about my day.
She wiped my tears, calmed my fears, and whispered, "You can do it!" along the way.
Her job wasn't an easy one; it was a thankless job, at best.
But her support, service, and love for me make her rise above the rest."
~ Stacy Coles

Where would we be without our mothers? They are the selfless people in our lives who sacrifice everything to make sure those around them are cared for, loved, and safe. They teach us to be kind and loyal. They love us unconditionally. They are there to comfort and heal. Mothers tend to be the ones we might fight with the most and want around the least when we are young and seeking our independence. They are also the ones we lean on the most and go to for words of advice when we are older and needing direction.

Mothers have an intuition about what their child needs, even when those needs are not obvious to the child. I lived away from home during my first year of college. Although money was tight, my parents did everything they could to give me such an opportunity. My mother encouraged me with notes in the mail (no text-messaging, yet), and a constant whispering of "You can do it!" over the phone. She told me to give it my all and make every minute count. But, I think that underneath the encouraging words, she was really preparing me for something more. She was preparing me with a survival guide, of sorts, for the rest of my adult life. She gently pushed me out the door and, without realizing it, I was learning that I could survive without my mother. I was learning to be self-reliant, to trust my instincts, to believe in myself. She taught me to look for something good in everyone and everything.

My dear mother passed away just three months before I graduated from college. It was a sad time, and I cried and hurt just like anyone would after losing a mother. There are still those days when all I want is to feel her arms wrapped around me and hear her whispering, "You can do it!" in my ear. But, when those days come, I try my best to live the way she would want me to live. I mentally pull out my survival guide she so wisely equipped me with and, sometimes through lonely tears, try to find the good in whatever I'm involved with at the time. But, even during the most heart-wrenching days, I know I'm not alone.

Not only was I blessed with a kind and loving mother, I was ~ and still am ~ surrounded by many inspiring women who are good examples of what a good mother should be. I know we all have such treasured people in our lives. These women are neighbors, teachers, sisters, friends, mothers-in-law, step-mothers, aunts, and grandmothers. I keep in touch with these cherished women and constantly learn from them.

We can also learn so much from those women in our lives who have not had children. I know many great women who, although may not be mothers, exemplify the charity and love that all mothers possess. They are kind and nurturing and are always willing to give of their time when the need arises. These are the women who are often forgotten, but who also need to know how much they are cherished and appreciated.

If you find yourself having a spare moment today (every busy mom reading this is laughing right now!), write a little note or send a little text to your mother or another great woman in your life. Tell her how much you love and appreciate her. Let her know that her support, service, and love mean the world to you. Not only will it make you feel good, you will put a smile on someone else's face. And if you've made someone feel good today ~ you've accomplished a lot!