#IChooseJoy

It always starts with a choice. Choices begins when your mom says to you (at an age when you’re  beginning to understand such questions)  – “It’s up to you. If you behave  yourself, we can go in the store. If not, we can just go home.” ( I am sure I said that to my kids upon occasion…) Do you want your blankie? Do you want more juice? How about when you finally got to pick out your own clothes – or voice what kind what kind of sandwich you wanted for lunch – or say if you wanted a kitty or a puppy. There is one choice X a million in those formative years.

Then the choices graduated to BIGGER issues. Ah, the teen year choices  – SO many it makes a teen’s head spin, which IS why we need to walk them through this time with some grace and mercy – it is like the whole world has appeared on their doorstep demanding – WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO? There is one choice X a million in those years

Fast forward past childhood and teenage years, into adult hood and all the moments and seasons and circumstances that hurl at you without warning and unexpected – CHOICES come with every food group, every bill, every child, every vacation, every belief you follow, every single item placed within your home, and on and on. There is one choice X a million in those years.

So you find yourself on the OTHER side of critical life changing choices. Maybe you now only answer to your self. Maybe on the other side of marriage, is now widowhood. Maybe now on the other side of parenthood, is now an empty nest. Maybe on the other side of happiness, is…..wait. Other side? There is another side to happiness? Yes. Happiness comes from the outside of your life – things that make you happy ~ they can be big or small ~ such as a vacation on a cruise ship can make you happy just as well as a bowl of pine  cones or a favorite coffee creamer. The other side of happiness is NOT based on things, and is not contingent on tangible things or even your feelings.

The other side of happiness is JOY. And it IS a choice. Hit song – “Happy” ~~~WHY is this SO popular?  BECAUSE WE ALL JUST WANT TO BE HAPPY.  The irony of this is – I can have a big house and find no satisfaction. I can have a ton of friends, and still feel alone. I can have all the ‘toys’, power, fame, bank accounts, and prime vacation spots and STILL be depressed. Happiness is fleeting. That is why you see people who you think SHOULD be happy, and they are not. The definition of HAPPY is:  pleasure, joy, exhilaration, bliss, contentedness,  enjoyment, satisfaction. See the word JOY? It IS part of being happy; truly happy. Joy itself means: delight, gladness, triumph, ecstasy, exuberance, euphoria, bliss, rejoicing. The two go together. But ONE is a choice. So, choose JOY. Embrace life….NOT only allowing things to determine your level of delight…joy is an INSIDE thing. It is that peace in the storm thing…it is what holds you together when by all means you should be falling apart. It is MORE than a feel-good fleeting moment that ends when that Pumpkin Latte is gone.

Do I always feel happy? Nope. But in its absence, I can still have joy. I can still have an inner glow in my soul that assures me All Is Well. JOY is a matter of the heart. It is NOT determined by outside forces and if you protect it, it can NOT be stolen by outside forces. After the house is gone, the car is gone, the mate is gone, the family is gone and even the family pet is gone – we can STILL rejoice. joy imageThis is my ONE choice  in these years – after all is said, and done, and gone, I still choose JOY.

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#365ReasonsNOTToGiveUp

I don’t know about you, but when I do something – I generally have to stand back AFTER and ask myself why I did it. It is not a bad idea ever, to examine our motives. We can deceive ourselves. After I hit the word PUBLISH for my first full-length book, I had to ask myself why I did it. It is my sharing of my heart – my real and raw and flawed moments and seasons of many years gone by. I just wrote a book and shared my grief of losing my husband to cancer. I just told you I got mad at God. I just exposed I have been tempted. I let you know I have failed X a million. Why? Because NO matter what circumstances I found myself in, I always chose NOT to give up. And if THAT helps anyone, I would do it again.

I didn’t keep at it because I had all the answers – I STILL don’t. I didn’t see my husband get healed from cancer. I couldn’t keep my house from burning down. What I learned I COULD do, was to keep moving forward. Sometimes that was crawling, or being dragged by a friend….SO why did I write this book? For a book club? To be on a talk show? No. Though that’d be awesome….of course. I wrote it for YOU. And YOU. And You…because we ALL walk this same journey called LIFE. It is filled with the unexpected and detours and pitfalls. We can’t stop that – But we CAN choose to embrace the bad with the good, and find a way for the sorrows and joys to co-exist. My book is about survival, choices, tears, grief, sorrow, failures, mistakes, detours and wrong turns – coupled with stories of friendship, family (lots of personal stories about the people who have made me who I am), love, laughter, giant moths, lost teeth, dandelion seeds, christmas fruit cakes, faith, purpose and above all else – HOPE. I’d love you to purchase it and upload it to your Kindle, and leave me a review so I can know if anyone was helped 🙂 I want you  to be encouraged on a daily basis NOT to give up. For any reason. And to know that there is ALWAYS a day AFTER the worst day of your life.

If you read it, and you are helped, pass it on to someone else…let’s all work together at bringing hope back into a very dark world.~

~Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the .free kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.  httpsCorine-Channell---BOOK-COVER

#IfItWasYou

 

 A few weeks ago we went with some people to serve hot food, and give out blankets to homeless people. All I can say is, it felt like a drop in a bucket. I cannot shake it from my mind, nor do I want to. I don’t want to forget.

One older man in a wheelchair couldn’t get to the food line; he was off to the side of the street. When someone went to get him food, and asked him his name , he paused…and sadly said…”I don’t know. No one has asked me that for such a long time.” No, I don’t want to forget.

Another lady whom someone hugged, was overcome with emotion as she tearfully said how she couldn’t remember the last time anyone hugged her. No, I don’t want to forget.

On a different day, when I was going on a fun road trip with a friend, a cardboard sign caught my eye that said – Help me. My heart was moved by the sad look on the young man’s face holding the sign. We turned around and brought him hot food. We parked the car, and walked up to him, which sadly scared him. He turned abruptly to us with an anxious look and said “Am I in trouble?” It was so sad to hear his story of being a homeless veteran of war, with many physical and mental issues. No. I don’t want to forget.

. I want to care for each and every person I see, who is standing on the side of the road holding a sign that says Hungry. Or Help me. Or Homeless. I have heard people say that you can’t tell who really needs help, and some people don’t deserve help. WHAT????? Since when is helping someone contingent on whether or not they deserve it. We ALL could be the man who can’t remember his name, or the lady who never gets hugged, or the desperate single mom with 3 young girls who has no home, or the man standing in the snow hoping for a hot cup of coffee.

Image Please join me in reaching out to the forgotten, the broken, the hopeless, the ones who feel invisible, who are cold, and hungry . One cup of coffee at a time. One hug at a time. One blanket at a time. One encouraging word at a time. One smile at a time. And, IF you are able to do more, feel free. We all can do something, whether small or large…it WILL matter to someone. No, you may not be able to change the world, but you CAN change ONE life.

I want to see their faces in every stranger I pass today, and every day thereafter. No, I don’t want to forget.

 

 

 

 

#CheckMate

Decisions. This word strikes terror in my heart. I am guessing probably in YOURS too. Every day from the minute we open our eyes, the decisions begin. They start out very small – do I want to take a shower? What should I wear today? Do I want to stop at Starbucks or Dunkin? Should I wear a coat? And on and on and on our day will present us with choices to make.  This all represents the game of Chess to me – It’s your move. It’s my move. It’s your move. It’s my move. (yawn…..)

But then – BAM!  THAT all important move that determines if you WIN or LOSE! All your senses go on red alert; you start to wonder if your opponent can read your mind; you strategize, and carefully  plan your next move – THE move that will change everything! Your Queen or King stands ready to move in.

LIFE feels like a Chess game to me;Image. But NOT a game….THIS is the big league! THIS is the real deal! My moves, my strategies, my decisions will affect and maybe alter my future. Oh, and definitely affect other people; the other players will depend on my move to make THEIR moves.

You don’t want to be that Queen or King that gets taken out, and tossed to the side, when you COULD HAVE been the last man standing!  Be willing to stand alone  with your head held high. That final player on the Chess board is NEVER hunched over.

 

#KeepYourEyesOnTheStar

At its core this Christmas season stirs up so many memories for people; old movies, old songs, old pictures, tried and true recipes, and so much more. It’s ironic that a lot about Christmas is the things we remember, the days already gone by. Cherishing yesterday, and its memories and traditions is absolutely a major element in our celebrating, but don’t lose sight that THIS ‘right-now time’ is the only moment that you can still change the course of. This Christmas season 2013 enjoy being in the here and now, before it becomes a fond memory. And don’t get all caught up in trying to make it some Martha Stewart style holiday.Image. I was in a store yesterday, and I did NOT feel the Christmas spirit; I felt a suffocating anxiety tightening in my chest. I realized we have lost the simplicity of what it is truly all about. Surely, it should NOT be a stressful time. There is still lots of time to make this time joyful. Offer forgiveness, help the poor, open a door, buy a stranger a cup of hot coffee, reconnect with a dear friend. The joy of Christmas came to us, through a baby. Nothing could be more simple, or joyful than that!
#ItWasASilentNightHolyNight