Father’s Day

We honor fathers and celebrate fatherhood on Father’s Day, not only for their status within the family but also their influence within society. It is an old tradition in Europe dating back to the Middle Ages where fathers were celebrated on March nineteenth – St. Joseph’s Day.ince then, most countries have adopted the US date which is the third Sunday in June.

Fathers are a special pillar of strength within the family unit giving balance so the feminine and masculine energy can become strongly bonded. Having grown up without any masculine influence, I know how difficult it was for me to understand and relate to the opposite sex. For a long time, I was looking for a father figure to fill the void within me. But despite never having a father, I strongly related to the relationships of my friends and my husband with their fathers. They played or are still playing an important part in their lives and the pain from losing this strong and supporting love is deep and distressing.

The love of a father is a gift and I include all fathers, biological, adoptive or just a kind soul who becomes that pillar in a child’s life. This brings me to a touching wildlife story. Last year a male quail and his tiny offsprings landed in our yard and one could clearly see the distress in this overwhelmed dad. He knew his role was to look out for danger by sitting on an elevated spot, but his partner wasn’t with them. Most likely she lost her life shortly after the eggs hatched. The little baby quail were very spooked and frightened and they ran wildly around the yard. The dad finally decided to come down from his observation post and he tried to put them all under his wings. It was quite difficult for him, but he managed. The chaos and distress of the situation was palpable, but the father quail took his responsibility seriously and ultimately made his babies feel safe, despite the painful loss to his family. I watched him playing daddy and mommy, and as nature does so beautifully, he managed successfully.

I would be amiss if I wouldn’t mention the loving and caring dads of our pets. Watching my husband with our little Romeo touches my heart deeply and I know he has a deep love for this endearing little boy.

When I grew up in Germany, fathers were the economic providers and the rest of the responsibilities fell to the mother. This was not only in Germany, but in most parts of the world. Over the years, this changed and now dads push a stroller as easily and comfortably as moms. They even change diapers! The role of a father has expanded in many parts of the world and most dads have taken to the change with enthusiasm and pride. Just looking into the face of a future daddy, one sees the joy and happiness he feels, then the awe and devotion when the baby is born and he cradles it for the first time in his arms. It brings tears into my eyes and I feel grateful and filled with awe. This love and bond is meant to lasts a life time, but sometimes circumstances play out differently. And when finally the circle closes and the now adult child starts his/her own family, he feels pride and looks forward to becoming a grandfather.

Yes, fathers deserve a special celebration, showing them how much they are loved, appreciated and respected. Fathers are a powerful presence and life without them is not complete.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

Happy Father’s Day !

 

 

Angel Gowns

Angel Gowns are a gift of love and compassion from both a bride and a seamstress to honor a baby who has been born too early or still, and to give comfort to the distraught family. Knowing that these little sweeties take their last journey in a beautifully and lovingly sewn gown brings peace and comfort. When I saw the little masterpieces, it was clear to me that only a special person can offer such a gift. It requires talent as a seamstress and designer as well as a heart filled with love, compassion, empathy, and a deep desire to help others. These beautiful custom gowns are used for burial services and final photos, and the comfort this gift offers to the bereaved families cannot be measured.

It all starts with a wedding gown, symbolizing love and the passage from singlehood to partnership. Little girls dream about the day, see themselves walking down the aisle on the arm of their father knowing that they are beautiful and loved. When the day comes at last, the dress represents the fulfillment of those aspirations and the bride sees herself as a queen in the mirror, remembering the dreams of her younger years and the life she will have with her Prince Charming. After the wedding celebration, the dress is packed away for future brides or just for the memories, and although the wedding day will always be cherished, the gown may soon be forgotten. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By donating the wedding gown to a seamstress sewing Angel Gowns, the wedding gown takes on a new life, a new purpose and represents love and caring and each gown brings beauty to the babies’ last journey.

It takes a special person to donate their talent and time to sew such endearing gowns. I was fortunate to recently meet just such a lady. She touched me so deeply that I decided to write about her and this wonderful program. Connie is a true angel, who likes to give but prefers to stay in the background. I watched her stitching together some tiny gowns, and every seam is perfect and done with love. She told me that the seams must be smooth so they cannot chafe the delicate skin of the baby, and the garment must be perfect and beautiful. She uses the whole wedding gown, fabric, embellishments, and even the veil. The results are spectacular. In case a little baby is not buried but cremated, she also sews small pouches to hold the ashes. And, as a final touch she affixes a special angel wing to each gown and pouch.

It not only requires considerable talent to transform a wedding gown into magnificent angel gowns, but also the desire to give and to make a difference in someone’s life. And what better way to honor a little baby whose life ended so prematurely and to give comfort to the parents. It is a true gift of love and compassion. When some angel gowns and pouches are finished, Connie drops them off to a hospital
where the grieving parents or caring nurses will choose the best gown or pouch for the little angel.

Connie is a special lady, and there are other Angel seamstresses throughout the country. Words cannot express the awe I felt when I saw these tiny angel gowns. My heart and soul were touched, and I feel blessed knowing Connie. My life is better because of her.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

Quality of Life

Quality of life is hard to define or to describe, and I have never spent much time thinking about it.  My life has been interesting. I loved my work, traveled extensively, socialized, entertained and in a few words, did what I wanted to do, and what I thought would make me happy and bring me joy. Looking back, I can honestly say that I enjoyed a great quality of life when I was master of my ship.

But then, everything changed. It suddenly felt like I was living in a tumbling house of cards. My doctors talked to me about choosing between quality of life and length of life. I was in shock. I had the quality of life I wanted, but it was evaporating. What am I to do with my limited physical capabilities to create a new quality of life and what would that include? I was certain of one thing. It would have to be new and different, something I never thought would be the center of my daily life. Would it be possible or would I fall into a depression? I decided to find a new quality of life, and to never allow self-pity to hold me back.

So, after a lot of soul searching it all came together. I can still see my friends, just in different ways. Late-night and long dinners have been replaced by early bird dining and “happy hour” is becoming a favorite of mine. I have replaced my cherished dinner parties with invitations to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. I realized that I can still socialize, just in different ways.  Then we got an adorable Yorkie puppy, Romeo, a true lover and a sunbeam of love in my heart. I always loved to read and now I have the time to do it. Workouts at the gym are no longer possible, but I take delight in vigorous walks. And of course, I love to write, and I stay busy with my memoires, blog and other projects.

I realized that one’s quality of life is fluid and needs to be adaptable under any circumstances. But it requires an open heart and mind to do so. I know I will have to adapt again, but as long as I can fit some of the activities I enjoy into my daily life, I know I can tell my doctor, “Yes, I still have a good and acceptable quality of life”.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

Romeo, Our Little Sweetie

Romeo, our adorable little Yorkie, is growing up into a wonderful, handsome young gentleman. He surprises us every day with his intelligence, love and curiosity. He is truly an example of how to live in the moment and how to enjoy every minute to the fullest. He is always happy and when we walk him he turns back every so often and gives us the biggest smile saying, “I am having so much fun”. We can only join him in his celebration of joy and happiness.

I learn so much from Romeo. He is always happy and doesn’t allow anyone or anything to put a shadow on his exuberance. When he brings me a toy and I am not ready to play with him, he looks at me, and then he brings me another one looking up with his precious, sweet face, “Perhaps you like this one better?” How can one resist? This teaches me not to allow outside circumstances to influence my happiness and wellbeing, and to find a different thought or a different activity to sustain my harmony. And if people in your life make you uncomfortable, well, maybe it is time to make some new friends.

We have lived with Romeo for a year now and having him in our lives is a true blessing. We are so grateful that his breeder, Charmaine, raised such a healthy, joyful and balanced little love package. He couldn’t have come into our lives at a better time, and it demonstrates that when our desire is strong and we have an open and accepting heart, good things can manifest.

By observing Romeo, I can learn unconditional love, patience, living in the moment, wanting to please, mindfulness and there are many more. Just looking at him fills my heart with love, and I am a better person because of him.

Every day with Romeo is a celebration of life. He makes me laugh and what better way is there to deal with life’s challenges?

I love being your Mommy, Little Sweetie!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

That’s Nonsense

How many times do we hear “that’s nonsense” in our lives? And how many times does it stop our creative juices and make us conform?

I believe “that’s nonsense” should give birth to more creativity because it only shows the limited imagination and closed mind of the one who makes this declaration. It is only the ones who believe in “the impossible – nonsense for some” who are ready for incredible discoveries and out-of-the-box thinking.

When Galileo Galilei announced heliocentrisme, it was rejected, and I am sure many scientists of his time classified it as “nonsense”. How could it be? It was absurd. And we know now that he was right.

In modern times, Steve Job was seen as a hippie, and many looked at his vision as “nonsense”. But he manifested a changed world and created Apple. He realized his dream and didn’t pay attention to the nonsense proclaimers. Blackberry leads the pack of losers. And that’s what we all should do. Our dreams can be small or big, there are no limits, except the ones you establish or allow others to insert into your belief system.

I love this quote from Dr. Seuss: “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cell”.

Often, “that’s nonsense” just means you have met someone with a limited mind, a person who is boxed in and cannot see beyond. Trust your dreams, intuition and creativity, and as long as you nurture them with the lifeblood of your confidence and faith, they will manifest.

“That’s Nonsense” is just an opinion and as long as you don’t accept it as a judgment and verdict, it is just words. It only limits the person who believes that other people know more. Of course there is a lot of nonsense that is based on ignorance and conspiracy theories. When confronted with them, I just listen without judgment or comment. We all have the freedom to think and be who we want to be, but we also have the freedom to walk away when something doesn’t feel good.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

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