Staying Positive

We are now living in a world where negativity seems to overshadow everything. Just turning on the television can make me depressed. People often seem to be on edge and short tempered. We can decide if we want to run with the herd, or if we will consciously fill our life with love, joy and happiness.

This is not as t as one might think, although it does take some effort. I know how I want to live the rest of my life. I will not listen to the bickering, doomsday preaching, blaming, finger pointing, and rough language. I am focused on a future filled with kindness, compassion, love, and empathy. I still watch the news, but I don’t linger there, staying just long enough to learn what is going on in the world. Then I go on with my life knowing that there is a bright future ahead, that things will work out, and that good ultimately prevails. I avoid blaming and judging and remind myself that there is no way to know why someone behaves in a certain way.

Meditation, mindfulness and affirmations are key to remaining positive, and I use them throughout the day and under any circumstances. Sometimes just counting to 10 before replying or reacting can be a great help. I practice this regularly and my life has become much easier and more peaceful. I listen, but I do not necessarily internalize what I hear. I respect other’s opinions and beliefs, even if they feel foreign and unreal. And by focusing on the good in everyone, even tense relationships can become pleasant.

Facing serious health challenges every day, I quickly realized that I don’t want to spend too much energy worrying and trying to change people. I really cannot change anyone. The future is uncertain for everyone, but I envision it bright and shining. By focusing on hope, optimism and faith, I remain positive and live in joy and harmony. Staying positive is and has always been a supporting pillar in my life.

Happy 4th of July!

Silvia Coggin, CPF
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

 

 

 

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 !

 

 

Easter Celebration

My mother was a religious person and I was raised in the Catholic faith where Easter is an important church holiday. But our celebrations also included the old pagan traditions, like Easter bunnies and egg hunting. They are the fun left over from former times.

It always amazes me when I read how old traditions were included in religions, despite the fact that they originated from pagan cultures, and at first glance wouldn’t seem to be able to coexist. Somehow people made the effort to make them blend without creating problems or stress. One can only wonder why we cannot do this in our times? Have we become so intolerant by believing that only our values can exist and that there is no space for diversity?

So where did the bunnies and eggs come from? The bunnies come from the pagan festival of Eostre, a great northern goddess whose symbol was a rabbit or hare. The exchange of eggs can be traced back to ancient times and was celebrated in many different cultures.

And how did they arrive in America? According to some sources, the Easter bunny arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania, and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase”. Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs.

I always enjoy Easter. For me it is synonymous with the arrival of spring and the rebirth of nature. I enjoyed the egg hunting when I was a child believing the “Osterhase” colored them. Then I progressed to artfully decorated eggs, which were used as displays. Time passed and I did Easter hunts with little McKell, our adoptive granddaughter, and she and our little dogs ran around the yards to find their goodies.

This year is Romeo’s first Easter with us, and I cannot wait to see this bundle of energy cruising through the yard searching for his lovingly hidden Easter “cookies”.

Easter is a time for renewal, and I like to go within to eliminate resistance and the thoughts that hold me back. Just as nature renews itself and shows off with the most awesome colors and flowers, I like to bring my best self forward and although I cannot shine like nature, I feel refreshed and renewed.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine's DayWe all like to feel loved and to be someone’s Valentine, because it makes us feel special and accepted. It is not about gifts, dinners and flowers, but about making someone feel unique and appreciated. Just knowing that we are a Valentine quickens our steps and brings a song to our heart.

I am blessed to have celebrated Valentine’s Day with my husband for 35 years. We always make it a special day, no matter what. There were times when we were thousands of miles apart, but we never forgot to make each other feel remembered and loved.

The history of Valentine is murky and unclear, but it was always linked to love. The oldest poem known was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife in 1415 when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. In one of the historic archives Valentine was a Roman Catholic priest who refused the decree that soldiers couldn’t be married so that they could better perform in battle. Valentine believed in love and defied the Roman Emperor Claudius and married soldiers in secrecy. Valentine was executed in the year 269AD for his disobedience and his stand on marriage. He has come to be known as the patron saint of lovers. The expressions “To my Valentine”, “Your Valentine” is based on the legend that when Valentine was imprisoned he healed his jailor’s daughter and signed his farewell letter to her “Your Valentine”. So Valentine’s Day is an old tradition that has kept its sense and purpose … romantic love!

I always include in my Valentines our furry family members, and this year Romeo, who truly has the appropriate name, will be my special Valentine. I am sure Steve, my husband, will tell Romeo precisely what to do and I cannot wait. Two loving men will make me feel special, and it doesn’t get better.

But then there are my other Valentines, my family and friends who I will remember on this special day as well as my loved ones who are no longer here. They all make or have made a difference, offered me their love, and allowed me to be part of their lives.

My commitment this Valentine’s Day is that I will bring my Valentine gift of love to people in my life whenever possible during the year. An uplifting phone call, a loving letter, or a caring visit, just to name a few, will hopefully bring a special light into their lives by knowing that they are loved . Life is a gift and our loved ones are as well. Let’s treasure them.

Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

 

 

 

 

Romeo, our Birthday Boy

Romeo First BirthdayFrom the tiny 10week old puppy to the strapping and handsome one-year-old Yorkie, it has been pure joy watching and raising him. He is such a sweet little creature, and he certainly deserves his name. Romeo is a lover, and at the same time he is “all boy”. I watch him with awe since our other Yorkies were all girls. I had no idea that there was such a difference between the sexes, and have to admit I didn’t give it much thought. I was more focused on paper training a boy, but when I met Romeo, I fell in love and the rest of my concerns flew out the window.

So I am learning and adapting and loving every minute of it. Romeo was so excited on his birthday, not that he knew what it meant, but there were all these packages to open, a plate with his favorite foods and a candle! I don’t know what wish he made when his dad blew the candle out for him, but I am sure it was something exciting and fun. Because that’s who Romeo is! A happy little Yorkie, living in the moment and seeing the joy and fun in everything.

Words cannot express how much his presence in my life touches me constantly. His beautiful face, loving nature, and entertaining personality make me forget my personal health issue and I can only smile when he is with me or I think about him. He shows me how to make the best of every moment and not to regret the past or worry about the future. For example, his favorite squeaky toy doesn’t squeak any longer, and Romeo is a master in squeaking his toys. But he is not sad or disappointed, he just decides that the toy has outlived that facet of his play and now he will chew and ultimately destroy it. Both are fun for him and he is happy and content in the moment.

I am learning so much from him, and I am deeply grateful. I wasn’t sure if there would be another furry companion in my life when my health didn’t improve. But it was certainly the right decision for me. I surround him with my love, and he returns it many times over. We all need a Romeo in our lives offering unconditional love and unlimited potential for joy and happiness. You are my hero, Romeo, and I love you with all my heart!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

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