Excitement

Life without excitement is like champagne without bubbles, it has lost its appeal and attraction. Would we drink flat champagne? Of course not! So why do we think that sometimes we have to live a life without excitement?

In the various stages of our life we are attracted and enthralled by different things, and our excitement changes as well. The simple things, which are so exciting for a young child, become bolder and usually more costly with increasing age. But one fact remains the same: we feel that we can conquer the world, and that there are no limitations. Everything seems possible; we are riding the waves of life feeling the wind in our hair and the energy flowing through us. It is like a drug and we want more. Do you remember your first date? The excitement of getting ready, your beating heart and you couldn’t think of anything else? Yes, at that moment you drank bubbly champagne and enjoyed every moment of it.

There is never a reason to drink flat champagne, we are always worth a good bubbly. And if you find yourself asking the question why the world became so bland or why you became so blasé, then it is time to lighten up and bring some spice into your life.  Do something you have never done but always wanted to do. A cruise? Riding a horse? Buying a sports car? Taking dance lessons to become the dancer you always wanted to be? Let your imagination fly, feel the excitement, and soar like an eagle. Excitement is what keeps us young and going strong.

Excitement can be laced with fear and doubts, but the thrill of being excited is worth the trepidations. Excitement is contagious, we like to be around people ready to embrace life’s many opportunities and challenges, and just listening to them gives birth to our own excitement. I fondly remember a recent get together with friends during which they enthusiastically talked about the safari they had planned. My love and passion for Africa started stirring, and I found myself googling safari possibilities, imagining myself in Africa and it was like taking a short mini trip. Yes, reality had to set in a little later, but the excitement of those moments cannot be replaced and I still cherish them.

So, what are you waiting for? Pop the cork and enjoy your bubbly! Live and enjoy the moment and some excitement regularly.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Founder and Author of NotJustCooking.com

 

Opportunities

Opportunities are all around us, we see them or don’t, we take advantage of them or let them slip by. They are there to grasp, but one has to have an open mind and open heart.

My widowed mother raised me in postwar Germany. Looking back, we had very little, although there was always food, clothing and a roof over our heads. I remember vividly that I sometimes took my doll and went to the tennis club. There was a bench outside the courts of the club, and I sat watching the people play. They were so beautiful in their white outfits, swinging their rackets and gliding over the clay courts. I sat there, watching and dreaming, and promised myself that one day I would play tennis like that as well. For a poor girl in post-war Germany, that was an outrageous dream. It was so far out that I never shared it with my mother. I didn’t want her to shatter my dream. I knew she meant well, but I always heard “be reasonable, that is not possible for people like us”, and so on. As an adult, I joined a club and played tennis on clay courts in a white skirt and top just like my dream. I saw an opportunity, took it, and made my dream come true.

I have always questioned and rejected the concept that there are limitations on what I can dream and achieve, although I had to conform when I was young. I would have loved to become a professional like a doctor or a lawyer, but it was out of reach. I had to compromise and take opportunities that were open to me, mostly for financial reasons, and I have no regrets. During my earlier years the pressure of postwar Germany, family, and the German class system made for a limited life, but I was always sustained by my dreams. The easiest way for many was to go to America, the land of opportunities, where anyone could succeed and live the life so much desired. America was a shining beacon of hope in those difficult times and a promise for a better life.

When I started studying metaphysics, I realized that I had choices, that in effect I had all the choices, and that I did not have to give my power away to tradition. The thought was intoxicating, and I felt my wings growing. I took my power back and opened my heart and my eyes to opportunities. I let many of them go by or saw them too late. It was up to me how I wanted to look at the missed opportunities: do I want to play the “if only game” and watch with regret some missed opportunities sail down the river, or do I turn my eyes upstream to see and accept new ones coming to me? This is a choice we all have to make more often than we realize, and sometimes we make this choice unconsciously based on old beliefs or imagined limitations. If you feel you don’t have opportunities, that you are an unfortunate and unlucky person stuck in a situation through no fault of yours, then now is a perfect time to reevaluate, regroup and develop new dreams. Watch your mind and clean out limiting beliefs and negative thoughts. Open your heart and mind to new opportunities. They are all around you, you are not excluded, and there are no exceptions.

It is your choice, and yours alone. Believe in your dreams and opportunities will appear, so that you will be able to live the life you are seeking.

Like many others, I immigrated to America after living in Belgium. My life unfolded, with obstacles sometimes barring my way. But I never gave up dreaming and believing in opportunities. I am still the young girl watching people play tennis and dreaming about my future. I will always dream, it is the beginning and the opening of the portal to opportunities. When the day comes that I no longer dream, it will be my time to say good bye.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

Life Is Full of Surprises

We make plans, and then something happens and we must regroup and realign. Does this sound familiar? How do we react to these unexpected changes? Do we allow them to throw us out of balance or do we look at them with an open mind?

My health challenges have taught me to be ready for change and to accept them with open arms, so to speak. How often have I been looking forward to seeing a friend, to go to an event or just to go shopping, and in the last minute I had to change my plans because of my health. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, but then I realized that there was a great lesson to be learned, and that I didn’t have to feel guilty about my friends or within myself.

How often do we send ourselves on guilt trips about letting people down and not living up to expectations? And the question to ask is: whose expectations? Ours or someone else’s? Good friends will understand that life is full of surprises and that we are not always in control. The answer is: our own expectations are causing us to feel guilty.

And have you ever felt compelled to make up excuses because you thought the truth would not be acceptable? I had to work on this since I didn’t want to tell people I was sick for quite a long time. I felt that they would pity me, or not want to be part of my diminished life any longer. How wrong can one be?

We cannot change that life will bring wanted and unwanted surprises. But we can take control of how we look at it. Do we embrace these challenges or do we resist and fight them? I have learned rapidly since I fell ill that resisting change certainly doesn’t make things better. There are so many ways to look at things. When I have to cancel a visit with a friend, for example, I feel sad, but I try not to dwell on it. I am grateful that my friend understands, and then I’ll take a book and spend some quiet time in a comfortable chair until I feel better. I still feel the loss of not seeing my friend, but I look at it with peace in my heart knowing that it was just a rain check.

My life has taught me to embrace surprises. Sometimes it takes a little more effort than others. The key is to keep on trying and to remember that avoiding guilt and self judgement makes us stronger.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
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 !

 

 

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

 

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