NoFearOne of my plans (I prefer that word to resolutions … a plan is something that is going to get done, right?) for 2014 is to blog at least once per week. Since January 1st, I’ve been reflecting on why I haven’t done it in so long and have come to realize that it’s because of that other 4-letter F-word … FEAR!

Along with my big desire to live a positive and drama-free life, comes a big fear of reading negative comments about what I write.

Serendipitously, my Facebook newsfeed was filled with quotes about that other 4-letter F-word this morning — the day I decided to write about it!

Amy shared: “Facing your fears robs them of their power.” ~ Mark Burnett
Sue said: “Courage is one step ahead of fear.”
Heshie noted: “Courage adds dimension to your life.”
Eve wrote: “Fear fuels me!”
Maryellen posted: “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” ~ George Addair

And … one of the 12 Gratitude Habits I created for Gratitude Boot Camp is Facing Your Fears.

So, here I come 4-letter F-word!

When I first started to blog years ago, I was taken aback by the negative comments that would come — always from anonymous posters. So, I stopped writing on-line. But, I stayed on-line. And, the attacks seem to have gotten worse. I’m always amazed and astonished at what, and who, people will lash out at in mean, and often downright evil, ways…

The 3 girls who were held captive, and tortured, for over 10 years in Ohio were called horrible names when they ventured out of their homes a short time after their release. The news of teenagers committing suicide, after being cyber-bullied, has become an all-too-frequent headline. And, already this year, a young girl was told to “go kill herself” because she tweeted that the earth was 2014 years old on New Year’s Day (whether she was kidding or mistaken, is telling her to go kill herself really necessary?).

Even the people you friend on Facebook can surprise you sometimes with what they write. Thankfully, Facebook affords you the ability to connect with positive people and the power to unfriend someone, if they do write negative or mean comments on your posts.

So, while I’m not ready to go out and hold a snake, I am ready to face that other 4-letter F-word when it comes to blogging. I will write every week, from now on. If someone says something mean or negative … I’ll read it, remind myself it’s their issue, say a prayer for them, and gladly delete their post. After all, I’m grateful my life is happy and I’m not afraid to keep it that way!

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Unconditional Love is a love that’s not limited by any conditions or in any way at all.  It is Absolute.  It is True.  And… it sure makes you happy when you give or receive it, doesn’t it?

For 13 years, I received the Unconditional Love of two very sweet animals — Shakespeare & Spencer — my precious persian cats.  Because I lost both of them this year, I am writing this article about them.  They truly did give me their Unconditional Love every day.

I grew up with dogs as family pets.  We never had a cat.  And, until the age of 36, I never had a pet in my adult life (except for fish in an aquarium).  I told myself I was not going to have any pets.  And, I certainly did not see myself with a cat.

One day, I was on an appointment to place a house on the market for sale.  As we were sitting at the kitchen table going over the required paperwork, a Mother Cat came walking out of the laundry room with two, tiny kittens trailing behind.  One of the kittens walked right up to me so I had to pick him up to pet him!  He was the cutest thing I had ever seen, especially when he snuggled up tightly on my chest.  The owner of the home told me she was selling the kittens and that they were peke-faced Persians.  The one I was holding onto had a crooked tail, so he would never be able to be a “show cat”, I was told.

I said good-bye and left there with no intention other than selling the home as quickly as possible.  But, for the next few days, I could not get that kitty-with-the-crooked-tail out of my head.  He was the first thing I thought of when I woke up each morning.

So, I found myself driving back to my listing with a check in hand… to buy the kitty with the crooked tail.  I named him Shakespeare.  He was 3 months old.  He followed me every where I went and slept at the foot of the bed, touching my feet. I was smitten.

Because I had never had a cat before, I bought a book that would tell me everything I ever wanted or needed to know about having a feline as a pet.  It informed me that indoor cats need the companionship of other cats, especially if you’re not often home.

When I had called the owner just to inquire whether or not she still had the other kitty (because I wasn’t sure I wanted two), she said “I can’t believe you called me today!  We just found out that the people who had taken that kitty are abusing him.  So, we rescued him but now we are leaving for vacation and weren’t sure what to do with him.”

So, I found myself driving back to my listing with a check in hand… to buy Shakespeare’s brother.  I named him Spencer.  He was all matted, dirty, and very clingy.  I just knew that seeing his brother again would cheer him right up.  Boy, was I wrong!!!

For three weeks, the two hissed at each other and steered clear of the other’s path.  I would cry “But, you’re brothers!  You’re supposed to love each other!”  I would call my girlfriends saying “What have I done?  They hate each other!”  One day, I came home and found the two of them licking each other!  From that day on, they were best buddies.  We were now a happy, little family.

Over the next 13 years, they were with me through three moves, four company changes, three relationship break-ups, and the birth of a baby.  And, they always loved me Unconditionally.  Shakespeare always slept at the foot of my bed, touching my feet.  Spencer and I cuddled on the couch for the last hour of every night, before I’d go to bed.  They were not your typical cats — they were very friendly.  If there were people around, they were right there!  Spencer would even play catch with a toy mouse!!

They both died from a fast growing tumor in their mouth.  Thankfully, they didn’t suffer for long.  It broke my heart to say good-bye to them on their final day.  And, it is very strange to not have them here.  I still find myself looking around for them sometimes and making sure I close the door so they don’t get out!

I’m so grateful to have experienced their Unconditional Love.  I’ll carry that lesson with me the next time I’m in a relationship.

Who knows?  Maybe there is another furry baby in my future.  For right now, though, I am content to remember the purrs and meows of my precious Persians — Shakespeare & Spencer.

In Memory Of…

Shakespeare – 8/9/96 ~ 5/21/09 and Spencer – 8/9/96 ~ 10/29/09

This blog is a part of my new beginning.  I have reached the point in my life where I am ready to make a change — not only in my life, but in the life of everyone I meet, know, and love.

I’ve always felt (and have been told by others) that I was supposed to take a leadership role and help others to overcome obstacles and hardships & to guide them to live a life filled with happiness, peace, and success … no matter what circumstances come along.  I learned first-hand, at a very young age, about staying positive in the midst of crisis.  Yet — somehow — a half-century has gone by (almost) and I have not stepped up to the plate.

Well, I am now being driven by a powerful force to finally become what I am destined to be and to live a life of purpose … something I know we can all achieve.  I have a responsibility to my precious child, and to everyone around me, to finally reach for the stars and leave a lasting legacy.

Life is too short to hold back, to struggle, and to feel guilty about the mistakes we inevitably make during our lifetime.  So, I am committed to going forth with faith, confidence, and courage to fulfill my life-long dreams (of writing and coaching) & to guide others to a life of purpose, growth, and prosperity.

I am exceedingly grateful for those who have been by my side through some very challenging times; for those who have encouraged me to “go for it;”  for those who will love me and support me as I take this leap of faith on my new journey; and for those who will not laugh at my dreams but will applaud my successes.  May God shine on you and bring you peace, joy, and abundance.

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