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When my kids begged to get a cat two years ago, I had no idea how much these animals would teach me. Yes, I said animals. We ended up getting two cats (long story for another day) instead of simply one. Anyway, the cats are quite different from one another, even though they are from the same litter. KitKat is the one pictured above and I lovingly call him Cat Dog because I believe that he is a dog trapped in a cat’s body. Nonetheless, having two felines roam the house has taught me a great deal. While one is more social than the other, they embrace their differences and are not afraid to live life on their terms.

1.) When you are tired, rest.

This one sounds simple enough, but for some reason we always find something else to occupy our time. We feel guilty for stopping. Many of us have a tough time simply listening to our bodies and resting. Cats have no problem with this one! Please refer to picture above if you do not agree.

2.) Say what you want!

I know that cats cannot speak, but do not underestimate the power of their communication skills. One of my cats can meow at crazy decibels when she wants to be let outside (or back inside for that matter). She has NO problem meowing for food either. KitKat will lay down in front of you and roll over to his back because he wants his belly rubbed. If cats cannot talk, but are able to communicate their desires so clearly, why are we so hesitant to speak up? If we openly and honestly communicated with one another, life would be much easier. Instead, many of us hide true feelings and emotions for fear of judgement.

3.) Love hard!

So often, we let time pass us by without REALLY showing love to those that mean the most to us. Why can’t we be more like cats and show our love with reckless abandon? They don’t care if you are watching your favorite show or busy cooking dinner, they love you and want you to know it.

4.) Enjoy the sunshine!

Cats love the sun, period. They often want to be outside on beautiful days and can be found under the bed when its grey and raining. They are not afraid to close their eyes and just take in the moment. Why are we so hesitant to simply enjoy life?

5.) Cherish interaction with others

My cats often want to be in the middle of the action. If we are watching a movie as a family, they are on the couch watching too. When we are getting ready for bed, they are chilling in the bathroom as I wash my face. Simply stated, they strike the perfect balance of interaction and alone time. They understand that both are important, but do we?

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Why are we (as a people) so afraid to say what we REALLY want? I am not a “people pleaser” but I still find it difficult to say the absolute truth in certain situations. Now hear me when I say that I am not shy by any means of the imagination. I am from the south where everyone talks to everyone. That is not the problem, because speaking on the surface is easy for me. I am also not referring to speaking the truth when we want to say something that is not nice. My mother taught me better than that, remember I am from the south.

I am talking about speaking that is a true reflection of that little voice in your head. That little voice knows your inner self like no one else does. No one else looks in the mirror and sees the same reflection that you see. When that image looks back at you, it is a reflection of your soul. There are people that know you (or pieces of you) but is only you that is versed in all of you. Your spouse may know you, but were they present when you skinned your knee on the driveway of your childhood home? No. Your parents may have wiped away your tears, but if you are an adult, you probably don’t live with them anymore or even see them daily. Are you following me?

They know parts of you, but only YOU know all of you.

YOU are the only person that can make certain decisions for yourself.

Listen to the little voice. It will lead you to what is right for you. It is often not easy and may lead to uncomfortable conversations with those that think they know what is best for you. It is okay to disappoint others when you are staying true to yourself. It will happen and that is okay. In the end, we are the ones who will truly lose if we are not true to what we really want.

Be quiet and listen.

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Updated: Oct 15, 2021

I was roaming around the store not so long ago, when I stumbled upon some mums. It is no surprise that they were staring back at me considering it is fall, even if it doesn’t feel like it in Florida. Anyone that knows me (I mean REALLY knows me) is aware that I love fresh flowers in my home. This is not because I have a green thumb, because I do not. Flowers simply bring me joy. They add a sense of “special” to our home and I just genuinely love how the flowers change with the season.

When I found the mums, I knew instantaneously that I NEEDED them. My mind went to the “why” behind my strong feelings about the certain type of flower. Mums make me think of fall and cooler weather, but it also made me think of something else…my grandparents. My grandparents were unfortunately all gone by my seventh birthday. My memories are sketchy, but there is one thing that stands out in my mind. I am embarrassed to say that it is not one of my finest moments. Granted, I was a young girl.

Every single year my mom would order beautiful arrangements of mums from a local florist for the gravesites of both my grandmother and grandfather. They were large arrangements that my mom had paid good money for, so she would tell me every year on November 1st that she needed me to ride with her to hold the arrangements on the 45-minute drive. This is where my resistance came in because the arrangements were in the cemetery vases that fit right onto the headstone, and they were ice cold. I mean COLD! The arrangements had been stored in a sub zero fridge to preserve the arrangement and after holding these arrangements for five minutes, I could not feel my hands. The drive was a LONG 45 minutes. When we arrived, my hands were legit frozen and I would try to get out of the car with the arrangements and not hit them on anything since the petals would fall and my mom would just go nuts. She was very protective of the flowers. I was just a girl trying to survive with frozen hands and an angry mother. I dreaded the task of doing this as a child.

In my adulthood, I have realized that it wasn’t the flowers that meant so much, but the gesture. My mom was using the arrangements to honor her parents. It was a “it’s the thought that counts” moment and she put a great deal of thought into it each year.

Fast forward to my moment with the mums in the middle of the store. I realized that I NEEDED these flowers because they stood for something to me. They represented a memory of days gone by. As much as I disliked the drive and frozen hands, I really cherish the memory. There are so many things that happen like this where today’s actions represent experiences that we have lived through previously. As much as we think that we are our own individuals independent of outside influences, we are not. The way that we act is often shaped by things that have happened to us in the past. Instead of ignoring the obvious, may we look the past to learn and grow in the future.

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