Thursday, February 19, 2015

What Truly Matters in the End!

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (ESV) - The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.


by Carley Cooper

Smiling Buddha

I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed the other day when I saw a photo with this quote on it:

In the end only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” ~~Buddha

I really got to thinking about this a lot.  I started to wonder about it.  Really?  These are the things that matter?  How do we know this for certain?

Sounds Very Warm and Fuzzy, Doesn’t It?

The truth is that it’s a very relative statement.  What does real ‘love’ mean in human terms?  It will not mean the same thing to everyone.  How graceful is graceful enough?  Without these things defined there is no real meaning to Buddha’s statement.  And, who are the people who get the privilege of defining these things for the whole human race; for all time?  No matter who that would be (Buddha or otherwise) it’s not fair to everyone else to leave us out of the decision making. 

The truth about "In the end" is that only God can define true love, because God is love.  The rest of us are just striving daily to get there.  Only God has shown true gracefulness.  In the end what matters is that you:

  • love Jesus
  • love others as you love yourself

These first two points are greatest commandments that Jesus gave us.  Jesus told us “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the Law  and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40 (NKJV)).  We just need to look toward Jesus’ example of love.  He loves us as He loves His Father.  So must we do the same.  But, you also must love yourself like God loves you, and see yourself as His child, because without that you can not love others. 

That’s Not All.  There’s More!

What’s important in the end, though, doesn’t end there.  We must also:   

  • confess and repent of your sins and follow Him -   “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”  (1 John 1:9 (NKJV)In addition, Luke 13:3 (NKJV) tells us “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”  To repent means to turn 180 degrees.  We have to turn away from our sinful ways and follow Jesus.
  • help spread the gospel – ‘And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”’ (Mark 16:15-16 (NKJV))
  • forgive and don't judge othersJudge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37 (NKJV))
  • show Jesus to others from within yourself, by loving others and showing them that you are His disciple - "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.'" (John 13:34-35 (NKJV))

In the End He is All that Matters

Do you have a relationship with Him today?  Do you show Him to others in  your actions, attitude, and daily life?  Do you forgive easily?  Do you judge others quickly?  Do you love your enemies as yourself?  Do you share the Good News with others, and be excited about doing it?  Are you a disciple of Jesus?  These things are so important in the end. 

So when you’re looking for that something that will fill your soul and satisfy, and you’re tempted to go in search of worldly spirituality, think about this: those chubby little Buddha statues that some people have sitting in their gardens or on a table in their home; he can’t even get himself across the room without some help.  How is he going to love you in the way you need, or save your eternal soul? 

The only one to love you truly and perfectly is God.  Our purpose on Earth is to follow God’s laws to bring Him glory.  The bottom line; in the end; after all is said and done… Jesus is what really matters because without Him we won’t get to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.  

Let’s Pray

Dear God ~~  Wonderful, merciful, graceful, perfect-loving Lord, so often I get lost on my journey.  I go looking for things to fill my needs and heart that are made from human-designed concepts.  Thank You for Jesus and all that He has done for me and given me.  Help me to always turn to Him for everything I need and to be my perfect example of love.  Help me to show my thanks by following Your commandments and letting Christ be seen in me by others.  Open the eyes, ears, minds, and hearts of all that I meet and let them be drawn to Jesus; because in the end, that’s all that matters.  In Jesus name, AMEN.


Now It’s Your Turn

Thoughts about this post?  Questions?  Want to share your story?  Ask for prayer?  Please share in the comments box below(If you don’t see the comments box below, you are on the homepage, click on the post headline, & scroll down to find the comments section.)

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Staring Your Own Small-Business Doesn’t Have to Put You in Debt!

by Carla Cooper1446153_67635331

A lot of people dream of having their own business; being their own boss.  There are advantages to being self-employed.  That list could be another blog post in and of itself.  When I first decided that I wanted to start my own business, the idea, though exciting, seemed to be a daunting task.  I mean one needs money, and lots of it to get a business off the ground; right?  Wrong!  Granted it depends on the business, but in the case of a service offered business, it doesn’t have to be something that will break the bank. 

Here are the steps and challenges that I faced in my journey to get my business off the ground.  In my case, I was blessed to have a good friend give me the software I need to do bookkeeping for my clients.  I already own a computer, which is more than sufficient to use as a personal as well as a business computer.  I will be operating from home, so there will not be any office overhead. 

Then I needed some equipment.  First, a multi-function machine (color laser printer / fax / copier / scanner).  For this, I waited until a discontinued model went on sale at Staples.  I got it at a fantastic price.  It’s not a large sized model, so it’s perfect for a small office like mine.  Secondly, I needed an adding machine.  I got a moderately priced model, also at Staples

Then I needed some basic business supplies, which doesn’t have to cost much either.  I got a case of paper for my new printer at Costco, which is a much lower price than at Staples.  Some other basic supplies I got at the dollar store; things like staples, tape, file folders, notebooks, clipboards.  I purchased some self-printing business cards, designed my own, and printed them on my new printer. 

I got a new business phone line installed.  I called my cable and internet company and got their lowest priced basic home phone service.  I had an old answering machine packed away in a storage bin, so I am using it instead of paying for a voice mail service with the phone company. 

I already had a couple of small filing cabinets for personal file storage, so I weeded out some old files files, and shredded them, to make sufficient space for some client and business files. 

I registered my business for GST (Goods & Services Tax) / HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) in Canada; a free service.  Also, an expected expense that didn’t occur in the end was when I called the City of Barrie to get a business license and was told, that I didn’t need one. Go Barrie!

I considered opening a business bank account, but decided against it after reading the “Guide for Canadian Small Businesses” by the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency).  As a sole-proprietor operating under my own name instead of a registered business name, I don’t need a business bank account that has high service fees. 

Next, I registered with a company called Square; for the service that allows me to accept credit cards from clients for payment.  It is the perfect service for small businesses.  It allows you to accept credit cards from clients with the use of a small card reader that you plug into your smart phone.  The fees are very low at only 2.75%.  That’s only $2.75 on $100.00.  Very acceptable expense for a small business. 

The next thing that most businesses need these days is an online presence.  I created this basic website thanks to Blogger.com.  They have very user-friendly templates that you can use and create your own website/blog for free.  Plus, there’s no monthly hosting fee either. 

Next, I created a Facebook page for a social media presence; also a free service. 

Finally, I needed a logo.  I’m pretty good with computer things, and design, so I sat down one day and played with some shapes and colors until I came up with a logo that I liked. 

With all the basics in place to begin all I needed was some advertising.  My first choice was to put an ad on Kijiji; also a free service.  As a result of this ad, 411.ca saw my ad, called me, and offered me a wonderful low-cost deal on advertising with them.

Some final notes to think about are:  Many people, when starting their own business, want to start with a professionally prepared business plan; which is a fantastic idea.  However, this can cost thousands of dollars, and for me, it just wasn’t in the budget.  Plus, if you have a business where you are selling products you will need money for inventory as well.  For example, I am also an author.  I have to buy my books at cost, so I can sell them to customers.  This requires money for my inventory of books. How much this will cost you, depends on what your inventory is and how much you want to buy to start.

This is my business start up story in a nutshell.  I am a small-business sole-proprietor, who operates part-time.  It didn’t cost me a lot of money.  I am flying by the seat of my pants in regards that I don’t have a business plan, but it’s working anyway.  So you see, it doesn’t have to cost you much to become an entrepreneur; to be your own boss; to set your own hours.  It’s worth it, even if you choose to just have a part-time business. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How Pets can Help Mental Illness

by Carley CooperBFMC 2014 Photo Directory

Do you have pets? I do. I have two. One is a feisty little lovebird with a big attitude. His name is Chicklet. I got him when he was 8 weeks old.  My other pet is Maggie. She is my 1 yr & 10 months old doggie(a Shih-tzu). I got her when she was 14 weeks old.

I love both my pets.  They are wonderful, cute, the loves of my life, and a handful. I love it!  If I had a bigger apartment, I’d have even more pets.

 

‘No Pets Allowed’ Should be Illegal Everywhere!

I waited a long time to get Maggie. In my last apartment I wasn’t allowed to have pets. Which was a big disappointment after I found out, because it meant I had to get rid of the dog I had previously for 10 years. I found in the past that having a dog helps my bipolar disorder a great deal.

 

Pets are People Too!

Your family pet can be and should be more than just a pet. It is another member of your family. They feel unconditional love just as you do. They like to receive it as well as give it. They know when you’re down and they want to help you. They do that by staying close to you. Did you ever notice that?

Your pet can be a best friend, or even like a child. You can share secrets with them, and they will not judge you. They can help bring you lots of laughter and joy. They like to be touched just like you do too. Their personalities are as varied as they are for people. Some are stubborn, timid, mild mannered, mean, grumpy, shy, happy, sad, or any number of other things. But one this is common among them all... they love their master!

When you get a pet when it’s still a baby, you have to take care of it like a baby.  For example, a new puppy will get you up at night for pee-pee and food.  They need a vet when they are sick and at vaccination time.  They need to be potty-trained and taught new things and commands.  They need to be watched so they don’t get into too much trouble on their own.  It’s a big responsibility, though it will help you in ways you never dreamed of. 

When I’m down and don’t want to do anything other than stay in bed with the covers over my head, I realizeIMG_3225 that I can’t. Being a pet-parent means that they are depending on me to care for them. It forces me to be active and productive instead of hiding from the world. No matter how I feel, or what the weather is like, Maggie needs to be let out in the yard for pee-pee time, fed, played with, and loved. No matter what I feel like she is happy to see me when I get home. It’s wonderful having someone greet you at the door with so much love and a waggly tail.

 

You Need a Pet!

I highly recommend getting a pet if you don’t have one and you’re struggling. It doesn’t have to be a dog that needs to be walked daily, if you really don’t want to do that. Though, personally, I’m a huge doggie fan and I think everyone should have a one. Doggies are so awesome!  In the past I’ve also had hamsters and fish.  My brother had ferrets.  My nephew had a turtle and rats.  You could also get a cat, gerbil, rabbit, guinea pig, mice, or even a horse.  Anything that can help you to get your focus off of yourself and your struggles, and loves you back, is a joy every day. Trust me, it is so worth it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Patience is a Virtue

James 5:8 (NKJV) – “You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.


by Carley Cooper

This is my first blog post in a long
time.  My health has not been good, and I was not able to focus on writing.  Things are starting to look better, thanks to God and my wonderful doctors.  However, all is not great as of yet.  This could be an ongoing Bipolar Disorder problem, or it could be something else. 

Many of you have been waiting for my return to the blogosphere.  I thank you for being patient with me. 

Waiting with Your Head Under the Gate

I’ve been doing some thinking as of late about how much time we put into waiting in our lives.  We wait in long line-ups at the grocery store, for a package to come in the mail, for ‘the’ phone call from a certain someone, for a great promotion at work, and even to collect enough money in our savings to buy that special item or go on that vacation we’ve dreamed of.

Last fall our hearts went out the the Cirillo family of Hamilton, Ontario after Corporal Nathan Cirillo was gunned down buy a senseless madman in the Canadian capitol of Ottawa.  One of the many sad scenes we saw surrounding this incident was the photo of Cirillo's dogs waiting at the gate for him to return home.  My heart went out to those dogs when I saw their little noses under the gate. 

I know how deeply dogs can feel, how much they love their families, and how much emotion they can show; I’ve seen it.  I’m a pet-parent myself to a cute little shih-tzu named Maggie (who will be 2 in April 2015).  However, there are some things that animals just can’t comprehend.  I wish it was possible to help Cirillo’s dogs understand what had happened. 

Jesus IS Coming

When I saw those sad dogs, I couldn’t help but think that they are just like Christians. 

Click here to read the full article


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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Forever Different

Book Cover - Forever Different by Christine F Anderson

BOOK TITLE

Forever Different: A Memoir of one Woman’s Journey Living with Bipolar Disorder

AUTHOR

Christine F. Anderson

MY REVIEW

by Carley Cooper

Before I even started this book I was drawn to it just by the title 'Forever Different'.  My first thought, as a Bipolar sufferer myself, was 'someone else gets it'.  I was right.  Even though this story is so much different from mine, there are many similarities.  I could plainly see the highs and lows in her life; the symptoms and characteristics of Bipolar Disorder.  It's a great read.  It not only shows a great example of a life with Bipolar, it is also an exciting story.

MY OVERALL RATING

Starts Strip 5-stars

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

ANNOUNCEMENT: Carley Cooper, Author!

This is a very exciting announcement or me!  I am now a published author.  My first book was released last month.  It is a work that I co-wrote with author, Daphne Tarango, and 8 other inspirational writers.  I am very excited about this project because it will help inspire so many who are suffering with mental illnesses. 

Let me tell you all about it:  

Title: Groove: Stories to Refresh How We Think and Feel About Our Mental Illnesses

Groove Book Cover

Authors:

Designer: Suzanne D Williams

Published:  December 1, 2014 in Paperback 

 

UPDATES:

  • January 12, 2015 - Groove is in the top 100 in two Amazon categories (Mood Disorders and Depression), and is on the "Hot New Releases" list
  • December 18, 2014 - Groove is now available in Kindle on Amazon
  • December 14, 2014 - Groove is now available in Kindle, and other formats (Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, Older Sony Readers, Tablets, Kindle, PDF, BeBook, Older Palm Devices, TXT, HTML) on Smashwords

 

Go to Carley’s Book Shop page to purchase Groove

 

About Groove: 

You're one of the millions of people who struggle with mental illness. You struggle in silence, hoping to avoid stares, whispers, and prejudice. But society’s judgment has also become your inner voice. Guilt, shame, and low self-worth have entrenched themselves in your mind and heart like old grooves of sun-hardened soil. These false beliefs need loosening, turning, tilling, and ploughing until the old grooves give way to new grooves of God’s Truth.

In Groove: Stories to Refresh the Way We Think and Feel about Our Mental Illnesses, mental health advocate Daphne Tarango and nine inspirational writers tell how they've overturned the old grooves and false beliefs about their own mental illnesses. Groove offers encouragement and firsthand experiences from men and women who know what it’s like to have mental illness. You'll relate to their inspirational stories about relationships, coping skills, managing symptoms, career and home, life stages and milestones, even stories about their pets, the holidays, and much more.

Groove includes 52 thought-provoking stories, one for each week of the year. Each entry ends with a series of questions so you can reflect and dig deeper grooves on the topic for that week. As you read Groove, you'll learn how to build new grooves using God’s word and how those new grooves can change your life, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you carry yourself. You can even read and work through the questions with a small group.

Whether you're recently diagnosed with a mental illness or have struggled with mental illness for years, Groove can help you refresh the way you think and feel about your mental illness, all by believing and applying the Truth in God's word.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Would You Opt Out of Mental Illness, if You Could?

by Carley Cooper

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I’m writing a book about my life.  In my research I watched a documentary called The Stephen Fry Story: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive (Click here to watch the 2 hour documentary ).  It’s a fascinating portrait of Bipolar Disorder.  It can help those of us who have it feel not so alone, and the people who love us understand us more.

Where Do You Fit In?

The greater general population travel down a standard ‘road’ in terms of their moods and personalities.  The bigger personalities often wander all over the road from side to side, but they are still within the borders of ‘normal’.  People with Bipolar Disorder go way beyond those boundaries on both sides of that road.  It is a very difficult life which can be dangerous in either direction.

Click HERE to read the full article

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Truth About Following Rules

by Carley Cooper

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Whether or not we like it, our society has rules that we must follow.  There are the laws of our city, county, country, and the world.  We have to follow certain rules at work.  God’s Word has laws on how we are to live our life.  Even our own household generally has rules.  There’s no getting away from it.  If we don’t follow those rules there are consequences that will result. 

Click HERE to read the full article

Friday, April 25, 2014

Problem Solving 101

by Carley Cooper

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How many times have you had a problem and tried to solve it only to be disappointed?  What kinds of things did you try as a solution?  Did you turn to friends for advice?  Or, maybe you went to a family member, a doctor, or other authority. 

Giving Advice

A friend came to me for advice on a problem.  He told me all about it, and when he was done I didn’t have a solution for him.  I wasn’t sure what advice to give. 

So I said "The only thing I know to do is pray about it".

Click HERE to read the full article