Welcome to cornerCHAT...

 

cornerCHAT is another way for Cornerstone to stay in touch with you; to share thoughts and impressions that can occur randomly from day-to-day living. The quality of what we see, hear, touch, taste, smell, and feel--those nuances of responsiveness--depends upon the degree of alertness in which we greet our world. Once it leaves our path, it's a monumental, if impossible, task to retrieve. These moments of what I call, "WOWsers!" They are incorporated in each of our days, but like most of us, we get so tied up, so busied up, so caught up in our lives, that we tend to miss those moments that bring refreshing, clearer thinking, insight and needed repose.

If you're nodding right now, then this page is designed with you in mind. Please come and sit with Cornerstone. Put your feet up, sip your fave beverage, and let us join our thoughts and capture the ever gentle whisper in our lives.

Cornerstone is happy to hear your personal thoughts. You may contact me directly at cbrooks@cornerstonemanagementskills.com I shall respond personally so we may continue our chat. As always, it's a blessing to hear from you.

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A Root-bound House Plant

I have two cactus plants in colorful tin containers on the windowsill at the kitchen sink. The Jade cactus is two years old and looking very tired in it's 3" container. The other plant, a Finger cactus, about a year old and looking healthy and happy in its 1" container. Nonetheless, some changes needed to be made. I transplanted the Jade cactus in the front yard and within a day, the bright green of happiness returned to its button-shaped leaves. I reused the now empty 3" container for the Finger cactus and purchased a flower pedaled cactus in the now vacated tin container. I'm happy to report that the inside plants aren't worse the wear for being transplanted. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we humans could adjust so easily when change comes into our lives?


A Tasty Treat!

The other day I craved something decadent. Something chocolate. Something medicinal. I rummaged through the "junk" draw in the kitchen. Found a bag of pita chips, granola bars (even the chocolate ones weren't medicinal enough, if you know what I mean). Way back in the far corner of the deep drawer sat a container of cookies. And there was the medicine I had been searching for: a soft, chewy choco chip and chocoate cakelike cookie. (Sorry, I'm salvating while writing to you!) Yep, this is exactly what the doctor ordered. I took a healthy bite as is the behavior whenever consuming anything medicinal, right?!

Every tastebud danced in jubilation. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. And of course, to add to the medicinal cookie, I washed it down with a tall glass of cold, cold milk. Every body needs a little calcium, right?!

A Tasty Treat is required ration every now and then. I, too, have eaten ice cream from a carton with the biggest spoon I could find. The number of shovels depended on the crisis at hand. But what I've learned is that eating to tame a crisis isn't good planning. Rather, I schedule a Tasty Treat every week. Whether I need it or not, I indulge. If it's ice cream, I put a couple of scoops in a small bowl (this way the portion looks huge). If it's a cookie, I place it on an exquisite china plate (this way it seems more elegant and somehow holds less calories--call me crazy), or whatever--a muffin, slice of cake or pie. Eating it "in-style" adds to the celebration. I don't wipe the corners of my mouth with a linen napkin. Rather I swipe the area with my tongue...somethings require a good ol tongue wash. All in all, it fills my tummy, my soul, my mood. And my life seems a bit sweeter, satisfied.


 Five Minutes...

It's tough to catch the details along our life path when we're rushing here and there. Demands, demands, demands--this one word has steered and accelerated the way we live, the insane pace of life. But hold on! Don't we have a choice to temper our speed? A typical workday consists of 480 minutes and if you work through lunch, then you've racked up to 540 minutes. Okay, if we take 5-minutes out of that mountain of minutes, will it make an adverse impact on hours worked? Will we miss a deadline because we took a 5-minute break? There are a mountain of benefits in a 5-minute break: to clear our heads, to change our scenery--even a potty break changes our scenery, to spend that snippet of time on ourselves vs work, to return to work refreshed, rejuvenated, recharged! Can you think of more benefits? You may say that five minutes will never cut through the pile of demands that dictate your worklife. But I wonder if you've "tried" taking five minutes. Test the results for yourself. It's not the quantity of time that's important, it's the quality of those five minutes. Go ahead. Give it a try. And I'm hoping that eventually, you see the benefit of tempering your time and grow the 5-minutes to say, ten!


Cornerstone's Mantra for the New Year: Delve into 2012

 

 To become fully invested in the newness, the freshness of a new year requires that we keep an open mind. Be open to do a sport you’ve never done before. To eat a food that you typically avoid. Try stepping out of your routine. Remember, nothing ventured nothing gained. How will you know if you’d like something, if you never tried it? Take a risk. Whether you like what you’ve tried or not, the bottom line is that you’ve kept an open mind and therein lies your success.

 


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We are at the brink of a brand new year. For some of us it shall be a year of new beginnings and to you, we at Cornerstone wishes you sustained success. To everyone considering a resolve in the new year, Cornerstone says, "Go for it!" And to others who really don't have an idea, well, we've come up with a teaser list. Three simple pointers to usher in the new year and to make a difference in your life:

  1. Be Thankful: Find a family member, a friend, a colleague and tell her/him that you appreciate them. Make this a daily exercise of gratitude and eventually it'll come as naturally as breathing. Today, someone needs to know that you are grateful for them. Keep a journal of who you thank and why. Visit that journal throughout the year, read your notations, sit back and be amazed.
  2. Give Yourself Away: You have lessons learned from life experience. Don't keep them to yourself. Someone needs to hear your story and how you handled it. Invest yourself in that person. Be their stronghold.
  3. No Such Thing as Failure: In the overall scheme in personal growth, there is no such thing as failure. It is God pointing us in a different direction. It's that necessary door that much close so the right door can be opened. When we work on a goal and find ourselves falling short...that is not failure...it is a span of time...like a red light when we desperately need to be somewhere...the pause is indented for us to slow down, to rethink our goal, to get refreshed, to gain in strength and determination.

God wants us to hope in Him so that through Him, our strength shall be renewed. We shall soar on wings like eagles. We will run and not grow weary. We will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31). If we do our part, which is to put our hope in God, then He'll do the rest: help us to soar, to run, to climb.


A Call to Excellence

Here are a few questions I ask myself just before the start of a new year. They ignite my surge of energy into possibilites in the new year. Please consider these, as I have, to determine your path in 2012.

  • What is it that feeds your soul?
  • That motivates you to aspire to the next level?
  • That whispers to your heart, "Just go for it!"?

These promptings tiptoe into our lives and they long for our acceptance, our attention, our action. The promps do their role, by speaking to us...they meet us half way. Now, the fulfillment and answers to these questions become our responsibility.

If we don't venture onto this path, we'll never know where Destiny will lead us. We'll miss the call of purpose that is meant for us. Life experience during this past year has brought you this far, now action to the next level is up to you.

Don't disappoint Destiny. Don't drag your feet. Destiny's voice lingers for a time and if ignored, it moves on. The reality is that it may not return.

So grab it! "Make hay while you may." Destiny calls when it knows we are ready to receive. But we cut ourselves short if we don't believe we're ready. Guess, that's where we need to put feet to our faith. Accepting even blindly the unseen and believe it as if it were seen.

May the word HOPE, be your guiding force in 2012. Hope for open doors, hope for prosperity, good health...whatever it is you need. I pray that the God of Plenty will shower you with opportunities and rejoicing. May you receive the call of purpose with open arms and an open mind. Let faith be a lamp to your feet, showing you the way to your personal growth and success. 


Dreams DO Come True!

There are alot of wonderful events in life, but when a dream comes trues...Wow!...it's amazing. I've had two such events this year. There are two types of dream fulfillments: one is when a dream becomes a goal and we work hard to make it a reality. The other is one we simply wish for and may not put much effort into its fulfillment. Both of mine were the latter.

My first dream was to have a chance to drive a Mustang. When I first began looking to purchase one, it was out of my price range. But later when I could afford it, the two-door setup didn't work for my family. So I more-or-less gave up on it. But this summer that changed.

A friend visited from Chicago and rented a car. We were leaving for dinner when she asked me to drive. We walked out to the driveway and there stood a bright red Mustang. I slipped into it, turned on the ignition and heard that engine roar...a dream come true.

The second dream was to visit the South during the fall. We don't get much "color" living in southern California and I had seen pictures of the beautiful fall landscape along the Mississippi River. Gosh, it would be wonderful to see it for myself vs in a magazine article. That dream came true just a couple of weeks ago when I made a business trip to MS & LA. With wide eye and in total awe, I drank up, as much as my eyes allowed, the marvel of fall fullness.

What these fulfilled dreams told me was that God is interested in what interests us. He hadn't forgotten my desires those many, many years ago.


First Day of Fall

"Of all the seasons, Fall is my fave. It's a time to nestle in, get warm, cuddle on the cough with a good book and a crackling fire dancing in the fireplace. On the first day of Fall, I decorate the house for Harvest. Sunflower floral arrangements, baskets filled with mums of all harvest colors: gold, yellow, orange, burgundy, purple (a touch of surprise), copper and red. Over the years I've collected boxes and boxes of harvest decorations and every surface is generously adorned with them. After all the accessorizing is done, then comes the best part: decorating a Christmas tree in Harvest with copper, rust, red, cream, and yes purple, pumpkin ornaments and jeweled brown and bronze ornaments galore, eucalyptus garland and lights, lights, lights. Years ago I had a floral design business, decorating churches, high-end homes, medical and business offices, banks, and conventions. And now I thoroughly enjoy feeding that decorating bug and the holidays is the perfect venue.  

"Fall also ushers in the holidays--a special time to connect with family and friends, taking time to find that perfect gift for that special someone. Although life gets extra crazed at this time, I purposely take time to be still, to enjoy the festive decorations and to be more thankful. Especially as the year winds down and I take assessment of the year: were was growth in my life, what was the take-away from this past year, could I have stepped outside of self more, passing along God's goodness in my life and sharing it with others.

"We empty ourselves to make room to receive more. Not that we're a blessing-hog, wanting more for ourselves. But we should always be in a state-of-mind to give ourselves away, then return to God to get filled up again. It's an endless circle of emptying and filling, which over time, develops our talents, sharpens understanding for others, and showers us with a fulfilled life.

"This Fall season, I wish you a Harvest like you've never experienced before. Begin today to plant seeds of love, patience, tolerance, giving--and then watch your life unfold and reap the benefit. The more you give, the more you'll receive. It doesn't get better than that!"

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More on 9-11

"I don't know about you, but there's something about the 10th anniversary of 9-11 that's been getting to me. It's about God's all knowing nature. Typically parents are esctatic upon the announcement to have a baby. When the baby is born, they're even more esctatic to finally meet that little person, who is the product of their love and connection. They hold all the hopes and dreams for their children, hoping that s/he will make the right choices in life, become a good citizen, prosper, dwell in happiness, etc. That's what typically happens on a human level. But on a Divine level, I believe God's love is unmeasurable. He delights in our existence. The Bible says we are a sweet fragrance to Him. He is all knowing, all loving, and ever present. So what's bugging me is when those 25 terrorists, responsible for the depths of evil--when they were born, I wonder how God felt about their birth, knowing what these innocent babies would grow up to be. When I think about this, and who really knows the mind of God, but when I try to feel what God felt, my heart becomes very heavy."

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The Tenth Anniversary

"It's been ten years since the catastophic evil invaded our lives. But it seems like the other day when a blend of humankind caused us to no longer draw lines that proclaims, "We are Americans, We are French, We are Mid-easteners, We are British, We are African...the list goes on.

"9-11 connected us a world. We are One. What happened on American soil on 9-11, happened to all of us wherever we live. Why? Because at the core of our humanity we all share common desires of health, happiness, properity, freedom, peace, love.

"As we go about our day, let us remember that even though we look different, have different languages, come from different cultures we are always the same. If we took two diversely different looking people and cut their arms, we'd see the same red blood, understand the same pain, require the same medicines for healing.

"Today, embrace anyone you see as different. Recognize our sameness. Let that unite ourselves in love and giving that God intended for all humankind.

"May you be blessed today. Go out and give blessings to others. And may we never forget..."

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Stormy Surprise

"What a crazy night. A summer storm in San Diego! and on Labor Day! That never happens! We are usually visited with a hot sun where hundreds of thousands San Diegans and vacationers head to the beach for this unofficial last day of summer. Or gather at backyard pool parties with serious end-of-season barbequing. But there was a gift that comes along with all thunderous showers. The aroma after a cleansing rain. The sweet, fresh, and clean fragrances of the moistened earth.

"I have a routine when I awake and that is to run around the house and open all the windows. This time, something stopped me at the first window. It was the sweet aroma of the sprinkled ground. I kept breathing it in. Sniff, sniff, sniff. I couldn't fill my lungs fast enough. Later in the day after a short drench, the earth offered up its sweet perfume. It was like, "Give thanks for old things made new."

"I got to thinking how great it is to have a clean house, clean clothes, clean kitchen, weeded and trimmed landscaping, a freshly washed car--the list can be endless. These things I have around every day--take for granted, sometimes neglect. But once cleaned, it offers a new start that brings its own positive energy into my life. 

"The next time your life turns into an unwelcomed thunderstorm, allow yourself to endure it. Know that "this too will end," and when you have waded through the challenge and finally have gotten to the other side, you shall have a new start, a new perspective, accelerated to the next step in your personal growth. You'll stand and be able to breathe in a new fragrance."

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