Welcome to: Cups and Conversations

Cups and Conversations just seem to go together, don’t they? Enjoying hot chocolate, coffee, broth, or tea can represent friendship, laughs, maybe tears, fun times or serious decisions. It can mean making memories —or seeking and sharing advice and wisdom.

Do you have a cherished memory that began over a cup of coffee?

It may have taken place around a campfire, in a restaurant or coffee shop, at a kitchen table gazing at a garden scene, or snow flakes falling, or even in a conference room.

Your Cups and Conversations memory may stem from times you spent with a sister, brother, parent, son or daughter, husband, wife, neighbors, colleagues, or with a special someone in your life.

What About Your Story

  • What conversations or comments have made an impact on your life?
  • How did someone’s words motivate or inspire you?
  • What remarks have influenced you the most?
  • What conversations sparked a change in your life and spirit?
  • What words of wisdom modified or set the direction of your dreams?
  • What advice gave you a new goal to pursue or the encouragement to keep going?
  • Did negative remarks become a catalyst for change in your life?

Negative words can become stepping stones to success. They can lead us into positive pursuits and produce winning outcomes.

Share Your Story

Would you like to share your story of how words or conversations have made an indelible mark on your life? I would love to hear from you! Most people have at least one story. Many others can be inspired and benefit from your experience.

You can share your story in two ways. You can post it in the Blog comments, (or if you’d like to keep it more private) you can email your story to me or send it by regular mail. It can be as short and simple as a few paragraphs. What was said, what was heard, and how it affected you.

You can also share your story in another way. You could become a contributing author. I am putting together a compilation of stories for a new book about how positive and negative words or conversations influence our lives; shape our thinking, decisions, goals, and future.

If your story is selected for the book, you will be paid $50. Your written permission will be obtained; and you will also have the opportunity to approve any editing. You may submit more than one story.

Submitted stories should be 800 to 1500 words, and sent as a Word Document attachment, or PDF file. Please include your contact information: mailing address, phone and email.

Simply Email me on the Contact page, or, if you prefer, by regular mail. I look forward to hearing from you!

One Story of Mine—A Life-Changing Conversation

The hospital room was stark. I sat next to the empty, steel-framed bed where my mother had just died. My face was taut and red from the tears I’d shed. I clutched her favorite black leather purse. My chest felt like it was in a vice. The most influential person in my life was gone.

I slowly surveyed and touched each item in her purse, as if the contents suddenly became sacred. Everything was neat, orderly, and arranged perfectly. Not one speck of lint or fuzz was evident anywhere. It was a reflection of her personality; it was like reading how her mind worked. Several safety pins linked together onto one and pinned to the inside cloth – just in case anybody, even a stranger, might need one to conceal a torn hem. Coupons for everything from soap powder, canned goods to toothpaste were paper clipped together —by category. I heard her voice – in my head:

“Never buy an item without checking your discount coupons. Never miss an opportunity to save money. It’s the right way to do things”.

Her wallet displayed the same kind of perfection and right way to arrange the contents. Paper money assembled evenly—$20’s in front, $10’s, $5’s, then $1’s last. If she could have stacked the coins by size, she would have.

Just a few months before her death, I recalled our conversation over coffee at my kitchen table. Mom knew she was dying. She had spent a great deal of time in our home so as to relieve my dad of the full burden of caring for her by himself.

In her robe and slippers, she watched me sauté ten little crawdads that our son and his friend had just caught in the pond behind our house. Their fishing poles in hand, the boys were excitedly hovering over the fry pan, anxious to taste their catch. They gobbled them up and out the door they ran to snag some more.

“I could never have done what you just did”, she said, lowering her eyes. I reached for her wrinkled hand. “What do you mean, Mom?”

“I was always so concerned about keeping the house clean, and not allowing any mud or dirt to be tracked in on the floors. I made so many mistakes. I wish I could have been different. I was wrong. I am so sorry.”

I couldn’t speak. With tears streaming down our cheeks, we hugged and held each other tightly, not uttering a word. This was a life-altering moment.

When we were growing up, we were not allowed to sit on our made-up beds. It would make “dents” in the bedspread. My sisters and I washed each slat of the white wooden blinds on the windows—every Saturday. We cleaned the grout between the ceramic tiles in the kitchen and bathroom with toothpaste and a toothbrush every six months. Furniture was dusted daily and was subject to inspection. All floors were washed on hands and knees. The front porch, walkway and sidewalk in front of our home were swept daily. Twice, if leaves were falling.

We learned the right way to wash, rinse and dry dishes and silverware—and stack them neatly in cabinets and drawers. Mom taught us the proper way to set a formal table. I could recount more details, but you get the idea. We had the cleanest and neatest house of anyone we knew. Always in perfect order in case the Queen of England would just happen to drop by.

Most things Mom taught us were positive and have served us well. We four sisters are better women because of it. We can laugh about it now, but some things were difficult to bear at the time and inflicted negative consequences.

In order to please someone, to get along, to keep peace, or to simply survive with less stress and strife, we often adopt traits that are not part of our natural personality. We unconsciously put on a mask, so to speak. We perform and function in a way that is not really who we are.

I learned to expect perfection in myself, to try to keep a spotless home, and perform at levels higher than the norm. No one else expected it of me, but I did, because my mother did. It made my life more difficult than it should have been. True contentment, happiness and self-satisfaction often eluded me.

Mom wasn’t big on compliments and I never remember her admitting she was wrong about anything—before that day in my kitchen. That conversation began to change my thinking and behavior.

Going through her purse, I knew Mom had not changed her habits. It was too late for her. But it was not too late for me. A few words set me free to shed the demands of someone else—that became self-imposed.

Did I have that freedom overnight? Of course not. But I began to change my expectations of myself, my husband and our son. I began to smell the roses all around me, appreciate the joys of each day, and laugh more. I only dust my house once a week, and giggle when I make a squiggly line in that dust.

Now, I could choose to enter that old cage. What is different?  The door of the cage is now open. If I’d happen to wander in, I didn’t have to stay there. It gives me the freedom to fly out and enjoy living life on a higher level.

Happy Flying,

Was this blog entry helpful to you? Please share your feedback or experiences in the Comments section below.

  • marilyn

    Peggy, your story is beautiful and you have a great writing style. Wish I had known your mother better. I think of my mother so often but now as I try to think of an actual episode that really influenced my life; this will inspire me to think deeper. I know she had a great sense of humor and I often repeat her little comedic responses to the dramatic situations in my life. I know she always had my back and did every thing she could to make my life easier so I could enjoy the heck out of it. And I did and still am. We are so blessed, aren’t we? M.