Do you have something simple on your calendar for today?
Do you have something difficult on your calendar for today?
Do you have something peaceful on your calendar for today?
The task list is long and never-ending.
The daily maintenance alone can fill my waking hours.
Dreams, projects, desires and goals are pushed down or postponed until the real work is faced.
But what if the dreams, projects, desires and goals are the real work?
What if the maintenance is secondary instead of primary?
What if I have it all upside down?
What if the things I start my day with become the ones I end it with and the ones I put off until the end of the day become the first things I do in the morning?
What if at the end of the day I look forward to the morning because it holds treasure instead of chores?
Remember how the churches filled up 11 years ago?
Remember how your neighbors seemed a little more like friends?
Remember how you called family just to hear their voices?
How do we hold the lessons and let go of the pain?
How do we teach the frailty of life without instilling fear?
What are you doing tonight? What did you do that night? Has anything changed?
When the colonies wanted a better way of government they signed the Declaration of Independence.
When you enter the United States you are required to fill out a form asking if you have anything to declare.
Today I was challenged by Jeff Goins to make my own declaration. So here it is.
I, Lana Vaughan, do declare I am a writer.
I have been a writer for more than 45 years.
I have written a plethora post-it notes, tomes of to-do lists, miles of memos, an effusion of emails and the beginnings of 18 books.
I am a writer who sees life from a unique perspective through a unreproducible set of observations and experiences.
My voice is my own.
My choice of words is unlimited.
My thoughts and opinions have the flexibility to change and adapt as new information becomes part of my process.
I have everything I need to write.
This is my declaration.
Today is garbage day.
The trucks are making their rounds in my neighborhood picking up black plastic bins and dumping them in one section, returning them to the curb to hoist the grey bins dumping recyclables into a different section. The green trimming truck comes by later.
Every Monday night my husband faithfully makes the rounds of small trash cans in our home, collecting and sorting as he goes before wheeling our assorted bins out to their appointed spot next to the neighbor’s to wait for Tuesday morning.
Today is also the intersection of a few things that may seem entirely random to anyone else but from my particular spot in time on this particular little ball of mud hurdling through the universe they all come together for me.
On a balcony in London the Queen of England stood regal and gracious as a million people stood before her singing the national anthem. Celebrating 60 years as the reigning monarch, she was Queen for 10 years before I was born in Banbury, Oxfordshire, England. The past four days have been a nationwide celebration of the woman many look to with the affection of a grandmother. She is the only Queen many have ever known. Those who remember her father as King have watched her grow from a child remaining in London during the War to a young woman of elegance, a mother and then ascend the throne at his passing. I add my voice…”God save the Queen”.
Watching her my eyes fill with tears as I mourn my own grandmother who would have celebrated her birthday today. This is the second June 5th since she passed away. I last saw her in 2010. It had been 25 years since we were face to face. Entering her room at her lovely retirement home I sank down at her feet and said, “Hello, gramma. It’s Lana.” To which she replied, “No, you’re not. Lana is in California.” After being able to verify who I was based on some memories of my childhood we both remembered she looked straight in my eyes and said, “You got old!” With great personal restraint I did not reply, “You’ve always looked this old!” I miss her. I miss that I did not know her very well. I don’t know her story. I don’t know the richness of her life. I think I probably know the Queen’s history better than my own grandmother’s.
I had gone back east to help my mother clear out years of stuff that had accumulated in her home making it a hazard and jeopardizing her ability to remain there. It was this crisis that prompted my return after 25 years absence. Those years had been marked with nightmares about returning. After four days of sorting and tossing, which turned out to be very therapeutic, mother’s home was organized, safe and passed inspection. The nightmares have not returned.
In two days I celebrate a half century of my own story. The closer June 7 gets the more introspective I become wondering what the highlight reel of my life would include. How would it hold up when the failures and triumphs are weighed? I try not to compare my life with others but even looking back with singular vision I see so many missed opportunities, so many wasted efforts, so many wrong decisions I stuck with far too long because pride refused to admit mistakes, so many things I look back wondering “what was I thinking!?!” When it comes time to sort through my “stuff” what will my daughter find worth keeping? How much will she toss out as trash?
But when I toss out the garbage myself I find I am left with some really good stuff. A family of interesting characters held together by love not blood, a handful of genuine friends who may not always understand me but who accept me as I am, a few projects that I helped see to completion that I am honored to have been part of, and a little hard earned wisdom.
Today the planet Venus passes between my little ball of mud and the Sun. This won’t happen again in my lifetime and honestly I didn’t really pay attention when it happened in 2004. Named after the goddess of Love I can’t help but think how incredible it is that today, when I am clearing out the trash to see the treasures of my life, looking toward the Son from the mud I see Love. Because He is King and I am His beloved I am a queen.
I wonder what day they pick up the garbage at Buckingham Palace?
I had planned on emptying out my craft cottage today to re-organize, take inventory, clear clutter and most importantly make room for my favorite teen to have her own work bench.
As I sit here on the verge of my 50th birthday that word is screaming at me with all the force of 49 years of unexecuted plans. Unfinished projects, letters never sent, phone calls never made, dreams left among the clouds. Planned…
They say if you want to hear God laugh tell Him your plans. Today as the rain falls my heart doesn’t hear laughter but the sound of tears on my window. Not of regret but of “less than…”
The “what ifs…” take the place of thunder in my rainy day. Where I live it is very rare to get the drama and passion and unexpectedness that comes with thunder and lightning. But the “what ifs…” flash through my mind and the sound that exploded at their passing is my heart dropping.
Today, more than usual, the questions without answers seem over whelming.
This morning I took a short ladder out to the tree just outside my window. I climbed up the tree and gathered these beauties.
Now I could make a reference to “life is a bowl of cherries” but that wasn’t where my heart and mind went as I was balancing and reaching.
I read a lot. This week I picked up two new publications by writers/bloggers I respect. Michael Hyatt released Platform and Jeff Goins released You are a Writer. Both are on very similar subjects and even though I have not gotten all the way through either one, there is a huge point in both.
Write! Write! Write! The easiest and at the same time most difficult way to reach readers is through a blog. Since I have one, a very nice one, using it on a daily basis is just about as simple as can be.
I don’t have to go to St. Arbuck’s for internet. I have my choice of very nice computers right on my own desk in my own office in my own home attached to my own kitchen with my own coffee pot.
My blog is the truest form of low hanging fruit. But like the cherries on the tree I have to actually do the things necessary to harvest that fruit.
So what is your low hanging fruit? What would you like to do or change? Get out your ladder. Stop looking at the fruit through the window and go get it!
Fresh fruit in the morning is extra delicious if you’ve picked it yourself from your own tree.
(Wonder where the tall ladder is?)
When was the last time you let someone teach you something?
Something that made your life easier or better or happier?
Something that you never thought you could do but now you can?
How many hours of television are dedicated to DIY and educational programming?
Never in history has so much information and knowledge ( do not make the mistake of thinking they are the same thing) been available on such a wide scale.
But unless we are willing to learn, willing to admit we need someone to teach us, willing to listen instead of talk, we can remain uneducated and ignorant.
Who is teaching you? Who are you teaching?
What have you learned today?
Who is your personal or professional role model?
If you were to follow in someone’s career path who’s would it be?
If you could have anyone in the world for a mentor who would you choose? Why them?
If you don’t know where you are going it’s a waste of gas to go 90 miles an hour.
If you don’t know of anyone, anywhere doing what you want to do and making a living at it you might want to consider if you are the one in 40 billion who can do something that never ever been done by anyone ever.
If there is someone, somewhere doing what you want to do and making a living at it:
Who are you following? Where are you going? Why are you still just sitting there?????
Reader Digest ran a short article in the late 1970′s that still impacts my daily life.
It was 6 things to do everyday.
Something you want to do
Something you don’t want to do
Something for someone else
Prayer of gratitude
Abdominal muscles are sometimes referred to as core muscles. If you have listed them out or are even conscious of them, the things you do daily are exercising your core values. If your actions don’t match what you think your values are maybe it’s time to do a quick reality check.
A wise man once said “People are going to do what they want to do.” So, do you need to change your actions or get honest about your values?