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Preferences

In the past week three separate incidents have occurred with the same basic theme…Adult bullying.

The first was a twitter comment indicating that there was something wrong with people who like milk chocolate. When I questioned the twit she said she was just joking around. I didn’t find it funny.

The second was a product that was lampooned by a nationally broadcast talk show and picked up on Facebook. I happen to like the product and find nothing sexist about it.

The third was a conversation over breakfast on Saturday where a woman at my table went into great detail about how ridiculous she thinks English people are for putting milk in their tea.

I am English by birth, Irish by marriage and American by choice.

I like enjoy milk chocolate.

I use Bic Lady Crystal pens.

I take milk, a dash of Angostura and one packet of Truvia in my Earl Grey.

That doesn’t make me wrong or sexist or ridiculous.

I just makes me me.

If my choice of chocolate or ink pens or tea is that offensive I’m truly sorry. But if I change because someone thinks less of me for these choices I will lose respect for myself and that is a choice I cannot make.

 

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What’s Your Leg-acy?

In an environment where a generation is defined as four years it is easy to lose tradition and continuity.

This morning I saw this photo. I know there is a story behind it, a tradition, a leg-acy if you will. But unless the story is passed down all meaning, all context, all continuity is lost. A doll leg in a bottle may seem like a silly thing to value but it points to the bigger issues.

I cannot begin to say it better than President Ronald Reagan did.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDouNtnR_IA

 

 

If it matters to you, have you passed it on? Will your values and beliefs and history and tradition be gone when you are? Do your children and your grandchildren know your story and their history? If you don’t tell them, who will?

What’s your legacy? Is it freedom? Is it worth defending? Is it worth preserving?

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Are you ignorant?

Ignorantia juris non excusat

When it comes to legal matters, ignorance is not a viable excuse for breaking the law. With over 180,000 pages of Federal law knowing everyone is not possible. But there are a lot of things that you can know. Things that can save a life or make the one you have run just a little smoother.

If you have a driver’s license you should know how to change your own tire, how to check the engine fluids and air pressure in your tires, and how to use jumper cables. If you do not know these four basic maintenance skills, park your car, call someone who does know and get them to teach you. Driving with low pressure or fluids can be a hazard not only to you but to me. Not knowing how to change your tire leaves you vulnerable and “helpless” on the side of a road somewhere.  Same thing with jumper cables. Keep them in your trunk next to the car jack and know how to use both.

Budget. Oh, how different our country would be if public servants knew what this word means and operated accordingly. If you don’t have a budget you are well on your way to debt and financial instability. There are hundreds of FREE sites that will teach you how to create one. After you set one up, teach your kids how to do it. Your grandkids will thank you.

If you have a computer, and I guessing you do if you are reading this. Learn how to back up and protect your information. If you need help, again, there are hundreds of websites that can give you step by step instructions. Not backing up and protecting your information is naive and just plain foolish.

Vote. I know you are being bombarded with political stuff right now. It may be annoying and seem overwhelming but if you don’t spend the time really educating yourself on the issues and the candidates you have no one to blame but yourself for the outcome of the elections. Don’t understand a proposition? Read it. Don’t just watch the t.v. commercials and decided which one annoys you the least. That’s not how to make an educated decision. Decided on a candidate you want to vote for? Great. If I ask you why you chose that person can you explain it other than “He’s not the other guy”?

Our country is facing some tough challenges. Everyone I know is dealing with their own stuff and wondering how it’s going to get better. Not knowing is no longer an excuse. What can you do today to be just a little bit smarter than you were yesterday?

 

 

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Looking back…looking forward

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?

For better or worse my precious girl doesn’t remember that day.
She was far to young to realize there was such evil or sorrow in the world.
She has seen the videos replayed but she has no memory of her own.

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?

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It’s Monday

For some Monday is just another day to head back to work.
Be grateful you have a job.
For some Monday is a day to fight traffic to drop your kids off at school.
Be grateful if you can hold them in your arms again at the end of the day.
For some Monday is a day to tell co-workers what you did over the weekend.
Be grateful you are not explaining what happened in court.
For some Monday will be unmemorable and unremarkable.
Be grateful for each moment of normal life it holds.

Never take Monday for granted.
You may not get one next week.

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I Do Declare ????

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.

 

Declaration by some other writers

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.

 

What’s your’s?

 

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Did you put out the trash?

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.

 

Photo by Crystal Liles

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?

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Too Many Questions

It’s grey, cold and raining outside my window this morning. The calendar says June but the sky says “not so fast”.

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.

Planned…

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.

 

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Have You Picked Your Low Hanging Fruit?

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?)

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Are you teachable?

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?

A quick glance through the book store will reveal the overwhelming number of books written by someone who knows something and took the time to put it in a book so you can learn what the author knows.

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?

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