March For Our Lives-My Response

March For Our Lives 3-25-18

My response to the recent marches across this country-and others-in favor of gun control.  I previously read this article on my live Facebook broadcast.

On March 24, 2018, young adults across this country stood to be heard and to be counted. They demanded to be heard because too many young people are dying by guns. Too many are losing their lives IN SCHOOL at the hands of someone who, in many cases, should never have been able to get their hands on firearms, let alone carry them into a school.

That is a valid and staggering argument, but the larger picture is this:

Gun control DOES NOT mean taking away or banning firearms. It means using common sense!! It means NOT allowing a mentally ill person free access to those firearms. It means not allowing just anyone to have access to a military grade weapon. It means SAVING LIVES!

YES, you have 2nd amendment rights. No one is disputing that, nor are they trying to do away with that right. What this has to do with is keeping weapons meant for war out of the hands of someone who has NOT gone through a thorough background check. It has to do with making certain those who suffer with mental illness are, either, kept from possessing firearms or they are strictly vetted.

I have no objection to someone owning firearms. I have been hunting, I get it. I also understand the need that some feel for having the protection. Those things make perfect sense and are, in no way, a target for this movement.

Remember the 2nd amendment was adopted as part of the Bill of Rights on December 15, 1791 and reads in part:

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed…”

This tells us that the militia {those who serve to protect us} carry arms for that purpose. It also tells us the people of this country have the right to keep and bear firearms. The difference between then and now is that firearms held by the people were generally used for survival and protection. Plain and simple. They did NOT have access to multiple round automatic weapons, nor would they-or anyone NOW-have a need for such a weapon.

Let me make this clear-YES, you have the right to bear arms, but you cannot justify a NEED to have an AR-15 or an AK-37. You cannot justify a need for a multi-round automatic weapon unless you are a soldier or a law enforcement officer.

Before you get your knickers in a twist, let me reiterate.. GUN CONTROL DOES NOT MEAN TAKING AWAY YOUR WEAPONS!! Got that? You want a gun? Good for you! Go for it… but go through the process of applying, a THOROUGH background check and PLENTY of training in order to keep that gun.

There is NO WAY you can honestly oppose those requirements and be taken seriously.

As for this movement-this is not the first time teenagers have had to step up and make noise. We did it in the 1960s and even into the 1970s. Those now in government who make light of these fine young people and their purpose seem to be forgetting that they, too, were a part of a fight. They seem to have forgotten all that NEEDED to be protested and fought for. In their greed and their hypocrisy they have forgotten that they work FOR us, not the other way around.

To all young people now awakening to a cause-

NEVER allow someone to diminish that for which you fight.

NEVER allow anyone to diminish your passion, your truth and your right to stand for those things.

NEVER allow anyone to tell you that your fight is without reason or cause.

ALWAYS fight for what is right-without regard to those who fear you and your actions.

ALWAYS fight for those who cannot fight for themselves no matter what it takes.

ALWAYS remember that it is those who stand and fight who make a difference in this world. It is those who will not be silenced that change that which is wrong.

When you are right, there will ALWAYS be those who oppose you… because you are trying to take away something they desire-something they want. You are working against their greed, their selfishness, their hatefulness and their hypocrisy.

NEVER allow them to intimidate you. NEVER waver from your cause. NEVER be intimidated by a louder voice or a position the other person might hold.

When you are right, you must be LOUDER. You must be BRAVER and you must be STRONGER.

We brought about changes 50 years ago and you can bring about changes NOW.

Don’t give up!

YOU CAN DO THIS!!

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A Character Sketch

Hokey Sloan was a farmhand at Jenkin’s Ranch.  The ranch was in the middle of west Texas where the ground was dirt and rock and the tumbleweed had free rein.  Hokey lived in a tiny one room shack he had built himself not long after coming to the ranch.

Hokey was in his mid 40s, but looked far older. He had spent his entire life in the outdoors with the sun and the wind and the horses and cattle.  He had no regrets-except one.

Hokey’s black hair was now sprinkled with grey and hung to his shoulders. His scraggled beard was more grey than anything else and he had developed a pudge in his middle from the lazy meals he created for himself.  Hokey also drank too much whiskey.  It helped to numb the pain from regret.

Hokey Sloan was lonely. He was heart broken and he was tormented and his one regret was named Diane. 

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Ten Down To Eight

It came to me in a dream.

In this dream, I was in Baltimore {a city I have never visited} and I was spending the day following Chip and Joanna Gaines {from Fixer Upper on HGTV} around looking at old townhouses, etc.  At least, I think that is what they were doing.  For my part, I seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time looking for my car.  I searched street after street, but never found my car.

I was beginning to be a bit freaked out because that car was nowhere in sight, when Joanna came up behind me and put her hands on my shoulders. She turned me to have me look across the street at a little door.  There was a cross over the door and, when we stepped up to it, a small sign on the door said “prayer room”.  Joanna opened the door revealing a room the size of a small closet furnished with one chair and shelves along each wall covered with books and papers.  She told me to go inside.

For my part, I am a Spiritualist and the Christian traditions are a bit different from what I practice, while the end result is mostly the same.  With this in mind, I stepped into this tiny space, closed the door and sat down.  All I could think of was “I need to find my car”.

When I then stepped out of the tiny room, I looked at Joanna and said “I didn’t even drive here. My car is at home.” Joanna smiled and said “See?  Ten down to eight.”

That was my dream.  When I woke and thought about it, I immediately knew what it meant.

Ten down to eight refers to problems in life.   In the dream, I faced one problem-the absence of my car. When that problem was figured out, I could move on to the next problem.

Yes, dreams can be weird and make very little sense, especially in the translation, but when you wake up and you immediately understand, it is time to think about it in depth.

We all carry so many problems around with us. Each and every day, we carry them over from the day before and we add more to the load.  It is so easy to become overwhelmed.  The answer?

Remember the rule of Ten Down to Eight.   Take one problem at a time. Deal with THAT problem and THAT problem ONLY.  Work out that problem.  Decide what to do about THAT problem. Leave any other problems in the background.  We truly can only do one thing at a time so stop trying to do it all.

ONE THING AT A TIME!

Ten Down to Eight!

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The Spirit Moves Me

The Spirit Moves Me

©2014 Nancy L. Stanford

When Molly George sat down at the desk, she knew, of course, that she was supposed to be working. The problem was, Molly could not seem to focus. She was constantly being distracted and she had no motivation to charge through the distractions.

Molly was a writer who had seen her work rejected so many times over the years, she questioned her talent. She questioned the reasoning behind even attempting to write and she questioned the practicality of constantly pursuing something so unreliable. But despite all the questioning, Molly could not stop her writing.

The young woman wrote everything from short character sketches to long, involved novel length stories, but had never published anything. She had been writing for years with no sign of public acknowledgement. She had put her efforts out there for friends and family to read and had even asked for feedback, but none came. She had posted a few items on Facebook and had nearly begged for comments and had received none. So why did Molly continue?

Molly needed to write. She saw her writing as just as necessary as breathing. Even when she only wrote a short paragraph, Molly felt the surge of pleasure in creating something which had not existed before.  She felt the elation of sharing a part of her soul, even if no one else ever saw it.

So now, she sat at her cluttered desk with a blank screen in front of her. Many writers, she knew, began with an outline or a very carefully worked out scenario before they ever put their fingers to the keys, or pen to paper, but Molly could not work that way. She had discovered early on she had no talent for following such rigid guidelines. She could only go with what came to her. She often simply wrote a title and let that guide the rest of the piece. Sometimes it came out very well, and other times it was good only for quick deletion.

Today, Molly had no idea what she would write, knowing only that she would. She had turned off the television and the radio and sat in complete silence, but quickly realized that would not work well.  The silence was too unsettling.

Walking across the room, the young woman brushed her auburn curls from her face. When reaching the radio, she chose a station of soft rock favorites. She purposely kept the volume low and prayed it would help. As she sat down again, the voice on the radio began talking about a new app. He called it the Ghost Finder. Molly found herself immediately distracted from her writing. She reached for her cell phone and pulled up the mentioned app.  When it came up, she hit the button that read “install”. Once installed on her phone, Molly brought it up. In only a matter of moments, there were little green dots all over the screen which was supposed to mean there were that many spirits around her.  Part of the app were supposed to actually give voice to words the spirits would “say”. Molly didn’t really believe in such a thing, but she enjoyed such things for entertainment. As she watched the green dots move around, there was a sudden voice.

“Language.” It said in a female monotone. Molly shrugged.   Mere seconds later, the same voice said “story” and then almost immediately “do”.

Molly sat back quickly. She was suddenly fighting with her logical mind which told her the app was just a silly game. The voice had told her exactly what she needed to hear. She DID need to get to writing.

Molly decided that she would accept the words as real. She didn’t care if the app was a game, it was telling her what to do and it was right.

From that day, Molly would open the ghost app and place it on her desk when she sat down to write. She would then devote all her time to creating her world of words. She didn’t want to disappoint her spirit guides, as she had begun to think of them. At the end of the first month, Molly had finished the first draft of a story she had toyed with for several years. She knew that the hard part now began. She would have to edit and rewrite.

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Here We Go

Six months {or so} ago, I released my first book, Letters to Sarah-Book One.  That day, I was breathless and stunned and feeling a bit out of body.  I had worked for many, many years to reach that point and there it was.  A book that had been such a part of my life, my heart, my very existence, for so long was now out there in the universe for all to see.  Whatever talent I had was out there, but so was whatever faults in writing and whatever quirks.  Everyone would see, to their own judgement, if my words actually deserved to be on paper.  

The result and the response have been wonderful.  Book sales have been encouraging, of course.  People will not spend their hard earned money on nonsense, as a rule, so for them to spend it on a book I wrote is such an honor for me.  It is also a responsibility.

Once the initial euphoria began to fade from that initial book release, it settled in on me that I now had a greater responsibility.  Those who bought and read the first book were now waiting for Book Two in order to further follow Mary’s story.  I no longer had a choice about writing this story.

Through the years, I have written enough short stories, character sketches, paragraphs and possible books to fill a semi, I’m certain, but those were all for my eyes and those were all tucked away for the time they MIGHT become something more.  No one ever knew of their existence except me.  Now, Letters to Sarah, came along and changed everything.

With the release of Letters to Sarah, what I wrote was open to public view and opinion. Those are things I welcomed then and still do.  But it also changed my life in subtle ways.

My name and my work is ‘out there’.  Because of that, I have a ‘brand’. I have an obligation to present myself in such a way that is far more public than it has ever been.  What I post online, how I act in public, the persona I put forth at all times now becomes important…even in my small town way.

There are young people, I now realize, who are watching and listening and it is incumbent upon me to take that very seriously.  It is vital for me to put forth thoughts, ideas, and words that are encouraging and enlightening and helpful in some way.  None of that is a burden, however.   Those are the things I have always strived toward.  I have not always succeeded, but I have strived.

So, with Letters to Sarah-Book One out there in the hands of so many people, my life has changed.  It is about to change yet again. Because, you see, today-December 15th, 2017-Letters to Sarah-Book Two is released to the public.  Today, Mary’s story continues. Today, more of my heart and soul is put out there for everyone to see and read and hold in their hearts and hands.  I only hope I am worthy.

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Real is Unreal

Tomorrow I have a book signing at a Barnes and Noble store.  

I have had book signings before this, but they were local and I knew most of the wonderful people who came.  But this one is not local.  This one makes my hands shake.  This one makes my insecurities peek over the edge.

Writing is to put your inner soul and your heart right out there.  Many times, what you have written stays in the drawer. When most of the people who bought my book were friends and family,  I was reassured and my confidence was greatly boosted.  My words, my efforts were out there for others to see and read and evaluate.  This time, that is all changed.

Tomorrow, I will be in a venue where I know almost no one.  I will have my book out there for total strangers to look at and purchase, or smile that polite smile that says “Isn’t that cute.” and then walk away.  That is fine. But once strangers buy my work, my heart and soul are out there for the masses to know…to evaluate…and to walk on, if they see fit.

My work is no longer my own at that point.  These characters and this concept become a part of that outside world instead of a safe and secure escape for me.   THAT is why my hands shake.

I wanted this.  I have strived for this my entire life.  I have had this goal in my mind and in my heart for as long as I can remember.  I am up for it. I am more than ready to accept all criticisms and critiques. I am more than aware that you can’t please everyone and not everyone will like my work. That’s cool.  I don’t like everything I read either.  I am good with all that.  Let’s face it, I welcome rejection letters.  Why?

When I receive those rejection letters, just as when I receive any constructive criticism of my writing, I do so with the understanding it means I put it out there. I didn’t just write something and throw it in a drawer-never to see the light of day.  I put this out there knowing it could be called any number of things-from brilliant to cool to fun to lame to silly and to really bad.  I get it.

But if I hadn’t put it out there, I could not live with myself.  I would not be true to myself.

So, tomorrow, I will take my box of books and my supply of pens and I will set up at Barnes and Noble and I will HOPE that I have a good reception. I will HOPE that the people like my book as much as I like bringing it to them.

Then-on to the next step.

#letterstosarah

{Book One now available on Amazon,com and can be ordered through your favorite bookseller.   Book Two release-DECEMBER 15}

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If

If I was that sort of person I would have done it long ago-back when the bullying started. I would have done it that first time I was used and discarded. I would have done it when I was first told how worthless and stupid I was. I would have done it when the ones I trusted first started to leave me. I didn’t do it then so I won’t do it now that the last of my trust has been stolen. I won’t do it-but I understand it.

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