Month: January 2014

Getting a DAR application together

One of my projects for this year is to put together an application for Daughters of the American Revolution.

This is a little tricky because I’m eligible for DAR through my father’s line. There are actually two patriots that I’m related to. Because of the adoption when I was three where my birth certificate was changed and my father was listed as John Robert Reed, this is a little tricky. I have to collect evidence that shows I am the daughter of Vernon Benton Leonard.

If Lee were still alive this would be a little easier because he could submit an affidavit that I’m his daughter.

I also have to provide other evidence that links Vernon (Lee) to his ancestors.

The following is the list of things I need:

  1. Dated copy of Lee’s obituary where I’m listed as his daughter
  2. Affidavit from my half-brother confirming Lee as my father.
  3. Certified copy of Lee’s death certificate.
  4. Death certificate for Lee’s father — Vernon Benton Phillips — from California.
  5. Death certificate for Amos Williams Phillips — Lee’s grandfather — from Oklahoma.

There may be other secondary things I need to prove my link to Lee.

The cool thing is that once I get Lee certified as a descendant of a patriot, my half-sister and half-brother could also use that. While my brother obviously isn’t eligible for Daughters of the American Revolution, he has a daughter and granddaughters who could apply in the future.

My biggest challenge with the #emptyshelf challenge

In 2014, I’m committed to reading more books. Jon Acuff challenged folks to empty a shelf and put all the books they read in 2014 on to that shelf.

My biggest challenge with the #emptyshelf challenge?

People keep posting awesome books that I want to read.

Right now, these are the books that I’m either in the middle of reading or are high on my priority list to read:

  • Body of Work by Pamela Slim
  • 1913 (a book about the year before World War I)
  • Timebound by Rysa Walker (It’s a young adult book that is the first book in a series. The next book is due out in October).

I’m trying not to get new ideas from the #emptyshelf challenge Pinterest board.

Should I cut my goal in half? #30days

Yesterday, as part of the #30days to hustle, Jon challenged everyone to cut their goal in half.

My goal for the #30days to hustle is to write 25,000 words in January. To keep on track with my 500,000 word goal for the year, I should actually be writing more than 25,000 words this month. If I only write 25,000 words, I’m going to be behind and not on track to get to 500,000 by the end of the year.

I believe goals should be SMART, but they should also force you to stretch.

Could I write 12,500 words instead of 25,000 – almost definitely. But, 12,500 words is only about 400 words a day and would allow me to slack off and not necessarily write every day.

Between #30days to hustle and #my500words, I’ve already written almost double what I wrote in December and we’re only 10 days into the month.

One of the other interesting discussions on the #30days to hustle facebook group is people that set up goals to do something every day — like read the scriptures, write or some other activity. It’s interesting to see the discussion about whether they should just do something every other day or somehow change up their plans.

For now, I’m going to stick with my goal of 25,000 words for the month. I feel like that’s attainable, but also a stretch.

Travel Adventures Part II #my500words

In the fall of 1997, my grandfather was kind enough to loan me the money to buy a car. I bought a used, black Civic hatchback. This car was barely off the ground, but it was the perfect car for getting around DC and Maryland.

My first road trip in the car was to visit a friend for Thanksgiving in Columbus, Ohio. That trip added Pennsylvania and Ohio to my list of states.

I also can’t remember when the trip was, but I decided to visit a friend in Mississippi and also see my friend Chan Goshorn in Louisiana. That added another two states.

One trip that I didn’t mention in my first post is that before I got my car I had gone to Delaware and to the shore while living in Maryland. We had gone to stay at the beach with a group of friends.

In the spring of 1998, I decided to move back to California. I drove my car with a trailer attached to the back. In addition to Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio, that trip also included Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa (briefly), Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California.

In 1998, I also decided to take a trip to meet a friend up near Seattle. That added Oregon and Washington to the my growing lists of visited states.

In 1999, I went to visit my friend Duncan in Denver. That added Colorado.

In 2000, I drove to Utah to visit the Checketts. That didn’t add any states, but my trips between California and Utah would become a regular thing.

In November of 2002, I upgraded my car from the Honda Civic to a Honda CR-V.

I took several trips between the Bay Area and Utah (at least once a year), and I also took a trip up to Portland, Oregon and another one to Hermiston, Oregon.

I also flew to Jersey for my friend Duncan’s wedding.

In May of 2012, I decided to make another cross-country move. As part of that trip I drove through California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee.

Since I’ve been in Tennessee, I’ve been on trips through Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, West Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina.

I also took a train from Tennessee to Chicago to Fargo, North Dakota. I took one business trip and flew to Minnesota.

In alphabetical order:

  1. Alabama (no)
  2. Alaska (no)
  3. Arizona (yes)
  4. Arkansas (yes)
  5. California (yes)
  6. Colorado (yes)
  7. Connecticut (yes)
  8. Delaware (yes)
  9. Florida (no)
  10. Georgia (yes)
  11. Hawaii (yes)
  12. Idaho (yes)
  13. Illinois (yes)
  14. Indiana (yes)
  15. Iowa (yes)
  16. Kansas (yes)
  17. Kentucky (yes)
  18. Louisiana (yes)
  19. Maine (no)
  20. Maryland (yes)
  21. Massachusetts (yes)
  22. Michigan (yes)
  23. Minnesota (yes)
  24. Mississippi (yes)
  25. Missouri (yes)
  26. Montana (no)
  27. Nebraska (yes)
  28. Nevada (yes)
  29. New Hampshire (no)
  30. New Jersey (yes)
  31. New Mexico (yes)
  32. New York (yes)
  33. North Carolina (yes)
  34. North Dakota (yes)
  35. Ohio (yes)
  36. Oklahoma (yes)
  37. Oregon (yes)
  38. Pennsylvania (yes)
  39. Rhode Island (no)
  40. South Carolina (yes)
  41. South Dakota (no)
  42. Tennessee (yes)
  43. Texas (yes)
  44. Utah (yes)
  45. Vermont (no)
  46. Virginia (yes)
  47. Washington (yes)
  48. West Virginia (yes)
  49. Wisconsin (yes)
  50. Wyoming (yes)

So, the big states I’m missing are Florida and almost all the states in the northeast north of New York. I’m hoping to take a trip to Florida this spring to see Morgan and Adam Checketts, which would take care of Florida and another trip through Georgia.

Travel Adventures Part 1 #my500words

Today’s writing challenge from Jeff was to create a list.

One of the things that I haven’t talked about much on this blog are some of my travelling adventures.

My travelling started in adulthood. When I was a child, I went on only a few memorable trips.

When I was 8, I went to Disneyland with my grandparents and an aunt and uncle. When I was either 17 or 18, I went down to Los Angeles with our Key Club high school group. We went to a Key Club convention and also went to Disneyland. We also took a couple of trips to Carson City, Nevada after my aunt, uncle and cousins moved there.

Literally, the furthest from California I moved to before I was 18 was Carson City, Nevada. If you’ve never been to Carson City, you might not realize that it’s very close to the California border.

My real travelling began after I left for college.

In the fall of 1991, I traveled from Sacramento to Minneapolis, Minnesota and then to Duluth, Minnesota on my first two airplane flights. Once in Duluth, I loaded into a van and traveled to Ashland, Wisconsin. I was physically in three states in 1 day. That was a record for me.

In January of 1992, I made my first visit to Utah. I flew from Sacramento to Salt Lake City and then spent a few days in Ogden, Utah. I flew back to Minnesota and spent the next couple of months in Wisconsin.

In the Spring of 1992, I took a trip with the other communications committee folks to New York City. To get there, we had to board a plane in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I can’t remember which airport we changed planes in. It might have been Detroit. That trip to New York was really fantastic.

The summer of 1992 involved another round trip from Wisconsin to California and back but not much other travelling.

The end of 1992, 1993 and the spring of 1994 didn’t involve much travel except for trips from California to Wisconsin for school. I did travel to Southern Wisconsin and that was a fun trip.

At the end of the summer, 1994 I moved back from Wisconsin to California. I spent most of that fall in Marin County, California. I got to explore the county a lot.

In the winter of 1995, I moved from California to the Washington, DC Metro area. I lived in Virginia and spent a good deal of time exploring DC and Virginia. Unfortunately, I was without a car so any exploring was via Metro. In February of 1995, I took a little trip down to North Carolina to meet a guy. I had been talking to him online for a bit and we started dating for a few months. The trip to North Carolina on Amtrak was great. Amtrak on the east coast is so great compared to the rest of the country.

By the summer of 1995, I was living in Maryland. I had lived in four states in 12 months between August of 1994 and July of 1995 — Wisconsin, California, Virginia and Maryland. For the next few years, I did not do a lot of travelling. I did take another trip on Amtrak down to South Carolina to watch my sister graduate from Army basic training.

The real travelling began when I got my car in the fall of 1997.

What are my writing goals?

Over in the #my500words Facebook group, Jeff asked¬†“If you could do anything with your writing, achieve any goal, what would it be?”¬†

To be honest, I haven’t thought about this question in awhile.

I’ve thought about writing in terms of how many words I want to write, but I haven’t thought about it in terms of longer goals.

I don’t have much interest in writing a book.

I’d like to get more exposure for either this blog or my other personal blog, but those are really a means to an end. Largely, I want to be out there speaking more, and I know that writing on these blogs would open up some opportunities there.

In regards to the work blog, I’d love for it to bring in more clients. It would be great if my company was seen as more of a thought leader in the nonprofit space, especially those doing unique production work.

In regards to my personal blog, one of the reasons why I write about some of the more personal things is because I hope that people will read it and feel some connection to things I’ve been through. This really falls in to two areas: others with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and those who have gone through abuse and other childhood trauma.

Ehlers-Danlos is rare and horribly diagnosed. Most people who have it feel so isolated in what they’re going through — whether its the pain or the instability that plagues us on a daily basis. Maybe me posting about how I get through the rough days and deal with things like being in a wheelchair will help someone else.

When it comes to abuse and childhood trauma, it’s all about keeping secrets. The more light we shine on these abuses, the harder it is for abusers to hide their evil deeds.

That is a long answer to the short question of what goal am I trying to achieve with my writing.

“Knowledge is the Obstacle to Freedom”

A few months ago, I watched a documentary called The Highest Pass about a group of people who were trying to ride the Highest Pass in the Himalayas on motorcycles.

The documentary was really interesting, and one of the things that has stuck with me is something the spiritual mentor leading the journey said — “Knowledge is the obstacle to freedom”.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as I work towards my goals, especially those having to do with weight loss and fitness.

When it comes to nutritional choices, I know what is good and bad. I know the amount of calories I should be eating each day to lose weight. I know the types of foods are healthy and which ones aren’t.

I know that drinking soda, especially in excess, is just pure empty calories. I know that eating fast food is not a healthy option.

I know all these things, but I have a very hard time putting them in to action.

In some ways, its the same thing with exercise. I know that keeping my body moving helps and not hurts it. I know that the more I work out, the better I feel.

Yet, I often have time feeling motivated to make any of this happen.

I’m trying really hard to get out of my own way and find a way to be successful.