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As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I am mindful, even in the midst of the rebuilding of my business and personal foundation…that I am so blessed. Over the past two weeks we have seen devastation from a typhoon in the Philippines and a tornado in my home state of Illinois. How often do we rail against an inconvenience; waiting in a line too long, not finding a parking space close enough to our store, you get the picture…when in contrast to what our fellow Earth inhabitants are facing, we are so BLESSED.

I have had a song in my head for a few days…written and performed by Sly and the Family Stone, Thankful and Thoughtful.

Hearing and reading the lyrics, from over 40 years ago, show the timeless nature of the need to be ever thankful for the challenges and triumphs in our lifetime. Take a few minutes and listen…and consider what you are thankful for this time of year.

http://youtu.be/K66cK03W1m0

Peace.

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At The Flick of a Switch…

Let there be light.

How many light bulbs does it take to get someone to see?

That is a spin on the popular jokes about changing light bulbs, and the fact that something so simple can be made to be a difficult task.

As I am becoming, I hope, better able to see the truth about the life I am living, I am becoming increasingly aware of my fellow men and women who are also seeking enlightenment. Many of us are so blessed to have reached a stage in our lives that allows for real introspection and personal growth.

Our country is in the midst of major changes, begun many years ago with civil rights laws ensuring equal access to the fundamental rights assured to all Americans. Having a President who is non-White has been a challenge for too many Americans accustomed to the “old way” of living.

And thus my question…how must we change in order to see that a new way to approach our lives is good and necessary?

Far too many of the people I know, and now meet, are unable to retire and thus live, on the residual/retirement plan that they invested in for more than 30 years. What is there to do now? How can one be expected to start a new career? Develop a new way to earn a living.

I have chosen to market a home-based business that allows families and businesses the opportunity to access legal advice, on any matter, for a small monthly fee. It has also allowed me to prepare my Will, Living Will and Healthcare directive, as part of my membership. In my discussions with friends and others, it is shocking to discover how few of them have any type of estate plan in place.

As one who has personally seen the confusion and chaos that ensues when someone dies without an estate plan, I am asking you to love your family enough to get yours completed and discuss it with them.

Thus, my goal is to get the word out about two crucial needs in our country:
1. Affordable access to getting an estate plan prepared
2. Earning a passive, residual income, with minimal expense, working from home

Now, do me a favor and bring me that ladder…I have to change that bulb.

Peace.

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As I write this commentary, our once proud nation is under siege. Once again a small group of radical extremists have hijacked our nation. The history books we read in high school extolled the virtues of a band of patriots who boarded British ships and dumped tea into the Boston harbor in protest of the taxation without representation program instituted by England.

Today’s extremists, having the brass balls to coin their group as the Tea Party, now have effectively shut down the United States government…all because they do not agree with a law; the Affordable Care Act. As of Tuesday, October 1, more than 800,000 federal employees were furloughed/laid off from their jobs. So the economy, still recovering from the disaster wrought by a former president, vice-president and fed chairman , is now taking on water in her bow.

My question to you is what will you do next November? The mid-term elections have been a good indicator, over the past 20 years, of America using the ballot box to either make changes to a failing system or to rubber stamp the one already in place. How many red state families are going to continue to believe that anyone in Washington, whether Democrat or Republican, has their best interests in mind? How many families now being allowed access to affordable health care, myself included, will vote their satisfaction for a program that will be a landmark for generations to come? Or will people sit at home and be enthralled by Scandal, the NFL or Dancing With the Stars?

My fellow Americans, this is truly a tipping point in our country. So much has shifted since Mr. Obama was elected, and then re-elected to the Presidency. One day our grandchildren will marvel at the accomplishments fought for and won on behalf of the people…thank you President Obama.

So, I ask you, to take a few minutes and contact your elected officials, local and national, and let them know how you feel about our nation being dumped on by a few terrorists…

Peace.

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It’s Never Too Early to Talk…

During my time as a Community Educator with a Bay Area Hospice provider, I often had the opportunity to listen to people from all walks of life describe the confusion and chaos which ensued after a loved one has passed…especially when no estate planning had been executed. The survivors not only had to deal with tangible assets to be disbursed, but also the larger challenges concerning the lack of direction that comes from an estate plan; a Last Will and Testament, Living Will, Trust and Health Care Directive.

If you think that these documents are only applicable to the elderly, ill or mentally challenged, guess again. Far too often, and evermore a tragedy, is the event that suddenly befalls a person in good health under the age of 40 years. Whether from an accident or sudden illness, this event leaves the family survivors grappling with a multitude of emotions. In the midst of this grieving, someone must now determine the status of the deceased assets.

When there is a former spouse, children from a previous relationship or marriage, siblings, and numerous others who may have a stake in the estate of the deceased, not having a plan of dissolution could be a recipe for family dissension. Thus, taking time now, even at the tender age of 40, is a wise decision that will provide peace of mind for everyone involved.

Take a look at this article for some sound advice: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/09/19/estate-planning-tips-for-people-under-40

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As more of our children have returned to school, it is important that we review the areas where we have been required to provide personal information. Whether a social security number, financial institution, drivers license, etc., the days of innocence is behind us. A regular review of these sensitive areas is no longer a luxury..it is a requirement.

My role as an Independent Associate with LegalShield allows me the privilege to offer an unparalleled Legal plan and Identity Theft service. For under $1 Dollar a day your family, including never-married children under age 21 living at home, under 23 enrolled in college, or 18 and under for whom you are a guardian, can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from a 41 year old company that is dedicated to the highest standards of service.

Cyber-criminals are working 24/7 to access your information. With our programs…you have a 24/7 shield of protection for your family.

For additional information, visit my website: www.marklampkin.legalshieldassociate.com

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Much More Than Meets the I…

In a world where anyone with a cell phone can snap a picture and/or video and share it with the virtual world instantly, is it any wonder that we are not sure of what is real? How does a person believe that they can earn $5000 dollars a month from home by sending emails? The fact remains that there are plenty of unanswered questions that must be understood long before one can achieve greatness, fortune and fame. And, the one elusive thing that we all are seeking; TRUTH.

As a media producer, I fully acknowledge there is always a story behind the images we create. Are we so accustomed to the sound bites and photo ops fed to us by the mainstream media that we no longer require facts based upon intelligent research? Surely we know that there are always at least two sides to every story. Right?

We parents must also know our larger mission and responsibility is to prepare our children for a world seemingly unconcerned with their mental and emotional stability. With the growing number of children being reared by divorced parents, the need for shared and cooperative parenting is just a good idea for everyone involved. Especially the young person whose mind is being shaped by each parental comment, TV commercial and insecure gesture of misplaced love.

Yes, mothers, it required both you and the father to produce that beautiful child. It will take you both to effectively teach them how to succeed in this world.

In closing, I desire that each of us seek to ask more questions, listen more intently to what is being said, and then to pay closer attention to that which is acted upon. If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, has webbed feet, yet says it is an eagle, believe what you see. Not just what is said…because there is so much more than meets the eye.

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Helping or Serving

As I ponder how swiftly the months of 2013 have unfolded, I am reminded of one of the goals that I set forth in January of this year. Along with the usual aspirations to eat better, work out more and be a better Dad, I also was led by my spirit to seek out and respond to opportunities to help others who crossed my life path. The number five was one that struck me as a doable amount; nothing overly ambitious, yet a number that would stretch me out of my comfort zone.

Here, in August, I now am taking inventory of what progress I have made thus far. There is the nurse of Chinese heritage, unable to get employment, due to her lack of one-year American job experience…I directed her to a colleague in the Chinatown area of Oakland who is assisting her to find something that is suitable for her skill set.

There is a longtime friend and business associate who has taken ill this year, and I volunteered to do yard work…at my age and on two of the hottest days of the year, nonetheless. She is grateful, and I am looking for some younger person to pay the next time.

Though I am sure there are at least two more examples of this type of help, it occurred to me this week that there might well be a distinct difference between helping someone and truly serving others.

In my Legal Shield business, for example, there are a few of my colleagues who are quite new at being self-employed. Their vast work experience has consisted of the all-too-familiar trading time for dollars scenario. And now, here they are looking at how to transfer their particular skills into building a business that requires a great deal more than just showing up and going through the motions.

In a moment of illumination, I saw how my desire to help this year may well be an opportunity to serve…not just a one-time individual expression of humanity, but one whereby I will remain fully engaged in the growth and success of a person seeking financial freedom, better health, overcoming long-held fears, etc. It has caused me to be humbled in a new and profound way.

And now, in this the 8th month of 2013, I feel a sense of servitude that I have never felt before. I now understand that a mentor/mensch is one who will lead by the daily examples of choices made…from the most mundane to the highest called ones.

And so, I ask that you, in your Autumnal reflections, consider whom you are serving. Take inventory of those who model your speech, mannerisms, language…for yes, they are certainly watching.

I liken the above examples to the level of assistance one receives at the local
Wal-Mart and the upscale Nordstrom stores. One is known for true unapologetic service while the other is famous for low prices and a blue vested greeter who may or may not be of much help. One will stay with you and insure that your shopping experience is remarkable, while the other will be content with pointing you toward that aisle and hoping that you don’t come back to ask another question.

In my legacy-building days, I seek to serve in a way that will make both my ancestors and heirs proud. To offer a helping hand is a good thing, extending a heart to serve is a commitment that requires a soul connection that may last a lifetime.

That will be my payment to the Almighty for the gift of life He endows upon me.

Peace.

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What You Think is What You Get…

One of my favorite songs from the ‘70’s group, The Dramatics, is titled Whatcha See is Whatcha Get. My understanding of that message is that there is no phoniness or deceit involved when dealing with this person…only the truth. What you see, is what you get.

I have, over the past 18 months, had the good fortune to align myself with a solid Network Marketing company by the name Legal Shield. And because I have made the decision to build a residual income using their business model, I am required to share the information with family, friends and people whom I meet.

Some of those people have been open to the information, others have been reluctant, but at least afforded me the chance to give them something to read, listen to or watch. It is the remaining group of people that has me concerned…the people who are living paycheck-to-paycheck, or are working 2 full time jobs, or worse, are not working at all, and have yet thwarted my efforts to share this information with them. They are still stuck in their own Matrix.

I am of the mindset, evermore now as I continue to expand my personal philosophy, that we can have, do and become so much more. Yet, we are all too comfortable remaining in our state-of-stuck, because it is the way we have learned to live.

On this past Friday and Saturday I attended a training course with Legal Shield, and the homework assignment for Saturday class was to memorize, or improvise, an opening script to use when approaching business owners. Much of Friday evening I kept busy doing all manner of things at home, not taking any real time to attempt a memorization of the material. Now, why would I do that? Especially since the instructor told the class that there would be two winners selected from among us on Saturday.

Somehow, I had allowed the “old tapes” in my head to resurface…the tapes that said that it was not that important to win…that I could just be average…that it did not matter. It was not until the early morning hours of Saturday, while in quiet meditation, did it occur to me that I was falling victim to what Dorothea Brand spoke of in her book, Wake Up and Live, as the Will to Fail.

I was giving myself all the excuses necessary to guarantee a substandard outcome, because I had not prepared, was too busy, whatever. This was the chicken door approach to my pending presentation. But, alas, today was more than just another day. For today, July 20, was the 16th year anniversary of my mother returning to spirit.

So, I made a decision in that moment to honor her life…on the date of her death, to be the best and give the best of myself. Even if it was just for a presentation before a group of my peers. This was going to be a new moment and memory for Mark.

And so I borrowed the most famous line from the aforementioned book, Wake Up and Live, which states that we should all Act as if it were Impossible to Fail. I decided to make the speech mine…using the framework of information that needed to be shared, but I would infuse it with my own flavor and spin. It was in that moment that I chose to win the Best Presenter award.

In the class that morning, my fellow attendees made solid presentations, and a few were even able to memorize all of the material. Yet, I knew that I was prepared to let the best Mark Lampkin shine forth. When it was my turn, I took a deep breath and rose to the occasion. I could feel the glow of my mother’s spirit strengthen me as I spoke. Her words of encouragement were a constant source of energy while she was with me on Earth…and now, she was smiling from the great beyond.

As the instructor prepared to announce the winners, I felt a calm and peace that has been absent from me for far too many years. The winner for the person who memorized the material the best was announced…and now it was time to announce the winner of the overall Best Presentation. Somehow, deep inside of me, I knew that I had done my best to prepare…had given myself permission to be me…and that whatever the outcome, I could feel good about what I had offered.

“And the winner of the Best Presentation is…Mark Lampkin.”

As I accepted the certificate from the instructor, and the applause and congratulations from my classmates, I knew that somewhere, Marilyn Jean Lampkin was smiling. For her son, the one who has hidden so much of himself from the world for far too many years, was now ready to rise above mediocrity. Was ready to shine bright once again. For now I had truly exorcised one of my demons…that of being willing to Fail.

I tell you all of this as my personal testimony of being liberated from my own self-imposed prison. Now, I am a free man. One who will never accept giving anything less than my very best at any and all endeavors to which I commit. I only hope that I can inspire those with whom I interact to do the same. For it will take many of us doing just that to lift up our families, communities and our nation. We can release the expectation that our best is never good enough..and thus, never give it. I am here as a witness, that our best is ALWAYS good enough.

For it is certain, that the thought that you dwell upon and nurture, is the thought that will manifest in your life. Let there be truth in your saying, “What you think , is what you get.”

Peace.

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I am currently on my second reading of a book entitled, “Wake Up and Live” authored by Dorethea Brand. I came to know of it when listening to the audio book version of “The Greatest Secret in The World” by Earl Nightingale.

In the book Ms. Brand shares her perspectives on how we all have the propensity to allow things in our lives to distract us from accomplishing the success that we all say we want. And, how good we have become in convincing ourselves, and others, of the merit of those obstacles.

Yet, how many of us are willing to confess to being guilty of such time wasters like watching 3 hours of television each evening, buying a gym membership and going once a month, or starting a home-based business and then never engaging in the activities that are required for your success.

The years I spent working in hospice care services taught me many things. One of the more important lessons was a simple one; no one at the end of their life asks to have more money, more cars or more hours on their job. The majority of people truly desire to have said yes to their passion, their childhood dreams that were deferred, to have spent more quality time with loved ones.

So today, I ask that you take inventory of how you spend your time. How much do you allow the influence of others to gently nudge you off course? Take an inventory tonight and see how much of what you do is really leading you toward the goals that you set this past January. You might be surprised at the results…

When we truly Wake Up and Live, we can then take full responsibility for all aspects of our lives. And then, without apology, live the truest expression of what we are called to be here and now.

Peace.

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