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In A State of Change and Transition

By Cam Lemmon

We strive to reach goals but if our goals are no longer changing, we will eventually hit a brick wall.

Several years ago, I did a blog on how life can give you a new room to go into on your path, one filled with a future you had no idea would be in the plan of your life. It certainly wasn’t in my business plan or my personal goals, but prepared me for the years to come. The most valuable assets we have are real-life skill-sets and experiences, the challenges and the way we approach each new life event, brings new person growth, knowledge, and experiences. How you learn to deal with it, can tell everything about a person. “That which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

In 1998, I was called on to take care of my dad who had not been diagnosed earlier when a spot appeared on his right lung. The doctor’s office staff had his file out 2 years before with the intention of calling him to come back in. Someone put the file away before ever calling him. By the time dad returned to his next checkup, the doctor told him that his lung cancer had spread.

At first, I would visit him at his home and help him with his meds, do his shopping for groceries, and cleaning his house. Then, the cancer became too advanced to take care of himself living on his own. I moved him into my home with my daughter, and a nurse would come every other day or more often when needed. Dad died in my home on Valentine’s Day in 1999. A Hospice nurse was with me and I had stayed with a friend while my ex-husband was at my house visiting our daughter. John called me and said that daddy’s mouth was open, as were his eyes, and his breathing was shallow.

I got back as quickly as I could and I held my dad’s hands and he said “Thank you, and [in only my dad’s way] said “I love you…” and he stopped breathing.

The point is, since that time, I’ve dealt with my illness (Lupus SLE), finding new work in the town where I grew up. Since then, I’ve been to 12 funerals of friends and chosen family, met my birth mother and family, married the love of my life, and divorced, moved into my 2nd husband’s home only after learning of our daughter’s pregnancy, and helping her to raise 3 children, seeing six of my grandchildren be born which defied the prognosis of my illness!

While I’ve worked the entire time, my full-time “job” has become more of a caretaker. I’m living in a state I never dreamed I’d end up in, I’m with my second husband who has always been my best friend, and now that the kids are in school, the last of the grandchildren, my beautiful little Twinkle (“Alice”), I find myself realizing I have another 20+ good years left and I can do anything I choose to do. Uh, that’s not true!

Learning how to love people unconditionally has been a gift to me that allows me the ability to approach the next challenge into an opportunity. This week we are having tests on one of our closest family members (if you guessed, you probably guessed right!) for how severe or mild is his Alzheimer’s.

In the spring I was looking forward to going back to San Francisco, my original destination when I stopped through Birmingham to say my goodbyes. That was when our daughter made her big announcement and I wasn’t going to leave her.

Since then, John has had a major surgery with less than greatest success and recovery. While I’m sure I may be taking many trips here in the US and abroad, I won’t be uprooting myself from Alabama any time soon. But, here’s the thought I want to share with anyone who finds they’re on a path they had no true wish to be on, you need to honor your commitments you’ve made to others. But, you also must make time to honor yourself.

It’s important to hold true to your commitments, to follow-up, and to do things you say you’ll do. This is important for everyone in every circumstance – business and personal lives.

The first thing always to remember is this: Love yourself and treat yourself with kindness and care.

Second, find the schedule that works for you. If you are not rested and healthy and loving yourself, you will be no good to anyone else.

Be prepared for even more changes as that’s part of life so be open to new opportunities and work them into your own daily schedule. Root out the negativity and drama in your life, and only surround yourself with wonderful friends (yes, even on-line friends) who are POSITIVE, OPTIMISTIC, POWERFUL, and SUCCESSFUL! These people, while they don’t need to know your daily drama, they are people who can help YOU stay up and filled with the “POPS.”

Trust your instincts. Make decisions carefully. Make your surroundings a paradise so that regardless of what other parts of your home may look like, you can have a retreat to go to when you have those spare moments or just need a ‘time-out.’

Set goals and when you reach them, reward yourself!

Get yourself in shape as you will need your body strength. I was a part of taking care of my mother before she passed. One day my partner and I went by to say “hello.” Mother was calling out for help when we rang the doorbell. She gave the code to the garage door and I was able to go in. I found her on the floor in her panties and bra. I cradled my mother with every ounce of strength I had to lay her back in her hospital bed that had been moved to the den downstairs. As people get older and bones become more fragile, it’s easier for them to fall.

From a health standpoint, you will benefit from having a more fit body anyway! If there is a rehabilitation facility you can join designed for older people, sign up! It not only will help you, it will the person you are taking care of in their daily habits.

The point? For me, anyway, I’m still full speed ahead with my work, but, while I am open and easy to please, I don’t have time for inconsiderate and rude people. I also don’t have room in my life for negativity. I get enough of that right here.

I set my goals HIGH! I make time for me, even if it’s an hour to read a book, play on the computer, engage with social media friends, or do a special project around the house.

In years to come, I’ll be traveling and letting my daughter take over. She almost does that now even when she isn’t asked… but, I will take time to get away. I will continue to work on my health as it hasn’t been the best of late.

But, have faith, find it if you don’t, call ME if you need a pep talk but not to just rehash your mind trash. Pray and meditate daily! Make friends if you have none who are close by.

Be positive and persistent. That doesn’t mean being pushy with your friends. But, with faith and a positive outlook, taking time to love yourself, you will be a better person, friend, companion, and caregiver. If you experience periods of being depressed or down, get out of where you are and go somewhere that makes you feel good (for me, it’s a library, bookstore, or music shop!)

Remember, life throws you all kinds of curves in your path. You may have different challenges than I’ve had, but whatever they are, you can use these same ideas.

Probably, the most important thing I can suggest is breath deeply before doing something stressful! Breath deeply all day, and remember to love yourself, set your goals, work towards reaching them and just because life has taken you down a different path, or into a different room, or you find yourself as I’ve found for me, that puts your focus on someone else, never forget who you are, or how important your own dreams are. It’s never to late to start something new for yourself.

Wishing you much success and a downfall of blessings! May your life path be absolutely amazing as I am finding mine to be…

Copyright 08222013


Listen Up Men and Women

This is important – if you don’t pay attention, you could do something I did, my ex did years ago, and a friend of mine did recently.  What is it that is so important to me, you, and anyone who has an original idea, if there is such a thing, is to put off tomorrow what could have done 15 to 20 years ago!  Never let an idea, no matter how unsuccessful, ineffective, or not-so-hot your family, friends, or colleagues may think your idea is – point is, God gave us all brains and He meant for us to use them.  He also gives us thoughts and dreams.  If we don’t act on those and see them through, our dreams will dry up.  Doors and windows will begin to close.  Our hopes and ideas will diminish and dissappear before our very eyes, (by being thought of and acted on) before we have a second thought about them — by someone else!

This recently happened to me!  When my son was probably 10 (he’s now 39) I found this fabulous tile – a tile for display, not necessarily using as a pot holder, decorated in bright colors and has a funky lookin’ house on it with the saying, “A Wild Wacky Wonderful Woman lives here!”  Well, honey, that described me to a tee because back in those days I had no fear.  Someone thought up the idea.  I’ve had a manuscript sitting my closet for 10 long years. I’ve been searching for more products and never have found another thing.  Just that tile.  Even the catalog I bought the tile from had gone out of business.

Then in 2009 I began a blog but couldn’t decide on the design!  So, I procrastinated, doing work for other clients and leaving it unattended.  Well, it should go without saying what I’ve seen now in 2 or 3 catalogs and on the web!  Same thing happened to a friend of mine who created a doll for people with illnesses.  That’s her story so I won’t go into it.  But, the idea was GENIUS!  My wonderful ex has received a patent and prototype made on – get this – a luggage cart system that carried two bags and one fit on other, to be put above the seat in the plane.  This was in the late 70s/early 80s! But, fear got to him.  Fear of failure, which we all feel at one time or another.
I was doing great things in my career and in businesses, which I had started.  Good times!  But I still think about that box in a closet where I have a complete manuscript entitled “The Wild Woman’s Guide to Dealing with Chronic Illness.”  It was ready to go.  But, something switched inside me and I allowed others to sway my confidence.  I think I felt Wild Wacky would be taken the wrong way.  To me, it means a person always ready to play, have fun, try new things, (even if it breaks a few bones).  But, you know what?  On this day I vow to find that box, did that dusty mess off and mail it in!  Why not?

Today is September 11, 2011.  Ten years ago we all experienced a tragedy that has had long term effects on the families who lost friends and family, others who lost friends, and a war we keep on pouring money into.  Don’t waste a God given beautiful day – whether it is raining or sunny.  Act on  your good ideas.  Help someone you know.  Reach out to friends you haven’t seen or talked with in years.  Make a bucket list!  Call your grandkids or  your kids.  Dye your hair if you’ve wanted to.  Cut it short or grow it out.  Learn to paint.  Volunteer.  ACT.  SMILE. But, most of all, today, pray for those who lost friends and family in the towers or other places attacked that day and PRAY for the US, our soldiers and spend time with your families.

Just don’t wait until  someone takes your idea or someone elses to the limit!  Every time I walk through an airport and see luggage carts I think of the patent and prototypes I watched my ex-husband make.

Have a wild and wacky wonderful day!


Never Put in Print What You Don’t Want on the Front Page of your Local Newspaper!

When I was a young girl growing up in my parents’ home, I came home and my mother and older brother had been going through a large box in which I kept notes, letters, and cards from friends, and my diary.  I don’t know whether this was their way of ‘checking up’ on me or whether it was a blatant attempt to really violate my privacy and hurt my feelings.  As you might guess, I was mortified and started crying, begging “WHY are you reading my private letters?  You have not right!”  My brother laughed while still holding a note from a boy I liked at the time; and sobbing, I grabbed the box and the letter in John’s hand, running upstairs to my bedroom.

That afternoon I took a book of matches, my box, and my very special memories out to the backyard.  That was the first time – and only time to my recollection – that I have ever started a fire without a fireplace or barbeque pit to encase the flames.  I must’ve cried into the night after walking in on that scene.  But, from that experience, my Mommy Dearest taught me a very important lesson.  She said, “Never put on paper what you don’t want seeing on the front page of the local newspaper!”  That was in the early 60’s!

As the years have passed, I try to always be honest, open, and forthright with people, and as I read some of the things that people post on the Internet, and what they say in public, I am brought back to that afternoon with my mother and brother reading my most personal thoughts and letters from my youth.  With web crawlers, search engines, hackers, background checks, etc., we have lost any opportunity for privacy in our lives. 

Our global communications for business opportunities are growing everyday with one of the latest trends, be it a short term fad or a long term good way to make new contacts, Twitter, allows people the comfort of letting the whole world know what they are doing at any given time, where they will be traveling, what work they are working on, and anything they feel like “tweeting.”  This can be a good thing, and has been for many people that I know; but, I also think we need to remember that every time we write a word, we are writing it, presumably for “the world to see,” not just the local readers of a local newspaper! 

Are comments we make to posts on discussion boards private to that group?  No.  Are chat rooms safe for “free thought” and “personal opinions” under the guise of a “limited group” of people who you assume are safe to discuss your personal thoughts or opinions on business matters?  No.  Basically, and most importantly, remember that over the internet, in a newspaper, even a written letter, communication is so much more important in how we conduct ourselves. 

While I will never promote dishonesty or deceit, I think it bears repeating the reminders of being safe on the internet with the type and amount of information given out to a world of people whom you don’t know.   If you don’t want someone knowing your personal information, come up with a different screen name for yourself.  More importantly, think before you speak, write, or act; because in this day and age, nothing is private anymore!

Make it a positive experience for yourself and those you come in contact.  Sometimes the best lessons I’ve learned in my life are hard to take.  Seeing my personal box of notes and love letters from junior high was a lesson I’ve never forgotten.  The other thing I’ve learned through conversations with friends and clients is this:  Even though communications on the Internet come so easily and comfortably with new contacts, remember that we are all human beings with a right to our own opinions, however different from others, and we all have feelings, some tougher and “thicker skinned” than others.  This ever-evolving global community we now live in can be a great experience!  If it is used properly and with care, we can make new acquaintances, friendships, and business contacts, clients and customers.  What a great opportunity!  Wishing you successful social networking!

Times are Changing!

Camryn Oliver Lemmon, APR, CPRC

Camryn Oliver Lemmon, APR, CPRC


By Cam Oliver Lemmon

My life has been full of great experiences.  I began working in 1972 when I was married [too] young, and my new husband and I had moved to Tallahassee Florida from the beach community where we grew up.  Graduating from high school a year early, I started college, first at Tallahassee Community College, and then going on to FSU.  I began working for my new in-laws’ newspaper, “The Florida Labor News.”  This was a newspaper, where each letter of type was actually set into place and the entire room was filled with the printing press!  Oh, what a mess that was, but thankfully, I learned the process, while selling advertising.  Back in those days, without computers, cell phones, or PDAs, I used index cards, a telephone directory, and a rotary dial phone!  Some of you are reading this asking, “What’s that?”,

My first husband and I owned a Commercial Office and Street Cleaning business which we started by cleaning shopping center parking lots with a push sweeper and by hand and garbage bags.  We grew it into a large company, owning two Tympco Truck sweepers and bidding on government parking garages and all commercial office buildings.  My first husband taught me the importance of hard work, striving to be better, building and keeping good credit, and staying organized.

Over the next 5 years, I worked at the FSU School of Law, the Florida Supreme Court, and the Department of Commerce for the Lt Governor’s right hand man.  My friends made jokes because everywhere I worked; a scandal would soon break out.  While at the law school, a student and teacher became involved (remember, this is the 70s!)   I was honored when they asked me a year or 2 later to marry them — I was a notary so it was legal and really cool!  When I went to the Supreme Court, one of the Justices was accused of destroying an opinion in a case (something to do with flushing the paper down the commode!), and, when I went to work for the Lt Governor’s office, he was brought up on charges of financial misconduct.  He resigned before anything happened.  

I moved further east to Jacksonville, where I worked for a blind judge.  Now, that’s where my ethics really kicked into high gear!  Without going into detail, each job was extremely valuable in learning about business, conduct, protocol, organization, politics, and life as a young woman in the real world.  The bulk of my work was done using push-button or rotary phones, old dictation machines, typewriters or IBM Selectrics, and in some cases, Correcting Selectrics, a car, my brain, and common sense.   We’ve come a long way to all the phone varieties, GPS, PDAs, iPODS, All-In-One printers, and computers in devices the size of a wallet.

Time for change came in 1977 when I realized I was chauffeuring my boss during off hours to parties serving up drugs of all kinds and to all ages who wanted them, only to see him again on the bench Monday mornings sentencing young men and women to jail for a 1/2 ounce of marijuana.  He dated a girl younger than I was and I had barely turned 22.  Although this was his life and his business, he was still a judge.  Still selling drugs and sentencing poor saps.  It wasn’t right.  That’s when I hooked up the wagon and off I trotted out West to explore the land of opportunity!

Since then, I’ve seen assassinations, AIDS, learned what “alternative lifestyle” meant, and experienced San Francisco, minus the drugs, for all it had to offer.  Office machines were becoming more advanced.  I opened up my own business while working full time.  My young son and I would take off on the weekends and go to Carmel or up to the wine country.  I drove a Ford Pinto and cell phones were still a distant blimp on the radar. 

In 1982 I owned one of the first, and only, Eagle word processors and soon added to that a personal IBM computer.  We bought our first video camera, which was a large 2-part contraption that you also used to watch the video you had made earlier on your television.  Sometime in the mid to late 80s I had bought my own car phone.  What now seems so funny to me is that we had it installed in my new husband’s 1980 Mazda.  Shortly after, we purchased an additional cell phone, which still seems funny now because it reminded me of the spy phone in the shoe!  It was so BIG!

In my public relations firm, my art department actually had art materials!  No computer programs out at this point, at least that we could afford, and when I worked on a design project, I used my X-acto knife, rulers, art pens, etc. to prepare the work for the cameras.  This was in addition to printing out the type from a Compugraphics machine — an older model, at that.

We faxed all press releases to news wire services and had an account with local and a national clipping service.  Computers were getting better, faxes were becoming included with printers and/or phones, scanners were now on the market (and when I say “on the market,” I mean for folks with small boutique services firms and unlimited budgets). 

When the Internet came rolling on the scene in the 90s, you could feel there was no stopping technology then!  Soon, we had PDAs, texting on cell phones, and the loss of personal service with numerical mapping on your phones to get to a particular department or person.  Not quite sure if that’s progress or a 20 steps back in customer service.  

What’s my point?  Today we have Face book, LinkedIn, My Space, and Twitter, so if you’re not with the program now, you better run fast or you’ll never catch up!  The days of sitting in my dad’s law office typing on his old Royal, playing with the blue slim, floppy, “records” for his dictation, or dialing, Hemlock 27499, are now gone.