Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Who is Telling You Lies & IWSG

Truth is truth. Am I right?

Huge thanks for hosting
Alex Cavanaugh
Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt, Patricia Lynne,
Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan!
I remember attending public schools in which we were somewhat indoctrinated to love our country. (It's bound to happen when the government controls the curriculum, eh?) Still, it wouldn't have mattered. As I learned true accounts of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and others, I fell for their justified rebellion, and more especially, their vision while establishing a new nation.

To add to my patriotism, my Grandfather served in WWII as a pilot. He did his duty to country and world in battling genocide and socialism. My father likewise served in the Air Force as a doctor. Is it any wonder I would value my country?

Then I went to college.

The best history professor I've ever known emphasized again and again that history is entirely up to interpretation. He required us to read opposing original documentation (essays, surveys, etc) from specific eras. The goal was for us to look at the evidence remaining from another time period, and come to our own conclusions about the truth in the world.

At this point, I learned that some truth is based on personal interpretation.

We garner fundamental truths from our parents or our education, but the key is to keep an open mind and know when truth is solid, and when it is someone's interpretation.

As I've studied to write in other time periods, I've learned that people are mostly the same no matter the age (same sins, same weaknesses, same desires and hopes), but current society (social rules, cultural traditions, etc) shape a huge part of our reality. We all share aspects of our society, but our core values come from our personal truth.

For me, one MAJOR core truth is:

Personal agency, or the right to choose, is the key to happiness (or pain) in this life.

In writing, the stories we love are the ones where people make choices against overwhelming odds and conquer. (Like the Founding Fathers of America.) Why should life be any different?

If someone is telling you you deserve the easy path, that everything should be handed to you on a platter, they're lying. You deserve to fight. You deserve to choose, right or wrong, how your life will go, and the consequences that go along with each choice. You are ultimately the hero of your own story, and no one should take away your right to win your own battles.

So today (and yesterday), I celebrate America and all it stands for: its diversity, its freedom, its people. To me, it is the greatest nation on Earth.


(This has been an answer to the IWSG post question for the month: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?)


Two weeks ago, Beth Ellyn Summer shared AT FIRST BLUSH along with two truths and one lie. Anyone who guessed which was the lie was entered to win an eBook.

The game:

1. I really hate movies! So much so that I haven't been to a movie theater in eight years. 

2. I appeared in a Saturday Night Live sketch once as an extra! It was nearly impossible not to laugh, especially around such a brilliant cast, but I kept a straight face.

3. I never learned to ride a bike.

The lie: #2.

From Beth: I interned for Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon and spent plenty of time migrating over to visit the SNL studios, but I've never been in an actual sketch. It's a dream of mine though! Imagine getting to say those magic words, "Live, from New York, it's Saturday Night!" ? *swoons*

And the winner is:

...DRUM ROLL...

Congrats, Juneta!

And now for a lovely debut novel I can't wait to read:

Music was her driving passion and the truest expression of her faith, but three months before her wedding, twenty-year-old Kasia Bernolak can’t even pick up her guitar. Feeling like a fraud who will ruin her dad’s pastoral reputation, she can barely meet his eyes. When Kasia finds the strength to break off her engagement, she still doesn’t realize the dangerous truth: Blake Hamilton isn’t ready to say goodbye. And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her. 

Alexander “Zan” Maddox has seen what a domineering man can do to an unsuspecting woman, and Zan is sick of injustice. He gave up a college baseball scholarship so he could protect his sister from her abusive husband. When he rescues Kasia from her ex-fiancรฉ, he instinctively appoints himself her personal bodyguard. Now, all he has to do is keep from falling for her himself.

Kasia and Zan become fast friends, but true healing and justice might cost more than either of them is willing to pay

Buy your copy on Amazon.

Ready to meet the author?


Bethany Kaczmarek loves to share her own journey of healing and redemption with anyone who needs it. Back from the Polish mission field where she and her husband worked with college students for six years, their home is often filled with twenty-somethings who come over for a listening ear (though she’s willing to admit it could also be for the board games and food). Other job titles: Wielder of Red Pens, Grammar Ninja, Wiper of Tears and Milk, Indie Music Connoisseur, and Friend. Bethany writes about places where grit meets Grace. Find out more about her at www.bethanykaczmarek.com.

Bethany is trying not to be obsessed with Drunken Goat cheese. It's as creamy and mild as gouda, and it's her "preciousssss." As someone who lived for years in Europe,  she got used to delicious cheeses--more than she could name. But she's recently developed an allergy to cow protein, so goat and sheep cheeses have become her cheesy lifelines. She moved to Wisconsin this month, and is literally surrounded by cheese, cheese curds, and Cheese Heads.

Bethany gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. If you guess the lie, right or wrong, you will be entered to win an ebook of STRAINS OF SILENCE! (Open internationally.If the randomly selected winner guesses correctly, they will receive a print copy of the book. (Continental US only.) DON'T HAVE A BLOGGER ACCOUNT WITH AN EMAIL ON THE PROFILE? PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE COMMENTS OR EMAIL IT TO crystal@crystal-collier.com WITH YOUR SCREEN ALIAS.

You have until Tuesday, August 1st at 2 p.m. EDT to guess. Be sure to come back for the answer on August 2, 8 a.m. EDT.
TRUTH OR LIE

1. I've been married for 19 years, and we've moved 15 times.
2. I once lived in the country and had a cat named Taxi, because it amused us all to call for her.
3. I collect place mats from all over the world, and I love mixing them up at the table.

So sleuths, which is the lie? Have you met Bethany? How do you feel about personal agency? What is one major truth you have learned in life or through writing?

96 comments:

  1. I'll say the third is the lie.
    We do live in the greatest country and have more freedoms than anyone else. It's true that history is based on perception. (I'm sure the American Revolution is really different in British textbooks.) It does worry me how today's world will be recorded though. I think a lot of truth will be lost...

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  2. I love this country, faults and all! History and Geography was one of my favorite subjects to teach. I say #2 is the lie. God bless you this week!

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  3. One of the things I enjoyed about college was learning - not judging! - about other sides, other angles, other perspectives.

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  4. God bless America - I still love this country.

    My guess is #1.

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  5. Sounds like a great history professor. I remember one of mine saying that all of our accounts of history are written by the winners and are therefore full of bias and inaccuracies.

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  6. History was one of the subjects I dreaded in school. I was required to take it more than once and just learned the same stuff over and over. I started at a community college and the history class we had there was the same as the one I'd had in fifth and eighth grade and in sophomore year of high school. I wondered why in community college we didn't have history classes that focused on single era of history, as many of the lower-division history classes at universities do. I was so tired of being taught the same stuff over and over.

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  7. I never appreciated history in high school. Too much memorization. These days, I enjoy reading about history because I love learning about why things happened. And because there are no tests afterward.

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  8. Truth sure is a fickle thing, especially these days, all depends on who is telling it. Have to get as much info and make up our own mind plenty of times.

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  9. Thank you. *eyes pop* I won? lol, cool. My dad fought in WWII and my grandda in WWI. Awesome.
    ' Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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  10. I've always loved history, even though it's written by the winners. Sometimes the truth is told, but important information is left out. It's finding out what's been conveniently left out that's interesting and fun. I had ancestors that fought in the Revolutionary War and I love the US, warts and all. These times a trying, but then I remember... oh yeah, I lived through the extremely volatile '60s.

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  11. Great post Crystal. I agree, nothing is handed to you, and to set future generations up saying otherwise is doing them a disservice. Letting people make their own choices about their life also important. No two people are the same so for someone to say there is only one path to take robs people of their individuality. No one should dictate to another, unless of course your my kids then well, mom's word is law. LOL Happy July!

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  12. The truth is hard to come by, even from those history books. I love to read personal histories like diaries or journals because I find out so much about a time in the past that is at least the writers' idea of truth.

    I agree about our nation. We're not saints, but having lived in other countries, we've got so much that's good here. Like Juneta, my father and grandfather fought in two wars to protect the freedoms we have.

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  13. You deserve to fight. Amen to that. Love this post. Yes, history is entirely up to interpretation.

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  14. Very thoughtful post. I hope my kids grow up with an appreciation for what they have, and don't expect to be handed everything.

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  15. You had a very wise teacher. Somehow hearing/reading about them and what they think as rippled over me and I'm wiser for it. Thanks. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  16. Ooh, I hope #2 is true. I love it! I think the lie is #1.

    Yes, we each have our own truths on many things.

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  17. Lovely post. We hear often that it's the winner who gets to write history, and there's a lot of truth in that. But it's also true that we bring our modern sensibilities with us when we read even accurate accounts of the past.

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  18. I'm not super patriotic, but I do love a good revolutionary war story, and I do believe in fighting. Of course, from England's side, they were a bunch of ingrates, but that's the best part of every story. The other side always sees things another way. It adds dimension to all tales, true and made up, and we feel the way we do about stuff because it effects us personally.

    I hope #2 is true! ^_^ I'm going with #1 for the lie. Maybe it's more or less!

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  19. I've always loved history. I hate seeing it destroyed too. Things were how they were and they should be left as they are as a lesson for good or bad. I'm a very patriotic person.

    I never win the truth or lie, but I'll chose #3. Why not.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  20. Crystal,

    Having an easy life would be nice but working to earn that easy life is what makes a person strong, builds characters, enforces gratitude, and helps us to cherish the good times when things go bad. I stand in awe and appreciation for everything I have because I know it all started with God leading our founding fathers to take a giant leap of faith to start over. God bless America!

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  21. I love the inductive approach you used to fall in love with America. We need more of your history teacher. Today's folks too often teach the side less heard without the original side. Sigh.

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  22. I fully agree it's up to personal interpretation. We all deserve the right to choose. Hope you had an awesome Fourth! :) My guess for the lie is #1.

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  23. truth is solely based on money, and that is why American 'truth' is heard the most, since America has the most money, sadly :( We're all just lost in a massive reality show, really

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  24. Love your thoughts on truth and the right to choose!

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  25. I've learned through so many experiences that anything that is good or worth achieving has a path that will try your patience. Thanks for the wonderful article on truth. People believe fame comes overnight. They don't see the truth of how long that author wrote through nights or wrote in anguish one paragraph.
    Loved your article.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G at Everything Must Change

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  26. I've never been super patriotic--I only own two shirts with red, white, and blue on them. But I live around and work with a lot of people who've immigrated to this country and their ideas and stories on why they've left their countries to come here are really eye-opening. The thing with history is, you always have to remember that quite a lot of it is mythologized and it's usually written from the winner's perspective. To get a better grasp of it, you need a more rounded view of history.

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  27. "You deserve to fight. You deserve to choose, right or wrong, how your life will go, and the consequences that go along with each choice." Love that!

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  28. A very insightful post, Crystal! I think we are very fortunate to live in a western society, where choices are possible. It is all up to us to pick the lifestyle that makes us happy (this is where choice is more important than luck) and to find our own truths, based on common sense and critical insights.

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  29. I have not met Bethany, so I appreciate the intro. Wishing her well! As far as truth, you make good points. My husband and I were discussing a similar idea yesterday, as well as how it often comes down to our choices. Great minds think alike right? Oh, and to further support that, we had macaroni and cheese last night for dinner. So there you go. :)

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  30. I like your personal philosophy. Our life experiences really influence our world views also. People who work and fight for what they have often resent people who aren't willing to do the same.

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  31. You're statement makes me think of some folks who won the lottery. They thought their prayers were answered but fate just kept sloshing out its fortunes.
    I've always been partial to "All people are created equal" and disappointed with people who say "no they aren't". Such poor civic lessons some people have had.

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  32. You had a great history teacher! It is up to us to choose and to be informed. I like how your interpretation of the question varied greatly from mine. That's the beauty of talking to a variety of people.

    I hope you had a great fourth!

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  33. Yes, one must pay attention to the interpretation. And it is important to live the life you want and do the things you want to do.

    I'll guess the lie is #1. (Assuming she fudged a number...)

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  34. I think the lie is #2.

    I agree with Kim. You had a great history professor, Crystal. Many of my professors at the University of Pennsylvania wanted us to use original sources to come to our own conclusions in poetry, literature, and history. I hope you are feeling well, my dear.

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  35. It's always on Crystal's blog that I find the most writers from Wisconsin! I, too, live in Wisconsin and my husband and his family own Springside Cheese (north of Green Bay). So... welcome to Wisconsin! And also congrats on your book! And, agreed, Crystal! We must all be the hero of our own story, make our own choices and decisions and accept the consequences of our actions, just like our characters. Happy 4th of July (belated). Christy

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    1. Thanks for the welcome and the well-wishes!

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  36. Well said, Crystal.
    Wishing much success to Beth Ellyn and Bethany.

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  37. How interesting that like me, you also wrote about patriotism this months. Something must be in the air. :)
    I love your phrase: "You deserve to choose..." It is the basic postulate of democracy, its underlying principle. Yes, we deserve to make mistakes too, and deal with the consequences, because we're free to choose. We should never take this fundamental human right for granted. So many people in so many countries can't choose their paths. Despite all the problems we face daily, we're so lucky.

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  38. Everything you said is so true both about our country and our lives in general.

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  39. Truths differ: almost all are relative, sadly.

    Damyanti

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  40. Good comments on the relative nature of truth. Of course, the awkward factor that bedevils attempts to resolve many human conflicts is that, often, two conflicting ways of looking at the same situation are both equally true and valid.

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  41. I love how you were challenged to study all sides. It's pivotal I think to seeing others as humans and not monsters no matter the background. Not that I don't have a side, but I do believe it helps us cope with failure, defeat, and loss. I am guessing lie number 2.

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  42. Great post. I think sometimes history can be tainted by who is writing it. They want them to look good, so there might be some biased in it. That doesn't make it wrong or not the truth, but it's why it's good to look at opposing viewpoints.

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  43. It sounds like you and I had a similar experience between what we learned in school growing up and what we learned in college. I too had a history professor who taught us to question all that we'd been taught and to look for facts, not just what people said was true. He was also dedicated enough to his work to dress up as a Franciscian monk for one lecture. I loved that class. ^_^

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  44. Even the villain thinks his motives are just. As citizens of this great country we need to keep America out of the villain column. I appreciate your patriotism and raise a flag alongside you.

    All of Bethany's facts sound true! I'm going to guess #1. She's probably moved more than 15 times.

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    1. I can't wait to tell you! (But you could probably ask Erynn.) :)

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  45. Nicely said, Crystal~ Happy Independence day to you, too~

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  46. You are so right about the truth of history coming from perspective and interpretation.
    I hope that your Independence Day was wonderful.

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  47. I think the first is the lie.
    That's an important lesson to learn, everyone is biased, whether they say they are or not.

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  48. I agree everything is open to interpretation. Seems to me that many of the world's problems exist because of an unwillingness to see different opinions as equally valid.

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  49. Hi Crystal - we need to find our way with things in life ... education being one of them ... I'd have loved to have had a mentor to be around and direct me. So much is open to interpretation ... we see it all the time.

    #2 is the lie ... now Drunken Goat's Cheese - is something I need to find out about ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Drunken Goat cheese is the BESSSST. I haven't found it in Wisconsin yet, but I did find "Tipsy Goat Cheese" which aims to be similar. I'm not quite the fan, but it'll do in a pinch.

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  50. Wow, what a powerful post, Crystal! And perfectly timed for 4th of July and this month's IWSG question. I'm going to have to go with #3. Cheers - Ellen

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  51. In order to serve ones country we must love and respect it. God bless America.
    And England :)

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  52. Hope you and your family had a great Fourth! Your history prof sounds like one I had - his course was the best I ever took. I'm a history buff and I often wonder what people in the future will be reading about our time, and if it will bear any resemblance to what I think as I am living through it.

    Great to meet Bethany!! I am going to guess #3 is the lie. I hope #2 is true because it's so cute!!

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  53. I'll take #1. The Taxi idea is awesome!
    Almost everything is a matter of perspective. Living in other countries has hit that point home again and again. It's also shown me how blessed we are to have choices and treasure this one all the more.

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  54. God Bless America.
    I'd say #2 is the lie.

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  55. excellent american proclamation! hope you had a happy 4th

    Strains of Silence sounds compelling - and i'm guessing 3 is the lie

    Tara Tyler Talks

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  56. I'm thinking #1 is a lie. They all are pretty possible though.

    I think it's interesting how much the classroom has changed, since I was younger. Now my kids don't learn that Christopher Columbus is the hero he was made out to be from when I learned about him.

    I get what you are saying. Teachers oftentimes do have their hands tied as to what they can teach, and what they wish they could teach.

    Art, music and P.E. are pulled from the system. So sad!

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  57. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  58. To me it's pretty scary how easily some people are fed lies and believe them. That movie WAG THE DOG really drove the 'fact' of lies home for me. Brilliant movie.

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    1. I thought that was a brilliant movie too. :)

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  59. It's definitely good to keep an open mind and to exercise your choice--in real life and fiction ones. :)

    I'll guess #1 as the lie, and I really hope #2 is true because that's hilarious.

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  60. I am in love with your history teacher. ❤️ Encouraging you to read a variety of material (including opposing opinions) and asking you to think for yourself is the epitome of what a good teacher is to me. I don't think I was ever taught that; instead, I think I had to figure it out on my own.

    Also, I think there is a difference between telling someone they deserve the "easy path" vs. the right to fight. I think some people ultimately have it easier than others… for whatever reason.

    Of course, whether or not some people have it easier than others, I definitely agree that the American dream is what makes this country great. The idea that you can make something of yourself when you have nothing. The idea of exceeding expectations. And I love that Americans fight for what they believe in. ❤️ We are so very lucky and blessed to live in a place where we have so many freedoms and opportunities. ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

    I hope you had a wonderful fourth of July, Crystal!

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  61. God bless America! <3 What a great exercise that professor had you do. Opinion is far too often taken as fact.

    Hm, I don't know which one is the lie but I hope #2 is true because that is too funny!

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  62. It's always a good idea to keep an open mind. Thanks for sharing!

    www.ficklemillennial.com

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  63. History is based on perception - so true!
    I've worked all my life and feel that when you earn something, you appreciate it more. There are loads of people who have a sense of entitlement and are 'scared' of hard work. I call that laziness. Just my two cents.
    Hope you're well, Crystal!

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  64. It is the struggle and overcoming that makes a story rich and provides great experiences in life, even if they are rough and painful at the time.

    I'm going with #2 (the cat named Taxi) as the lie.

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  65. I don't think you've moved 15 times.

    I like movies but I refuse to go to a movie theatre. I wait until they are out On Demand and watch them at home.

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  66. I’ve not met Bethany, but I’m interested to read Sounds of Silence because I’m sure it will be a wonderful read. I think the lie is #1.
    Hope you had a happy 4th July.

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  67. My belated best wishes to the birthday of America and its people. I respect the core value of America and the spirit of founding. In the past history was told and written from the viewpoint of the winners. However, there are many we can learn from the past history for our future. Nowadays hidden truth come to be revealed thanks to brave people and technology, but still I think truth lies where it’s unspoken. I think seeing things from the different perspectives is important but the more important is to see the same direction as a human being or one creature on this planet, not to see each other’s difference to cause fighting as everyone has reason backed up his/her philosophy or background. Stay cool and take care of yourself.

    Yoko

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  68. Nowadays, it's tough to tell who lies and who doesn't.
    Happy 4th!

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  69. What a terrific opening essay, kiddo. I agree with you 100%.

    Okay, I'm gonna hope #1 is the fib. I wouldn't wish that much mandatory packing and unpacking on anybody!

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  70. I always get a kick out of people saying 'Go ahead and get it, you deserve it'.
    What we deserve and what we can afford are often two different things;)
    Hope your day has been pleasant and productive.

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  71. I'm going to guess number 3 is the lie because is seems so possible.

    The harder you fight for something, the more you appreciate it.

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  72. Bravo! Well said. And now, in an era of rampant fake news, I can only wonder how history books will remember this time period? Kind of a scary thought...

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  73. A great post. I also love the concept of agency, being able to choose and being responsible for our own actions.

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  74. I love 2! That's hysterical. I'll guess 1 is the lie.

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  75. I'm guessing 3 is the lie. 2 is hilarious!

    Great post! I agree.

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  76. I totally agree with your point about how personal agency is connected to happiness. For the first 18 years of my life, I let other people, especially my parents, control my choices. But when I finally started making my own decisions, such as what to study in college and which career to pursue, I felt much happier. It wasn't easy, but it would have been a lot more difficult if I had never tried to take control over my own life.

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  77. yes, nothing comes on a silver platter. Pretty funny to think of people running scams in the old days but there were plenty. Plenty of scams, plenty of weaknesses. Great post Crystal.

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  78. There are no easy rides for anyone, unless they refuse to start the car.

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  79. Crystal, you've nailed it on the "truth" of history. It is in the eye of the beholder, but an educated beholder will make judgements based on facts, too. So says the Retired History Teacher. ;-)

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  80. Very interesting post today. For most of history, those who were even capable of writing the accounts were those that were educated and therefore privileged. There's so much that we shouldn't take as absolute truth. Bethany sounds well travelled, leading me to pinpoint #2 as the lie.

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  81. Great post. I also agree with what Nick says above. One of the most valuable things I learned when I was working at a museum was that almost everything I'd been taught in school about our country's (Canada) indigenous people was either false or half-truths.

    Some highly perpetuated myths, like Edison and Columbus were good guys, are incredibly hard to correct, even with the vast amount of historical information we have available.

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  82. I'm guessing that #1 is the lie.

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  83. It's always so strange to think about how history can get obscured by the assumptions some people made at some point.

    Prime example is how people like to idealize how people were in the olden days. "They were heroes, back then." In reality, I don't think humanity's changed all that much in temperament, as a rule. :-D

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  84. Always think for yourself using real evidence, not hearsay. And always work hard for what you want.

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  85. Nicely said! I think that's why it's important to read a lot and to read widely too. We don't often appreciate how many people live in want, and how many people have their choices stripped from them by others, especially depending on the cities or countries they live in.
    I've been rereading Madeleine l'Engle and was thinking of the importance of Naming, but I wasn't able to articulate it very well when I caught a family member talking about "us" vs "them". I wanted to just hand over A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door and say "here. Read this. It's important."

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    1. I encouraged my students to read Madeleine L'Engle books, since I loved them so. "Winkle in Time" title caught them. Great reads.

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  86. I love how you wrote this, Crystal. Very fair and balanced. I come from a family of military folks. Some retired and some still active duty, so your post resonated with me deeply.

    Elsie

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  87. I say #3.
    One of the thrills of reading this story is that it carries a richness only cross-cultural living can provide. Thank you for your labors, Mrs. K. <3

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  88. I believe there are objective truths. Maybe it's better to say Truths with the capital T. But our experience and interpretation of them can be personal. It's kind of like the story about the blind men and the elephant. They each felt something different and none of them realized there was a larger reality (the elephant).

    But I do agree there are personal truths as well.

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  89. Well written.
    Well said.
    I enjoyed your post Crystal.

    All the best Jan

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Hit me with your cheese!