Musings on Life
by Peggy Vaughan

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Read the Introduction and Table of Contents below.

"If I tell many first-person stories in this book, it is not because I am obsessed with my own life or delude myself about its importance, but simply because it is the life I know best, and it provides all sorts of examples that I suspect are typical of most people's lives."
                                                                       —Douglas Hofstadter

This statement accurately reflects my feelings about the 'musings on life' that I share in this book. Although I begin most of the pieces with a reference to something from my own personal experience, I then broaden the focus to reflect on the larger issues involved and invite you to consider how they impact you.

I wrote these columns over a two-year period between May 2006 and May 2008. They're not presented here in the order in which they were written but are organized according to topics or themes—although I do note the month in which each article was written

I also tried to write about issues that are universally relevant or meaningful—because the underlying theme of the book is recognizing and acknowledging the many things that bind us all together as people.

It's my hope that these writings will serve as motivation or inspiration for each of you to take time to do your own 'musings on life.'
                                                                              —Peggy Vaughan, November 2008

Table of Contents
To read some excerpts, click on the listings with a *

Chapter 1: Lessons in Living
  If I Could Live my Life Over
* Living in the Fast Lane
  Living in the Moment
  Living While Dying
  One More Year
  Never Really Prepared

Chapter 2: Stages of Life
  Personal Life Changes
  Keeping up with Life's Changes
  Downsizing your Life
  Weddings—and Time
  Youthful Dreams
  The Rest of Your Life

Chapter 3: On Being a Woman
  Women of Courage
  Respecting Women's Choices
  'Working' Mothers
* Balancing Home and Work
  Dancing as Fast as I Can
  Spending Time Alone
  It's Not Easy Being a Woman

Chapter 4: Love/Relationships
  Marrying Young
  Valentine's Day Thoughts
  The Power of a Kiss
  Sleep (the Cuddle Factor)
  Love, Sweet Love
  Lessons in Love
  Love and Devotion

Chapter 5: Family
  Family Patterns
  Family Gatherings
  Family Keepsakes
  Mother's Day
* Special Memories
  Who You Gonna Call?
  Running with the Boys
  The Soccer Generation
  Children without Families
  Happy 100th Birthday!

Chapter 6: Character and Integrity
  Character Assessment
  Trusting your Intuition
  The Power of Integrity
  Strengths and Weaknesses
* Your Net Worth
  My Quest for a Wii
  When Dreams Come True
  Pressure to be Perfect
  Winning and Losing
  Telling the Truth

Chapter 7: Communication
  The Power of Words
  Ignoring the Elephant in the Room
  Debating vs. Discussing
  Everybody's Talking

Chapter 8: Simple Pleasures
  It's the Little Things
* Seeking Happiness
  Music Makes me Happy
  Enjoying America's Pastime
  Dog Days of Summer
  Talking about the Weather
  Desperately Seeking Nature
  Vacation Time
  What do you Enjoy?

Chapter 9: Health and Fitness
  Let's Get Physical
  Killer Headaches
  Getting a Good Night's Sleep
  Age is Relative
  The Common Cold—and Cancer
  Breast Cancer Awareness
  Living with Breast Cancer
  Minor Surgery
  What You Don't Know Can Hurt You
  Modern Medical Advances
  Losing my Mind

Chapter 10: Learning/Education
  School Days
  How's Your Education?
  Public Education
  Graduation Day
* Lifelong Learning
  Awards that Matter

Chapter 11: Technology
  Me and My Computer
  Internet Savvy
  Love/Hate Relationship

Chapter 12: Freedom and Responsibility
  Citizens of the World
  Soldiers Serving in Iraq
  "The War"
  Voting: a Right and a Responsibility
  Summons for Jury Duty
  Report on Jury Duty
  Political Awareness
  Remembering the Past
  Getting Along

Chapter 13: Making a Difference
  Doing Good in the World
  Helping Others
  Giving and Receiving
* Patience and Persistence
  Help in Times of Crisis
  Pay it Forward
  Supporting those in Crisis
  Giving—Large and Small

Chapter 14: The Big Picture
  Our Planet's Past
  Global Warming
  Nowhere to Hide
  Out of this World
* Where All Things Belong
  We're All in this Together
  The Whole World

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