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Column: Who do you think you are?
by Lauretta Hannon
Columnist
May 31, 2013 09:45 AM | 2855 views | 0 0 comments | 97 97 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lauretta Hannon
Lauretta Hannon
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Q: My sister is allergic to fragrances, and I love them. I have six dogs, so when I have an event I like to use scented candles or plug-ins to have a fresh-smelling house. My sister wants me to unplug or blow them out to accommodate her. Who is right?

A: It’s not a matter of someone being right. It’s your house, and you can fill the air with aromas if you like. But your sister has a bona fide allergy. What’s more important: Your sister’s presence or making a sweet-smelling impression on your guests? That’s your call.

Of course, you both can compromise, and there are lots of options with this approach. You can put the dogs outside; clean the house thoroughly; and use generous amounts of a zero-odor spray that will eliminate any traces of stinky stuff. Or you can keep the candles blazing, but designate an area for your sister that is fragrance-free.

I enjoy candles but am sensitive to the plug-ins, and certain scents will trigger a migraine. I also have two big dogs and three cats, so I understand your perspective as well.

 

Q: I don't know where you get off with some of the advice you give. And I really don't know who you think you are. That's all I wanted to say, and I bet you won't dare print this in your lame column.

A: Au contraire, I'm delighted to explain who I am and where I'm coming from with this column.

First and foremost, I love God and am a follower. I recognize that I’m a spiritual being inside a physical body. My goal, always, is to show love — to others and myself. I try to practice kindness and forgiveness, especially to those who don't deserve it. I fail at this often.

I specialize in turning setbacks into comebacks; my secret weapon is gratitude. When I experience suffering or grief, I look for the lesson or gift hidden in the dark corners — and remain thankful. When I lose something, I focus on what remains. I believe what I have is always greater than what I lack.

I suspect most of us are not doing the best we can. Instead, we are choosing to be our lesser selves. Excuses, fears, and attachments keep a boot on our throats. Even though they are deceivers, we return to them again and again like a child gorging on candy. An excuse looks a whole lot like a lie covered in chocolate to me.

I'm also convinced that the following are highly overrated: being busy, being normal and being without a sense of humor. I cackle from sun-up until bedtime, and I smile when I sleep. Joy is our natural state. As Tolstoy said, "When joy disappears, look for your mistake."

Speaking of mistakes, I’ve collected plenty. They go alongside a slew of flops ranging in size from sand gnat to juggernaut. But I do work hard at growing. To paraphrase Augusten Burroughs, at my finest I am a bundle of flaws stitched together by good intentions. And my intention with this column is good.

It's quite a privilege to speak to people every week. I treat it like I’m writing weekly missives to a beloved, sharing the most meaningful and helpful messages I have.

It's an intimate forum — strangers opening up and sharing their issues and pain with me — yet it deals with universal problems. More than anything, writing this column is forcing me to be a better person. I keep noticing how I'm coming up short and not following my own advice. Drat.

I guess it’s another example of the teacher becoming the student. So, dear readers, thank you for what you’re teaching me, week in and week out. It will be a long time before I’m ready to graduate, so I hope you’ll stick with me.

Together, we might learn something and have a few giggles along the way.

That is from whence I come, and everyone is welcome to meet me there.

Send your questions to notyourgrannysadvice@gmail.com.

Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of “The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life” and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at www.thecrackerqueen.com.
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