“Ornaments” -A Poem About Choices

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“Ornaments” page 1 of 2 -An original poem typecast by Luke Austin Daugherty. Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved on words and photograph. This poem was typed on a Royal Mercury

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“Ornaments” page 2 of 2 -An original poem typecast by Luke Austin Daugherty. Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved on words and photograph. This poem was typed on a Royal Mercury

As always, thank you for reading and sharing my blog! I am an independent poet, author, and singer/songwriter and I have my own ebay business to keep me as flexible as possible. But, writing takes time and if you appreciate what I do, if you have been moved or made to think by my writing, OR have just enjoyed something on my blog, please throw a buck or two in my tip jar!:) Your kind contribution may buy me a cup of coffee out at my next writing session. Click my easy paypal “tip jar” link that follows and THANKS! -Luke

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Low Shelf Angels is Now Available in Paperback and eBook

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Low Shelf Angels, the new book of poetry by poet, singer/songwriter, and author, Luke Austin Daugherty. (front cover image) Copyright 2016- All Rights Reserved

My new book is now available! Get your paperback at this link: https://www.createspace.com/6414653

For the Kindle version (and also paperback), use this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01J78YNO4

 From the rear cover: Low Shelf Angels is a collection of 72 poems that were written in greasy spoon diners, dive bars, old cars, thrift stores, a cold garage, on park benches, back porches, and sidewalks in several Midwestern states.

Luke Austin Daugherty is a poet, author, singer/songwriter, and ebay entrepreneur. Find him on WordPress, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and at his favorite local haunts around Indiana if you happen to be sipping hot coffee or cold beer in the same place at the same time.

www.lowshelfangels.com 

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A short excerpt from the poem, Low Shelf Angels, in the book of the same name by poet, Luke Austin Daugherty. Copyright on the text and picture, All Rights Reserved 2016.

For more excerpts and daily posts, visit and/or follow my instagram at the link below!

Luke Austin Daugherty’s official instagram!

As always, thank you for reading and sharing my blog! I am an independent poet, author, and singer/songwriter and I have my own ebay business to keep me as flexible as possible. But, writing takes time and if you appreciate what I do, if you have been moved or made to think by my writing, OR have just enjoyed something on my blog, please throw a buck or two in my tip jar!:) Your kind contribution may buy me a cup of coffee out at my next writing session. Click my easy paypal “tip jar” link that follows and THANKS! -Luke

Luke’s Online Tip Jar!

“Low Shelf Angels” is Coming Soon!

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My new poetry book Low Shelf Angels is coming soon! A proof copy is on the way for me to review and then it’s all ready to publish! I did some fun typewriter art on my Royal Mercury for this promo picture. Two years of writing everywhere from coffee shops, to hotels, bars, and my own garage at 4 a.m. went into the 72 poems for this new book. I wrote these poems in various journals, on coffee shop place mats, various typewriters, laptops, and on my own skin when nothing else was handy. I truly hope that you’ll grab one or 50 copies when it’s available! Follow me for publishing updates here at wordpress, on instagram, or my website at http://www.lukeaustindaugherty.com 🙂

Be sure to check out the poetry I have previously shared on this blog over the years! Some of those poems are in the new book, BUT it is mostly comprised of unpublished work.

As always, thank you for reading and sharing my blog! I am an independent poet, author, and singer/songwriter and I have my own ebay business to keep me as flexible as possible. But, writing takes time and if you appreciate what I do, if you have been moved or made to think by my writing, OR have just enjoyed something on my blog, please throw a buck or two in my tip jar!:) Your kind contribution may buy me a cup of coffee out at my next writing session. Click my easy paypal “tip jar” link that follows and THANKS! -Luke

LAD Online Tip Jar

“On Being a Father” (A Father’s Day Poem Typecast)

"On Being a Father" by Luke Austin Daugherty, Pg. 1- Words and picture Copyright 2015: Luke Austin Daugherty

“On Being a Father” by Luke Austin Daugherty, Pg. 1- Words and picture Copyright 2015: Luke Austin Daugherty

"On Being a Father" by Luke Austin Daugherty, Pg. 2- Words and picture Copyright 2015: Luke Austin Daugherty

“On Being a Father” by Luke Austin Daugherty, Pg. 2- Words and picture Copyright 2015: Luke Austin Daugherty

The Sunday Sermon: A Funny and Motivational TED Talk by Shia LaBeouf

Though this is a comedic and over-the-top presentation, you may find some motivation and sagely advice just the same.  🙂

Have a great week! As always, thank for reading and sharing. -Luke

The Sunday Sermon- Alan Watts: What if Money was no Object?

This is an ever-needed reflection from Alan Watts that anyone, regardless of faith system or no faith system, can find encouragement in.

So, what would you do if money is no object?

For more information on Alan Watts, click the link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Watts

What would you do if money was no object?

Alan Watts- “What would you do if money was no object?”

Also, if you were encouraged by this post, please pass it along 🙂

Have a great week, Luke

On Sadness…

It is the damnedest thing… Sometimes it just hits me, seemingly out of nowhere. Real, palpable sadness.

I have never dealt with true depression in the clinical sense. The kind that you can’t wiggle and twist your way out of no matter what you do. That brand of deep, lasting, and relentless sadness that just clings to your mind like unkind, cold, rain-soaked clothing to your crying skin when you’re stuck outside in a storm, locked out of your own house, banging on the front door to be let in, with no one inside to hear your desperate plea.

I have a few good friends that struggle with that kind of depression. I am very sorry that they do and very thankful that I don’t.

But sadness, we all deal with that to a greater or lesser extent.

I am quite a happy guy in general. Optimistic too, but not to the point of self-delusion.

Yet, even with my normal, sunny disposition, sadness can creep into me at times. It is usually unexpected and visits at its own leisure, no appointment having been made ahead of time.

That was the case late tonight, or rather, this very early morning, only a bit after midnight. Nothing has the ability to stir my deepest parts like music. As I was doing a bit of ebay listing after the kids went to bed, I popped my earbuds in to listen to some tunes without keeping anyone awake. I listened to a bit of this and that on YouTube: Flatbush Zombies, Yelawolf, Kid Astro, etc, etc. I list fastest when banging hip-hop and rap in my ear holes.

Then, as I was finishing up, I randomly clicked over on, “Brick,” by Ben Folds Five. That was all it took. By the time I got to Regina Spektor, not with any intention of bringing on a cathartic experience, the sadness came to visit. It really didn’t have anything to do with the songs specifically. Just a flurry of micro-memories, flickers of past moments, thoughts, anticipations, and the utter and unavoidable gravity of just existing hit me all at once. Not only that, but the fact that it all goes away some day. Much like the arrival of sadness, mortality doesn’t tend to make appointments either.

As I have been editing the second draft of my new book, “Love is the Middle,” about my relationship with my deceased father, memories of him are frequent. Tonight, the reality of my current life, part of which includes the void his death created, came to mind. The overwhelming joy of being a father to my five kids crashed right into my lament over being a fatherless son like dissonant chords. I also considered the fact that one day, my wife and the love of my life, will either leave me behind on this side of death’s veil or I will leave her. (A desirable and tidy Notebook movie ending aside). Altogether, three things hit me at once: sadness over lost people that I love, knowing what I love now will not always be, and as Christopher Hitchens once eloquently said about death,

“It will happen to all of us, that at some point you get tapped on the shoulder and told, not just that the party’s over, but slightly worse: the party’s going on — but you have to leave. And it’s going on without you.”

So, what can we do when those truths about our mortality, our love, our loss, and more losses to come show up front and center? How do we handle the times when our feelings of joy, happiness, and contentment are interrupted and invaded by sadness?

I will give you the best advice I have, right from “behind the lines” of some present sadness in real time… Embrace it. Don’t shuck it off in a premature fashion. Let it burn a while and do its work. Sadness, even the deepest sadness, is a necessary part of life. In a strange, ironic way, it is a good part of life. Not the best part by far, but a good part. Sadness is an honest friend, reminding you and I not to take time, things, and most importantly, people, for granted. Sadness says to us, “Friend- you will not have all of this forever. It is only for a while at best. So, wring your life out for every last drop, bitter or sweet. Many billions have come and gone and do not have the present privilege of treading on the lively side of the green grass on this earth. You do. Don’t waste this moment. Don’t waste this day. Love someone. And, by the way… don’t forget to start with yourself.”

Thank you, sadness, for stopping by. I didn’t expect to see you today, but it has been real.

– Luke

I’ll leave you good people with a song. Before I decided to share all of this with you kind friends and strangers, “How,” hit me right in the feels.

My Kids Share Their Top Two Life Lessons

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Last week, I gave my four youngest kids a little two-part assignment. I asked them to first consider the two most important life lessons they have acquired during their tenure on planet Earth thus far. Second, to write them down in brief. Each youngster spent some time independently working on their thoughtful answers. I noticed that a couple of reoccurring themes surfaced. They did such a good job that I wanted to share their advice on my blog. The kids all said it would be fine with them. Here are the sagely proverbs they each wrote. Maybe there is something here you can use in your own life, no matter what your age may be 🙂

Nathanael- 14 years old:

 

  1. Don’t waste time on something or someone who is not worth it. Focus on what you are doing.
  2. If you want to do something, then do it.

 

Caleb- 14 years old:

 

  1. When studying anything, look at the facts.
  2. Live in the now.

 

Lydia- 13 years old:

 

  1. Don’t live in the future or the past. Live in the present.
  2. Every yes to one thing is a no to something else. Every no to one thing is a yes to something else.

 

Charity- 10 years old:

  1. Don’t let people talk you in to something you don’t want to do.
  2. Every yes in life is a no to something else. Every no in life is a yes to something else.

Smile. Things Are Getting Better…Really.

"Smiley Face" art by my daughter Lydia Daugherty

“Smiley Face” art by my daughter Lydia Daugherty

It’s easy to get bummed out about life; especially when your own isn’t going so smooth. But, there are legitimate reasons to be encouraged about things in general. As a human species, we are actually making real headway in some important areas.

From unintended pregnancies and absolute poverty, to overall violence and murder, statistics are improving. Since the numbers in these stats represent humans, the stats really mean something. The “macro view” of life today is a bit sunnier than it used to be.

I first took notice to some of these trends last year when exploring Dr. Steven Pinker’s work on violence and murder rates across the span of recorded human history. Not only have the rates of violence and murder gone down over the centuries as a whole, there have been some noticeable declines in the last half century.  If you’d like to see a condensed presentation of his work in the area of violence, please view his TED Talk, “The Surprising Decline in Violence,” in the link at the bottom. He has also done other extensive talks and writing on the subject.

After seeing a very recent video on some other improvements in the world from John Green, “GOOD NEWS: 14 Reasons 2014 May Be the Best Year Ever,” I decided to share some of the good news with my readers. He briefly covers some good related data in the video below.

Is there still plenty of room for humanity to improve? Sure. Do many people still suffer preventable ills and injustices? Of course they do. Are there still areas of the world where tragedy is the present norm? Yes. So, we still have much room for progress and there are lots of opportunities to make a difference.

For some though, I know there is a resistance to such assertions of global improvement. I have gotten some ideological “push back” in personal conversations from people who actually believe and/or hope things are getting worse on the large scale. I’ve also run across the same thing on social networking in some cases. In relation to these anecdotal experiences, I’d like to offer two possible reasons for the denial of human progress.

First, we humans tend to have a very myopic view of “life” in general. We project our own experiences onto the masses, unable to see things from the perspective of others. Such a self-regulated scope can have negative implications in two distinct ways: 1. if we “have it good” and are very optimistic in general, we can forget that many others don’t get along so well and/or may be suffering in ways that we could help alleviate. 2. If our own life is rough, we can be depressed about life in general and not realize that things are better for many others and can get better for us as well. That pessimism can create an infinite loop of negativity and a feeling of situational impotence in life.

The second reason is something I’d like to introduce. I have not seen this formally referred to before, so I’ll name it myself. I’ll call it an, “Apocalyptic Bias.” I have seen this bias at work personally in the lives of others and my own life in years past. For those that embrace the fundamental “end times” doctrines of some major religions or some cults, there is a tacit need for things to be getting worse. A particular holy book, prophet, or god said things would be declining, so they are. Also, when there is a deep cognitive desire for a forthcoming “salvation” to rescue one from the mundaneness of life, things must get worse before they get better. Any data that does not jive with such a worldview must be retooled, ignored, or spun in a way that fits the apocalyptic paradigm.

To allow that the overall picture of humanity is improving is to admit you are wrong theologically or that you might not be in the “chosen generation” to experience the Apocalypse, Rapture, etc. Either scenario makes for a potentially long, boring life working and paying taxes for decades before a natural death whisks you away from the lively side of this terrestrial plane.  Such a life is definitely not as exciting as parting skies, raining fire, demonic locusts, and angelic trumpets sounding.

All that said some important things are getting better. Why? There are multiple causes. Many people are helping others and improving their own selves as well. The world is getting smaller, so it’s easier for individuals and groups to have a global impact. Also, with the instantaneous dissemination of information via the internet, people around the world have access to positive ideas that they were not exposed to even a decade ago. Many who have only known backward and repressive dogmas in the past are being enlightened by the arts, superior ideologies, and science. More than ever, humans are empowered to write their own story or edit the one they were written into.

So my fellow homosapiens, turn those frowns upside down…

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ramBFRt1Uzk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUhA6fjgnLY

“Cha-Ching!” Goes the Cell Phone: Year 6 for an Entrepreneur and Lessons Learned

On this day in 2008, at 30 years old, I made a big decision. After months of back and forth, I decided to start a business. I was a husband, father of five, and part-time professional singer/songwriter. But, my main gig was being a regional driver for a household goods moving company. Damn hard work.

At that time, I was working the same job I had in my early twenties. After leaving the moving business the first time, I said I’d never go back. But, after several years of busy concert schedules and limited flex time at my previous job, I made a deal with my old company; give me any time off that I ask for with thirty days’ notice and you can work me like a rented mule the rest of the time. They knew how I worked and my level of customer service, so they agreed. And to no surprise, they held up their end of the bargain, especially the second part.

I stayed there about three years before getting fed up with the road, illegal hours for a driver, some of the fools I had to manage on jobs, and my ever tiring back. Not that there weren’t perks. Most of my songs came from experiences I had travelling and two of my co-workers became my good friends. But, in the ending months of 2007, the fear of another year to come like the one before became scarier than the proposition of starting a business and failing. That was the key…being pushed passed the point of contempt for the “status quo” in my work life and the fallout it had on my family life. I was missing too much and was just too damn worn out when I was home. But, that’s what working 120 plus hours some weeks will do to you, even when you’re young and strong.

So, beginning 1/1/08, I started scheming on a way to make a big change. I didn’t have much money or many foreseeable options. I decided to start a “near industry” business to capitalize on my current contacts and skills. I gave myself 4 months to plan and execute the launch of my business.

I realized that what I would do at first may only be a stepping stone to anther venture, but it was a necessary one. I had to just create some space to live, think, and wait for and create other opportunities. It was a lot like “pulling guard” in Jiu Jitsu… I was creating a “safe place” from which to defend or attack in due time. A position I could potentially loose from, but hoped to just do work and catch my breath for the time being.

My business officially began April 1, 2008, a month early. I started a “3rd party company” that assisted moving companies with what was out of their scope. I did custom crating, pool table and grand piano servicing, appliances, and more. I created a turn-key business with zero debt and produced a living wage right out of the gate on a $3,000 start-up budget. Not bad if I say so myself.

But, actually doing it was scary as hell. I almost changed my mind a couple times in February ’08. I nearly scrapped the whole idea for the safety of the time clock boat anchor. Sure glad I didn’t.

Then, in the late summer of ’08, the economy crashed. The good thing was, since I worked for myself, I had a lot of options to adapt. When contracting work was slow from moving businesses, I hustled side work on Craigslist and by word of mouth. I did interior painting, drywall work, bought and sold, and scrapped tons of metal over the next couple years. Unfortunately, with the moving business hit hard, my 3rd party work got slower every year, so I had to hustle harder. Always hunting for side jobs got old and since people were getting broker, they did less home improvement…that meant less side jobs to go around.

The great thing was I still made a livable income in about half the hours that I used to work as an employee. Some weeks I’d have a few days off through the week then be really busy the next. But overall, I saw my family every day and was pretty energized to enjoy them. I got to spend lots of time with my wife, who is my best friend, for the first time in our marriage.

That said, in the spring of 2011 I desired to have a more stable type of business. My wife and I discussed options and came up with a new plan. I would escalate my part time hustle, buying and selling, to my main gig. The plan was to replace half our income in six months, before the slow season for my current business. The next phase was to completely replace our income with buying and selling in twelve months. We achieved the first phase in five months and completely replaced our income in nine months. The initial capital I had to invest at my first auction on May 15, 2011…$200. I bought five things that sold within a month for over $1,100 and we were off.

For the first four months, I only sold on Craigslist. Then in late August, I purchased a rare knife at an auction for $9. I knew I’d need greater exposure to get what it was worth. I listed it on ebay and a week later it sold for $490. I fell in love with ebay and within three months, it became my primary selling format.

It still is on 1/1/14 and we’ve come a long way. We now have three “Power Seller” and “Top Rated” ebay stores. I work less hours than ever, spend stupid amounts of time with my family, and basically do whatever the hell I want every day. I’m not rich in dollars, but if freedom is your currency, I’m a millionaire.

So at 12:54 a.m. today, I got my first sale of 2014. “Cha-Ching” went my ebay cell phone app. Not a big sale, just a $39 vintage coffee percolator that I bought for $3. I’ll have shipping, ebay, and paypal fees out of that, but will still net about $25ish. That “Cha-Ching” is less an audible symbol for money and more of freedom for me. Good job ebay on creating that Pavlovian response via your app by the way!

One thousand words later, I’ll briefly share some of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my business. I hope some of you might be able to get some use out of them if you’re interested in starting your own company or service as well.

  1. “Pulling the trigger” is the hardest thing– It is one thing to desire change, another to plan, but to execute a plan is the tipping point. That not only applies to business, but life in general. Most people are ruled by fear. They let the fear of “what if” bully them into settling for something they are dissatisfied with in life. You MUST master that fear and kick that bully’s ass in order to flip the script in your life.
  2. Bet on yourself- Every change has varying degrees of risk. But, do you know what people don’t think about? The risk that leaving everything the same has. Don’t be afraid to bet all your “chips” on yourself. Then, rise to the occasion and be your own hero.
  3. With a great plan and the right tools, you are more likely to succeed than to fail– I did not have a mentor when I started my business or anyone pushing me to do it. I did have people that supported me and that was invaluable. I also had the experiences of being exposed to business in my younger years by my mom, dad, and grandparents in different ways. Yet, I still needed other knowledge and information. I got that from the Internet and books. Some things (actually a lot of things) I had to figure out on the fly. But, you handle things as they come. I know the stats on start-up businesses failing. The thing is, many of the failures have distinct features in common. Poor planning is #1. Lack of understanding of the business being started is another vice. There is NOTHING you need to learn that you can’t find out. Do your due diligence and then make things happen.
  4. Sometimes, “You can’t get there from here.”– I’ve heard old timers from the mountains use that phrase jokingly to describe where they are from. But, it can be true situationally. You may not be able to jump right from your current “A” to your perfect world “B.” You might have to make some incremental changes toward your ultimate goal. Don’t be discouraged from the journey toward your goal just because it won’t be an instantaneous teleportation. Usually, the “good stuff” in life can take a lot of hard work. Sweat equity can be more important than investment capital. If you have less of one, you’ll probably need more of the other
  5. It’s worth it- There’s nothing like being able to thank your own former self for the good decisions he or she made that led you to where you wanted to be. There’s always more work to do and need to reinvent things. Start your journey off well and in time, if you stay the course, you’ll be glad you did.

As always, thank you for reading and sharing my blog! I am an independent poet, author, and singer/songwriter and I have my own ebay business to keep me as flexible as possible. But, writing takes time and if you appreciate what I do, if you have been moved or made to think by my writing, OR have just enjoyed something on my blog, please throw a buck or two in my tip jar!:) Your kind contribution may buy me a cup of coffee out at my next writing session. Click my easy paypal “tip jar” link that follows and THANKS! -Luke

LAD Online Tip Jar