Summer Almost Over

Hi and Happy Wednesday!  How is your summer going?  Ours has been great but has gone so very fast.  And now it is almost over. I have mixed feelings about that.  On the one hand, I am sad that our lazy mornings and our summer fun will end.  On the other hand, I realize we need our routine and our normal activities to keep us motivated and going.

We spent half the summer in North Carolina working on items for the family business and the other half at home both working and playing.  We enjoyed time to shop, eat out, have visits with friends and family, had time to swim, enjoyed frozen yogurt and ice cream, and much more.  We have stayed up later than usual and slept in.

Ian read seven books for the library’s reading program and enjoyed that very much.  I too have read a few good books this summer.  We also have enjoyed a few movies at home, riding bicycles, favorite summer television shows, games, and a service project with our church’s vacation Bible school.

Ian has learned a lot more this summer about Pokémon.  He enjoys the cards and the cartoon or anime as it is also called. This summer for the first time in a while, he wanted Pokémon cards and Warriors books instead of sets of Lego elements.  Our boy is growing up.  Also, Ian got his first computer. He was thrilled and has been enjoying it.

We didn’t have any big trips this summer, but plenty of down time and plenty of family time.  We enjoyed pizza at a favorite place at home, enjoyed free pie after dinner with a dear friend, went to the Star Wars themed baseball night for our minor league team (before school got out), and Ian has had time to play with neighbors and other kids.

We have worked on math online programs and ideas for a writing journal cover to get us in the frame of mind for school.  And, we are reading and trying to get to bed earlier. This morning, however, we slept in really late. That was great but I know those days are nearly finished.

This photo is from years ago at the beach.  We didn’t make it to the beach this summer.  I always love to go but it just wasn’t possible this year.  Perhaps next year will work, or the following year.  We will have to wait and see.

As our summer winds down, I remember to be thankful for:

  • Our house at a cool temperature
  • Ice cream treats
  • Star Wars movies with a boy who knows more details than I do
  • Swimming with Ian and Kirk
  • Mornings when we don’t have to go anywhere
  • Mornings or days when we don’t have to get ready
  • Extra time in our pajamas
  • Hours to read a great book
  • Word finds and coloring books
  • Our active VBS and church’s missionary team
  • Laughs with family and friends
  • Meals with family and friends
  • Prayers with family and friends
  • Listening to details about Pokémon from a sweet boy
  • Hugs and time to cuddle
  • Photos of friends, families, and adventures

I wonder how much more fun we can cram into what we have left of the summer.  I am not sure but am looking forward to the challenge.  God Bless and have a great rest of the week and summer!

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July 12 – Grit

Hi and Happy Wednesday. Hope you are having a great summer.  We are but it is going fast.  I cannot believe that it is already one week after Independence Day. We are keeping busy with work and fun activities as well.

The writing prompt for today is Grit. There are several definitions of grit but I wanted to focus this writing on this one: “firmness of mind or spirit:  unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger; managed to survive by his or her grit and guile.”

Have you ever known anyone like this?  I have and am so happy to say that many of these people have been women. I am blessed to come from a long line of women with grit.  My grandmothers and great-grandmother were strong, had strong minds and spirits, and had courage on a daily basis.  My mother, mother-in-law, aunts, sister and sisters-in-law, cousins, and friends also have grit and courage. I like to think that I have it as well.

Have you noticed that people with grit also often have integrity, honor, and are caring and loving towards others. They are honorable people and are a pleasure to know and have in your corner. They have your back and you can count on them and they can count on you as well. This doesn’t always go hand in hand but seems to more often than not.

In today’s world, people seem to have these qualities or they don’t.  I want Ian to grow up to be someone who is honorable, honest, truthful, has integrity, does what is right because it is the right thing to do, is compassionate and caring to others, wants to help others, and wants to show and demonstrate love. I also hope that he knows and learns from people with these qualities.

Sadly many of today’s leaders do not have these qualities and that saddens me.  Instead people are out for their own selfish interests, lie as needed, harm others, don’t seem to care about anyone but themselves, and want to win at any cost.  Is that the norm we want for our children?  For ourselves?  I don’t think so.

Back to those strong women that I mentioned — Grandma Fran, Grandma Artha, and Great Grandma Gussie. There were all from a different era — the early 20th century.  They all had many hardships, problems, losses, pains, deaths, and found a way to continue and go on to have fulfilling lives.  They also had a lot of love, happiness, fun, laughter, and people who thought the world of them.

The top picture is of my mother on the left, me in the middle, and Grandma Artha on the right. The second one is me with Grandma Fran the year before Ian was born.  These are some of the many photos that I have of both of them.

Many different things were expected of women in their days. Two of them were wonderful  teachers who enriched many children’s lives. The other was a secretary for many years and helped her office be successful and thriving. They all worked hard and took care of their families.

I knew and loved both Fran (Grams) and Artha (Grandma).  I loved to talk with them about any number of topics and listen to their life experience. They were both characters who were very passionate about life, their husbands, their children, and their grandchildren.  From each of them, I learned about love, friendships, acceptance, and family. I am forever grateful to both of them for all that they taught me.

I was only with Great-Grandma Gussie when I was a baby.  I did, however, just read, type, and edit her writings for a family genealogy book.  She wrote about the time when she and my great-grandfather put claim on a homestead.  With a baby (Grandma Artha), they went out to claim a piece of property with no running water, no electricity, no permanent homes, and no horse and buggy or car of their own.

They managed to build a very small home with a kitchen, bedroom, and small living area, helped create a community with a school building/church, took care of sick neighbors, and had access to food, sometimes in sparse quantity.  Talk about amazing grit.

I wondered if I could have done that when Ian was a baby.  I just don’t know but would like to think I’d have it in me to succeed as they did.  I truly appreciate these women with grit.  For that matter, there are a lot of men in my life who also have it.  I will have to write about them another time.

Take care and Happy Summer!

Happy July 4th!

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

I remember learning this in school — the beginning of the Declaration of Independence. This document helped create our nation. Today we celebrate America’s birthday – July 4, 1776.  Happy Birthday USA!

So what does it mean to have the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Have you thought about these? I have some but not a lot. Often times we take our freedoms for granted.  I hope that we remember how special America is.  How unique America is and how amazing it is.

I don’t want to take for granted that men and women throughout our nation’s history have fought and died for our freedoms. These are listed in the U.S. Constitution.  Our nation’s birth and beginning is listed in the Declaration of Independence.  May we learn these, learn how our nation works, have a say in it, and never ever take it for granted.

Now for a few thoughts on this statement at the beginning of the blog.

What does all men are created equal mean to you?  To me, it means all of us have opportunities to do what we want.  It should not matter how much money we have, what our job is, what we look like, what religion we are, or who we love.

We are all valuable and amazing people. We are all worth knowing and worth loving. We are all worth learning from and contributing to the greater good.  May we remember that and remember to be kind rather than spewing hate and rhetoric against those who are different.  May we practice love, compassion, caring, and empathy to each other and learn about our differences.

For me the right of life is to have good health and feel good, a safe place to live with clean water, shelter, heating in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, enough food to eat, and quality and affordable health care for when we get sick.

I want all children to have enough to eat and all families to be able to provide this for their kids. I want us to be able to have chemo treatments if needed without the fear of going bankrupt. I want us to have our indoor plumbing and running water. I so appreciate and treasure these things.

The right of liberty is one that I think makes America very special.  We are free to believe what we want, to do as we want, to travel from state to state, to work, to play, to be with our families, and to say and speak what we want.

As you know, I am a supporter of the 1st Amendment.  I am in favor of a free media, the right of religious freedom, and to have our citizens believe and think how they see fit.  What I don’t like is hate, calling others fake, lying, or criticizing others who don’t agree with us.  I pray that we can find a way to respect others and learn from them.

The pursuit of happiness is perhaps a little harder to explain.  Since being happy is different for all of us, there are many definitions for this.  The fact that we can pursue our bliss and what makes us tick and motivates each day is pretty incredible.

Interesting that the founding fathers didn’t say the right of happiness itself but to pursue it.  I think they were encouraging all of us to strive for the best, be all that we can be, and  determine what means the most to us and go after it.  We should want to do better for our families, our friends, our children, and provide them with the best.

If this means having to reach out and help one another, I think that we should.  I think we should lift one another up, instead of tearing each other down.  I think we should be there for one another for the bad times and the good as well.

What do you think?  I would love to hear from you on your interpretation of the Declaration of Independence.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Freedom
  • The heroes who gave us our freedoms
  • Great food with family
  • Watching our son swimming
  • Laughter with family and friends
  • Prayers before a meal
  • Our church
  • Our community
  • Ian’s school
  • My family and friends
  • The love of writing and the media
  • Hugs from loved ones

I hope that you have a wonderful Independence Day!  Happy Fourth of July.  May you enjoy it and remember those who gave a day such as this to us.  I plan to do the same.