First, let me apologize for the dearth of posting I have done of late. I’ve been incredibly busy with my day job, plus we just had our first vacation in two years(!) so I’ve hardly had time to think, much less sit down and write something. Hopefully my schedule will be easing off now for a while.
Second, Happy Independence Day! We are really celebrating in more ways that usual this year, because we’re finally feeling secure enough to go out without masks everywhere. We are celebrating not just the anniversary of our nation’s independence but also the relaxation of some of the restrictions we’ve been under for the past year.
My husband and I were vaccinated months ago, but not everyone has made that step at this point. With the restrictions relaxed, more people than ever are getting out and enjoying the weather; site-seeing, celebrating, and visiting family they haven’t seen for far too long.
However you spend this holiday, grilling out at home or venturing out to see some fireworks, or just relaxing and enjoying a day off, I hope you make the best of it and enjoy your day.
I have to apologize for the irregular timing of my posts of late. Many of us are currently dealing with the normal holiday activities such as shopping, wrapping, decorating, planning menus and get-togethers. Like I’m sure many of you, I have found myself a little overwhelmed with the bustle and craziness that is natural for this season. Add in some major upheaval in my day job, along with the added stress of dealing with the public due to necessary safety precautions this year, and I have had my hands full.
Still, I am hopeful that everything will come together, and this will be a wonderful holiday, not just in spite of the current situation, but because we are still able to celebrate. My family has been relatively lucky this year. We are all healthy; we are still working; and my daughter was able to get leave, so our immediate family at least is able to be together.
So while we still have to be careful around the public at large, and wear masks outside the house and try to stay 6 feet away from people, the holidays will still come according to our calendars. Instead of focusing on what is wrong with the world on Christmas, New Year’s, Hanukah, Cuanza, or whatever or whenever you choose to celebrate, I urge you to focus on what is good in our lives, the blessings that still exist despite the turmoil around us.
We all deserve a little peace and joy this year.
Thank you always for reading, and best holiday wishes from my family to all of yours. May 2021 dawn brighter, healthier, and happier for all of us.
This week we celebrate the American holiday of Thanksgiving, a traditional festival of the harvest going back to the 1600s. This year, though it is especially difficult for many to remember what we have to be thankful for, when we are faced with a pandemic that robs us of health and life, and forces us into isolation away from friends and families to protect ourselves.
For my family, my daughter doesn’t have enough leave time to join us this year (she’s serving in the Air Force), but my husband and son will be here, and at some point we’ll contact the extended family digitally.
Very few of us are not affected in some way by the current crisis, but what we should try to remember is that this day, Thanksgiving, is not about our problems, but the blessings we have been given.
The early settlers, most notably the ones who settled Plymouth in early 1620, went through a great deal of hardship-starvation, disease, and death, not to mention complete isolation from everything they had known in Europe-before they invited their neighbors for that defining harvest celebration. However, they persevered. They survived, they continued, and they prospered.
We, their heirs to this dream we all share, can do the same. We can endure: we can outlast this crisis: we can triumph again. Hopefully by this time next year, this illness will be beaten back and the fear and isolation will be a distant memory. For now, we go on as best we can, and find new ways to make this holiday memorable, even with the necessary limitations place upon us.
Happy Thanksgiving and blessings to you all! Keep safe, and be strong.
Today we in the USA celebrate our veterans, past and present. Today we remember the sacrifices they, and their families have made, to keep us safe, to protect our borders, to prevent incursions from terrorists, and to keep the peace.
A number of members of my extended family have been part of this important group of our citizenry, including my daughter (currently serving in the Air Force,) as well as my husband, father-in-law, stepfather, and several uncles (all former members of the armed forces.)
I am sure you will join me in thanking them for their service, especially those on duty in the current environment of global crisis and political upheaval. May God keep them safe, whether they are serving inside the borders of the US or on foreign soil, and bring them home safely again.
This coming weekend marks American holiday Labor Day. Though the official holiday is Monday, September 7th, for many the celebrations will begin this Friday and continue throughout the extended weekend.
What a year it’s been! At this time last year, most of us were planning to celebrate this American holiday in our own style-with family and neighborhood gatherings, cookouts, and fireworks shows. What a difference a year can make! Now, many of us fear, not unreasonably so, to venture out unless absolutely necessary.
Labor Day, officially a federal holiday celebrating the efforts of American workers, and unofficially the” last hurrah of summer,” means many things to different people. Some take it as a welcome break from work, as federal and state offices will be closed, as well as many businesses. For others, it’s about shopping the big sales, or an excuse to party, or just a last summer blowout as children are returning to school.
This year, though many schools are finally back in session, albeit many are using a method of staggered attendance, the holiday doesn’t have quite the same meaning. Many, my husband included, are still working at home and will be for the foreseeable future.
However, for many, including the adults in my family, it is still a paid holiday we intend to enjoy. While we are planning a cookout, we will be having a smaller crowd this year, and any shopping we do will probably be accomplished online. Still, the day gives us a perfect excuse to pull out our smoker, and prepare too much good food, which will furnish leftovers for a few days at least.
Labor Day also means that autumn is just around the corner, and I’m already looking forward to cooler temperatures, putting up fall and Halloween decorations, and planning autumn treats to bake and share.
While the world is a vastly different place right now, we still can take joy in the day and wherever else we can find it. I choose to be optimistic that things will get better. In the meantime, we need to continue about our lives as best we can. This means planning as near a normal holiday celebration as possible, and rejoicing in the time we have as a family.
A few days ago, my daughter bought a pack of sparklers to share following a family celebration held on a warm evening in our backyard. She insisted I take one in hand which she then lit for me, and watched as I held it on our deck in the near dark. I was hesitant, only because I had never actually held one before. But when my sweet daughter offered, I couldn’t refuse.
I had never held a sparkler in my hand before. I’m a grown woman, just turned forty-nine, for the first and only time, thank you, but I have always harbored a small fear of those tiny sparks of fire, undoubtedly left over from childhood. My parents, bless them, were like many, slightly overprotective, and instilled in me a heavy dose of caution in respect to campfires, matches, and by extension, fireworks.
Oh we used to go to the city shows when I was little. I remember sitting on the tailgate of our pickup truck or standing on a hill or in a parking lot, wherever we could find the best spot to see the fireworks shows the city would produce. I would stay close to my parents, ears firmly covered with my hands, while we watched and oohed and aahed at the vivid colors on display.
Later, I recall watching firework celebrations with my own kids, though larger crowds in our adopted home city often made actually getting to a show and finding room to watch more awkward or problematic. We did manage though a few trips to see fireworks from the Reds stadium downtown, and once on a memorable family vacation to Florida.
I stood and watched that little sparkler as the long stick burst into crackling flashes, a ball of light similar to the head of a dandelion, ready to be released into the wind. I held on tight to the end as it burned down, a personal firework at close range, though without the bright colors and loud boom that accompanies the larger ones.
How could something so beautiful, so innocent, hold so much secret meaning. Though it lasted only a few moments, that ephemeral flare was a reminder that life is fleeting, and deserves our full attention. We should make the most of the time we have; as families, as communities, as human beings.
In this day and age, fear and uncertainty are plagues that haunt us all. It is more important than ever that we take the time to see beauty, to enjoy the little moments, to share in new experiences when we have the opportunity. We need to live in the moment, like most of us have always aspired to do anyway.
I have you have some special moments of your own as we move into this weekend, a special holiday for those of us in the U.S., as we celebrate Independence Day on Friday. Make the most of it!
Happy Fourth of July! Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Tomorrow is officially the day we celebrate our Independence in the United States, but the festivities have already started! (In my neighborhood, we’ve been hearing firecrackers go off in the evening all week!)
On this most important of national holidays, we recognize that our country, despite our differences, our problems, and our political debates, we all share a core of ideals and values. We acknowledge that though we are far from perfect, we still have such potential, along with the freedom to choose our own destinies.
Tomorrow, and this week, is the perfect time to set aside our petty arguments and embrace that which makes us all Americans. Take a moment to remember that we have servicemen and women overseas even now, sacrificing to keep our values and our safety intact.
However you choose to celebrate, by going out to one of the many parades or fireworks shows around the nation, or by just staying home and grilling out in the backyard, I hope this Fourth is your best yet!