Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Price of Freedom

My family loves celebrating the Fourth of July.  The grilling, watermelon, swimming, and staying up ate are all great. Some members of our family even like the fireworks.  Our youngest daughter has never really enjoyed the noise, but sometimes stops hiding long enough to marvel at the colors in the sky.  My husband used to love fireworks, but the past two years haven't been the same.  What's changed?  He paid a price for freedom that no one warned us about.

Three years ago, our family celebrated the holiday as usual while my husband was in Iraq helping others regain their freedom.  He did well adapting back into a normal life when he returned, but had a difficult time hearing some of the whistling fireworks.  They reminded him of the noises he last heard in a desert where life was dangerous to say the least.  All in all, the day went well and he was able to bounce back after those fireworks were finished.

This year was even harder than last.  We spent our holiday at a friends house and drove a short distance to get to a place to see the fireworks display.   On the way there, someone didn't see us driving up and threw a small firecracker into the street near our car.  While waiting for the show, people shot off crazy amounts of firecrackers all around us.  After the show, we drove back through the neighborhood, dodging kids, trash and even more firecrackers.   By the time we made it out of the neighborhood, my husband was lost in his memories.

When I think of freedom, veterans always come to my mind.  Whether they stayed stateside during their enlistment or went overseas, whether they lived to tell their stories or paid the ultimate sacrifice, they give up so much for Americans and those they defend around the world.  I find it ironic that the very way we celebrate our freedom can be harmful and bring back terrible memories for the men and women who helped guarantee that freedom for the rest of us.  Next year when you sit down to enjoy your displays, please remember those people for whom fireworks will never be the same.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Wishing you and your family a safe and fun holiday celebrating our history and our heroes!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Itty Bitty Homes and Great Big Blessings

When my husband and I first married 14 years ago, we moved into an itty bitty house.  It was built during World War II for the soldiers returning home from war.  We loved our little house and were thrilled when our first daughter arrived to share it with us.  We didn't care that the other half of her bedroom was our office and my husband's storage area for his army gear.  We learned to love the house with the washer and dryer in the kitchen.  We didn't need space because we had love.

When he got out of the army, we purchased a slightly bigger house near our family.  The house was on a piece of land and was built in a way that made it easy to dream of adding to the house as our family grew.  It didn't take long for our family to grow, but the house remained the same.  We still spoke of one day when the house was bigger, but after nine years, we moved again with our three daughters.

We are now in a duplex which is larger than any other place we have called home, but it is still itty bitty.  Especially now that we have four children sharing our three bedroom, barely over 1000-square-foot abode.  The funny thing is that we are comfortable and happy in our slightly-cramped sace.  We have learned to count our great big blessings in our itty bitty home.

  • We enjoy lots of family time.  When we all have to share the same space, we find ourselves playing games, having conversations, watching movies, and interacting more than if we each could go to our own corner.
  • When things are tough, we work out the problems because we can't run away from them. There is nowhere to hide.
  • We clean out the closets, cupboards and crannies often.  We have no spare space to become hoarders.
  • We get outside a lot.  When we do feel the need to spread out, we go to the park, play in the yard or go somewhere. 
  • We can still have friends over.  It took me a long time to learn this one.  I kept waiting until we got a bigger house to invite friends over.  Two years ago, I finally decided I couldn't wait any longer and we hosted New Year's Eve dinner for 15 people.  It was tight, but no one cared.  We all had a great time.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with a big house, but good things do come in small packages sometimes.