Two Sides to Freedom

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Tonight as I went out to lock the girls in for the night I was not prepared for the beautiful orange of the western sky as it peeked between the evergreen boughs. The night was quiet with a light breeze gently moving the leaves of the flowering crab tree. It was the perfect ending to some very busy days.

The last weeks have been very busy. I have a feeling we are trying to catch up and stay ahead of things between the heavy rainstorms that we have been given. The lawn seems to be growing faster than we can get it mowed. And the weeds in the fields and garden have been doing the same.

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Arnold’s Park

In between all the day to day house/farm stuff, we had the 4th of July holiday thrown in. I really love that holiday because we spend it at my sister’s place at the lake. Family and friends gather for a day of fun, food, boat rides and game playing. Stories are traded, babies are held, recipes are traded and the day ends with the traditional firework display.

As I sat there and watched those fireworks I noticed the flag flying proudly at Arnold’s Park. It did make me pause and realize what this celebration was really all about…the birth of our nation and the sacrifice it took to make it through all the labor pains of that birth.

It made me think of the blood that was shed and is still being shed so that freedoms can be protected. I am so grateful for those that are willing to make that sacrifice for us. I am grateful for those who leave their families for months at a time so I can spend a holiday with mine.

20190705_0852451736528332.jpgWe were concerned about the weather as storms were predicted to roll in during the day….fortunately they were wrong this time. We were able to take a walk along the lake the next morning and enjoy the quiet of the lake after the very people-filled day before.

 

It was kind of amazing how quiet the water was that morning. The day before it was choppy due to all the boats and jet skis that were zipping around. It was a great reminder that there are usually two sides to most things in life…you just have to open your eyes to both of them.

In the space of 24 hours we saw both sides of the lake…the busy and the quiet. We were able to see a dazzling fireworks display and enjoy the freedom of that while reflecting on the sacrifice it takes to keep those freedoms.

I will always be grateful for those freedoms and that sacrifice. When I am privileged to stand in my backyard, inhaling the fragrance of blooming lilies, feeling the light breeze whisper past my cheek and see the sky on fire with brilliant shades of orange; I will give thanks to those who have paid the ultimate price. I will remember the two sides that are freedom.

 

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must,
like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.

Thomas Paine

 

Boundaries and Fences

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I spent a little time this past week catching up in my garden. This included hoeing to get rid of those pesky weeds that seem to spring up the minute you turn your back. It also included picking my beans.

As I was standing in the fenced-in, rabbit proof portion of my garden (at least I thought it was rabbit proof) I heard the noise of something smashing against that chicken wire fence. Every time I looked the animal seemed to have disappeared.

I finally discovered a rabbit hiding in my beans and with the help of my husband; that rabbit was escorted out of the garden. (No he was not harmed in his removal.) I proceeded to finish with my gardening chores and had a little time to ponder as I did so.

It kind of amazed me that a rabbit actually made it through the fence that we had so carefully built and put into place. It also caught my attention that once that rabbit had made it into the enclosure he could not figure out how to get out.

I think our lives can be a lot like that. There are rules/bounderies set in place that are intended to keep us safe….much like the fence was intended to keep my beans etc. safe. I wondered why so many times we look at those “fences” as something that is meant to keep us locked in, rather than to keep the “rabbits” of our lives out, and to keep us safe from those “rabbits”?

Thinking that over, gave me a new perspective on the boundaries that we all have in place in our lives. It made me think of the parent who allows their child to do anything; because they feel that to discipline them, means they don’t love them. It made me think of the friend who is afraid to speak truth in love to a friend because they are afraid it will ruin the friendship and hurt the other person.

Reality….setting boundaries for our children, for ourselves and for each other speaks love. It says we care enough to hold ourselves and others accountable for actions taken and words spoken.

I used to tell my children that if I did not love them I would not give two beans what they did. I also told them, that I would be loving them till the day I died so, unfortunately (or fortunately??) for them, I would be holding them accountable for that length of time. Hopefully, as parents, they now appreciate that logic more than they did when they lived under our roof!

In my pondering I also thought about the fact that even though we do build those fences of protection..life happens and rabbits do end up where they should not be. When that happens….it is always good to get help to escort those “rabbits” right out of your life…..because that is what friends and family are for.

May this week find you checking your “fences” and making sure you have someone to help you with the “rabbits” in your life! May your boundaries be clear and your fences be strong.

Boundaries are to protect life, not to limit pleasures.
Edwin Louis Cole

Celebrating The 4th!

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A gray start to the day

The day dawned gray and a bit stormy looking but my husband and I loaded the car for our annual 4th of July celebration. We headed for the lake to join family and friends at my sister and her husband’s lake home.

We did make our way there slowly, as we tried to stay a bit behind the storm. Our road trip there took longer; but we got to investigate new antique places, small towns and garage sales on our way. (There is usually an upside to even rainy days!)

We made our annual stop at Trapper’s Bay on Silver Lake. My husband spent many hours fishing there as a kid and loves to drive through the small park. We arrived there not too long after the wind and rain had made it’s way through that town. Lots of trees were down and the people there were spending their holiday cleaning up.

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Docks underwater due to lots of rainfall this year

Typically the day is hot and excellent for boating, swimming, and just enjoying the water…..not so this year. After having had some very hot days leading up to the 4th, we started the day with rain…and we ended the day with rain.

The lake was so high that there was a no wake rule for all the lakes in the county. We did get a very leisurely boat ride in the afternoon. I must admit there was something wonderfully relaxing about that slow boat ride. It was quiet, with very few boats on the water.

Another storm moved in early in the evening and the big firework show was cancelled….but not the fireworks my brother in law had purchased! We sat in the dark, under umbrellas and watched as our guys attempted to keep the wicks on the fireworks lit.

This was the first year I had ever seen them lighting fireworks while standing under an umbrella. There was lots of laughter, much encouragement and we made sure to oooohhhhh and aaaahhhhh as the sky lit with colors.

It didn’t take too long and we had to abandon the effort, as it just became too soggy. (Much to the relief of my future daughter-in-law who had given my son stern instructions that morning; that he was not to get injured, as their wedding was only a week away!)

The guys did manage to get a wonderful finale firework lit to end the night. I wish I could have downloaded the video my sister took but I just am not quite tech savvy enough to know how to make that one work; so you will just have to make do with a still shot.

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The Grand Finale~photo credit to my sister Andrea

The rain did put a damper on the day, due to the fact that we were not able to do the things we normally do on the 4th of July.  In looking back on that day, I am realizing that the most important things still got done….

We remembered the sacrifices made for this country. We prayed for our country, our leaders and those who serve. We gave thanks for family, friends and good food. We laughed, enjoyed each other’s company, and we did get wet….just not in the lake.

Sometimes it is good to not have a day go how you planned. Sometimes it leaves the door open to see the holiday from a different view. It is good to realize that joy in family and in friendships is not dependent on weather or circumstances. It is totally dependent on being together and that is enough.

 

“Cherish your human connections
– your relationships with friends and family.”
– Barbara Bush

 

Pineapple Slush and Shed Raising

Pineapple Slush

We seem to be in the “dog days” of summer around here.  The days that are hot, muggy and generally uncomfortable if you are outside too long.

To prepare for these days I made Pineapple Slush so we would have a cool refreshing treat after a day of working outside. Especially after an afternoon of baling, or hand weeding in the garden or pretty much anything outside.

I haven’t made this recipe in a few years.  I think the last time I made slush was for a “shed raising” at our farm.  A few years back; we decided it was time to put up a machine shed. Instead of just hiring someone, my husband went to a DIY (do it yourself) type store and ordered the materials he would need to put one up.

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The Materials Have Arrived!

We found someone in our area willing to rent out their  telehandler thing, talked to our daughter in law’s brother (who had worked construction) and set out to build a shed.  As our sons would be around on the 4th of July weekend that year we decided that was the optimum time to get started.

Of course the day they set the poles, July 5,  it was blisteringly hot and muggy…..a fairly typical Iowa summer day in July. I am not sure why we thought the weather would be comfortable at that point?? You would think after living our entire lives in this area we would know how hot it can get.

By the time it was afternoon and time for a much needed lunch break; the guys were ready for something cool and the Pineapple Slush was just the ticket.  The recipe makes an ice cream bucket full plus a little extra.

Pineapple Slush
6 cups water
4 cups white sugar
1- 46 oz. can pineapple juice

2 – 12 oz. cans frozen orange juice
1 – 12 oz.  can frozen lemonade

6 bananas – mashed
Bring water and sugar to a boil.
Chill till cold.
Add remaining ingredients.
Mix  and freeze in a 5 quart pail.
Stir once during freezing.
To serve, put a scoop (or more) in a glass and fill with soda
7-Up, Sprite, Orange soda are all good.

(Palm Breeze is also pretty good in this)
Note:  I usually forget to stir during freezing
and my mashed bananas tend to float to the top.

The shed was a weekend building project….multiple weekends; because everyone had other full-time jobs they needed to be at. Calendars would get checked often as to when was the best weekend to get the most guys to help. It took most of the summer, lots of persistence, buckets of slush, watermelon and a few tubes of aloe vera gel for the sunburnt shoulders …..but the shed did eventually get done.

The guys loved the tele handler and it sure made the job a lot easier and safer.

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I also know that my sons had a good time taking pictures from waaay up when they were in that basket of the tele handler. They all seemed to think owning one of them would be pretty handy.

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Old and New

I am not sure how many hours were spent or how many weekends were taken up with shed building or how much slush was consumed while putting the shed up …. I do know that it was a lot of fun having family and friends around to help out.  We did a lot of work on the shed, a lot of laughing and lots of eating on those weekends. We also really enjoy being able to get pretty much all the farm equipment under cover.

Two people are better off than one,
for they can help each other succeed.
Ecclesiastes 4:9