HAPPY FOURTH

We have a lot to look forward to. And a lot to look back on. And a lot to be grateful for in this moment.

Once again, the sisters of The Sister Lode are moving and shaking.

It seems life has a funny way of showing us what our choices are. Sometimes, it appears we have no choice in certain matters. Sometimes, it seems we have only one possible choice that will work. Sometimes, however, when we don’t like the choices offered to us, we find a few new ones.

We’ve learned to think outside the box like that. We’ve also learned that we can go back and un-check some of the boxes we once checked. We can take ourselves out of the game, if we no longer want to play. This doesn’t make us quitters; it actually makes us beginners in new directions.

In short, we have not limited Independence Day to just the Fourth of July; we have made Independence available every day. Perhaps this was a foreign concept to us in the not-so-distant past, but with Mom’s wisdom and a little flexing of the I-can-do-what-I-want-to-do-as-long-as-it-doesn’t-break-The-Ten-Commandments muscles, we are moving on to some pretty exciting things.

Stay tuned for more details in future posts, this juicy, hot news isn’t yet off the presses.

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Our country’s birthday came two weeks ago today, and my home hummed with its usual guests and celebrations. We hosted family, and my friends came for the week as they always do for July 4th–an incredible pair of sisters and their three daughters who are like family.

As always, fun was had, memories were made, and goodbye came too soon. Suzanne and her husband were able to join us, but we had to celebrate without Gail.

Gail is celebrating some wonderful news in her family, but, like the news above, it’s not yet off the presses. Suffice it to say it is bringing wondrous joy to all of us.

July is my favorite month of the year, and I don’t plan to take down my red-white-and-blue decor anytime before the end of the month. If I could, I would likely leave it up all year. My beloved, however, may frown upon that, and the neighbors, while it may not be frowned upon like year-round Christmas decorations are, may wonder what their crazy neighbor lady is thinking now.

No worries, I have an entire red-white-and-blue room in my home. If you should ever be an overnight guest, you will likely spend the night in my America/Kansas room. Just don’t plan on visiting for the last few weeks of August, because, along with one–and hopefully two–of my sisters, I will be away on yet another adventure.

Stay tuned for those details, too. You can safely bet the fun will be unprecedented.

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If we could, we would bring any takers along on our adventures. But, we won’t, because this is our gig. Greater than that idea, however is this: we hope to inspire you to find Independence Day every day in your life, too. If your mind needs it, we hope to broaden your idea of the possibilities for Independence and happiness in your life. We hope you can see that sometimes throwing some–but not all–caution to the wind is a good idea. We hope to show you that if some part of your life isn’t working, you have the power to change it. It takes work–starting with the mental kind, and while still keeping Mom’s Ten Commandments mantra mentioned earlier in mind, it can be done.

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1: July Fourth is Independence Day. 2: May Fourth offers a May the Fourth Be With You message. 3: March Fourth became March Forth for us when our parents died on that day. In short, please take these three messages from each of those dates with you: 1: Find your own Independence, whatever it looks like for you. Listen to the quiet, small voice whispering inside; it is infinitely wiser than all the big, loud voices outside of you. 2: May The Force Be With You. It’s there–find your own way to tap into it. 3: Whatever hardships life may hand you, keep pushing through them. Not around them, not over them, but through them.

The three sisters of The Sister Lode are pulling for you on the Fourth, and every day of the year.

My friend who visited, knowing how important the Fourth is to me, bought these napkins for me.

Special thanks to our dear reader JoAnn, who spotted Suzanne and me at a garage sale this weekend. She recognized us from this blog.

SWHEAT GIRLS PART THREE: LETTING FREEDOM RING

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SWHEAT GIRLS PART THREE:  LETTING FREEDOM RING

I have featured this pair of amazing sisters in two previous posts after their annual visits to my home.  (Swheat Girls Part One and Two, July 2017 & July 2018).  They bring their families every Independence Day week from their homes in the Phoenix area.  I treasure their visits; we have maintained contact since 1984.  Tana and Amy began as the girls I babysat in the summers; now they are the women I am lucky to call my lifelong friends.  

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This year, they told me they used to spend the weekends sitting in their rooms on the farm, bored until I returned Monday morning.  They couldn’t understand why I felt I needed the weekend off.  That’s many miles bridged from the rough beginning I chronicled last year when I insulted their cat in our first ten minutes together.  After that introduction, they were set on running me off, just like they had with all the others.

Except they didn’t.  And I didn’t leave, either.  We made it through the bumpy beginning, and the sailing just gets smoother every year.

 

 

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My stomach muscles hurt—in a good way—from laughing so much last week.  If laughter is indeed good medicine, then I should be in perfect health.  And, if I should ever need to get more of this good medicine in the future, all I need is a big dose of this picture:

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The bugs were formidable, but we found a way to avoid them.  And, in their usual form, these two find a way around obstacles—simply sip your drink through the straw through the net.  They’ve always figured out a solution to whatever comes their way.

Those early days on the farm were revisited with reverie and stories, recalling their youthful demeanor,

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Which hasn’t changed much in all these years.

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We enjoyed all our usual activities:  puzzling

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Yard games,

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Cooking, baking and grilling—followed by overeating.

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We took a little trip to Tana’s college town,

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the same college their parents met at, and the same college that honors their grandfather–their mother’s father.

 

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We swam in our backyard redneck pool,

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and in our neighbor’s real-deal pool.

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A fireworks display was offered courtesy of my son and a friend,

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followed by Tana’s karaoke rendition of Kansas’s own Martina McBride singing “Independence Day” the morning after Independence Day.  The flyswatter was handy for obvious reasons, so it became her microphone.  She’s always good at improvising when the circumstances may not be perfect.  Her voice is that of another talented Kansas wheat farm girl.

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Being the swheat girls they are, they took a trip to their family farm to enjoy the harvest.

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As a joke, I offered this garage sale find to Amy; she wasted no time putting it to use.  She says it’s the greatest treasure I have ever given her, and she plans to hand it down to her children as a family heirloom one day.  I planned to use it in an art project, but clearly, it belongs with her. 

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Proof she is truly a swheat girl

This year, we added yoga to the mix.  They, too, enjoy a good yoga workout, and since my teacher lives just down the road, she agreed to come over on the morning of the Fourth for some porch yoga.  She led us from the corner of the porch; the rest of the yoga-goers wrapped around the back porch. 

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If a picture is indeed worth a thousand words, then these pictures should be worth many thousands of words, so I won’t write much more.  They tell the stories of the fun and laughter we shared last week.  Hopefully, I have made it quite clear that we felt free to exercise our independence this week, and throughout the other fifty-one as well. 

Tana and Amy have been constants for each other; they have no other siblings.  Through births and deaths, divorces and disappointments, they are sisters through thin and thick.   They know liberty because they earned it, and they honor it as the gift it is every day, not just on Independence Day.

I hope you find that well of liberty within, because it is a gift to be opened for each and every one of us, every day of the year.

Have fun, and laugh while you are doing it.  It truly is the best medicine.

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