Independence Day

I hope everyone had a happy and safe Independence Day.  I love this time of year.  Besides that my birthday is a few days before July 4th, I just love spending time outside (from the hours of 8am-10am and 7pm-9pm when it’s not 100 degrees outside), and having all the festivities associated with Independence Day.  Is it just me or is it really a time when our country is united, despite all of our different views on homosexuality, with the gratitude of living in a free country?  We are SO BLESSED!!

Tommy and I have carried on a tradition my family and I have had for many years of attending the Lions Club’s firework show at Jackson Junior High (where I attended Jr. High in Amador County).  We park in the same spot every year in our secret spot by the Critchfield’s house (secret’s out), and then hike down to the field where we set up a blanket and watch the fireworks.  Thanks Lions Club!  When the band, consisting of mainly octogenarians, plays the Star Spangled Banner, I am usually caught between chuckling at that breathless trombone and getting choked up thinking of all the lives that have been sacrificed for my freedoms.

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So, then the fireworks start.  Afton immediately jumped up into Tommy’s arms, crying.  And Micah just casually glances up to see what’s going on.  We convinced Afton that there was nothing to worry about, that this was actually a celebration and she calmed down. She had the same exact reaction last year!! This is what we looked like:

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And Mr. Micah is 2 for 2 now. I worried that maybe he had hearing issues last year when he fell asleep in the middle of the fireworks at only 6 months old.  There is just something about chest-rattling explosions that lull Micah right to sleep. This is him a few minutes later.

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But as I sat and thought about said explosions, I couldn’t help but think that it sounded like a battlefield.  And later on, at home I heard more fireworks (seriously, nobody will answer their doors on halloween, but on the fourth of July, EVERYONE was lighting off fireworks)  and just thought….these young kids.  Going off to war.  Giving their time, their comfort, and even their lives.  I am so sad that it is this way.  That the world is this way.  But so grateful that our freedoms and liberties are being protected.  It makes me think of a poignant song by Mason Jennings, The Field.  The first time I heard it was live and it gets me every time.  Written from the perspective of a parent whose child has died at war.  This will mean nothing to you unless you go listen to it on Spotify.  Bottom line is thank you. Thanks to our service men and women and thanks to the families of these people.

God bless America!

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Am I really 30?

Hello friends and family!

In case you didn’t know, I am turning 30 today! The big 3-0. The joke is that people are forever 29. And I have to admit, 29 has been good to me. I went extreme go karting, saw my favorite musician, Mason Jennings, in concert, bought our first pets (4 chicks), took a foraging class in SF, went camping at Big Trees, learned how to sew a zipper pouch (I know this is strange, but I could now make these things all day) and spent lots of time with my favorite people. And even with all of these good times, I am okay to move on to 30. I’m not afraid of the number, but only because I feel as young as I ever have. How is it that 30 no longer seems as old as it did when I got set up on a date with a 30 year old when I was 19?IMG_7880IMG_7406IMG_20150530_095943_571IMG_8030

So, I wanted to make it a meaningful occasion by doing things a little differently than usual. Sure, I could hope for more art supplies (you can never have too many), but i wanted something special to remember this birthday by.

In the past couple years I have read several books that have had a common theme and that is education…or the lack thereof in different parts of the world. It really hit me hard as I would read about people like Malala Yousafzai who didn’t just get shipped off to school in a bus every morning with no cares. So many kids, especially girls, do not have the same opportunities for education as I did growing up and this has made me extremely grateful for the education I so mindlesssly received. Homework was such a burden, but for these kids who have to fight to receive an education, this opportunity for learning would only be a huge blessing.

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I somehow stumbled on the book “The Promise of a Pencil” by Adam Braun. You can read about his “for purpose” organization called Pencils of Promise on their website pencilsofpromise.org. They work with communities across the globe to build schools and create programs that provide education opportunities for children, no matter where they are born, or what resources they have. Pencils of Promise has broken ground on over 200 schools throughout Ghana, Guatamala, and Laos. I love how they counsel with the communities and the communities are responsibile for part of the cost, so everyone is involved and everyone values what is being done. I was so excited, reading about this that I immediately went into fundraising mode and thought of different ways I could help the cause. Dedicating my 30th birthday to this cause is one of the ways.

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Nothing would bring me more fulfillment than to know that I am doing something to help a child receive an education. Education unlocks the potential in everyone. It is a powerful tool in changing the world. Please join with me by donating to these kids’ futures. I so appreciate your support!! Click the link below.

fundraise.pencilsofpromise.org/fundraise?fcid=468463

100% of online donations goes directly to the PoP programs!