Happy Independence Day 2015!

IMG_1064It’s in my blood, I suppose, given that I’ve devoted such a large part of my life to the study and creation of words. But I love reading historical documents, absorbing the language of other time periods and cultures, pulling apart the lines to find deeper meaning, comparing them with what I’ve learned from other sources.

On the Fourth of July, the Declaration of Independence seems an especially fitting read. I won’t share all of it, but here are two quick excerpts to digest.

The second paragraph of the Declaration famously begins:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Jefferson and his cohorts follow with a series of reasons as to why the colonies should “alter their former Systems of Government,” and ultimately declare:

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.

What a game changer those words turned out to be.

Happy Fourth of July!

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Thoughts on the Sea #13

IMG_5424When the storm is over and night falls

IMG_5430and the moon is out in all its glory and all you’re left with is the rhythm of the sea, of the waves,

IMG_6009you know what God intended for the human race, you know what paradise is.

Harold Pinter

For other thoughts on the sea, see #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, and #12.

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The Summer List for 2015

100_8540 (2)Every year I create a list of small ways to celebrate the summer season, a practice of mine that dates back to my Chicago days. When I began blogging, I started posting my lists and trying to come up with a fresh series of ideas each year. However, after only coming up with three new ideas for this year’s list, I passed the baton on to the formerly small people and asked for their take on things. My younger son, mesmerized by his own brilliance during his youth, immediately began spouting all his ideas from former lists, like ice cream for breakfast and staying up all night. My older son said nothing because he was in the middle of playing Star Wars: Battlefront II and was thus beyond all human reach. Baby-Girl, however, delivered a fascinating list, so I’ll share my three ideas and then move on to hers, all for your reading pleasure.

My List

  1. Drink your drinks of choice this summer all with brightly colored straws. It just makes the ordinary a little more fun.
  1. Break your routine (if you have one) and walk a path you’ve never walked before (literally, not figuratively, although personally I’m fine if you want to do it figuratively as well). Find a trail, a pathway, or a neighborhood you’ve never explored and check it out.
  1. Get a tattoo. I’ve been on the fence about getting one for some time now (commitment issues), but summer seems like a great time to take the plunge. If nothing else, summer clothes make it easier to show off that which is new about you.

Baby-Girl’s List (The words in quotation marks are her words.)

  1. “Have a Mom’s Camp. Let the mom in the family pick what everyone does for the day. Like go to the beach with Mom, get Mom’s nails done while everyone watches, and eat lots of chocolate.” Note: She emphasized that this one, unlike other camps, is “just for a day.”
  1. “Oh, and then you can have another one for the dad and another one (she became quite animated here) for each of the kids in the family!!!”
  1. “Have a Reading Fest. You get up in the morning and go to the bookstore. And everyone buys books. Then, go to the library and check out more books. Then, go home and spend the day reading.” We discussed planning a food stash ahead of time so meals and snacks are ready to go. Baby-Girl also mentioned to “make sure that you stay hydrated.” We’ve all, of course, heard the many harrowing accounts of people who suddenly dehydrated while reading.
  1. “Make a family store. Everyone can sell the stuff they don’t want anymore to each other.” Create a mental picture of that one for a moment.
  1. “Try a new hairstyle. Why don’t you wear braids to work, Mom?”
  1. “Dip your feet in water for an hour, and while you do it, do something fun like read a book. And also, dip your hair in a little bucket of water.”

Well, that’s it y’all. I hope your summer is filled with love, laughter, lounging, and lots of dipping your hair in little buckets of water.

The 2011 Summer List

The 2012 Summer List

The 2013 Summer List

The 2014 Summer List

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