Are you old enough to have experienced a small town patriotic celebration? I mean the whole thing … the cemetery ritual, the parade, the picnic, and the fireworks? I am, and it is a poignant memory for me. Deep within my cells is the feeling of belonging and pride in the accomplishments of people and places I love. I grew up feeling grateful to be an American and part of a very large Irish-Dutch family. I still am.

Even though I now have concerns with some actions by our government, and even my family members; I know that the freedom to express myself and to choose is at the heart of who I am today., and I choose to unconditionally love both my country and my family in return for the solid foundation I was given to build my life.

I am fortunate to not have had a loved one die in Vietnam or any other war; but I have had a beloved sister, brother, and granddaughter die unexpectedly. This weekend reminds me to take the time to feel gratitude for the joys they brought into my life. It also reminds me to feel deep appreciation for all the sacrifices made by many to keep us a nation / family that is free and safe.

I’m going to the cemetery on Memorial Day. I will honor my loved ones and the blessing they were in my life. I will also take the time to thank my granddaugher Emily and her husband Lt. Kyle Sullivan, a US Navy pilot. Their sacrifices are many and we will fly the flag they gave us with great pride!

I am also going out into my garden … to play in the dirt, plant more beauty, and watch my garden grow.

Under this powerful full moon, I invite you to plant something beautiful with the intention of growing a deeper appreciation for the blessings in your life.

May you feel safe and grateful this weekend!

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