Simplify Sunday: 5/26

Debby McCuiston, the “Queen of Clutter-Free”, does a segment for us each Sunday on simplifying our lives, getting rid of “clutter”, and focusing on what’s important. We look forward to her words of wisdom each week & hope you enjoy it too! Take it away Debby….

As I am writing my son and his beautiful wife are landing in Ireland…the land of my grandfather. Now that’s the way to get away from the fast pace of New York City!! They know how to vacation in style!

My awesome husband is out digging holes in the “hard as nails” red, southern clay to plant 20 rose bushes along our white fence in the front yard. What a man!! I have the vision and he makes it happen, we are a great team.
We also have plans on this long weekend to put together a swing set. That is if it arrives in time. Most of the time we run out of weekend and money before we run out of projects.

I have dreams of a cute little play house in the corner of our backyard with a white fence behind it. This is the summer that we have set aside to make my dream a reality. You know how most projects go…make a list of what you need, go to the hardware store to get an idea of how much money you will need and save-save-save. Right when you are ready to start your project, the $600 dollar project turns into a $1200 dollar project. WOW!! I can dream big but not that big. So with those staggering figures Plan B is born.

We have two storage sheds in our back yard that store all the “stuff” I thought we needed to save. Needless to say, I have come to my senses and have been able to let go of enough stuff that we are ready to for one of the sheds to become a playhouse. Oh yes, two projects that will be finished before the end of the summer. Maybe before the end of June.

It’s amazing how much money you can save by simply changing your view of items around your house. With a little bit of TLC (tender loving care), elbow grease (hard work) and a lot of imagination, you can turn the ugliest, worn-out piece into a beautiful functional piece of décor. A special thanks to those on Pinterest for jogging my imagination to see junk in a whole new way. Caution: Do NOT start collecting other’s cast off stuff for a project you may do “someday”. If you can use or work on it NOW…go for it. If it will set waiting for the perfect time to work on it, let it go. Be careful, you could create yet another mess that will suck up time, money and energy.

No matter what you have planned for this long weekend, please remember why we have set this time aside as a nation to remember those that have served our country and paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

Contrary to popular belief this is not “national BBQ weekend”. I love to drive by the lake and see large families together; spending this weekend eating, playing and relaxing together. These are the times that sweet memories are made. Kids running and playing, dads teaching a young one how to put the worm on the hook , moms setting out enough food to feed a small army and everyone laughing and sharing stories in front of the fire. That kind of family time can never be bought or replaced. The problem is we have gotten so caught up in the “enjoyment” of the holiday we aren’t taking the time to pause and remember those that have made our freedom possible.

Not too long ago, homes were decorated with yellow ribbons to remind us of those away at war. (This started because of an old song by Tony Orlando called “tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree”) It was such a visual statement to keep us mindful of those that were away. Homes were draped with red, white and blue from Memorial Day until the 4th of July. Every time you sat down to a meal during these days you were greeted by a tablescape done to the “nine’s” in all that is patriotic. It seemed like a celebration for the privilege of being an American.

I wonder if we have gotten so busy with trying to make it from day to day, that we have lost our grasp on what goes on to keep America the great country it is. I know how much work goes into pulling off a big family get together. The time it takes to cook all of the family favorites. It takes so much effort to make sure you have everything that might be needed packed and ready to go (before one of the little ones unpack it while you are still trying to pack).

I wonder, while we are cooking our favorite dish, is there a mom huddled in the corner of her kitchen floor crying as she remembers that chocolate cake that her precious son or daughter loved…but will never taste again because they didn’t make it home from their tour of duty?

How many family members no longer tell funny stories about days gone by because many of the grownup little boys will never get to see their little boys grow up to be proud daddy’s. I have been told that the pain of losing a child never goes away but the sweet memories is all that keeps you going most days.

How many young moms are raising their little babies to understand what an amazing man their daddy was because he gave his life to insure that they can continue to live in a free nation?

Do you remember the dreams you used to have for your kids as they ran and played? Do you remember how you read that bedtime story for the 100th time because it was their favorite? How special was it to see them hit that ball for the first time or dance across the stage dressed in pink? Do you remember the times you knew they were the smartest, bravest and best kid in the world and you were proudest parent on the face of the earth?

Then the world stopped as you knew it…you said good-bye as they pulled away, heading out to become the bravest of the brave. A mom or dad, grandparent and aunt or uncle never prays so hard as when they are asking the King of Kings to take care of that special baby.
How do you ever pick your broken heart up off of the floor when you find out your sweet baby gave their life for millions of people that will never know what a hero he or she was? How many millions of tears have been shed as you kissed that sweet cheek for the last time? Will you ever understand why?

As a nation, we can never make it better for those that have lost so much so we can have so much. But we can be kind to those that still serve and say thank you. We can help carry the burden of raising a family alone, by standing up and filling the gap. We can allow our hearts to swell with pride as we see that beautiful flag flying high because of the lives that have been given to make that possible. Most of all we must teach the young ones how much has been sacrificed for their freedom and teach them the pride and honor of living in a country that others gave so much to have.

Can we make this the weekend we realize the price that was paid and live a life worthy of that sacrifice? Can we take pride in our country that was built on the high calling of the brave to stand strong, to do and give whatever it cost to make it possible for all of us to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave?

THANK YOU to those that have served and to those that continue to serve!! May the life I live make you proud!
May God continue to bless our country and keep our brave men and women safe in the palm of His hand.

Love you to Jesus,

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