By Sheryl Simons
"Listen for the singing frogs. It is the tastes and the sounds and
the feel of summer that keeps things simple."
* * *
For years after the original signing of the Declaration of
Independence, it was traditional for towns and villages to join at
the town square for the re-reading of the document. Fifty years
after ratification by the Continental Congress, Thomas Jefferson
wrote in what was to be his last written document, "May it be to the
world, what I believe it will be ... the signal of arousing men to
burst the chains ... and to assume the blessings and security of
self-government. That form, which we have substituted, restores the
free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of
opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. ...
For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our
recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them."
For fifty years America had been a nation. We were barely
past our baby steps. Can you imagine? A nation of only 50 years.
We were (and still are) making mistakes. We didn't get it all right
then, or now. But we have held together. Held together by courage
and determination, risk, willingness and vision. We all know those
who went to battle and never returned.
Our nation is still young compared to some. A mere two
hundred years. We have never all thought alike. But we have
remained as one nation.
What does it take to volunteer to risk one's life for our
country? I don't think anyone feels a great deal of courage while
signing a name to a form. Courage takes steps. Baby steps.
Now our great country has looked with vision into the
future. We see our world as our neighborhood. We have taken great
strides for freedom, first for ourselves, and now we see freedom
around the world. We have not yet conquered the evils of terrorism,
but we are looking it in the eye and it is backing down. It started
with passing on the blessings we as a "Nation Under God", as many
believe we are, received. We helped fight wars we were
not "involved" with, for the sake of freedom. We sent supplies to
starving and thirsty countries whose resources were depleted. We
tore bandages, and rationed gasoline, went to work and we sacrificed
for others. We looked beyond our own hopes and dreams to the dreams
of the world to be able to live at peace.
But we don't have to be in the military to have courage.
There are all kinds of courage. Everyday we have perhaps hundreds
of opportunities to "do the right thing." We can clean up after
others, go out of our way to help someone, with no thought of
repayment, or even being noticed. Just being cheerful is a step in
the right direction. We may never effect a person in Africa, but
when we touch someone's life in a good way, we may never know how
far the ripples may extend. We are all teachers. We teach our
children, our neighbors, our fellow workers how it pays to play
and play fair. We don't always get immediate payoff. It took years
for our own independence and now our soldiers are paying to give a
child in Iraq a chance to attend school, or maybe just grow up.
There is a price. Freedom and courage do have a price. But at the
end of the day, we can hold our heads high, that we fought and won.
Because winners never quit. We won't quit fighting for freedom.
Not in our lifetime. Not on the battlefield, or on the job. Not at
home, or in the playground. We are Americans. We are a proud
nation, we won't give ourselves a second to do anything but the
right thing. No matter where we are we have the opportunity to "Pay
it Forward". It's that simple.
* * *
"Don't tell your problems to people: eighty percent don't care; and
the other twenty percent are glad you have them." ~~Lou Holtz
* * *
A Mother's Question
Freedom is not the right to do as you please, but the liberty
to do as you ought." Cindy Sheehan asked President Bush, "Why did my
son have to die in Iraq?" Another mother asked President
Kennedy, "Why did my son have to die in Vietnam?" Another mother
asked President Truman, "Why did my son have to die in Korea? Yet
another mother asked President Lincoln, "Why did my son have to die
at Gettysburg?" And yet another mother asked President G.
Washington, "Why did my son have to die near Valley Forge?" Then
long, long ago, a mother asked, "Heavenly Father, why did my Son
have to die on a cross outside of Jerusalem?"
* * *
Simple Hash Brown Pie
Ingredients: 5 large eggs, 5 slices of bacon, cooked and
crumbled,1/2 c milk
3 c hash browns-thawed, 1/3 cup green onions, thinly sliced, 1/2 t.
salt, 1/4 t hot pepper sauce, 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
Beat together the eggs and milk; stir in hash browns, green onions,
salt and pepper sauce. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese and half of the
bacon. Pour into a greased9 inch pie plate or quiche dish. Bake at
350 degrees F. for about 30 minutes or until the center is set.
Sprinkle with remaining bacon and cheddar. Bake until cheese is
Keeping it Simple,