It's taken me until the ninth of July to post about the fourth. But the holiday was a busy day for us so a five day catch up really isn't bad and in fact - at this point I'm calling it good enough. For those that know us in real life and noticed something was missing - our team of 13 was reunited on the fourth so the past week has been about setting back into our 'real' life and newly adjusted normal. Our adventure down Alice's Rabbit Hole has started to stabilize and though there is plenty to blog about I'm waiting to do it when the emotion has died down a little more. Of course we raised a few eyebrows here in the neighborhood when I flew both flags for the first time on the Fourth (my families tradition now carried forward as a British/American shake at tradition) these flags flew at my moms house in Seattle for as long as I can remember - side-by-side - just like this and I brought them back as part of my plan to bring memory home to my kids in May.
The holiday actually began July 3 with the team arriving to install the A/C for the first floor. One awesome thing about the whole Colorado experience is that our crew has learned to live in unusual situations and do hard things. They don't balk at physical discomfort, lack of privacy, zero personal space, or utter chaos and they also can truly appreciate a good thing when it comes their way. Things like A/C in the house. :) Wednesday we worked hard to stay out of the installation teams way as they drilled, wired and modified the old house so that both the first and second floor would be cool enough to sleep in this summer - true excitement - especially for the boys who have been sleeping/sweating on the first floor up until now. It's sort of hard to explain - but the house used to be a duplex - and we took the first floor A/C out last year when we did the back yard and never replaced it...so this year the first floor was functioning as a stucco encased sauna. :) But God had a plan.....actually a two part plan so they were installing air-conditioning in our house on the 3rd of July.
And I was writing the check for the installer (because the friends had sent their checks and I had my part and the regular bills had been paid) and I did the 'good thing' and got out the calculator because I haven't been able to since I have been living in the Rabbit Hole and it's all chaos and disorder ....and the total in the account was $-3.90. which wasn't a good thing because negative is negative and I honestly only do that when I'm pregnant......which made me freak for a moment - but I am 100% sure I'm not (pregnant) which would be Way more exciting than bouncing checks - so it's just bad math practices.....but please.....Oh CRAP! I better scamper to the bank and deposit back the cash I had taken out to pay allowances and buy strawberries with for the fourth of July berry picking extravaganza! Because bouncing is bad. Thank goodness my friend Patty had asked me if I was 'sure' I had enough to cover the A/C bill and made me think!
So scamper I did...and in the fun of it I had enough credit on my Starbucks card (thanks Rick and Heather!) to run though and buy a whopping expensive Frappuccino seriously..I need that 610 calories to help gain back the 15lbs I lost last month....this part is fun. :) how many times in my life have I had this problem? Like never! Bring on the naughty food! And the account was covered by the cash and the tasty icy coffee was drunk, and the kids played at the park pool with staff and the A/C was installed.
Later at church we were blessed with hours of fellowship and hugs, an ice cream bucket of fresh fruit for a late night snack and our family gathered together under one roof to sleep for the first time in a long time. It was good and it was emotionally very tiring. From one heart to another came cash to cover the Fourth of July strawberry event and a gift card for dinner...small things that eased the season. Perfectly timed. Meeting the exact need. At the exact moment. So God...so God's people being sensitive.
On the Fourth we got up early and used all of our extra holiday morning energy and went out berry picking. 45 lbs of berries were brought home and shared with our city neighbors and who knows how many more were eaten in the field. Memories were created and for the first time I sat back and watched as the kids did all the cutting and preparing of the ones we had at home. It was awesome to see them - knife wielding - persistent - and consistent - completing the task set before them while I prepared the holiday dinner. One of the best (AKA hardest) parts of the Annual Berry Blessing for me is that we take plates and bowls of berries to all sorts of neighbors..those we find easy to love and those who are harder. It is good for me to have to knock on the door of someone who I have not been thinking kindly towards and to force myself to be vulnerable and to offer them a plate of berries in love - in Jesus name and not just my own- because it takes my foolishness out of the equation and brings me back to the center of why I am here and what life is all about.
After naps and dinner we headed over to the neighbors and set off our 'safe and sane' (is there such a thing with our crew?) fireworks with friends. Though there is a generational gap now that Joyce and Grandpa John are gone we are drawing in other neighbors. We brought snacks and dessert, hung out until dark and took turns lighting things that sparkled and squealed and popped with the people who are part of the fabric of our lives. The strawberries disappeared, a timid one peeked through the window, kids ran amuck and the end drew near. As night fell many of us migrated with the mosquitoes toward the train tracks and watched the fireworks over the city....a group of happy tired city people sitting on the curbs....some a little tipsy - all with lives bumping up against each other in a beautiful life-giving way. It was good - it was right and it was intentional therapeutic living that we are striving for.