Being Grateful: Thirty-Third (Freedom) Edition

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic 4th of July if you’re in the US! Our day went by surprisingly fast, and sadly that includes the little firework show we saw.

Three family members are kind enough to put the show together for the entire community here, and I’m honestly not sure if they’re given money to purchase the fireworks, so I can’t complain.

Even though the show lasted maybe 10 minutes, it was jam packed with action. Also, I’m not afraid to admit that I like sparkly things (just ask R), so you bet I enjoyed it.

My mom had made cupcakes for the dessert buffet that was there, which was very nice with lots of options!

being grateful

Overall, I am being grateful for the experience. We opted to end the night there, as I was personally too tired to bother trying to contend with traffic going down to the beach. As I write this, I still hear plenty of fireworks going off!

I’m also really grateful R had the day off. We decided to leave at 6:30 Friday morning (hence the tiredness), and we get to enjoy two full days with my parents, instead of our usual one. I felt a day behind all week (it still feels like Saturday on Friday).

It is hard to believe that at this time next week, I’ll be in NY. I feel like I’ve been looking forward to it since we moved, and I’m a little afraid at what will happen once it’s over.

The reality is that this is the last time I’ll see my family for the rest of the year. And as we know, the rest of the year is still five months away, plus I’m sure I won’t be getting up there until sometime next Spring.

fireworksI think the move will feel more “final” on the plane ride back. But I do have one small plan, which involves getting my grandma a webcam to Skype with. Knowing her, she’ll want to pay for it, but it would be easy for me to set everything up for her while I’m there. Running Skype isn’t that complicated, and it would let her actually see us once in a while.

This came about as my mom realized that my grandma hasn’t seen any of the updates my parents have done to the house. When we came here last year, the walls were still white, and my dad has since built and refinished a fair amount of furniture. I’m sure it will be a pleasant surprise for my grandma, at least.

That being said, I’m really grateful for this little opportunity to go back home. Without the wedding, I don’t think my mom and I would have made plans for it. It sounds horrible, but flights are not cheap (one more reason to get into travel rewards), and it’s often a struggle to find dates that work with everyone’s schedules.

Second, I’m still grateful my grandma is doing well. My mom spoke with her yesterday and confirmed she sounds as good as new. I’d still rather see it to believe it, but I am hopeful she’ll be her usual energetic self on her vacation here.

Being grateful for freedom

Lastly, I just want to say my little piece on freedom, as that is the theme for this week in many places =). I am beyond grateful for all of those who have stood up for our rights, and forged an unconventional path to ensure that those rights have remained with us.

Freedom can be something we easily take for granted. Think about it for a second. Most of us can hop in cars and drive away at a moment’s notice; say what we want on our platforms; and go about our daily routines without a hitch.

Because of this freedom we enjoy, we can forge our own unconventional paths in life.

I’ve written about financial freedom before, so I’m going to take a different approach here.

Prison Road

On our drive down here, R and I always pass a prison. It looms on the horizon, an intimidating fortress on “Prison Road.” It serves as a reminder that justice prevails, and those who oppose it will pay.

It’s also a place where freedom goes to die.

And at first thought, you might think these criminals deserve to have their freedom taken away. But what about those that are innocent?

Some of you know I studied criminal justice in college, and let me tell you, there were no shortage of gut-wrenching stories of individuals who happened to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and were sentenced to life for a crime they did not commit.

I’m not here to debate our justice system, though. I simply want to ask you to think about that happening to you for a second. Many of these citizens didn’t think it would happen to them. They had faith that justice would prevail; that they would be released, and the actual wrong-doer would be caught; that they would get to see their families again.

It didn’t always turn out that way.

I don’t know about you, but the thought of being locked up certainly scares the hell out of me.

Treasure your freedom. Don’t take it for granted. 

being grateful

Story time

And because I don’t like ending on a somber note – my dad asked me if I remembered the time I was almost hit by a firework. Years and years ago, when I was about 4, my uncle used to love shooting fireworks off in front of our first house. We lived on a dead end, and the entire block would gather to see them.

My cousin and I were sitting in the back of my aunt’s Chevy Blazer, watching the show, when all of a sudden, something came shooting straight at us. Thankfully, everything ended up okay, but I was definitely scarred for a few years after that. I wanted nothing to do with fireworks or the 4th of July.

I’m glad I was able to get over that so I can enjoy the festivities now =).

Tell me a funny story you have about celebrating the 4th. Do you think about freedom often?



  1. Tonya@Budget and the Beach July 5, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    Sounds like you had a nice 4th. Enjoy every moment on your trip back home. I think getting a webcam for your grandma is such a great idea. My mom does’t even have a computer, so I can’t even send her pics of anything. I even offered her my old computer but she refused. ugh! No funny firework stories. But I do appreciate my freedom often!

    1. E.M. July 6, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      That’s the plan =). I can’t imagine my parents or relatives not having a computer!! I share so much with them that way. My grandma was pretty stubborn at first, but thankfully she saw some potential in having a computer. She only checks her email three times a week, if that, but it’s something!

  2. Lauren July 5, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    I wished my grandmother had a computer when we lived away, but she refused to even give it a try! Hopefully your grandmom gets the hang of skype so that you can chat with her whenever you want- that will be so nice for both of you.

    1. E.M. July 6, 2014 at 12:40 PM

      It took us a few years to get my grandma to use her computer. For the most part, she only checks her email. I always write step-by-step instructions for her =). I hope Skype doesn’t present any problems for her!

  3. Dear Dividend July 5, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    Great post with a lot of great points!

    Skype is awesome and has helped bridge many gaps for our family. I bought my parents a webcam a while back so they can see their grandchildren. Sometimes they hit some technical problems because they’re not very computer savvy but overall they really enjoy being able to Skype.

    Also, we’re VERY fortunate to have freedom in the U.S. I’ve been to a third-world country where tribalism and religious beliefs trump personal freedom. I’ve seen people live without running water, electricity, or access to real medicine. It helps me remind myself that my “problems” in life are really nothing compared to what many in this world go through every day.

    Dear Dividend

    1. E.M. July 6, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      Aw, that’s cute, and I’m sure your parents appreciate it. Skype truly is a great tool to keep in touch on a more personal level. My grandma isn’t the best with computers, either, but I don’t see her having major problems with anything.

      Getting a new perspective on things is a good way to realize that we have it much better than most. Our problems pale in comparison to those others face on a daily basis. We take so many things for granted simply because they’re commonplace here.

  4. Done by Forty July 6, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    The issue of innocent convicts is a sad one, and one reason that I’m happy that we presume innocence instead of guilt in our legal system. It really does put things in perspective though. Thanks, as always, for inspiring some gratitude.

    1. E.M. July 6, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      You’re quite welcome!

  5. Shannon @ Financially Blonde July 6, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    I definitely had freedom of all types on my brain this week. I am thankful for all of the freedoms I have living in the US and I am working toward financial freedom myself. I actually helped a friend move this past week and at the end of our nights we watched Orange is the New Black and had lots of conversations over wine about freedoms and how we would survive prison. It’s a reality I never want to contemplate, but still led to some creative thoughts. Anywho, I am glad that you enjoyed your 4th and there were no fireworks incident this weekend. :-)

    1. E.M. July 8, 2014 at 10:23 AM

      I hope the move went well for your friend! She is lucky to have you =). There were a lot of conversations about prison in my classes back in college. We watched a few documentaries, and toured one of the nearby jails. Not fun. I don’t think my chances of survival would be much!

  6. Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore July 7, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    Sounds like you had a great 4th! My weekend was crazy busy, filled with lots of work but I’m glad to have all those things checked off my never-ending list :)

    1. E.M. July 8, 2014 at 10:21 AM

      Hopefully that means more time to relax in the future!

  7. Anne @ Money Propeller July 7, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    I also wish plane tickets weren’t so expensive. It’s difficult to make it to see both of our families and friends, between the cost of doing so and the lack of vacation time to make it happen. *sigh* Another reason to become independently wealthy!

    1. E.M. July 8, 2014 at 10:20 AM

      Agreed! My boyfriend has three days of vacation this year…hardly enough to do anything with. I’m lucky I’ll be able to visit my family, but he won’t be able to see them for quite some time.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Tre July 8, 2014 at 6:11 AM

    Sounds like a nice 4th! We went to watch the fireworks by the river and were hit by debris :-)

    1. E.M. July 8, 2014 at 10:17 AM

      Oh no! I was pretty scared that would happen to us, as we were pretty much sitting right under them. Thankfully that didn’t happen.

  9. Brian @ Luke1428 July 8, 2014 at 7:33 AM

    I think about freedom everyday. I do think people take it for granted and am concerned when I see bits and pieces of it being slowly taken away or at least not held onto as preciously as it was before. It’s probably the biggest single thing that has made the United States the great country it is…I shudder to think where we might end up with less of it.

    1. E.M. July 8, 2014 at 10:16 AM

      Agreed Brian. As our country evolves, new laws are put in place, and most people aren’t paying attention. I know we covered a lot of that in my criminal law classes, especially where technology and privacy are concerned!

  10. Alicia @ Financial Diffraction July 8, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    My aunt used to work in the federal prison system in the US (so the three strikes in California, etc), and the stories she used to tell… I know I wouldn’t last long. I’m not very tough, even when I try to be.

    I know you’re talking about the states, but I think frequently about how lucky I am to live in Canada. It’s all I’ve ever known, but in learning more about other countries… well, it’s a great place to be. And I’m very proud to be from here.

    1. E.M. July 9, 2014 at 6:11 AM

      Me neither! I’m pretty much a weakling =). I could never be a corrections officer for that reason (not like being a police officer is much better, but you know).

      I really want to visit Canada. I’ve only ever been to Niagara Falls, and well, I’m sure that’s not really indicative of much. It seems very beautiful!

  11. anna July 8, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    Aww, I hope you have a nice time back home and at the wedding! I’m sure I’ve asked this before, but do you think your grandma would ever move closer to you and your parents? Mine doesn’t live that far away (1 hour), but sadly I don’t really see her as often as I should… thanks for reminding me to take advantage of this proximity and see her more often. I definitely value the freedom of living in the US – I for sure think the grass is greener in this country than most, and am very thankful for that.

    1. E.M. July 9, 2014 at 6:06 AM

      Thanks! It makes complete sense for her to move, except for the fact that she would have to find new doctors, and the process of moving all her stuff down here is a bit overwhelming for her. We did try to convince her last year when she visited, but she hasn’t really expressed interest so far. Everyone in the family would like for it to happen, but if last winter wasn’t enough to make her see the bright side, I don’t know what will!

      We are lucky to be at a point in our lives where we have the time to visit my parents. My family all lived within a half hour of each other, but sometimes we went months without seeing each other. I hope you get to visit your grandma soon!

  12. Marie @ Grad Money Matters July 9, 2014 at 2:45 AM

    Looks like you’re having a great 4th of July. Good for you. :) I was so busy at work in the weekend. Lots of things to do so I didn’t enjoyed it so much.

    1. E.M. July 9, 2014 at 6:00 AM

      I’m sorry to hear that Marie. Hopefully you’ll get some time to relax this weekend!


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