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Family Fun on the 4th

6 Jul


This 4th of July, the Hardman family did our usual thing and spent the afternoon at Evergreen lake enjoying the festivities. Of course, Grandpa Woody was ready to shuttle all of us to the north side of the lake in his green Model A. (The kids can’t do without their yearly ride in the rumble seat!) Unfortunately, the Model A had a break down on its third run, but Grandpa got it up and running again! Hurrah!


 The 4th just wouldn’t be complete without a half hour of paddling around on the lake. (Understandably, Grandma Ruth was not interested in joining us due to an accident she had stepping into a paddle boat several years ago. She was more than happy to stay with Sam on the shore, though.)

The kids got their faces painted…


And we had the pleasure of my 17-year-old son’s company for the entire day. He actually seemed to enjoy being with us and even liked what he called the “bumpin'” music (Sousa marches and John Williams movie tunes played by the National Repertory Orchestra.)

Sam didn’t need much to keep him happy, though he got a little blister on his ankle from walking around in his crocs.

Later in the day, we drove back down to Highlands Ranch for a BBQ at our house and just before dusk, we got ourselves settled in the hot tub just in time to watch the lame firework show put on by the Highlands Ranch Metro District.

All in all, it was a very good day. No sunburns, few bug bites, and no accidents!

Here are some more memorable 4ths (and nearly all of them involve a mishap of some sort):

1. The year my cousin chased me with a sparkler and threatened to catch my long hair on fire.

2. The year her older brother jumped a neighbor’s fence and landed in a cactus garden. Ouch!

3. The year my mother-in-law slipped stepping into a paddle boat and cracked a rib. Big bummer! (The pain from that injury unfortunately persisted for quite awhile.)

4. The year my oldest daughter slipped off the back of our hot tub and hit her tail bone on the concrete pad beneath it. (Luckily, she was okay!)

5. The year my husband and I attended the Stadium of Fire in Provo, Utah and the ignition of 1 million firecrackers just about turned it into a literal stadium of fire. I can still feel the heat from that one and we were on the top bleachers!

6. The year we watched fireworks over Puget Sound in Washington and a boat got caught on a power line.

My Favorite 4th:

Watching fireworks at Adams County Fairgrounds as a kid then on the drive home watching the fantastic lightening storms out on the Eastern Colorado plains.


On Expectation and Hope

24 Mar

“All the best transformations are accompanied by pain. That’s the point of them.”

–Fay Weldon

As Easter draws to a close, I’m thinking about the message of one of my new favorite children’s books, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. It is the story of a toy rabbit named Edward who goes on a journey and in the process learns about the joy of loving and of being loved as well as the exquisite pain that accompanies loss.


In one of the closing scenes of the book, Edward is in a doll shop waiting to be purchased. He is filled with despair and apathy because he doesn’t believe anyone will come for him. He doesn’t want to open himself up again to experience the vulnerability of caring deeply for someone else. He says, “I’m done with being loved…I’m done with loving. It’s too painful.” 

An older and wiser doll tells him, “There’s no point in going on if you feel that way…You must be filled with expectancy. You must be awash in hope. You must wonder who will love you, whom you will love next…If you have no intention of loving or being loved, then the whole journey is pointless.”

Truly, loving and being loved and experiencing the expectation of hope is what gives my life meaning and purpose. And today is a day to celebrate the fact that “God is love” (1 John 4:8) and that He “sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).

I am fortunate to have many people whom I love and who love me. Like Edward, I have experienced both the joy and pain of opening up my heart to love. A little over a year ago, our family had a very painful parting with another family we dearly cared about. The ache in our hearts gaped like an open wound and persisted for the longest time. Then just the other day, I realized that the pain of that ache was no longer with me. I was healed.

When Moses and the children of Israel were out wandering in the wilderness, they came to a place called Marah where they could not drink the water because of its bitterness. The Lord showed Moses how to make the waters sweet and said,”I am the Lord that healeth thee” (Exodus 15:27). In our current state of imperfectness, loving others will always have elements of bitterness and sweetness.  However, I’ve learned that it’s always worth it to take the path of love and to trust that God will heal me from any bitter experiences and grant me the sweetness of His peace in His own time and in His own way.

How grateful I am for a Savior who makes this expectancy, hope,and transformation possible.