Tag Archives: July 4th

Freedom to Feel Freely



“…you live with two calendars. One that keeps track of time, while the other stores emotional experiences.” Deborah Serani

Today marks the 8thanniversary of my blog. I posted my first post, a funny story about the common sense of getting exercise titled “The Sense of Walking,” on July 4, 2010.

My friend celebrates the anniversary of her birth every year on Independence Day. We joke that she’s “free” not to count the year as she ages closer to 60.

Another friend’s July 4thanniversary breaks my heart. Her young grandson died five years ago today from an allergic reaction to shellfish.

We remember anniversaries of births, marriages, and occasions like beginning my blog, and also deaths, divorces, and losses that haunt us.


Survivors share about getting past the “firsts” –the first Thanksgiving, the first Christmas, the first birthday of a loved one after they’ve left – all anniversaries, of sorts. Dread escalates the closer we get to the first anniversary of whatever we’re grieving. We’re not sure how we’ll handle emotions we’ve hidden and hoarded for 12 months. We post on Facebook something like, “Once a year, I let myself stay in bed and eat cake and grieve.”

We remember where we were and how we felt when planes crashed into the twin towers on September 11, 2001. We feel it all over again every September 11th because we said, “We will never forget.” We need to know it’s okay to feel it all over again in the spring and in June too, but we seldom mention 9-11 other than on its anniversary.


An anniversary doesn’t have to be a specific date. It may end up being a month or a season when an event took place. The first bin of pumpkins I spot in the produce section reminds me of my daughter’s wedding. It still catches me off guard even though, for the past six years, reminiscing in the grocery store happens around the same time every fall. I forget what I’m shopping for while I remember how I felt helping her choose her dress. How I felt shopping with friends for my mother-of-the-bride outfit. How I felt picking through pumpkins and sunflowers we used to trim the tables for her reception. Why not feel happy like that in February and in the middle of summer?

Christmas and Easter are anniversaries in the church. Throughout the year we’re taught remembrance when we take communion, but there’s something more palpable about worship during anniversary services of Jesus’s birth, death, and resurrection. I want to always worship with that intensity.

Today, July 4th, is the anniversary on which we celebrate our country’s freedom. We show off our patriotism by flying flags high and shooting off fireworks into the night. The other 364 days, though, we’re accustomed to containing our patriotism, but why? We could boast like my friend, Kathy, who posts weekly about how much she loves our country. Her dad moved here from Greece, so gratitude for their American citizenship runs deep.

Today, I’m grateful for this anniversary and others. There’s just something about anniversaries and feeling our feelings. They go together like hot dogs and the 4th. Deborah Serani, Psy.D., writer of the quote at the beginning of this post, named that “something” in an article in Psychology Today. She said, “’Anniversary Effect’, sometimes called Anniversary Reaction, is defined as a unique set of unsettling feelings, thoughts or memories that occur on the anniversary of a significant experience.”


Having a “date” with our emotions gives us permission to feel. Otherwise, we think no one wants to hear much about our delight, our sadness, our love, our loss, our success, our fear, our memories, our pain, or our patriotism.

The more manuscript I write about feeling our feelings, the more I want it to be okay to share my emotions beyond once a year. I hope my writing extends permission to you too.

In This Together,






Happy 4th!


Celebrate red, white and blue style!

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, …

not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness,” said Erma Bombeck.

“You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism,” she concluded.

July 4th Fun Facts from the U.S. Census Bureau

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – I’m with Erma, gotta love the U.S.A.

Set Me Free (Independence Day and my 100th blog post)


“Freedom lies in being bold.” Robert Frost

One year ago this weekend, I started blogging. 

Beginning my blog on July 4th didn’t have any significance at the time. It seemed random. Our son and his girlfriend were staying with us for the weekend and she guided me through the set-up for Well-Written Days.

I wrote stuff like Mr. Potato Head’s lesson about the sense of walking. My father-in-law’s wise sayings. Dad’s military service.

I wrote about 2008, the turn-around year. I wrote about a fairy tale ended between Sandra Bullock and Jessie James.

I wrote words I wouldn’t say out loud because someone may not agree with me, may not like me, may not understand me.

Even now, after writing online for a year, my stomach sometimes tenses when I click “publish” to send what I’ve written to subscribers and Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

But once the words are in print, I feel over-the-top free.

Writing minimizes the distance between me and a life fulfilled. I remember a college professor saying, “Self actualization is when who you are and who you want to be come together.”

Today I’m writing Well-Written Days’ 100th blog post, which means I’m 100 posts closer to being who I want to be, who I was created to be.

What frees you? What moves you closer to being you?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – I believe realizing and using our talents sets us free … a personal Independence Day, of sorts. Here’s to living the life God planned for us, more dazzling than fireworks!