3 Reasons to Celebrate Memorial Day

Celebrating Memorial Day

 

“Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong.” — James Bryce
–Brainy Quote

 

3 Reasons to Celebrate Memorial Day: Past, Present, Future

Why is Memorial Day so special? Three Reasons: to honor our country’s past, present, and future.

Remembering Our Past

We celebrate this holiday as we remember all who have given their lives to protect our country’s safety, strength, and stability. But it is more! We honor our founding fathers who created the United States of America…one nation under God. To keep America righteous (right with God) should be at the core of our priorities.

“Armed Forces Day on May 21, and the Memorial Day weekend that follows is a time to honor, remember and recognize those who serve and have served our country, as well as those who have died in service. As we reflect, let’s not forget the many sacrifices made at home as well in support of our men and women in uniform.”  –Chuck Norris

–Brainy Quote

Joining Past With Present

As we remember the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, we become more involved in choosing our nation’s leaders, our state’s leaders, and our city’s leaders. As citizens of this free country, we stay informed of our voting choices. We read about them praying that God will give us the wisdom to choose those who He can use to protect our freedom, safety, and righteousness. We respect every person’s voting choice. We support our country’s leaders through saying positive things about them and our country–even if we don’t agree with everything they are doing.

Note: I am NOT the poster child for what I am writing. I NEED to care more about keeping up with who is doing what…So, I am writing this to remind myself how important it is for each one of us to be involved in our country’s present government, not just remembering our country’s past.

“Memorial Day isn’t just about honoring veterans, it’s honoring those who lost their lives. Veterans had the fortune of coming home. For us, that’s a reminder of when we come home we still have a responsibility to serve. It’s a continuation of service that honors our country and those who fell defending it.” — Pete Hegseth

–Brainy Quote

Honoring Our Country’s Future

To keep our country strong and righteous, we must:

  • Stay informed
  • Pray for wisdom and direction
  • Pray for our leaders, military, and their families
  • Choose our country’s leaders wisely
  • Support the United States of America by our thoughts, prayers, words, and actions

Tying This Together

Even though Veteran’s Day celebrates modern day men and women who are in our military and all of those who served in the past, these two holidays are linked. On both, we remember family members who have served in the armed forces, national guard, etc.

Two special men in my life served in the Navy. My father, Walter Lewis, served on the USS Crescent City during WWII. Fortunately, he did not die during his term, or I wouldn’t be here! He died of lung cancer several years ago, but I always remember him on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day (as well as other holidays)!

Paul Meadows also served in the Navy a few years after my father. He is dear to me because he received my son’s heart. I had the pleasure of getting to know him and his family. I still communicate with his daughter. He died a few years ago of cancer, but his heart was still in GREAT shape! Bart’s heart gave him more years to enjoy his family, daughter, and grandchild.

Let’s remember our COUNTRY, our LEADERS, our MILITARY, and most of all, our God who blesses us beyond measure.

Pray for All People

“2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,”

1 Timothy 2:1-3 English Standard Version (ESV)

Christmas or Thanksgiving Cactus???

Why do I love Christmas Cactus?

MY VERY OWN CACTUS

Christmas Cacti and hummingbirds were two of nature’s blessings that excited my mother. After my father died she moved to the second floor of an assisted living. It was an adjustment for her. With no trees, she missed her yard with places for hanging hummingbird feeders and their spring and summer”fly-bys”.

Her Christmas cacti did find a loving home, and she moved them around in her apartment until she found just the right amount of sun and shade. Every year, around this time, she would proudly show me their bright-colored blooms.

Albert and I are blessed to live in Colorado where the hummingbirds show up every Mother’s Day and swarm the feeders until October. I love to see the first ones because their arrival is like a message from my Mom! This year, we had one straggler that did not want to fly to warmer ground. We had to force him/her to leave by taking down the feeder. The birds fly south and many follow the Texas coast into Mexico.


BACK TO CACTI!

Reading our newspaper last week, I read an article titled, “Thanksgiving Cacti Are Wonderful Holiday Plants”, written by Linda Corwine McIntosh. It caught my eye because I had never heard of Thanksgiving cacti!

Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti are different species (Christmas cactus is Schlumbergera Buckleyi and Thanksgiving cactus is Schlumbergera Buckleyi). There is even an Easter cactus — Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri.

So, which do I have? You can tell by looking at the shape of the leaf segments. On a Thanksgiving cactus, the segments have 2-4 saw-toothed or pointy projections. The Christmas species has rounder, smoother leaves.

Notice the pointy projections on the leaves of my cactus…

Pointy Leafed Thanksgiving Cactus

Now I know why my cactus blooms earlier than Christmas! Thanksgiving cacti bloom from September to January and have yellowish, salmon, fuchsia, and white flowers (or a combination).

Besides learning how to identify the different species, I learned:

  • how to care for them
  • “trim” them
  • propagate them to give for Christmas gifts.

HOW TO CARE FOR HOLIDAY CACTI

Disclaimer: I am not a great caretaker…I barely remember to give mine water…never move them…don’t fertilize them…and they bloom anyway!

They prefer:

  • direct interior sunlight
  • temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees during the growing season (April to September)
  • water when dry to the touch in Spring and Summer, a little more during flowering
  • NO standing water
  • Fertilizer once a month in the Spring and early Summer (1/2 strength water soluble of 20-10-20 or 20-20-20)
  • No fertilizer from late summer until Spring
  • repotting every three years (do this in the Spring with a potting soil containing 20-40 percent perlite. Linda recommends using Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil)

I have never tried putting my cacti outdoors (especially with the cool nights here), but Linda says she puts her plants outdoors in a protected shady place during the summer.

HOW TO “TRIM” THEM

In May or June, you can pinch off the leaves all the way back to the place where they form a “Y” (this makes the plant bushier, more compact, and makes it easier for the plant to produce more flowers!

Turn the plant as you pinch to give it a balanced shape.

HOW TO PROPAGATE THEM

Both of my holiday cacti plants were Christmas gifts, so why not use the “trimmings” to create new plants to give as gifts?

In May or June:

  • Pinch or cut off a section of stem with 3 to 5 stem segments.
  • Dip the cut end in a rooting compound
  • Water the potting soil, poke a small hole in it, place the stem in the hole and firm up the soil around it.
  • Use 2 cutting per 6-inch container for a fuller plant
  • Place in a shady place, water well, and continue to water when the soil dries out

You can also try rooting the cuttings in water. Since I am new to both methods, I plan on attempting both!

WOW! I feel like I just gave my Mom a Christmas present by sharing this blog with you. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas, Mom!

 

Please comment below if you love these plants as much as I do!