Friday, July 4, 2014

More than Words

It’s an interesting thing about words that they don’t just have meanings but connotations. We have dictionaries for definitions but many words, when heard and when used, are interpreted more in the context of what they mean to us personally. I’ve had this conversations recently with my older son in terms of words that segments of our society consider derogatory. There are words used against people of my religion that bother me. I don’t want to hear them and  I wouldn’t use them. These same words don’t bother my son. He says they are just words and can’t hurt him. So who decides what’s inappropriate? I believe that if your words hurt someone, whether you understand it or not, you need to acknowledge their experience and adjust your language, out of respect.

And yet when it comes to terms that we all acknowledge are abusive, I have such a hard time reconciling the fact that often I hear people at whom these words are targeted being enraged at their use, yet comfortable using them. Like the words have ownership.

We spoke about intent. It’s possible to use words with the intent of hurting and, on the flip side, to innocently use words or sayings you don’t think are hurtful but which can nonetheless cause pain. I’m less apt to be angry if I know the intent to harm wasn’t there.

On this Fourth of July, I started thinking about words that you hear thrown around a lot this time of year; what they mean to me and what they might mean to others. So I chose eight people and I asked them two simple questions. First, I asked them to tell me what “independence” means. It could be to them specifically or in a more general way and it doesn’t need to be in reference to the 4th of July. They could give me a word or a dissertation, I just wanted a sense of what comes to mind. Then I asked the same eight people to do the same with the word “freedom”. I have to say that I love every one of these answers. They’re age appropriate, they’re thoughtful and they’re timeless.

More than Words | graphic designed by and property of | #MyGraphics

*Child: Fireworks. Pretty colors and loud bangs and booms.

*Child: The Statue of Liberty. It guards us and makes us remember to be free.

*Teen: Not having to discuss every decision as I make it.

*Teen: Being able to be part of making the rules, not just having to live by them.

*Young Adult: It means that I am the boss of me and we are the bosses of us.

*Young Adult: Knowing that no matter what happens around me, I can depend on me and know that’s a good place to start.

*Adult: Being able to engage at all levels.

*Adult: Standing on your own two feet.

Freedom, More than Words | graphic designed by and property of | #MyGraphics

*Child: I can do whatever I want. Because I’m free.

*Child: No bed time. I can stay up as late as I want. No naps either.

*Teen: Finally having my own car. It makes more of the world mine and I’m free to explore it.

*Teen: Learning as I go.

*Young Adult: You need money to be free and you need to be free to make money.

*Young Adult: Living without fear.

*Adult: Making my own choices. It’s not like I don’t have responsibilities and obligations, but even then I get to decide how to fulfill them.

*Adult: The ability to chase my dream. And to change it.

Berry Individual Pancake Puffs | recipe developed by | #recipe #breakfast

Baked Individual Pancake Puffs
Berry Individual Pancake Puffs | recipe developed by | #recipe #breakfast

Happy Independence Day.  
Let Freedom ring.

  Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics


Baked Individual Pancake Puffs
Printable Recipe
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 TBSP orange juice
1 cup plus 1 TBSP flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
6 thin slices of butter
Approximately 1 cup of Berry Syrup, room temperature
NOTE: Berry Syrup recipe here:
Opt: Powdered sugar to sprinkle on top
*Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
*Spray your muffin tins with cooking spray.
*Put 1/2 slice of butter in each muffin tin.
*Whisk eggs. Whisk in milk and orange juice, then the flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
*Put the muffin tin into the preheated oven and leave just until the butter melts.
*Take muffin tin out and move the pan around a bit to swirl the butter around in the bottom of the tins.
*Quickly fill each of the muffin tins just past half full with the batter.
*Bake for 25 minutes. *DO NOT OPEN OVEN at all during cooking.
* Remove from muffin tins, spoon Berry Syrup over the top and sprinkle with powdered sugar.


  1. Are any of us really Independant ? Even when I was unmarried, I depended on my parents to a certain degree. I lived on my on, but I depended on them to have my back. Most of us have someone we depend on.

    We celebrate freedom, but are we free. We are free as a country, but are we as individuals? We all have our shackles. But I don't think we would want to be totally free. Just thoughts.

    1. Good points. I think there are levels to both freedom and independence. And I think we all strive to get as high in those levels as we can within the confines of our personal situations.

  2. I love these answers! Independence, to me, is the ability to stand on my own feet. Be in control of my own life. (It has become increasingly important to me as I watch my dad, rancher, veterinarian, husband, father, as his independence is slowly curtailed by his worsening health.) Freedom? That priceless gift that allows me to make my own decisions. And to live without fear.
    Loved this, Karen. Everyone needs to read this! Sharing...

    1. I think you bring up a very interesting point, how what we think these words mean can change based on not only our own experiences, but what goes on around us. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. I recently had a conversation with my kids about words as well, and how they mean different things to different generations. I am going to share this post with them. Lots of insight here!
    My thoughts:
    Independence - not depending on anyone.
    Freedom - the privilege of living in a country where I am not oppressed.

    1. I completely agree with both of your thoughts. But I do believe that it's possible, in many situations, to be dependent on others yet still be independent.

  4. Another awesome blog! Words are very powerful! Once said, they can't be taken back. We need to choose our words carefully.

  5. Love the adult comment on freedom---ability to chase the dream. So true! And these pancake puffs look wicked good!

    1. I know, I need to remind myself that there are still countries in this day and age where you cannot.

  6. Great insights and a yummy recipe! This is why I love your blog so much :) I love how all the answers were so age appropriate - such an insight as to how the brain works. Thanks for sharing!

    1. It was actually fun asking the questions. Such simple questions but at each age level they really gave it some thought and came up with great answers.

  7. Two terms that are very important to me, and i have blogged about my "ultimate freedom" a couple of weeks ago. Today I independently decided to slave in the kitchen for some stars and stripes food while the guys enjoyed their freedom in front of the TV.
    I bet those puffs smell heavenly!
    PS: the kid may think (s)he is free when no one tells them to take a nap. I would consider it quite a freedom to take a nap once in a while. Priorities change ;-)

    1. Yes, priorities change, that's why I like that last answer for "freedom" so much. We are free to chase our dreams, and we're free to change what our dreams are.

  8. To me, Independence and Freedom mean the same thing. To be able to make my own choices and live by them.
    I'm definitely going to try this week's recipe, just not sure when.

  9. I hope you and your family are enjoying a wonderful July 4th weekend! I'm sure you are whipping up something great to eat.

    The freedom to choose and live our lives as we please. Even what we eat!

  10. Great post and terrific recipe!

    1. Thanks, I really enjoyed putting the responses together. All of the perspectives were fascinating.

  11. It was interesting how the answers changed with the stage of life each person was in. I liked this post and it was quite interesting. Also love the recipe, yum!

    1. What I enjoyed the most about doing this post was the way each answer was age appropriate but also thoughtful.


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