It was a wonderful 4th of July! Honestly, its always been one of my favorite holidays. It falls gloriously in the summertime, my favorite season. I love the togetherness that summertime brings... it's always some sort of family gathering on the 4th, and we are always surrounded by family the whole celebration. Not to mention, cookouts are amazing, especially since the men cook and the women don't have much cleaning to do. Winning!
This year was a big win! Somehow, me and Kayla managed to get ALL of the kiddos to look all patriotic lol! That never happens! I suppose the fact that we have some growing kiddos and hand-me-downs plays a big part of it, lol, but they all looked so cute and festive!
Thursday evening we attended a birthday party for one of Callie's good friends. Following the party I took the kiddos to Ingles to find ingredients for a pinterest cake recpie I found! I didn't get to cut it until we got to her house, so the pic turned out a little messy, but the cake was awesome and super easy! The kids really enjoyed baking it and they did it by themselves!
And they said it was wonderful :)
We spent Friday evening cooking out and hanging out at Kayla's and watched fireworks with friends.. in Cranberry of course :) I haven't missed Cranberry fireworks in many, many years, and JECO Pyrotechnics never disappoint! Despite the rain, the show went on, and the kiddos had a blast. Sawyer wasn't too fond of the fireworks because we were sitting very close, but his Daddy was exhausted from work (for those who don't know, he's a meat cutter in our local grocery store... 4th of July is a VERY busy day in the grocery business.. being a store managers daughter, I've known that my whole life...) So he took my little buddy home while the big kids enjoyed the show.
Saturday was the annual cookout at my Mom's. It wasn't as big a turnout as it normally is, but it still was wonderful. The kids enjoyed it, I took a lot of pictures and everyone had a great time. Also, the food did NOT disappoint!
After the cookout, Hudson kept on talking about how he wanted to see a parade. We had missed the one in Cranberry, but I remembered someone telling me there was one in Plumtree around 2ish.. we drove down the road and thankfully got a spot, minutes before the parade started! I'm glad that we tried, it was quite possibly Hudson's favorite part of the holiday!
After the parade we all went to my house, and Stephen FINALLY got to come celebrate with us! As did Emily, Maurice, Daddy and Stephanie. We played games and ate.. we caught up, watched fireworks, and ended up playing board games until waaaay past my bedtime, lol. It was a wonderful evening, I really needed to laugh that hard, and I haven't laughed so hard in a long time! I'm so blessed to have such a wonderful family!!
Sunday morning I went to church with my mother in law, since Stephen had to work of course. As we stood, we sang the hymn, America the Beautiful. It really struck my heart. I'm certain that this forth of July, a lot of people are thinking about a lot of different things. I have done a LOT of thinking and praying for America during these past few weeks... and the fourth of July really brought it front and center.
I couldn't really put my finger on what I was honestly trying to wrap my mind around. As some of you know, in our home schooling year last year we were studying American History. This year we only got past the Industrial revolution. We spent a LOT of time on the Revolutionary War. That really gets your heart filled with pride for America. To learn about what they were fighting for, what they were fighting against, and how wonderful it was when they finally won their independence. To get to know the war heroes... their heart and soul and what American is really founded on. It really will make you excited, patriotic... and sad.
The one verse that struck me was this...
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
Does America even know how to do that anymore?
Self-control?? That's not something that we teach anymore. We don't teach to have self-control, we teach to do what 'feels' good, what 'feels' right, to follow your heart... that's NOT freedom. Freedom is a right to pursue something that is greater than yourself. Its a right to stand up for what you believe in with all your heart, even to your own death. Freedom is the right to worship the way you want too, to have your own representation on taxation, and to have your country work for YOU because you have voted and made your voice heard for those freedoms.
Titus 2:6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.
Self-control is SO important, and its something that we all fail to uphold, acknowledge and teach our children. Guys, our founding fathers didn't fight for this country so we can all "feel" good. They didn't fight for a country to make a mockery of the word 'freedom'. I encourage everyone to pray for our nation. Certainly, we need it now more than ever.
Practice self control. Teach your children self control. Otherwise, we are living in a country where anyone is free to do anything.. and that my friend is a country that is going in the wrong direction.
If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.
I am proud to be a part of this country, because I know the roots of the country, and I know the country that we were built on. I am proud of the things that America was built on, and will always say that. I'm thankful that God allowed me to be born in a country where I had my freedom to worship him, to home school my children, to make choices for my family without someone making those decisions for me. I am blessed. I just encourage you all to pray for our country, remember what it once stood for, and try, with everything in us, to make it that place again. We may not be able to change the people who are the powers that be at the moment, but we are raising the next generation. Let's do it right.
Happy Independence day!