It's only a country. I love Americans. I like America.
But 4th of July is my favorite holiday. Every year, we invite family and friends over to our house to celebrate with us. Everyone brings food: burgers, homemade ice cream, desserts of all sorts. A few families bring fireworks, as big and bright as we can find. And at the end of the night, after it gets dark, we have a fireworks display from our driveway. Since my family lives out in the country, there aren't any rules against fireworks.
When ours run out, we sit out in chairs and watch the beautiful fireworks from the in-town parks color the horizon, brighter even than the lights of the city.
I love this day. Last year's Independence Day was kind of a bummer (I wrote about it), because the Panhandle was undergoing a drought and so we had a fire ban. No fireworks anywhere and for good reason. Grass fires swept through the edges of my city and burned down several houses. With no rain for more than six months, fireworks could have been disastrous.
1.) It's summer! I love warm weather so much more than cold weather.
2.) We get to be outside.
3.) It's a night time holiday... and I love staying up late and watching stars and sparkling lights.
4.) Family and friends are all together. It's not just a family thing.
5.) Delicious food. Christmas food is good too, but man, homemade ice cream is the best.
6.) There isn't stress of buying gifts and last minute shopping. The materialism disintegrates quite a bit and is replaced with comradery, stories, and quality time (my love language).
7.) The funniest things seem to happen on 4th of July and wonderful memories are always made. Everyone is in a good mood because summer just does that to you.
8.) Fireworks are beautiful!
10.) The smells. Every family for miles around cooking out on the grill. The crisp and smoky scent of fireworks.
Since fireworks are a significant part of the excitement of Independence Day, it was a little disappointing to skip them for a year. It also gave less of a reason for people to drive out to our house, so we had a smaller cookout than usual.
We couldn't even make a small bonfire, so Rebekah and I had to roast our marshmallows over a candle! (That didn't taste so good.) We laughed and laughed.
Last summer, I was frustrated with a few things in my life, like my job and worries about college. God taught me a lot through the drought and lack of water. He even gave me a new hope the day before the 4th of July. I'm so thankful for what I was able to learn through the struggle, even if it meant no fireworks for a year.
This summer has been much harder, so I am so thankful that the Lord allowed us to relax and have a great time for one night. No worries. No problems. It was peaceful. It was fun. Even though it hasn't rained much this summer, it did enough. There were big and beautiful fireworks. There was a huge celebration. A feast. Many guests, family and friends. So many memories were made.
In fact, thirty-seven people attended our 4th of July celebration at my house. 37. It was great.
Thanks, Jesus, for letting us have this day of pure joy and quality time. It was the best.