Saturday, July 13, 2013

Happy Birthday, America!!

I LOVE going to the 4th of July parade in Monument, CO every year.  Last year it was cancelled because of the fires.  The 4th of July was just not the same without it!  I was afraid the same thing might happen this year, but not so.  It was on as planned.  We all woke up that morning and got our red, white, and blue gear on.  I love seeing EVERYONE wearing those colors in some form on this special day!!  Everywhere you go, the scenery is filled with those colors.  It is like we are all on the same team for the day.  We look at each other knowing that we are all cheering for America.  We don't have to agree on everything, but we can all say, "Happy Birthday, America!"  That is something this community needs right now with all of the devastation that has occurred because of the fires.  Over 900 families have lost their homes in the last year due to the wildfires.  We all needed a rally time to come together.    
All ready for the parade.  She sat here for a while before she ventured closer.
See that white line behind him.  When I said, "Isaiah, you have to stay behind that white line during the whole parade."  He asked, "Can I touch the line?"  That is how this boy lives his life.  Always on the edge, wondering what will happen if he goes beyond his boundaries and if it just might be worth the consequences.  That is terrifying to me!
Can you tell I have teenagers that don't want their pictures taken?
Sam in the middle with Luke and Ella, our 4th of July parade friends.
We have been going every year with them since 2006!  
Isaiah got an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  
He was picked out of the crowd to fire the cannon.
He had everyone's attention.
This was the perfect experience for him.
after all, he lives every day out LOUD!
He is our little firecracker
There is always evidence of where he has been
When it was all over and they brought him back to me, the man said, "I bet he has never been that loud before!"  I just smiled and said, "Oh, you might be surprised!"

This one, on the other hand, wanted NOTHING to do with the loud noises.  She is quiet and gentle, and always prefers to be out of the limelight when she is in public.
This boy loved everything about this parade
I do believe he had a permanent smile on his face the whole time
When Ella asked Laila to join her, she finally ventured out to the road to watch.
When I asked her about it later, she said, "I just wanted to be asked by Ella."
These two came up about 3/4s of the way through
My view during the parade
The most emotional moment by far of the whole parade was at the end when the firefighters came through.  Everyone stood to clap and shout for them.  People were yelling "THANK YOU!!"  I couldn't hold back the tears knowing that these men had risked their lives and that there were people in the crowd whose homes had been affected.
What a summer our city has experienced, once again!
This parade has so much significance for our family.  I think that is another reason it is so important to me.  It was at this parade, the very first time we went in 2006, that God revealed to us that we were to do work in Swaziland.  God had been preparing my heart for 3 months burdening me for Africa.  Rick kept saying, "Africa is a really big place.  You are going to have to narrow it down."  It was at this parade that we first learned of Swaziland and the opportunity for Rick to go on a trip only a month later.  Our lives have never been the same.  It just feels right to take Laila and Isaiah to it every chance we can.

That night was really low key.  We decided to avoid the one big fireworks show in the Springs and have a nice family evening.  I just could not bring myself to join the over 100,000 people at the park that night.  It felt overwhelming.  We grilled some burgers and dogs and Isaiah and Laila did a little show for us.
It started with some dancing
Then turned into a full blown concert.  
Happy Birthday, America!  Happy Birthday!

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