Jul 5, 2010

Fourth of July, 2010

I love the Fourth of July. I love red, white, and blue, and I love them together for what they invoke in my heart and mind.

Freedom. Fantastic freedom. Freedom that isn't free, but purchased by the blood and bravery of men and women who loved America and sacrificed to keep her liberties intact.

Patriotism. Something we see less and less of as time marches on. I saw a piece today written by Ed Morrissey that made me think. It said (in part):

"Pardon me while I indulge one of my pet peeves — and try to determine whether this is a widespread phenomenon, or just a local affliction of amnesia. Every major holiday, I make sure to fly the flag at my house, and every major holiday, almost every one of my neighbors do not. I hate to break out a “I walked sixteen miles to school barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways” argument, but it’s true that when I was a child, it seemed that every house had a flag out on the Fourth of July, at least, and usually on the other national holidays as well. After 9/11, my neighborhood temporarily recovered from its collective amnesia to start displaying the American flag, but nine years later, we’re back to seeing more Twins and Vikings flags than Old Glory."

He's right. When we drove down the street on the way home from church yesterday (more about THAT in a moment), I counted only three houses on our street with flags flying. Ours was one of them.

It saddens me that our country is so divided and polarized these days. How have we gotten SO far from what the founding fathers intended when they came to the New World seeking, among other things, freedom of religion? Not freedom FROM religion, but freedom OF religion. The "separation of church and state" does NOT mean the government cannot or should not embrace the Judaeo-Christian principles on which our country was built. In reality, that phrase was intended to guarantee that our government would never CONTROL the church as it did and still does in England. It guaranteed our freedom to worship as we see fit and are led by God. Even Thomas Jefferson, surely a polytheist, would be astounded at how far America has drifted from the intentions of our founders.

What better place was there to begin a Fourth of July celebration than in church? Honoring the ideals of brave men and women and the sacrifices of generations of soldiers, sailors and airmen and most importantly, acknowledging God's hand of blessing on our homeland and from Whom true freedom comes.

How did I get SO far from the post I intended to write? There's a lot happening in my little brain, and apparently it needed to come out!

Another of my favorite things is spending time with my family. And when they come to our house, I hope they feel welcome and loved by the little things I enjoy doing to make things festive.

Like this:
I wanted a centerpiece befitting the occasion, but also befitting my budget. This is $1.98 plastic hat turned upside down for use as a planter. Kroger had red carnations, white daisies, and one lone blue hydrangea that cried out to go home with me to grace the dining room table!

The hydrangea had been beaten up a little and had a small hole in the top of the bloom. I filled it with a happy little daisy, and no one knew the difference!

Instead of the usual names-written-in-Sharpie on plastic cups, I decided to try something different. Using plain white name tags from Office Depot, I printed portraits of various presidents from the web site of the White House.
Each person "picked a President" and that was the way we kept up with whose cup was whose.

Because I did the work, I got to choose my cup first. (Hostess' prerogative, doncha know.) I chose Ronald Reagan. It was humorous to see "sweat" running down President Reagan's face as the condensation formed on the cup!
Here's the drink counter, complete with freshly brewed orange tea, a family favorite.
And the beginning of the buffet line:
We had a great time of fellowship and as a family, enjoyed our many freedoms. We feasted on the bounty the Lord has so graciously provided, and we laughed and giggled and enjoyed being together.

Happy birthday, America. May you continue to be the great nation God uses and blesses.