For the Fourth of July, we went to a party.
We don’t get invited to many of those. Being a ridiculously large family and all.
At least, that’s the reason we give ourselves for lack of social engagements.
So we took our merry crew and a chocolate chip bundt cake over to a friend’s house.
some rainbow Jello,
(note: no alcohol was involved in the creating of these pictures…
just lots and lots of good ol’ patriotism.)
And juice boxes.
Everyone was in a merry mood.
Which, in itself, is something to celebrate.
The kids swung,
and generally looked adorable.
Zach, however, didn’t swing. But did look adorable.
Then we were off, to the local baseball field to watch the fireworks.
We arrived about 30 minutes before the ‘show’… in order to ensure our entire family a plot within a 1/2 mile of each other.
It was a gorgeous night.
Even Zach was able to take a moment away from texting to flash a smile.
Since this was our first Fourth in this neck of the woods, we weren’t sure what to expect.
But we had high hopes.
And the night did not disappoint.
I haven’t always loved the Fourth of July, since it has always overshadowed the day of birth. Big time.
As a child, pretty much no one could come to my birthday party. Since they had “vacation” plans.
At least, that’s what I told myself.
But now that I’m older, besides the fact that I would happily just skip over my birthday, I have a new found appreciation for the Fourth of July.
Although my husband serves our country, I must admit to not having been terribly patriotic in the past.
Before, the sacrifices of the military seemed overwhelming. Suffocating at times.
But God has changed my perspective.
Often the difference between happiness and sorrow is simply perspective.
Now I see everything in our lives… all of it… is at the hand of God. And the military is just one of the many vessels He uses.
And every separation we endure, and time we’ve had to pack up and leave, I’ve tried to appreciate for the adventure it is.
After all, if life isn’t an adventure, what fun is it?
And freedom? After seeing a bit more of the world, I have a whole new appreciation for this word.
Our freedom cost some one some thing.
The truth is that in many places in this world, there are people who don’t wake up and wonder what they’ll eat for breakfast,
they wonder if they’ll eat at all that day.
And if their children will eat.
There are people who don’t have time to worry about vacation plans,
because they’re worried about where their family will sleep tonight.
There is an awful lot I’ve been taking for granted.
An awful lot that I still take for granted.
But I’m intentionally trying to change all that.
To the best country in the world.
Sean and Lisa says
Awesome post! Great perspective and reminder of how blessed we truly are here in the great USA!
Love the pics!
Beautiful photos of the fireworks and I know that you live at least a thousand miles away from where I live, but my parents have a cook-out every year for July 4 and your ENTIRE family would be more than welcome, so if this time next year you are in the neighborhood, send me an e-mail or post a message on my blog and I'll add your family to the guest list……Seriously, my parents would be thrilled to have a family that is so big sharing the July 4 holiday with them.
Well put Stefanie. I needed a check on my perspective and this was it. Can you tell me the name of the book again you recently wrote about that you are reading?
Beautiful & eloquent post, Stefanie!!
And what an appropriate tee you are wearing…on so many levels 😉
(Oh & I can soooo relate to a summer birthday as mine has always been overshadowed by Labor Day! 😉
Wow! Again, amazing, beautiful photos. What a lovely family and moving words!
Tara Anderson says
Love this post!!!
What a great post and something I've been thinking a lot about lately. I just finished One Million Arrows based on your recommendation – so good! I'm speaking at my church next month and I'm thinking my message is going to be about arrows and orphans:)
wow mom those pictures look great!
Great post! I loved the pictures of the kids!!! Too cute! You can come to my home (with EVERYONE) anytime!!! I am one of 7 children so I understand about getting invited to parties.
I also LOVE the pics of the fireworks. How did you do that??? That was just amazing. I would also like to know how you changed the color of your pictures. You should give lessons.
Oh- I like the picture of Sophie and Jude in the background. CUTE!!!
Born Again Dreams says
Awesome post! The new t-shirt looks great on you (unfortunately I don't look good in that color green or I'd get one myself….) Very reflective and thoughtful. Love all the pictures-especially the ones of the fireworks.
Happy 4th (well, 5th now) & stay cool!!
You and your incredibly wonderful large family is welcome here anytime:)
I can relate to the birthday issue as mine is practically a Christmas birthday. But you? You get fireworks & not just the candles on your cake. Glad you had a great day with your family on your birthday.
Nicole A. says
Such a great perspective! And the pics – really?! How do you stand the cuteness?! The kids do get cuter in each post, I think!
And how did you get such amazing photos of the fireworks (mine have never turned out well at all)?
Have a happy week!
All the best,
Nicole A. in OH
Glad you had a wonderful birthday just you and your husband! We need that sometimes.
I hear ya on the birthday timing. Mine is right before Christmas. No one ever had time to come because they were in the thick of Christmas shopping, or Christmas parties already scheduled, etc. BUT! The house always looked festive during my birthday 🙂 Just like there are always firecrackers celebrating your birthday.
Great thought-provoking post!
Stef – those were a great couple updates – the 'first date' with your guy – the whole birthday thing – the 4th of July and all of it….wow! Like you – both Marie and I are July bd's hers yesterday and mine today – we had the same 'have to celebrate on the 4th because we're already having a party' thing too….but I was always raised with the knowledge that we live in the best place on the planet! Still – a reminder is always welcome….
Oh – and if I might be so bold – thanks for accepting that second dance – if you hadn't we wouldn't have had the chance to know you guys!
Great stuff – thanks –
aus and co.
Joe and Jane says
Nice post! And Happy birthday!
Great post – Happy 4th of July to you and your family!
3 Peanuts says
As always, I love this post…your honesty, your perspective and your BIG Christian heart always inspire me. And just so you know…we would invite your lovely, large family to our parties if you lived in TX. Stay cool in that HEAT!
So fun to finally have a quiet moment (albeit at nearly 1:30am!) to catch up on a few blogs. I love all of the fun photos of your family… they sure are GROWING up fast! Vivi is really blossoming!! And those 'big boys' of yours…oh my ~ how handsome are they!?! 🙂 Great pics, as always. I need to figure out the settings on my Nikon…still learning the ropes… as my photos of the fireworks don't look anything like yours…those are AWESOME! 😉 Happy belated 4th and Happy Belated BIRTHDAY!!! 🙂
Blessings and Hugs,
P.S.>> LOVE the new FREE Indeed tee!!