Saturday, July 5, 2008

Stadium of Fire

The different branches of the military in Utah held a lottery to select families to go to the Stadium of Fire at no cost to us. We were chosen to go along with families of deployed soldiers as well as soldiers who recently returned from deployment and other military families. I have never been, so this was all new. Nine years ago on the fourth I remember Shawn and I setting up our lawn chairs at a little lookout close to Sierra West in Orem (by the mall). We had a nice view of the stadium and were able to catch the fireworks. We consoled ourselves with the fact that we had a great spot and even went so far as to suggest that we had no need for the Stadium of Fire because it just couldn't get any better. Ooohhh the things we tell ourselves in these make- the -best -of -it moments! Um..... couldn't have been farther from the truth. The fireworks alone made the night. Not only was the Blue Man Group performing, but Hannah Montana as well. A few minutes after teh opening of the night, we walked out on to the field as the crowd clapped and cheered. Abi waved a flag and Maddie carried a sign that said, "We miss you Daddy!"

There was a vignette on screen of troops coming home and little tributes throughout the night. Maddie was tearful but happy and Abi pensive. I was completely caught up in watching my girls arms sway to songs and dance and shreik with the crowd. I was quickly reminded of some of the reasons little girls can be so fun. We were close to the front of the group and enjoyed the night. The fireworks took my breath away. Abi and Maddie loved the spy sequence and I think my favorite was the sequence set to Judy garland singing "Somewhere over The Rainbow", where the fireworks (the girls said) looked like dancing christmas lights in the sky. One of my favorite parts of watching any firework display is to look around at people as the light flashes across their faces. It seems that the magic is wasted on no one. As we walked out at the end, Abi declared that it was the best night of her life - ever. I can't think of a better way to have spent this day (except having Shawn by my side watching of course:)).

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Independence Day

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.
You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. -- I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. -- Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.
-Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams- July 3rd ,1776

I love that letter-and I have loved learning more of the lives of these men and women who played such instrumental roles in our history. I have often seen the bumper sticker that says, "God bless everyone-no exceptions!" Though we have a loyalty before country and culture to man kind, there should be no shame in being a patriot. There is something about this sticker that bothers me. As if anyone who is truly patriotic must also be void of love or acceptance for different countries, cultures, and people and might never think beyond their own existence. I am aware there are people who believe to be a patriot they must turn their back on any other (and possibly fly a confederate flag). Even so, I would like to think that most of us who would speak the words God Bless America would do so only to celebrate the history of our nation and the countless men and women who have forged through difficult circumstances to allow us the liberty we have today. I believe it serves as a reminder of the bond we share as people who support liberty on any soil. I believe it is a reverent call for God to be with us as we continue to make decisions that will affect our future generations. Just as the founding fathers did. So though I get the message this sticker intended to send, I think we learn something valuable when we can call ourselves patriots without having to whisper it.

I will now step off my soapbox. Happy Fourth everyone!!!

Out of the mouths of babes

I have been contemplating lately the silly things that my children say and the likewise silly things that come from my mouth in response to their silly statements/questions. To clarify, it is really maddie who says most of the silly things around here. I love my daughter dearly and know she has been blessed with a compassionate and fun -loving spirit. Having said that, there are days where she is obviously one banana short of a split (she gets it from Shawn). Anyway, here are a few examples....while driving the other day I found myself responding to her with a, "No Maddie-you won't be sucking anybodys blood tonight." The next morning getting ready for church she says, "My nerves just can't take another minute of this. They are so frazzled!" (we were just doing hair by the way). The funniest thing is that it's not a phrase I use. Now if she would have said "I'm two seconds away from crazy", I would have known exactly where that phrase came from. Then there was the french fry comment that went something like this... "Mommy! Abi doesn't believe me when I told her that Happy Meals are called that because french fries make people happy!" Aaaaaaah yes-those moments where as a mom you find yourself mediating a disagreement over whether Abi's stuffed animal gave Maddie's stuffed animal a dirty look (these are mostly fueled by Maddie as well). I believe Maddie is a little girl who has a personality bigger than her little body and larger than life. I think her red hair is like a little warning flag. When you see her coming you never know what she's got planned. These are the days.