Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day Blessings

Boy, do I let time get in the way of writing sometimes....

Yesterday, Jeff and I went (along with my family) to Colonial Downs in New Kent to watch some horse races and to see the fireworks. I've never been before so it was a neat experience for me. I enjoyed watching the crowds get anxious as the horses neared the finished line, calling out for the horse they bet on, sometimes swearing, jumping up and down, and then either growling and stomping in frustration or jumping up and down with arms in the air because they won. What an experience. Our friends Bill and Kristen came and got to see the races for the first time, too. It was fun to have them there with us. After the races, there was a concert by a local, Susan Greenbaum, which was fun and then the fireworks show. I've seen lots of fireworks displays in my lifetime in lots of different places. But, I must say that though this may not have been the best or the longest, it was pretty good! I really enjoyed the fireworks last night and was so excited that we got to see some, seeing as how the fourth is actually today, a Sunday and I wasn't sure that we'd get to see any this year. After the show, they had an "after party". They had free ice-cream. Of course we had to go get that and you could register to win a plasma tv. They also continued with music, there was a magician, Jonathan Austin, and they also had a spinning wheel, that you had spin and you could win prizes. One of the prizes was time in the money box (either 30 seconds or 60 seconds). So we all got in line to spin. I won 30 seconds!! I was so excited! I've never been in a money box before. Jeff won some ticket to some hoot on the hill thing... he decided not to keep it and he won 6 tickets for general admission. My step-dad won tickets for general admission and a Colonial Downs Apron.

I waited in anticipation and watched as others went into the money box and won anywhere from 9 to 73 dollars. Finally, it was my turn. I was so nervous!! I couldn't here anything but the motor and I had such a hard time getting the money into the pocket as it shot up from the ground and started flying around me. I let go of it often before I could get it into the pocket (one small pocket on the right side of the apron). I tried to remember all of the rules and the tips, no getting the money on the side of your body or the wall of the box, no bending down, from the waste up only, don't try to follow the money with your eyes, grab and put the money in your pocket, kick the corner as the money sometimes gets stuck in the corner. Before I knew it there was the countdown, 5...4...3...2...1. "Hands up!" I put my hands up, and shook off the remaining money. Then I took my apron to someone who counted it out for me.... I didn't get a single 5 or 10 dollar bill... all ones. But I did win $18! It didn't matter how much I won, it was exciting and fun and a great way to end the night.

I just want to quickly mention a couple of my blessings. As I think about today and what it means, I can't help but be grateful and feel blessed to have been born in this country. True, there are some scary things going on throughout the world and even in our own country, but I am still grateful that I am a part of this country.

Another blessing, I have had the opportunity to travel. That really has been a blessing in my life. Though I haven't had much opportunity to travel, I have been to several states within this, my own country and I have traveled and lived abroad, which was a wonderful experience.

I am also grateful for the patriotism of my husband. I am blessed that I have a husband who cares about important things, be it the constitution or the gospel. I am grateful for that.

Well, Happy Independence Day to all of you!

Here's a couple of quotes:

"As we celebrate the birthday of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, let us catch the spirit of that morning and awaken appreciation for the blessings and privileges that are ours if we but remain loyal and true to the Constitution of the United States as established by our Founding Fathers. . . ." ~David O. McKay

"For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail?"
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better."
~Albert Camus

Jeff is in the other playing patriotic music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir... loudly. I love it! :)

America The Beautiful
Words by Katharine Lee Bates

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
About the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

God Bless America
By Irving Berlin
(Born Temum, Siberia, May 11, 1888; died New York, September 22, 1989.)

God bless America
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.

From the mountains,
To the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam.
God bless America,
My home, sweet home.

God bless America
My home, sweet home.

Star Spangled Banner
by Francis Scott Key

O! say can you see by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the Rockets' red glare, the Bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our Flag was still there;

O! say does that star-spangled Banner yet wave,
O'er the Land of the free, and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,

Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country, shall leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of fight or the gloom of the grave,

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O'er the Land of the Free, and the home of the Brave.

O! thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their loved home, and the war's desolation,
blest with victory and peace, may the Heav'n rescued land,
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - "In God is our Trust;"

And the star-spangled Banner in triumph shall wave,
O'er the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave.