Saturday, July 5, 2008

Family, Friends, Freedom, and Fireworks

Throughout this last week, I found that I was feeling very alone. I'm not sure why, but I was just kind of feeling a little down. As Independence Day approached I began thinking of all that I have to be grateful for. I thought of my family, and of how wonderful they are. I thought of the good friends I have. I thought of 4th of July celebrations in the past, and had some great memories. It is amazing what good memories can do to fill you with gratitude, and to lift your spirits.

Memories such as going to a park as a family and spending all day there, then watching the fireworks on top of the car—and being afraid that they would fall on me.

Memories like the many times we, as a family, would go sit on the roof of the house to watch the fireworks in the distance, or if not the roof, we'd stand in the stairway and watch them from the window. I remember learning one year, while standing on the stairs, that light travels faster than sound. :o)

Memories like going down to Morgan Hill with all the extended family and having a pot luck at Uncle Dwain's and Aunt Shannon's, and then watching the fireworks down there.

Memories like working with Uncle Calvin for hours on the 3rd of July one year—just to get the flag pole up in the front yard so we could do a flag ceremony the next day. Doing those flag ceremonies with Olin or Brandon playing the bugle. :o)

Memories like the San Jose Stake 4th of July Breakfasts, where I was able to dress up in my scout uniform and help with the flag ceremonies for a few years.

Memories like these from July 4, 2004, a Sunday afternoon where we had a nice, quiet evening as extended family came and visited, when we were surprised to find our neighbor and friend Julio bringing his horse over for the kids to see. (Plus the excitement of "The Great Tie Race" which consisted of three separate races. (And if I remember correctly, each of us won a round). This video (below) captures some of that:

And these memories from July 4, 2005.

Then there was July 4, 2006, where I was at school, and because my dorm building was in the fall-out-zone I got a free ticket to the "Stadium of Fire." Gratefully my friend Kyle was able to join me, and we had a grand time:

Last year was a good year. I spent the morning and afternoon with friends, and then watched the fireworks from various locations around BYU campus.

As these memories filled my mind and heart, I found that I wasn't so lonely. I began to think of the many people who have so much less than I do. I began to appreciate the many things that I enjoy, and I realized that a large part of why I enjoy them has to do with the freedoms that I have, as a citizen of this great nation.

I became very grateful for my forefathers, both my direct ancestors, and all those of their neighbors and friends who paid a price, some of them paying the ultimate price, so that I could live and be free. So that I could have the ability to gain an education, worship as I please, and make something of my life. I became grateful toward my Heavenly Father who has given me his laws, that, when followed, will grant me more freedom, and make me happy.

As this happier attitude began to fill my thoughts, about mid-week, I got excited for this year's Fourth of July Celebration, though I didn't have any set plans at the time. As it turned out, I ended up spending the 3rd of July with some amazing people: Kyle, Steph, Kaven, and Kim. We headed down to Provo Center Street and walked around the "Freedom Festival."

After a little bit, we headed back to Kyle's and Steph's apartment for smoothies, games, and our own little "fireworks" show. (The fireworks show, being something I had never done, as they are illegal in California). More pictures and video clips will be forthcoming. It was a great evening.

I spend most of the fourth of July with Kyle, Steph, and Kaven. While the night before we had some fun with our own little show, we descided to let the professionals handle it this time. We found a nice spot, laid out some blankets, sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the show—followed by games (while we waited for everyone else to vacate the area, so that we could then vacate in peace.) As Kyle put it, in essence, "It's amazing how much better a mood some good fireworks can put you in." I couldn't agree more. They are like big booms of sparkling happiness. Again, more pictures will be forthcoming.

Anyway, this is really long for a blog post, so if any of you are still reading, thanks for taking the time to see how I'm doing. Thanks for letting me indulge in my "walk down memory lane". Wow, I'll try to keep these shorter in the future. Anyway, I'm doing well, I'm happy, and grateful for all that I have. I don't feel lonely anymore, as, instead, I feel that my life must be one of the most blessed lives. I'm surrounded by so many loving people (even the ones that are far away). I have basic freedoms which allow me to choose my destiny. I have the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am happy. I am humbled to be an American. I am humbled to have the friends that I have. I am humbled to have such a wonderful family. So here is to family, friends, freedom, and fireworks—which help keep me going, keep me smiling, and keep me happy.



Blogger Emily said...

No way . . . this was my first time doing fireworks, too! Everyone thought I was crazy for not even knowing what the popper thingies were! :-) I guess we Californians are finally learning how to live! Liahona was a little scared of the noises at first, but then she was just excited about the pretty colors.

Speaking of trips down memory lane . . . this week we made our first rice krispy treats since the Brad Fieldshaw days! Sadly, we didn't add any secret ingredients, but boy did Liahona try (following her daddy's example, I'm sure)!

I am so grateful that we have a loving Heavenly Father who is always there for us. Now that Tony is working night shift I'm often lonely and a afraid at night, but I'm so grateful to have Someone to talk to when the rest of the world is asleep. Loneliness is a feeling we never have to feel for very long, since the cure is so simple! I'm glad you found peace in looking at your blessings! I'll try that next time.
We love you, Spence!

Sunday, July 06, 2008 9:56:00 PM  

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