|Luke enjoying some chips while sitting|
in a tree. One more reason to love summer.
We enjoyed some time camping in Eastern Idaho at a family reunion and are now gearing up for a pioneer trek with our ward, followed by a river trip down Hell's Canyon and then another family reunion. These are good times. I love it.
The fourth of July came and went quickly. We spent the evening with some wonderful friends and enjoyed a marvelous dinner and some fireworks. We had a little incident with some stray fireworks which burned the side of my leg and burned several holes through the blanket Calista held on her lap (yikes!). After the embarrassment of my initial reaction of jumping up and letting a few colorful words fly out of my mouth passed (uggh... with two bishops and half of my Sunday school class watching, I was mortified at my reaction), I felt overcome with gratitude that my little baby had been holding that blanket on her lap when the fireworks leaped onto her lap. It's all fine and well though.
On Sunday as we stood up in church to sing the national anthem, I suddenly got a lump in my throat as I read the beautiful lyrics. What a change from 15 years ago. I remember as a teenager lacking any sort of patriotism towards the American flag. I thought Americans were arrogant, close-minded, and ignorant. I remember getting into several arguments with other American teens as I pointed out all the ways Americans were blissfully clueless as to what went on around them. It irritated me immensely and I vowed I would never live in the U.S. as an adult. I didn't realize that at the time I was the one being arrogant, close-minded and ignorant.
And here I am as an adult,15 years later, feeling a swell of pride as I stand to sing the national anthem of my home. I've realize that sure, there are some Americans that fit the stereo-type I held. But then again, you can find people that fit that same stereo-type in any country, anywhere in the world. I guess that's the funny thing about stereo-types. Usually it's not the people that fall into stereo-types but the people assigning the stereo-types who ends up being guilty of it themselves.
So what caused the change? I'm not quite sure. I imagine it came mostly from gaining some maturity on my part, but it also came piece by piece throughout the years. Part of it came as I earned my college degree using Pell Grants and other government loans that had low interest rates. I could choose any career field I wanted with the sky being my limit. It came bit by bit with the birth of each of my children as they were born in clean, modern hospitals. It came as Camden started attending a fantastic dual language school that is part of a marvelous public education program. It came as I traveled internationally as an adult and had my eyes opened to the corruption in other countries that I had been oblivious to as a kid. It came with the wonder of the prompt and efficient public services offered (fireman, paramedics, teachers, garbageman, etc.). It came as I learned about the sacrifices of my ancestors and the forefathers of this country. It came as I watched people tearfully remove their hats and hold their hands to their hearts as service men and women led the way at local parades with their flag held high.
What a blessed place this is! This is my home and I feel I indescribably blessed to be raising my little family on American soil.
My dad's brothers and sisters on their family stomping grounds.
One of my favorite views in all of the United States