My oldest daughter -still a teen, lucky parents that we are (*sigh*)- had to do something absolutely tough for her this week. She had to face her fears and do the right thing by her friends and family. As I watched her complete this monumental effort, I just sat there watching her. Her face was down, long brown hair nearly blocking view of her sweet face, as she spoke. At one point, she quickly looked up and her chocolatey brown eyes glanced at us. It struck me in that one moment, as quick as time can flash, that she was beautiful beyond the natural beauty she had been blessed with at birth. It was her bravery at doing the hard thing, the right thing, that made her absolutely, stunningly beautiful. As you may have guessed, I teared up.
Being as close as we are to the patriot holidays of the summer, I think about things we do, say, and participate in that show our bravery. I think about things others in my family lines have done with full willingness to die as they stood up for those beliefs. There are so many lovely brave citizens of this country that serve around the globe in defense of our homes, liberty, and freedoms. They are truly beautiful people. I love this time of year. Flag Day. Memorial Day. Fourth of July.
Living here in the heart of America's Freedom Festival is pretty terrific. The Freedom Festival always plans more than we can do in the three days of offerings available. It's July 4th that we really kick up the party. We get up at the crack of dawn on July 4 to get to the Grand Parade. On the way, we see dozens of hot air balloons rising on the skyline with the sun rising behind the mountains to the east. Super picturesque! We seem to be lucky every year as we tend to get within feet of the same spot for the parade year in and year out. The kids like the floats, beauty queens, high school bands. We all love the military as they come by in their tanks, trucks, jeeps, and aircraft as they do their flyby's overhead. I get the chills just thinking about it! Firemen, police officers, government officials, notable notables, and community officials all get involved and participate in one way or another. George Q, our local cannon, fires off signalling the end of the parade and the beginning of THE WAIT. What are we waiting for? The Fire of Stadium and firework show that we LOVE! The band, Journey, is coming this year. We've had The Beach Boys, Kellie Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and more in past years. The fireworks are best enjoyed as close as possible. We pack a picnic and a bunch of junk food while we wait. By the end of the evening we are beyond exhausted from the heat and keeping up with the kids and drop in bed like wilted plants.
Bravery makes beauty.
As I watch the Grand Marshal, someone chosen for extraordinary acts of bravery, or the veterans that are nearly centenarians pass by in the parade, I see faces of humble men and women aged in the brine of time. They are so beautiful. And it doesn't stop with them. Families walking alongside their military family members, my sister- the wife of a local police officer- and her children, my friends finishing the 5K run during the parade pre-show. The stranger in the crowd who has the weight of the world on their shoulders and keeps on smiling. The youth battling pressure to compromise on their standards but is BATTLING. The grandparent fighting loneliness. The family who lost their child, or employment, or struggles to make ends meet as it is. Wherever you are God bless you for your bravery. YOU are beautiful.
Celebrate With Piggy Paint