happy 4th of July


I’m not sure where in my life the 4th of July became my favorite. I know it has something to do with how special my mom makes it in my childhood household. Her July 4th decorations rival any other holiday. Here’s just a glimpse at the red, white and blue

The massive celebration might have something to due with her July 8th birthday. She receives the annual fireworks as a celebration of her birth — rightly so… cause she’s AWESOME!

The Fourth becoming my favorite might have something to do with me hating cold weather. I grew up on an island (St. Simons Island) and have always been an island girl at heart.

Humidity doesn’t bother me, gnats don’t end my world if they fly around, and sitting on the beach in the sun is one of my favorite pastimes.

My childhood home is within walking distance to the firework display so when I was younger, my house was the place to be on the 4th. My mom gets out by 6am to set up our chairs and flags in preparation for the 9pm show and we had friends parking at our house to walk to the display. Here’s mom’s classic set up:

Lukas is a giant Christmas elf (there was one year he listened to Christmas music before we even watched the fireworks shoot off for the Fourth) and after marrying, he had to learn my passion for July Fourth rivaled his passion for the holly jolly green and red themed time of year.

Over time (and especially with the introduction of our little Christmastime birthday baby) his love of Christmas has rubbed off on me and I’m no longer a Grinch. My love for the 4th has waned a little with Christmas taking more of a prominent role in my priority list (we literally set aside money every month of the year to celebrate Christmas well, thank you YNAB), however, it still remains one of my favorite times to spend on St. Simons Island.

This year, COVID killed the fireworks display and that, in turn, made my priorities for the Fourth of July minimize…what is the Fourth without the big bright bangs?

“Creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations, the latter (like the river banks) forcing the spontaneity into the various forms which are essential…”
— Rollo May

I’ve witnessed in myself (and family!!), a reignited creativity in this COVID season. The old ways of having fun have (after a period of mourning and complaining about their loss) birthed new ways to enjoy things. Days, routines, events, holidays. July 4th was no exception.

Lukas asked me a week or so before we left town “what are we doing for the 4th?” In my snippy and defensive way (still in the mourning period) I reacted — what do you mean what are we going to do for the 4th?

In my mind, the Fourth was “ruined”. No fireworks = no fun. Thankfully, my husband nudged us in the right direction and we started formulating a plan for how to make the holiday special even though the “normal ways” weren’t possible.

Our standard MO for the holiday is to avoid the beaches all together to rest up for nighttime activities. Since this year was different we decided, what better place to social distance than the beach?? Instead of getting our chairs positioned for the fireworks, we’d go in the early morning hours to get our beach set up established instead.

We had a blast!! Last year, taking Tabby to the beach was a headache, this year, it was a divine joy. She LOVES the water and sand and if she could live in a tent on an island, I have a feeling she would choose that over being with mommy and daddy in Atlanta.

At the end of the day, Lukas and I put on a sparkler display for my parents after Tabby went to bed. This may or may not have included an interpretive dance with vocal ensemble as well as ear piercing screams and running when the small, tiny sparkler turned into a much larger than expected display of sparkles. All of the above done by myself alone, with my husband along for the ride, laughing at his ridiculous wife.

Fourth of July 2020 turned out to be my favorite one, yet!!

There are days when Jesus’ joy is harder to spot in my life. Days when suffering producing perseverance/character/hope is on full display in my mind and heart and it’s a grind to do the next right thing. There are also moments where I feel the joy heaven and it’s a reminder yes, yes, YES, keep going sister. On those days, I have to put a stake in the ground and say THIS happened. This joy is real.

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:11

I will cherish the moments I feel His joy on this side of heaven, the way Tabby’s Gammy feels when she’s with her little girl, passing on the love of a holiday filled with red, white and blue!!

xoxo, va

One thought on “happy 4th of July

  1. Pingback: dear Mrs. Obama | Following the Fortunatos

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