Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day.  Yes, today.  July 2.

Wait… I’m confused.  I thought it was July 4.

So… Here’s a little history lesson and a little more.

On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee from Virginia proposed this resolution to the 2nd Continental Congress.  Lee’s resolution declared:

“That these United Colonies are, and of right out to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; that measures should be immediately taken for procuring the assistance of foreign powers, and a Confederation be formed to bind the colonies more closely together.”

The 2nd Continental Congress wanted this resolution to pass on a unanimous decision and knew there were a few delagates that were not quite ready to agree to this, but they knew they would be soon.  On July 1, 1776, the Second Continental Congress re-conviened to debate Lee’s resolution and on July 2, 1776, the resolution was unanimously approved (New York abstained from the vote, but later got full support from their constituents), making the 13 colonies free from the rule of England and thus beginning a new nation.

On July 3, John Adams wrote his wife Abigail regarding the events of the previous days.  In his letter, John Adams wrote

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.—I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

Over the next two days they refined an address that explained to the colonists and to England why they had done this and it was completed and approved on July 4th.  This address is our Declaration of Independence.  Over the course of the next few weeks, the members of the Continental Congress would sign this declaration with the last signature being place on August 2, 1776.  So why do we celebrate on July 4th and not July 2nd?  Well… this was something even John Adams and his peers could not agree on, so I certainly am not going to solve that mystery today.

As we celebrate this anniversary of our nation’s independence and the beginnings of our great nation, let us not forget why we are a great nation.  I have heard and have said that America is great because of its people.  But that is not really true.  America is great because it is a nation built on a foundation of faith and Godly principles.  It was built by people that trusted in God.  When we begin… as we have over the last several years… to rely on our own strength and goodness as a nation and a people, we begin to crumble as a nation and a society and our values and very foundation become weak.  When we maintain that our strength comes from God, instead of “we the people”, then our nation will become the great nation it once was.

So this year, lets remember that this holiday is more than just another day off work.  It is more than the “illuminations” or fireworks and getting to blow stuff up (although that is something I look forward to).  Let us remember that this nation is great because of God and let us take time for those “solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty”, the real reason we are free.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:17

Happy Independence Day
July 2, 1776


Almost Summer

As May is coming to a close and Memorial Day is just around the corner, we start to get a little excited about summer.  I still remember when I was a kid and counting the days to the end of school.  This was before summer jobs and other responsibilities.  Summer was just spent having fun, playing, and getting into trouble.  Lots of long bike rides through the Kansas wheat fields and playing outside.

Summer vacations, usually to Georgia, but by some very different routes.  The vacation was the journey, not the destination.  We loved swimming at the hotel pools and at the beach.  This was about the only time my family did any kind of water related activity… other than playing in the sprinkler in the back yard.  Kansas is a long way from the beach and there are not many lakes around, either.

So… I am not much of a water sports person.  My first trip to California  to see my wife’s parents was one I will always remember.  Not so much the meeting of the family, but the trip to the lake.  My first… and only… attempt at water skiing.  How hard can this be?  You hang on to the rope, stand up, and the boat pulls you across the water.  Even Goofy can do it.  For me, it was really more being drug behind the boat with my body bouncing off the water and the skis somewhere in the lake behind me.

I would get instructions from the folks in the boat, but they never really seamed to work out.  I almost got up on the skis a few times, but never really got very far.  Well, that isn’t technically true.  I had this thing about not letting go of the rope.  Even after I fell.  After being drug behind the boat on my belly, bouncing off the water for what seemed like miles but was actually more like 40 or 50 feet, someone finally said, “It’s o.k. to let go of the rope when you fall.  We’ll come back and get you.”  But I still continued to hang on to the rope and take my beating.

After several attempts and being completely exhausted and bruised up from the attempt at skiing, I decided to settle for inner tubing.  That is much easier and more relaxing.  So I set out on the tube, being pulled by the boat around the lake.  Ahhh… this is more like it.  I’m enjoying this and getting pretty decent at this.  We are moving along at a pretty good pace and I’m crossing over the wake and catching some air.   After a few minutes I notice that my arms do not have as wide a grip on the tube as they did when we started.  That grip is gradually getting smaller and smaller as the tube is running out of air.  The boat is still going fast and by this time the people in the boat are talking and not really paying much attention to me.  Before long, I’m back to bouncing off the top of the water, hugging what is left of the tube.  At least this time I have the remains of the tube to cushion myself as I continue to bounce.  I refer back to above and I still had difficulty with the concept of letting go of the rope.  So I continue bouncing off the water and realizing just how hard and painful the water can be.  Finally someone notices and, again, reminds me that it’s o.k. to let go of the rope.

Fast forward a few years and now I’m back out on the water.  New lake.  New boat.  Just our family and some friends at a lake house.  Jet skis!!!  Finally, something I can sit on and not have to bounce across the water on.  I went out with Elliot and we were having a great time.  This is more like it.  At about the farthest point from the dock we have been, the jet ski dies.  Fuel gage still shows plenty of fuel.  After several desperate attempts to restart the blasted thing, I made the decision to swim it in.  Naturally we were fairly far away from the dock and nobody was really watching that much.  Elliot was not a swimmer at the time, so he sat on the jet ski as I slowly and painfully swam and drug the jet ski back to the dock.  Of course, by the time someone realized I was in trouble and they got the boat in the water to come rescue me, I was pretty much all the way back to the dock.  I slept really, really well that night.

So… as summer approaches and the weather warms up, you may find me on the beach or sitting by the water.  You may even find me in a pool somewhere, but you will likely not find me out on the lake attempting any kind of water sports.  It’s just safer for everyone.

Don’t Stand Here

Having four kids, I get to go to lots of activities and events… lots of them.  I’m a people watcher.  I love to sit back and observe other people, especially other parents.  I have learned a great deal of my parenting by watching other parents.  I learn what works and what doesn’t.  I also learn a lot about people as I watch and observe.  One of the things that never ceases to amaze me, especially at the many kids events I have attended recently, is the large number of parents that do not think the rules apply to them. Continue reading “Don’t Stand Here”