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I love that the 4th of July fell on a Tuesday this year. Not that I needed an excuse to write about it, but it was just convenient that it worked out that way.

This isn’t a particular *list*, but rather 10 random thoughts that I had this morning.

10. Freedom

Obviously, Independence Day is about….independence. Many people all around the globe don’t know what it’s like to live in a free society. And many people in America would tell you that the U.S. isn’t a truly independent country. 

I see their points, and certainly we have many areas of concern to overcome. But if you got up this morning and were not in immediate fear for your life, if you have planned a day of semi-leisure, if you have opportunity, albeit something that requires you to work hard, then, my friend, you are free. 

9. Family

I have the privilege of spending this day with my family. My cousin spent the night with Reagan last night. Their laughter took me back to simpler days. It always does. I am reminded of the joys of my childhood and the connection I’ve always had with my cousins. 

Though life and circumstances have divided many of us, some in a physical way, some in other ways, I still love them all. Still long for a day when I can look them all in the face and say, “What’s done is done. Love wins. Let’s truly put the past in the past.”

8. Tradition

Every year for as long as I can remember, my family has had traditions around the 4th of July. When we lived in Oklahoma, we had cookouts and fish-fries with our closest friends. 

These days our traditions center around the kids. We cook burgers, eat cold watermelon, go to the creek to cool off and let the kids play, and let them set off explosives as soon as it gets dark. 

At some point, I will also watch Yankey Doodle Dandy, for old time’s sake, and because it’s one of the best musicals ever made. If you’ve never seen it, it comes on Turner Classic Movies tonight at 7 p.m.

7. Summertime

It’s been a mild summer thus far in good ol’ Mississippi. It’s just now getting hot. Really hot.  

But along with the suffocating humidity comes the relief of “cotton showers”. The afternoon thunderstorms that, if you’re lucky, come late enough in the day to keep things cool for the rest of the evening. 

These days were made for porch sitting. Watermelon and ice cream. Fireflies. Whippoorwills. Family.

6. Appreciation

Lord knows this country is flawed. But we can dwell on the flaws or we can take some time, not just on the 4th but every day, and appreciate the good things about this nation.

Some folks may have to dig deep in order to do so. But the good is there. I urge you to find it. Cling to it. Believe in it. And let it motivate you to do whatever you can to make sure it remains. 

Our country remains highly divided following our most recent election. I’m not getting into that today. I’m just going to say that perhaps the stakes have never been higher for us to hold fast to the goodness in one another, and the desire that each of us has for a better place to leave our children. 

Thankfulness and appreciation are powerful things. Much more powerful than scorn, and indifference, and cynicism.

5. Patriotic attire

Hey, I said these were random.

Here’s the thing; I am not a *square* but I find some patriotic attire utterly trashy. If you have an American flag across your backside or B cups, that’s pretty repulsive to me. I’m all about displaying your love of country, but try to keep it classy, okay? 

I know a lot of soldiers. I’m embarrassed when I see people wearing the flag in such…..untasteful displays. 

4. Fireworks

We always had fireworks on the 4th when I was a kid. I can only recall a couple of instances where we didn’t get to shoot any because of weather conditions.

My sister and I had to entertain ourselves with those little snap poppers full of sawdust until it got dark enough to shoot the good stuff. 

I love it when my Dad takes his grandkids to buy fireworks. He’s such a kid himself and he can’t say no to them when they find something that appeals to his inner child. 

3. A day off

Work has been……hectic. I’m thankful to have a day off today. I’m also thankful for those who have to work. Not too many years ago, my husband was working retail and it seemed like every holiday was more of an exasperation than a celebration. He missed a lot of time with us. I’m glad that’s no longer the case.

But I know it isn’t true for everyone and some folks are having to stock shelves, or run registers, or work a hospital shift, or watch the highways for drunk drivers. I appreciate them all.

2. Memories

I get to spend this day with my family. Make the memories that my daughter will take with her into adulthood. Watching her is my life’s joy. 

A family will bury their mom and sister this week. This is not lost on me as I spend time with my parents. I do not register them aging before my eyes. But they are. I know that, hopefully, one day, I will be the grandparent in the scenario. And my own parents will be gone. So I soak up these days with more and more appreciation every passing year. 

1. Breakfast

The coffee has kicked in. Two teenage girls will soon be rising from their slumber. A day of summer fun awaits us all. It’s time to make breakfast for them. 

Wishing you all a day at least half as good as mine has already been. 

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