America, the Beautiful

For me, the 4th of July is right up there with Christmas–I absolutely LOVE celebrating this day. I love watching parades, flying the flag, hanging out with family, preparing and eating fun summer food, lighting sparklers and staying up for fireworks.

When the 4th falls on a Sunday, our celebrations are altered a bit, but are equally enjoyable. We’re not with family this year nor are we attending the parade (which is pretty small in Liberty Lake.) We are having friends over for a BBQ and we’ll drive up to the top of our neighborhood tonight, to watch fireworks over the lake. Believe it or not, what I’m most looking forward to is attending church. I’m a  lousy singer, but I LOVE singing patriotic hymns. I love listening to talks on freedom and the moral responsibilities it grants us.

When I was a young mom, I bought a video tape (remember those?) of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing patriotic songs. I totally made my family sit and watch it year after year. Now that VCRs are a thing of the past, I can just gather everyone around my computer and pull up videos like these on YouTube.

In my opinion, nobody sings Battle Hymn of the Republic (my most favorite) like the Mo Tab.

and how can you not tear up listening to or singing America, the Beautiful?

Since I’ve been in “look back” mode over at Write. Click. Scrapbook. I’ve come across some oldies but goodies, like this one …

I’d have to check, but I think this layout was published in the very first July/August issue of Simple Scrapbooks magazine. I totally remember posing for “editor” photos in the front lobby of the *new* Creating Keepsakes lobby in Bluffdale. The interesting thing is I never would have conceived of or created a page like this, without the assignment to write a July editor’s note.

and now, looking back, I’m so glad I have this page. Aside from the totally dorky photo, it records 50 things (for the stars) I love about life in America and 13 things (for the stripes) I can do to be a more grateful citizen. Reading over my list now brings back so many memories, even though most of my words are quite generic, I am reminded of experiences and people and places that represent specific memories for me–crazy how that happens.

And hello? How about those photographic borders–remember those?
They were so trendy at the time.

Anyway, I’ve had such a good time reminiscing with my pages and projects I’m thinking we should make “Look Back Week” an annual celebration for scrapbookers. Unless I’m very different from the rest of you–we don’t look back nearly enough. In reality isn’t this why we have holidays like Independence Day — we break from routine, look back and remember all that has happened to establish, preserve and defend principles of freedom that we  greatly value, but nonetheless take for granted.

Enough of my rambling.

Have a wonderful day and if you are so inclined, leave me a comment and tell me which tradition or activity you are most looking forward to celebrating.


  1. Bec_Kilgore says:

    I, too, get weepy hearing and singing these songs. I so enjoyed the videos. Special prayers and thanksgiving for our active duty service men and women and for all the vets who have proudly served their country.

  2. We kind of have a non-traditional 4th this year, but at least we can still grill out under on the screen patio. Rain, rain, and more rain is getting in the way of fireworks and parades and flag-flying this year . . .

  3. Kelly Driver says:

    I love 4th of July too. The hamburgers and hot dogs, sparklers, fireworks, flags and the feelings of pride and thanks to those who have fought for me to keep my freedom.

    I also love your “look back” layout and think I may scraplift it.

  4. Happy 4th! I don’t know why, but I love that layout. I could pick and choose so many elements that I could use on my own. Very cool!!!

  5. Candace B. says:

    Thanks for blogging on a holiday! I love the food aspect of the 4th..but since it’s going to rain in Seattle today, I decided we needed to make s’mores..out of spite! maybe I’ll make a fire in the fireplace and cook ‘em there…gotta do something silly to make a memory despite the weather! I think there should be a law against raining on the 4th!

  6. You’re not alone in being moved to tears over patriotic songs. Thanks so much for sharing these videos. We usually spend the 4th on the lake and watching fireworks. The time together is fun and special. If we don’t watch the fireworks outside (like when the girls were babies), I love to watch the Capitol’s 4th of July special on PBS.

  7. Monika Wright says:

    Homemade peach ice cream at Nana’s and Papa’s house (in-law’s) always makes its debut on July 4th!

  8. Stephanie T says:

    Glad I’m not the only one who gets teary at patriotic songs. I don’t think I’ve made it through an entire version of the National Anthem since I was six years old without getting choked up. My favorite tradition is going to the local park to watch fireworks, although it gets tougher each year to drag the whole family there with me–I’m alone in my love for that tradition.

  9. What a lovely post, I loved the Battle Hymn so much I posted it on my Facebook page. I remember as a kid I used to love Great Moments wtih Mr Lincoln at Disneyland, the very end when they que up BHOTR and I’d totally get a lump in my throat. Its the most beautiful song ever. I cry every.single.time. God bless you, and our great nation today as we celebrate! I’m looking forward to spending time with my husband’s family, all immigrants, as we wave our red, white and blue, and enjoy being together as a family, barbequing carne asada and lighting (legal!) fireworks for the kids! Love those sparklers!

  10. What I loved most about the Holiday are FIREWORKS! I love the thrill of the boom and the sounds and smell of the gunpowder. Everything about the 4th of July was always about the fireworks.

  11. My daughter (age 11) looks forward to July 4th all year. Our tradition is pretty simple. We join friends at Jason’s Deli first. Why Jason’s Deli? It’s down the road from the city park where the fireworks display will be. We eat, then walk to the park. The kids play, although they’ve gotten too old for the moon walk type activities and the pony rides. Then we watch the fireworks. I live in Houston where there is a huge fireworks display, but this celebration in the town of Webster (to the south of Houston) is exactly right. It reminds me of the town I grew up in in Michigan and our July 4th festivities. Happy 4th everyone!

  12. I totally remember that page and I think I have it in my ideas notebook. I have always loved it because I thought it was so unique! I also love patriotic songs! I tear up every time I hear them!

  13. Thanks so much for those videos, as I wipe tears off my face. Spent the afternoon in church which seemed so completely fitting. BBQ hamburgers and hot dogs – is there any other way to celebrate the 4th? And then to watch the fireworks that we do ourselves. So grateful for this great country and the freedoms we enjoy!

  14. 1. I cried during EVERY hymn today. I’m a sucker for music and the U S of A.

    2. GIGI! I love that font, I still use it so much so it makes me smile to see it on your “old” page.

    Happy 4th!

  15. carol in seattle :) says:

    I love that you blogged this today Stacy! I’m so happy to have checked off a “bucket list” item for me. We’re on vacation in Washington DC (you know…the OTHER Washington!) and all six of us went to the National Mall to watch the fireworks. We started out the day visiting a ward out here that started at 8:00. They have two Relief Societies in their ward! I’ve never seen that before. But I was so glad to have celebrated the Fourth here. It was absolutely awe inspiring!

    • Oh Carol — I am so happy for you! What an amazing experience. I so want to take my family to our nation’s capital someday.

      wow. wow. wow.

  16. Barb in AK says:

    Stacy, Thank you so much for posting and sharing on this Fourth of July.
    I love fireworks, too. When I moved to AK in the ’80s, I missed fireworks in July (too much sunlight to have “night works”) ;-)
    Now I live in MN and I’m so happy we are back to the “traditional” 4th celebrations :-)
    It rained all day, but that was okay. I was with my honey and knew the rest of my far-flung family is safe and healthy. We praised the Lord for our freedom on this day and are ever so grateful for those who serve and protect our land and rights in whatever capacity. We’ll get fireworks tomorrow night :-)

  17. We still have 2 VCRs in our house, and they work!
    Beautiful videos.
    My favorite tradition is our family BBQ, and just spending time together doing a whole lot of nothing.
    I hope your 4th was all you hoped for!

  18. Hi Stacy,
    I´m from Sweden, but I did wish my bishop a happy 4 of July yesterday (he´s american). I just have to tell you that years ago I arranged a 4 of July party for the missionaries in our ward just to be able to scrap it afterwards! I had seen so many great 4 of July layouts and I wanted to do one too. As it turned out, preparing for and holding the party was a reward in it self, but it was great fun to scrap it too

    • Ok, that is the nicest thing — regardless of your scrapbook-related motivations. How cool to provide a celebration for people away from home. Makes me wonder how I could do that for people here?!

  19. {vicki} says:

    With the 4th being my son’s birthday—-we go to the local parade (he is ususally in the parade but didn’t want to this year)—hang out at the festivities for a while, then go back at night for fireworks. There’s a birthday party thrown in too!

  20. I love picnicing and fireworks, but my favorite silly tradition is snapping photos of everyone in patriotic outfits–we all do coordinating now, as even at 5 and 8 my older 2 won’t do matching anymore. I love these pics, and I know they are fleeting as the kids are getting older. I have a 4th of July album, and it is so fun to look at our family change from 4th to 4th. Pics this year were hard to take with dh deployed (think tripod, timer, fussy 1 year old, and lots of retakes!), but so worth it!

  21. THis is our first Independence Day in the USA in several years. I really missed shooting off fireworks in the driveway. Last night we had a fabulous show!

  22. Okay, so I kind of got in late on this discussion, but I was busy celebrating. This year we hosted the Bailey/Zimmer Family Reunion in our very own backyard. This included 4 birthdays in one week and a cake. It was wonderful having all the family together to celebrate our country’s birthday. Happy Birthday USA! Also loved laying on an old quilt watching fireworks with the kids at our hometown ball-diamond. Complete with an old fashioned announcer, who made it twice the fun!

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