Monday, July 4, 2016

dear america, i love you lots.

to honor you (& fill our tummies), tonight i tried my hand at the typical american-esque cookout with some grilled chicken, veggies, & even a peach cobbler for dessert (à la crockpot). living here in the great ol' USA has helped me recognize how grateful i am for the many blessings and freedoms i have, like being able to explore and develop skills such as cooking and baking - - two things that i love to do! i can't possibly express how grateful i am to live here and have so many awesome freedoms like that.

but...you know, since it's your 240th birthday and all...this year i'm going to try.

thanks for providing my friends & family & i with the freedom to do the things we love, and be as goofy as we'd like.

thank you for providing the blessing of religious freedom, to allow me to worship the way that i believe is best.

thank you for having so many wonderful and fun things to do within your vast expanse like explore beautiful national parks (not pictured here, but i do love them a lot), as well as awesome rollercoaster theme parks (looking at you, cedar point!).

thank you for being a place that cherishes historical landmarks like the ohio theatre, so that i can watch movies on the big screen with my parents in the summertime. 

thank you for giving us all the freedom of speech, to let us write and read whatever we'd like, about whatever we'd like, whenever we'd like (especially lots of the awesome books i've read this summer ).

thanks for offering so many fun sports to play & watch, like baseball...
 

...and for accepting us for wanting to eat hot dogs and popcorn anytime, with as much ketchup or butter (respectively, obviously) as we'd like.

thanks for being the birthplace of big-time corporations that (albeit maybe not the best for the environment) sure make it easy to get everything we need in one stop, in an incredibly short amount of time. 


thanks for letting me decide what i'd like to do with my organs after i die (hint: i made the same choice as DK :). 

thanks for having refrigerated milk that allows me to enjoy any delicious combination of cereals (or other breakfast foods) in the morning to start my day off with a smile.

thanks for giving me the blessing of a wonderful public education, and for providing opportunities for scholarships and grants that allow me to continue my education to eventually give back to those with similar pursuits.

thanks for giving me the freedom of a beautiful green backyard & porch, where the sun can shine and i can read, without any general worry for my safety. 

above all else, thank you so much for being such a safe place for me & my loved ones to live. the world can be a scary place (and things aren't looking the best at right now), but i'm grateful that i have the incredible blessing of getting together with those i love most on the regular, thanks to the many wonderful men & women who are constantly fighting and working hard to keep us and our nation safe so that we can keep being happy (& goofy!) & free.

i read this awesome passage in one of my english class anthologies this past school year at BYU & i absolutely fell in love with the below quote by sir walt whitman about, well, you. and i typed it up and have kept it here for months, just waiting for the right day (your birthday, duh!) to finally present it to you.

so here you are, america. because you are the greatest and my favorite poem of all:

"Other states indicate themselves in their deputies....but the genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges or churches or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors...but always most in the common people. Their manners speech dress friendships - the freshness and candor of their physiognomy - the picturesque looseness of their carriage...their death-less attachment to freedom - their aversion to anything indecorous or soft or mean - the practical acknowledgment of the citizens of one state by the citizens of all other states - the fierceness of their roused resentment - their curiosity and welcome of novelty - their self-esteem and wonderful sympathy - their susceptibility to a slight - the air they have of persons who never knew how it felt to stand in the presence of superiors - the fluency of their speech - their delight in music, the sure symptom of manly tenderness and native elegance of soul...their good temper and openhandedness - the terrible significance of their elections - the President's taking off his hat to them not they to him- these too are unrhymed poetry. It awaits the gigantic and generous treatment worry of it."

[walt whitman, preface to leaves of grass]

so thank you, america. thanks for being the kind of place that can foster the kind of people that live here. we're far from perfect, but thanks to you and the freedoms you offer us, life's a whole lot easier and a whole lot happier than what may be taken as the worldwide "norm." even though politics might be making everyone *cringe* a little bit right around now...i've got enough faith in the democracy on which you've been established (and checks and balances, too) that every little thing will work out just fine. you know, regardless who ends up being the next guy or gal to sit at the head of the table, so to speak.

so, thank you. seriously. so, so, so so so much. and God bless America. & happy 240th birthday to you!

with love forever and ever,

me.

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