Happy Fourth of July!

I celebrated the 4th of July vacation with my family this weekend. It was great fun, but a little unsettling, as well. It was not just my immediate family, although they were all present (with the exception of Chris). It also including rarely-seen aunts, uncles, cousins, and the like. It was great to see all of them – it’s been yearsssssss since we’ve seen each other. But at the same time, I hated being reminded of how distant we are. The kids literally have to re-introduce themselves to each other every time we get together, because it’s so infrequent. I know that our lives have diverged, and we get together as much as we can, and it’s great to see them when we do…but I’ve always wanted a big, close extended family. It’s like teasing a child with candy when I see my big extended family, but know that we are not close and likely never will be.

But anyway, enough of that self-pity. Onto the details of the weekend. I met mom and the little ones at my aunt’s house in Alpharetta (she’s technically my mom’s cousin, not her sister, but I don’t know what that would make her to me; it’s easier to call her aunt :]). Mom and the kids came back with me that evening and stayed in my apartment. That was fun, even though we were all pretty thoroughly exhausted at that point. I hadn’t expected my little siblings to ever be able to see my place, so it was cool that they got to. I also loved waking up to see them in MY house, not vice-versa… :).

The next morning, we went to my friend Julia’s church, Perimeter church. It was really good. The message was incredible, and so, so applicable to me in my current stage of life. He was talking about freedom in Christ (quite appropriate, considering Sunday marked the anniversary of our freedom as a nation). He tied it into concerns and plans about the future, relationships, finances…basically, everything that I’m currently struggling with. It was a very timely message for me.

We hung around for a while talking with Julia and her parents. They’re really nice, I like them all a lot :). Finally, though, we had to move on. So we jumped in the cars (I drove daddy’s truck, since he had met us up there that morning) and headed up to Suches, the “Valley above the clouds”. Suches, for most of you guys that don’t know, is located in the northeast Georgia mountains, near Dahlonega.

Sunday afternoon was spent playing with cousins, conversing with aunts and uncles, and consoling indignant siblings. My uncle tried – fairly successfully – to recruit me to work in the CIA as an attaché. It’s definitely at least an option I’m going to look into… 🙂 As the light started to fade, we all packed up and went to the local school to watch the fireworks display. It was a very good show, especially considering the size of the town.

Monday was spent lolling around my aunt and uncle’s house, and saying goodbye as the day wore on and more and more people left for home. Finally, dad and I decided to head back down the mountain. We stopped by our cabin on the way down. It looked rather sad and neglected, but that’s to be expected – it’s been over a year since anyone’s been there. But other than that, it seemed to be in pretty good shape, which was a relief to us all.

I made it back to Atlanta, and had just enough time to unpack and get ready for tomorrow before a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to have dinner with her. So we went to Atlantic Station and grabbed dinner at the Cheescake Bistro. The service was less than commendable, but the food was amazinggggg. And the cheescake….oh, the cheescake. We decided that we couldn’t go to a restaurant called the Cheescake Bistro and not get cheescake. So I boxed up the dinner I couldn’t eat, and she and I split a white chocolate and strawberry cheescake. I’m pretty sure I died for a few minutes and went to heaven. Now, however, I’m back in the very real, cheescake-less world, and have to be at work tomorrow. So I’m going to call it a night.

I do have one more thing I want to say, however. I don’t know why, but the fireworks got me in a very pensive mood, and I decided to pen a quick poem. I’ve re-written it here in my blog. Don’t laugh, a natural poet I am not :P. I would like feedback, though, if you have it, as long as it’s constructive :).

Thunderous tremors split the sky
Flashes of light punctuate the staccato shots
Glittering ribbons of emeralds, rubies, and diamonds slice the air
The screams and echoes of deadly firearms pervade the night sky
As the smoke clears, the cries of the frightened fill the stillness
Then, silence.
Tranquility.
Peace.

The struggle to obtain freedom…and the celebration of it
The outward façades are analogous
The charred earth on both the fields of conflict and carnival prompt all who see it to remember
Remember the hardships.
Remember the struggles.
Remember those who gave their lives for people they would never meet.
Their sacrifice remains long after the singed ground has healed
Remember that sacrifice, before the annual gala of frenzied sparklers forces remembrance