Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Uniquely American Holiday!

Men celebrate many things, in many different ways. However, there is one celebration that is unique  not only to America but to all mankind for throughout the history of the world: Independence Day. America is a country founded on the principles of liberty, freedom, and sovereignty of the individual to set his or her life course without cumbersome and tyranny of government. It was the first nation to declare that all men are created equal, and set our country on a course to be the first nation to fight for the freedom of the enslaved, freedom of speech, free assembly,  to grant equality to women, and many more freedoms as outlined in our Bill of Rights.

It has been called the Great American Experience, a country based on an idea of personal liberty, not around a culture or race or geography. It is the greatest country on earth in which to live, in my opinion. No where else on the face of the earth can you experience the personal liberty and freedoms that we enjoy here in America. And we LOVE to celebrate the day the Declaration of Independence was signed--the Fourth of July. It is celebrated with parades, fireworks, family and friend get togethers, all injected with a healthy dose of patriotism!

Don and I attended the Fourth of July parade in Edmond, Oklahoma, our home town where Don's family still resides. It is called Liberty Fest, and I want to share the parade, the family, and the fireworks with you!

Don's nephew and sister-in-law
Don's mom, brother, dad and more nephews

Emergency vehicles, both old and new!

All parades have cars--this is a fancy, restored old one, the first of many in this parade

These guys got a great round of applause--representing our founding fathers and patriots!

Can't forget the U.S. Old West days!

Horses are always popular, especially if you have a scooper coming along behind them!

Another patriot representative
Lots of Boy Scout Troops with flags. You ALWAYS stand
when a US flag passes by, so we stood a LOT on Friday!

More Boy Scouts carrying a gigantic flag over their heads!

All parades have floats. This float is carrying Miss Liberty Fest.

Floats are a tradition in American hometown parades. This one is supported by a business.

A little music provided for our entertainment on this float.

No parade would be complete without a tribute to all branches of our military--who
are hailed with clapping and standing ovations!

I thought this was a unique-looking old tank car.

This float had a digital screen on it even tho it is hard to tell from the picture.

Parades must always have clowns as well!

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These mini-cars are always big hits at a parade.

Old pick up trucks are always popular, too!

If there was a category for most unusual entry, this one would get my vote. This is a local Star Wars Club float, with its
members marching in costume behind it!

Since Oklahoma is farm and ranch country, there are going to be lots of tractors. This is just one of many different
types and styles.

This guy has a strange idea of how to get a wife!

I think this was one of the most favorite floats of the parade, especially with mothers and daughters!

This little float got lots of laughs, as all of the babies in the cars were
nodding their heads back and forth because they were all asleep!

The high school band in this video is from Edmond
Memorial High School, Don and mine's alma mater.

How do you like this miniature horse?

Muscle cars!

A creative float by a local church!
And here's a short video clip of a bagpipe band playing. I just love bagpipes!

I've only included a few of the more than 200 photos I took at the parade. They represent just a slice of what America stands for: family, love of God and country, innovation, creativity, and perseverance. People can aspire to be and do anything they want to in our country, despite what some political representatives are trying to do in our country. We must cling to our heritage and our Constitution in order to preserve these liberties that were paid for so dearly with the lives of patriots throughout our history!

I would have included pictures of our backyard barbecue, but I was too busy eating, relaxing, and talking to take any pictures. The fireworks aren't as clear as they could be because all I had was my phone and we were sitting in a field about a mile away from the stadium. It was still a lot of fun and a great way to end the birthday celebration of the best country in the world!

Happy Fourth of July!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Oman!

I haven't posted for awhile--we've been busy relocating from Oman back to the states. We had lots of farewell dinners and parties, and yes, even a few tears. However, we were also happy to be returning to be closer to family again. Here's a quick look at some of our good-byes and our hello's, as well as a sneak peak at our new homeland!

Muscat Women's Fellowship--this is the group of gals who were moving on.

Don's office buddies

Wonderful friends Michael and Vinoo with Don

and with me

We shared a going away party with our friends Brady and Amber
at Mary and Jeff's house.

I will really miss Sharon, one of the hostesses for the party!
Here's just a few of the pictures of the friends I had to say good-bye to! I don't have pictures of all of them, but I think you'll get the gist of it! The PRO (Public Relations Officer) of OXY who escorted us through the airport on our final exit to have our visas cancelled told us he had never seen people crying at the airport as they said good-bye--that usually people are happy to leave! That really says it all for us--living in Oman was a time of wonderful friendships and relationships with lots of very special people!




Wanda and Jennifer

Erin and Gila



Paula and Lisa

Monika and Ashwin

Famous "Andy in Oman" with Don
As hard as saying goodbye is, saying "hello" and hearing "welcome!" is equally as pleasant. Rest assured, we heard that many times as we returned to the states to see our family and friends!

Don's family

One of our nephews

Daughter-in-law, nephew, son, and nephew

Our granddaughter and our nephew
 This was just one family reunion we had before moving on to California and checking out our new, temporary digs. It seems that we have moved from a land of crazy traffic, palm trees, dolphins, beaches, sea views, mountains and sand to a place of even MORE crazy traffic, palm trees, dolphins, beaches, sea views, mountains, and sand!

California even has bougainvillea in abundance as well!

View of the bay and the Queen Mary in Long Beach--just a few blocks away from our apartment.

Palm trees galore--and traffic!

View from up high above Los Angeles from the famous Mulholland Drive

Dolphins statue and fountain--they offer dolphin-watching tours in Long Beach too!

Mountains--not the best picture I've ever taken, but you'll see more in future posts!

View of the bay, the Queen Mary, and the aquarium from Don's office. See the blimp in the upper left corner?
It makes regular appearances here along the coast!

And Don's concession to the traffic--an electric car to help with his looonnng commute!

So, while life is changing, some things are the same. We have a new set of adventures awaiting us in the months and years ahead. It's a great life if you can hang on! We're grasping hard and placing all our trust in God as He leads the way on this new venture!