grill2016This year, I’m spending the fourth alone. I call it my #staycation. And because I grill a lot while everyone is gone, the #steakation. Carolyn and Adelyn went to spend a few days in San Angelo at her family’s lakehouse, and Sam is a counselor at Camp Ridgecrest for Boys in Asheville, NC this summer.

It’s been raining all morning in Blacksburg, and so it was necessary to sleep in and then take a trip to Carol Lee Donuts for a balanced breakfast. It was balanced because I got a variety of donuts – cinnamon twist, blueberry cake and regular glazed.

It’s been a long week. A week ago last Friday, I went to the beautiful town of Middleburg, Virginia to officiate a wedding. We’ve had family at the house for almost two weeks – Carolyn’s sister Cortney and her kids – my twephews, TJ & Daniel, who are 15 (and went to youth camp with Northstar the previous week) and Mattie who will be a fifth grader this fall. Our house was full of video gaming, talking, movies, food and adventure.

They went hiking to Macafee’s Knob last Tuesday. On Thursday, I joined them to go zip lining at Mountain Lake where the kids got to play bubble ball without the ball. (Basically they just strapped themselves into these huge bubbles and knocked each other over).

In addition to the fun at home, all week our church held its kids camp in the evenings, Monday-Thursday. My official role was “Jokester.” I took this very seriously and stocked up on quality jokes, as well as making a “feather stick.” What’s a feather stick, you ask? It’s a stick with a feather on the end. You sneak up behind someone and rub their ear with the feather and watch in hilarity as they frantically swat away the imagined insect. (Watch the camp highlight videos that I made here and here.)

Wednesday was a long, amazing day as well. Our church staff had already worked themselves silly with kids camp, but in our staff meeting that day, Neal — wait for it — told a joke. It’s something he just doesn’t do. Or at least doesn’t do well. That afternoon I spent some time recovering from his joke by trying to make others laugh. I think I got two thumbs up.

On Friday, I drove Carolyn and Adelyn and the Texas family to Charlotte for their flight out to San Angelo.

It’s been a full weekend for this staycation with yard work, preaching, and reading for an upcoming trip to Istanbul. I’m grateful for the Fourth of July being a holiday and have enjoyed simply hanging around the house today without an agenda. I’m especially grateful for all those who given their lives and service for our country that we can enjoy freedom.

I noticed that I’ve tended to have sporadically eventful July 4’s. For instance:

And finally, to close this July 4 entry up, make sure to watch Anthem Light’s medley of patriotic songs:

On this day...