Independence Day

A few days ago I was outside working in the yard when I heard several loud booms announcing the official start of the Fourth of July firecracker extravaganza that takes place in my rural community.  There are two Indian reservations within a few miles of our small town and it is legal to sell firecrackers on these reservations making it easy for anyone to get their hands on a stash of celebratory explosives.

Fireworks aren’t the only thing igniting just before the fourth of July in my small town, the community explodes with activity.  Dads are busy mowing the grass and cleaning the barbecues.  Moms are looking for red, white, and blue recipes while extending and accepting invitations to friendly gatherings.  Flags are hung from banisters, porches, decks, and windows making us all feel very patriotic, and we like to feel patriotic.  We like being Americans.  We are proud to be Americans.

Why are proud to be Americans?  On July Fourth, 1776 the Continental Congress ratified the declaration by the United States of its independence from Great Britain.  The 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence couldn’t have imagined what a great country the United States of America would become.  They didn’t know that their passion, intelligence, faith, and courage would be an example to all generations that followed.  What they did know was that there was a better way to live, a better way to run a country, and they risked their lives to make this dream a reality.

One of the best known phrases crafted in the Declaration of Independence is; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” They crafted this phrase believing it was an important part of designing a better country, a just countryThere is power in these words.  They’ve helped bring about some of the most important societal changes in the U.S.A.  This phrase helped free the salves, give all Americans the right to vote, and bring about equality of pay.  This phrase has helped make America a better country, a stronger country.  In a way it has become our Golden Rule.

So, we Americans celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, firecrackers, barbecues, gathering, and parades.  We celebrate with pride what our forefathers put in motion.  We celebrate their amazing faith in God the Creator and in the human spirit.  We celebrate their profound courage and intelligence that propelled them to conceive, write, and sign the Declaration of Independence.  The United States of America is an exceptional country filled with amazingly diverse people who are using their passion, intelligence, faith, and courage to keep our county strong.  God Bless America

Debora Shelford Hobb

You Never Give Up On Me


I failed again today, O Lord
Tripped hard and lost my way
My will came to the front O God
Your will… I put away.

It seems so hard to stay upon
Your narrow path to life
I let this lost world blind my eyes
Divide my faithless heart.

Yet in my sin, Your Spirit calls; Unending grace still flows
You woo me back into Your arms and gently let me know
Through thick and thin, and failures known
You stand with open arms
Bowed on my knees; You hold the key
You never give up on me.

When I forget Your holy way
Your Spirit I ignore
Old habits fall upon my heart
Like waves upon the shore.

But then you show me what I’ve done
And I fall to my knees
You hear my cry and see my heart
You never give up on me.

O what a sorry lot am I,
Your grace is undeserved.
You bore those nails to set me free
This lost and lonely ship at sea.

Your Spirit gently calls my name; unending grace still flows
You call me back into Your arms and failure turns to growth
In sin and shame, and struggles known
You wait for me to turn
Bowed on my knees, I now believe
You never give up on me.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen