From Turtles to Timeless Traditions: A Heartwarming Journey of 4th of July

Traditions and enjoying the Fourth of July!  family celebrations, creating meaningful connections

4th of July is my all time favorite holiday!

Weird!?!?? Yep I know!

You might be thinking, “Why is this her favorite holiday?”

It all started with turtles!

Ha ha, bet you didn’t see that one coming!

Turtles we would see and pick up on the side of the road. My grandma and I would let them crawl all over the floorboard only to bring them back put them in a box and give them water and lettuce. I loved loved loved finding turtles.

Again you might be thinking… “But why?”

Doh! For the turtle race!

It’s an IYKYK type thing but picture this….

You get a big garden hose and make the biggest circle you can get then everyone in the family gets to select a turtle. We all put them in the middle of giant hose circle and let em run.

Run turtle run… very slowly…. and if yours is the first one out of the circle you win!

I never won the turtle race but to me simply being with my Grandma at her farm for the summer was winning.

It was a place where I didn’t have to be on guard from having to be perfect. In my other house with my mom and step-dad it was constant chaos, anger, abuse… and a feeling that if I could just be perfect at whatever they wanted in that moment I could save my self.

Newsflash it never worked….. fast forward to when I had my own kids….

I wanted to recreate my love of 4th of July for my kids… but the only thing I could find in a big city was snapping turtles at the neighborhood pond… not gonna work…. but…..

I could make everything else perfect for them so they would love it just like me!

Decorate those wagons and bikes for the neighborhood parade and win the prize

Dress up head to toe in red, white, and blue and win the prize

Create the most elaborate spread of food you’ve ever seen… think smoked brisket, baked beans, fresh from the farm corn on the cob, a good ol texas sheet cake, and homemade ice cream… oh I almost forgot…. the homemade warm buttered yeast rolls… yes please…..

…then top all this off with some time in the pool… with of course themed games for the day… and red white and blue swimsuits!!!

And it wouldn’t be the end of a perfect day without a spectacular fireworks display right in our street!

I do mean SPECTACULAR!!!

I’m pretty sure in retrospect, I failed and failed BIG at my goal of making the 4th of July my kids favorite holiday!

They are now 23, 21, and 20…. and I just texted them to ask… is 4th of July your favorite holiday?

No response yet!?!? I’m confident it’s gonna be a resounding NO!

Back on track for the story here…..

I failed because I was too busy making it perfect.

Busy. Busy. Busy.

It’s easy to confuse a lot of activity with a purposeful life.

Just like Martha and Mary in the Bible. Martha’s evening was filled with activities but all Jesus wanted was for her to spend time with Him and Mary.

What my kids wanted and needed from me was NOT a stressed out mom trying to make things perfect… they needed my presence in the pool with them… they needed my time. Time I spent being busy and short tempered and exhausted.

So today, my friend, don’t get bogged down in all the details: choose true engagement instead.

Paper plates work just fine and they don’t even have to be red white and blue… today mine aren’t.

Ask yourself… in what ways do you focus more on being busy than being in God’s presence or in the presence of those that matter most to you?

Comment and let me know… this is not a one way convo here even if it is my personal journal. LOL!

Happy 4th!


p.s. my kids responses so far #1. NO Christmas #2 still asleep and not responding #3 “is this even a question, NO, ewww. Christmas, duh

p.s.s. Hmm….I wonder what happened to those turtles after the 4th of July? I never asked that

Not sure to just be yourself and let go of the perfection and BUSY BUSY….. Check This Out!


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I’m a small-town Oklahoma girl living the big city life in Houston, Texas with even BIGGER dreams. I was an elementary school teacher turned marriage and family therapist with a passion for helping families live their best lives.

About Amy

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Jesus' Daughter, Wife, Mom, CEO, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, High-Performance Business Coach, Podcast Host, & Professional Taco-Eater