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I hope everyone had a wonderful Independence Day celebration!

Travis and I were so lucky to be able to spend the 4th and 5th together. We're usually lucky to spend one to two holidays together a year, but we've amazingly been side-by-side for the past several holidays.  To celebrate the holiday we did the family thing. You know, cookouts, music and fireworks.

Saturday was all about the sun. Locals, if you've never been to Natural Tunnel State Park's pool, go!

The next day was the best Sunday fun day! Front porch sittin', bean stringin', and berry pickin' were the agenda for the day. It's not just family time at its finest, it's Southern family time. 

We created and shared memories that day as many families did. The sound of breaking beans was soon muffled by our voices reminiscing of the days not so long ago. Before my adult years, I lived on a family street- my grandparents across the road, my great-grandmother beside our home, and uncles on the hill. Summer colors filled the garden as veggies galore grew up and out.  My maternal grandparents and great-grandmother have passed, but their doings and sayings are still fresh in our minds and hearts. I remember many summers of sitting under the carport stringing and breaking beans, watering my great-grandmother's flowers, the smell of pickles souring the air, and family tending to the beans, peppers, lettuce, and cucumbers that would soon feed us for weeks and even months to come. As my fingers grew rough and sore from handling the beans, the presence of my family passed grew stronger. We shared stories much like my grandfather or "papaw" loved to do.

One was told of my papaw searching for seeds to fill the garden soil all with oxygen and a walker in tow. My mother accompanied him and feared for his health. She wasn't wearing the best of shoes and blisters wore on her feat as she followed him row after row. She dared not say a word though as his smile was as big as ever. Another soon followed of my grandmother stumbling across a snake and screaming for help, and a third of my great-grandmother sitting on her back porch watching the days unfold. I could see each scene as if it were playing on a movie screen. They were Christian as Christian could get- they loved all and shared that love and I was lucky enough to receive that love for as long as I did. 

Picking blackberries with my parents was new to me. I had never braved weeds and spikes just to get that perfect berry. Wild blackberries = deliciousness! We wore rain boots to block potential snake bites, gloves, and smiles all around. Yep, this is country livin'. The air was filled with giggles, "ouch" and "ahhh." It will be a memory shared years down the road.

I'm blessed with parents that honor family and make memories effortlessly. 

What's a better time to honor family, love and all we have shared than during a holiday weekend that celebrates America? I'm thankful for those that served and serve today, for the men that fought to give us this life and for the men and women that work and fight to protect it. Without them, my memories would be different. Many of my family served, including my grandfathers and I'm proud of their contributions.

Whoever you are and wherever you are, embrace those you love and those who love you. No better memories are created than those built on love. A simple blackberry picking is all you need! Be genuine. Take advantage of what we as a nation have.
May God Bless You and God Bless America!

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