Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th

Happy 4th of July! We are celebrating at my favorite place, the beach! It has now become a tradition for us to spend the day (usually the week) in Ocean City, NJ, enjoying the parade, the beach, and of course, fireworks. We did get rained off the beach this afternoon but that's okay. We got several hours of sun, sand, and ocean before the rains came.

Last year we decided to join the parade and unbeknownst to us, there were prices given and we almost missed the ceremony where The King's Strings received their first (and maybe only?) 2nd place prize trophy.

Well-meaning friends and family have asked me how I, an Anabaptist, can enjoy the 4th of July. My answer is simple: I enjoy my freedom. I am thankful to live in a country where I can go to church, own a Bible, talk about God in a concert, raise a family in peace, and write a blog. Even to have the freedom to choose against military service. Even though my faith and up-bringing compel me to live a life of peace, I am not so arrogant to believe that an Anabaptist belief system is the only way to get to Heaven (that is through Jesus Christ alone, nothing else). Embarrassingly, it took a few years of attendance at a non-denominational church for this truth to get through to me, and this not until I was past my 30th birthday.

When my daughter starred in a show which asked current and former service men and women to stand to be honored, I was asked how I could allow Mariana to be in such a show. An interesting question, and one which a non-Anabaptist may not understand, but one which I can answer with a heartfelt thank you to all those who have served. I wish that my freedoms and opportunities in this country had come about through peaceful means, but that is not the case. I am thankful for those who have followed what they believe to be their calling so that we can follow our calling. This particular show was a reminder of the sacrifices that are made, not just by one person, but also by a parent, and maybe a spouse and children as well.

Judy Clemens Smucker, in the book Lost Sons, did a great job of writing about the struggle many Anabaptists face when they have to wrestle with questions such as these.

Several weeks ago we played a concert for the Marine Corps League. We joked that this may have just been the first time that the Marine Corps Hymn was played on strings, by a bunch of Anabaptists. Without exaggeration, this was the best audience for which we've ever played (well, minus that amazing crowd in NYC a year ago); their encouragement and applause were nothing short of amazing! Afterward, one of the men came up to John and said something that I will remember for a long time. He said, "It was wonderful to see your family play tonight. That is why we did what we did, so that families can have the freedom to do what you did tonight."

So again, Happy 4th! Thank God for your freedoms and the opportunities you have in our country. It's easy to complain about what we don't have or what we don't like. Be joyful in what you do have. And thank the men and women who have followed a call to serve our country so we can have these opportunities. Remember their family members who spend holidays alone and who face other difficulties while a loved one is away from home.

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