Celebrating America on Two Wheels

In light of the 4th of July holiday, this was a four day work week for me. We start the second four week summer school session on Monday, so the University deemed yesterday as our day off, though it looks like several people are also taking off Monday. This campus decision helped me do some errands around town, namely getting ready to (re)apply for a new passport. It’s a good thing I’m doing it now since the costs rise quite substantially in mid-July! Though I don’t have any plans to leave the country anytime soon, it’s something that has needed to be done and it feels good to check it off my list.

Earlier in the week I tried my hand at making a home version of Springfield style cashew chicken. If you’re from the Ozarks, this is about as foreign as food gets.


Having grown up on this dish and not having it be a menu option around here, I did a bit of online searching, some deep frying, and came up with a pretty tasty version. Let’s face it, you can take the girl out of Missouri, but you can never take the Missouri out of the girl.

The end of the month also meant I got paid for my first month’s work! I had already told myself that I was going to buy a bike with part of my first paycheck. While I had a different bike in mind, this is the one that came home with me!


It’s a kids bike, which fits my body size better, was cheaper, and is so cute! Thanks to the help of a kind Walmart worker, I was able to get it in my back seat and not need one of those bungee cords to tie down my trunk as I drove down the highway. Though it has been raining all day (note my yellow rain slicker hanging in the background), I decided that my new bike needed a road test after I got home. After getting it out of my car, I donned my rain slicker and took off around the neighborhood. Considering my last bike came from my parents when I was seven, I was a little wobbly as I found my balance and rhythm. But after a while it was *ahem* just like riding a bike. A few cars passed me as I rode and I’m sure they were thinking, “What is that girl doing riding her bike in the rain?” But if they would’ve seen the huge grin on my face, they could’ve easily seen how happy I was. I’m looking forward to many more bike rides, but perhaps more in the sunshine than the rain.

As previously mentioned, I have a nice westward facing window at work. Behold my view on a daily basis:


I’ve also brought some of my favorite children’s books, stuffed animals, and personal momentos to make it more homey.


Tomorrow I will be joining a few others at a local Nazarene church to present We Hold These Truths during the morning worship service. It’s only a three song mini-musical, but have other fun and festive activities going on throughout the day and hope to honor many veterans who have served our country. Monday night I get to have dinner with two of my own personal heroes, my long time friends Aaron and Sarah. They are Marine Corps reserve officers who have recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively. It will be wonderful to see them and celebrate our collective friendship and freedom.

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” ~ John 8:31, 36. I can’t help but look at the parallels found between freedom in Christ and the freedom we have as Americans. We reap countless benefits and liberties from those who have laid down their lives as the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the many. Philip Yancey says it so well in What’s So Amazing About Grace?, “grace costs nothing for the recipients but everything for the giver” (p. 67). I pray I am reflectively thankful for love, sacrifice, freedom, grace, and hope this weekend…and every day.


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