This summer, I’ve been rising at a crazy ridiculous hour each day, trying to get the words out before my little people stir to life and the level of chaos inside this house hits DEFCON 5.

Today, knowing I needed to hash out a Feel Good Friday post before putting on my full-time taxi service hat, I decided to take a moment of respite on my patio.  As the sun began to peek over the horizon, with a steaming cup of liquid gold to awaken my tired brain cells, the concept for today’s blog post seemed to wash over me like a tidal wave.

And there, by the dawn’s early light, I realized how incredibly blessed we are to live in such a place that provides the biggest and best 4th of July celebration in the Midwest.

My heart swelled with pride, the tears sitting a little too close to the surface.  Sometimes, that fact gets lost in the hustle and bustle of busy plans and food preparation.  Which I totally understand.

We forget that no one owes us this.  The Chamber doesn’t “have to” plan a six-day celebration.  The city doesn’t “have to” provide extra civil services to ensure our safety.

But they do.

Year after year after year.

It’s done because these people love this town, too.  They want our businesses to have a killer week and require a wheelbarrow to take their deposit to the bank on Tuesday morning.  They want visitors to come from far and wide to spend their time here.

They. Work. Their. Tails. Off.

And it shows!

Yesterday, CNN Travel released their list of their top ranked “Dazzling pyrotechnic shows” in the country.  A few of the places on the list included Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Nashville, and New York City.

Then, smack-dab in the middle of the article: CLEAR LAKE, IOWA!

WHAT the WHAT?!?!

Among ginormous metropolitan areas, here we are.  Just a cute little tourist town tucked into the middle of the state, doing our thing, having all the fun, and like a firework over the lake… (see what I did there?)

BOOM!!!  National recognition.

It’s surreal, really.

So yeah, my reflection on living the good life in Clear Lake was a bit on the emotional side this morning as I watched the sunrise.  Because we really do live in paradise.  I mean, people CHOOSE to vacation where we LIVE.  How cool is that?

And so, amongst the rides and live music and boating fun this weekend, be sure to take a moment of respite yourself.  Soak in the beauty around you, enjoy the freedoms of our great country and celebrate the return of life.

I hope you all have a SAFE and HAPPY 4th of July weekend.  I can’t wait to see all your smiling faces on Monday at the parade!