I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July-Happy Birthday!

Today is my sister’s birthday. Fooled you, didn’t I? You thought I was going to say something about it being this country’s birthday. And I am. But first my sister.
For several years after my sister was born—on the 4th of July—I got upset on her birthday. Everyone celebrated her birthday. They took off work, had picnics, went swimming, shot fireworks. They had fun. Not just a few people, but everyone. Invariably, I would compare her day to mine.
No one even remembered mine ... one month after Christmas. No party, no presents, except one from mom and dad, and it was usually small since they were still paying Santa. No swimming, either, as it was the dead of winter. It never even snowed on my birthday. I didn’t like my sister very much when her birthday rolled around.
On my sister’s third birthday, I’d had it. I pitched a royal tantrum. Which only succeeded in getting me into trouble, but my mom, bless her heart, figured out what was going on. She explained to me that everyone wasn’t celebrating Barbara’s birthday, they were celebrating the birth of our country (You’d think I would’ve figured it out myself, but hey, I was just 7). I finally got the big picture, but there for a while, I had a really good pity party going on. I had believed a lie.
Just like the characters in my book. When I wrote about the lie my heroine believes, I dug out those feelings from my past—the hurt, the anger, the sense of not being important—and gave them to my character.
As writers we have a huge cache of life experiences to draw from. Some are painful, some are exhilarating, but they are there, waiting for us to tap into. It’s from our own lives that we breathe life into our characters.
Happy Birthday, Barbara!
And Happy Birthday, America! Thank you to the God-fearing men who took a stand 235 years ago and formed this country. And thank you to the God-fearing men and women who take a stand today to keep us One Nation Under God ...
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea

Pat Trainum
@bradleypt on Twitter
I asked God to teach me patience and He gave me a book to write

Photo by Corinth Rose www.corinthrose.wordpress.com blog


  1. That is so funny. Good job, Pat. I assure you it snows where I live on your b´day. Come and enjoy next time. Delores

  2. I have a friend whose youngest child was born on July 4th. Just yesterday the child's oldest siblings were joking about how Sam's party is complete with a parade and fireworks. Funny.

    Until I went to a MBT retreat, I didn't think to draw on my own experiences as I worked through my characters' emotions. Now it all makes sense. :)

    Happy birthday, America!

  3. Dee, thanks for the offer. Last year for the first time in my life, it snowed on my birthday!

  4. Lisa,isn't it great what Susie and Rachel teach us!

  5. I really like the paragraph that begins with "As writers..." And I certainly like the illustration about your sister's birthday! Thanks for being my friend, Pat. From the "other" Pat.

  6. Pat, what a wonderful post. :) I loved the story about your sister's birthday, and I really like how you moved it into writing application. I'm going to have to go back into the archives of my memory bank and see what I have to draw from. Happy July 4th!

  7. Great post, Pat. So heartfelt! Happy BD to your sister and the USA!

  8. Thanks for stopping by Jeanne and Cheryl and Patricia. I'm really starting to like this post stuff. Guess I'll have to start my own blog. lol

  9. Pat, I so relate to this post because my sister, Tabitha, was also born on the Fourth of July.

    One time when someone asked Tabitha when her birthday was she replied, "July 4, 1776." :-)

  10. That's funny Angela. My sister and I are great friends...now. Thanks for stopping by.

  11. I have a nephew born on the 4th of July. I always joke with him that the fireworks are for him. He's 16 years old today--I think he's caught on.
    Great application from real life to writers life!

  12. Thanks, Beth. It was a fun post to do.