As we enter the month of July, summer is in full swing. Normally our families would be planning our Independence Day cookouts, attending Fourth of July parades and watching fireworks. However, this year, our holidays may look and feel a little different for a lot of us. Like many of you, my family is searching for normalcy and peace in a time of uncertainty and confusion.

As we enter into the hot, humid months of this Florida summer, find time to reflect on the small joys in your everyday life. Whether it be a good cup of coffee, a Sunday drive around the neighborhood or a phone call with a friend, know that when everything feels like it’s out of control, that’s when we need to put our trust in God. He is sovereign and will not forsake His children. May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you this July.

100 Bible Verses That Made America: Defining Moments That Shaped Our Enduring Foundation of Faith
By Robert J. Morgan

Trying to understand America without Scripture is like describing the human body without including its bloodstream. In 100 brief entries, this book explains the Bible’s role in our nation’s defining moments, the undeniable impact of leaders throughout our history who were intimately acquainted with God’s Word and what these verses mean for our nation today.

The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels
By Jon Meacham

Our current climate of partisan fury is not new, and in this best-selling book we learn what Abraham Lincoln called the “better angels of our nature” have repeatedly won the day. While the American story has not always—or even often—been heroic, we have been sustained by a belief in progress even in the gloomiest of times. This inspiring book reassures us “The good news is that we have come through such darkness before,” as, time and again, Lincoln’s better angels have found a way to prevail.

Seeing God in America: Devotions from 100 Favorite Places
By Thomas Nelson

Whether you’re hiking a rocky trail up Mt. McKinley, feeling the misty spray of Niagara Falls, seeing stunning bluebonnet fields in the south or enjoying the zoo in San Diego, America is full of truly amazing and exciting places to see and experience. This book is filled with 100 devotions for spiritual reflection paired with beautiful photography for enjoying our country’s most favored cities and natural landmarks. Each destination brings its own theme, such as serenity, simplicity and hope, paired with Scripture and a short prayer.

Prayer in America: A Spiritual History of Our Nation
By James P. Moore Jr.

This book brings together the country’s hymns, patriotic anthems, arts and literature as a framework for telling the story of the innermost thoughts of people. Beginning with Native Americans, Prayer in America traces the prayer lives of Quakers and Shakers, Sikhs and Muslims and Catholics and Jews from their earliest days in the United States through the aftermath of 9/11.

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.