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Gratitude

Today my heart is bursting with gratitude. To God for all the beauty that surrounds me in His creation, for my health, for my family, and for giving His son, Jesus, to atone for MY sins, taking that burden from me. I do not deserve any of it.

Gratitude also for my family, and their goodness. I don’t deserve that either. Especially when I have taken time (selfishly, some would say) to observe some of God’s creation, including birds, when I could have stayed home and worked. The time spent watching birds is time well spent, in my opinion anyway.

You see, the bird on the right in the photo below, is one that is not supposed to be in Iowa. It is a Yellow-billed Loon, and is normally only found in the far northern reaches of our hemisphere, in northern Canada and Alaska, with their wintering grounds in the Aleutians and off the coast of British Columbia. Iowa is far out of their normal range, even for migration. Of course, I HAD to see this rare find. The other bird is a Common Loon, not normally here either, but does migrate through occasionally.

Both birds are immature and look nothing like they will look in their adult plumage. The photo below is of an adult Common Loon. The Yellow-billed adult will look similar, though larger and with a large yellow bill instead of the dark one.

The image below is of the Yellow-billed Loon I saw last week. I think you can see that its bill is much larger and lighter than that of the other loon.

But, I digress! Typical when I begin to talk about birds.  Back to the Gratitude story, though the birds are some of God’s creation for which I am grateful.

I am a member of our local Kiwanis club and Kiwanis International. Our mission is to ‘change the world, one child, one community, at a time’. Our whole focus is on helping and providing for kids. To do that, of course, it takes money. Our primary fundraiser just finished today with the end of the Midwest Old Thresher’s Reunion, an annual 5 day event over Labor Day weekend, in neighboring Henry County and Mount Pleasant, Iowa. The Old Thresher’s Reunion, pays our club to man the campground gate, registering, checking in and checking out the campers that flock to this event. I am guessing (I did not count the registration cards last night) that there were somewhere between 1,200 and 1,500 registered campers.

The photo above is from the Midwest Old Thresher’s Reunion camper webpage. It looks like a small city.

This takes a lot of manpower (and womanpower too!) for a couple of weeks, part of that time having personnel there around the clock. Somewhere on my other computer are some photos of our people working the gate, but, with lime water pickles needing attention and other chores on my list of To Do’s,(thankfully, mowing isn’t one of them) I don’t have time to find them. I tell you all of this because I worked 6 eight hour shifts at the Reunion, the latest being yesterday (Labor Day). We were quite busy as hundreds of campers were checking out. The rest will leave today.

My family was here on Sunday for dinner, though I was embarrassed to have them see my shaggy yard and weedy flowerbeds. The day last week that I was free to mow, it rained. Some things can’t be helped , so I swallowed my embarrassment and had them come anyway. My niece was home from South Carolina,and my younger daughter and husband down from Minnesota, and we hadn’t been together since Easter, so it was time.

Now, for the gratitude part.

This morning I went out to feed the birds and was shocked and surprised to see that my yard had been mowed, a couple of volunteer trees cut down (that I had been wanting someone, with a chain saw and the skill to run it, to remove), and the grass trimmed around the trees, etc. Also, my porch swing on a stand, was upright again. It had blown over in a windstorm a couple of weeks ago. It was late last night when I got home, and didn’t notice the changes in the dark. My eyes started leaking and I knew who had been so kind and gracious to do this for me.

My older daughter had mentioned Sunday, “did you know there is a tree (volunteer) growing in the spruce tree in the back yard?”

I did, and said I had asked a couple of people to remove it, who said they would but hadn’t followed through. I also said, “I guess if I want something done I need to ask Pat (her husband) to do it.” I knew if he said he would do it, it would be done. However, I didn’t ask him as I just hated to do that. They have their own busy lives and work to do.

Like good little fairies, they arrived after I left yesterday to work at The Old Thresher’s Reunion and did all that work. For me. I am humbled. And grateful.

I really don’t know how to thank them properly. Perhaps a card???? 🙂 Of course, a card. But that won’t be enough.

I will just try to be an unselfish, grateful, and helpful to them if possible, Mom and Mom-in-Law. It isn’t enough, but I have learned that sometimes gratitude itself is enough.

This post is the long way of saying, “Be grateful. Every day is a gift. And every day brings other gifts for which to be full of gratitude.”

Thank you, God. And thank you, my children.