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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." that even a real word? Sometimes in life it is hard to be thankful for things. We run about our daily lives filled with stress and worry and frustrations and never give much thought to the things we are truly thankful for. There are problems with our jobs, with our relationships, with homelife, with money. All these things, these minute details of our daily lives hang around like a rain cloud following us around as though we have all suddenly become Charlie Brown for a day and we just know that Lucy will pull that ball away the moment we run up for the kick.

So it has been with me lately. All of life's little stresses mounted and mounted and became more than one person can possibly sort through in one lifetime. Somewhere along the way the mechinism that every one of us has of just letting the small stuff go, wasn't working in my world anymore. And I forgot to be thankful for the things I do have. It all came to a head last week when I lost my job. Ok..lost, got the grand scheme of things when everything is going wrong is semantics really all that important? Certainly it wasn't for me. I drove home looking for those ungaurded bridge abudtments to drive headlong into because for me the world was crashing down around me. I'm sure that you've felt that way a time or two before.

Once I got home and calmed myself down a little I thought to myself, OK Weez...time to look at this as an opportunity. Time to take stock of all the good things I have in my life and figure out a path to go down. I suddenly realized that instead of thinking that being out of work at this time was the end of my world, that perhaps it was really just the begining of another chapter in my life. And one that would be better than the chapter I just closed.

In a way it reminded me of growing up on the farm, as most things do. With the change of each season we boys would always find something new and interesting. In Summer, there was county fair, and sweet corn and walking beans. A time to throw off those jackets and get out and explore the farm and the world around us. A time when being a kid meant just feeling the wind blow softly across as you rode that blue bicycle down the driveway and past the barn out into the pasture north of the house. I would peddle as hard as I could until the soft dirt under my tires gave way and I couldn't peddle any more. Instead of getting frustrated, I'd turn around and ride back to the house and start over again, this time gaining a little more speed and knowing which parts of the path to stay out of to give me a better chance of reaching the far fence on the north side of that ground, which was always the goal. Sounds a little bit like my adult life as well doesn't it?

Fall came and back to school we would go. Our bicycles would wait for us in the yard where they had fallen from the last time we were riding. There were piles of leaves to ride through and the ground would be harder and more firm from being baked under the hot Iowa sun. And ride we would, as soon as the big yellow bus would pull into the yard, our duffle bags thrown into the grass, we would hop on our bikes and ride until it was time to chore or Mom called us in for supper. The days grew shorter and there were new things to learn and we prepared for the winter that was to come.

Winter would hit with a sharp cold blast to your face that startled you and made you wonder what you had done to deserve such treatment. Only days ago it seemed, we were riding our bikes, now covered in a thick blanket of snow with only the ends of the handlebars and perhaps a peddle sticking out. We would hunker down and wait it out. Winter was a time of planning. One where you would look back and laugh about all the good and wonderful things that came that year, and we would plan all of those things we would do as soon as the weather was warm enough to let us back out of the house for more than a few hours at a time. Winter always seemed as though it would take forever, and I think it was because of those cold winters that I learned how to be paitent. To wait, to think and to dream.

Spring came silently and quietly. No big fan fare for my friend Spring. It would poke its head out of the ground like the dafodills and then dissapear for a bit and before I realized it I was back out in the yard discovering my bicycle again. I'd clean off the last of the snow and hop on the seat and ride a little and then hop off and find the air pump because sure as I was a farm kid there was always a flat tire. But with that tire filled up I was riding again, down the driveway, out past the barn and on into the field....feeling the wind once again blow softly on my face.

Yes, my friends, this maybe just another Winter in my life, but I'll hope and dream and hang on till Spring, and in the meantime I'll count on all those things I am thankful for...My family, my children, my friends....the ability to use the gift I have been given to sit here and visit with each of you once a week, and I'll plan for that Spring and Summer to come and I'll invite you all to join me in being thankful once again..and feeling that soft breeze.

See you next week....Rememeber, We're all in this together.