Sitting back before my fireplace, though it only be an electric one, I contemplate all that I appreciate about my present life.

I remember a quote by Sir Walter Scott of Scotland: "Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, who never to himself has said, 'This is my own native land!'"

I appreciate my soldier ancestors, from the American Revolution to the present; though I wish and pray for no more wars.

I appreciate the beauty of autumn, walking in the Cathedral woods nearer to God.

I appreciate the sweet tartness of newly harvested apples.

And I appreciate so much more: farmers in their fields, my employer, a parent's wisdom, service person's expertise, great books, this tall grass prairie home called Iowa.

Remember, though we sometimes have reason to complain, we have also many reasons to be appreciative too.

No other place on Earth is like this place for me.

It is where I have lived full and where I shall die.

Steve Russell, Clear Lake

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