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Work and the busyness of the seasons (deer and pheasant primarily) have kept me pretty heavily occupied these last few weeks, such that I’ve fallen shockingly behind on the news.

With my usual column deadline now in the rear view mirror (in my defense it did fall on Christmas Day) and lacking an informed opinion on current events, I’ve decided to not even attempt a crash course in net neutrality, North Korea, shrinking national monuments or men who can’t keep their hands (among other parts) to themselves.

So in the spirit of that other December season, please humor me as I undertake a self-indulgent exercise in blessing counting.

In no particular order, I am:

Blessed to work “part-time” at the Humane Society of North Iowa. Helping critters in need suits and fulfills me more than anything I’ve ever done.

Blessed to have many great coworkers, including some new and returning staff members who have fleshed out the roster, meaning part-time is no longer six days a week. (Too much of a good thing can still be too much.)

Blessed to have an understanding and gainfully employed wife who supports me in that endeavor even though I could be making considerably more money pursuing one of the careers I studied in college. And she’s cute too!

Blessed to live on an acreage with a spacious, modern home and multiple serviceable outbuildings. While it’s just a bit above average by local standards, it would be a palatial estate in some parts of the country, let alone the world.

Blessed the freezer in said home is loaded with fish, duck, pheasant, turkey and deer, all harvested right here in North Iowa and some from our very own farm. (Another blessing!) We’re fortunate for state and federal conservation programs, along with sound management by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, that make it possible to enjoy this bounty of wildlife in an intensively farmed landscape.

Blessed to have some good friends and hunting partners, both canine and human, to join me on many of these outings.

Blessed to enjoy good health that allows me, at age 50, to indulge — and often overindulge — in these somewhat physically demanding occupational and recreational pursuits. Although I’m hardly old, not everyone my age is so lucky.

Blessed to have great parents who helped get me where I am today and who, despite a few health challenges, are still going strong in their early 70s. And my wife’s folks, now in their 80s, are pretty awesome and active, as well.

Blessed to have two great sisters with successful careers and fine husbands, all of whom are raising some pretty terrific kids.

Blessed to live in a state and nation where I’m able to enjoy all of the above in relative safety and with a large degree of freedom.

And above all, blessed to have a Lord who knows that in spite of all this largesse I’m not immune to arrogance, lust, doubt, discontent and a litany of other shortcomings. He loves me in spite of these and sent a Savior to redeem me by enduring the condemnation I have earned. A blessing indeed.

That’s not all, but it’s certainly enough. Next time I’ll get back to my usual blend of insightful analysis and witty satire. (Oops, there goes that arrogance again!)

Merry Christmas (or whatever you choose to celebrate) and Happy New Year!

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Tim Ackarman, a regular columnist for the Globe Gazette, lives in Miller.


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