Jul 10, 2010

Fifty Nifty and Grandma's lessons on gratitude

Aren't grandparents the most awesome people on earth? I know mine are. Leland and Irene Nelson have taught me most of life's great lessons and values, and created a family that surrounded me with the same ideals throughout my life. A couple weeks ago, grandma gave me another little tidbit to hold on to. 

I was chatting with grandma, telling her about work, my recent travels, life in Ohio... and that I was homesick and sad that I missed out on a recent family gathering. I found myself feeling envious of my friends and family close to home; they got to spend time together and enjoy all the things I took for granted when I was there. I didn't have to say any of that; I would be ashamed to tell grandma I was being such a baby.

She told me, "Laura, it sounds like you are doing great -- you are a lucky girl! How many people your age get to see all the great things you do? I would love it if you sent me some of the pictures you took so I could see some of the places you go. You know, most people never get to see those things."

Life lesson from grandma: gratitude. Be thankful for what you have; don't dwell on what you don't.

Now, you all know I love the big, open spaces of the Cornhusker State.      
And I love the scenery and the company of fellow Wyomingites.
But it takes a little lesson in gratitude to remember how lucky I am to get to learn about Angus bulls in Arkansas:

 ...or score free tickets to a Black Eyed Peas concert in Arizona (before I really even knew who they were):
Running along a California ocean shoreline at sunset was invigorating:
 A trip to the Colorado mountains with old friends is still worth treasuring:
 The rugged mountains of Idaho's high country... 
 ...the cityscape of Illinois...
...sun beams peeking out of the clouds after an Indiana rainstorm...
... and curious new calves on Iowa pastures were packed into my first year of gainful employment at a job I'm lucky to have and love:
 I clicked my red high heels and passed under more than one Kansas rainbow:
The green chips might not be what Kentucky is most famous for, but they represented great friends and another step in my career:
Louisiana 'gators...
 ...and a Montana hitchin' both packed a little bite (Spend a weekend in Miles City and you'll understand):
Nevada was thankful we were there to keep law and order; I was thankful these were the only badges we saw in Vegas:
 New York City never sleeps,
 ...but the state has a lot more to offer:
 There was a lot of giggling to be grateful for in North Dakota:
 And even squares can have a ball in Oklahoma:
My arteries were thankful to find this Pennsylvania butter molded into art instead of clogging the path to my heart:
Great historic figures in South Dakota,
  ... the Texas Alamo,
  ...and a sunset in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley made me stop and think about the beautiful, heroic and hard-fought histories of our country.
Last weekend, I was particularly thankful for... Ohio. Yes, Ohio.

We celebrated the independence of our great country with an abundance of food provided by American farmers and ranchers, plenty of fireworks to dazzle my little mind and a backyard full of great friends.
We all celebrated our country last weekend, but this little stroll down photographic memory lane was just what I needed to remind me it's worth being thankful for 365 days a year. Wyoming, Nebraska or Ohio: as long as it's within the borders of the good ol' US of A, I'll be grateful to have a home there.


  1. What a wonderful post. It almost made me tear up that you've been able to see so many great places!

  2. I loved this post. A lot. And I'm super jealous of all of your travels. On the flip side, I've now definitely expanded my list of travel to-do's.

    Keep me posted on your return to Kansas, whenever that may be! I'm feelin' a Cattle Prod Reunion with Becca...

  3. This is an amazing post! Definitely what I need to hear and seeing all the wonderful places you've been is so cool! Loved reading it.

  4. Hi! I like your blog! It has useful information.

    I am following your blog. I ask kindly that you visit and follow my blog as well.

    Success to you!


    Claudia Paiva (Anunciando e Reciclando)