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:
Running along a California ocean shoreline at sunset was invigorating:
The green chips might not be what Kentucky is most famous for, but they represented great friends and another step in my career:
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,
...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.