Count Your Blessings, One by One

I am a rich man.  No, I’m not talking about being a rich farmer.  That I’m not! But, I am rich in the ways that matter most.

The tragic events that unfolded this past week – from Boston to West Texas – caused me to pause for a moment and think about how good life really is here in the Heartland.  For example, yesterday was Earth Day.  Such a day reminds me of what a wonderful world God has created!  I also caused me to reflect upon the change Janice and I are making as we transfer our memberships to the church she attended as child.

Thinking about Janice’s childhood then caused me to reflect upon my own childhood.  I was born to farm!  From the time I was a toddler, I literally followed in the steps of my great grandfather, my grandpa and my dad.  Fifty years later, I’m still proud to call myself a farmer – but it hasn’t always been easy.

In the 70s, I was one of what they called the “Young Tigers.”  I reached my goal of farming 1,000 acres, which at that time, was worth $1,000 per acre.  I spent all my available hours working on the farm.  As a workaholic, I was focused on the wrong goals!

My way of thinking changed a decade later.  On my 30th birthday, I married Janice and had an instant family.  We joked that “something had to go” to make room for four kids, so I sold my airplane.  During the 1980s Farm Crisis, I sold off some farmland.  Janice ran the farming operation, including doing hog chores, while I took an off-farm job working construction.  We built hog units across the Midwest, so I was gone from home too much of the time.  We did what we was required to provide for our growing family at the time, and we were all thankful when I could return to farming full time.

Over the last 30 years, I’ve become very wealthy in a non-material way.  Our family has brought us so much joy!  The past two weeks have been particularly enjoyable: our grandchildren Jessica and Zach went to prom; and grandson Devin finally was healed enough to play some great football in Iowa State’s spring game!


I mentioned in a previous blog post that each of our grandkids has his/her unique talents and interests. Some, like Devin and Jessica, have a passion for sports.  Carlie enjoys writing and dancing.  Darin enjoys hunting, fishing and gardening.  Zach is interested in wood working and mechanics.  Hallie, Lindi and Jessica are very artistic.  Sydney is an avid reader, while Quinten is a computer guru.

Today I’m showing some of my favorite photos of each.  While it’s not exactly a “Wordless Wednesday” post, it’s about as close as this proud grandpa can get!

Hopefully, looking through family photos will help you remember to take time to count your blessings.  I can’t think of anything better to do, especially on a gray day!