Upset at current events, I was moping toward the 4th of July. Then I made a gratitude list.


DES MOINES, Iowa, June 30, 2024 – There’s this club I’m a longtime member of, and we have a tried-and-true way to get better when we think things aren’t going our way.

“Make a gratitude list,” one of our veteran members will bark at a whining newcomer (or at another veteran).

And, OMG, it works!

This past week did not go the way many in America and Iowa wanted. You don’t need me to recap it all.  What you need from me is my gratitude list, and a little encouragement for you to sit down and make your own.

What am I grateful for, in this holiday week?

Baseball in the summertime, in Bancroft, Iowa, in 2017.


Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The United States of America.

Occasional game-changing elections, like those of Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama.

That the country healed, at least in theory, after the Civil War.

The abolition of slavery.


Equal rights for all, at least in theory and print, if not always in reality.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.


The right to vote.

Being a nation of immigrants. And re-becoming that now.


Social Security.

The U.S. military, and the ways it has often mandated and led social change in our country, besides protecting us and defending the oppressed.

The “GI Bill,” which made higher education possible for so many.

The liberal arts.

Freedom of the press.

The internet and, perhaps, artificial intelligence.

Most farmers.

Music – especially classical to country to bluegrass to rock’n’roll.


All who interpret our world in paintings, sculptures and carvings.

Freedom of religion.

Freedom from religion.

Churches, all kinds.

Separation of church and state.

“Pride” weeks.



All those in healthcare.

Alcoholics Anonymous.


Agreeing to differ.

Resolving to love.

Uniting to serve.

Acceptance, tolerance, patience – even though they’re hard.


“Life is good,” T-shirts sometimes say. You know, it’s real good!  And I’m just glad to be here.

Bring-on the rest of it.

You can comment on this column below or write the columnist directly by email at

6 thoughts on “Upset at current events, I was moping toward the 4th of July. Then I made a gratitude list.

  1. Thanks for your reminder to be grateful, Chuck. Years ago I started a gratitude Journal and if I miss a day or two, I feel the difference in my outlook on life.

    When I had the opportunity to co teach a group of mental health professionals many years ago, we gave them each a spiral bound gratitude notebook. On The first page we quoted a wise anonymous individual who had written., “ We are not grateful because we are happy. We are happy because we are grateful.”

    I am grateful for many experiences, people, health, our beautiful Colorado mountains and through the past couple of months, especially Dave’s freshman Vanderbilt zoom group that has brought so much comfort and joy during a challenging time to both Dave and me. And… I am grateful to you for writing your blog. And… for Alex our comfort cat who is reminding me that each day I am grateful for him and the quiet time in the morning when we look out from our balcony at the beautiful flowers and hummingbirds that seem to say “Good morning.”

    • City - Denver
    • State - CO
  2. Forgiveness and reconciliation, when they can still be found.

    Old friends.

    New friends.

    • City - Charlotte
    • State - NC
    • These are excellent additions to my gratitude list. Being the good Doc you are, I’m not surprised you’d come up with these. I recommend them!

      • City - Des Moines
      • State - Iowa
  3. What a long list. I share most of them with you. Thanks for writing about gratitude.

    • City - Jamaica
    • State - IA

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