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Fall blessings

Jon Hauser, columnist.

Growing up in North Dakota, I took for granted living in a part of the world where we truly can experience all four seasons. I didn't realize how much I would miss the seasons and the changes associated with them until my wife and I lived five years in Kansas City. There we certainly had summer, but there was not a winter. And without winter you cannot have a spring. But what I truly missed was my favorite season: fall.

I wasn't overly fond of school until I started college. My wife says that if I could get paid to stay in school I would gladly do it. She is right. Fall holds warm back-to-school memories. Who doesn't love back-to-school shopping for new shoes, Levi jeans and school supplies? With our children, we make school supply shopping a really big deal, and we have a blast. With lots of family members in education, fall is a fun time to re-engage in learning, make new connections and get back in a routine.

Fall is the time you see farmers bringing in their crops. There is something spectacular about harvest that brings joy to our region. I consider the golden stalks of wheat at sunrise and sunset one of the most beautiful sights in the world. I love the cooler temperatures at night with windows open while you sleep. I love wearing shorts and a sweatshirt or hoodie during the day. Playing in piles of leaves was always a special treat.

And the fall is a great time for sports. If your favorite Major League Baseball team is in the hunt to win their division, it is fun to scoreboard watch late at night and check the standings first thing in the morning. Football of all levels kicks off in the fall as well.

Over the years, I have asked hundreds of people if they enjoy fall, and everyone likes fall. I have only received two comments of "dislike" and it has nothing to do with the actual season. Occasionally someone will tell me that they don't like fall because it means that summer is over. Or they will say that they don't like fall because they know what happens next...winter!

We may not all agree with the benefits and burdens of each season, but we can all agree that each season comes with its blessings and obstacles. And we have a choice to make; we can celebrate the blessing of the season or dwell on the burden associated with it.

As I have thought about it, we face this dilemma in every area of life. We can regret that the past is gone. We can rue that a less enjoyable season is about to come. We can dwell on what we wish was better, easier, younger or different. Or we can live in the moment that we are given today; embracing the joy, beauty and blessing of today. Recently, I have struggled with moments of depression as people I have grown close to have passed on to eternity, moved away from my life, or faced difficulties. Through it all, with the strength and presence of God, I am choosing to celebrate the joy and blessing that today holds. How about you?

God bless you. See you next Sunday!