Appreciating What We Have

“The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.” Amelia Earhart

My brother and his family from Texas recently visited us in the Chicago suburbs. We enjoyed a daytrip to the Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park. We also went to a Cubs game and enjoyed a beautiful day at the ball park. After the game, we walked to a Mexican restaurant with a fun atmosphere. We sat outside on the patio with its murals, fountains, and lights, and we drank margaritas while eating chips, salsa, and Mexican food. Another day, we ate at our family-favorite Bohemian restaurant. That evening, we brought a picnic to a concert at a polo club, complete with horses.

mels pic of horses

Photo by Mel Ekins

My nephew Brent stayed for more than a week after the rest of his family went home, and we continued to act like tourists in our own town. My young-adult children and my sisters often joined us. We spent a day at Navy Pier and the lakeshore. In the suburbs, we went to Cantigny Park, visited a distillery, and went swimming at a local beach. At home, we played the card game 500 Rummy, which has been a family favorite since I was a child.

My nephew was amazed at all the options we have for things to do. During his visit, we went to a driving range and played mini-golf. The young people stayed overnight at my son’s apartment in Chicago and went to a couple of bars. Another day, my husband, our son, and Brent played in a charity golf outing.

I didn’t tell him we don’t normally go out that often, nor do we spend that much time together. People went to work at various times, but it still felt like we were taking a staycation. There was a sense of adventure and a feeling of camaraderie. Not every minute was thrilling, of course, but I prefer to focus on the good times, which far outnumbered any tense moments. Our shared history and family bonds added to the feeling of companionship and fun.

randy pic for blog on appreciating where we live

My brother Randy, posing as Napoleon, in front of his “favorite painting” at the Art Institute of Chicago 😉

Brent’s comment, “There’s more to do here,” might have been prompted by the extremely hot summer in Texas. But it made me think about where I live with renewed appreciation. Perhaps we in the Chicago area take things for granted. Our relatives always seek out Italian beef sandwiches and deep-dish pizza when they are in town. Brent had never eaten Greek saganaki and gyros until this visit. During his last visit, we introduced him to dim sum in Chinatown.

Mels picture of chicago

Photo by Mel Ekins

Probably most people take for granted where they live. What is it like where you live? What special foods are available? Restaurants? Sights? Is it a small town, farm, big city? And who are your companions?

We can find something to appreciate no matter where we live.

What is special about your home town? What people are in your life?

About Susan Ekins

Freelance writer and blogger at Women Making Strides. Interested in personal leadership and empowerment. Wanting inspiration and to inspire. Leader in church ministries. Blog: Facebook page:
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6 Responses to Appreciating What We Have

  1. Great reminder! It’s too easy to take things and people for granted.


  2. It is interesting to see our own little world from the eyes of others.
    I also live just outside the City of Chicago and love so many things about this entire area. Chicago itself is constantly changing and rearranging, but, always on Lake Michigan, with museums and galleries, parks and stores, history and its many, many neighborhoods. I love the suburb I live in as well, for we are close to Chicago and all it has to offer while being only minutes away from some of the finest forest preserve districts around.
    We just had an out-of-town visitor, an author friend of mind from Charleston. It was fun taking her to the Morton Arboretum, dinner with some close friends, and a book presentation.
    My compliments to Mel Ekins on his photography. What a great view of Chicago. We are lucky to have such a magnificent skyline and lakefront.
    Enjoy the cooler weather/less humidity.


    • Susan Ekins says:

      Penny, We did the Arboretum’s “Wednesday, Woods, and Wine” but maybe next time we’ll take them for a “real” visit there. I’ll pass along your compliment to my daughter Mel. Mel is short for Melissa. 🙂


  3. Lifeon… Was Andra Watkins your author friend from Charleston? Just read about her visit to Chicago and put that together with your comment.


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