Ella, Amish Quilter

Beautiful Dress and Bonnet

I was privileged to meet Ella yesterday on our drive west of Hazleton, Iowa.  We went in search of barns that needed their pictures taken.  The farmer/windmill man and I love old barns and windmills.  When our children were young they helped their dad work on windmills.  When we traveled we didn’t play the usual car games like I Spy or Alphabet sign games.  We played what kind of windmill was that?  Was that windmill a Dempster, Aeromotor, Monitor, or Fairbury or Woodmanse?  The children were experts at this game.  The windmill man and I still play this game as we travel and we reminisce of times when we had the four children along with us.  It’s a lot quieter in the car now.  It was our day off as retired folks only have a four day work week with this SOWER group.  

Round Brick Barn and Windmill on Amish Farm

As we traveled west of Hazleton, IA we discovered we were in an Amish neighborhood.  A community auction was just completed and horses and buggies were everywhere.  The farm homes were beautiful and huge!  The clothes on the lines were impressive.  Some of the clotheslines went to the top of the barns.  There were large barns and we even saw a round barn.  

Mowing Hay

We saw farmers mowing hay with horses and several others were cultivating the corn.   Children were working in the gardens and helping around the farmstead.  Of course an Amish bakery was discovered and rhubarb pie, cinnamon rolls, and jams and jellies were relished.  After enjoying some delicacies and getting filled with sugar we headed south.  

Friendly Folks

There is where we saw a sign for “Quilts, Crafts and More”.  The farmer was instructed by his bride quickly to turn in.  As we pulled into the drive a beautiful lady with gray hair was walking over from the nearby house.  Two dogs were in the lead though.  As Ella led me into her quilt sanctuary, my breath was taken away by her lovely quilts.  Gorgeous colors and perfect stitches.  Her machine was a trusty treadle machine.  No electricity here to take away the quiet, contemplative nature of the place.  Aprons, pot holders, painted saw blades, and other crafts were readily available.  Ella and her husband were unable to have children but they have lots of neices and nephews to spoil.  Her grandparents were from Yoder, KS.  She sends her quilts to Yoder for their big quilt auctions.  She would love to visit Yoder some day.  It would be a long trip to Kansas by horse and buggy.  

I remember my dad talking about the long trip from Quinter to WaKeeney with his grandpa.  The trip was made by wagon.  Oh the visits they had as they traveled that way.  No time for ipods, ipads, video games; only talk.  Grandpa’s had lots of stories to tell their grandsons.  And grandsons had time to listen.  

Big Barns needing their Picture Taken

My short visit with Ella, the quilter made me reflect on the noise of our society.  What if we sang our own praises to our God instead of turning on the radio? What if the TV was off and birds could be heard singing?  How about shutting off the news in this world gone wrong and enjoying peace? I feel the stress of this world lifting when I still my heart and listen to the still, small voice of my God. Not even the sound of an electric fan or motor but the birds and His creation. I wonder if Ella would let me stay?

Be still and know that I am God!

Psalms 46:10

Toto, we are not in Kansas Anymore

Toto, I’ve got a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore.”

Dorothy from the Wizard of OZ
Ridge Haven Cono

The farmer/windmill man and I are not in Kansas anymore.  We arrived at Ridge Haven Cono camp in Walker, IA yesterday.  We are on another one month mission with the SOWERS (Servants on Wheels Ever Ready) group.  We have met the great couples we will be working with this month and are delighted with the range of experience and talents.  The Lord knows how to put together a good team.  

Camped with the other SOWER couples.

This country is beautiful farmland.  This is right up our alley.  The farmer/windmill man loves to take pictures of barns.  This area has an ample supply of models for his creative juices.  The camp is located next to a soybean field and across the road they are raking hay.  

Barns are Beautiful!

Today we learned the interesting history of this camp as it began as a school and took in lots of missionary kids for their education while parents were overseas.  International students were also educated in this place.  They have a sister camp in the Smokey Mountains.  The differences in these camps and terrain is extreme.  

“If we walk far enough,” says Dorothy, “we shall sometime come to someplace.”

Dorothy from Wizard of OZ

Our time during shelter at home was productive and enjoyable.  I spent time putting together quilt blocks and finished a quilt top while the farmer was also assembling pieces of wood to make a butcher block for his bride and a long work table for himself.  We were finally able to see most of the grandchildren (not all together but a few at a time).  We had four of them spend a week with us before we left and we camped with some of the others.  We were so thankful for Facetime and other means to keep in touch.  

Our church family was able to start attending together again two weeks ago with several precautions and I didn’t realize how much I missed worshiping together with fellow believers in the church setting.  Tears flowed the first Sunday we were able to have some of us gather again.  

“Toto did not really care whether he was in Kansas or the Land of Oz so long as Dorothy was with him; but he knew the little girl was unhappy, and that made him unhappy too.” 

Dorothy of the Wizard of OZ

2020 has been an interesting year full of surprises and troubling times.  Maybe this year has taught us much.  Maybe it has shown us that faith, people, family and friends are more important than anything else.  Maybe being with those we love no matter where we are, is more important than where we are on the ladder of success and that the happiness of others makes a huge difference to our happiness.  

“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.” 

the Wizard of OZ
Drive In Church

We attended church this morning with a delightful flock at a drive in service. The pastor had a powerful message for us all. The farmer and I decided we could come to this church again and hope to while we are in the area. It is so precious to be with like minded people who love the Lord.