Back on the Prairie

Danish Mill in Elkhorn, IA

It is difficult to leave a project and new friends and begin the journey home, but that is what the farmer and I did this week. We hooked onto the camper and stopped in Elkhorn, IA to check out this Danish Mill. It was fun to see and to visit the little gift shop here. Since the farmer was a windmill repair man for 25 years we love to see all kinds of windmills. There was also a fabric quilt shop nearby so I made a visit there while the farmer got a nap in the pickup. His nap was a little pricey.

Basket Wheel Windmill

Road construction was everywhere as it is summer. Our usual travel method is to take older two-lane highways and avoid interstates. We like to see the farms, barns, small towns and enjoy the slower pace. This made our day a little longer than we planned but were able to camp beside a beautiful lake in Nebraska.

One Night on the Lake
God’s Beautiful Creation

We made it home the next day. There was no dog to welcome us home as we had to put our precious basset hound to sleep in January due to old age. Our son and two grandsons had mowed for us once while we were gone but the farm yard surely needed our attention. There is no place like home.

There is no place like home.

L Frank Baum
Home by the Fourth of July

Home is the nicest word there is.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

As we reflect on our last month, we have been delighted to see our Lord’s protective hand on us in so many ways. A huge very muscular deer ran full speed across the road in front of us just two hours from home and we were protected. The farmer took quite a tumble and experienced no injury to his body. His dear cowboy hat got blown down the highway while he was attending to an issue with the camper and we got it back unharmed. We have been so blessed by the wonderful people we met, the work we were able to do, and the creation we have seen. But most of all by getting to know the Creator just a little bit closer.

Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.

Robert Frost

We came home exhausted with much to do here on the Little House on the Prairie. This little farm in the middle of a cornfield is home sweet home to us. Here we pick up the projects we left in May and prepare for some serious family time with our grandchildren and we count our blessings. We name them one by one. And we find peace and joy. We hear of the world in chaos and we pray daily for our world. In the midst of it all we find peace (indescribable peace) and joy.

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:8-10

When Things Go Wrong

Be Happy with Simple Pleasures

Have courage when things go wrong! A pandemic in these days is something gone wrong. Probably not one of us thought that we would be where we are today earlier in 2020. We had no clue as to the changes that would happen in our lives or the pause button that would be pressed. The giant PAUSE button. But as this quote says, “The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful, to make the most of what we have; to be happy with the simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.” All of that statement is still very true. Maybe this pause in our lives has helped us to get back to some of the simple pleasures of life.

Here are some of my simple pleasures that have helped me to focus on the good and the many blessings that the Lord has given me in these days instead of focusing on the chaos and the difficulties in this world. And instead of focusing on the realities of missing friends, gatherings, church, and grandchildren.

Hand prints in the Garden

Hand prints of some of the grandchildren from seven or eight years ago. Thanks to their momma for capturing their sweet hands in this clay so those hands could bless me today. As I cleaned out the flower beds to prepare for spring, I uncovered this cherished gift. This is a reminder of great memories of the grandkids coming to our farm and playing in the dirt and with kittens and building a fort in our tree row. I love hearing their shouts of fun as they run through the sprinkler or slide on our makeshift water slide. (Tarp and water hose and a slight slope.) Hills are hard to come by in this part of the flatland. One of the simple treasures.

Spring Buds

Spring is beginning to bud out here on the farm. Oh how we love the songs of the birds. The meadowlark song is beautiful as he sings to his mate. Then we hear the sound of the Bob-white quail as he says over and over “Bob white! Bob white!” The trees are beginning to spring out their leaves and make shelter for our bird friends. A female pheasant hen is inside the yard fence and I worry that perhaps she is caught but she slides right under the woven fence like she does it daily. The bunnies play their bunny games and chase one another around the tree trunk. Yes, there is new life everywhere and that is one of the simple pleasures.

Baltimore Oriole
Old School Outhouse

I imagine Laura Ingalls Wilder used an outhouse like this behind her school. The left one is for the women and the one on the right in the open is for the men. I am so grateful for the simple pleasure of a flushing toilet and running water.

Old Farm Machinery
Bridge at Antelope Lake

A nice drive around an old fishing lake close to our farm has us driving over this bridge. All of the shelter houses and bathrooms around the lake were built in the 1930s by the WPA program. We are so thankful for those workers and those programs that still leave us much to enjoy today. This lake was bustling with activity and many boats and campers were enjoying this day. Social distancing and a nice quiet lake go together well. Many dads were showing their boys how to fish and it appeared there was some great family times happening. Oh the simple pleasures.

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in our hearts.”

Winnie the Pooh
Chocolate Chip Cookies out of the oven

One simple pleasure is doing something for someone else. I was able this week to prepare a meal for a friend who is really going through a difficult time. Those struggles that are so hard are even more magnified in a pandemic with social distancing when what they really need is all hands on deck to hug and carry them through this. It is such a pleasure to come alongside others that are dealing with tragedies. It is also a pleasure to make a batch of cookies and put many in the freezer for when the grandkids can come again and share with a neighbor who has adopted three little ones. She is teaching online and homeschooling five children. There are so many unsung heroes in this time. When we get down in these days nothing lifts us up quicker than doing for someone else.

So as Laura Ingalls Wilder says, “The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful, to make the most of what we have; to be happy with the simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.” Our God is still the same, yesterday, today and forever. Our faith is still in Him and our trust is focused on Him. It is still best to be honest and truthful and ahhh those simple pleasures. Lets look for them. They are all around us.

If you sense you are losing all hope as David shares in Psalms 143:4, read that full psalm and let me know. I would love to listen and visit with you.

Psalms 143:4 I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear. I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done.

verse 6 I lift my hands to you in prayer. I thirst for you as parched land thirst for rain.

verse 8 Let me hear of your unfailing love every morning, for I am trusting in you.

verse 10 May your gracious spirit lead me forward on firm footing. Because of your faithfulness bring me out of this distress.

We are in Kansas

The Little House on the Prairie is calling us home.  This is the longest time we have been away from the farm.  We’ve been gone two weeks in the past but not four. What an interesting time in history to be away from home as everyone becomes more distant from one another and more things are closing.  We are incredibly thankful for this time at this camp and with these special new friends but are grateful that the Lord has shown us in many ways that now is the time to get back and experience spring time on the farm.  

Psalms 59:16 But I will sing of Your power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; for You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble.  

Loading for the trip home.

Yesterday we picked up a few items to get us on home at the store here.  A young man checked us out with his gloves on. He looked a little out of place and said he was learning on the job.  He regularly worked in the tire and lube department but they had closed that down and now he was a cashier. He had a wonderful attitude as I know his job has not been easy at this time.  He expressed his gratitude to have the job and grateful they did not send him home. What an inspiration he is to us all. I’m sure he has a young family and he is grateful for his work.  

Cooking in preparation for the trip home.

We are grateful to have a house on the prairie to go home to.  Having the grandkids come see us would make it even better but they need to stay at their own homes right now and not travel.  I’m hoping for some new kittens and a small garden and to find my sewing machine again.  

I know many of you have been stuck at home for several weeks already and getting away from home would be wonderful.  Home means so many different things to so many people. Homes can be a cardboard box like I saw in Ethiopia, or a 19 foot camper trailer, an apartment, a house boat, or a farm.  Home means an enjoyable, happy place where you can live, laugh and learn. It’s somewhere where you are loved, respected, and cared for. (taken from Meaning of Home contest).  

Interesting home.

In the word of God, the home has both a physical and spiritual meaning.  We must build our home upon solid structural and moral foundation to ensure its sustainability over time.  Scripture gives us guidance for creating a good home.  

Is. 28:16  So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. 

Joshua 24:15 But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. 

I always stock up on supplies living on a farm so we are in good shape for a 14 day self quarantine. Good to be home.

Little house on the prairie.
Sunsets in Kansas are remarkable.