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

Tin Man

Tin Man in Stanley, IA
Community is working to get the Tin Man upright again.

I shall take the heart. For brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.

Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz

As for you, my galvanized friend, you want a heart. You don’t know how lucky you are not to have one. Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.

The Wizard of Oz

Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.  

Proverbs 23:26 My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways.  

Psalms 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalms 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  

Our wonderful Lord and Father says to give Him our hearts and let our eyes delight in His ways.  The Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz stepped on a beetle and cried because he hated to hurt any creature.  Hearts make us care about others and put others before ourselves.  Hearts full of compassion and kindness are what truly make the world go round.  

As we have seen in our world today, with all of the news and troubling times we live in, we desperately need more hearts full of compassion.  From other sources we are learning of some hearts full of compassion that are reaching out in these times of uncertainty with love and random acts of kindness.  Hearts that are surrendered to God to serve others and show love and support to people of all races and colors.  All lives matter to God.  All creation matters to God.  All hearts matter to God!  

Here in Iowa we have been able to do some manual labor with our hands to try to show the love in our hearts for Christian camps and other non-profit organizations.  There are four SOWER couples here.  The women are painting some rooms in a cute bunk house and painting floors and cleaning.  They are hoping to be able to reopen in July following the COVID-19 precautions.  We just heard that the state of Iowa is now fully open, 100%.  The men have been cutting down dead trees, moving bunkbeds, removing old furnaces, and servicing the facilities vehicles.  

Power tools come in handy.

This first week went by so quickly as we got acquainted with the great staff here and with each other.  As we visited we began to understand each others hearts and passions.  We all love the Lord and want to give our best to the Master.  Game night was a fun time and our hostess Vickie has a bonfire every Thursday night.  We seem to find time to relax and refresh.  

Game Night.


The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched- they must be felt with the heart.       

Helen Keller
Bonfire

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.