A Super Soup Supper

It started with a random comment at a 4H meeting.

The swing set at the park in our small rural community was in sad state and the baby swing was broken.

“We should take it on as a 4H project!” they said.

Great idea! But we’re a very small club. We would need to raise some money.

The easiest fund-raiser for a club of six kids? A soup supper.

 

Excitement built as we set a date, planned a menu and and printed hand-outs.

The kids made posters and the leaders and the moms (all five of us) started baking, cutting veggies, and making soup.

The food started arriving early on the night of the supper.

And so did the community.

Lots of them.

On a raw March evening with the skies threatening snow, we packed the tables in our community hall.

Moms dished the soups, but our 4H kids were a part of everything else – keeping veggie plates filled, plating desserts, pouring drinks, busing tables, washing dishes.

And they were excited! You could see it in their eyes. This was big. Way bigger than we imagined.

Half way through we started adding to the soups to stretch them.

And still they came.

A cross section of community. Retired couples, young families, grandparents with grandchildren.

All there for the kids. For the park. For the future.

Some even brought desserts to add to our offerings.

The tables were never empty and our donation box was filling up.

When the last guest buttoned up and headed out in the cold and those now exhausted kids had helped clean up, we opened up the donation box and counted the money.

Their excitement was infectious as the pile of bills added up!

And up and up.

The total surpassing our expectations by many, many dollars.

This went way way beyond just a new baby swing and some fresh paint!

This could get memorial trees for our two 4H members killed in a car accident last summer!

This could get a handicapped swing!

The ideas were flying as we turned out the lights and headed home.

Exhausted but exhilarated.

Those six kids learned some very valuable lessons that night.

About having an idea and how to make it happen.

About working hard and serving others.

And about community and what can happen when we work together.

It was a pretty super soup supper!

 

VBS Week

It was VBS week this week.

Many of you are nodding right now. You know exactly what VBS week means.

Busy days, late nights and exhaustion!

But also fun, laughter and blessings.

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I worked with an incredible group of kids!

A crazy bunch of teens who served with their whole hearts and kept me laughing!

13686678_1271086162904327_3183896377120225765_nThey memorized, rehearsed, and brought the characters of the nightly skit to life.

Teaching truth, sharing the gospel, and loving on the kids.

13668948_1270739699605640_8980708736091413003_nGames.

Crafts.

Bible lessons.

Snack time.

I sat back each night and watching God work in and through these servants.

And I was blessed.

 

Independence Day in Small Town America

We joined the crowd of people in the little Missouri town of Allendale today.

Every July 4th since 1964, this little town with a population of 53 (more or less) have been serving up an Independence Day breakfast for upwards of a thousand people.

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That’s a 52 year old tradition.

Neighbors greeting neighbors.

Entire families sitting around picnic tables.

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Three generations of men manning row after row of grills frying sausages and eggs.

Making toast.

Pouring coffee and juice.

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Flipping piles of pancakes on a rotating grill.

Pounds of butter.

Gallons of syrup.

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There were flags flying.

A band stand decorated and filled with patriotic songs.

Kids playing.

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And veterans honored.

Made me proud to be an American.

Made me thankful for all those who sacrificed so much for my freedom.

Made me remember that it’s people like this – all over our nation – that make America great.

Thank you, Allendale, Missouri!

And God bless the USA!

2016 Iowa Caucuses

DSC_0001Listen….

Do you hear that?

That is the sound of normal.

No more robo-calls, town hall meetings, multiple mailings, and endless political commercials.

The 2016 Iowa Caucuses are over.

The political season started in the spring and went into overdrive last weekend.

For months we’ve listened to candidates in cafes, courthouse lobbies, parks, college campuses, and private homes.

We shook their hands, asked hard questions, and weighed their responses.

We read, discussed, contemplated and ultimately decided.

And last night the entire world watched as we gathered in schools, and legion halls, and community centers across the state to make our choices.

We sat with our friends and neighbors, recited the pledge and cast our ballets on little pieces of paper.

Proud to be Americans.

Proud to be Iowans.

And today it’s over.

The craziest caucus season I can remember is one for the history books.

We’re back to seed, fertilizer, and pick-up truck commercials.

The phone is silent except for friends and neighbors.

And my Facebook feed is more weather, recipes and cute babies than political conversation.

And normal feels good.

Have fun New Hampshire! The circus is on it’s way!

 

Amish Auction

Big doings in the neighborhood last week!

One of our Amish neighbors had a moving auction.

So what does an Amish auction look like?

Auction 006A lot like a regular auction – except you could bid on buggies and pony carts and horse drawn equipment and wood cook stoves.

And there’s lots of Amish folks around.

They came from all over.

Auction 023Some in horse and buggies.

Some in vans with hired drivers.

Whole families.

It was like a party.

Friends seeing friends they hadn’t seen for awhile.

Several of the teens put up volleyball nets in the pasture and played while the bidding went on.

Speaking of bidding…

Auction 002Those Amish ladies may look serene and nonchalant – but boy can they bid when they want something!

I lost out on a couple things because I couldn’t tell the bonnets apart and didn’t know who had the bid.

I did score a set of three pretty glass jars to store sewing supplies.

But then I had to carry them around the rest of the morning – which kept me from bidding on the Amish cook stove – which may have been a good thing.

Auction 015We stayed long enough to see the horses auctioned off at noon because I really wanted to see an Amish horse auction.

I kept my hands in my pockets though.

But we didn’t stay long enough to see the farm equipment go –  we probably don’t really need a manure spreader with steel wheels anyway.

But we did see all the neighbors, caught up on the news, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

I love a good auction!