Monday, November 3, 2014

God has Grace for that.

Tomorrow is the day I start coaching parliamentary procedure.  I think Election Day is an appropriate day to start the journey of parliamentary procedure.

Election Day has me a little nervous for a variety of reasons.

About two years ago Jake and I determined we would return to Nebraska to operate our feedyard.  I really enjoyed our previous two years in Ohio, close to family and friends.  However, I knew our future was at 4+ Feeders.  I hesitantly told Jake if the girls could go to the Sumner-Eddyville-Miller schools and we could build a home, I would go back.  You must know there was not one home for sale in this school district.  It was just weeks later, when Jake came home and told me someone had called to offer us a piece of pasture.  This piece of pasture happens to be half way between the S-E-M school and the feedyard. It is strategically placed in the southern most point of this school district.  How does this happen? It may be similar to this story.

I immediately called an acquaintance I had from the community.  I was interested in knowing if this community I thought was so wonderful, if it was the Utopia I dreamed of.  This was three towns that had consolidated many years before and currently have a graduating class of 10 students.  The building that I had driven by, but was never in, looked . . . well it looked rough.  But, there was just something about that community I liked. This acquaintance assured me that the school wasn't perfect (I appreciate the honesty), but then listed the things the school had to offer from a mother's perspective.

The story began there.  I said yes, the land was bought and the house plans began.  Just over a year ago we moved into our new home and the girls started school and I fell in love with the community and the school.  Last spring the Agriculture Education teacher left, leaving an opening for both an Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor. Yet another big decision.  Jake and I talked and talked about me taking this position, the short pro list and the long con list.  This is usually how the list looks, just before I jump in with both feet, in over my head following my heart. I don't have time for this - but God has grace for that, I told myself.  I did the payroll for the feedyard over lunch today (Grace).

Then tragedy struck and our new home for less than a year burnt to the ground.  No worries, the girls and I at school and Jake at the feedyard with our two dogs (Grace).  Although our family and pets were not injured, we lost every single thing we owned.  Except of course for the clothes we were wearing and the stuff I am constantly yelling at the girls for hauling to the car and packing away as if they were going to lose everything they owned. Some how all the naked baby dolls and stuffed animals in the backseat don't bother me anymore. The utopia I had imagined was burning rather quickly into a nightmare rather than a dream.

There Jake and I stood on Cracker Box Road watching our dreams and hard work burn to the ground. Except the one load of ash they hauled away. There was nothing left, except a little seed of doubt Moving all of those things three times half way across America now seemed pointless. Just then all those people from that community I had such a good feeling about started showing up.  They showed up to pray with us, cry with us and help us.  Almost like strangers, we had only knew less than a year, offering to keep us in their homes and drive us an hour for an outfit to teach in the next day. That acquaintance I told you about before, put us up in her home for a week.  While the rest of the community found us a rental house in a town where those don't exist. They cleaned, painted, furnished and decorated a home for us in a week. Yes in a week, so sorry HGTV missed it.  Why would you do that for complete strangers? Oh, because God has Grace for that.

We are supposed to start building  our third home in 11 years and I am completely underwhelmed with the project.  I don't really want to make time for another house building project.  I pray God has Grace for that too.  I am a little concerned though this evening with the thought that S-E-M bond issue won't pass tomorrow and all of the school improvements that the school needs won't be met.  The problem with a small rural community is that schools are totally funded by a few farmers.  These farmers have to feel burdened by educating an entire community. I know I a feel a small burden for the job of educating them and I don't pay the entire bill.

The history is bleak as the stories float through the local restaurant of the school north being closed and split between several other schools.  The two other communities that now feed into S-E-M are a sad piece of American history.  To tell you the truth I toured one of them only because my FFA member planned an FFA meeting there and we took a hayride through town.  The other I visited at 2:30AM Sunday morning while dropping off students after our trip home from National Convention. I worry Sumner my utopia may look like that someday.

I am praying tonight that this small community of utopia and the voters, especially farmers believe that God will have Grace for passing a bond issue, that will keep this community in tact, keep kids safe while getting an education and help teacher's reach higher expectations. Selfishly I want to start building a home back in a school district with a sustainable school.


  1. Nebraska is lucky to have you and your family. You touch many lives in your town of Sumner, and your community will keep you strong as you embark on house #3.

    Over the last 18 years, I have learned that Nebraskans grow a lot of "Grace" on our prairie land and in our communities. You will never run out of it.

    Stay strong -- Find your smile -- Keep spreading grace -- Know that there are many that stand behind you.


  2. I'm amazed! I'm reading from Yorkshire in the UK, I'm not a farmer but my business partner is - we run a catering and events business - by day I'm a head teacher - a school principal. You and your family have been through so much, my heart goes out to you - and now to be facing school closures! Really we don't know how lucky we are in the UK to have access to free education and plenty of choice in our school system. You do sound as though you have an amazing community around you though and whether you stay there or move to the school district youve made some friends for life. Thank you for sharing.