Powerful Lessons Never Forget Authenticity

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Lodisa Frizzell, telling of her family’s travel to California in 1852,

wrote: “On the 30th day of the wagon train, we passed several graves. . . .

I do not think there would be as much sickness as there usually is for we

have passed less than 100 fresh graves . . . hope [wolves] will not disturb

the graves.”17 A few pages later in the diary, she wrote:

Saw . . . one old cow, a paper pinned on her head. It stated

that she had been left to die . . . but requested that no one

abuse her as she had been one of the best cows. . . . It called

up so many associations to mind that it affected me to

tears. . . .(italics mine)

 When I read excerpts of diaries from the westward expansion in the 1800’s, it is mind boggling the trials these people faced. They either made it or didn’t. Can you imagine dying with nothing left except a cow, so you pin a note to her?

I read this today and it caught me.

Here Lodisa Frizzell pours her heart on the page and it isn’t happy.

Am I allowed to do the same?

Perhaps that sounds ridiculous. After all, we are in modern America and we have so many blessings. True.

Yet don’t you ever feel like the fight you are fighting takes the best of you? Certainly I don’t believe this is God’s best for us, but aren’t there days when you feel like you just don’t know if this dream will live or die?

I’ve also been reading about the hard paths many people took to achieve their dreams. Slept in their car, sold their last belonging, etc… We are certainly not that down and out, but during this year, we’ve lost so much, been challenged so much, and I’ve not even had the health to “deal” with it. We are having one of those days when you wonder, IS IT WORTH IT?

I assume it is. There are good days when you know it is. Yet when you’re in the trenches and nothing goes right, more problems happen than you have answers for, and the cash flow isn’t a’flowin’… it is hard to determine that this dream you have is worth it. Did the settlers headed west convince themselves to keep going? I suppose it was their only option.

It seems to be our only option too. We are too far in to go back.

Eric Johnson said in a recent sermon (my paraphrase) that sometimes faith looks like continuing on in what is your only option.

Is it ok to say you’re facing huge struggle? Isn’t that authentic? I often wait to blog so I can give you the happy ending or a boost of encouragement at the end. It’s still coming because we believe in handing this situation over to Someone bigger than ourselves as we pray and wait for answers. Yet, I’m being real in the fact that the struggle is real, like seeing the graves on the trail west and wondering if you’ll make it or not. We are on the trail friends. Aren’t we all at times? We will give it what we’ve got, while dreaming of what lies ahead. KEEP MOVING FORWARD

Surprised by Kindness

What a ride the last few weeks have been! In my last post, I mentioned needing surgery for endometriosis. I’ve since been to the Mayo Clinic for appointments and the surgery and am now back home recovering. While we were gone, grandparents were staying with our three kids. The kids were taking care of the ranch.

In the two months before we left, we had to redo our entire irrigation system. The old system was struck by lightning and was in desperate need of repair anyway. In the 18 months that we’ve lived here, there’s been so much to repair that we were hoping to eek by one more summer before overhauling the irrigation system, but when nature hit, rebuilding the system seemed better than bandaiding it for another year.

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Getting new power for our irrigation system.

Nothing went right. Every single step took twice as long and cost us twice as much. Water ought to have been going in early May at the latest, but…

We were set to leave June 13. We prayed. We worked sun-up until sun-down every day. Our neighbors kept showing up to help.

The week before we left, I got sick. I couldn’t do much of anything. A good friend took me to get groceries. When I got home, there were people in our fields. Quite a few. A few hours later, 40 teenagers showed up. (Our daughters’ youth group showed up in full force.) They helped us lay pipe. They helped fix water leaks. They did it with joy. We started a bonfire to celebrate the gift our land is to us and the joy of friendship. They worked without expectation. I fed them hot dogs and s’mores and they thanked me. Really, I was thanking them.

We left and the water still wasn’t going. It was supposed to be one more thing and then it could get turned on–neighbors showed up regularly to help. We hired people to come out. Nothing worked. Engineers couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working. Grandparents tried everything they could.

The water never did get going until the day we got home. The field wasn’t as dried out as we imagined, but it doesn’t look like it ought to by early July.

Over the time we were gone, we were fighting health battles and the kids kept trying to get the water going. Plus our cattle kept getting out in Houdini fashion. We never had a problem with that pasture last year and we checked all the fences before we left. It felt like blow after blow after blow. There were little fiascos I won’t mention.

I cried a lot. With the stress of a major surgery, I didn’t want the ranch falling apart. We were sixteen hours away and could do nothing. I felt bad for all my kids were dealt. Yet even so, many blessings popped up. Not only in Minnesota for us, but also back home.

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Outside one of the Mayo Clinic buildings. Mayo is huge!

I’m surprised and utterly amazed by the kindness we experienced. Neighbors offered hours of help. People volunteered to help our kids. Friends took our youngest on an adventure or two. Our new community wrapped their arms around us like we’d lived here forever.

We’ve been in many communities and always experienced kindness by others in some fashion, yet it often takes awhile to break in and be accepted. Here we were, “newbies”, and we were treated like family.

Acts of kindness really do go a long way. I’m blown away by the love and help we received, as well as the calls we continue to receive as people check on us. Thank you my sweet community. Thank you. I look forward to being able to return the favor.