Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

We just got back from visiting my parents for Christmas, and tonight we had our third December-birthday-child's party (more on those later!).

I can now officially BREATHE!

We had a nice stay in my parents’ tiny Nebraska town - only three states north, but a million cultural light years away for us city folks.

Never mind the fact that I spent most of the 12-hour drive home, sick-nigh-unto-death in the back of the Suburban. I still had plenty of time to think: What on earth we are still doing in the city?

With a teeming population of 797, more graduate from our local high school than live in my parents’ hometown. In addition to a nursing home, there is a nicely stocked grocery store, and a cafĂ© where you can order a bowl of oatmeal along with a helping of town “news” for just 85 cents. Although there is just one gift shop, there are five Lutheran churches to choose from (plus a few others). The convenience store is open seven days a week, there is a bowling alley, and the tavern serves dinner on Saturday nights. Really, this town has it all.

“I would love to live here!” the kids said so many times during our stay. They got to drive past miles of resting corn fields to visit Uncle Jim’s pig nursery, ride Grandpa’s riding mower (over and over and OVER), and ride bikes at will on all eleven of the town’s Victorian home-lined streets.

I love the wide open spaces.
The black stillness of the night.
The lack of frenzy.
The absence of pretense.
The value of honest work.
I’m not sure, but if pressed, I might even be able to deal with…dial-up.

It was like a patch of heaven for a city-weary family.

When we came back to the sprawling metropolis that starts thickening thirty miles outside our “suburb” of 250,000, I could feel the weight of city life bearing down on me (or was that the fact that I was delirious with a stomach virus? Hmm.).

Crowded. Busy. Overloaded. Hurried.

Do I really have to come home?

It wasn’t long before our phone began to ring, mostly for the kids. Invitations to do "city" stuff: a movie, an amusement park, a party. For me, there was email to catch up on and a calendar full of good activities to prepare for. Not to mention laundry.


As we enter the new year, I’m envisioning the open fields, not the congested parking lot of the local discount store. I’m asking God how I can put a bit of small-town pace into my full-to-the-brim life, right here in suburbia. Some wide open spaces in the margins of my calendar. A generous portion of simplicity. A lot of stillness.

What are you asking Him for?
In returning and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.

Isaiah 30:15


Anonymous said...

Do I ever hear you - one of the big reasons we moved right near Nebraska - but we have high speed internet!!! :) I pray for a stillness too in this new year - after two VERY busy weeks - my life needs some stillness and peace. I echo your cry!

Anonymous said...

Your suburb is more than twice as big as my city. And it's busy enough for me here. Stillness and peace sounds so good. I would ask for grace for a more disciplined approach to my time with Him!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great time!

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Ah, I love smaller towns, I would love to live in a place like that.

Anonymous said...

I love to give my kids experiences that they could never have in a city. Sounds like ya'll had a blast. Happy New Year.

Laura said...

Welcome back and Happy New Year to you too! You know your post made me sit back and appreciate my little town in the middle of nowhere even if just for a moment. We lead a very slow paced life here, sometimes a little too slow, but this year I'm going to count my blessings even if to go out to dinner after 8:00 I'd have to travel over an hour to do so!
Missed you,

Anonymous said...

I live in a tiny little town of less than a thousand, over an hour away from a very small city and seven hours away from the nearest big city. Do I EVER have peace and quiet! Sometimes, I want the complexity of living in a bigger place...
Happy new year to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Just want to tell you that I found your blog recently, and I have enjoyed reading your posts. My sister actually recommended it to me (

I have 4 children, one girl in a sea of boys. They are ages 2 to 9.

I had tears as I read the post on "fishing, football(or TV) and Thanksgiving". Thank you for the transparency of your family life. Right now I find family life very difficult, yet I want Christ to be here with us even in less than ideal circumstances. Why do I always think I have to clean up our act first?

I'll be back to check on your blog some more. IN the meantime, happy New Year to you!

Hopefully I will resume blogging sometime in '07.

God bless,

Anonymous said...

I will have to say I have gotten away from reading my devotions and bible. . This is at the top of my resolutions. I knwo things go smoother when he walks beside you and you allow him to come into your heart and help ix things. I admire you Katherine....5 kids and all. I know its not easy. I have 2 and thought of you the other day when my entire household had a you would have handled things with all 5 of your children. I knew just by reading your posts yo would have prayed and asked for helped...something I didnt do. So I'm praying now because we are still under the weather. Happy New Year friend....I have enjoyed getting to know you better this year.

Tammy said...

Oh, I can so relate! I have always wanted to live in a small Mayberry town or out in the country. I'm in the city, but very much the 'burbs and have been all of my life.
I think you are on the right track...if we can't live in the country- at least for time being- how can we find ways to slow down and have a more restful life in this hurry-up age.

Love the pictures, too!
Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

I hear you heart! I named my blog "A Spacious Place" for many of these reasons.

Thanks for sharing and being an encouragement.

Anonymous said...

I live in a town like the one you described, and it IS wonderful. But fast pace and busy-ness creeps in here, too. Like Jen said, walking with the Father is one of the best ways to maintain peace - diving into the Word early and firstly.
I hope your stomach virus has passed! And I now have one December birthday child - can't imagine 3!!!!

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of visiting my Dad's family in Aurora, NE. It was such a small town and we had so much fun on the farm. I sometimes thing it would be nice to live in a small town and just get away from it all, too!

Happy New Year!