Longing

1 Corinthians 2:9barn picture  But, as it is written, “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—

In our daily life on the farm we have been faced with the mundane:  a ritual of tasks and chores,  mopping up muddy boot tracks across the kitchen floor, pulling off ticks and trying to remember to use bug spray in spring and early summer, dying pets and farm animals,  more work to do on buildings that need constant repair.

And yet, we continue to search for the sacred in the midst of this mundane existence.  We long for the presence of a Holy God, who not only can create beauty from these ashes, but who brings a promise of even better things to come.

And thus,  in this blessed existence here on earth we find ourselves longing.

Longing, something deep within that has its source in our innermost being; something that seems to lurk in the shadows of our souls and suddenly bursts forth as an intake of breath, a deep sigh, a surprising ache of loneliness or melancholy.

C.S. Lewis calls this longing Sehnsucht, a sense of separation from what is desired, a ceaseless longing which always points beyond, a sense of displacement or nostalgia for another and better life.

There is a sense of joy in that longing.  In this life we get a glimpse of what is now only partial, but is a promise of what will be eternal.  A little glimpse of eternity. God gives these glimpses as a gift: as I walk along a wooded path, the trees forming a protective arch overhead, listening to the rustle of leaves at every step;

or observe a mother ewe after surviving the pains of birth when she gently nudges the struggling wet mass of wobbly legs encouraging this new life to stand,

or as I stand on a hillside and watch the incredible colors of a Kansas sunset.

The beauty, the promise, the joy of new life is fleeting and I cannot capture it and make it stand still in time.  I will leave the path; the lamb will grow and eventually face the hardships of life; the color in the sky will slowly fade away.  But for an instant there is beauty and promise.  And I experience it in those fleeting moments.

We have been gifted with a promise that speaks deeply into our souls:  Revelation 21:4  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

So….. we keep searching for the sacred in the midst of the mundane today, and tomorrow, until we reach that land where we will have to search no longer, for it will be a shining, glorious, constant Presence.

 

 

What was and is and is to come. 

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My thoughts in writing have been very much focused on what was.  How did God create a place of worship and community out of an old ramshackle farm?  I have marveled in His presence and His gifts and His transformations.

Today I am forced to take a deeper look at what is, and perhaps a little of what is to come. The present is heavy upon us, but God is present.  The future is behind a curtain, but God is there, also.

This past week we lost  Charles Bascom, in a sense the “pastor” of our community. His life blessed us in ways that formed much of who we became.  He was the wise patriarch who continually pointed us to Scripture, prayer, and celebration.  His life was a gift, given in time but now continuing in eternity.  We will celebrate that gift at his memorial service this Saturday.  And in the future we will continue to celebrate through our lives that have been enriched and changed because of Charles.

The loss of Charles’ presence will be felt deeply by us all.  But there is also celebration in the fact that he is no longer weighted down with infirmities, the result of our fallen world.  We have lost others here at the farm:  a grandmother, a still-born granddaughter, a grandfather, and a teenaged son.  Yet the loss is only temporary.  We will see them again when we step into the “what is to come” of Heaven.  We celebrate the promise of that gift.

People are gifts.  Each person who has entered our lives has brought the gift of who they are.  Those gifts have come from the Giver, and through the years we have received those gifts and been changed through those gifts.  We have unwrapped them and celebrated His presence.

TRANSFORMATIONS by Kay Bascom

 

For those who have not been to the Swihart Farm, it is unusual to describe.  Most farms are squarish. This farm is on a quarter mile wide strip that spans a half mile (80 acres east and 80 acres west) on each side with a “belt” in the middle – a fairly straight Kitten Creek Road which roughly follows a very crooked Kitten Creek.  When the Swiharts bought the old Fritz farm in l982, there were just a scattering of dilapidated buildings west of the road: a house, barns, and sheds.

Transformed now, I picture the geography in terms of a butterfly at rest.  Her body is Kitten Creek Road.  Her feelers point southward toward Keats village.  Her upper right wing is polka-dotted – no, polka-squared – by the original home and barn, plus new outbuildings and the Bethlehem Revisited “set.” Today the upper left wing is marked by Dan’s family farm, and Judd and Nancy’s new home.  The lower right wing now hosts two Bascom homes, and the lower left wing, the Reppert farm.  Many have come to this spot in their chrysalis years, and have flown away into their butterfly pilgrimages.  It was here that many of us found reality in Jesus, in fellowship, in creative undertakings together, and in solitude.

We’ve glimpsed a rich variety of transformations – transformations of land and relationships and experiences.  Like what?

  • Hosting a L’Abri Conference at McCain Auditorium inspired the creation of a fellowship in the making – “the group at the place” it was first called, before transitioning into “Wellspring.”
  • A widower’s derelict, plumbing-less little house became a family’s lovely expanded three-generation home.
  • A barn full of hay invited a prank: Judd’s truck completely hidden in the hay!
  • Once emptied, the red barn became a rustic meeting place.
  • A fallen tree became a bridge over Kitten Creek, the woods a sanctuary for Sunday afternoon quietude.
  • A chicken coop became one crazy clean-up project.
  • A granary became a guest cabin.
  • A muddy weekend in May became host to our first Family Life Conference.
  • Fallen down sheds reconfigured became a getaway cabin up top.
  • A woodsy draw saw Wellspring’s first building project become a six-sided prayer chapel grounded in railroad ties, framed with cast-off window panels, centered with a huge flint rock- become-altar.
  • An old elm tree’s shade became the site for HIS’ first few International Labor Day picnics.
  • The old root cellar before dawn became Jesus’ tomb, followed by a trudge up to high pasture to worshipfully await the sunrise, framing His cross.
  • The old barn’s slide doors opened to Spiritual Life Conferences, Wellspring Reunions, Family Dynamics Conferences, neighborhood potlucks, Easter Sunrise Service breakfasts, a coffee house season, youth-group gatherings, graduation receptions, wedding parties, and silent retreats.
  • Cut down trees became framing for Dan’s get-away cabin in the deep cedar woods.
  • A hillside became a Quiet Garden, and charted woods and fields became the Wellspring Nature Trail.
  • A home became a “writer in residence” hide-out for finishing his book.
  • The Reppert creek crossing became a Jewish Tashlish stone-casting site.
  • The ample Swihart dining tables became set at Passover with Seder Service accouterments.
  • Creating a booth with garden produce hangings delighted children at Sukkot time, celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles.
  • Twelve rocks in the pasture became Joshua’s twelve tribal Stones of Remembrance.
  • The waters of Kitten Creek occasionally became a baptismal site.
  • A $50 toilet hole drilled into the flintstone pasture became Judd’s gift to the outhouse of a honeymooners’ cabin.
  • The little high cabin became one couple’s first home, later hosted overnight camp-outs, gathered a poetry writing group, and graced several proposals of marriage, provided solitude during Silent Retreats, and is still transformed into Mary and Joseph’s home at Christmas.
  • The farm kids’ Christmas pageant evolved over the years into Bethlehem Revisited.
  • A hillside and plateau under the stars became the “set” for a reenactment of Jesus’ life story.
  • The haymow below the barn became Jesus’ manger.
  • The old root cellar and huge stone became Jesus’ tomb.
  • Kitten Creek oaks, cut, dried, and planed, became door and window framing for Judd and Nancy’s new home.
  • Starting with one, five more family homes have gone up on the acreage, “barn-raising” style.
  • Two hillsides are growing into mini self-sustaining farms.
  • Although in “provincial midwest Kansas,” the farm became a place where hundreds of Internationals have come to events, to homes for meals, and sometimes to live for a while.
  • The Fort and K State make Manhattan a transient community. Many of us  who enjoyed fellowship at the “butterfly” on Kitten Creek eventually flew off to other countries for months or years – to Russia, Lithuania, England, Holland, Poland, Romania, India, Afghanistan, China, Korea, Nepal, Pakistan, Ghana, Niger, Togo, Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, Mali, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, Guatemala, Bolivia,  and more… to geographical and spiritual places only God knows.

 

Yet we still return to our spiritual roots at the Farm with deep appreciation and thanksgiving.

Well, that’s just off the top of my head, and you all can remember other transformations, many of which were not visible, not quantifiable, known only to you and to God.                                                                   Kb  3/27/15

 

Beside the Still Waters

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I would say that Peg and I bonded completely, shepherdess and docile sheep, one frigid and icy New Year’s morning.

An ice storm had come in on New Year’s evening.  Judd was gone on a retreat of solitude and silence, and Sara and I were holding down the fort.  We woke up to at least an inch of ice covering the trees, grass, and road.

Despite the frigid weather, chores still had to be done, so I bundled up in my heavy-duty Army jacket and pulled on the black insulated Air Force boots. With a wool hat and warm work gloves, I was prepared, or at least I thought I was.  It should have been a quick walk to the barn for grain, to the sheep pen for hay, and to the water tank to break up the ice and run some water.

My heavy boots slipped and slid across the icy yard and down the driveway to the barn. Bear, my black lab, “guardian of the barn,” was there to greet me.  I patted his head, filled his dish with some kibbles, and refilled his water bowl.   Scooping up the grain for the sheep from the grain bin I headed back out into the icy yard.

By this time, the sheep knew I was coming.  Shoving and pushing each other they were trying to get close to the fence where I would pour the grain into their feeder.   They were all there . . . except for one!  Peg had not shown up.  Quickly dumping the grain into the feeder, my eyes scanned the large pen trying to find her.  Up against the fence at the top of the hill I spotted a gray wooly bundle.  This was not good.

“Hey, Peg,” I called to her.  She lifted her head and turned to look my way, but never moved.  Slowly lowering her head, she became a wooly bundle again.

I studied the situation for a minute and decided I had to get closer to her to evaluate what was going on, but in these freezing temperatures, the hillside was going to be nearly impossible for me to climb. The west fence would be my tow rope up the icy slope, I decided.

Stillness, ice sparkling from the trees, leaves, fence.  Under any other circumstance I would be mesmerized with the splendor of this scene, but at the moment my focus was on my obviously suffering ewe.

As I neared the ewe, I discovered she was in labor and was having great difficulty.  The lamb was effaced. But so was one of its legs.  Push as hard as she could, she was not going to get this lamb dislodged.

Back down the hill I slid to call Dr. Penner, our farm vet who had already walked with me through some of my farm crises.  Peg and I were going to need help.  My phone call got through to Dr. Penner at a garage in town where he was waiting for a tire to be changed.  As icy as the roads were, I knew it would take him awhile to get out, even after the tire was fixed.  I grabbed some towels, pulled on my snow pants, warmed my hands by the wood stove, and hurried back to Peg.

Once again I climbed the hill using the fence for assistance.  Peg was resting when I reached her.  Sitting down on the ice beside her, I began praying. “God, you are my shepherd, and I don’t know how to help my sheep.  She is your creature, also.  Please help us.”

A song came to my mind and I began to sing it softly to her, trying to comfort both of us

Beside the still waters in pastures of green,
The Shepherd is leading where all is serene;
By day and by night He will always be seen
Beside the still waters of peace.
For He’s the Good Shepherd who died for the sheep;
His own He has promised to keep.
He lovingly watches and guards while they sleep
Beside the still waters of peace.

The song comforted me as I imagined my Shepherd there with us, not exactly green pastures and still water, but lovingly watching and guarding.

My voice seemed to comfort Peg for a while.  Then she returned to her fruitless pushing.  I was at a loss.  It had been about an hour since I had called Dr. Penner.  I listened for sounds of a vehicle coming down Kitten Creek Road, but no traffic was moving.  Maybe the doc wouldn’t even be able to get here on these icy roads.

Suddenly, Peg flopped her head down on the ground and appeared to stop breathing.  “She is dying!  I am going to lose them both! Oh, dear God, I don’t know what to do.  I’ve got to do something.  Please help me.”

With that, I pulled off my gloves, rolled up my sleeve, and reached inside where I had seen a leg.  Never before had I had an experience like this, but I was going to do whatever I could.  I had to do it!  She would die and so would the lamb if I didn’t.  Amazingly, I found another leg turned under and apparently making it impossible for Peg to push out the lamb.  Carefully, I straightened the leg and gave a tug.  Out came a very wet little lamb.

Peg lay there oblivious.  Grabbing the lamb I carried it to her nose.  “Look, Mama.  Look at what we have done,” I squealed.  Peg’s head jerked up.  Giving a motherly, low and soft “meh”, she came alive again and began licking and nudging her new lamb. A few seconds later, she began pushing again.  Out popped another lamb as easily as you please.  I was ecstatic!

However, we had two very wet and cold little lambs. I had to get them safely down to the barn where they would have a soft and warm bed in the straw.  Holding the lambs up to Peg’s face I encouraged her to stand.  Slowly she crawled to her feet.  Wrapping the lambs in the towels I had brought from the house, the four of us headed down the slippery hill.

Just as I got to the bottom of the hill, Dr. Penner drove up to the barn.  Climbing out and shutting the door to his van, he chortled, “You did it!   All by yourself! Congratulations!”

After checking out the lambs and their mother and getting them bedded down in some dry straw, we walked back to the van together.  Dr. Penner had always seemed to understand my love for my sheep.  “They are going to be fine, Nancy, and you did it all by yourself!,” he said with a proud smile.

I didn’t explain to him that I hadn’t done it alone.  My Shepherd had been there with me the whole time. . . beside still waters and in pastures green.

Wounded by Love

peg picThe weeds at the farm  proved to be more than my first ewe and her lamb, Priscilla and Aquila, could clean up by themselves.  This job was going to require more wooly weed-eaters.  So we went back to the wooly weed-eater supplier, Diane, for our next pregnant ewe.  We chose Peg to join our little flock.

“Peg” was short for peg-leg, a descriptive name already given to this ewe because of her limp.   Peg exhibited an independent spirit in her young life.  Her shepherdess kept losing this wandering sheep.  Not content with the pasture Diane offered, Peg was continually getting out of the sheep fold.

One morning while Diane was eating breakfast her phone rang. “Diane, that sheep of yours if over here in our pasture.  Looks like she is headed for Anderson Avenue.” After thanking her farmer friend, she stepped out the door and gazed down the road.  Sure enough, there was that wayward ewe, getting closer and closer to the road.  “She is going for what she thinks is better grass,” realized Diane, “and she has no idea of the  danger she is in.”  But Diane, her shepherd, saw the life-threatening danger.

Donning her jacket and grabbing a scoop of grain from the shed, Diane headed out, hoping to cajole Peg into coming back home.  Peg ignored her and instead wandered farther away.  The closer Diane got to her the farther she wandered.   Something had to be done or this silly sheep was in danger of losing her sheep-life.  In desperation, Diane ran to the house. Grabbing her rifle, she went back to the neighbor’s field.  Although it would be hard to explain to this “sheep mind” it was out of affection that Diane, the shepherd, aimed carefully at Peg’s leg, and shot.  Wounded, Peg fell to the ground.  Finally able to approach her without Peg running away, Diane coaxed her to her feet.  Peg had become docile.  Bleeding and limping, she willingly followed her shepherdess back to the sheepfold.

Peg’s wound would heal in time, but she would always walk with a limp. Her limp would be a constant reminder to her, and to me her new owner, that although the lesson was a painful one, disobedience has consequences: a limp, but also a closer and more dependent relationship with the shepherd.

For Peg’s own safety, her shepherd had had to wound her.  Not because Diane did not care for her.  Not because she was angry at her.  Not because she was retaliating for her disobedience.  Peg was wounded for her own safety and well-being.

How often does our Shepherd lovingly wound His sheep for our own good?  Do we learn from our wounding? Even though there may be scars from the wounding, do we walk just a little closer with our Shepherd?

Fire in Them Thar Hills

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A group of thirty to forty of us had gathered in and around the prayer chapel after making our way from the barn, across the pasture, and down into the ravine.  Listening to the prayers of thanksgiving and dedication, my mind was drawn back to that fateful day the previous fall.

Derrick and I had headed down Anderson on our way home from Kansas State University. The four mile trip home past farms and fields was always refreshing and restorative. Oblivious of the drama going on at the farm, we were enjoying the spectacular fall colors.  I had never appreciated the grassy fields and roadsides in the fall before we moved to Kansas.

My first fall here, on an inspired whim I had stopped one late afternoon and picked the tall prairie grasses that were growing along the road.  Bundling them up, I had taken them home, trying to preserve the beauty as long as I could in a large vase on the table.

Today, as in every fall, the leaves were changing again into yellows, reds, and gold, and the prairie grass to shades of purple, red, and orange.  Beautiful!  A steady wind was blowing from the south across the fields, and the grasses and leaves danced to its rhythm.

Rounding the corner into the little village of Keats, we were sobered to see a fire truck coming down Kitten Creek Road and pulling to a stop as it waited to enter Anderson. “Oh, no!  There must have been a fire on our road!  I wonder who? Where?” We were both speaking at the same time.

I couldn’t help but press my foot to the gas a little harder as we entered the gravel road and sped toward home.  As we passed the Peterson’s we could not see any signs of more fire trucks or activity.  But by the time we got to the Hageman’s, we could tell the activity was in our own front yard.  “Oh, please, no, God!” I prayed softly.

Pulling into the driveway, we took a quick inventory.  Thank God, the house was still standing, the barn was still there.  As another fire truck rolled down out of the pasture, past the barn, and into the driveway, it was clear that the fire had been up in the pasture.

It is true, we Kansans do burn our pastures in the spring, but never, never in the fall.  With the dry grasses and the wind, fall fires can quickly grow out of control, so this was a fire that MUST be stopped.

We saw one remaining truck in the pasture as we ventured up the hill and waded out to the truck across the black ashes and soot, all that remained of the grass.  The volunteer fire men were still dousing the fire on the hillside above the prayer chapel.  We did not realize the extent of God’s grace that day until we scrambled down the hillside and into the chapel.  The trucks had lightened burn of chapelmanaged to get to the top of the hill just as the flames were licking at the corner of the chapel.  The only damage to the structure was where the fire had settled into a corner of the railroad ties out of the reach of the hoses and had smoldered there until the firemen reached it with containers of water.

Later that evening we were able to put together the pieces of the story as Sara and Kay recounted their harrowing day to the rest of the family.

The schools had been closed that afternoon for a half-day teacher in-service, and Sara, a Jr. High student at the time, had been the only one at home.  The rest of us were either at the university or at work.

Arriving home on the bus after a morning of classes, Sara was relishing her freedom from classes and was looking forward to a peaceful afternoon.  She had settled into a comfortable chair, ready to pick up the book she had been reading the evening before when the phone rang.

Kay Bascom, our dear “over-the-hill” neighbor was calling.  “Sara . .      .” (pause).  Not wanting to alarm Sara, but very concerned, Kay chose her words carefully.  “I think . . . that maybe I am smelling smoke. Do you know if anyone is burning something?”

Sara, quick to hear the concern in Kay’s voice, looked out the window.  “No, I don’t see anything,” she said cautiously, “but let me go up in the pasture and check.  I’ll call you back if I see anything.”

Now it has never been a secret that Kay does not appreciate the controlled spring “pasture burning” process.  In fact, there usually is a plan to have Kay busy in town when we plan a burn.  But today, Kay and Sara were the lone occupants of their respective homes.  After this fateful day, Sara joined the ranks of pasture burning naysayers.

Sara did, indeed, begin to smell smoke as she climbed the hill, and then see smoke, billows of smoke.  Coming from the south the fire was raging toward the barn.  Or so, at least, it appeared to her.

Since this episode was taking place long before cell phones were part of the normal communication process, Sara raced down the hill and into the house.  Grabbing the phone, she dialed Kay’s number.  “Yes!” she reported, out of breath and gasping for air. “There is a fire, and it is headed our way!”

They quickly confirmed that Kay would call the fire company and Sara would call her dad. When Judd’s secretary answered the phone and told Sara that Judd was in a session, Sara left a desperate message:  “The pasture is on fire and is headed toward the barn.”

Meanwhile Kay had dialed 911 and the fire trucks were on their way. Volunteers arrived first and determined that the fire was actually in the fields, and the structures around the house and barn were not in danger. However, in the fields above the barn the fire was barreling its way across the pasture. That wind that had seemed so playful on our trip home was creating chaos in our pasture.

Thinking it was a simple pasture fire, the firemen were quickly corrected by Kay.  “You must stop it before it goes down into the woods.” Kay’s love for the chapel made it especially difficult for her to remain calm. “There is a structure in its path down in the ravine: a prayer chapel.  Please stop that fire,” she begged.

I am sure those firemen had never considered a structure would have been erected in that ravine, let alone a prayer chapel; but rising to the occasion through Kay’s desperate pleas, and guided by her directions, those volunteers were able to get to the woods above the chapel, just as the structure received its first licks from the flames.

By the time Derrick and I had arrived, the remaining fire truck’s crew along with Kay were making sure that they had extinguished every last ember.

We never did determine how the fire had started, just that it had begun in our neighbor’s pasture, and with the wind coming from the south it had raced hungrily toward ours.

My reverie of remembrance was abruptly interrupted by a song. The chapel and the wooded hillside reverberated with the voices of our thankful group as Charles led us in singing, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” The prayers had been offered and the scripture read and a little bronze plaque had been nailed to the wood beside the charred hole.  “Thou dost encompass me with deliverance.”  Psalm 32:7, the plaque reads.  Yes, even when we are unaware of the dangers that may threaten us, He does prepare a way of deliverance: someone who smells smoke, someone to put out the fire, a community of deliverers.

Leaving the chapel that day with this thankful group of friends, I turned to read the words inscribed above the chapel door, “Let him who is thirsty come; and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.”   Revelation 22:17.  We were finding the sacred in the midst of the mundane once again.

Crazy or Inspired?

prayer chapel

Recently, Teri, my writing partner, and I spent one of our writing sessions walking around the farm and visiting some of the buildings that have been a big part of the ministry of Wellspring.  One of those spots was in the secluded hard wood forests north-west of the farm-house.   Visiting that spot brought back warm memories of past years.  I could almost see the faces and hear the voices of those young men so many years ago as they erected this unusual building dubbed “The Prayer Chapel.”    Although it is in dire need of repair today, through the years it has been a place of dedication, tears, lamentations, heart-cries to God, and rejoicing.  But its story began many years ago.

I am not sure what the neighbors thought as they watched that old pick-up truck make its way slowly down Kitten Creek Road loaded to the top of the cab with wooden ammunition boxes.  I am sure we were creating some interesting conversations.  These crazy Californians seem to be very busy over there at that Fritz farm.  Lots of activity goin’ on.  Can we trust them?  And now they are bringin’ in a truck load of ammunition.  

New neighbors were not a regular occurrence on Kitten Creek Road, and most of the neighbors were kin. Cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers all seemed to settle around the old farmsteads where they had grown up.

We were strangers from California and under suspicion here until we could prove ourselves. Bringing in a truckload of ammunition boxes did not help.

The truth was a lot less dramatic.  Lowell had won the bid for these empty wooden boxes at an auction at Fort Riley.  When he and Judd unloaded them in the barn, there was some discussion as to how we could actually use them.   We would find a way.

Cheap, free.  Those were our criteria for building a ministry at that time.  God supplied, and we trusted that he would give us the creativity to put them to use.  These particular “possibilities” became rustic seats and cupboards; some of the wooden lids became the backdrop for painted artwork.

In fact, we had a hard time passing up any treasures that had potential, and the wooden ammunition boxes were only the beginning.  Windows scored quite big on our list of acquisitions.  Dave and Suzanne Osbourne had attended the L’Abri conference and were members of our church, Grace Baptist.  Dave owned The Osbourne Construction Company, and when he won the bid to renovate an elementary school in Manhattan, he donated all of the old windows and the slate from the black boards to Wellspring.

We would find a way to eventually use most of the school windows in various projects. Over the years the slate became black boards, fire-proof backing for wood stoves, and tile for the entrance to the old farm-house.

“A prayer chapel. That should be the first official Wellspring building project. A place where there is silence, nature, and an invitation for solitude or for group worship.”  I am not sure who introduced the idea, but our focus on this project became a focus of the whole group.

Looking at the supplies that we had on hand, we decided those old windows from the elementary school would be a perfect fit. Creativity and imagination reigned in those days.

A committee scoured the land looking for the ideal spot to put a prayer chapel. Along with Lowell, who became the architect on the project, the group found that spot beside a small ravine back in the hard wood forest.

I secretly believe the guys took great delight in the building of that scan0005chapel.  It rises high into the top of the trees.  Those men used ropes and scaffolding to get that creative circular center and shingled roof put into place. Man-work.  Railroad ties (another scavenged commodity), the Osbourne windows, rocks, sand, muscle, creativity, danger, and fun  went into building that rustic edifice.

In the end, a charming chapel was erected: a six-sided building that reaches to the tree-tops.  Four of the sides are built from the windows; two sides are open, allowing pure nature from the secluded forest to enter the chapel uninhibited by any man-made objects.

I am sure Mr. Fritz, the original owner of that property, never imagined a prayer sanctuary would grow out of that forest where he had probably hunted, trapped, or looked for lost calves.  It was not useable, fertile ground, just a wooded acreage that had grown in a useless ravine.

Crazy?  No.  Inspired?  Yes.  One more gift where His presence is unwrapped in a very simple and “mundane” location on this farm on Kitten Creek Road.