Oh, give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His loving kindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he as redeemed from the hand of the adversary and gathered from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. Psalm 107:1-3
The farm is much quieter these days, just the howling of coyotes at night with Maggie and Jed barking from the backyard at them. In the daytime the animals get excited when they hear the sound of the Gator, believing Milt is on their way to feed them. In the garage is a cold-weather project, one of the tractors in need of repair and seasonal maintenance. The corn is all harvested and stored. The hay castle is in the stages of being torn down and fed to the animals. Pumpkins continue to disappear as they are tossed in for the animals to eat. The store looks a little forlorn as the product is stored for spring. (Christmas did come to the café though as we moved the tree in there as we welcome those who still pick up pizza to go.) And the stacks of papers on my desk are slowly decreasing as I finally have time to return to my office and catch up on all that necessary financial stuff.
So now it’s time to reflect on another year come and gone on the farm. Over the next 24-48 hours our children will appear to enjoy family time together and then head back to their homes and jobs. But tonight in the quiet of the house I am taking time to consider all that God has done. It’s hard to believe nineteen pumpkin patch seasons have passed and this will the 20th Thanksgiving celebrated in this home. I am amazed and grateful.
We are so thankful for a God who loves us and gave us such an awesome job, allowing our family to spend the days welcoming people into our home from near and far, from the east and the west, the north and the south. Even though our children are grown and moved away, this farm is still very much a part of who they are, having been shaped by their years working alongside us. You have blessed us with your friendship, your time, your families and your special memories. Not once, but twice in this season, young men have knelt to ask their girl’s hand in marriage. (Thankfully they both said yes.) We’ve snuggled babies (or at least I did) and helped our elder guests find a great spot to watch grandchildren play. Our guests learned how the farmer grows breakfast, played lots of rounds of mini golf and gaga ball, and picked from an abundant pumpkin crop. The animals were well fed and so were our guests.
Throughout it all, we’ve heard one word over and over. You’ve said it to us, we’ve said it and we have felt it: PEACE. You’ve told us you feel at peace here. Even when the days are busy, you told us your family had a peaceful day here. No phones ringing (at least not yours), no electronics, no TV, no traffic (except for the millionth round of the lawnmower train) and only the noise of people having fun (and Matthew the donkey). The menu in the café is simple and the places to play are even simpler. There’s nothing magical about this place, but there is peace. We don’t realize how much we miss peace in our lives until we actually experience it. Our blood pressure goes down and life is so just so much easier for those few hours of peace.
It’s not magical, but it’s mysterious. Milt and I don’t go to lengths to create a “peaceful” place for guests to visit, but it happens. We take what we have been given and just make it available. It’s not our efforts that make it peaceful, it’s His. It’s God’s lovingkindness, His redemption and His restoration that bring about peace. You see, we invited Him here when we invited you. You came and experienced His Peace.
The farm will be quiet again for the next few weeks. Our children will leave and it will be spring before the farm is full of happy customers again, but the Peace: He doesn’t leave. And we are so thankful He is here to stay.
Thank you, friends, for coming to visit. Thank for giving us a reason to plan and prepare for a new season. Thank you for the chance to celebrate 20 years next year. And thank you Jesus for Your unfailing love and Your constant peace. All praise and honor is Yours!
Blessings to our friends—we pray that yours is a grateful Thanksgiving and a Holy Christmas!
– Milton and Janie Corley