While growing up, I lived in small-town Newcastle, Wyo. It population was south of 3,000 and everyone knew everyone and their dog — or cows. There really wasn’t anything to do except mud bogging in the oil fields or playing pool at the Pizza Barn. At least, I could shop at Pamida if I needed.

Most often, my friends and I would drive nearly two hours into Rapid City, S.D., where fun seemed to be at our fingertips. We would shop, hang out, play minigolf until we were tired and ready for a home-cooked meal. Then, we would drive two hours back, enjoying the quiet.


I thought, “Yep, I’m a country girl, the city life really isn’t for me.”

Since we moved to Nebraska, we have lived in town and dreamed of owning a spacious home away from the noise and lights. At least that’s what I thought until I house-sat for my in-laws who were off gallivanting on beaches and cruise ships in the Bahamas.

My in-laws live on Ravenna Road, and it takes about 20 to 25 minutes to get into Kearney. My husband thought a weekend in the country could do all of us good, including his lovely wife. He calls me “high-strung” and tells me three or four times a day, “Relax baby, I got this” when our kids clobber each other with their snowboots, shrill voices about injustice fill my ears, or our dog, Stormie, has escaped.

If the dog is impounded again, there will be a $150 bail fee plus city fines. Can you feel my frazzle?

After tracking down our runaway pup, being away for a weekend sounded amazing. No phones, no chasing dogs. I could read a book, take a bath and hobble (my broken foot is still in a boot) around Grandma’s fully stocked kitchen and freezer.

Friday evening whisked by like a dream. The kids spread out throughout the house, played with their toys and mostly ignored each other. Chris brought Nick’s Gryos, because I have a thing for feta cheese and all foods Greek. Then the family watched “The Incredibles,” and everyone drifted off to dreamland.

Saturday morning, I watched the sun rise and lazed around reading a book while Chris brought me breakfast in bed. The kids played for hours in their jammies before the crazy happened.

Crazy hour set in about 12:30 in the afternoon.

“Mom, can we go to the Big Apple? Mom, can we have our tablets? Mom, can we go into town to do something?”

My answer was no, no and no.

But by then I was feeling it. The wind was howling. I could hear it from every room, and it was too cold to go outdoors for a walk.

“Maybe we should go get a game,” I told my husband.

“Do we need anything from the store? What do you want to make for dinner,” I asked Chris, who was busy helping Elijah make a race car for Boy Scouts.

My husband replied we didn’t need to go anywhere, and maybe a nap would help everyone calm down. The minutes during nap time ticked-tocked by before Cheyenne became my saving grace, 15 minutes in.

“Mom, I really need to get my hair cut,” she whined, bringing my phone to me so I could call our stylist.


Within minutes, Cheyenne was booked at Fanci That for a cut, and I was hobbling around the house to find my makeup and get dressed. We raced into town enjoying the sights and sounds of Kearney on The Bricks during a Saturday afternoon.

Cheyenne said goodbye to more than 6 inches of hair, embracing a pixie cut.


We shopped, stopped at home to check the mail and visited the police station because someone scratched the side of our new car.

By then, we were ready for supper and stopped in for Flippin’ Sweet Pizza. Eventually, we left town to spend another night at the in-laws’ because I couldn’t convince Chris to bring the crew back into town.

We drove back and noticed how time seemed to stretch as much as the highway in front of us.

That evening, as I peered out their bay windows overlooking five acres and the highway, I could see the lights of Kearney twinkling in the night. The soft haze over the town warmed my heart.

As I sipped hot cider, I realized I am not a country girl. I’d much rather visit Hy-Vee for a late night sushi run. It takes only eight minutes to get there, including stop lights.

I prefer to stop in a friend’s house at a moment’s notice or go to a movie.

I prefer the sounds of passing traffic and of kids playing at the park.

I love the smell of coffee wafting in the air near restaurants.

Chris asked me what I was thinking about, and I said, “You might’ve married a country girl and dreamed of living in the country, but I’m telling you now, I want a bigger house — in the city.”

It’s funny how we think we’re supposed to  be certain kinds of people and be in a certain place or job until we surrender and walk the path with God. He knows our character, our likes, dislikes, how we’re wired and our gifts. He knew deep down my gifts and family would be better placed living in the city, touching others lives versus wide open spaces. I’m thankful to look back on my life over the last few years to see where His Hand has led me. What about you? 


Posted: Saturday, January 23, 2016 8:00 am

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