Last week my sister and I took a visiting trip. With her three little ones packed in the minivan, we set off for Wisconsin to visit with family. We stayed with an aunt and uncle in Mayville. We visited with a cousin in Waupon, grandparents in Beaver Dam, and an aunt, uncle, and grandmother near Markesan.
The countryside was gorgeous. Rolling hills, quaint farm steads, quiet small towns.
We found a few off-the-beaten-path places to stop at, such as Hoekstra’s Market and Greenhouse. There we saw trailer beds of just-picked tomatoes: yellow, orange, and deep red. The produce there was beautiful. An odd way to describe vegetables, I know, but to see them stacked without packaging in natural form was enticing.
Another stop was made at Mishler’s Country Store, an Amish general store near Dalton. Free from the usual trappings of a typical grocery store, this store was loaded with goods stored in clear plastic packaging with plain labels. Seasonings and baking items were less expensive, in larger quantity, and in more sensible containers. If we had such a store nearby, I would do most of my shopping there.
The family who owned the store lived on the property. There were two lovely homes on site as well as a large stable, barn, and a few other buildings.
One of my nephews wanted to see the horses out back behind the store, so I went with him. The horses were huge—definitely work horses, not for show!—and the view out the back was breathtaking: beyond the stable the land dipped into a small valley then climbed again up a series of rolling hills with trees speckling the horizon. I could have camped out there to commune with God.
This stop had completely moved me to consider my life. The Amish live without many of the distractions that I think I wouldn’t want to live without. There was a peace and restfulness about that store and the farm. I tend to wonder if it’s due to their commitment to simple living.
We also had the privilege of meeting my aunt and uncle’s Amish neighbors. Curiosity overwhelmed me as we chatted with them outside. So many questions flooded my mind—none of which would have been appropriate at such a meeting—but later my aunt gave some insight into what they have learned of the Amish life from their neighbors. This has only fueled my interest!
The road trip was wonderful for my heart, mind, and soul, as I am now contemplating again the simple things of life and what is really important. And I once again feel moved to evaluate my own lifestyle so that I am truly living and not merely busy and distracted.