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I am one of the lucky few that live outside the city limits. I live down a country road where chances are if you've lived here long enough, you'll hit a deer, or a deer will hit you. Don't laugh, I was t-boned by one.

The downside is that you go through tires more frequently than the rest of the population, which reminds me I need to make another trip to John's Tire before winter hits. Sometimes you open your front door to deer standing outside. In the right season, you might have a flock of wild turkeys standing there. On a bad day, the neighbor's cow got loose and left you a present. But in general, there are many more upsides than downsides.

For example, when I pull into my driveway and it's pitch dark outside, I look up and I see the stars...and every time, I reach into the car and shut off the headlights and just look at the vastness above me. It reminds me of the smallness of who I really am. It reminds me of all the drama going on around me and how unimportant it is.

When I stand there looking up, I'm reminded that politics is just politics. Whoever wins the election, well, it really is out of my hands. To mask or not to mask doesn't enter my mind. Sometimes, like tonight I drove home the long way. I took a detour past a cemetery full of people I loved. For some reason it was a punch in the gut moment, and I admit, I teared up.

But when I get home and look at those stars, all of those tiny little dots, a song came to mind, the same one that usually does. "I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe display...Then sings my soul...How great Thou art."

It puts all of my life in perspective. I'll be honest, the whole "that isn't how it was supposed to go" feeling still rears its head and puts my head into a spin for a bit. But when I'm standing quietly next to my car, looking up, there is a quiet peace that calms my soul. I know feeling like a tiny, insignificant speck of dust in this universe should give you the opposite effect. There is something that connects in my heart that I know if God can hang each of those stars up there, and pop the moon in the midst of them, He's probably got my little world all figured out too.

There is something about the silence of the country that is good for the body and soul. Even in Vinton, it's not quiet. It's really not completely quiet out here either, you can still hear the cars on the interstate or the train across the river.

You know how when your computer freezes and it just won't function properly? The advice is to unplug it and wait for 10 seconds, then plug it in again. The same is true in our lives too I believe. We get so busy with life that we forget to unplug, really unplug, and just be still. Which reminds me of a verse that had been part of my mantra for a while. "Be still and know that I am God." I know it, but boy, He sure needs some help sometimes it seems! And yet, He has yet to ask for my advice.

So the next time you feel overwhelmed by life, when your head is just buzzing with all the activities, and pressures, take a road trip. Find a gravel road, drive until you can't see the highway. Get out of the car and just stand there and breathe. Look around at the beauty and the things that we're blessed to have in our corner of the world. Be glad that you don't live in New York City. Unplug and let your heart and mind rest.

If you're so inclined, look up and say, "Thanks!"


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Robert Kimm October 13, 2020, 1:38 pm Nice editorial. Gives a person a relaxing thought. We don't get to see the stars much here in Phoenix. Too much backlighting from the city lights.
Marlyn Duncan October 13, 2020, 9:01 pm tHIS IS SO true. YES i GREW UP ON A FARM, AND HAVE LAID IN THE YARD , LOOKING UP AT THE STARS.
Teri Phillips October 13, 2020, 9:11 pm Awww.. my eyeballs are definitely sweating!!! Thank you!
Mark Paulsen October 14, 2020, 1:03 pm So true, everyone needs a "speck" moment in their daily life, in fact more than one. This year has been far from normal and stress can affect you in many detrimental ways.What better way to recharge than find a peaceful spot and praise the Creator of our universe.
Larry Schadle October 14, 2020, 1:19 pm A touching editorial....Great job Valerie!
Polly Williams October 14, 2020, 1:20 pm Oh so true. Thank you for reminding us. We don’t hear bombs, no earthquakes, fires, flooding yet. So many blessings. We need to literally count them.
Harold Merchant October 14, 2020, 1:53 pm Very nice Valorie. There is not a greater place on earth than Iowa in the fall, during the evening, and in the country. Nothing like it to be found in Minneapolis.
Barb Lerch October 14, 2020, 3:09 pm Best thing I've read this month! Thank You!
Rick Geater October 14, 2020, 8:48 pm Thanks Val on great advice we all need.
Tricia Hanover October 14, 2020, 9:27 pm Very nicely put.
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