Before there were Smart Phones, before there was Facebook….there were these. In farming and ranching families, the “gift” of a calendar was a common occurrence around the holidays. In our home, the calendar was hung in the same place…next to our ROTARY dial phone.

Our calendar was bursting at the seams. Appointments, events, cattle work, birthdates, anniversaries, and telephone numbers were scratched everywhere on it. It was sacred to my parents. It didn’t come off the wall, and one didn’t write on it without permission first. It was the center of keeping our family organized. 

Now that I live in the home I grew up in, I chuckle when I place things “just as mom and dad did.”  The rotary dial was replaced with a cordless, but the calendar still hangs next to it. Tonight, I was busily penning in important upcoming dates, and in doing so, thought about the types of things that were penciled in over my youth.

Harvest Suppers, benefit events, service to others and the community, and simple reminders that said; “take supper/dessert/call/send a card to….fill in the blank”. Tonight, as I filled in our calendar, I found myself writing in the same types of things. 

No one is spared from tragedy, but it seems that our community in the heart of Custer County has been hit particularly hard of late. Accidents, illness, debilitating health issues, family problems…the list goes on and on. I went into our local grocery store, and could have stared for an hour at the posters that dot the board. Events of every type were pinned up, in effort to gain the public’s attention. Through the tears that were squeezing out while I read them over, I also smiled in thinking “We could eat out every night, in an effort to help support all these needs.”  It was an overwhelming feeling. I wish our funds allowed us to do that, I wish I could give and give and give and give. 

I am so thankful to be from a community that rallies around need. I am so grateful for the people who give of their time and talents to organize, and promote, and bake, and cook, and walk, and ride bikes, and make crafts, give money, and most of all…. PRAY for those who need it. When I think about the calendar that hangs on my wall, I know it is the same that fills so many homes here. And, the idea of charity and giving and helping is deeply rooted here in our Sandhills. In a world that suffers so much, I am thankful for this place that sets an example for all. We are truly blessed.

This week, I get to help serve pancakes to help our church build mission funds to support several projects. I get to light candles to honor lives lost on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, I am going to buy some Tupperware to support a little girl who has leukemia, and I am praying for another who is sick, and delivered lasagna to some neighbors. The lists of needs are long, but the good news is that no matter who you are, or what you have, you can do something to help your fellow community members. And, in Nebraska…we do! 

For Lilly, for Pat, for Carol. 

“You are an Overcomer. Stay in the fight, until the final round. You are not going under… for God is holding you right now. That’s when He’ll remind you….you are an overcomer!”

Leah Peterson

Leah Peterson is a native Nebraskan, living on the ranch her ancestors homesteaded in 1878. She and her husband Matt, met at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, and returned to the ranch in 2012 after working and living in Central Nebraska the past 12 years. They are parents to two daughters, Maggie and Lucy. Leah has an undergrad degree from UNL in Communication Studies, and a MA in Leadership from Bellevue University. Aside from her work at the ranch and opportunity to be a stay at home mom, she enjoys writing, photography, community involvement, spending time with friends and family and trying new recipes in her kitchen. Leah published her first children's book in 2011 titled "An Apple for Dapple" and enjoys traveling throughout the state to share her book with children and raise awareness about the importance Agriculture in Nebraska.