So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

The late summer heat has been hovering over the Great Plains like a vulture slowly circling its prey. Triple digit temperatures have dominated the forecast and I think you can actually see humidity rise up off the cornfields. I took shelter in the Dairy Queen the other afternoon to order myself a frozen treat. Little has changed inside the place since I was a kid. It was here that I would stop for a Mister Misty after those long days swimming at the public pool. On other hot summer days, Grandpa Rager would bring my brother and me here for an ice cream cone after helping him with chores. Standing there in line, I found comfort in the idea that I can still experience those moments again because this landmark of my youth continues to thrive…

dairy queen building 

Being back in Nebraska, I am constantly reminded of the history I share with my little rural community. With every corner I turn, there is a person or a place that triggers some memory from my past. I recently read an article on NET News about a trio from Omaha that are designing an app that will connect people with their community in an interesting way. Their project is called “Personal History Tours” and they are creating a “simple mobile application that utilizes audio, photography, and geography to guide users on city tours based on the lives and unique experiences of fellow citizens.”

That got me thinking about my community and the many stories it has to tell. This old pioneer town was built along the railroad with nothing more than hard work and a stubborn Swedish sensibility. The town thrived due to agriculture and commerce and it’s easy to bump into an elderly citizen who will remind you of that fact. 

With a Dilly Bar in hand, I set out on my own tour of Holdrege and wondered what other landmarks might trigger a sense memory. I had barely made it a few blocks when I stopped in front of the Holdrege City Auditorium…

auditorium

auditorium sign

 On cold winter weekends, my mom would drop me off for an afternoon of roller skating. The skate rental wasn’t more than the few quarters I had in my pocket and at the snack bar I would buy a Dr. Pepper and a pack of cherry Nibs that would fuel my energy for the day. It was here on the glistening waxed pine floors that I perfected my “backwards skate”, rocked the “limbo” and got sweaty palms every time the manager would announce on the PA system, “Couples Only. Girl’s choice.”

I proceeded north through the downtown and passed all the storefronts that were an integral part of my youth. I ended up at the Holdrege Public Library and stepped inside to see how much it had changed…

library

library sign2

It was within these walls that I learned to love words. As a kid I would check out books way beyond my reading level and take them home to copy the words in my Big Chief notepad, in hopes that it might expedite my writing skills. Not too long ago, in a box of things from my childhood I unearthed the first chapter of Danielle Steel’s 1983 novel, A Perfect Stranger scribbled down in my novice handwriting. I wonder what the librarians thought of my selection at the time of checkout. I probably said it was for my mom. I often threw her under the bus when I sought to do something not viewed as traditional.

I left the library and drove through Holdrege, passing by so many icons from my childhood: our yellow house on Blaine Street, the bowling alley on the edge of town, the elementary school I attended that is now slated to be demolished. I drove into the North Park, a brilliant green space that is a hub in our community…

north park statue

 

north park lake

I spent a lot of time here as a kid fishing with my brother, taking full advantage of the “Tornado Slide” and begging my grandpa to push me on the swings. There was also a defining moment in high school that took place at this park.

It was my junior year and I was asked to attend the Sadie Hawkins dance by a girl in my class. I had never been on a date and when she asked me, I recall my response resembled something from a slapstick sitcom as I looked over both shoulders presuming she was asking someone behind me. Turns out she really did want to go with me. I was over the moon. But I couldn’t have just been a normal kid and gone to the dance. I had to make it unnecessarily awkward. On the night of the dance, I picked up my date in my periwinkle blue Saab and told her I had a surprise. I drove her up to the North Park and had planned what I thought to be a very romantic gesture. The fall air was crisp that night and it was perfect weather to execute my plan. In my tape deck I had the cassingle of the 90’s hair band Mr. Big synced to play the song “Wild World”. I asked my date if she wanted our first dance to be at the park, before we got to the commons area of the high school. Like most people do, she looked at me like I was crazy. However, she was a good sport and we danced together in the headlights of the Saab on that chilly harvest night at the North Park.

Perhaps if this sign would have also outlawed dancing…

north park lake sign

I would have had more than that one date in high school.

After my brief tour, I was amazed at how our memories can be shaped by our environment. I realized my hometown is like a living scrapbook of my youth. The team at “Personal History Tours” has their finger on the pulse of how people relate to a city; whether it’s a person’s home or a stranger visiting. The stories we collect as we live our lives not only define us but they also define the places that surround us.

I am just one person with my own stories. What stories would you tell?

Check out the story on NET News about “Personal History Tour”

 Enjoy!

Scott Rager

Robert Scott Rager is a Nebraska native who returned home to start a boutique business called "County Seat Living". His personal goal for "County Seat" is to translate the lifestyle design he was creating in Los Angeles for the past twelve years and apply it to the sensibility of the Great Plains. Whether he's writing about decorating, homemade ice cream, floral creations, event planning or product design, he wants the personality and style of Nebraska to shine bright.

Lent For Kids: 40 Ways To Spend 40 Days

In: Featured, Kids
Cross with bird

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season leading to Easter. Our 3-year-old has been talking about the Easter bunny since January, when he finally understood that Christmas was over. While I’m happy he’s excited for the upcoming holiday, I really want to find some good, concrete ways to help him learn that this time of year is not only about bunnies and candy in eggs. So, I’ve decided to come up with 40 ways to spend the 40 days of Lent with kids. Some of these will work better with older children, while others are great for...

Keep Reading

Chocolate Pot de Crème

In: Featured, Kitchen

Chocolate and romance go hand in hand and with Valentine’s Day around the bend, why not have a beautifully simple and romantic dessert on the menu? With Valentine’s Day falling on a Saturday, it might be a little more difficult to get those reservations to go out to eat to celebrate. If you end up staying home, why not have an easy, romantic dessert to finish your meal? Made in a blender or food processor and refrigerated, this recipe is easy to make and the result can be a beautiful and elegant dessert that will put the perfect cap on...

Keep Reading

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

In: Featured, Kitchen

Written By:  Rachel Gnagy @ Inscribed Photography & Design (recipe originally from here) One of my favorite ‘girly’ meals to make is soup served in bread bowls. I love getting the Broccoli Cheese soup at Quizno’s (it’s healthy because it has broccoli, right?) and Panera’s Cream of Chicken & Wild Rice soup. YUM. So when I saw a recipe on Pinterest for creamy chicken and rice soup, I thought I would give it a try! You will need: 1 Tablespoon of olive oil 2-3 carrots, sliced 2 cloves of garlic, minced 5 cups of chicken stock 1 cup of cooked chicken,...

Keep Reading

Chicken Cordon Bleu for Two

In: Featured, Kitchen

Written By:  Rachel @ Inscribed Photography (Recipe originally from here) Valentine’s Day is coming up and with that in mind I wanted to bring you an easy, delicious meal for you and your special man. This recipe is by far the easiest Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe and it is super yummy too! Pair it with some steamed veggies on the side and something chocolatey for dessert and you’re all set for a romantic dinner for two. For the chicken, you will need: 2 chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise 8 slices of deli ham 8 slices of Swiss cheese 1...

Keep Reading

Easy Weeknight Beef Stroganoff

In: Featured, Kitchen

We all have those heirloom recipes we grew up with, but when you get married you inherit a whole new set of recipes your spouse grew up with, too. This stroganoff recipe is one that my husband grew up eating and then cooked frequently for himself before I took over in the kitchen. (ha.) He made it for me once while we were dating, and I will admit – I was super skeptical. Generally, these sorts of humble dishes aren’t my cup of tea – the ones made with cream-of canned soups and noodles. However, I tried it and was...

Keep Reading

Hanging Onto Hope: The Dream That Saved My Baby Girl

In: Faith, Featured, Journal, Kids
Hanging Onto Hope: The Dream That Saved My Baby Girl www.herviewfromhome.com

Family and friends often assure pregnant women that their “maternal instincts” can be relied on to guide them into motherhood. This previously undiscovered gift will reveal itself the first time she holds her child. As a mother of four I believe in this instinct, but also recognize that experience and wisdom help. The birth of our fifth child, Kinsley, has introduced me to another source of guidance and strength that I never anticipated. Kinsley was born the day after Christmas. She was pink, beautiful and certified by the medical staff as being in perfect health. She was welcomed with unconditional...

Keep Reading

Bow Your Head and Vote, Yes the Outcome is Rigged

In: Featured
Bow Your Head and Vote, Yes the Outcome is Rigged www.herviewfromhome.com

“Keep in mind this is God’s plan! And who am I to dare question God’s plan!” I say it over and over as I watch this mess unfold before me. This mess, America is calling an election. I have never been impressed with the two-party system. It allows too much power to a select few and limits our freedoms. So, as I watch and listen and pray, as Trump and Clinton march to the White House, I only hope more Americans now see the disaster that is the two-party system. Two people that should be sitting in jail are now...

Keep Reading

This Kick-Ass Cancer Survivor Shares 20 Easy Ways To Make Your Life Healthier Today

In: Featured, Health, Healthy Living, Mental Health, Motherhood
This Kick-Ass Cancer Survivor Shares 20 Easy Ways To Make Your Life Healthier Today www.herviewfromhome.com

I recently went through quite an experience with my health. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September of 2015. Following my diagnosis, I underwent a treatment regimen of chemotherapy, double mastectomy, and then, 28 rounds of radiation.  Before my diagnosis, I felt the healthiest I have probably, in my whole life. I was exercising regularly. Eating, conscious of my health. And after birthing three kids in 6 years, finding ways to focus on myself once again. And then — WHAM — cancer.  Excuuuuuuuuse me?!?! Cancer?!? I was, for all intents and purposes, a 33-year-old with great habits and a great...

Keep Reading

The Great Melt Down

In: Faith, Featured, Kids, Kitchen
The Great Melt Down www.herviewfromhome.com

When my brother Bobby and I were little kids, one of the great treats of summer was a journey to a neighboring town where my dad would buy each of us a hand-dipped ice cream cone. During the drive home, my mom would turn around from the front seat and point out drips that we back-seat-riders needed to lick up quick. I, the ever-eager pleaser, would anxiously eat my ice cream as quickly as possible, barely taking a breath between licks. Bobby, on the other hand, came up with the more reasonable response. He would grin at Mom and bite...

Keep Reading

The Best (and free) Drug Prevention Strategy

In: Featured, Health, Healthy Living, Kids, Relationships
The Best (and free) Drug Prevention Strategy www.herviewfromhome.com

A secret Facebook group has been uncovered by police that connects kids as young as 12 years-old to places where they can buy drugs. (see the link to the story at the end of this blog)  Shocking? Yes. Surprising? No. Kids find a way, don’t they? So what can we do? There are apps we can buy. There are rules we can make. There are punishments we can deliver.  Yet the best prevention of all is our relationship with our young people.  Time together, conversation, and honest sharing of our lives is the most effective way to influence our kids–even...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.