Thursday, September 27, 2012

Marigold Meadows on the Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive

The first two full weekends in October is the anniversary of the Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive. This festival “celebrates the history of the people, land and river at the heart” of Fulton County, Illinois where I was raised and has drawn tens of thousands of people each year.
In 1915, Edgar Lee Masters published his Spoon River Anthology, which would eventually introduce the region to a worldwide audience. Masters, the observer, poet, author, and attorney, grew up in Spoon River County during the 1890s, experiencing the beauty of its hills and valleys and the ironies of the small-town folks. The Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive traverses this landscape that Masters knew winding amid both subtle scenery and the occasional spectacular views.

The annual event attracts visitors from all over the world for fall scenery, arts, crafts, music, food, produce, historic sites, museums, old-time farming, collectibles, antiques, and dramatic readings from Masters’ Anthology. – Fulton County, Illinois Visitor’s Guide ( and


Noted for Art Jones’ demonstrations of old-time farming with draft horses, a working sawmill, home of common and not so common barnyard animals, and Marcia Jones’ lip-smackin’, poppin’ fresh pies cooked in a wood burning oven, Marigold Meadows is one of the “hot spots” on the Scenic Drive. Fulton County has always been in my blood, but Marigold Meadows is the place where Gary and I now call home. Having recently purchased Marigold Meadows, we’re even more excited about the Scenic Drive than ever before!

This year, on October 6 & 7, 13 & 14th, shimmering fall colors will once again be the back-drop for:
· multiple teams of mighty draft horses harvesting fields and working the ground for next year’s crops.
· a sawmill abuzz preparing lumber for future buildings.
· kittens and cows, goats and pigs, chickens, peacocks and more showing off their barnyard home.
· a new addition to the farm this year, blacksmiths will be fanning the flames necessary to forge iron for farm equipment repairs and household needs.
· farmhands demonstrating their skills: Spinning, weaving, and candlestick makers are a few of the possibilities.
Marigold Meadows is a busy, yet enjoyable place to be.
You may even have the chance to drive a horse,
ride a horse drawn wagon, hand-pick corn, spin some wool and more!

It’s not easy for me to choose a favorite activity on the farm. For me, working the horses is just as rewarding as baking a pie. Speaking of pies and favorite activities… I’ve heard it said by many visitors that delighting in the results of the enticing aroma wafting from the log cabin is hard to beat! Can you imagine baking 80 fruits pies in a wood burning oven in one day? It happens at Marigold Meadows and we would come near to bettin’ ya that Marcia’s results can’t be matched for miles around! We double dare ya to come for a bite or two and taste for yourself!

It doesn’t get much better than sitting around a campfire with family and friends on a cool autumn night listening to knee slappin’ music. That’s what we do Saturday evenings on the farm and we’d love to have you join us!

Some people refer to their trip to Marigold Meadows as “stepping back in time;” we call it “living the Whole-Hearted Life today!”

You can find more information about, a map to Marigold Meadows and read more about living the whole-hearted life at You may also contact us at

If you’d like more hands-on experience driving horses, planting gardens, canning, making soap, etc, we’re making plans to offer classes, as well as opportunities for you to come stay a spell for extended learning. We’d love to hear from you if you have an interest in teaching, learning or reminiscing about living the Whole-Hearted Life.



P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: You may also contact me at:

Bonnie Jaeckle

In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life

Diagonal Progress

505 Jefferson St.

Diagonal, IA 50845


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Counting the Cost

Our filly, Wonder will soon be 5 months old. In order to wean her, I moved her out of the barnyard which she shared with her momma, Nettie and “step-papa”, Ponyo. As I closed the gate behind us, Nettie and Ponyo became very agitated and began to whinny. Regardless, Wonder responded to my command to walk away. In order to get to the other barn, Wonder and I walked about a third of a mile. She occasionally hesitated a bit and whinnied, but never resisted my leading. If I were in her shoes, I’d have been thinking:

I really like this place; why do I have to leave it?
Where are you taking me?
Why do I have to leave my loved ones behind?
What will this new place be like?
Will I have what I need?
What will I do there?
Will there be anyone whom I know?
Will I be all alone?

As Wonder and I made our way through the field, I was amazed that she was so responsive to my commands and receptive of my reassurance. Considering Wonder’s astonishing trust, I began to ponder the cost of following Jesus and questioned if I have nearly the faith in my Master that Wonder seems to have in me.

As they were walking along the road, a man said to Him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:57-62).

The cost of following Jesus is always “pricey”.
Walking away from what feels safe and familiar is never easy.
Leaving behind those whom you love is often gut wrenching.
Stepping into an unfamiliar world can feel like one of the most risky things that we’re ever called to do.

Yet, we are commanded, Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus is a challenge, especially when we are experiencing major transitions in life. As we make the necessary adjustments, it seems that we are more prone to getting distracted and off on the wrong path. Proverbs 4:25-27 warns,

Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.
Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.
Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

As uncertain as Wonder must have been, I marveled at the fact that she never looked back, balked nor attempted to dart off in a different direction. It was as if she knew that my intentions were not to jeopardize her, but were for her wellbeing. Just as my familiar voice and gentle words reassured Wonder, as I go through the necessary physical and emotional changes which commonly accompany a major life change, I must keep in mind that my heavenly Father has a panoramic view of my future that I don’t have:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

In our humanness there are always “what ifs”:

What if I’ve taken the wrong turn?
What if I move to fast or too slow?
What if I miss what God has in mind for me?

We can be assured, however, Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21


P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: You may also contact me at:
Bonnie Jaeckle
In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
Diagonal Progress
505 Jefferson St.
Diagonal, IA 50845

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Move of God

The whole idea behind this column is to write about what God is teaching me regarding The Whole-Hearted Life. As Gary & I have sought to understand and personally live this out, through the last number of years, God has been leading us into a deeper understanding of Whole-Hearted Living within a community of believers. In the last year or two, He has guided us into several situations which seemed to be opportunities to live in such a setting; yet each time He seemed to close the door shortly after He opened it. Not understanding, we were hurt, confused and disappointed. I have to admit that after this happened a time or two we were also even a little embarrassed that we had shared our excitement with others only to learn that it wasn’t unfolding the way in which we had anticipated. In time, the Lord revealed that whenever He opened a door, He was using the anticipation to prepare us for what would come… down the road. It was like He was saying to us, “Oh, I was just checking”; yet, each open door led us to ask a lot of questions and deep soul searching:

Are we truly ready for this?
Are we willing to relocate, if necessary?
Are we able and willing to accept others where they are?
Are we willing to adjust from being quite isolated to being surrounded by others daily?
Are we willing to consider all that He has provided for us as provision for others, as well?

The process of wrestling through it each time was being used to build a necessary foundation within our hearts for His future plans. Once we realized this, we were no longer embarrassed by what seemed to be wishy-washiness on our part. In fact, any time someone questioned us with, “I thought you were planning to ….,” we came to a point of responding, “We thought so too, but evidently God was “just checking” again. While our hearts ached for fellowship with like-minded people, finally we were resting and waiting for Him while accepting whatever He set before us as “ground work”.

As most of us know, life is full and busy which causes us to lose touch with people we’ve known though the years, including family. This was true for me and my brother, Art who is 10 years older than I. Over the last year or so, however, Art and I have had more opportunities to visit and become reacquainted as adults. We’ve learned that we have a great deal in common regarding our spiritual beliefs, institutionalized “Church”, governmental regime, approach to health, living simply and off the land, love for music, etc. With each conversation, our hearts have been drawn closer to one another, coming to a point that a day doesn’t seem complete without touching base. We began to talk about how much fun and helpful it would be if we lived closer to one another. Art and his wife, Marcia have plenty of experience living off the land and we knew that if we could pool our time, energy and resources to work along side of one another, it would be helpful to all of us. The more we talked and prayed about it, the more it seemed obvious that God had been planning this all along. I would have never imagined that this was what He had in mind.

The four of us began to look for property near to Art & Marcia’s farm. While there were acreages available, none close enough for conveniently working together daily. One day, when Art called, I answered the phone jokingly saying, “I know, you have found the perfect property for us!” He responded, “Yep and it is right here!” He was standing on 12.5 acres on the backside of his farm. He shared that he was planning to sell this property in three more years, but felt strongly that the Lord was saying, “The time is now!” He also shared that through the years as he spent hours clearing the land, building the buildings etc. that he really didn’t know why he felt so driven about doing it. He “just knew” that he was supposed to set other things aside in order to get it done. Before we hung up he said, “I can’t imagine having any body better than the two of you living back there. Please pray about it.” To Gary & me the answer came quickly, “This is what I’ve been preparing you for.”

The move of God never ceases to amaze me!

We are excited about entering into this new chapter of our lives at Marigold Acres in Lewistown, IL. I’m sure that many of my future articles will come out of what God is teaching us here. I hope you stay tuned to hear about how He continues to move in our lives.


P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: You may also contact me at:
Bonnie Jaeckle
In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
Diagonal Progress
505 Jefferson St.
Diagonal, IA 50845

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Dysfunctional Family Wheel – Part 4 Find Healing for Addiction While Helping Your Spouse Adjust

Over the last three weeks I’ve written about how the spouse is affected when an addict begins to find healing. It is also necessary to address how the addict can continue to find healing while helping the spouse adjust to the frightening changes? I’m going to list-out some necessary steps for the addict to take, however I’m not suggesting a cookie cutter plan that guarantees specific results. Taking these steps is not to be for the purpose of manipulating the spouse, rather to help the addict recognize what is necessary for his/her own healing and to create an environment that is most conducive to the healing of the spouse. In doing so, it is necessary that the addict:

  • Ask for forgiveness for all the ways in which the addiction has affected the life of the family.
    • It doesn’t really matter how the spouse responds, what’s important is that the addict humbly verbalizes the recognized impact of his/her behavior.
    • Asking for forgiveness also requires a response, placing the spouse in a position to consider whether or he/she is ready/willing to forgive. The addict needs to be prepared to understandingly accept that the spouse may not be ready.
  • Affirm that
It is impossible to live with an addicted person and not be affected,
but it is very possible, with God's help,
to live with an addict and not be controlled by his/her addiction.

Explain that his/her desire is to help the spouse come to this point of freedom.
  • Help the spouse to recognize that the time, energy and resources that he/she has spent trying to change and protect the addict has not worked, therefore changes are necessary.
  • Point out to the spouse that rescuing prolongs the inevitable. Giving specific examples, the addict needs to help the spouse to see that even though it may feel unloving, it is absolutely necessary for the recovery of the entire family for the spouse to stop rescuing:
    • “If I miss work, do not call-in for me. I realize that this may be difficult because we all suffer the consequences if I lose my job, but accountability for my choices it is necessary for my recovery.”
    • “Please do not continue to lie to people about my behavior. If I’m in bed drunk, I need for you to be honest about my true condition.”
    • “If I request money to purchase alcohol, I need for you to deny my request.”
  • Explain how important it is to sobriety that an addict remains committed to meetings, sponsorship relationships etc., yet, assure the spouse that he/she is loved and that time with him/her is necessary. Jointly determine a time together that can best be worked into the schedule.
  • While open and honest dialogue is essential and can be necessarily painful, it often leads to disagreements, arguing, digging-up old circumstances and blaming. Make a commitment to not fall into this trap, but to remain available for loving, constructive conversations even when it hurts.
  • Describe the deep guilt that he/she already feels and help the spouse understand that heaping more guilt upon him/her does not help, but is emotionally and spiritually debilitating. Help the spouse to realize that maintaining a focus on redeeming virtues would be far more helpful than the paralyzing guilt!

Don’t wait for your spouse to change in order to move ahead in your healing.
God seems to use the healing of one person to begin the process in another.

As you make changes in how you approach your addiction, it forces your spouse to begin to re-evaluate and make changes in his/her approach. Don’t assume that this means that your spouse will choose to seek healing, he/she may not. You can’t control the outcome. As difficult as it may be to accept, your only responsibility is to stay focused on what God has for you and leave His plan for your spouse up to Him. He is sovereign and His plan and timing is perfect for both of you!


P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: You may also contact me at:
Bonnie Jaeckle
In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
Diagonal Progress
505 Jefferson St.
Diagonal, IA 50845