So this is my fifth year being up in Illinois and my fifth Ithaka Music Festival. It's been a privilege to watch the Festival change over the years. There are new faces coming out to the farm and new acts on the porch but there's always a snow cone in your hand and we can usually count on Dr. Pogue's Banjo making an appearance. Each and every year it's a treat but most years I find myself running around all afternoon. I've been a hot dog flipper, a lemonade re-filler, a face painter, an act announcer, and a busy body. I busy myself trying to get something done, getting worked up and sweaty, worrying about things that don't need to be worried about and then... it's over. Doesn't that seem weird, all that worry and busyness at a chill music festival that's so cheerful? And this year it seemed to be that I would be a busy body, worry wart again, but something wonderful happened.
We had some wonderful volunteers, Lindsey & Aaron Hand, Greg & Sara Anderson, and Allie & Rose that showed up and cooked hot dogs, made lemonade and served snow cones. Kent Peterson took on the responsibility of the sound system and handled all the techy stuff that I have never understood. Jessica Sims and Calvin Otto volunteered to take pictures and video. (ps.. most of the following pictures were taken by Jessica.) And I found myself sitting on the couch talking to Colleen Pogue, having a chat with a Sara and a Sarah over a snow cone and dancing to Disconnected's tunes with Lindsey Hand. I looked over as the sun was setting and I watched some of the kids running in the side yard playing games and enjoying the amazing weather we were blessed with and at that moment I finally got it. After five years I finally understood the glory of the Festival and the community that comes together through Ithaka Fellowship.
I share all of this because I felt God's grace, love and care on July 14th out at the Otto Farm. I witnessed His care through the community that gathered. I felt His love through the worship that was sung and the breeze at sunset. And I understood His grace towards me in those small moments when I realized what a gift I received that night. Sometimes it takes five years and 150 people out on a farm to learn that we can rest in God and that we don't have to busy ourselves to feel worthy. Thank you for giving me so much at the Music Festival, thank you for being such a big part of this memory, this Ebeneezer, this stone of remembrance and help. My heart is full of gratitude and I pray that you experienced some of the same. We would love to hear from you, let us know what your experience was like, favorite parts, why you come out every year. Drop us an email HERE.