Doing Something New

Have you recently done something you’ve never done before? Children are always trying something new…always learning. As we age, doing something different often becomes the exception rather than the rule.


We get stuck in our own little routines…or deep ruts for some of us. Often we avoid the opportunity to try something different. We go to the same restaurants, often ordering the same foods; we shop at the same stores, buy the same items, make the same recipes; work our same jobs, go to kids events and do our regular chores. Believe me, I’m in this rut too…until just the other day.


After attending Sunday services at Alder Grove United Methodist Church (where I’ve been a member for nearly 35 years and my husband and family have been lifetime members) I noticed the church yard was in serious need of mowing. This has never been a job I’ve done for the church…matter of fact…there are precious few people that have done this job in the LONG history of the congregation. Marion Loftis was the champion of all grounds-keepers as he faithfully mowed for probably 60 plus years with his wife Gladys by his side trimming. You can bet he wasn’t using a riding mower all those years either!


Of course there have been a few other mowers after Marion including Bob Anderson, for about 10 years and a few other “part timers” like me and they are all very much appreciated. It just happened that the yard needed mowing and I knew our current “mower man” Mike Nowacki was out of town, so I decided I could mow once. Well, if you know the Alder Grove Church grounds, it’s not just a simple little yard…there is a cemetery in the church yard, and of course trees, and a fence, a ramp, an outhouse (probably the newest one in Burt County) and of course tombstones! YIKES!


When you do something new you wonder “How do I do this? What are the rules, the guidelines, and the methods?” My biggest question was “Where do I start?” and then it became…”Where do I stop?” When mowing at home I know if I haven’t mowed there this year and it’s overgrown that means I SHOULD NOT mow there or I’ll be paying for mower repairs. At the church it was a new game plan because you don’t know the risks or the boundaries for sure. I figured the fence was my guiding edge, but I was wrong…there was mowing on the other side of the fence, including the field road!


Then you find out about the risks…how close you can or should be to the fence, if my big mower will fit between ____ and ____ (fill in the blanks) and then you look back and realize you just mowed over a large concrete hole!  Oh, not just one…at least 7 of them!

It turns out they were used to hold the hitching posts to tie up the horses, etc. when they came to church. I would have loved to see that!


Here I am, riding along in the sunshine on the windy hillside, watching fluffy clouds against the bright blue sky as the background for the pretty white church. I couldn’t help feeling so incredibly peaceful taking in all this beauty. Of course that was on the South side of the church…the North and West sides were pounded with hail this past June and the siding, windows and roof tell the sad story.


The history of the church and especially the cemetery made this job especially interesting, as well as challenging. Mowing around tombstones marking deaths in 1880 and before. Wondering why so many young children died and feeling a little uneasy driving over the graves of the fathers and mothers of this church community. Was I reverent enough as I mowed? What could they tell me about Alder Grove in those days? (Not that I wanted any of them to speak up while I mowed!)


With a little help from my husband Steve and Marge Sommerer (who stopped by to make sure everything was tuned off after services that day) we got some of the heaviest grass swept up (she had brooms, not rakes, but we made do) and it looked much better…after four hours of effort.


Considering this job is just one of many that keeps this and any church going I’m trying to decide how to share this renewed appreciation with the Jr.-Sr. High Sunday School class we teach. We may be doing a project of some sort to enhance their appreciation as well!


Doing something new has its risks, but it also has its rewards. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Be a little more child-like!


As Nate Berkus an interior designer and TV personality said: “You will enrich your life immeasurably if you approach it with a sense of wonder and discovery, and always challenge yourself to try new things.



Mary Loftis,

Extension Assistant
UNL Extension – Burt County
111 North 13th Street, Suite 6
Tekamah, NE 68061
Phone: (402) 374-2929

Fax: (402) 374-2930


Mary Loftis

Mary Loftis

About katcountryhub
I am a graduate of Northeast Community College with a degree in journalism. I am married to Jeff Gilliland. We have two grown children, Justin and Whitney and four grandchildren, Grayce, Grayhm, Charli and Penelope. I will be covering Lyons, Decatur, Bancroft and Rosalie and am hoping to expand my horizons as time progresses!

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