WHAT IS A "HERITAGE"? Is it where we lived or how we lived? Is it how we dressed, or the sports we played, TV shows or movies we watched, music we listened to or sang? Is it the people that were popular during our life time? Is it riches, fame, or fortune?

To us heritage means something from the past that enriched our lives. Things in our parents' [and grandparents' and even great-parents'] lives that were passed on to us. The dictionary says that a heritage is: her-i-tage

noun 1: property that is or can be inherited: inheritance.

2: something other than property passed down from preceeding generations: legacy: tradition.

3: the status or lot acquired by a person through birth; birthright: a heritage of affluence and position.

We can say, then, that our heritage is an abundance of wealth handed down to us from God through our parents' lives...The greatest heritage you [our parents and forebears] gave us was humbling yourselves before God and letting us see God in you through your lives. The Bible says to give honor to those to whom honor is due. So we honor you, because of Jesus in you. God, who is in you and in us, gets all the glory because other nations, tribes, and tongues will lift their voices to praise His wonderful name [because of your Christlike example, and giving of your lives, efforts, prayers, and personal witness for the sake of spreading the Gospel and Christ's kingdom]. Oh God, help us to live YOUR heritage in our lives before our children and others. Help us to continue to pass on the only true heritage which is Jesus Christ.

The Vision of Plain View Heritage Farm, by Ronald Ginther.

I wonder how this will come out, but I wonder if there will be another better time than this, Christmas 2010. Perhaps not. Now is the Day of Salvation, the Bible says. Now is the Day of the Vision's Fulfilment too. What Vision? My vision for Plain View Farm is what I am talking about. I have had it for many years now, and not seen it come to pass, but I won't give it up. Long ago, in the early 1960's I read the classic, "Giants in the Earth," by Ole Rolvaag, a nationally-recognized Scandinavian-American writer who attended the same school I did in Canton, when it was called Augustana College (the college part later moved to Sioux Falls, leaving the Normal School, or Academy, which I attended and graduated from in 1960). Well, that book was one of the influences that started something in me, which never died. It grew and grew, despite all my wanderings in sin and losing direction in life and running from the Lord and his will for my life. What Ole Rolvaag's great Norwegian-American classic sparked in my soul had to do with heritage, reviving what our Norwegian Stadem forebears had experienced and founded in this Dakota prairie land and in godly, self-sacrificing lives of ceaseless toil and enduring, never bending faith.

I wasn't old when I had the vision (and saw that it was a Vision), and now I am truly old, but I ask the Lord to stand by me in giving what I can to you, from my heart. I know that last phrase may mean nothing but a phrase to a lot of you, but it means everything to God, I know. So I speak from my heart as sincerely as I can. How I yearn to see Stadems, with that special Viking Stadem look they have, standing up before the dying world and proclaiming the Gospel in song and story and even jokes and reminiscences of life on Plain View Farm. The world is yearning in turn for this saga, but it has been denied all these many years since my beloved grandparents departed this earth for a better country.

In them, for them, through them the Vision will take root and spread and cover the whole land with His Glory, using our golden heritage that God has given us as a legacy and responsibility to share with everyone, not keeping it to ourselves and sitting on it and letting the world eat away at it until it is gone, but using it as bait and lure to draw countless dying and needy souls to the Lord Jesus.


We need to restore the old rocker

To the front porch of years long ago,

Where toddlers could rock their dollies

And big Sis might court her beau.

That old porch was filled with laughter

As the rocker creaked the years away,

Where neighbors would smile and greet you

In a warm and friendly way.

This musical rhythm of movement

Could sooth our anger and stress

And solve life's pressing problems,

Putting troubled hearts to rest.

--Elisabeth Weaver Winstead, Nashville, Tennessee (lyrics amended slightly)

AMEN to Elizabeth's sentiments! Remember the creaky old rocking chair of Grandma or Grandpa? Did you ever climb in your grandparent's lap to hear the Bible stories read to you? It often sat in the parlor close by the parlor stove or perhaps on the porch during the long, hot summers, and was used a lot. Did you mom or dad, sitting on the sofa or an overstuffed chair, continue the tradition with you? Or a beloved Aunt or Uncle? I had many beloved Aunts and Uncles, but can't say they ever did this for me, but I wasn't around them enough, my family having moved far away to the West Coast when I was just a couple weeks old. But I can tell that this beloved tradition has been sadly laid aside in most families, which are no longer traditional and certainly not "extended"--meaning that in Western societies there are no longer households containing several generations, with grandparents, and even some aunts, uncles, and possibly a cousin or two). How can the wonderful godly heritage be passed to the younger generation, if these older folks are not present, or the families live hundreds or even thousands a miles away from parents and grandparents? It just won't happen by itself, you need the transmitter, the older folks! They aren't something you can subsitute. You must have the real thing, the real people. But say you don't have living parents and grandparents--that can happen in this sad world. Well, adopt yourself in this wonderful, sharing, giving Stadem heritage. There is room for you! There is ample room. Come in, friend, and enjoy what God has given us so richly!

If you love God, you will love what God loves. God doesn't drum things into you--it is love that motivates all he does and all we should do. If you love God, you will love what God loves. God loves the Gospel, God loves righteousness, God loves godly heritage, God loves Israel, God loves the souls he has created to be his sons and daughters. That's what God loves. Do you love what God loves? Then you love God! It is that simple.

Now here is a recent tribute to our golden heritage. You don't see rocking chairs on their porches, if they have porches at all. The tradition used to be a very strong one--and perhaps should be revived if possible, due to all the benefits to children that are involved. Ron Ginther has a new poem describing this great past tradition, inspired by the little rocking chair, which has been retired for the most part to fond memories or years ago to the attic in some old house or barn.

"Remember?" or, "The Old Rocking Chair," by Ron Ginther

Tributes Central

Plain View Heritage Farm, where "Have a Nice Day!" is happily hitched to "Don't Worry!"


In the picture above, you can see the big, vine-covered porch at the Stadems. All farms have barns, right? But farmhouses also have porches! So do most houses in farming communities and small towns, for the farmers didn't give up porches and rocking chairs when they retired and moved into town. There is a good reason for this porch tradition--for farmers haven't been known in the past for expending their resources on luxuries and architectural ornamentation. They saw that porches were indispensable, a necessity of life--that's why they built them on their houses. It was that simple.

Porches were wonderful places, the old-fashioned kind, screened or not. They make a house look beautiful and inviting and friendly. They were places of protection, conversation (private or not) rest, food and refreshment, hospitality, fun and games, sleeping during hot, humid nights, and...the list goes on and on. Here is a fresh new poem about porches as an American invention that surpasses many others you can name for usefulness and increasing human welfare and happiness.

"Porches," Dedicated to Stadem Cousin Sylvia Fjelstad Yuge by Ron Ginther


Stadem Daughter Estelle's God's Little Acres is the opening storyline to which Pearl's stories will inter-connect all pages thereafter like a river that flows through it. Ron's writings will come along into the narrative flow to add more color, humor, and many tributes to the overall story.

Please start with Estelle's writings that form the entrance to Plain View Heritage Farm, lest you miss discovering the "explosive secret" of the whole Stadem story that caused us to want to get it out to you in the first place. If you should miss it, you will gain really no idea why the websites were created and what they set out to show you. It is just not heritage but God's workings in individual lives for his glory and their own spiritual gain. Instead of scattered impressions and random facts and occasional views of farm life on the Dakota heartland flats, you are meant to gain a whole new insight into the marvelous, tapestry-like weaving of Providence in the lives of the Stadem family and particularly Alfred Stadem.

Would you want to miss that? I seriously doubt it!

We invite you now take off your coats or jackets and come in to the parlor, which is a typical, unpretentious Scandinavian farm household's where nobody needs to be anything but themselves, sign the guest book at one of the different opportunities, we and help yourself to big portions of Mama Stadem's Apple Crunch, or Lemon Cake, or even her fabulous whipped-cream- smothered rhubarb torte! Even her pea salad could qualify as a dessert, she was such a superb cook! And we can't help but mention her doughnuts and coffee, and paper thin Norwegian pancakes smothered in her own special sour cream and brown sugar syrup!

Food aside for the moment, I simply wish to show you how large this virtual farm is compared to the actual size, which was a rather small property even when it was a working farm. Nowadays, farms in the Dakotas are giant agribusinesses, but Plain View Farm was the small, tidy, traditional farm that we have known and loved and can never forget. That was the farm, and it never changed, thank God, into something modern and fully automated, with machines doing everything, and humans the least part of the whole complex operation.

After our start twelve or more years ago [it is now more than 16 years ago, beginning in 1997--Ed.], this heritage site is still a work in progress! We will be working on it until? Can't say! As long as we are alive and kicking on this old earth, I guess.

But we know for sure we'll drop what we are doing the moment Jesus Christ returns for us singly or collectively for us. May each of us be at the Lord's Table for those eternal refreshments that are sure to be shining there amidst golden plates and diamond cutlery and magnficent bouquets of heaven's flowers.

What will the menu include? It is hard to say, but simply being present will be the greatest honor and joy to share with all others at that table. What a feast our eyes will be given, as we look round at friends and family and other fellow believers in Christ the Savior! That will be just the beginning course of the banquet.

Certainly, there will come the climax of the meal when we all partake of the fellowship of our Heavenly Father Himself, thanks to Christ's great sacrifice upon the cross for you and me. We can only pray and hope that we, while still living on this old earth, we played a role in giving a word, help or answer to someone's prayer that might aid him or her in the journey toward the Lord's banqueting table on that great day.

Until then, we simply trust that we are somehow doing our little part in the work of these pages of the Plain View Heritage Farm. Only God Himself knows how much the Lord by way of the Holy Spirit will be able to use the message found within these pages--a message that is earthy and also heavenly, amusing and also giving food for thought. If there remain any questions and mysteries we can't decipher now, we will just have to wait until the grand unfolding of all God's purposes in Heaven to find out or see the complete story of God's grace in all our lives.

Yet Plain View Farm gives Alfred Stadem's divine encounter with his God, all happening with the context of a deep family tragedy of two simultaneous deaths of the ones closest to his heart. Please don't miss that, for it is the pivot for all the rest of the Stadem saga, and it can be found on Praire Farm and also the Plain View Farm Musical Drama.

Until we meet again, God bless you and keep you or restore you in good health physically, and spiritually. Lastly, thank-you for paying us a visit at Plain View Heritage Farm in order to share and enjoy the treasures of this golden heritage. Just as over the many years the farm's corn, wheat, potatoes, livestock, milk and cream, and other bounties blessed the world and nourished many thousands of people, so may her spiritual bounties now pour forth to nourish even more people than ever before!

Most of all, know that you are loved, by us and Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord!

--In Christ's Love,

Ronald D. Ginther

Grandson of Alfred and Bergit Stadem

More on the Vision:

Reflections on Plain View Farm, by Ron Ginther

Our Vision for the Future

Our Heritage

"Passing the Torch," by Ron Ginther, a Tribute

The kind of love our Heritage Center must be founded on:

"It Must Be," a Tribute to Mim Rinderknecht, by Cousin Ron Ginther

Plain View Heritage Home Pages: The Introductory

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