The Cairn Challenge

Last week when it was a little more sunny, but still not very warm, we looked at the forecast and hurried to get seeds in the ground.

In the middle of the planting fun, there went out a decree that all the rocks should be picked. This is not an uncommon springtime activity, but our one rental field runs beside a little river and has thousands of river rocks which is a fairly daunting task when one is picking rocks alone.

So the troops were rallied. Mr Good, Em, a trusty John Deere tractor and I set out to take the rocks by storm.

In the middle of our rock picking marathon, Mr Good and the tractor got summoned to load a seed truck, so Em and I were left to entertain ourselves until they returned.

We systematically moved across the field creating piles of rocks to be thrown into the bucket and hauled to the edge of the field once we were full staffed again.

I went one way and Em went another. And suddenly appeared a tower on the horizon.

Em was at work. (Photo credit to her for a number of these pics)

I didn’t feel threatened by her Leaning Tower of Pisa, but soon I found a legit beam in my rock gathering and immediately the perfect photo opportunity idea starting growing in my mind.

But since everything turns into a competition…

Em came over to look at my work and as luck would have it, my artwork collapsed as she arrived and she has multiple videos of a somewhat harried KH frantically attempting to prop up her rock tower.

Em said mine ended up more of a rock pile instead of a rock stack. But I didn’t agree to any rules at the beginning of this contest, so I wasn’t actually disqualified. And I got my pic:

Within minutes, the tractor was back from its seed run and Em ceremoniously drove over my little construction site. And we both laughed at how much fun grown women can having stacking rocks. I guess it’s up to you to judge who won, because I can’t give an unbiased opinion here.

Our rock stacks brought back to mind the rocks I’ve seen along trails, and roads, and just all over the place whenever I travel. So I looked it up and this is what google informed me:

Stacked rocks, more commonly known as Cairns, placed along the trail signify that you are on the right track. It is a marker guiding you to the correct path or trail in cases where navigation becomes difficult and the trail may be easily lost.

There are people in my life who are legit “cairns” who carefully, boldly place the stones from their story to erect a skyscraper to remind me that I’m on the right trail.

“I was there, but for grace, I’m here… carry on” they call out encouragingly.

I hope I’m faithful to use the rocks in my life to testify. If the lessons that life is teaching me can encourage others to stay focused on the right trail, there’s so much to be gained by being willing to share.

Thank you, Jesus, for grace.


Bonus Pics:

Me: it’s almost like there’s the outline of fingers in the clouds this morn
My dad: maybe Gods reminding us He has us in the palm of His Hand

First official grill out was a success and Deb even grabbed a pic to prove it.

And us, every time our fam gets together… thanks Ben for the photo 😂

A Woman of Noble Character, 2020 Edition; Proverbs 31

10Who can find a virtuous and capable woman in a pandemic? She is more precious than gold.

11Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.

12She brings him good, not harm,all the days of her life.

13She finds her children’s school assignments and carefully reviews it with them.

14She is like a merchant’s ship, ordering her supplies from afar. (Thanks Amazon Prime) she fears no food shortage, her pantry is full.

15She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s activities for her family.

16She’s does careful research before investing in the stock market, with her earnings she plants a garden.

17She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.

18She’s not afraid to purchase large quantities of chicken offered by local poultry growers; her lamp burns late into the night. No one goes hungry on her watch

19Her hands are busy with quarantine projects, her fingers aren’t afraid to try something new. (Like learning a new crochet pattern)

20She extends a helping hand to the poor at the food pantry; notices and befriends the one who needs encouragement; and opens her arms to make masks for the needy.

21She has no fear of the May winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes;the most vulnerable plants in her garden are covered; and she trusts in God to protect the rest.

22She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns although all social events are canceled.

23Her husband is well known in the town, even when social distancing keeps him away.

24 She keeps an eye on Facebook Marketplace when the options for thrifting and yardsaling for her children’s clothes aren’t possible this year. She makes belted linen garments and sashes for her family, they dress well.

25She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she shrugs at the conspiracy theories around her; laughs without fear of the future.

26When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. Her life is full of peace.

27She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.

28Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:

29“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”

30Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.

31Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend to the numerous ladies who’ve blessed my life, but especially my darling Mother- I’m so thankful for you ❤️

Student Ray and Career Day

Years ago, Mother gifted one of my sisters with a Fisher-Price barn set. Lancaster Co didn’t have anything on us after that- as we created the most pristine farm scenes on the kitchen floor. Our animals were well fed with Cheerios or whatever cereal mother had on hand.. We were the best farmers around.

The farm set doesn’t get quite as much use these days- our little visitors don’t hesitate to get the animals out and set up shop whenever they get a chance, and I’ve been know to get it out occasionally

That accident-prone Farmer Stan was one good reason. (More about that book here) My sisters were pretty sure that the tractor rollover and ambulance scene in this one would traumatize children. But I don’t think we realized how tough children are. I’ve even enjoyed watching my cousin and his adorable daughter in his living room acting out Farm Stan’s ambulance ride to the hospital 😂 I sure hated to tell my fam about that video 😉😂

Round 2 happened when Farmer Stan waded into an equipment war via poetry and tried to decide which brand of equipment was best. That post is here.

And so Farmer Stan is well established. But it so happens that I have an adorable nephew named Isaiah Stan AND an adorable nephew named Uriah Ray. See my predicament?

Enter my bargain shark sister Julia who discovered an entire Fisher-Price gold mine in the Bargain Buys in the newspaper and proceeded to buy herself multiple sets as well as a different one for each of her sisters. And my need to “even the score on the book” detail.

The stage is set to introduce to you: Student Ray.

Student Ray is a schoolboy with an assignment to select a profession for Dress Up/ Career Day. He interviews everybody and their brother to get a variety of ideas for job opportunities.

Aunt Em has advice…

And Grandfather has advice…

Aunt Deb even speaks in Spanish… (and yes I did actually drag these toys the entire way to Nicaragua for this pic 🙈)

He gets the plus side on custom harvesting, roofing, becoming a pilot, and a number of other jobs.

But in the end Mama sings him a little song ( found here ) which may or may not have been the foundation for this entire book 😉

I won’t ruin the punch line by telling you who Reader Ray decides to be. But Em declares the ending “cheesy” 😂 and it is.

But the truth is- no matter what life brings to my little men- I pray that they chose to be what this world needs most- another godly man ❤️

Luv you buddies,

Aunt Ken

Bonus Pics:

I had so much help with this project. Occasionally more help than I wished for:

And Jul insisted that I include her sneaky photography too… so this is her addition to my project 😝

And on a completely unrelated note- we enjoyed our first radishes from the garden. I get all starry-eyed over that initial toast, butter, radishes, salt and pepper sandwiches 😍

My mom: I never could grow decent radishes until I learned about German Radishes. These came from Berlin.

My dad crunching away in his sandwich: East Berlin or West Berlin?

My mom looking confused: Ohio! Berlin Seeds 🤷🏻‍♀️

Us: Ooooooh

So much for German Cuisine 😂

And finally I made the picture perfect s’more the other eve… Expectation:

vs Reality 😩 Dumb dog rocketed in out of nowhere🤷🏻‍♀️


April’s (few) Activities

To our friend scattered to and fro

Hello from the beautiful Shenandoah Valley where March was May and April was March 😅

We’ve enjoyed the cold and the wind and battled the drear as best we could.

The rye came off at our home place and we are thankful.

Our replacement help made their first appearance on the crew. They didn’t last very long, but at least they’ve showed up. 😉

My friend Ben arrived just as we finished chopping and proceeded to empty our pit. This injector rig is something different for our farm.

Doesn’t it look good? We’re excited to see what yield increases we get from injecting all the nutrients directly in the ground. Now we are ready to plant corn if it ever warms up.

I enjoyed a small get together with several of my cousins at my little cabin. A tiny group in a tiny house with a couch full of tiny people, haha. Family is such a blessing.

We also had a tailgate party with the Bible Reading Accountability Group I’m a part of. We are reading thru the Bible in a year and using the Bible Recap. I’m loving it. Each day after the Scripture reading there’s a 6-8 minute podcast where Tara Leigh Cobble explains different things about the daily reading. She has a way of clarifying the Old Testament and pointing out different truths and explaining Jewish traditions and describing geographical regions. Each day she points us to a truth of God’s character and reminds us that “ He’s where the Joy is.” It’s been a real source of encouragement to me. And knowing my friends are gonna check in with me keeps my feet to the fire.

Basically the cold has slowed down the farming, and the quarantine has slowed down my traveling. (Who are we kidding- my traveling habit has been killed dead as a doornail.) So I’m spending my days housecleaning and checking in on my cute little nephews.

Lone fisherman at the neighbors pond

Today on the way to our tailgate party, I laughed at how excited I was to see people. I think that’s one of the gifts that Quarantine will leave me with- a deep appreciation for the opportunity to spend time with friends. I hope I don’t forget that soon.

I’m on a quest to see what all positive things this Quarantine time is gifting me. May you discover gifts from Q too. No matter how long this lasts- just remember “He’s where the joy is.”

Praise Him,


Let Us Remember

Joel 1:3 Tell your children about it in the years to come, and let your children tell their children. Pass the story down from generation to generation.

Every now and then I see this post show up in my Facebook feed:

“Just so I NEVER forget….. April 13, 2020: Gas price a mile from home was $1.70
School cancelled – yes cancelled
Self-distancing measures on the rise.
Tape on the floors at grocery stores and others to help distance shoppers (6ft) from each other.
Limited number of people inside stores, therefore, lineups outside the store doors.
Non-essential stores and businesses mandated closed.
Parks, trails, entire cities locked up.
Entire sports seasons cancelled.
Concerts, tours, festivals, entertainment events – cancelled.
Weddings, family celebrations, holiday gatherings – cancelled.
No masses, churches are closed.
No gatherings of 50 or more, then 20 or more, now 10 or less.
Don’t socialize with anyone outside of your home.
Children’s outdoor play parks are closed.
We are to distance from each other.
Shortage of masks, gowns, gloves for our front-line workers.
Shortage of ventilators for the critically ill.
Panic buying sets in and we have no toilet paper, no disinfecting supplies, no paper towel no laundry soap, no hand sanitizer.
Shelves are bare.
Manufacturers, distilleries and other businesses switch their lines to help make visors, masks, hand sanitizer and PPE.
Fines are established for breaking the rules.
Stadiums and recreation facilities open up for the overflow of Covid-19 patients.
Government incentives to stay home.
Barely anyone on the roads.
People wearing masks and gloves outside. This is the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic, declared March 11th, 2020. Why, you ask, do I write this status? One day it will show up in my memory feed, and it will be a yearly reminder that life is precious and not to take the things we dearly love for granted We have so much!
Be thankful. Be grateful.
Be kind to each other – love one another – support everyone.”

We enjoyed a very nontraditional Easter Celebration this year. Our little town had a drive in church service, where the preacher walked around with a dust mask on ahead of the service waving at all of us as we sat in our cars. It rained and he dug out his umbrella and preached courageously from the back of a pickup.

His message was so perfect: God can bring good from hard times.

What a mighty God we serve. It was really special to celebrate His triumph over death as we each grapple with the uncertainty of today. He is able.

And so, I hope this isn’t an Easter I soon forget. The bizarre things we are seeing currently isn’t anything like the trauma of the suffering and death of my Savior, but it is a good time for me to stop, and rest in the fact that He will provide for his children.

Hallelujah, what a Savior!


Bonus pics:

Spring work has started so that gives me reason to get out a little. Even though I nearly froze to death in the process. It legit snowed on us one day last week. Those of us who were running the open station tractors soldiered on. But atleast Father took us out for ice cream afterwards “to warm up” lol

Ben took me on a Sunday afternoon ramble. The redbuds are extra beautiful this year

And the apple orchards 😍 I’ve had this yen to see them in bloom for years… and it happened. I had no idea they smelled so sweet!

“Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of Spring?” Neltje Blancan

Legit Cabin Fever

I’ve honestly had cabin fever for a year now. Well actually longer than that, but a year ago, I got down to business and started to order my little cabin for our pond from a cousin who works at a local Storage Building Shop.

My dad and Uncle put the pad in exactly a year ago and I was on Cloud 9.

I was so excited the day it arrived all folded down like a little box for easy transport. I thought that it wouldn’t be long until I was sitting on the front porch watching the world go by. Ha

My original idea included my ingenious, hardworking sisters and an occasional accommodating brother-in-law… BUT everyone got busy with their own projects and what I thought I had lined up fell thru… and my little project sat in its forlorn little shell for days and weeks. Eventually I hired a few men and slowly the face of my project changed.

And finally- at long last, Lowe’s delivered the fridge today, wrapping up the last of my major purchases.

Even though this didn’t end up being a project completely conquered by our fam- everywhere I look I see details that my sweet patient family (and boyfriend😉) helped me bring into reality.

So Quarantining isn’t looking very bleak these days. Eventually I’m excited to host parties here, but for now- you just find a few of us keeping our distance and enjoying God’s beautiful creation and our little cabin getaway.

Ben- who’s learning all about KH and her constant projects (🙈) asked me recently: “sooooo what’s your next project after your cabin is finished?”

I honestly don’t know- this one ended up being way more extensive/expensive than what I’d expected. I learned a pile during the process. But I think I need a break from my education.

I’m definitely going for that glass of iced tea on the front porch.

Have a peaceful Sunday,



Just in case you missed my dad’s poem about COVID-19 you can watch it here.


“Oh wow! Look at the violets!” I excitedly attempted to photograph the little beauties who were basking in the sunshine, as Ben and I hiked past.

“I’m sorry I’m taking so long” I apologized as my longsuffering boyfriend stood there waiting as I swooned over the little purple faces smiling at me.

“Take your time” Ben reassured me “it’s not like we have anything else to do.”

And that pretty much sums up our Sunday.

I’ve often thought Sunday being a “Day of Rest” is a bit of a satire. Back in my dairy farming days- if I’d milked twice, go to church twice, and got invited away for Sunday lunch- I’d drag into Monday morning exhausted.

More recently- I often travel on weekends creating a very similar problem. Without any responsibilities jobwise (thanks to the travel ban) and no literal church meeting- I’ve never experienced such a Day of Rest as this.

My fam took a Sunday Picnic to a Natural Chimeys. The twins slept through the entire thing.

They missed watching Uncle Nate throw caution to the wind and spy out the land from afar

They also missed Grandfather hiking while practicing social distancing to the letter… socializing via text. Thank you, Jesus for protecting him from spraining an ankle or breaking a leg on an unnoticed tree root as he wandered along. Don’t text and walk, folks.

We all missed Kerry and Em at our little party, but I guess them having other plans kept our gathering under 10 people. What a wonderful, leisure day.

And from the sounds of things- we’ll be looking forward to more days like this in the near future.

I’m currently in the middle of a “thru the Bible in a year” study with some friends and not to long ago we completed the Book of Joshua.

Joshua led the Children of Israel through battle after battle and celebrated so many victories.

But the last verse stood out to me. “Then the land had rest from war.” (Joshua 14:15)

I don’t know what battles you’ve been fighting, but I was so challenged to stop an enjoy this break from the typical battles- this season of rest. I even broke it down a bit further:

R: Refocus: adjust the focus of (a lens or one’s eyes).

E: Evaluate: form an idea of the amount, number, or value of; assess.

S: Savor: enjoy or appreciate (something pleasant) completely, especially by dwelling on it.

T: Trust: believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of.

The current virus uncertainty is a little ripple in the ocean of life and is of no surprise to God. He already knows what will become of all the disrupted schedules, plans, dreams, and agendas. He’s already working ahead to provide for us. REST in that. Whatever the future may be: God’s already there. Nothing is too hard for Him- He’s got this. Trust Him.

And mostly seize today for its unprecedented uniqueness. Whether it’s the chance to homeschool your children, the lack of a job schedule, or the wide open Sunday calendar. This is completely unheard of, and can leave you feeling uneasy about what’s ahead. I’m confident- that God can and will take the current situation- and turn this around FOR HIS GLORY. It may not be as we’d expect, but He’s that powerful and He’s that good. ❤️ This is a special time. Claim the promises of Psalms 91!

Carpe Diem, friends. Enjoy this season 🙏🏼💞


Bonus Pics:

I just wanna ride around taking pics of signs along the way

These Bugs Around Here 🦠 😷🤒💖

I know, I know. Basically the only thing to do these days is to sit at home and read about viruses and sickness and social distancing.

And here I am joining the mayhem.

But the truth of the matter is, we’ve had a fair amount of sickness.

Julia woke up with the flu, and so we are enjoying adorable pics that filter in on our sister chat, while maintaining a safe distance. All except our angel Mother who braved the bug to rock babies and support the situation as best she can

Em also came down with a fever this week. With her recent surgery, we were highly concerned about how rapidly it spiked. But thankfully she kicked it in about a day.

Again we’ve been trying to maintain a healthy distance (except our Angel Mother) so I escaped outside to work on my next Fisher Price book, and Em’s little blonde sidekick was sure I needed help. Thanks, Riv, but this isn’t the type of help I was needing.

Nate took care of any type of homesickness by fleeing to his Rocky Mountains for a week. Cheap flights and time off of school- made this a fairly easy decision… I sent him this meme as he braved the airlines 😂

“Don’t be afraid to go into the mist. Be excited because you don’t know where you will end up.”
-Sophie Madden

And I’ve kinda been bit by a bug myself this winter 😉 I’ve been terribly shy about posting this relationship on social media, but I’m finally getting up the nerve to introduce you to my friend Ben ❤️

At the risk of sounding like a gushy girlfriend- I’m counting my sisters getting over their sicknesses- but me… ?? 😉❤️

Say a prayer for us, if you think about it- that God will continue to lead and guide us as we seek Him ❤️

Social Distancing/ cheap gas prices combined to give us a chance to explore last weekend. The frozen fog at the top of the mountain was beautiful!

It’s definitely spring in the Valley.

Judging from the first Snow Glories in my neighbors yard, we are about 2 weeks ahead of last year.

Anyhow that’s enough from me. May you have a Happy, Healthy Day ❤️ (or find joy and peace in the midst of sickness😉)



March’s Mini Morsels (quick photo tour of recent highlights)

To our friends scattered to and fro,

Hello from the middle of Missouri. I’ve been on the road a bit more this week, and since I’m currently spending several days waiting, I thought I’d jump on here and share a few pics.

I’m staying in the cutest little guesthouse. It’s really fun to just be able to entertain myself for a few days.

I went to downtown Versailles and almost got arrested. Well, not really. Those of you who know me well, know that I love to have a project on the back burner. My current project is sharing my travels via postcard with a friend who was recently paralyzed. So as I wandered around the town square, I was on a mission to find a postcard. I saw a little sign pointing towards a “Museum Store” so I followed it and found the store looking rather desolate, but the door opened, so I went in and found my sought after postcard. But try as I might, I couldn’t find anyone to take my money. So I went back out and up the street to the Chamber of Commerce and found several helpful ladies who nearly heart attacked when I told them I’d been in the museum store roaming around. Long story short, they sold me the postcard I’d found, and with a hearty “thank you for reporting this” we parted ways. But I still can’t decide- was I breaking and entering? Or was I a good citizen supporting the neighborhood watch program. I don’t know, but I got my postcard, and that’s what counts. 😂

Monday I was privileged to attend the funeral of Lydia Stoltzfus. Technically I just attended the grave service, because as the driver, sleep took priority to a German church service. She was buried beside her son Amos who worked part time on our farm until his death in July, 2007. Crazy how many memories this brought back. Same white fence, same blue sky… There is no singing at Amish funerals, and I was just amazed again at how silent and solemn the minutes were as they filled the grave. I’m pretty sure even the birds quit singing. One of Amos’s nieces referenced the joyful reunion that she imagined taking place in Heaven… “Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory?”

Em had another knee surgery on Tuesday. She remembered pics from October, 2017… She’s just as cute as she was then, but there’s been definite improvements made in her babysitting charges ❤️


And since I’m sure you wanted to see more pics of my nephews 😂 such roly poly little miracles ❤️ 📷 credit: Ryder Photography

And finally- my sisters are lucky. I mean, for real. My Instagram notifications stay swamped because Em and Deb are always entering giveaways by tagging me. And I don’t mind. And they win. A lot. Jul isn’t on social media, but she still enters drawings and comes away with the prize. Unbelievable.

Dressed Up Threads was hosting a photo contest, where requirements were: wear a dress made from their fabric and post a pic of you doing something with your plant babies or greenhouse related and tag #springfeverwithdressedupthreads The winner receives a Shenandoah dress from Dressed Up Threads. Anyhow as the contest drew towards a close, I mentioned it one more time, and Jul and Mother got on board with brainstorming.

So this is what we came up with for my post.

“We can BEARly wait to come out of hibernation” says Mama Bear “but I know this season of rocking babies and dreaming about springtime will soon be passed”

And would you believe that we were selected as winners? I can’t wait to see Mama Bear in her new dress!

Ok, I’ve rambled on quite long enough.

Blessings on your weekend,


No Hablo Espanol- a major regret

I’m not sure how old I was when “no regrets” became one of my life goals, but I set out to seize every opportunity for what it’s worth. I wasn’t going to look back at days gone past and think “if only I had taken that opportunity” I was going to walk through open doors with confidence.

Ah ambitious youth.

In the month of February I spent one entire week of it regretting.

I followed my brave sister Deb all over the land that she loves watching as she flew up and down the streets of Leòn, Nicaragua.

I waited patiently while she bartered for every single purchase I made at the charming Central Cathedral.

I love all the culture that happens in Central…
We came across this street show different times. Who says men can’t multitask? 🤷🏻‍♀️😘

Or at market:

Anybody interested in lightly chewed onions?
Can you spy the guard of the Plantain booth?

Or at the umpteen unique cultural things we came across that I wasn’t sure if a pic was ok or not. And so she’d ask politely, while I stood there mute.

The local leather shop
Fresh Tortillas coming up

I sat through hours of visiting, chugging bottle after bottle of Coke. Sometimes following a bit of the conversation, sometimes not. Sometimes pretending that I understood was was going on with the “Kendra” followed by a stream of words. Sometimes ignoring my name in the conversation and entertaining myself by counting the geckos living on the ceiling.

The walk to visit our friends was super scenic

Sometimes I hid behind my phone and pretended not to hear that my name was being tossed back and forth frantically inside the van as we traveled along.

Or I studied the delicious fried Buñuelos (Yuca thats been grated and fried and drowned in a sweet syrup) while the conversation flowed as I regretted again and again.

Today as I relived our recent travels, my regret surfaced again and I found myself consoling me.

“It’s ok,” I said “everyone has things they wish they could do differently. If you regret that you didn’t study Spanish enough, it is what it is. You know enough to follow a bit of conversation. Quit overthinking it, accept the facts and move on.”

My Spanish journey (or the lack of it) started my freshman year. Somehow I came down with Mono partway through the year and missed 78 days of school. Because Spanish was a classroom credit, I had to drop out halfway through.

The next stop of my Spanish lament was in Guatemala where I was privileged to spend several months in the beautiful Petén. I had the option of arriving a week early and attending language school with them, but opted instead to stay home and milk cows for a week longer- horrible mistake.

So here I am, with a passport full of stamps from Latino countries and barely a one year old’s grasp of the language. Not cool.

And then as I consoled myself with my lecture, I remembered that not only is my brave little Deborah darling being my patient translator/tour guide during our latest adventure; she’s also a teacher at Berea. A SPANISH Teacher. And if I’m truly as regretful about my lack of vocabulary as I claim to be, I’m gonna apply myself to kicking this regret out of the park.

So I don’t know, Deb, can you teach an old dog new tricks and an old brain a new language?

Maybe we should try, but if it’s gonna happen anymore this winter, we’re gonna have to speak quietly- cause we don’t wanna disturb the niños.

Con amor,


Bonus Pics:

I didn’t need an interpreter for this part of our adventure:

Our little beachside getaway included air conditioning AND a hot shower
Tajadas con ensaladas

Breakfast with a view 💞

Nicaragua, our short but sweet visit inside your borders was truly delightful. Thank you. Or in my faltering, deeply accented way- “Gracias”