When God Uses a Grackle to Preach to My Heart

How are you doing?

If I were being gut honest, I’d tell you that while this is one of the more beautiful months we’ve experienced in a long time, I can’t shake the feeling that there’s ominous clouds on the horizon.

I’m not going to make this a political post because that’s the last thing I need this morn, but I watch what’s happening in the world around me with growing alarm. Will I be strong enough to face what’s ahead?

These are the thoughts that keep rolling through my brain. And this is what was on my mind last week as I rode through town with my dad.

He was in storytelling mode and we were reliving the days of his early farming career. “I had no idea what would happen next, but looking back it’s crazy how God worked everything out.”

He was quiet for a little as we rolled into a stoplight, and I stared out the window, lost in thought.

And then I saw it, a shiny little Grackle hopped along the road. He jumped up on the curb and cocked his head to the side and looked at me. Then he jumped into the grass and hopped away.

At that point it felt like God spoke to my heart “don’t you remember what I’ve promised, Kendra? I see the sparrow fall. I’ve got food already prepared for the super annoying Grackle. Can’t you trust me to be working ahead in your future to take care of you?”

And since then- everything has been pointing me of God’s promises. The neighbors field of wildflowers: If God takes such care in dressing these little flowers (which is only here briefly) how much more effort will He put into caring for his children, oh ye of little faith? (Matt 6)

Last nights meteor shower: Lift up your eyes and look at the stars… He created these and call them by name. Not one is missing… He does not grow tired or weary and His understanding no one can fathom… He gives strength to the weary, power to the weak. Those who trust in Him will renew their strength. (Parts of Isaiah 40)

Truly, there is no reason to allow fear of the unknown future take away from today. God is already there, providing for His Children. Be courageous, friends.

If God be for us, who can be against us?

Kendra

Things I’m Excited About (not listed in order of importance)

You know that feeling when you discover something and you just wanna share it with the entire world?

Recently I had to laugh at myself. My sisters are very eager “GetUpside”ers. It’s this really neat app where you scan your gas receipts from participating gas stations and they give you a few cents per gallon back . Apparently gas stations are willing to take a little less to promote their business and this app does just that.

I’ve been a little slow getting rolling with this, while my sisters have been making bank. (Em is at $500 on returns and counting) But one of the nearest gas stations to me just joined GetUpside and have been offering $.20 back. Anyhow I’m laughing at me because suddenly I’m filling up on gas every chance I get, and trying to think who of my friends would love to save money on fuel too. (If you want to check out this app you can find it Here. Using my code will get us both money back.) A penny saved is a penny earned, you know.

Another recent discovery came from my Aunt Thelma. I stopped to visit her and we were talking about life and current tough situations and she pulled up this reading. I love it, and found myself wanting to share it with everybody. I don’t know the writer personally, but I wish I could tell her how this resonates with my heart. I hope it blesses you too.

“I would have pulled Joseph out. Out of that pit. Out of that prison. Out of that pain. And I would have cheated nations out of the one God would use to deliver them from famine.

I would have pulled David out. Out of Saul’s spear-throwing presence. Out of the caves he hid away in. Out of the pain of rejection. And I would have cheated Israel out of a God-hearted king.

I would have pulled Esther out. Out of being snatched from her only family. Out of being placed in a position she never asked for. Out of the path of a vicious, power-hungry foe. And I would have cheated a people out of the woman God would use to save their very lives.

And I would have pulled Jesus off. Off of the cross. Off of the road that led to suffering and pain. Off of the path that would mean nakedness and beatings, nails and thorns. And I would have cheated the entire world out of a Savior. Out of salvation. Out of an eternity filled with no more suffering and no more pain.

And oh friend. I want to pull you out. I want to change your path. I want to stop your pain. But right now I know I would be wrong. I would be out of line. I would be cheating you and cheating the world out of so much good. Because God knows. He knows the good this pain will produce. He knows the beauty this hard will grow. He’s watching over you and keeping you even in the midst of this. And He’s promising you that you can trust Him. Even when it all feels like more than you can bear.

So instead of trying to pull you out, I’m lifting you up. I’m kneeling before the Father and I’m asking Him to give you strength. To give you hope. I’m asking Him to protect you and to move you when the time is right. I’m asking Him to help you stay prayerful and discerning. I’m asking Him how I can best love you and be a help to you. And I’m believing He’s going to use your life in powerful and beautiful ways. Ways that will leave your heart grateful and humbly thankful for this road you’ve been on.”

  • Kimberly D. Henderson, 2017

Press on friends, the battle belongs to the Lord!

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

And since it’s been a week since I shared any pics of my favorite little guys 😍 We had fun attempting to capture these shots of Alexander. (“We” being me. Alexander slept the entire time.)

And my busy little buddies 😅 they each have their own little tricks. And I was impressed again with how fleeting these stages are. Uriah learned how to crawl on all fours this week, leaving the tongue out, tummy crawl days behind.

And Isaiah got his first tractor ride with Aunt Ken. Jul brought them out to the edge of the field to watch as I finished seeding rye. Isaiah stood up in the stroller and hollered until he got a ride. Look out world.

#AuntKenAgain 💙 #boyaunt 💙

“Guys! Deb randomly asked me to cover for her at work tomorrow” Em announced. She and Deb spend several mornings a week sitting with an elderly lady.

“Guys! Deb randomly turned down a chance to watch the boys for me because she ‘wanted to stay home’.” Jul soon added to the announcement. Deb occasionally watches the twins over milking time.

I had nothing to add to the detective work that was well underway so I just pondered these things in my heart.

Thursday came and went and I was convinced my sisters were not Sherlock Holmes. Friday came and went and we still waited. Deb was at home and then her car was missing (don’t ask how we know-more detective work).

Saturday afternoon I dropped in at Julia’s for a little and my phone suddenly went crazy. “DEB WANTS TO FACETIME!”

The twins were sleeping but heard what was going on and soon there were 4 of us peering with varied levels of excitement/understanding at my phone.

Alexander Wade Kennell was born Oct 3, weighing an impressive 10 lbs 3 oz.

His very proud papa says he’s “all Kennell”.

We like to think there’s some Horst there. (Also pictured My dad, 1958)

But we don’t actually even care. He’s ours and he’s here. Thank you, Jesus 💙💙💙

In keeping with the giraffe theme, Grammy gave Alexander the biggest giraffe he’d ever seen

Just looook at that hair.

Alexander “defender of the people”

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

I’m praying this over you, my big little man 💙💙💙

Aunt Ken loves you very much. #boyaunt

📸 credits: the adoring aunties

Bonus Pics:

Told Deb I thought maybe the baby stork had arrived at the pond last week. I didn’t realize he’d need overweight permits 😂

Took a quick trip to OBX for work this week. This song kept running through my head.

If, on a quiet sea towards heaven we calmly sail,
With grateful hearts, oh God to thee
We’ll own the favoring gale.
When I’m under thy sweet control
I know I’ll sail swiftly into the unknown.
Singing praises all along the way,
For when the winds rage, Jesus you still remain my God.
But should the surges rise, and rest delay to come,
Blest be the tempest and kind the storm,
Which drives us nearer home.

The Things Children are Teaching Me

These days whenever I’m at the dairy for any reason, I make up an excuse to enter my sister’s house. The second the door opens, both heads of the little resident explorers whip around. 2 sets of big blue eyes watch my face expectantly. And as soon as I acknowledge my little nephews, 1 little dimple pops out on 2 sets of chubby cheeks and 2 mostly toothless grins respond.

The twins are at such a delightful stage. They are interactive and quite friendly. They’ve figured out how to army crawl and can zone in on a cup of coffee or a cell phone at lightning speed.

Uriah usually leads the inchworm expedition and nothing is safe anymore. Somehow chubby hands find their way thru the bars that are carefully guarding the few plants that survived Jul’s plant purge.

Or the duos favorite new game, inching along throw taunting looks over their shoulders, daring me to try to catch them and give them the tickling they deserve. The belly laughs that follow is the best medicine.

There’s so much I can’t wait to see them learn. In my minds eye I can see our first kickball game, or bike ride. I can’t wait til they read me a story, or to watch them perform at a school play. I hope I’m invited to piano recitals and that I get a detailed account when they win at Bible trivia. I want to be introduced to pet frogs, baby calves, friends, and girlfriends. And I intend to hang on for dear life when they buy a new car and give Aunt Ken a ride.

They have everything ahead of them to learn. And yet, they are teaching me.


I noticed I had a missed call and a voicemail. The message was not was I was expecting.

“KENDRA!” Shouted a high pitch little voice “this is Wyatt! I hear you’re going to be chopping corn at Pa’s tomorrow and I want to come ride. I’ll be there at 2:00. Ok see ya then, umm bye.”

Two o’clock was actually more like 9 am. My buddy beat me to the field and was riding with his uncle before I arrived on scene. I took over cutting and he took over the buddy seat and the fun began.

“This is a big field” he said, “but Pa has another one just as big. I wonder what would happen if you had a chopper head big enough to cut this whole field at once. Where does the corn go after it goes into the chopper? Why do the back wheels turn on this, but the front wheels turn on the tractor? Do you think you’ll get married? I probably will, but I don’t know. I know how to spell my name W-Y-A-T-T.”

Conversation flowed easily with my 5 yr old friend. I told him about the deer that had ran in front of my tractor the night before and how I’d almost hit them. “And then they could’ve gone to Heaven” he said. “No that’s not right” he added “we know deer don’t go to Heaven.” He was quiet after this and I wondered what was going through his little mind. This summer, one of his best buds- a cousin went home to Heaven suddenly.

“I shot a dove with my slingshot” he changed the subject.

“Did it die?”

Laughter erupted from beside me “EVERYONE asks me that! Of course it died.”

And so the conversation continued.

Sweet little man. Five years of learning under his belt, yet still so far to go.

But instead he’s teaching me.


These boys are teaching me similar lessons, in their innocent way: Life lessons that can easily be forgotten in the middle of living. They know nothing of health issues, or financial strain, or unanswered prayer requests. Instead their days are full of complete trust and confidence that everything will be ok.

Their lives are filled with joy. (Except when someone walks past Isaiah without picking him up-heartbreak hotel) And that joy spills over affects everybody around.

Their lives are filled with peace. They are oblivious to the mask power struggle that’s inhaling our world. Or all the political drama. Or the race war. Again their days are filled with confidence- someone bigger will take care of things. It will be ok.

Matt 18: 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Blessings,

Kendra

Bonus pics:

I had a first on a trip to PA recently- the door got left open and I heard something scramble in. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered Billy the Kid rooting through packages under a seat 🤷🏻‍♀️

Cousin Laura got married last weekend. Such a beautiful celebration! God bless you, Laura and Chad

With harvest super hectic right now, I’m not seeing much out of my Ben friend. I did manage to catch supper in the field and a spectator sunset recently tho.

And apparently it’s traditional for me to have a dress in the closet that matches my sisters maternity gear 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

And just for fun- here’s the pic from last year 😉

And lastly- one chopping pic- because what’s harvest season without a few good pics?

Beware of Googled Scripture References

It all started quite innocently as Mother and I hurried home from an early morning chicken checking.

“Just look at the steam rising off the pond. Do I have 1 minute to take a pic? Sure I have 1 minute.” I answered my own question and turned into the cabin’s lane.

The cabin has been busy of late. On a whim I decided to post it on Airbnb. (You’ll find our listing here. ) We are delighted with each booking, guest, and positive feedback. “Pondside Paradise” as we call it, even decided to open its own Instagram page, so I’m on the lookout for pics to promote what we have going on.

Mother sat patiently in the vehicle while I flew about, capturing what I was after, and we sailed back out the lane. 3 minutes instead of 1. But still worth it.

We were chopping at the dairy, so I waited until our day was rolling until I had a minute to post my pic on Instagram. Instead of carrying a Bible concordance with me, I’ve been know to google “scripture about mornings” and get the appropriate passage to fit my thoughts. Today was no exception:

What a beautiful reminder. Because I was still attempting to maintain my position in the crew, I hurriedly posted the 2 Timothy verse along with the reference and our steam laden pond and was on my way.

And just for fun. I threw a video of the same deal on my WhatsApp Status too. Along with the reference only. 2 Tim 2:17.

And there it was all day.

We had a tremendous day, and before we knew it, we were pulling the sheet across the trench and preparing to drag our weary selves home.

Suddenly my phone started going crazy. But because I was helping my dad on some cutter maintenance, it was a little before I could see what was up. My sisters and I have a group chat and it was going nuts.

Julia was sweetly trying to figure out how 2 Tim 2:17 applied to anything. And Deb kept sending videos where she was laughing uncontrollably,(they admitted later) but then she got worried that it would hurt my feelings, so she’d delete her message and start again.

I hastily attempted to rectify the situation by explaining what had happened-too many irons in the fire. So I posted an addendum to my WhatsApp post hoping to salvage the deal. 2 Tim 1:7 is what I was looking for.

Imagine my sisters mirth when I looked up 2 Tim 1:7 only to discover that it’s a reminder of God giving us love, power, and a sound mind, and not a spirit of fear. Sigh.

All day I thought I was quoting a verse about Gods mercy being new every morning. What Faithfulness! And instead I’m quoting the wrong reference on one post and stating “their talk spread like gangrene” on another.

Maybe I’d better hold off on posting for awhile. Or when I do- I’d better learn to double check the verse and reference I’m sharing.

Or maybe there’s some gangrene talk that needed to be dealt with, and God used my feeble blunder to call that to attention.

I’m sure I don’t know, but there is one thing I’m confident of:

I need that new mercy every morning. “Great is Thy Faithfulness”

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

Farewell, Sweet Summertime

A few years ago, my Aunt shared a family tendency with me that I was very familiar with but didn’t realize it was a family tradition.

“It’s the end of summer and we just had to get away” she said “see, I suffer from my dad’s seasonal depression.”

Immediately I was all ears. “Wait, what do you mean?”

She explained something to the extent of “Always at the end of summer, my dad would mope around and lament over summer’s sad parting”

I couldn’t believe it. Suddenly a light was turned on in my brain.

Every August. My dad wrote a lament that he’d sing about the week before school started “Now the summers ooooooover” he’d wail “winter’s drawing nigggggggggggggh” and I remember the sad cold desperate feeling that would touch my very soul.

So my seasonal sorrow has been carried through generations. But it’s not exclusive to our family. Every year I remember the poem Summer, My love and it strikes a chord home.

Ah, summer, my friend. Do you have to leave so soon?

But she must. The calendar page is turning once again, and my sweet summer is slowly, silently ebbing away.

It’s been a good one tho. Campfires, gorgeous sunsets, swim parties, fun travel, outdoor church. This isn’t a summer I want to forget ❤️

A few of the last summer hoorays include:

Thoroughly enjoyed hosting the Rohrer family at the pond. ❤️

My Ben friend is quite the fisherman 😍

Some friends hosted a hayride. It got abbreviated because of the threatening clouds, but what fun.

I’ve really been enjoying my “Shenandoah Dress” from Dressed Up Threads. If you’re in the market for a ready-made dress- I highly recommend them. It’s super comfy and fun to wear. You can find them here.

And finally, another friend has the cutest “pick your own” flowers and herb roadside patch. The timely advice comes free 😉😘

Take your time going, my summer friend, but hurry back ❤️

He has made everything beautiful in its time Ecc 3:11a

Blessings,

Kendra

The Waiting Game

Have you ever thought about how much of your life you spend waiting?

I’ve been waiting to get a new phone. Finally today I broke down and bought one. I waited FOR.EVER until my contacts got switched and my phone got activated… but Hello Portrait Mode 🥰

We waited on these little rascals to smile, to roll over, to sit up, to crawl… and with each milestone we anticipate the next one. (But seriously, they are at such a fun stage)

We wait for harvest to come.

We wait for things to get back to normal, for the world to be less crazy.

We wait for prayers to be answered, for God to move, for miracles to happen.

We wait for the Lord to return and take His children home ❤️

We wait and wait and wait.

Recently I was thinking about how sick I am of waiting. I’m ready to know what’s next and to be done with the anticipation and the waiting stage.

But then it hit me. Life is waiting. I didn’t google what percentage of life is spent waiting- but I’d say it’s 100%.

I can’t stop the waiting game. And I’ll never get to the end of it. So I need to figure out how to wait well. Psalm 27:14 had a good reminder for me: “Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord”


We are nearing the end of one waiting game 😉

Last night was a baby shower for Deb, hosted by several sweet cousins.

Such a relaxed fun evening.

We can’t wait to meet you, Baby K 😍 Your room is ready, and I think you’ll love it.

But I’ll try to wait patiently these last few weeks, I hope I’m learning.

Blessings,

Kendra

The Great Lake States and Home ❤️

Our final sprint towards home had some pretty fun detours.

The Wisconsin Dells were all mystic and foggy and beautiful.

We took a 2 hour river boat tour. This stop at Witches Gulch was so breathtaking.

In 1886 HH Bennett made this rock and the Dells famous by taking a pic of his 14 year old son Ashley leaping across this 5.5 ft span. Bennett had invented a rapid shutter for his camera that made this pic even more unbelievable (previously camera shutters took several minutes to capture an image).

For a long time, tourists were allowed to attempt this feat themselves, but eventually insurance decided this wasn’t a great idea, so now a few trained dogs are the only ones allowed the chance to jump.

Our next stop on the itinerary was one that I remember studying about in school: Mackinac Island.

The ferry ride was quick, and the famous horses met us as we arrived at port.

The island only allows horses and bike traffic. And tourists- so many tourists.

Em and I quickly rented bikes and set out for the 8 miles around the perimeter of the island. Her knee hung in there like a champ.

The water was gorgeous. Em said “why do we go to the Bahamas?” It was really that beautiful. But I’m guessing winter would change our minds.

I wonder if all the 470 people who reside on this island are all gardeners.

We enjoyed a delicious dinner before we spent a small fortune on their famous fudge and called it a day.

I hope I have the opportunity to return.

Other noteworthy stops in Michigan included the cemetery of this old church. Back during the Spanish Flu, the great grandad of my group was stricken and died leaving his wife and 6 children. Such hard times for that family. The stories of the hard times they faced are something. But the same God who was faithful then is still faithful today.

And as the beautiful sunrise kissed the land, we set our sights for good old Virginia.

Everytime I go west, I pick up a piece of blue graniteware. I thought maybe the boys would enjoy a piece or two to add to their collection. I think they might 😉

A HUGE thanks to Em for all the countless things she did to make our 8600 mi/18 day journey as flawless as possible

And to our family and loved ones who cheered us on our travels from a far- your support means so much😘

East, West, Home is best ❤️

Thank you, Jesus,

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

We cheesin’ 😉 Guess which state

Stayed home long enough to do laundry and reorganize my van, then headed for Kentucky for a few days. It’s beautiful here too.

In case you’d enjoy Em’s compilation of “America by Song Part 2” you can find that here

Wyoming Wanderings

Everytime the trail leads us through Wyoming, Emily takes me on the same emotional rollercoaster ride: complete excitement at the anticipation, energetic chatter exclaiming over everything while we are there, and sad dejected silence as we watch the State Line disappear in the rearview.

And this visit was no less amazing.

We’ve had really close encounters with wild life this trip. Em took both of these pics in Yellowstone.

We watched 2 geysers erupt at the same basin as Old Faithful. And enjoyed the deep colors at the West Thumb Basin.

We enjoyed another barn at the Tetons and the children were delighted with the curious little prairie dogs who popped up to watch us. (Prairie dog photo by Em)

And can any visit to Jackson Hole be complete without supper and song at the Bar J Chuckwagon?

But South Dakota is nice too. We arrived in the middle of Sturgis’s bike week. And the entire state was crawling with motorcycles. Just for fun- we counted how many bike we met on the road (this didn’t include any of the scores of bikes parked along the road, at every single gas pump, or lining the streets) and within the last 37 miles to Mt Rushmore- we met over 550 motorcycles.

Wall Drug wasn’t much better.

The Badlands weren’t quite as bad, but it certainly wasn’t a ghost town. Or a Goats town. But we did see a number of Big Horn Sheep 😉

And lastly- a quick stop at the famous Corn Palace was fun to see. We were amused by how many birds were perched on the side of the building- making the most out of the smorgasbord.

But through all the sights South Dakota attempted to charm us with, Em just kept singing her favorite Chis LeDoux song;

Take me back to old Wyoming I’ve been away too long

I want to hear the meadow lark singin’ this cowboy’s favorite song

I want to saddle up old paint and just ride him out across the hills

I belong in old Wyoming and I reckon that I always will

This is a beautiful land ❤️

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Rev 4:11

See ya down the trail,

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

If you look closely, you can maybe pick out the Covid Cow among the antlers. She has provided a fair amount of entertainment this trip. But I will admit to second guessing her name a few times, when I listen to our off-handed conversation as we walk along:

“Hey! Do you have Covid?”

“Yep, sure do!” 🧐

How Beautiful Heaven Must Be

To our friends scattered to and fro,

We’ve traveled through a wide variety of countryside since my last post.

I didn’t realize Oregon was wheat country. But we saw wheat and not much else in the northeastern part. Except 2 huge mule deer making their way along.

And a number of deserted buildings.

Stopped in the town of Grass Valley (population 170) and chatted with a rancher who said they run 50 head of cows on 3000 acres.

Found an oasis in Bonners Ferry, ID. The Mellinger’s fed us amazing food; took us to a beautiful waterfalls where the fish bit readily and the mosquitoes bit as hungrily; gave us a place to stay; and ministered to our travel weary selves. Such an inspiring example of true hospitality ❤️

They keep a number of llamas for packing gear up into the mountains and everyone agreed that Covid needed a ride. Everyone except Benny the Llama. He was not too impressed with a masked stuffed cow on his back.

Glacier and Lake McDonald was as gorgeous as ever. The stunning views, the turquoise water, the beautiful flowers create the most memorable visit everytime. If this isn’t my favorite national park, it’s only because I don’t play favorites. Everyone enjoyed skipping rocks and I had great fun trying to capture a pic as the rock jumped along the surface.

The clouds that hung around all day, finally dripped on us as we hurried towards our motel that evening, creating an even more breathtaking view of the sunlight on the mountains in the rain, chasing rainbows over the ridge, and just wowing us in general.

As I reviewed the recent views in my mind, I kept coming back to the same thing over and over “how beautiful heaven must be”

All this gorgeousness on this ol earth, and yet we are told that it’s nothing compared to the splendor that’s coming…

Bonners at eventide

So exciting- How beautiful Heaven must be ❤️

See ya down the trail,

Kendra