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

Created Specifically by God

Hello from the northwest!

The last few days has found us roaming through California.

Southern CA is so beautiful and the early morning foggy temp was half the degrees we‘d endured the day before.

Central CA was filled a wide range of produce, vineyards, orchards, row crops, dairies, etc. our eyes feasted for miles and miles.

Covid the Cow found a pine cone at Sequoia National Park from one of the giants. We made her leave it there, after taking a few pics with it.

Covid the virus robbed us of a visit to Yosemite. But since this is the first thing we haven’t been able to do (other than eating inside) we moved on without complaining.

Further north we hit the coast again and watched the sun slip out of sight over the horizon.

This morning we went exploring while the tide was out and I think all of us expanded our knowledge on sea creatures.

Crater Lake was another very beautiful stop. Em pulled up the random fact that there are 4.6 trillion gallon of water in this lake. This stop is always a highlight.


The last couple of days- everywhere I go I’m seeing unique vegetation in a specific unique climate:

The saguaro cacti of AZ grows off of 4 inches of rain a year and waits to grow their first “arm” until they are 100 🌵

The massive Sequoia trees (pictured with Covid) are over 270 feet tall and 2200 years old.

A starfish has no brains, no blood, and can live to be 35 years old…

Over and over and over, I see God specifically creating and ordaining specific plants and animals to flourish in a variety of environments.

And it got me thinking.

Are you ever tempted to feel like an odd man out- like no one understands you and you really don’t belong? I think if we are all honest we allow ourselves times of doubt. “Why am I here?” “Nobody cares. I don’t belong”

I’ve been pondering this a lot recently and I wonder if this is a lie that Satan whispers to believers to isolate us from our Christian brother and sisters and to rob us of joy.

And the recent intense nature study I’ve been doing convinced me of this even more. God makes no mistakes when He orchestrates details, players, and timelines.

If you are where God has led you, don’t fall prey to second guessing where you find yourself or wishing yourself somewhere else. You are valued. You are needed. As God’s Chosen- you are equipped.

Reach out, open up, and allow the unique beauty of what God’s doing with your story to touch those around you.

Flourish!

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

This is one of those hidden pictures in a picture games. Can you find 4 saddles, 3 shovels heads, 2 singletrees in this pic? 😂

“I will pour water on a thirsty ground”

Excerpts from Isaiah 44 in my daily reading came alive to me this week:

“This is what the Lord says—he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, my servant… For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground. I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams…”

We’ve spent the last several days in intense desert. We ran through some cloud bursts, and a few dust storms.

Stopped at the Texas Cattle Exchange in Eastland and watched the cowboys expertly moving cows. (The children in my group are so excited to see REAL cowboys) The one rancher we talked to said that the native land there supports 1 cow/ 4 acres.

Totally amazed by the amount of action on the oil fields. The temporary housing reminded me of the shanty towns from the gold rush days.

Survived the trek to El Paso and fertile fields along the Rio Grande were a feast to our eyes. The overlook at Cristo Rey provided spectacular views of the city as well as the her Mexican sister city, Juarez.

“Mom, what are we gonna do at Terrified?” The 8 year old in our group was unsure of what to expect at the Petrified Forest 🙈😂 Covid the Cow was pretty unsure of her visit too 🙈

We were privileged to spend the night at the Rim of the Grand Canyon. The sunset there speaks to my heart and calls me to Worship. P.S My sister Em is an angel.

And today God’s provisions in a dry land continued as we traveled thru desert that averages 4 in of rain/year and the van’s thermometer read a high of 126°…

We burst out of cacti land into intense agricultural time after time. I love seeing people loving their land and farming it well. Followed the trucks about 17 miles to a huge dairy operation.

And lastly, random gem from today was discovering the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park… 19 brave men lost their lives here when the fire they were fighting changed directions with no warning…

So this evening, as I look back over the adventures from the last 3000 miles, these promises again just wash over my heart “Do not be afraid, I will pour water on a thirsty ground.”

Let it rain.

See ya down the trail,

The Masked Mesdames- Ken and Em

Thus begins the travels of the Masked Mesdames

Years ago, someone in our family came up with the brainstorm to publish a newspaper to send to our friends who live hither and yon. Each participant had a regular column. And while the willingness of each participant varied some (ok who are we kidding, I had to hound my little sisters to get their articles in on time) the mail must go thru, and the paper HAD to be ready on time. Eventually there was a complete mutiny among the staff and even tho Mother still sweetly coughed up a recipe for her column, the paper reached a sad end.

Em’s column was written under the guise of a detective. “The Masked Muskrat” snuck around collecting stories.

And here we are however many years later: the legit Masked Muskrats, sneaking around thru the West, collecting stories. We also collected our little Covid Cow and whipped him up a little mask so that he can go with us wherever. Not sure what all our trip mascot will get into- but stay tuned…

We’ve challenged ourselves to #mericabysong Part 2, which is happening on our Instagram stories- if that interests you 🙂 Here CC is riding through the Smoky Mountains singing “Don’t let the Smoky Mountain smoke get in your eyes..”

Our random find of the day was “The Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid” along the Mississippi River in Memphis. The guys took the 300 ft freestanding glass elevator to the top to look out. I opted to stay on the ground, without regret.

We stopped among the rice paddies in Arkansas for BBQ and catfish. Apparently we know very little about the growing season of rice. But we do know good bbq when we taste it, and Nicks is highly recommended.

Currently we are hastening westward, anticipating a day full of adventures as God provides.

I hope your day is blessed as well,

See ya down the trail,

Kendra of the Masked Mesdames

Bonus Pics:

Managed to sneak in a celebration for my friends new daughter during the week I was home..

And my Benfriend managed to sneak my truck while I was babysitting the twins, and returned it detailed ❤️

And these little guys- 7 months old already 💙💙