Julia Margaret

Years ago God gave me three priceless incredible gifts.. Today I’m going to only talk about one of them.. ( Hang around and I’ll introduce you to the other two.. )


As I read back over my previous posts- I’m deciding that either this is a really sentimental year or I’m waxing more and more sentimental as adulthood progresses.. This round is no different..

Twenty-five years ago- Julia Margaret became my little sister.. I really don’t remember life with out her. Guess my memory has limitations.. Growing up with just 20 months between us- we were kinda double trouble.. Julia was always the more bashful sensible one- ready to report the naughtiness of her older sister, and grin as I got properly reprimanded.. Like the time that we were entertaining each other on a Sunday afternoon-and I decided that there was no way she could hear with that hair hanging over her ears- so I brushed up on my barber skills.. That one reported on itself.. Mother was NOT happy with the new look..

We had this Golden Rule book about a Saggy Baggy Elephant.. Father adapted it to “Maggy Baggy Elephanto” and Julia Margaret had been “Mag” ever since.. 🙂


I didn’t always appreciate the blessing of a constant companion.. I’m sure there were times when Mother thought if we came running in reporting on each other one more time-we were both going to be placed up for adoption.. But when the dust settled- We were still there,ready for the next round..

Julia has the most incredible way about her.. She’s tough as pig iron.. Like when we were building the house and Julia- at the tender age of 12 was a strapping 79 lbs, and she wowed the brick mason by carrying 75 lbs bags of concrete.. Her energy is non stop. I tend to be a sleepy head, but Julia is ready to go.. Her late night book reading created an issue until the purchase of a headlamp resolved the difference.. Another story- our family took a Christmas vacation to Virginia Beach upon occasion.. One year Julia decided that swimming in 52 degree water wasn’t really that cold.. So she dove in.. Brrr..

She’s an inventor.. From the outfits she’d create out of Mother’s scrap bag to her latest creations out of wood and metal.. And can sew like the wind.. I’ve been blessed by a number of surprise dresses, courtesy of Mag..

But cooking is out of her comfort zone at this point.. She was making mashed potatoes, and almost broke her finger by catching it in the mixer.. Father recommended that she spend more time out in the shop with her table saw away from the dangerous kitchen after that..


She knows how to be a friend.. She says she knows me better than I know myself.. That’s scary- but she is good.. And the best ,most generous business partner a person could wish for..  Our dairying adventure has been great. She’s worked with the hired men very closely and somehow is always managing to be in the midst of a war with them- like standing on a bucket with a mask before the morning milking ” to see if they get scared”.. Our Mexican has remembered how to lasso.. So its a team effort. She hides his shoes and then runs like the wind, dodging the lasso as she goes..


And now she’s in love.. I remember back when she and Sherman were just becoming friends- she dragged me along to watch fireworks on court square.. And I feel like its paid off.. He is a great guy and I’m excited to have him part of the gang..

So Congrats you two, the good Lord bless you abundantly.. I know you’ll take good care of her, Sherman- but if not-you’ll have one protective older sister to answer too.. 🙂 Mag, I’m so blessed that you’re in my life..

Love, Kendra

Barefoot Days

I love summertime! Everything about it.. Slaving away in the garden.. Driving with my window down.. The smell of fresh cut grass.. Lightning bugs at night..  A glass of fresh mint tea.. The kiss of summer on my skin.. I could go on and on.. Summertime is the time of year that makes me want to laugh just at the pure joy of being alive..

We are having an incredible season here in the Valley.. Abundant rain has everything a lush green.. We are so blessed!

Recently a poem that we memorized in second grade has been running through my head..


“Barefoot Days”


In the morning, very early,
That’s the time I love to go
Barefoot where the fern grows curly
And grass if cool between each toe,
On a summer morning-O!
On a summer morning!

That is when the birds go by
Up the sunny slopes of air,
And each rose has a butterfly
Or a golden bee to wear;
And I am glad in every toe–
Such a summer morning-O!
Such a summer morning!


Here’s hoping that there is as much sunshine in your world as there is in mine..



Bonus pics:


Wine berries are in season.. I thoroughly enjoyed a morning in the woods looking for these little treasures. Was very thankful that I missed out on the encounters with the rattler and the copperhead reported by previous berry pickers!


Earlier this week I had group down to Natural Bridge and Grand Caverns. They packed a picnic lunch and left it in the pavilion while they toured the caverns. I was amazed to look over and discover three squirrels had moved in and was searching for left overs. I chased them away, but not fast enough apparently.. The one ornery rascal had chewed a 5 inch gash in the salty container! I had to wonder if this was the Valley version of Alvin the Chipmunk and Gang..

Fresh Air Fund

To our friends scattered to and fro,
Hello from Paradise Mtn! Sorry I haven’t been very faithful at blogging recently- Summer is fun and very busy! We are rejoicing that wheat harvest is past… PTL for a good crop! Now we sit back and watch the rain and smile.. 🙂
Our project the last little while has been the Fresh Air Program. Karen came to us from Brooklyn.


She is a very sweet girl who is an amazing artist. She spent hours drawing each day.

The Fresh Air Program has been a part of summer ever since I can remember. My parents started hosting a child before I was born. Damon came for 10 years in a row. I can still remember how he would steal my special blanket and take it out and put it in the trunk of our car and declare that it was going to NYC with him. Of course I would reward him with a bunch of shrieks and running crying to Mother.. And he’d feel satisfied.. 🙂 Every year on Father’s Day, Father gets a text from him. Last year he brought his son Trenton for a visit.. And the friendship continues.

We don’t keep contact with all of our Fresh Air Girls, unfortunately. But I’ve been impressed for years at how much we are blessed.. Can you imagine never seeing stars? Or going barefooted in the grass? When was the last time you breathed deeply that fresh country air and were thankful for it? What if the only thing to do on weekends always included people, concrete, congestion..

And so my parents open their homes and their hearts for 2 weeks every year. What other program brings very needy children into your home for a small block of time-for free? Its such an opportunity to make a difference.. And they are always needing host families.. 🙂

Last Monday found Emily and I on a bus escorting 28 children back to the City.


What an experience! We spent most of the trip settling fights; learning different clap rhythms; answering “how much longer”,exclaiming over flowers, and feathers, walking sticks; and loving on children.. I had two children on my lap napping for what seemed like hours.. Precious innocent children. It broke my heart when the one little guy said matter of factly “I don’t have a dad”..

We got lost getting into the bus terminal and circled and circled and the driver was getting frustrated and his language was going downhill.. And the children were ready to get off and wondering “Why is he driving a bus, if he doesn’t know where we are going?!”

Finally we made it.. We were honored to be invited to Karen’s home for an Argentinian dinner. They were very gracious and spent the evening touring us around the City. Her sister’s boyfriend was driving and took a wrong road. Since every thing is one way streets, it was a problem, so he just started backing.. We backed around half of a block in downtown Brooklyn.. I wondered if we were done for.. 🙂


Tuesday was free time, so we walked to Central Park and watched all the excitement. I love to watch people, and definitely NYC has a lot of Variety! At one point a troop walked past that looked like Boy Scouts- backpacks and all. We wondered if Central Park is NYC’s equivalent to a wilderness experience.. 🙂

Our motel was right at Time Square, so we enjoyed that experience once again..


We had our picture drawn for $5 in about 4 minutes.. Hilarious! Still not convinced that it looks like me..

And then we returned home.. Once again with a full heart. I have been given so much! And its such a blessing to be able to share-just a little of our beautiful wonderful world with a child..

Blessings to you,


While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.
~Angela Schwindt

Why Would I Complain?

Sometimes I catch myself being grouchy at different things in my life… Things that are out of my control… Things that’s when I look over the fence at the neighbors-it doesn’t seem like they struggle with… And that’s not fair… Then I realize that I’m looking at me and being selfish and self-centered and that God does not get any glory from my childishness.. And that usually is a wake up call really quickly.. 🙂
Last week I was convicted to the core of my being.. I took a group of ladies down to Richmond to visit Margaret. Margaret is a 57 year old lady with an amazing chuckle. She has a delightful sense of humor. Years ago someone’s wheelchair ran away from the home-down into a lake nearby, and as they pulled the dripping person from the water, Margaret quipped “Did you catch any fish?”. She doesn’t like salad.. Her nickname is M&M.. She is very active in her church.. She has too many teddy bears to count… But Margaret was born without arms or legs. She was abandoned at birth, and years later when she met her birth mom, she was rejected again. She never really had a family. Yet she is so upbeat and cheerful!
I watched in amazement as she had someone adjust her glasses-which got me to thinking what could you do without arms? To never hold a baby, chase that pesky fly off your face, sneak a snack between meals, this list could go on all day! I came home talking and then Emily introduced me to Nick Vujicic.. What an incredible man! And his testimony.. Again I stop and look at myself…
God has given me so SOO much! Why would I ever have ANY reason to be discouraged?

“..Oh God, forgive me when I whine,
I have two arms, the world is mine

With feet to take me where I `d go
With eyes to see the sunset’s glow
With ears to hear what I’d know
Oh God, forgive me when I whine
I have blessed indeed, the world is mine!”
-author unknown

Bonus pic:

The fun of wheat harvest began last week