Giving Thanks

I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart, I will enter His courts with Praise..

I love this time of year.. It’s always a time for me to stop.. Time for serious retrospection.. A time to look at my life and realize all the blessings around me.. This week usually includes two days of that for me.. Of realizing how much the people in my life mean to me.. For those of you who were born sometime other than Thanksgiving week- you wouldn’t understand.. I had a wonderful birthday. People are so kind.. Makes me feel really small-I don’t deserve all this kindness.. God has blessed me so.. And I am thankful..

Mother gave me a really inspiring book for my birthday.. Ok, so actually, I was shopping in PA and came across CAM’s new release and called home for permission to purchase it for Mother.. 🙂 (There are certain perks to continuous shopping trips..) I have been enjoying it immensely- Some kind of Love by Gloria Miller. Gloria was in Liberia for 2.5 yrs. And her stories.. Obviously the children captured her heart. And that shows in her writing.. She makes me think. She shares story after story of children in her ministry- an 8 months old  the size of a newborn.. Black eyed, innocent beautiful children.. Malnourished, neglected, abandoned, orphaned.. Or with a loving guardian that doesn’t not have the means to provide food.. I can’t imagine the feeling of being able to give out food that you know instantly makes the difference in whether a child lives-or not..

Dear innocent children..Who thru no decision of their own- do not know the joys of a happy childhood like I remember.. My first trip to Guatemala- we spent a day in a girl’s shelter.. I couldn’t sleep that night. The reality-of these innocent girls,and the horror that they had experienced..finally at a safe place.. And looking at my life and how I much I’d taken for have a loving,godly Dad..


A tradition around here at Thanksgiving is to go around the table stating one thing we are thankful for.. As small children we could name- “Family, a house, Dusty (our faithful dog), food..” You know the list.. But this year I am pondering.. How can we be truly thankful when we don’t grasp the enormity of what we’ve been given? Do I really understand what it would be like to be totally alone without parents that love the Lord, each other, and would do anything for me.. How about sisters that patiently put up with me.. We are thankful for food- and yet we have so much-we need to plan how to cut back-or excersise more extensively or something drastic to stay ahead of it.. 🙂 Freedom to worship- Recently I’ve been challenged by the work of Corrie Ten Boom.. Who was willing to sacrifice everything to follow Jesus’s command to love..Even tho it meant losing her family and enduring horrid a contentration camp because of hiding the Jews during World War II.. Do I realize what a gift it is to be able to worship whenever, and wherever and however without fear of being reported? Health- Nothing makes you reevalute like losing what you’ve taken forgranted.. After a round of back pain- to be pain free means so much more..Or extensive shoulder issues.. Or not being able to eat properly.. Or mono.. Most of all- do I understand what it cost for my Saviour to go to the cross so that I can experience eternal Life?

This month is Adoption Awareness Month and that really ties in with my Thanksgiving.. We don’t have to go oversees to some mud hut to find children who are hurting, who are missing the blessings I’ve taken forgranted.. There’s too much of pain out our backdoor. Those who are called to the Foster/Adoption ministry have such an incredible calling.. To give because of what we’ve been given..

Mother has had a favorite quote for a long time.. “Cherish the bread before there is none. Discover each other before we leave. Enjoy each other for what we are-while we have time..” -Richard Wong

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So I pause today.. And Praise the Lord for what He’s done for me.. I don’t grasp it fully- I’ll be the first to admit.. But He knows that I’m trying.. Happy Thanksgiving, Kendra

Bonus pics:


Back in July, when the boyfriend proposed to Julia, he was impressively creative.. The proposal included a railroad bridge, spray paint(yes, it was John Deere green) and a red rose. Somehow this was never captured on camera, so Julia decided this week was the time to make sure and capture his handiwork.. So she took the dried rose in its original plastic sleeve and blue ribbon, and placed it where he had- way above the muddy waters of North River and was happily photographing away.. Until the wind caught it and.. Julia was totally beside herself and horrified.. Sherman just laughed and said “Well there it goes, a $20 rose..” So we watched as it floated downstream.. We decided to stop by the water on our way out- and miracle of miracles- the rose had floated to the shore and was waiting-at the only spot that was accessible without requiring a swim.. Only a small matter- but I think it was from the One who sees the sparrow-and dried rose- fall..


For my birthday- my sisters (and some generous friends) went together and purchased a camera to aid in my photography obsession.. Trial run was a pair of Mallards bagged by a friend.. and the resident game warden..


To our friends scattered here and there,

Hello from the beautiful Shenandoah Valley! Life continues to busy and full of adventure.. I found this past week to be full of short stories.. So bear with me, as I share a few of them here..


Mother was reminded again of the foreknowledge of the God we serve.. Several weeks ago she sent a daughter and one of the daughter’s friends to Wal-Mart with the sole purpose of purchasing instant pudding.. Not sure what happened, but somehow they returned with 4 boxes of cook and serve pudding. So Mother went to plan B on her dessert and stuck the pudding on the shelf. Last weekend we were blessed with lots of out of state company, and after serving multiple breakfasts, Mother discovered that her egg supply had been greatly diminished, causing her cream pie plans to be an impossibility.. Until she opened the cupboard and remembered the mistake from several weeks ago.. The moral of the story is- we had Peanut Butter Cream Pies for lunch to the credit of our Great Master Planner.. Praise Him!! I love it when His Hand is visible in small things like that..

Julia has had a definite opinion on the necessity of Facebook for a long time.. Sunday night she was expounding a little on her opinion, and before she knew what to do- our hired man had created her an account.. Emily rapidly got on board and tagged her in a number of pics, and everybody hastened to friend request her.. That lasted for about a day, until he shut her account down again. Very short lived.. 🙂 Maybe Sherman can convince her of its beauty yet..

Deborah’s best friend is her chocolate lab, Rolo.. She spends a lot of time working with her, and I’ll admit- it’s paying off. She sits, shakes, rolls over.. And my favorite trick- will wait until given permission to eat.. So Deb will set the food in front of the dog, and walk off.. Rolo sits at rapt attention, watching painstakingly as Deborah heads off-sometimes out of sight-waiting.. Then springs into action whenever Deborah FINALLY gives the go-ahead.. Makes me smile every time.. Anyhow Deborah decided to teach her to growl.. Ferocious growling on the part of Deb was to no avail.. But then, as she was feeding both dogs, she realized Rolo was in a spat with Detroit.. biting his neck and growling.. So she praised the growl effort and rewarded the brown eared dog accordingly. A little while later, she decided to test the new skill.. “Growl, Rolo..”  The brilliant one obediently got up, ran over to poor Detroit, bit his neck and growled.. With friends like that, who needs enemies.. 🙂

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Emily had yet another emergency claim to fame.. She responded to a midnight wreck, where a car had landed in the field of pigs. As all the emergency workers were preparing to leave the scene, she noticed the poor farmer out trying to herd his 500 lbs pigs off the road.. So she rose to the occasion, and helped him. Somewhere along the line, she was body slammed by a bacon and was almost sent airborne.. She is currently sporting a very impressive bruise.. Emergency work keeps you on your toes or in the air or something.. 🙂

After hearing many tales of the event- I have finally witnessed it first hand.. This week, I survived an Amish wedding.. Amos- the guy who worked for us in 06 and was killed in a manure pit- had a niece get married. I’m good friends with his family- so this van trip meant more to me than sometimes.. The whole event seemed somewhat surreal.. Until we sat on a backless bench listening to German for an hr.. No need to pinch yourself to see if its reality by that point- the back pain takes care of that.. The wedding had started 2.5 hrs before we arrived.. Wow.. The last song they sang consisted of 26 verses.( I was just thankful they hadn’t selected the next one in the songbook- that one had 32) They had constructed a shop just for the occasion. They called it “Organized Confusion”.. And it was- so much going on, yet it ran smoothly. The food was unbelievable.. We ate all day. The main meal was traditional, then came soft pretzels and 30(?) different platters of food that had been given as gifts, and shortly after, a huge supper complete with homemade chips and ice cream.. What amazed me the most was watching the youth pair off to sing in the afternoon. The girls go out and stand on the “Auction Block” as one of my friends called it, and the guys come out and one by one select their singing partner. There was about 5 girls at the end who didn’t end up with a partner, and I had to laugh at one of the ladies from our group.. “Oh look, they are just heartbroken!! I sure wish I had brought some of my sons up here to sing with those poor girls.. ” I was just glad to see that part of the event completed.. Amos’s brother was sure he was going to get me out there to enjoy the festivities.. Woosh that was close.. lol

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And my take home experience from the week.. Just a mile up the road from the wedding, lived a man that my vanload knew, so we stopped in for a visit. His parents are both carriers of a genetic eye weakness, and out of 16 children they have 5 that are blind.. Three of them completely, and 2 that the doctors are working with to frantically salvage what eyesight they have.. Two of the children had such incredible uncontrolled eye pain, that they had surgery to remove the offensive eyes.. They had story after story- like how all eyes must be removed before they go swimming, so they place them in a container on top of the fridge. And one time an eye was missing. So they looked every where, and finally opened the freezer door- to discover an eyeball staring at them.. The parents told us that the vision impaired children can do basically everything the sight children can- cooking, baking, sewing, whatever. But they had a problem when it came time to go downstairs and retrieve can goods from the cellar- because its impossible to smell what’s in a can. So Abigail- one of the impaired ones- spent a lot of time down there this summer- arranging every thing in alphabetical order.. All 2214.5 quarts.. I just shake my head..

So I drove out the lane- appreciating the fact that I could see the deer that almost hit our van.. Thinking about how blessed I am, and what an incredible inspiration it is- to meet people who face hard things head on.. That family’s testimony was beautiful..

Thanks for reading clear to the end of yet another lengthy epistle.. Blessings on your week, Kendra

Bonus pic:


Visited a taxidermist that did a lot of unique animals from Africa.. Travelling there sometime was tentatively on my bucket list.. I’m suspicious that has been added as a permanent bucket list agenda now.. 🙂

The Noises that Corn Makes -Sue Gerard

Do you listen to the noises that corn makes..

The crackling as seed spatters into planter boxes..

The clicking of planter plates dealing grains to

the moist warm earth..


The gentle whisper of newborn leaves waving

in their first breeze?

Have you heard the ripping leaves of plants

outqrowing weed thieves..

The carressing of thankful blades on cultivator fenders..

The oninous rustles as limp tassles search the cloudless

skies for moisture..

The happy melody of raindrops resuscitating a thirsty plant..

The silence?.. And do you smell the musty fragrance of

pollen drifting, down, down-

into silk tubes,

Piping life-stuff into each individual seed-to-be?


Do you hear dry, matured leaves chattering

in September..

Clacking yellow grains spilling into the sheller hopper..


Crushing grinder burrs releasing nourishment for

animals and man?

Listen! Hear! Seed is spattering into new planter boxes!

I listen. I hear. I like the noises of corn!!

Mother found this in The Furrow years ago, and I’ve thought of it often this week.. I’ve got my own personal list of sounds corn makes.. Like the sound of happy hungry people enjoying corn on the cob (probably hearing the butter drip is a stretch-lol) or the sound of our Latino friends wapping maiz into tortillas.. Or the sound of the chopping process-which we already visited in an earlier post.. The sound of a satisfied, thankful farmer  parking his equipment, after another bountiful year.. Ok, I’m starting to become redundant..

We are so thankful to have bean harvest behind us and be well on our way with corn.. It flurried a little this week, so if we hurry-let the snow fly 🙂

Blessings on your week- Kendra

Bonus Pic:




A week ago, our hired man took off an extra day to go with his pastor to NYC. The boyfriend kindly filled in for him. As a thank you, Christian and his wife Febe prepared a birthday feast for Sherman and whomever he wanted to invite.. Sure was glad I managed to be included in the guest list.. 🙂

The Era of the Black Mack

When He first came around, He was a recently retired mail carrier.. He went right to work, hauling grain for a guy who was working for us.. He was great a truck. A CH 613 Mack, who became known as the “One Stack Mack”.. A solid truck, yet the 5 speed transmission created a bit of a challenge.. Over time, He found a home here on Paradise Lane and experienced a makeover.. Added a silage bed, a chrome bumper, and twin 6in stacks. That was when He and I really became friends. I will never forget my maiden voyage.. Me and “The Mutt” as I named him. Father’s instructions stayed in the forefront of my brain.. “No matter what, Kendra, that chrome bumper is your responsibility..” The first harvest was quite memorable.. Trying to keep up with all the other guys.. Chatter on the CB, that amazing air horn, happy times.. Eventually due to the onset of back issues- The Mutt became one of the few silage trucks around to sport a leather Legacy seat.. And in more recent years, grew a few more gears-to a 9 speed..


Somehow I always get my heart involved. I remember years ago, I loved our 362 Pete. I was sure it was the best truck in the world, and was as convinced as an 8 yr old could be. We were heading to Maryland to a family gathering, and we met one of our driver’s southbound with my friend, and Father commented offhandedly, that he was trading her in. I cried. I couldn’t understand his reasoning.. Definately a cabover was much superior to a conventional truck.. I was devestated.. For weeks.. But Father knows best.. 🙂 I can understanding that more with a few more years added to my perspective..


And so that’s where I am again, Father says that the time to sell is when somebody is willing to buy, and so it’s time for us to part.. We haven’t been as close recently, I’ll admit.. But whenever I happen to walk past him, we smile at each other.. And I remember.. How that incredible Jake Brake shattering the silence would make both of us smile.. How we’d both blush when I’d miss another gear.. ( There only were 5, Kendra, not that many to choose from.. 🙂 )


Good-bye, my friend.. ‘May the road rise up to meet you, the sun be always at your back..’ I know your new family will take good care of you.. -Kendra

P.S From the Editor: It’s only a truck, Kendra.. -your rapidly graying Mother

Bonus pics:


The boyfriend’s birthday is this week, which merited a bit of a joyride 🙂


Nightfall after a gorgeous day..

Ode of the Non-speller

Once upon a time, there was a brown eyed third grader who realized that the security of the farm rested on her shoulders.. Yet how could she protect those she loved without a BB Gun? So she petitioned to the higher court and after much discussion- an agreement was reached.. IF she could get 6 100% on her spelling tests, the BB Gun was hers, and the safety of Paradise Lane was maintained.. The journey began- such diligent studying.. Impressive.. Five 100% later, she was on a roll- that BB Gun almost had a new owner.. And then- I don’t remember which word it was (probably “sincerely” which I still am known to drop an “e” from upon occasion) I handed in my spelling test, nervously, and one of my well meaning classmates came up,immediately and said ” I saw you spelled a word wrong..” A 95% has never looked so glaringly ugly-ever.. I could have cried.. Fortunately my parents ruled on effort instead of ability and the gun found a new home. *that gun was really useful for target practice, but never amounted to much in the way of varmint control.. Except the time Mother shot a cat.. Which is quite another story..

Spelling and Vocabulary has long been a thorn in my flesh.. My Mom just shakes her head with yet another ” How do you spell..?” She has the title of spelling bee queen of Dayton Elementary (perhaps I take after my dad.. 🙂 ) So she sighs and says ” Kendra, please! Use the dictionary!” But I wonder what good a dictionary is when the word is not spelled like it sounds.. Where do you even start to look for the spelling of faux pas? or chivalry? or logistics? We never say “suRprise”  So that first “r” isn’t that important, right?  And who is from the ShenaNdoah Valley? I thought for years it was “Shenadoah”.. Ok so after misspelling both those words 100s of times.. I think I may learn eventually..:)

My Great Grandpap Rhodes supposedly was out wandering thru Ohio as a young man, and happened upon a schoolhouse. He entered and discovered a spelling bee in process.. So he joined and proceeded to win..

Another story goes (*sorry, I just have stories from Mother’s side of the house.. Pretty sure the Horst’s would have their share of brag stories.. But I haven’t discovered them.. Mother assures me that Father’s spelling is a lot more accomplished than his eldest daughter’s..) that winter nights, on Mole Hill, would find the Good family gathered around the lamplight eagerly searching the dictionary, calling out words to stump “Pop” (my great grandad) and he, with his elementary education, would nail every one.. I would have enjoyed listening to them talk.. His wife’s poetry is full of descriptive words:

There’s never enough to gratify, These human hearts of ours..

Always an innate desire for more-More honor, more prestige, more powers

Never enough for the scholar; There’s a higher degree to gain.

Never enough of tangible things, More wealth we would obtain

There’s never enough to satisfy, The longings of the soul,

Always a striving to attain, A higher, nobler goal.

More excellence for the Christian, Thus always their soul’s aspire,

To grow in their Master’s graces, Each day ascending higher..

-Stella Good

If I have one regret from high school, it would be-how often I would rush into Mr. Wilson’s Vocabulary classes, realize that “Today is the quiz!” And just wing it.. UGH.. All that opportunity for knowledge down the drain..

Yet my quest for words continues.. There are some incredibly wordy people in my life.. ( Ok, so that has a double meaning- some of us just talk a lot, and there are others, that sound educated when they do..) I love that- keep the “out of the box” words coming! Several years ago we learned a word off of  a chopping customer.. She mailed the check to Effervescent Eldon.. Behold the vocab list expands..:)

Our Veterinarian is hilarious.. the words he throws around.. Mother accredits the fact that his mom was an English teacher.. Several months ago, Julia was giving him a rough time about a call he had made on a cow.. And after he checked her, he wrote “Vindication” the whole way down the cow’s flank in orange chalk.. Those of you who have ever attempted to chalk a cow know what a feat that was..:)

So what can be learned here? Persistence? If you come see me in a nursing home in 70 years, maybe we can play some sort of a vocab game.. Scrabble? Maybe that’s what I need to enlarge my usage.. Patience? Definitely for those around me- Who have to learn to roll their eyes and say “Oh, that’s just KH..” Humility.. It’s embarrassing to have this hang up.. To love words and yet always be misspelling, or mispronouncing, or misusing.. Silence? Ah, that’s it.. And my dear, patient mom, just smiles and thinks ” Yes, Kendra, talk less.. Listen more.. How many years have I been trying to get that thru to you..” 🙂

May the Words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord.. My Strength and my Redeemer.. Ps 19:14

Blessings, Kendra

Bonus Pics:

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Deborah joined the ranks of those who successfully hiked Old Rag.. A 5 hr intense hike..:) Judging from her pics- must be beautiful!


My smartphone savvy sisters are all enamored with “snapchatting” -where you can send your friends pictures of whatever and they can view for a few seconds and then it is forever gone.. UNLESS you screenshot.. which isn’t supposed to happen- but is rather out of your control, I suppose.. So thanks to Deb for sharing the screenshot of Em’s snapchat of Detroit.. (Is it just me, or is this getting a little confusing:))