The Beginings of the Journey

So tonight, as a group of weary girls pulled in to the front of “Grand Staff Bed and Breakfast”, I overheard the one girl say, ” You know, this van is starting to feel like home.. Like we are with other people, and then we get back in the van with our family and we are home..” I’ll have to confess if the first 3 days of this adventure are any indication, we are gearing up for quite the incredible time..

Day One consisted of tearful good-byes, driving along and discovering the love notes tucked here and there by my family… Driving hammerdown, without many stops across the eastern part of the US attempting to make it the Gateway Arch before closing time… It consisted of a few visits to “the pantry” as the food section at the back of the van has been lovingly dubbed.. Bless those of you who so generously contributed- its awesome.. And running through a number of cloudbursts.. Discussing our unique personalities, and the love languages.. And how birth order affect our personalities.. (I tell you what.. All on day one.. Just wait until Day 21.. We may have the World’s problems solved..) And just adjusting to travelling..


We made it to the Arch.. And up it for a brief view before we hurried down in time to get in on the last showing of the Documentary on how it was built.. Some in our group weren’t too sure about riding up the Arch in those little washing machine cars.. So, as has become traditional, we sang, “I’m pressing on the upward way, New heights I’m gaining every day, Still praying as I’m onward bound, Lord, plant my feet on higher ground..” We unfortunately missed the first part of the documentary, but got in on most of it. I’m non too fond of heights and I was rather concerned at those men whipping in the wind 630 feet in the air. Constructed in the mid 60s, the engineers estimated there would be 13 lives lost, but thankfully none were.. And they had a margin of error for building that thing.. 1/64 of an inch.. Is that anything at all?!


Highlights from Day 2 were definitely visiting “Dutch Country General Store” in Bloomfield, IA, where owner Levi Good looked very much like I remember him growing up.. It was so much fun to see him being everywhere in his very impressive everything store.. AND he likes to take care of drivers (so they bring customers back) , and we were blessed with a generous number of items.. The pantry runneth over. How kind! This stop was well worth the time!


The unplanned stop of the day was along Hwy 2, at “Little Flock Baptist Church” a mini church at a picinic area, that’s designed to be a reprieve for weary travelers.. We enjoyed crowding inside and singing and spending a little time in meditation.. I love these sort of impulsive finds.. 🙂


The girls had relatives in Chula, MO where we spent the night. I discovered a bit of trivia posted on her fridge. So we put our travel weary minds in gear, and came up with the answer.. Can You?

“Four men have an appointment in 17 minutes and all four men must cross a bridge to get there. All four men begin on the same side of the bridge. It is night and there is only one flashlight. A maximum of two people can cross at one time. Any party who crosses the bridge, either one or two people, must have a flashlight with them. The flashlight must be walked back and forth. It can not be thrown, etc. Each man walks a different speed. A pair must walk together at the rate of the slower man’s pace..

Ben-1 min to cross

Eddie-2 min to cross

Adam-5 min to cross

Larry- 10 min to cross

For example, if Ben and Larry walk across first, 10 mins have elapsed when they get to the other side of the bridge. If Larry returns with the flashlight, total of 20 mins have passed and the mission has failed.   There is no trick behind this, it is a simple movement of  resources in the appropriate order.. There is an answer to this problem..”

We’d love to hear if when you get this.. 🙂


And today.. After worshipping in Chula, we hastened onward towards Kansas. We feel like we’ve hit the divide and our now “experiencing the West”..  We have friends in Buhler, and spent the eve with them, their adorable daughter, and their horses..


I’ve rambled on long enough.. My heart is full tonight, thanking God, for all that He’s done for me… Hope to see you on down the trail.. Good night, Kendra

P.S I made a new friend out here.. He’s a real charmer 😉











I’m going West and I’m taking…

I’m sure you’ve all played the children’s alphabet game where you start with A and work your way along, taking turns naming “Letter appropriate”  items and  trying to remember what all the other players said.. “I’m going West and I’m taking..”  This week this game is reality for me.. I’m going West, leaving Friday, Lord willing and I’m taking…



Bunch of girls (9 of us to be exact)

Coppertone (I like to name my vans, and Mother requested that it be something that none of my sister would ever want to name a child.. So we have Coppertone.. I hope that’s safe)

Directions to exotic destinations

Energy drinks (I like the “5 hour energy” product)

Flip-flops (Rainbow brand.. These.are.awesome)

Geoffrey Garmin, the trusty GPS

Hotel Guide.. We are travelling with the AAA advantage.. 🙂


JUANITA!!  So thankful that cousin Juan is along as my second driver 🙂

Key to the lock on my luggage box, which I’m assuming will house the souvenirs..


Mercy of our Heavenly Father.. This isn’t something I’m taking… It’s what I’m relying on..

National Park Pass

Opportunity for you to get in on part of our experience, via our blog updates..

Postcard stamps

Quality time/memories in the making

Random music selections


Track phone, flip phone, iPhone



Water bottles (We are preparing to embark on a somewhat lengthy hike.. Trudging into the depths of a barren, desolate, ravine in a remote area.. Hmmm..Stay tuned)

Xcitment.. Enough to last for a whole month of adventure

Yummy snacks

Zillions of pics

And this is only a starter list.. I’m getting excited about the journey… I covet your prayers.. Please feel free to stop by here often, vicariously, as we are hoping to stay fairly current with our trip.. And if not, see you in a little over a month, Lord willing.. Blessings, Kendra

Bonus Pics:

One of my cousins became very creative with a chainsaw, leaving a large chair in place of a tree along the road that runs past the front of his house… I was reminded of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, when I came past this week.. “There’s someone sitting in my chair…And THERE he is!!” Apparently someone with an excellent sense of humor has been dropping off things anonymously… First was a stuffed possum.. Next this monstrous bear.. I’m eagerly awaiting to see what happens next..


photo credit: Deborah

Along with my parent’s purchase of a small house near our farm, came the chance to make a little hay on the acreage that came with the house.. Detroit wished to ride along and he INSISTED that he ride on the driver’s seat.. I could NOT get him to move..


Mother and I were back in Greenbank, WV recently and we took a walk through the National Observatory..  They have a “Planet Trail” where they have stations, a flag, and info, dedicated to each planet along the way, on scale in relation to their distance from the sun… Since Pluto has been dethroned from planetation (is that a word-lol) the Pluto flag now flies at half staff..


This past weekend was extra busy with a large number  of Mother’s Rhodes family coming in from all over the US and Western half of Canada.. (literally) The story  from a hired girl who worked in their home, goes- my Great Grandma Sarah Mable would make 17 pies on Wed and 18 pies on Fri.. And the family of 11 children would eat pie at each meal.. So it seemed appropriate that pie be on the family reunion dinner menu.. Saturday saw a spread of 55+ pies.. And if you didn’t mind to stand in line for a length of time, the selection was impressive.. (unless you were like the bro-in-law, and snagged dessert before he’d finished the main meal, thus eliminating the wait time.. :))


photo credit: Emily

Deborah left on SMBI’s WATER program, and will be in Nicaragua through the end of July.. I was rather amused at her last minute instructions,and farewell hugs to the security crew


And finally, I’m really thankful to put a few hours in the wheat field, before I leave my poor dad holding the bag.. Again.. Sorry, Father.. Maybe someday, you’ll find RELIABLE help..  🙂


Happy Father’s Day

This week found Deborah teaching Summer Bible School, attempting to impress upon her first grade class the marvels  of creation. “Could you create a world?” “No! Huh uh!” Her first graders laughed at the thought..” How about a star? They are little and far away, and there’s so many of them..” Still the classes response is the same-not a chance.. “What about a tree? There are everywhere, surely you could make a tree..” At this, Preston, with his solemn big eyes, took the floor “Well, I know I couldn’t but I’m pretty sure Daddy could..” The rest of the class hasten to agree- they know their dads would have no trouble creating a tree… Innocence..

My dad cringes at the memory of a preacher attempting to illustrate the theory that “a threefold cord is not easily broken ” during a children’s meeting one Sunday at church, so he asked “Do any of you have a really strong dad?” Emily’s hand shot into the air-of course… And Father was called to the front.. The problem with the illustration was, that the cord happened to be baler twine, which is impossible to break as a single cord, so there was no way to show weakness when we are alone… My dear dad got rope burn trying, what gallant effort…


Today is Father’s Day, which makes me stop and think.. Obviously, as I journey thru adulthood, I am aware that the glowing “My Dad can do anything” is not reality. My dad is human.. But He is an incredible human that I’m honored to share life with.


Father and I have been friends for forever. The story goes that I went on my first trucking trip with him when I was 6 weeks old- I don’t remember that.. But he always did so good at taking us along. Granted, a number of times, I’d get busy playing with the children at the local machine shop, and I’d look up to see the tail lights of our pickup, and I’d think “Well, guess he’ll come back to get me after awhile..” We loved going with him-Julia and I HAD to take turns.. Much to Mother’s chagrin, we always thought our days with Father were the best..


As I mentioned last post, My dad never had any sons, yet he never made us feel like we didn’t measure up.” Who needs boys?” He’d say, and have confidence that we could do whatever he asked, even when we second and third guessed our abilities.. I love that about him.


There are a number of things about him that I hope I can mimic.. His love for God..  His enthusiasm for the job at hand..  His ability to see humor anywhere… His complete devotion to his family… His appreciation of a good story.. His selfless generosity..

One of my friends lost her dad several years ago to cancer, and one night she made me stop in my tracks. It was in the heart of harvest and I was feeling over worked and a little overwhelmed and she texted and wondered how my life was.. I told her I felt swamped, currently, and she said, “That so special that you can still work with your dad..” Time for a little re-evaluation..

And so, to my dear Father, who makes me feel special, believes in me, listens with patience to all my wild ideas, who supports me through whatever… You are the best.. Thanks for everything. I love you, Kendra

Bonus Pic:


This week, My lady riding shotgun was an 88 year old rug weaver… I asked if she had any idea how many rugs she had weaved, and she acted all embarrassed to tell me… But she finally did, and I put a pencil to the number and realized she had weaved 60 miles of rugs in her lifetime… That’s a few hours of labor..


My Adoptive Brotherhood

Invariably, at least once per trip, I’m asked the question: “Tell me about your family.” And I’m sure by now my travel companions have memorized my answer.. “I am the oldest of four girls. My dad thinks he’s henpecked, but in reality, he’s rather spoiled..” And the conversation goes from there. Sometimes this fact is met with sympathy.. “No brothers? Oh wow, you poor thing..” I laugh. I love my sisters. And obviously Our Creator thought that we needed a set of skills that having a brother would’ve hampered.. So here we are.

As I think back over the past, it strikes me that all though I’m from an all girl family, God has filled my life with lots of brotherly influence. The list goes on and on. Guys that come into our place, into our house and family, sit at the table, establish their “favorite meal”; and into our hearts… There are two sides to this arrangement. Its only temporary, which means it does not include near the relationship effort that blood relatives provide.. And it’s temporary, meaning that they come and then they leave…

While there are a number of people who would merit being mentioned here, I’m only going to give a shout out to two of them..

Ben showed up in ’01 on a silo crew and has been a sporadic member of the family ever since. Somehow he has the ability to be everyone’s best friend… He was the master of rapid trips to Reddish Knob to watch the sunrise, the biggest pool deck ever, super water battles… Random souvenirs from his travels all over the world, and great memories from times we accompanied him (I still want to get in on a Haiti trip) .. To mention a few.. I’m so happy for you and sweet Annie…

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And Craig- who’s impending departure inspired this post… Thinking of you brings nostalgic memories of campfires, guitars, (I’m still curious if that kids round you taught us is “Tiny Tom Tinker got burned by a clinker..” I maintain that he getting burned by a cinder, would be a lot more likely..) And of course, You and poetry… Craig ate many an early breakfast here, as he travelled home from catching chickens for Shenandoah Valley Organic Chicken, and over breakfast hour, he and Mother would discuss poems.. Good times.. Snowy Sundays and Taboo.. Following the silent figure thru the pitch black corn maze… Sitting around the kitchen table listening to duck hunting tales, etc, etc.. You have a splendid sense of humor, I’m going to miss that…

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Craig has a favorite meal that he requested occasionally… Hot Tamales Go to Church (recipe included- the flavor in this dish is positively fantastic- my taste buds do the happy dance..) And Graham Cracker Fluff, which I will never again be able to mindlessly eat, after Craig introduced it as “flying through a cloud, with your mouth open..” How exotic is that.. 🙂 Anyhow He considers it one of his life ambitions to make this meal famous. So I thought maybe I could at least do my part in spreading the word.. Seriously- the Tamale dish is worth the trying.. 🙂

Thanks for being part of the gang… My life is so much richer because of you.. Blessings to you, Kendra

Hot Tamales Go to Church


Meat Mixture:


1 onion

1  green pepper

1 Tablespoon butter

2 lbs hamburger


1 can of tomatoes, drained

2-3 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup black olives

Cornmeal mixture:


1 cup cold water

1 cup cornmeal

Then Add:

3 cups boiling water

1 teaspoon salt

Place cornmeal mixture on bottom of greased 9×13. Add meat mixture

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes

Bonus Pic:


We enjoyed spending a little bit of time with the Deiffenbacker family… Wyatt, Wynton, and I got a tour of Clover Hill Fire and Rescue courtesy of Emily.. And I got an education on how heavy firefighter gear is.. My neck was sore for the rest of the day thanks to that heavy duty helmet.. 🙂

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We hiked the Rhododendron Trail in Hone Quarry this week and enjoyed the laurel.. The Rhododendron is still a little ways off.. But what an incredibly fantastic hike.. (Highly recommended to the locals 😉 ) The trail goes back and forth over a stream, and the Rhododendron create an arch over the path.. I felt a little like Alice and Wonderland..This was a truly enchanted forest… But harsh reality, they say the snake population is bad this year. Several of my prepared Aunts and Uncles brought snake sticks.. And Uncle Fred brought a pistol, so we were ready.. And then to top the evening off, during the refreshment time at the the end of the hike, after darkness had fallen, whippoorwills serenaded us from overhead… Em’s been playing me a song that applies here.. Someone reflecting on years past… Beautiful summertime.. #scottymcreery

“Now the years have blown by me like the wind through the pines
But the song of the south is ever sweet as homemade wine
Oh, how I miss those mountains when the laurels are in bloom
And the southern stars are dancin’ ’round the North Carolina moon..”

These are really good days.


Julia, Kalila, and Adrian enjoying the evening at Craig’s Farewell Extravagonza

Life before the Motor

One thing I love about my job is variety. The saying goes that “variety is the spice of life..” My life should have lots of spice then.. 🙂 This week found me touring through Kentucky and Tennessee. The itinerary included a wide range of experiences- from stopping at the Vanbert Farms to gaze at Rocky Mountain Horses (which I really had no clue what I was looking at, but that didn’t keep me from having fun with the camera)…

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…to visiting multiple communities that choose to live ‘pre-motor” which creates for a very interesting and educational experience. We spent one afternoon being chauffeured around by a convoy of buggies. I had never spent that amount of time in a “rig” as they called it- so I was all eyes. Especially as we careened down a steep hill at an outrageous rate of speed and the one girl commented mildly that she sure wished that she had brakes.. Needless to say, I checked out the “In case of Emergency Exit ” options… From the back seat, they weren’t real great..


They were so hospitable and as always, I was just amazed… I understand that not everyone is ok with their picture being taken, and I want to honor that. I did capture a few sights that I want to share with you… So here goes..

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Probably what I minded the most was the absence of indoor plumbing… No running water… No showers… The lack of electricity also created a problem, but I have a good flashlight..


The one lady had a bakery in the one end of her home. They were making short work out of 115 doz cookies to be sold at market, with a huge and very warm wood fire oven..

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Every thing is run by real horse power. (Except where they have tapped into the power of water, which is also really neat, but I won’t bore you with all that this time..) The washing machine, table saw,etc all run by a horse on a tread mill. The saw mill and feed mill were also horse powered. We “helped” unload part of a load of hay up in the barn using the old method of a hay hook- where a team of horses hooked to a rope pulled the hook(as well as the huge bunch of hay in it’s grasp) up to the top of the barn. Then it slid along the tracks at the top, and was dumped into the mow. Fascinating. I climbed up into the hay mow just for better understanding. We all commented on how “springy” loose hay in a mow is. And I think we all secretly wished that we were a few years younger, and could’ve played there awhile..


But the dentist office was powered a little differently… They said that either you bring someone with you to pedal like mad to build up the air to run the dentist’s tools… Or you can do it before your procedure.. 😉 I wonder if this helps to deal with the apprehension that usually comes along with the dentist chair… Maybe a new way to work through that phobia.. 🙂


I find it incredible at how their community is growing and how these people appear to be living so quietly with lack of agenda or convenience.. This man was showing us how to make a broom.

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And so, I returned home. Hopefully a little wiser.. With a few new stories, and with a little different appreciation for the things in my life… especially that warm shower… 🙂

Blessings as you are Faithful where He has called you, Kendra

Bonus Pic:

Quick note from the Farm Manager:

I’m not much for emailing, but recently I received such a cool email on Kendra’s account that I had to share it with you…(I don’t bother with my own account, when I can just use hers..) You see, I’m in charge of all the activity around here. All of it. And the problem is, they keep taking equipment away from here and leaving it all over the creation and I’m still supposed to oversee what’s going on. That’s no small order, let me assure you. But I figured out that if I can ride on the back of the pickup, I can at least check in on part of the operation. ( I finally have Rolo to the place, that it’s ok to leave her alone to keep the farm going.. Well, for short periods of time, only.. She still really depends on my insight) Anyhow the Harvestor was gone for a long time, and every time I jumped on the back of the truck to go have a chat with it, and see how it was fairing (that’s what a mechanic does, right?) this stubborn family would make me get right back off. Now, I know that I just got out of the hospital from that minor car accident, but good grief! This was getting out of hand. You know how you’re not supposed to worry, because things just work out? Well, I got this email, that put all my fears aside. It sure is nice to have connections. Thank you, Jasper from Winding Creek Farm, for keeping an eye on the situation for me.. It sure is nice to have friends you can trust.  And I’m looking forward to the report from my new Patrol, I hear you are very poetic.. -Detroit for the rest of the Family

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Photo Credit: Philip Wenger Family