“No, I don’t have special plans for Thanksgiving… Just being thankful… And that’s special enough, really..”

My sweet friend Amy got my mind rolling at church last Sunday…  I have so many reasons to praise the Lord… It is great that there is a time of year set aside solely for that purpose.

As I referenced last post, I have a double dose of retrospection during Thanksgiving week/ my birthday week. A time to stop and reflect where I’ve been and the direction of headed… What is important to me… What my focus is… And how I’ve been blessed…

I thought my sister Emily put it well.. So with her permission..

Today, like everyday, I am thankful! I am so blessed. I am blessed with family(crazy, but totally irreplaceable), I am blessed to have grown up on a farm, I am blessed with an adorable puppy who is my little companion always! I am blessed with a boyfriend who puts up with all my antics! I am so blessed to have a career that I am so passionate about and such awesome people to share that passion with! I am blessed with the most amazing friends a girl could ask for. And I am blessed to serve a God that gives us random snow days to spice up life! To all of you who impact my life in ways great or small, for you, I am thankful! Happy Thanksgiving y’all!! Eat up!!

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As always, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in the everyday, that I forget how good my life is..It’s good to look at the blessings around me!

” So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened  in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Col 2:6-7

I saw a church sign that said “Gratitude is the interest we owe for the blessings we’ve received”

I am indebted… Blessings, Kendra

Bonus pic:


They say it when it rains it pours and somehow I spent all of yesterday jumping from social gathering to gathering… It was great… It got me thinking about the influences in my life and my support system and how blessed I am to be surrounded such an incredible, caring community… Blessing to each of you ladies… You mean alot to me!!!


I spent Black Friday strolling through snowy Lancaster… I was so busy looking at the potted snowballs (flowering kale) that I ran straight into a clothesline of frozen garmets… (literally frozen stiff) good ol Lancaster Co


And last but not least… Julia made these with her girls club… Pine Cone stars… Very cute

Together Still

We all know how it goes… Boy meets girl. He captures her heart. She blushes as she walks down the aisle.. We all wave and cheer as they head off, full of dreams and hopes into the future… Happily ever after…

Thanksgiving season 1949, things were busy on Mole Hill… Somewhere along the line, My Pappy Rhodes spent some time in the woods, so the wedding feast boasted some venison…  Reuben and Margaret Rhodes pledged heart and hand…

One hundred and twenty miles north, two days later, Stanley and Mary Horst took the same plunge… Til death do us part… in sickness and in health… Forever and always…


So, Sixty-five years later, I think about the irony of the fact both my grandparents were married this closely together.. How excitedly they must have embarked on the journey of “togetherness”.. and the lessons life brought..

My Horst grandparents have been gone for awhile now, but there are so many memories… Granddaddy Horst referring to “the good wife”. Spending hours playing board games with them. Both of them working on cleaning up the kitchen after a meal.. (no, washing dishes is not something their only son knows how to do.. but maybe there’s hope AFTER he retires-lol whenever that will be) Life was hard for them. Granddaddy lost his dad to pneumonia when he was 3. Farming was a struggle and after years of crop failure, they sold the farm and Granddaddy took a day job building houses for Foremost… looking forward to retiring… They loved to travel, and Father remembers often taking a “drive to stay alive” and just heading several hours in one direction or another (see, it’s in my heritage 🙂 ) In fact, they were in Key West, Florida celebrating their anniversary when they called to VA to check in. And just as they were wrapping up the conversation, Father casually mentioned “Oh, by the way, you have another granddaughter, born on your anniversary.. Kendra Dawn..” Thanks for remembering to mention..


But through it all… Sickness and Health… And the last number of years of Granddaddy’s life- there was a lot of sickness… They were committed… To each other..(sure, we loved to pick on Grandmother about the men of her youth, but there was never any question..) To their family… But most importantly to the Lord… Another memory is they had matching recliners, that sat facing each other, and they’d spend hours in personal scripture reading…

My Rhodes grandparents continue to challenge me… I stopped by this past week, and things continue there much the same… They still reside at the farm they moved on to when my mom was 6 weeks old. Pappy especially has slowed down, but there are still chickens running through the yard and a horse and a few calves in the pasture… With hard work as their life story, Grandmother has managed to still plug on. It’s not uncommon to ask about her day and hear “well, I had so much work to do, that I got up this morn at 5..” And just last week, she was spotted sweeping leaves off the porch roof with a broom… (!!Much to the chagrin of her family…!!) Twenty-One years ago, she experienced a debilitating stroke, we are so so thankful for the fact that she is so spunky now…


Survivors of the Great Depression, my Rhodes Grandparents spent their lives, working hard, and saving… Pappy has nicknames for a lot of people and “Dimples” always got him a dimply smile from his lady love.. Grandmother is a wonderful cook ( and Pappy loves his food) Mother mentioned recently that thinks she has plenty of cookbooks and Grandmother says “I can sit and look through cookbooks for hours..” People of the land, my memories from Cooks Creek will be honey, fresh butchered meat (Pappy loved nothing more than to supply his loved ones with a chicken) garden produce, sewing projects, baked goods fresh from the oven… They love music, and rarely does a family gathering pass, that the song books don’t get dug out and passed around and everyone lifts their voice in Praise..


Together Still -author unknown

Let me hold your hand as we go down the hill.

We have shared out strength and we share it still.

It hasn’t been easy to make the climb,

But the way has been eased by your hand in mine…

At the foot of the slope let us stop and rest,

Look back through the years, we’ve been truly blessed.

We’ve been spared the grief of being torn apart,

By death that brings a broken heart.

The view ahead is one of the best,

Just a little bit farther  and then we can rest.

We move more slowly now, but together still,

Let me hold your hand as we go down the hill.


Photo Credit- Thelma Martin



But, maybe your family lineage looks different than mine… Or maybe you are like me, and haven’t taken the plunge and signed “the papers”… I’m afraid this commitment thing doesn’t let us off the hook, that easily… It’s awesome to see couples who are committed to each other. But our world needs more than that. We need people who are committed- most importantly- to Christ and His church… to reaching out to mankind around us… to being the Hands and Feet of Jesus… We need people who are serious about who they are, what they believe… In a fast paced, instant gratification society- we need people who understand a life time of loving, living, and serving…

This thanksgiving season, I’m thankful to be acquainted with a number of people who understand just that..

Love, Kendra

Word Pictures From an Amish Wedding

Without too much trouble, we found the correct address, pulled into the little farmette, and were greeted by a  brown house, a matching  brown barn and a temporary structure which was basically trusses and 2x4s with some plywood, covered entirely with greenhouse plastic.  We parked among the buggies and empty vans and “church wagons” (which carry the benches, songbooks, etc). The horses had been unhitched and were enjoying lunch around a hay wagon.

Immediately, we were welcomed by the uncles of the bride and ushered into the house and then into the service. Several of the girls on my van had boyfriends accompanying and it became quite the joke that this was obviously a huge deal. Everyone who stopped to chat mentioned “now there are boyfriends along?”

It was a little chilly in the building and I couldn’t imagine how cold everyone must be who’d been there since 8:00.

The language barrier is so frustrating.. The white bearded bishop  was talking earnestly about something and crying openly. The congregation was wiping tears. A little blue-eyed girl peered out from under her dad’s bearded and solemnly watched the “English ” folk… I was finally able to locate the bridal party, which were seated on folding chairs facing each other- the groom and his 2 attendants on one side, the bride and her 2 across the aisle from them.. Eventually the couple stood in front of the minister, both with heads bowed and I’m assuming they exchanged vows. They did a very obvious knee bow thing and returned to their seats.

I really don’t think that “knee bow” is the right term here, but it’s something that I THINK I’m starting to remember every time I’m in an Amish service… First you kneel for prayer, and then stand, facing your chair.. and then at one point everyone bends their knees. It looks kinda like a little hop to those of us who may be peeking… I need to remember to research what the cue is to stand.. So many questions..

And the singing is fascinating.. I think the song they sang had 23 verses. The leader sings the first part and everyone joins in and it is amazing, I feel like I’m in Europe during the Reformation era..

The wedding dinner was wonderful! A chicken/dressing mixture, mashed potatoes (which were guilty of distracting this van driver, when the noise of a cordless drill beating them up, reached her ears during the service) and gravy(that had instant coffee in them-for color) stewed celery, coleslaw, jello salad, all sorts of cookies, filled doughnuts and pumpkin torte.

I took the opportunity to ask the men across the table from meal to interpret what was on the bishop’s heart. Apparently in the Apocrypha a man named “Tobias” ?? is thankful that his household belongs to the faithful church of God. And the fact that a daughter had left the church, was causing this man’s pain..

Every one chatted and mingled until the afternoon song service, where the single girls lined up and the boys went down the line and each selected a gal.. (too bad I had been up since 3:00 and HAD to take a nap-lol 🙂 jk)

After the singing, they served yogurt parfaits. Another tradition is that guests bring food gifts e.g: a Tupperware container full of tortilla roll-ups and salsa; a skillet full of meat, cheese and crackers; a bird house full of candy.. All afternoon the couple opens these and sends them around to share with the guests..

Volleyball is ongoing, children run here and there, everyone is friendly and happy… And an army is in the basement preparing the supper.. Roast beef, noodles, glazed carrots, a tossed salad… Same cookie and doughnuts selection, but with vanilla pie, and a mocha torte…

I was very thankful that my gang decided to head out after supper, since we had a 5 hour journey home, but they missed another singing, as well as throwing the groom across the fence. And occasionally, they toss the bride as well- with hopes that he’s a good catch..!!

There were several reasons this wedding was special to me… One of the uncles had worked for our family before he was killed in a farming accident in 07, and we’ve been friends with the family for years… My parents were invited and it worked out for Mother to accompany me.. (The Mother of the Bride wondered if she would help with supper, hence the recipe..)  And I LOVE studying different cultures, and this event was like a cultural smorgasbord..

As I drove through the snow flurries, with most of my gang sleeping , I had lots of things to ponder…  Life… Death… Traditions… Love… No matter what your cultural background is- there are lots of things that are universal…

Blessings on your week,


Glazed Baby Carrots

2 lbs baby carrots        cook tender crisp in salt water, drain

Boil together:

6 Tablespoons butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 Tablespoons ranch powder

Drizzle glaze over carrots and serve

The House that Built Me

The little green house sat beside the road for as long as I can remember… Quietly… There was never too much going on, but it was easy to tell its occupants loved it. A beautiful garden beside it told me that someone had a green thumb and didn’t mind to work… But I’m not sure I ever saw the family that lived there, unless it was the elderly lady mowing the lawn…


Years rolled by and the size of the garden decreased and then disappeared all  together. Emily became acquainted with the family through her emergency response… A man and lady, and their adult handicapped daughter. The couple was called Home fairly close together and the daughter was placed in a home, thus ending the chapter.

A “For Sale” sign showed up in the front yard, and my parents inquired about it, and basically fell through an open door. And before we knew it- my parents were the excited owners of a 1931 Sears and Roebuck house, needing some repairs. I laughed at the fact that we now have our own “thirty-one” house.

So we are in the process of breathing new life into this house. Integrity Builders are doing a wonderful job and it’s really exciting. But it’s a little sad too. As I watched the process of removing the roof and adding a half story, I grieved a little for that daughter and all those memories… And took a trip down my memory’s lane… You’re welcome to join me 😉

The House That Built Me -Tom Douglas Allen Shamblin

I know they say you can’t go home again
I just had to come back one last time
Ma’am, I know you don’t know me from Adam
But these hand prints on the front steps are mine

Up those stairs in that little back bedroom
Is where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar
And I bet you didn’t know under that live oak
My favorite dog is buried in the yard

Mama cut out pictures of houses for years
From ‘Better Homes and Garden’ magazines
Plans were drawn and concrete poured
And nail by nail and board by board
Daddy gave life to mama’s dream

You leave home, you move on
And you do the best you can
I got lost in this whole world
And forgot who I am

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself

If I could walk around, you know I’ll leave
Won’t take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me


Our “old house” was so old- no one knew when it was built. “They” said pre- Revolutionary War, but when we tore it down, they said that judging from the type of saw blade that cut the lumber, it was a lot newer than that- maybe pre- Civil War… But regardless, it was on old house. It didn’t have a basement, but it had an “old part” that had been added later. A faulty foundation caused it to be uninhabitable… We just stored stuff out there and Julia and I had a blast creating trails through the boxes and rollerblading for hours. We had a loop figured out that ran from the old part, across the back porch and around Mother’s kitchen table. As long as we went the same consistent speed, we’d meet at the two designated meeting spots and could sail past without slowing down at all. How Mother kept her sanity with her wild Indian daughters is beyond me…


Julia and I shared a bedroom and it overlooked a grape arbor, until one year spray drifted from the corn field and killed the grapes… But many nights, we would watch the same annoying possum stealing our grapes. Or at one point, we had a system going to transport things from the outside up the side of the house into our room… Julia also had a flag system worked up with one of the neighbors girls who was milking at our barn so they’d know when each other was around… Or occasionally we’d climb out on the back porch roof to watch the stars…

We had two staircases,both enclosed, with a spiral in them that made moving furniture upstairs quite an art… But on very special occasions, Father would play “ghost in the graveyard” with us… which was kind of a game of hide and seek/tag… And we would thunder up one set of stairs and tear down the other, shrieking as we went… Again about Mother’s sanity… Those were good days…

The day came when the “old house” was replaced by our current residence. While we were sad to say “good-bye”, we discovered the floor joist were about to break through thanks to termite activity.. So it was time. This place is chock full of memories as well… Soft pretzel parties, ping pong tournaments, shindigs… Turning off all the lights in the house, except the one outside, and all of the family hanging out in the living room, watching the snow fall… The sound of Julia slamming the door and running for the barn… Or Deborah calling her dog… Or the tones dropping at any hour and Emily’s feet hitting the floor and running to save the day… Mother’s sewing machine humming a thousand mile an hour… Father’s animated cell phone conversations…


But when it comes down to it- it’s not the house that matters. If I were on a quest to find what shaped me- pretty sure it wouldn’t be found in that pile of bricks and yellow pine mantles that’s all that is left from our old house… Nor in the cedar siding and windows of our new place… Instead I think it’d be in the time spent with the ones I hold so dear… As I go through my memories, it’s the people in it that play all the parts… Life isn’t perfect. But, by the grace of God,we have love and the ability to laugh.. And that makes the difference.





How Great Thou Art- Stuart K Hine

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder

Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed:


Dear Heavenly Father, so often when you hear from me- it’s petitions and pleadings and requests… So today, I just want to stop and praise You for the goodness around me… I’ve blessed to spend a lot of time observing nature recently… Two 80 degrees at the Outer Banks last week did my heart good.. I was just impressed over and over and over again with Your Creation… So much variety.. All working as you designed.. From the Hammerhead Shark who was feasting on the King Mackeral that the guys were catching (look closely at the fish picture- notice there are several “part” fish) to the Cormorants migrating north by the thousands.. I love the opportunity to witness the work of Your fingers..

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Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!


When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:


It seems like life gets so busy- and I just love when I have chance to experience Your out-of-doors.. That is the best way for me to feel Your Presence, really… Thank you for giving me opportunity to float the river.. Or hike the mountains.. Or just spend time breathing that fresh air.. Quality time with the Creator.

And when I think that God, his Son not sparing,
Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.


When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, My God, how great Thou art!


And so.. I come to You with my heart full…  Creation reminds me so often of You… Continue to open my eyes to see You around me.. It is hard for me to comprehend- that the same God that fills the earth with such incredible variety- cares for each of His Creations,and still has time to be personally involved in my life.. I’m challenged by the scripture that says that “if the Children don’t Praise the Father- all the rest of Creation will cry out..” So I want to do my part with praise and adoration…. And just be impressed over and over with the Power of You.. “My God how great thou art!!!”

Hallelujah, Kendra