#30for30

I remember when my mom turned 30. Her in-laws came and brought a HUGE box full of 30 gifts and we stood there wide eyed as she retrieved gift after gift. I couldn’t believe it. As the pile of opened gifts grew beside the box, I tried to imagine that many gifts. 30. One for each year. When it came down to it- I couldn’t imagine being that old either.
But here I am. Well, not really, because I just turned 29. But my mom tells me that this is my 30th year and since my brain is rolling with a brainstorm- I might as well get started with it.

IMG_6374
I am on a quest for #30for30. I am looking to get in on 30 new experiences in the next little while. I’ve started a list of things I wish to do. I thought maybe I’d wait until after next Nov to start, because I wanted my little sister Deborah to get in as many parties as possible, but then my list started to include more and more time consuming things, and I realize that I don’t want to completely let it consume my days- so this is gonna be a 2 year project.
But I need help. I’d love to hear from you- maybe you’re involved in a ministry that allows for a tag-along. Maybe you know of something really unique in your back woods. Maybe you make some specialty food, or knit mittens for the homeless, or babysit foster children and could use an extra hand. I just want suggestions! kdh.farmersdaughter@gmail.com
Part of me thinks 30 isn’t very many things and part of me wonders how I’ll ever come up with that many opportunities- lol . I’ve nominated my family as my board of directors to help my list become somewhat diversified. Somebody wondered who’s the treasurer. I do need a treasurer. J But in all seriousness- I’m not looking to spend a pile of money. I just want to look back on this time as a time of experiences, and education and adventure. I want to know that I seized the opportunity to celebrate life and shared in the joy of the incredible people in my world…

“For Thee delightfully employ,

Whate’er Thy bounteous grace hath given,

And run my course with even joy,

And closely walk with Thee to heav’n.”

Oh, and I do get final say over what I get into- sorry, Emily, but I will not be skydiving…

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a 5K to train for…
Stay tuned- more blog posts on this adventure coming 😉
Blessings,

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

Winter Storm Jonas was incredible- My married sisters and their husbands, and a few friends joined my parents and I in being snowed in on Paradise Mountain! It was so exciting 😉 We watched it snow, ate wonderfully, put more wood on the fire, joined in the challenge of chores and pulling out the milk truck on multiple occasions… Definitely a storm to remember! So much beauty!

 

Hold me, Jesus

Finally I dozed off, but my siesta was short. Interrupted by the very audible distressed toddler several seats in front of me. I pried open my eyes and tried to figure out where she was sitting, and since I didn’t have anything more exciting to do- I watched with interest.

The blonde haired little cherub couldn’t have been more than 2, and apparently she hadn’t tuned into the fact that she was on a grand adventure heading across the planet at a rapid rate of speed. She was experiencing something that a lot of people will never experience. She was flying with her family, piercing through the clouds that caused a bit of a turbulent experience- but still- she was in good hands.

As I watched- her dad stood in the aisle trying to soothe his sobbing daughter. She calmed down and he threw her gently in the air. She laughed. He threw her a few more times- careful to just toss her enough to send her airborne, but not enough to hit her head on the plane’s ceiling. She loved it. It was obvious that she completely trusted the fact that he would catch her when she fell. For the moment she was all smiles.

I could see myself in that little girl. My time in Nicaragua was definitely an exhilarating experience. I could see My Heavenly Father gently tossing His Daughter into the air for the sheer rush of the experience. I smiled and laughed and just basked in the glory of His love in allowing me this adventure. The extra unexpected toss was when things worked out for us to travel into the mountains the last day I was there and visit the town where Delmar and Sarah (my cousin and her husband) are serving at the local hospital. What an adventure! The mountains were so rugged and they took us back a dirt road among the coffee fields to a short walk to a waterfalls. Amazing. La Dalia is beautiful. We ate supper with them and then Deb and I settled down on the back of the truck for the several hours to the CAM guesthouse where we spent the night. My heart was so full. What a loving Heavenly Father who allows so many blessings into my life. I watched the stars, chatted with Deb and just relaxed in My Father’s care.

My little friend’s crying brought me back to reality. Her dad tried this and that- to calm her. He bounced her. He dug out her pacifier. Finally he put her head on his shoulder and cradled her in his arms. She quieted then, and rested in her father’s embrace.

As I was waiting to board the plane, I logged into my emails and read the devastating news that one of my dad’s best friends fight for life was over. I can’t believe it. I read the email about 3 times frantically wishing to see that somewhere I’d missed the words that left me with some hope. But there were none. Life had fled. My sorrow over leaving my brave little sister and her beautiful warm land coupled with grief at this news and snowballed as we flew along. Shock. Disbelief. Pain. Sorrow. The kind flight attendant handed me a stack of Coca-Cola American Air napkins and I cried.

I cried for all the memories. Rube had the quickest wit around and could make up a pun on the spot. Recently he had a procedure done to blast away a kidney stone that was bothering him for years. When he went back to meet the doctor he reported this conversation “Dr, Did you have a blast last week?” The Dr paused a bit “I think we both did”.

Rube was a family friend for forever as far as I know. He lived close by and when we were children it was traditional to have Little Ceasar’s pizza, peas, applesauce, and Reuben for supper. He eventually quit milking cows, and worked with us for years. So many memories. His record year of groundhog hunting, his trapping reports (even if it was just trapping mice in his house) His ability to talk to anyone anywhere. ” What do you say, Old Timer?” Every morning, Father’s phone would ring by 7:30, at least one time. Ol’ Brother Hostile.

Always the incredible optimist… like the time the chopper ran over the Farmer’s rooster, and Father called Rube and asked him to stop and put the rooster out of it’s misery. “I stopped and looked at him,” He reported “you smashed his one side flat, but the other side looked fine, so I let him go, I think he’s going to be alright” Or when he was running the graincart and would always run in the dust “That bean dust really gets in your eyes” he said “But it sure smells good”

Eventually his health deteriorated to where he no longer worked with us, but that didn’t keep him from following the harvest, especially at meal time. We’d always laugh and thank the farmer’s wife who send an extra meal to the field “This one’s for Rube” and when they didn’t realize he was on scene we’d offer him what we could spare or he’d just beg “Hey, Hoss, (not sure what all the history is with my dad and his “Hoss/Hostile” nicknames) that bbq sandwich smells amazing! If you have an extra one, Chuck is making bbq for the family tomorrow night, and I’d like to taste Mrs Knicely’s today and see how they compare.”

IMG_0208

And no one has ever checked a crop so faithfully. Every day he’d make the 12 mile trek to his farm and check his land and make sure everything was ok. His land runs right beside the interstate and last year while I was running his beans, traffic on 81 came to a standstill. “Wow, Ken, I’m gonna tell everybody that you were running beans faster than the speed of traffic on 81.”  His excitement level during harvest was always through the roof. He’d ride the entire time and watch the yield monitor and exclaim…

Sunset on Rube’s bean harvest, 2015

I cried for his pain. I cry for our loss . I can’t believe it’s over. It can’t be. As I watched that father cradle his little girl, the word to a song from my childhood surfaced:

“Hold me Jesus, Let me know You’re here,

I need to know the peace that comes, just knowing that you’re near

Hold me in Your arms, dear Lord, Never let me go

I’ll never make it on my own, won’t you carry me home”

“Blessed be the God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God…” 2 Cor 1:3-4

Yes, please hold us, Jesus…
Kendra

Listen to My Heart

So here we are living in a city of 200,000 people, innumerable stray dogs and cats, an entire army of horses… And on this beautiful Sunday morning- I knew I heard cows- I stuck my head out the window and watched in amazement as traffic stopped and this herd moooved into town… There is so much agriculture represented in the city here- I wonder how many loads of bales you see driving through the streets of New York City… (Is this peanut straw? Be sure and notice the workers on the back of the load) 🙂

Recently I’ve been mourning the Tower of Babel. Ah,those arrogant, unrealistic people! What did they think would happen when they tried to elevate themselves by accomplishing such a feat… This entire language barrier is really really frustrating! But then I comfort myself with the fact that God knows no language barrier. So I ask him to listen to my heart.

I love the “verse of the day” option on my phone- this week it threw a curve ball into my “listen to my heart” thoughts: “And the Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules that they have been taught.'” Is 29:13

Wow… It’s way too easy for me to “say the right thing” when I don’t always feel that inside. So this week, as I sit and listen to a Spanish conversation, and try to follow along with my LIMITED understanding and all the hand motions that go along with a conversation, (bless you ladies, when you pause mid conversation to catch me up on what going on- I know it’s a pain) sometimes, I take a detour  from the subject at hand and ponder what my heart is really saying…

I realize that being arrogant and unrealistic is not just an Old Testament problem. It’s way to easy to decide to complete something in my own strength, only to watch it crash down around me. Sadly, on my own, my heart would build a Tower to the Heavens way too often… So it’s good to stop and make sure that everything within me is glorifying the One who made me…

May the words of my mouth AND the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, My God and My Redeemer…

Kendra

Bonus pics:

I was afraid this was gonna happen- but Nicaragua has firmly captured my heart. Last week was a good week, where I felt like we “got down to business” switching from the entertain the company mode to real life here. Thanks for including me, Deb- I’m loving this.

A few things on my heart:

We spent an hour in prison yesterday. The group from Malpisillo goes in every month and invited us along. As we walked back to the conference room, the hall was lined with huge iron doors, that gave the appearance of cages, with prisoners peering out right beside us. They filled me in briefly with a few statics- the prison there houses around 500. The cells usually have between 4-8 beds and between 30-4O occupants- so there are hammocks strung all over. The families provide a lot for the inmates- clothing, food… The one cell even had a huge pinata… Again as I got lost in the Spanish during our service, I looked out over the sea of faces…and wondered what choices had led up to these consequences…

DSC_0812

Dear ladies from Sewing Circle- recognize these? The word is out that there are new dresses here, and I’m amazed at how many girls have requested them. It’s so much fun to bring them up to Deb’s house and bring out the options and read their expressions as they try to decide which dress they like best… And often, they ask for a bag to take their old clothes home, and leave wearing a brand new dress. What beautiful little princesses.

DSC_0350

Deb has had a hacking cough since before Thanksgiving… And so we went to get her lungs X-rayed. Apparently they taped the machine together and took the X-rays “really fast”. The Dr said she was fine, but her cough appears to have missed that memo and isn’t leaving 😦 So that’s a prayer request…

DSC_0358

Karina and Brayan come and clean the church. Their story is a sad one- their dad died 5 (?) years ago leaving a wife and several children. The wife has severe diabetes, and can hardly work, so at 13, Karina does what she can. Brayan’s birthday was this week, and they stopped by, so I asked how they were celebrating. “There is no money” She asked Deb if she could borrow an egg- in keeping with the Nica tradition of breaking an egg on the birthday persons head. Deb attempted to do the honors, but somehow Brayan moved his head to the side, and the egg shattered on the ground. He ran off gleefully.

Children’s Church started again this week. So many little people with so much potential. The energy level during the singing practically oozed out the church windows. Deb said that they were exceptionally well behaved-really? She taught the youngest class and we had coloring puzzles with the Nativity scene. The little guy pictured loved yellow- so other than giving Joseph blue hair, the stable, the Baby, Mary- everything turned yellow.. 🙂 And the little napper- apparently this is a recurring issue- her dad is friendly with the bottle, and every classtime, she sleeps- they assume she doesn’t get much sleep at home… Dear child… She was sleeping soundly too- we tried to wake her- while all the rest of the children offered advice “tickle her under the chin like this”

My parents left on Tuesday. After dropping them off at the airport, we took our tissues and headed the 5 minutes to the CAM base and had lunch with some friends there. The lady schoolteachers live in the upper story of the warehouse, and as I looked out out the kitchen window- the scenery consisted of warehouse activity and very familiar-looking,brown, food parcel boxes. I’ve had different opportunities to be involved with bagging rice and beans and dried strawberries and powdered milk at the CAM warehouse in PA. It was great to see this step of the process too!

Deb lives on the second story and there’s so much to see! The power lines right outside the window make for difficult pics.. But in the small median out front, a man has a bike taxi shop. It’s built out of cardboard, and it looks like business is booming. The bikes sometimes swallow most of the street, and they sit on our sidewalk a lot. Directly across from us, is a school. Every night, the same man brings these two lawn mowers in and turns them loose on ground maintenance. The amount of horse traffic here is incredible- they go by, night (like 3:30 with no lights whatsoever) and day- usually looking dead on their feet, pulling a monstrous load…

DSC_0379

Second grade is now in session and going well from what I gather 🙂 I love to pop into their classroom while I have the chance! 

Out with the Old

“Stay up to watch the New Year come in, it’s well worth it” they said. “It’s especially worth your time to go find a el viejo “

A what? Deb explained to me that there were stuffed dummies sitting around at random houses along the way, so I started to take notice. They often sat staring blankly at the street looking very similar to the scarecrow that graces many a fall arrangement in the Shenandoah Valley. But, instead of innocently holding an orange pumpkin- these guys usually held a whiskey bottle. And instead of innocently being stuffed with old rags, these guys had powder in their innards.

So as the New Year came upon us, Richard’s kindly took us to their house where there was a lot more action, and we sat out on the street and watched the activity. The dentist that lives next door had a big party going on. The guest pulled their chairs out into the street, a small table laden with food sat in their midst. Directly behind the party, the children were setting off fireworks. At one point the party shifted quickly, because the one boy lit a fireworks fountain, and it fell on its side, and sent a shower of sparks towards the guests.

We walked around the block, and a lot of people had hired in a disco for the night. Streets were shutdown while children swung wildly at pinatas and danced in the street- incredible. One old lady sat by herself, so Andrea and her daughters sat down and chatted with her, (I love the warm friendliness of this culture) and learned that her family was visiting out of town; so she stayed home to watch the house. She has 7 children and “countless” grandchildren…

The fireworks burst louder and more rapidly the closer we got to the New Year. I checked my phone and at 11:58- all through the streets- the “el viejo” (old man) were positioned in center of the street. We stood on the street corner were we could watch excitement from all directions.

Initially, the dummy was saturated with gasoline, then a match was struck and the rest was history. Fireworks shot here and there and fire rose high into the street. Sparks showered all over, and more fireworks shot in all directions. At one point- a motorcycle came down the street, weaving in and around all the flaming dummies (and the old habits and drunks everything else they represented) and by some miracle- escaped being nailed by one of the uncontrolled firework display.

My dad was in his element watching things blow up all over and my mom wasn’t enjoying it at all- except that it was a complete culture experience. And Me? I was just trying to absorb the moment. Trying to imagine what things from the old year that I would burn if  I could.

2015 held so many good things. But as always, there are things I hope to improve on. Like the amount of patience that I possess, the accountability of how I spend my time, how much I give the One who gave His life for me…

And as I watched the neighbor sweep up the smoldering remains, from the old man, out of the street, I felt a bit of excitement realizing again that old things are passed away, behold everything’s new…

So I face this New Year realizing that God’s grace is sufficient, and with Him acting as my guide, it’s bound to be an exciting journey.

Happy 2016!!!

Blessings, Kendra

Bonus pics:

I love pics. I took these trying to capture a bit of the flair of the culture around here. I love the afternoon siesta time.

The agriculture here is amazing. They are busy with peanut harvest, which involves a multi step process from digging the crop, to harvesting the wind-rowed product, to the gleaners who harvest the crop that’s left behind…. The pic below is of farmers spraying their rice fields. Notice the two man backpack/boom system. Wow

DSC_1209We visited a farm today, and discovered that the round green balls we’ve seen on so many trees are called “Jicaro” and when you break them open, they smell kind of like silage, and they are very valuable to sustain the cows through dry season.

DSC_0253

We met with an Apostolic couple who’d visited our farm in the Valley. They took us all over their town.  Their town had a “Bible Park” which included scrolls with a verse from every book of the Bible, lots of vegetation, and 12 pillars representing the 12 tribes, and 12 disciples. Then we went to a lookout and gazed at Momotombo who is still smoldering from her recent eruption.

DSC_1186

DSC_1197

Deb’s little friend Carmen is finally out of the hospital. Her mom brought her to try on her school uniform. They start school here at age 3.

DSC_0195

This is a house right down the street. And I was all amazed watching this busboy pull out his phone, stand on the back of the bus’s bumper without holding on, casually making a phone call… His bus didn’t have a sofa, or a table and chairs riding on the roof like a lot of them we met… (which has nothing to do with how smart it is to balance on a bumper with no hands- lol)

We went into the mountains to Selva Negra- a coffee plantation. It was overcast and drizzly to the point a jacket felt good. I was so excited to see the cathedral that I remember was in Pablo Yoder’s The Work of Thy FingersThe vegetation on the roof here turned this beautiful place into an enchanted forest.  We saw howler monkeys during a hike through the jungle and finished the day off with a beautiful sunset and meeting a pair of snakes. (We aren’t sure, but the diamond pattern on them resemble the Blue Boa that Deb has pics of herself holding at Cerra Negra) Thoroughly enjoyed the chance to get to know Richard and Andrea and their lively family better, as they graciously acted as tour guides. What a fun day!

Father got a little too close to the guard duck.. :/ The monkey that Katie gave Deb for Christmas came along to get in on a photo shoot among the coffee plants. The bright red coffee berries are ready for harvest.

And my favorite pic to date… Nicaragua is a beautiful land, with so many things to to see, and taste, and enjoy… But this is still my favorite thing about this land… I’m not sure the little pup was quite as fond of this beauty as I am… At least not while she was holding him like that-lol

DSC_0258