1for30: Mini Garden Mania

Julia came home from a trip with her in-laws and made this announcement: “Juanita and I think it’d be fun to get the cousins together and make mini gardens.”

I’ll be honest- I really knew nothing about mini or fairy gardens. So the research began. Sherman even bought Julia book on fairy gardens for Valentines Day. She was all inspired and found 21 red clay mushrooms on Amazon for $.79 total and free shipping. So she made a big purchase.

Suddenly I realized that if I didn’t get inspired- my garden was going to be practically a “graveyard of buried hopes” (thanks Anne of Green Gables) So- I started looking up ideas and chatting about it with the people I was traveling with- my many trips to Lancaster these days provided lots of opportunities for “the quest”. Juanita spearheaded the project and so we all knew that all plans needed to be in place by March 26.

Obviously the first thing we needed was a container and a theme. I had bought a cute little stucco house in Nicaragua and I found a wash tub/planter. But then I picked up a table and chairs and came to the sad realization that my house was smaller than my table. Ooops. So I spent a lot of time trying to plan out my garden in my mind- where things weren’t so out of proportion. And it wasn’t until the morning of- as I was discovering I was running out of time- that the solution hit me. Typical

First stop on our day was the greenhouse of my mom’s green-thumbed cousin-in-law. Wow and what a stop that was! Anne had piles of succulents and cacti and lots of wonderful advice- we left with the trunk full. We ran down to Millmont to finish the quest and then returned to where the fun began.


It was getting close to lunch- but we spread all of our scenes out and had a blast finally seeing everything take place. And I’m not sure any of us wanted to take a lunch break. 🙂 We filled our containers with pea gravel, then the charcoal product the professional recommend, the moss also advised and lastly, potting soil.

A game plan is really important here- and I know I still did some replanting whenever this plant needed to be moved here or there. Plants went in first, then the path, and fences and last the little extras. Julia made a bunch of little wooden benches and chairs. Juanita provided picket fences.

We had a wonderful supervisor team too 🙂 When they saw how many plants we had, they voted that we had WAY too many for the amount of containers we had- so Plans B and C were implemented, and more containers showed up 🙂 The thing that’s fun about a mini garden is that any container works. So we ranged from a piece off an old tree to a tea kettle, a honey dish, and a goblet. The best thing about working as a group is, there were so many more people to exclaim over each new production. I know I’m sounding like I’m raving- but we had so.much.fun!!

We laughed at how our personalities came out in our gardens. Some of us spent a bit more money than others. Some had perfectly neat paths, while some… Let’s just say that quite obviously VDOT was not planning my roads. Conrad’s wife Sarah had some sort of salt clay that she’d molded, then baked and painted. So she created the sunflower scene. God know what He’s doing when He handed out talents, if I were capable of such things, I’d be out of control.

Julia also had a Nica house. She made this one for a friend- be sure and notice her bike parked by the door 🙂 Meanwhile, I’m obsessing over my chickens 🙂 I loved the fact that Anne had the plant called “hen and chicks” How appropriate is that?

And my solution to my quandary: Layers. I found the bottom to an old clay pot, and added that to my scene. I wanted the house to seem like it was back a ways from the table scene and I think this helps with that feel. A little ladder works for the neighbors to visit, and Julia donated a mini bike to the cause. (Also notice the broom by the front door 😉 )


So here we are with several of the 26 created 🙂 Would I recommend this? Absolutely! But do it with a couple friends. 🙂 Ideas, plants, advice, cheering over some perfect discovery- creating memories that will long outlive these little planters; It’s meant to be shared!

Easter blessings,


Bonus Pic:

I had two social events this weekend where my newfound bunny friends added to the occasion. Who wouldn’t want to eat soup with this little guy watching every move? 🙂



Rock Removal

The latest adventure around here, was the purchase of “Windy Hollow Farm” in Singers Glen. “Windy Hollow” is a Century Family Farm, which means that it’s been in the same family for over 100 years. The original family kept the old house and barn and part of one pasture, so their heritage remains intact. We are so excited to fall in love with a place that has loved so well. .


With the warm breezes sweeping across the Valley, it was the perfect chance to start prepping the land for spring planting 2016. Father had his “high hoe” whipping in the wind: clearing out fence rows, taking down trees, digging out rocks…


View from back yard, happy high hoe operator in the back ground


While most of the land requires very little TLC before planting season, there is a handful of rock breaks. So, Father dug them out, and my job was to tear back and forth with the Bobcat skidloader delivering the uprooted objects to a gigantic hole created especially to house these offending rocks.

So tear I did! Back and forth, back and forth.


Father had a head start on me and it seemed like that part of an acre stretched on and on. Meanwhile, I bravely rocketed back and forth. But my mind was as busy as my skidloader. I tried to distract myself envisioning that I were a coal miner, but these thought kept showing up…

“Really what is the advantage here? Wouldn’t it be just as easy to leave these rocks here happily sticking their heads out of the earth, and just farm carefully around them? The way this is working, we are getting the big rocks out, but we are creating a million smaller rocks that will have to be dealt with too… ”

As I was rapidly heading for the depths of despair, Father came over with his hungry machine and started sorting out rocks for me. With him sorting, and me hauling, things picked up speed and progress went into overdrive. The sun shone again and the happy miner whistled as she worked.

My dad -with all of his farming experience- definitely knows best. It will be so much easier to have smooth sailing, rather than picking around a rock break or two, when it comes to harvest time!

There’s an moral to this tale: Sometimes there are things in my life that seem easier to just “farm around”. Sure, the end result would be much of an improvement- but it would take SO MUCH work to get there… So I just let it go. Or eventually things come down to a great earth moving, and I work by myself and feel so frustrated. But when I allow God to work with me- fighting whatever battle I’m in- THEN the break through happens and things look so much brighter…


Are you farming around rocks in your life? Allow God to work with you- it’s much much easier than trying on your own…



Bonus Pic:

The first of many pics of this pond 🙂


Lifting those Arms

There are things about being the bossy oldest sister that are not too glamorous, but some things I do take very seriously. I feel like it is very much my job to hound my little sister about updating her blog. I listen to her enthusiastic stories and try to encourage her “write about it” I listen to her busy life and try to nag her “write about it” and finally today, she turned the tables on me and reminded me “you promised you would blog for me when you came to visit, but you didn’t.” And so,here goes, a combination article from two sisters one in VA and and one Nicaragua. (follow more of Deborah’s adventures at daysofdebi.wordpress.com )

Last weekend at the OBMM annual meeting, I became reacquainted with the story “Two men, One mission” In summary, two brothers grew up in the beautiful Michigan farmland. Both married, and by about 1912, the one couple felt called to Africa. The other couple felt called to stay home and sacrifice to support their family on the foreign field. The only stipulation was that no one knew. So for years, everyone watched the thriving mission in Africa, and speculated what could be wrong with the brother at home- why his buildings were in ill repair, why he didn’t fertilize his crops (I won’t comment on how much more $$ growing crops at maximum potential makes you) and basically misjudging the brother at home. Eventually, a lion took the life of the African brother but many lives were touched because both families sacrificed.

Romans 10:14-15 How then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!
Sometimes it’s easy for me to think “Well, I’m not on the foreign field, what I’m doing is so insignificant” But these verses make me aware of how important it is to be the life line from the home front. Are you sent or are you a sender?

There was a fight between the Amalekites and Israel once upon a time, but before they even showed up, Moses had a battle plan in place “tomorrow I will stand on the hill with the staff of God in my hands” and we are familiar with the story- while his hands were raised, Israel won, but once his weary arms sagged to his sides, the Amalekites would gain ground. So two men came along beside him and held his arms in the air and Israel won.

So how is the best way to hold someone’s arms in the air? There have been so many creative ways that people have been an encouragement:


Communication: Email, cards, snap chats, boxes, whatever- which of us doesn’t appreciate random words of affirmation? Sometimes I’m guilty of assuming our missionaries on the foreign field are so busy and encouraged by the Lord, that they don’t need to hear from me.( I think this might be a false teaching 🙂 The Holy Spirit is the Great Encourager, but that doesn’t let the rest of us off the hook!)
Along with that- craft ideas and supplies: Children’s Church and kids clubs happen quite regularly. And more than that, the frequent visit of children just stopping by to get away from their home situation. Different times, a complete craft idea will show up, or a stamping set including paper, ink stamps and colored pencils. This takes the work out of researching that next project 🙂

Clothing: Sewing Circle and different ladies from our home area have carried the torch to send children’s outfits to Nicaragua. Children’s Church is well represented with the labor of love from these ladies.

Funds: People have been so generous with Deb. She has a stash of money “just waiting” for the right time. While nothing is gained by handing out random money- in fact a lot is hindered- there are dire needs. The girl that cleans the church there lost her father several years ago, and because her mother is of poor health, she (at 14) is responsible to provide for herself. Recently the nose piece fell off her glasses and she is worrying how she will find the $179 to replace them… God provides.


Most importantly- Prayer: “I cannot tell you how important the prayer support behind a mission is! I was blessed again the other night with how amazing God is! His timing is perfect! We had went into Managua for the afternoon, and were getting home a little later then usual, around 11:30. The reality that the last time I got home at this hour, a robber awaited me,made me extra nervous. However, this time I wasn’t alone, Genessa was with me! We got home and there was a man sitting on his motorcycle waiting in the street right in front of the house. Gen was a little apprehensive about getting out of the truck with him right there, but we had to put the truck in the courtyard and get ourselves inside! I pulled up and shone my lights around to ensure there was no one else waiting in the shadows behind the stairs, and backed up to try to decide what we should do. I mean, you can’t just tell someone in the street, “Hey, I’m not comfortable with you watching me pull into my garage, can you please leave?” As we were there thinking about what would be the safest thing to do, Nathan Miller pulled around the corner in the other mission vehicle! Their family had been away as well, and they were returning at the exact same time as we did! (If that’s not the hand of God, I don’t know what is!) When Gen got out to open the gates, the man got off his bike and came over and asked to talk to her. She didn’t really respond, and as we pulled in, we shut the doors ASAP, and let Nathan go out to talk to him. He had some story about wanting translation work, but we had to wonder why he would be waiting for us to get home at 11:30 to ask for work? We are praising the Lord it ended the way it did, God obviously had everything planned out perfectly! Thank you once again for praying for our safety, I do not want to live in fear. Our God can protect me, and it is a breach of trust if I place my security in people, or things. So please pray that I can rest in Him, and not let myself give into feelings of fear!” -deb

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind”

‘I want my friends to pray for me,

To hold me up on wings of faith

That I may walk the narrow way,

Kept by our Father’s glorious grace

…I need the prayers of those I love’

-James D Vaughan

Bless you, for ministering. There are so many opportunities to come beside someone and “Encourage each other daily, while it is still ‘today’ .” Deborah and her beautiful Nicaragua are not the only outlet for that. There are brave souls fighting the good fight all over the world. There are people being faithful at home- what do I know about the local Kids Club? Or when was the last time somebody volunteered to help with our prison ministry?

May we all be ready to work- where ever He’s placed us. But most of all- Please pray. The battle belongs to the Lord!

Blessings to you,

Kendra and Deborah