Part 3 of 3: Beautiful Britain and a Child of the King

I don’t remember what the occasion was, I only remember “the talk”. I must’ve been a teenager who had big idea of some perfectly logical reason that she should go to an afternoon social instead of milk. I remember my dad prepared and delivered a fairly lengthy sermon that consisted of “WE are dairy farmers. You only milk every other evening and there is no reason that you are always thinking you should skip out. This is the job we are called to do. It requires sacrifice, but it’s just how it is. WE love what we do.” And the case was closed. Somehow this little insignificant chat stuck with me. I realized that while eventually I would have a choice in my occupation, I was born into a farming family, and therefore, the only choice that I had in the matter was whether I chose to love what we do or not.

Last week, we toured Windsor Castle. We watched the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. We learned so much about Queen Elizabeth and the royal family. We saw about a million postcards with her smiling face. We passed up all sorts of chances to buy souvenirs with William and Kate smiling beautifully. We all thought maybe we should be crossing paths with Prince Harry-lol. But as I stood there in the midst of all those people, all of us trying frantically to see the old guard change out with the new one, I tried to imagine what it would be like to be born into the royal family. What would it be like to be known all around the world because you were given to a certain family? How would it be like to inherit so much wealth and so many mansions just because? What sacrifices do they make because of their title? And even though being a dairy farmer’s daughter and being a princess are completely unrelated, I wonder how similar the principle is- “This is what we are called to do. It requires sacrifice, but that’s just how it is. WE love what we do.”

Somewhere on those bustling London streets, God sent a reminder to my heart. “My daughter, as you are so amazed by the wealth and prestige you see here, are you comparing that to the Kingdom you are an heir of?” Wow. I can’t fully grasp being a joint heir with Christ (Romans 8). Isn’t that exciting? And really, my dad’s words ring true here as well “This is what we are called to do. It requires sacrifice, but that’s just how it is. We love what we do.”

This week, I’m basking in the reminder that I am a Child of the King. An actual heir to those heavenly mansions that will last longer than these 800 year old castles and 5000 year old stone. I am so unworthy… What a wonderful Saviour! Kendra



Changing of the guard, Buckingham Palace and trying to see over the sea of people…


Windsor Castle



This flag flies when the Queen is in


And they were chopping at the Windsor farm (maybe I have more in common with the royal family than I realized-ha 🙂 ) Who knew I could be so excited over a JCB tractor? The royal family has a farm store where you can buy products from their farm.


Rainy day fun at St. Paul’s Cathedral


We really went cross cultural and observed mass in the beautiful West Minster Abby



We walked across the Tower Bridge while trying to get in Jenny’s required number of miles in a day 🙂


#8of30 rode a ferris wheel I hope this counts anyways. The London Eye stands 443 ft tall and each glass capsule can hold 25 people. AND I didn’t even die. Thanks Ms Gina for joining us for the adventure 🙂





Big Ben at dusk


I loved the random musicians filling the streets with music along the way. Well, there was one new violinist that I didn’t love (my spine is shivering just remembering) but anyway


Romans built these baths before Christ. The first absolute date they have is 76 AD. This is one of the only hot springs in the UK.


Bath is famous for their pasties. These are little hand pies filled with chicken, pork, lamb and potatoes or other veggies.


Pig houses at a pig farm on the way to Stonehenge


Our experience at Stonehenge was not what I was expecting. We went the day after summer solstice and there were still a number of Druids there worshiping in long white robes. Another group was protesting that everybody had to pay, so they stood across the interstate shouting poetry over a loud speaker and eventually one purple mohawked protester with a sign got up the courage to jump the fence into the grounds and they evacuated all of us. So anyhow. It  is incredible to think they brought these 25 ton stones from Wales before the invention of the wheel.


Never saw a vending machine like this 🙂


And just like that, it’s over. leaving only a thousand pics on my camera and a number of memories on my heart. I loved the group that we traveled with. Bring 92 strangers together from all over and it could’ve been something else, but it was a very enjoyable blessing. And thanks to the rest of you for patiently following along on our adventure. 🙂 blessings-k



Part 2 of 3: Wowed by Wales

Our British Isles itinerary was packed. Before we knew it, we were bidding Ireland good-bye and boarding a very plush ferry to sail across St George’s Channel to the beautiful countryside of Wales.

Our time in Wales was too brief. I wish I could go back and spend more time here, but at least we got a small taste…

Wales boasts of the town with the longest name in the world. We stopped for lunch and found a little cafe across the road where I bought a lamb and potato pie… I asked the ladies that worked there to pronounce the name of the town for me- the daughter couldn’t, but she asked her mom who spouted it off.. What a handle! Maybe having to write out “Singers Glen” every time I write my return address isn’t such a big deal after all.. 🙂



Wales also boasts of a population of 3 Million people and 9 Million sheep…


And a coastal town with incredible change in tide where a certain William and Kate live…



I loved the Beaumarius Castle. The building started in 1295 and went on for 30 years before they ran out of money and had to deal with a foreclosure. Or something- maybe they didn’t have foreclosure’s back then. But regardless- it was my 100% idea of a castle- complete with a moat and everything. We explored through these dark damp chambers, winding stairs, and open areas that c0nnected all over the place- I would love to see the blueprints for the project  – wow… How awesome is it to explore a fortress like this?  And too soon, time was dictating that we head on to the next place…




We crossed into England and spent some time touring the home of William Shakespeare’s wife Anne Halloway.


And visited Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford. Found this quote from the man himself and it has me thinking… ” A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” – William Shakespeare


This is the most unique guestbook I’ve ever seen. Guests were asked to sign the window way back when… This is one way for everyone to know at a glance if your gift is hospitality, I suppose 🙂


These men had so much Shakespeare in their heads it was incredible. They were taking requests from the crowd- anybody could request whatever, and they would recite it. The man in the red chatted with us a bit, commenting on his love of Americans and said “I think July the 4th is a good day for you to reflect on your sins…” lol I guess English History would probably sound different than the American side-of-the-story we are so familiar with…


The canal system in Stratford leading out to the River Avon also had me fascinated… This man with his canal houseboat was going through the locks and provided a diversion on the way to lunch. He made us laugh when he opened the lock and as the water level changed, he shouted at our group “Everybody come help my boat is sinking” Meanwhile, His first mate rode calmly in the front to the boat 🙂



When you’re in Rome you do like the Romans… We enjoyed an afternoon tea in Oxford. I would be glad to meet up with a scone like that one again sometime 🙂 It was so much fun to relax and sip our tea and watch the world go by… Thanks Rachel for the pic..

Because a “Merry Heart does good like a medicine” I leave you with this pic… I finally found a “knight in shining armor”. lol

Blessings on your day of rest, Kendra



Part 1 of 3: Snapshots of Incredible Ireland

As many of you know, I’m keeping a list in my head of places I want to see… my bucket list. It so happens that I love to travel. And there are a number of exotic experiences I would love to witness first hand. What amazes me is, that even with my mental list, God still manages to add more incredible experiences than I could even dream up… Wow… The last two weeks fell under that category.

Last winter, I was spending some quality time with my dear friends Rachel and Jennifer and somewhere during the course of conversation, Rachel said “Hey do you want to go to the British Isles? I’m taking classes thru Liberty University’s online program, and they are offering me credit to take a tour with them.” One thing quickly led to another and before we knew it, we were boarding a Virgin Atlantic flight to London. What an experience! So here it is, my personal highlights from our trip broken down into 3 blog posts… Enjoy




First stop was Killarney, Ireland. I couldn’t help but love this town.


As always, I loved the different flair of culture along the way. We drove the Ring of Kerry which is about a 150 mile loop along the coast of Ireland. We stopped at a museum and learned about the harvest of bog or peat which is a wet product that they find about 18 inches below the ground. So they dig it up in long earthen sausages. Dry it and take it home and burn it like coal. (this is a brief and Kendra like description) Also at the museum they had houses of day of yore. The stable house shocked me. I’ve read so many books where the house and barn where connected so the animals could help heat the house. Somehow, in my mind’s eye, it wasn’t quite this close of quarters.. But, my mind’s eye was wrong. I took this pic standing beside the bed in front of the hearth..



The countryside dotted with sheep and cattle had my nose pressed to the bus window. And I loved the way all their fields were surrounded by hedges and stone fences. We stopped and watched a demonstration on sheep herding. Shepherd Brendon had a wonderful show. He used 2 border collies to separate out his small flock of sheep. He stood at the bottom of the hill and gave commands and the dogs carried them out perfectly. Part of the time he used whistle commands and the rest of the time, he instructed with a low voice. (Apparently the dog crew around here needs hearing aids) I still can’t believe that there are no predators left on the Republic of Ireland. But he said that the sheep live happily because of the eradication that happened years before.



And it so happens that on my #30 for 30 project is- cross the Atlantic.. So I stuck my toes in on the other side 🙂


Every day, a couple of times a day, we did the most far out stuff imagined. So it’s hard for me to decide what all to bore you with… But the Blarney Castle must be mentioned. While there has been a castle there since the 1200s, the present structure wasn’t built until 1446. The ruins are incredible and she still stands quite proudly, keeping a watch over the land around her. We joined the long line that snaked through the meeting hall, up the spiral stairs, through the bedroom, around the kitchen, past the banquet hall. I tried to imagine her in her former splendor- the rock walls were said to be covered with tapestries and some sort of plaster. We stopped by and inspected the murder hole which acted as a defense option should some unwelcome visitor manage to break his way into the entrance… Boiling oil or water or an arrow or a rock or whatever would be dropped on the head of the unsuspecting fellow.. But her crowning glory is the Blarney Stone. Way up in the top of the main castle, is  a blueish stone, that is said to give you the “gift of gab (or eloquence)” if you kiss it. The only down side is that to kiss is, you have to lean back over an opening several hundred feet in the air to be able to accomplish this. My family really encouraged me to do this, because “you definitely need the gift of gab” lol There are two people there- one to help you keep from dying and the other to take your pic to sell it to you for a small fortune if you survive… According to my research there have been people who lost their lives attempting this, but the safety bars they now have in place, had me feeling completely confident. Supposedly they were to sanitize the stone between each kiss, but that wasn’t the case… None the less, what an thrill.




(The Blarney Stone is on the at the top of the castle, on the inside of the outer ledge way up in the sky there 😉 )




St Patrick’s Cathedral… Wow… My favorite was the Door of Reconciliation. in 1492 it was time for the bloody feud between the Butlers and the FizGeralds to end, Part of the Butler clan was hiding in the chapel, and because they refused to come out and negotiate, FitzGerald (who had the upper hand) cut a whole in the door, begged for peace, stuck his hand in-not knowing if it would return or not- and amazingly shook hands and the feud was ended.


Dublin was also a beautiful place… The colorful doors on the Georgian style houses from the 18th century… The ha’penny bridge (toll to walk across it used to be half a penny)… The way-too-tempting coffee shops and pastry displays…




Photo Credit:Rachel

Praise to the One who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think…More later -Kendra

This is it- Moving Mania

Recently every spare moment has been spent sorting and sifting and mostly hating my less than organized tendencies. I’ve been going through a million childhood memories. A million memories in general that stretch from before my broken arm in second grade to present day happens. I’ve been reading all sorts of encouraging notes that randomly came my way and been blessed all over again by kindness. I’ve thrown out treasures that would’ve broken my heart to do so in the early years (but really, I have no need for a baseball cap from White Tire) And- cheery news to whomever gets the job of going through my estate- unless I develop a lot less sentimental attributes between now and then- I have retained a number of things that I.just.can’t.part.with.

Sorry, but it’s true. Sentimental fool that I am. (now you know)


Our main moving crew… Detroit rode the entire way balancing on the picnic table on the back of our gooseneck… Grinning from ear to ear

The reality is, that tomorrow is going to be a huge day for me. I am planning to move from Paradise Lane. My parents will be moving soon as well, but I’m rushing off on another adventure, and thought MAYBE it would help ease the fact that I’m glaringly absent if my stuff was taken care of… (Stay tuned for more word on my next trip 😉 )

So, as I reorganize my treasures in their respective boxes, I’m reorganizing a lot of living. I’m sorting through old memories of days that were sunshiny and days that the storm clouds were horribly black and scary. I’m celebrating wonderful times in my past, and I’m praising God for the things that He’s planning in my future.

It’s really no fun to move. I’m telling good-bye to my dairy farmer past all over again. And it makes me sad. But I’m so thankful that God is guiding and this is His idea. And it’s a good one.


So, here’s to the next few weeks of crazy box living and continued sorting as we take the big step to leave our beautiful Paradise Lane that we have loved perfectly for 24 years. Wow almost a quarter of a century. May the next family love you just as well.

I’m excited that our kitchen window will continue to look at the same mountain range. Singers Glen is beautiful, and I like it already. It won’t be hard to make that home. Thank you, God for leading us…


But-Paradise Lane- I will always love you… Now if you excuse me, I’m afraid I need a tissue…


Bonus Pic:

One of my favorite bouquet from the flowers Mother did for cousin Jessie’s wedding over the weekend 🙂


Oh God, Forgive Me When I Whine…

Annie’s dark eyes snapped as she shared her story- she doesn’t hesitate to revisit the hay field that fateful day. For the moment, she’s 13 again, mowing first cutting of hay with a horse and a sickle bar mower. It’s getting close to lunch. She can see her 12 year old brother mowing on the opposite side of the field. And because 3 things happen in a row (she doesn’t elaborate) She is thrown from the seat and before she knows what happens, her left arm is cut off by the mower. She gets up and runs across the field to her brother, who’s love for learning had prepared him for this event by learning the proper application of a tourniquet. He applies this quickly and she sprints back across the field to stop a car coming down the road. A neighbor man quickly assesses the situation took her to the country doctor down the road. By this point she is SOOOO thirsty, so she asks the nurse for a drink. The nurse says something about surgery and she can’t drink before that, and denies her request for water. Annie feels faint and says “I think I’m going to pass out”. The nurse calmly says “Ok, pass out” And Annie thinks “Well if that’s all the more you care, I’m going out to Route 30 to stop another car and see if they can take me somewhere where someone cares.”  She laughs. She dries dishes, her hook hand casually holding the glass while the other one branishes the tea towel. She proclaims God’s goodness and goes on with how He has provided for her time and again. I stare down into the dish water and I can’t help but worship with her as she remembers.


Emma sits down a few chairs down from mine, and because I have time to kill, I strike up a conversation. It isn’t long until she mentions that her son was injured in a logging accident a number of years ago. His spinal cord was severed and he is paralyzed from the waist down. Her husband died at 47 with health issues. And so she has a lot on her plate. She does have one other son at home. He is such a blessing. He is autistic, but he does a fantastic job lifting his paralyzed brother. He is such good help. What would she do without him? Again I take note as she pulls out a walker I hadn’t noticed earlier, and moves through the crowd. God provides for her and her family.

Mose was excavating, his dozer rolled and he jumped off. But he stumbled and the dozer rolled on top of him, smashing his leg, kept rolling and set back up on its tracks again. He sure is thankful that he only lost a leg!


John was sitting at the dining room table,  when a rifle discharged,  and took his arm. Erv made a mistake as a 14 year old and got wrapped up in the beaters of a silage wagon. He lost one leg and almost two. He rides bike past us and smiles. Mary lost her foot when a forklift ran over it in the pallet factory where she worked. Noah lost an arm in a sawmill. Becky is wheelchair bound with MS, but that didn’t stop her from zipping through the crowd  and delivering a complete sales-pitch when I stopped by the booth that was selling her paintings. Liz is traveling with about 8 friends. They create a bit of a stir. They all check in at less then 3.5 feet tall… Kate is blind and her travel companion Viola was born with club feet…

♦     ♦     ♦     ♦     ♦     ♦     ♦     ♦     ♦     ♦     ♦     ♦

My travels last weekend took me to the “Handicapped Gathering” in Shipshewana, Indiana. I met so many wonderful people and learned so SOO much. (e.g  Did you know that if you lose an arm or a leg- its a very big deal to bury it “like it’s sleeping” Most everybody who dealt with an amputation told me all about burying it. This is to help with Phantom Pain…)

I was just blessed over and over by the testimonies of the people who shared with me. God’s faithfulness was proclaimed time and again. And I’ll have to admit- I did some pretty deep Kendra Inspection. This poem kept running through my head and it sums up my weekend perfectly…

Today, upon a bus, I saw a girl with golden hair.
I envied her, she seemed so gay, and wished I was as fair.
When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobbled down the aisle.
She had one leg and wore a crutch.
And as she passed… a smile.

Oh God, forgive me when I whine.
I have 2 legs, the world is mine

I stopped to buy some candy. The lad who sold it had such charm.
I talked with him, he seemed so glad.
If I were late, it’d do no harm.
And as I left, he said to me, “I thank you, you’ve been so kind.
It’s nice to talk with folks like you. You see,” he said, “I’m blind.”

Oh God, forgive me when I whine.
I have 2 eyes, the world is mine.

Later while walking down the street,
I saw a child with eyes of blue.
He stood and watched the others play.
He did not know what to do.
I stopped a moment and then I said,
“Why don’t you join the others, dear?”
He looked ahead without a word. And then I knew,
he couldn’t hear.

Oh God, forgive me when I whine.
I have 2 ears, the world is mine.
With feet to take me where I’d go.
With eyes to see the sunset’s glow.
With ears to hear what I’d know.

Oh God, forgive me when I whine.
I’ve been blessed indeed, the world is mine…….


Blessed indeed. May I be inspired to proclaim His Faithfulness in my life!


Bonus Pics:


This rainbow shone over the Valley a week ago.


Shipshewana has the best Kettle Corn I’ve ever been acquainted with. I always buy their huge bag and share it with my traveling companions (always- as in- both times I was killing time in the area. 🙂 )


And we visited THE Amish Cook. It was fun to meet Mrs Lavina in person 🙂

And Randomly…