Olden Memories “the Story of Widow Hazel”

You may remember that one of the projects on the #30for30 was to write a book.

Farmer Stan and his farming shenanigans was graciously received. I assumed this was the end of KH the pseudo author… but apparently not…

There's a lady in our community whom I've never met. I know some of her siblings, and some of her descendants have made an impact on my life, but we remain unacquainted.

Until now.

Hazel's story is fascinating- she grew up in Rockingham Co in the middle of a large family during the depression era. Little details came alive through her stories and I learned so much! What do you know about planting corn the "hill dropping" way?

Her journey into adulthood and the difficult things she experienced made me alternate between laughing and crying.

It takes a village to raise a child, and apparently it takes a village to write a book.

Biggest contributors were: my family; my sisters who willing edited and critiqued; my aunt and cousin who helped the same way. My grandmother who listened tirelessly and helped put things in the right perspective when I was a little unsure. My darling Mother who listened unfailingly and reread the manuscript "one more time" even when she knew it forwards and backwards. Various angels along the way who helped gather information…

Susanna did an amazing job with the artwork.

But mostly, my sweet friend Suetta, who collected all the info about her husband's grandmother, and who trusted me enough to allow me to experience this story.

A young farm girl growing up in a large family during depression years had plenty of adventure and work. There were many songs sung and lessons learned of God's provision and faithfulness.

These lessons took on much deeper meaning to the wife and mother when God called and faithfully provided.  -JRH

If you enjoy local history, coupled with a testimony of God's provision, I hope you get a chance to read Olden Memories, and that Hazel's story blesses you as it has blessed me.


Deuteronomy 6:5  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Thomas Jefferson and I 

By coincidence, I spent the last week discovering random facts about Thomas Jefferson.

The last time I visited Monticello was as a 5th grader. I remember being so impressed that Jefferson accredited his good health to soaking his feet in cold water every morning. That same copper basin impressed me again years later. ( I know what you're thinking- 5th grade was just A FEW years ago 😜)

No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.                                -Thomas Jefferson

As I listened and learned about this man who lived so many years ago- I was amazed by his sphere of influence. This little Virginia farm boy grew up to be part of a work that has impacted the world for 100s of years. 

I'm amazed at how much is known about him. "Jefferson believed that all men were equal even though he was a slave holder all his life." "Jefferson designed this house to be a multigenerational house and lived here with grandchildren and great grandchildren."  "Jefferson's bed was a few inches shorter than the owner, he believed it was preferable to sleep propped up by pillows." Jefferson believed…  Jefferson's desire…  Jefferson believed- over and over during our tour.

Yesterday I was at Natural Bridge and guess who showed up again? 

On July 5, 1774, Thomas Jefferson purchased Natural Bridge from the King of England. He built a 2 room cabin near the Bridge and kept a guestbook full of exotic names.

It is impossible for emotions arising from the sublime, to be felt beyond what they are here: so beautiful an arch, so elevated, so light, and springing as it were up to heaven.  -Thomas Jefferson 

It's quite apparent to me that Jefferson was focused with what he believed. Somebody somewhere must have kept careful records for there to be this much information about him after 200 years!

What about me? Is there any chance that my legacy will still stand in 2217? 

I'm still processing our western excursion. Definitely the conversations we had along the trail with random strangers is one of the highlights. "Who are you?" "Amish or Mennonite?" "What's with the costumes?" "What colony are you from?"

I love that my way of life gives me an opportunity to share what Christ has done for me…  and yet as I share that my denomination is Mennonite, but most importantly I am Christian who believes that the only hope of eternal life is through the gift of Christ's sacrifice on the cross; I can't help but wonder… Does my life portray evidence of the kind of love that we as Christian's profess? Or forgiveness and grace? Enough evidence that someday, someone could pause and say " that was Kendra, she believed…"

I don't need people touring my mansion years down the road, or posting my wordy quotes… but I think it's critical to be confident enough with my beliefs that the world is impacted.

"Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!"


Bonus Pic:

Nate fixed Sunday Lunch in honor of Deb's birthday. I had no idea he was hiding such culinary skills… but I sure hope he intends to use that hidden talent more often in the future! :) 

The Finish Line

My alarm went off at 5:15, and I groggily got dressed and headed for the lobby. 

We’d wanted to get through Chicago before calling it quits the night before, so it was after 12:15 when we’d checked in, which resulted in my morning brain being in low gear.

I met part of our gang in the hall, “Did you find breakfast?”

“No, it’s not opened yet”

I headed for the courtesy coffee counter “oh that’s a buzzer” I said Kendra, that did not come out right try again. I laughed “I’m mean that’s a bum kill”  Ugh you mean bummer or buzz kill-it’s time you get home.

So home we flew. We stopped a grand total of 15 minutes max the entire 710 miles home. Whoever says that girls don’t travel well never met these ladies.

As we rolled into VA, down 81, and through Harrisonburg, we wrestled with the wide range of emotions the end of an adventure brings: excitement to see our family and friends, sorrow that a capital experience is over, and exhaustion.

But mainly excitement. “You know that saying is really true.” One of the girls stated as we crossed into the “Friendly City”: “East, Best, Home is West.” 

Silence followed her quote. For several moments. “WAIT!” She laughed hysterically “what did I just say?!” 

We were all ready to be home.

Praise the Lord we made it!

The last few adventures included:

Mount Rushmore in the early morning hours complete with mountain goats on Washington’s head. 😂

A quick stop in Wall, SD where we shopped and enjoyed the wooden/wax figures.

26 days, 11,035 miles, 26 States, 2 Provinces, 19 National Parks (including the 4 in Canada)… What a journey. 

The loving welcome from the homeland outshone the splendor we’d already experienced.

Banners, and excited families welcomed us at every stop.

Farren even had an official finish line.

There is no place like home! 

Thank you to all of you who so faithfully/excitedly followed our journey and who lifted us up in prayer. As I sit in my favorite recliner enjoying the luxuries of home (do you know how much fun it is to drink coffee from an actual mug?) I am overwhelmed praising the goodness of our Heavenly Father. By His Grace and Mercy, we are home!

See you down the trail,


Bonus Pic:

Final Farren Foto: VA’s version of the Great Divide 


Mountains, Montana, Wild flowers, Wyoming 

I feel a bit sheepish to continually post glamorous reports of our scenic meanderings. If you are sick of those style of posts- better skip this one:

We were afraid that we had been “national park wrecked” by the gorgeous Canada visit. But Glacier rose unflinchingly into the clear morning air, met our challenge, and dazzled us. The clear turquoise river dashed past us and the peaks were snow covered and the weeping wall on the “road to the sun” was practically wailing. I don’t think we are becoming calloused, but our beauty barometer has definitely been peaked out for days now.

The mountains rim the “big sky country” and the wildflowers along the way are breathtaking. Their presence is all over, like someone scattered a gigantic packet of those “wildflower mix” seeds over the entire state.

And somehow, in it’s outstanding way, Montana managed to become a favorite state for a number in our gang.

Oh and we saw not one, or two, but three different moose. Mooses, meese or whatever. (Not pictured)

Yellowstone was another interesting stop. Some of us saw Old Faithful twice. Others only once, but that’s another story.

The wildflowers continue to show up everywhere, even right beside the huge bubbling sulphury springs. I wished I could gather an armful or two of the pink, purple, yellow, and white cheerfulness. But we settled with a small bouquet for Farren.

A visit to Jackson, WY is always completed by a supper at the Bar J Chuckwagon. The food was wonderful and I love the cowboy music after the meal.

Let’s be wild flowers, scattered by the wind,

Let us grow, wild and free, tall and brave,

In places that we dream,

In places where our longings are filled.

Let us grow between the cracks of brokenness,

And we will make everything beautiful.        -g.c

I love the details of nature-like the little wildflowers-that all work together to make this world beautiful and remind me of important lessons.

Luke 12:27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!
Thank you, Heavenly Father!

See you down the trail, 


 🎼Oh Canada🇨🇦

Way up in the northland we crossed the border and I learned several valuable lessons:

#1: July 1 is Canada Day which means that the entire western Canada population heads to the nearest national park a.k.a. Lake Louise. The extra bonus was that entrance into all national parks in Canada are free this year. Happy 150th Birthday!

We caught the free shuttle to the Lake Louise and watched the rain move in. Then we stood in the line that snaked way across the parking lot-in the rain- and caught the return shuttle. 

The sun came out and we enjoyed the brilliant colors of Lake Morraine.

#2: We weren’t sure if it was worth it to add all the extra paperwork of a border crossing to our trip. I asked a lot of different people. Thanks to those of you who encouraged us to pursue it. And to those of you who said “it’s nothing that incredible” I shake my head. 

The turquoise water in the lakes and rivers reflected the silent towering rugged peaks and the beauty was almost overwhelming. We rode in silence. for miles. Drinking it in.

We took a tour of the Columbian Icefields and roared up onto the glacier in a 6wheel drive monster bus. 

The girls were all freaked out and declared this “the most dangerous thing we’ve done yet” after our driver explained that shifts in the glacier can open up ravines big enough to swallow our bus. I thought they were over reacting. Until one of the men suddenly had his foot disappear into a wet hole and after retrieving it he stuck his selfie stick into the cavern and never found the bottom of the hole 🤔. 

Regardless, we drank the clear water, and took pictures and Deborah regretted wearing flip flops.

The other part of the glacier adventure I didn’t enjoy quite as much. 🙈 I hate to admit this, but I’m scared of heights. I did walk the entire way around the skywalk and I peered nervously at the ground 914 feet below us. And I managed to smile for the camera. But you can’t accuse me of spending too much time on the glass surface.

#4: My Heavenly Father takes perfect care of me. I’ve promised myself that I will never run out of gas if the gauge works. There’s no reason to let the tank get that low. But somehow we found ourselves in the British Columbia boondocks with no cell service and we didn’t go through the town I thought we were going to… And we rolled into the ONLY gas station for miles around with “4 miles til empty” blinking on my dash. Wow. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you!

#5: Canada has an impressive line up of wild animals. We added quite a few to our list including this mountain man:

And da dum da da: the Farren Foto of the day (because it was taken through her windshield) a young grizzly heading across the road after a morning fishing… Isn’t he lovely?

Yes Canada, I hope I get to fight the crowds in your fair land again someday. 

See you down the trail,


Wow, Wonderful NorthWest

To our friends scattered to and fro who are faithfully watching our progress across this beautiful land:

I’m sorry to continuously send glamor reports, but it can not be helped. Oregon did not disappoint in anyway shape or form.

The rocky coast almost took our breath away. Partly because it was 60* with a brisk wind. And mostly because it was gorgeous.

We took the scenic route full of produce fields, berry patches, and fruit trees. 

Then the view changed to untamed wilderness with lots of evergreens and clear rushing rivers, lots of wild flowers, and on one stretch we counted no less than 3 different bald eagle sightings. Seriously-how can you describe such beauty? We have a complete new level of respect for John’s account of Heaven in Revelation. There are times when words fail. As beautiful as this world is-what must Heaven be like?

Crater Lake was so blue. Bluer than I’d remembered-but maybe I don’t remember too well. They were still dealing with the remains of 48 feet of snow, so we didn’t get to hike to the waters edge.

We made friends with a Harley gang and ended up running with them through the park. Farren sure wished she sounded as good as them. 🙈 but I promise-no leather or skull caps for our equation of the gang.

We stopped by Multnomah Falls on our way past; such a unique falls along the beautiful Columbia River Gorge.

Recognize the lovely ladies waving from the bridge?

We rolled thru eastern Washington with the pedal to the metal. Notice how the front of the picture tells tales of us tearing along-pretty sure Deb was driving at the time of this picture.

We rolled into Bonners Ferry, Idaho at eventide and it was every bit as much of an oasis as I’d remembered. And then some. We stayed with friends, and watched the sunset and the elk move into the field beside the house. The more experienced ear could hear them bugle. I imagined I could-but I’m not sure I did. 

The gracious locals added to a capital experience.

And then, with a wistful glance in the rear view mirror, we set our focus towards the northland and head on- praising God for creating beauty too wonderful to describe. 

See you down the trail,


Bonus Pic:

Farren Foto ☺️ yay for Oregon coffee shops!