Annual Review// 2018 Christmas Letter// Great is Thy Faithfulness

Dear friends,

As always, I started making a mental list of things I wanted to add to the annual Christmas letter. But I ran into a terrible problem. My debate went something like this:

 1. Travel. I don’t know- basically all I did was travel this year. It was a little extreme. Maybe I’ll skip mentioning that this year.

2. Ulcerative Colitis. Everybody has aches and pain. Let’s skip that. 

3. Weather. The constant rain challenge has had lots of people scrambling. Plus it sounds like I’m complaining and I really don’t intend to complain.

 Wait I’m already most of the way through the year and haven’t found anything to write about. Maybe I’ll skip the letter-but I love reading everybody else’s, so turn around is fair play. And since I don’t have my children’s school projects or my husband’s job to write about- I guess I might as well go back to the beginning and write about my year.

So brace yourself- Kendra’s 2018 Travel Extravaganza and Other Activities:    

My 2018 started out dry and cold. In fact we ice skated in the full moonlight to bring in the New Year. So bitter cold and so gorgeous. North River froze for the first time in 55 years. I skated on it at night and as I met small groups of people skating in the opposite direction – I envisioned myself over in Europe meeting other villagers as we hurried through the cold on our various agendas. Silver Lake was also frozen for the first time in years. And late one night found Nate on one knee asking Deborah a very significant question. Her answer largely impacted my activities for the next few months. 🙂

The adventure of my February was accompanying Deb to Nicaragua. Our trip included lots of fabric shopping (thanks to the aforementioned significant question), time at the beach, catching up with our friends there and just enjoying being back. 

Somewhere around the middle of March the rains began with a vengeance. It’s incredible to remember the rain through each season. We assumed it would be short lived, and yet they continued.

And my health… I really had some down time this spring. I am thankful everyday that I found meds that have me alive again! Good health is such a blessing.

Once the spring finally warmed up, we dodged rain showers, covered a number of acres and hurried towards May 26. Deborah and Nate’s wedding week was a beautiful whirlwind full of out-of-state visitors and long hours and fun memories. And it was a success! They both said “I do” as this big sis watched from the sidelines and begged herself not to cry. Gaining family is so much fun.

Summer sloshed its way onto the calendar as we waited for the rains to clear enough to proceed with grain harvest. At the last possible moment, the clouds parted and we pushed as hard as we could to secure harvest ahead of July 7, the magical date when half of our crew disappeared into the wild blue yonder. (more details in the next paragraph)

Emily and I were privileged to spend 2 whirlwind weeks exploring the Rocky Mountain Region with 6 Amish ladies from Lancaster. Our travels stretched from the Grand Canyon to Glacier Park and a number of stops in between. We have a number of stories to report from that adventure.

Another highlight was the annual Family OBX week.  Julia, Emily, and Kerry all made appearances- hopefully, next year it will suit all of the crew.

Chopping season was slow in arriving thanks to the unusual year, but we ended up having a really strong season. The constant rain kept us on our toes, dodging showers, and got us familiar with pulling out tractors and carts (the saturated ground produced wet spots even on hillsides) I washed the last of the mud off of the cutter and parked it in the shed with an extra grateful heart. A safe season is such a blessing!

The harvest game shifted to bean harvest and again found part of the crew deserting again. This time I took the food committee with me- MOTHER! We adventured through the New England States and part of Canada- traveling the Cabot Trail and through Prince Edward Island. The leaves were so breathtakingly beautiful. I added a number of states to my life list- taking the grand total to 47.

December found us still waiting for the sun to shine and the beans to dry, so we could return to the field. And finally with extra grateful hearts, we secured the final field of soybeans. This year has been such an incredible challenge weatherwise. Every rainy day from now until springtime, will find me rejoicing.

Through it all, this year has created an anthem that follows me every day. It echoes through my mind during every late night ride from yet another trip to PA, or OH, NY, or wherever. It follows me through the field as the rain clouds come and go. I’m reminded of it as I celebrate milestones with my family (Julia turned 30 this year, Father turned 60) I hum it as I grieve the hard things with my family like the approaching date of another knee surgery for Emily… Over and Over and Over:

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lam 3:22-23

Happy New Year,

Kendra

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