The Wait is Over

“Our family Christmas is December 23 this year” my mom announced.

“Who has Christmas Day?” I wasn’t trying to challenge the game plan, but I’m learning that special holidays have to be shared with the increase of in-laws and conflicting schedules.

“Nobody” mother said “but Julia’s been thinking all along that she’s going to be in the hospital by Christmas. In fact Sherm is convinced the twins are coming on December 25. So Jul requested that if she’s still at home on Monday, that we celebrate early.”

Monday night was a wonderful time. The guys provided crab legs for the feast and other than Em discovering that her shrimp allergy now includes crab legs (😭) the meal was relaxed and wonderful. We enjoyed uninterrupted time of family.

We moved downstairs to the family room and relaxed around the fire for our gift exchange. I love these people. Soon Nate had his brand new record player clicking and whirling and Sherm had his bear hide that Em had tanned to surprise him spread out over the floor. I sat my coffee cup on the cedar end table that Jul had made me and smiled at the chaos. I thought about the changes we’ll be facing soon as we thoughtlessly discarded wrapping paper on the floor in our haste to discover what the package contained (clearly not worried about who was going to chew on potentially harmful plastic bags) Ah yes, Family time is precious.

And yet in the back of all of our minds was a feeling of suspense. Like an intense waiting game. Sherm thought for a game we should all write down guesses- twin genders, names, DOB “AND” he suggested proudly “whoever is closest gets the first call” This game idea got lost in the chaos but not before Father declared he “couldn’t wait to take his twin granddaughters trucking”

But the wait continued.

As I read the Christmas story this year, I understand the waiting a bit differently. The world was waiting and had been for years. They knew the promises- had them memorized probably from childhood. But when would the Promised Savior come? What would He look like? What if they missed Him? I’m sure the buzz came and went as generations expected Christ to come. But the waiting continued.

Suddenly things changed. There were angelic visits. Joseph and Mary’s relationship endured all kinds of trauma as the accusations of unfaithfulness and sin floated around. They somehow made an 80 mile trek to Bethlehem before the birth. So many random events leading up to Christ’s coming “that it might be fulfilled.”

I even understand the Shepherds differently this year, as I pull my barn boots out of the cobwebs and make that familiar trek to the barn. One commentator that I read mentioned the fact that it’s possible the Shepherds were watching the lambs used for sacrifices in the temple. So when the angels arrived announcing that THE Sacrificial Lamb- the One who would take away the sins of the World- had been born, basically they were given the gift of retirement. “Your replacement has arrived. Your job will soon be over”

Christmas Evening, the hired men were off, so I was scheduled to help Sherm milk. “Well, not sure you’re gonna get Christmas babies” I commented in passing

“Yeh,” he said “just a few more hours”

About 16 cows later Sherm informs me “It ain’t over yet” and next thing I knew I was milking alone while reinforcements in the form of Mother and Em were sailing my direction to help with the remaining chores.

Christmas Evening, our family was given the most exciting gifts.

Uriah Ray (middle name of both Sherman and his Papa) weighed 3 lbs 12 oz. Uriah “God is my light”

And Isaiah Stan (my dads first name is Stanley) weighed 3 lbs 15 oz Isaiah “the Lord is my salvation”

Aunt Sharon suggested “the Lord is my light, is my light and my salvation” as a family theme song.

And I love that

Uriah is so excited to meet the aunties.

Isaiah sleeps through the first of many selfies

(Will not admit how many trips to the local hospital per day my family is averaging 🤷🏻‍♀️😂😂)

The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid? Ps 27:1

May you grow to understand this verse fully, my little men. Welcome to this beautiful world. We are so glad you’re here.

Ok, gotta run, there’s a few chores I gotta see to until my replacements grow enough to take over for me

Aunt Ken

God keeps His Promises 🌈 and uses the Ark Encounter and a wreck as reminders

If you get a chance to visit the Ark Encounter is Kentucky- do it!

If you get a chance to visit the Ark Encounter during Christmas time with all the incredible light shows- by all means- do it!

If you get a chance to visit the Ark Encounter during Christmas time when God’s Bible School and College is putting on their Christmas performance- oh my- don’t just stand there- pack your suitcase and rush that way!!

Several weekends ago, my dad took a bus load of people to Kentucky for the weekend, and I was privileged to be included on the adventure.

Archive pic from a previous, more summery visit

I’ve visited the Ark different times, but I’ve never spent most of the day there.

I enjoyed the relaxed day of wandering through the grounds- exploring the ark in detail, eating a leisure lunch at Emzara’s buffet, meeting the variety of animals out in the petting zoo. It was a good day.

I love the reminders of Gods faithfulness, His provision, and His plan to provide a way of escape for those who worship Him. God keeps His promises- the Ark does a wonderful job of making that fact clear.

Mid afternoon we made our way to the Answers Center where God’s Bible School and College where sharing their Christmas musical.

For the next 2 hours, my heart swelled with praise and worship as the choir started in the Beginning of Time as Adam and Eve were led away from the garden after sin has entered the world; visited Abraham as God told him of things to come. Elizabeth rejoiced when she got a visit from Mary and they celebrated the upcoming birth of the Promised Child. The Shepherds excitement over the announcement of Christ’s birth was thrilling. But my favorite was the reaction of the man born paralyzed, the woman taken in adultery, and the man born blind when Jesus touched their life and offered them grace.

“Yes!” I thought “it’s so clear- all along God promises that a Messiah would come. For years people waited and waited. And then He came and conquered death so extensively, offering a way of escape for all of us even however many 1000 years later. What a difference Jesus makes in lives today. This is beautiful. God keeps His promises!”

As I stepped out of the auditorium, night had fallen, but the entire Ark Encounter grounds had turned into a rainbow forest. Everywhere were the beautiful array of colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet. Reminding me again- God keeps His promises.

What I didn’t know, as I rejoiced in the beauty and wonder of my worship service- back in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, God was at work.

My darling sister Em left a birthday party for a nephew, and was heading down an unfamiliar road after dark in typical Em fashion (hammerdown). A brief moment of inattention at a bend in the road, and Em’s car shot up a bank and sailed through the air. Luke Duke would’ve been proud as she went airborne.

We went to see her as soon as we got home from KY. “I hit a tree about 10 feet in the air and then fell forever. They say that when an accident happens- it goes so fast- you don’t even know what happened, well that’s fake news- I knew exactly what was happening the entire way, but I was powerless to stop it.”

When her car finally stopped at the bottom of a 20-30 foot ravine, the emergency worker in Em immediately took over as she discovered A. She was still alive and B. After a head to toe assessment, she wasn’t even hurt.

The impact was great enough that her rearview mirror was ripped off the windshield even though no glass was broken. And other than major whiplash and some issues from the seatbelt- she walked away rejoicing.

R.I.P. little blue Dart

When the pics started arriving and we pieced the story together- Mother and I both cried at the reality of Gods protection over Em. God does keep His promises.

I don’t know what battles you’re facing. And I know that the fact is- Gods promises don’t always protect us from tragedy. I also know, that He is Faithful and whatever difficult thing might be next, He will provide what we need in that moment.

Take a minute in this busy week to recognize what He’s providing in Your World.

And if you see Em around, give her a fist bump or shake her hand (or hug her gingerly- because sore ribs don’t leave overnight) and thank God for allowing us one more Christmas season with her 💞

Praise Him,


Winter Wonderland on the Oregon Trail

“How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose, if there were no winter in our year!” -Thomas Wentworth Higginson

My most recent adventure found me looking winter fully in the face, and honestly/shockingly, loving every single minute of it. Lol

I don’t like winter. I don’t like the cold. I don’t like the drab. I just plain down don’t like winter.

But when a friend mentioned the need for someone to drive a car across the continent this December- I jumped at the chance. My friend Ben agreed to help me tackle the challenge. And away we went.

We left the Valley as a freezing rain settled in. With thankful hearts we watched it in the rearview as we motored our way west.

Snow flurries in Nebraska

And although we didn’t get into a full blown wrestling match, Winter kept nudging us along the entire trail. And really, it added so much beauty to the journey.

Admittedly when I agreed to the trip, I immediately remembered all the stories I’d heard about snowstorms in the Rockies. “Winter travel is no joke” they said “a storm will come up and they shut down the interstates immediately.”

“Wow” I thought ” Can we do this?” So we committed our journey to God, and watched as He took care of us. Time and again and again.

A beautiful-9°F sunrise in Wyoming

I kept pretending that I was exploring the Antartica or at least was an ice trucker- 🥶😂 can’t imagine their view is much different from this.

Utah felt a little bit less like a wilderness. But still beautiful.

We grabbed a delicious meal at Jakers in Twin Falls, Idaho. The fact that they serve mainly food raised in the northwest added a local flare that was perfect. We walked out on the bridge spanning the Snake River and watched several guys jumping/parachuting the 486 feet to the bottom of the canyon. It was a bit above the temps we’d encountered in WY, but still a very chilly descent.

And Oregon 💞 I have never experienced such a glorious wintery sunrise as I did the first morning in Oregon. The fog froze onto everything in the 0° temps and the world was a magical kingdom.

Praise the Lord.

How good it is to sing praises to our God,

    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

Great is our Lord and mighty in power;

    his understanding has no limit.

He spreads the snow like wool

    and scatters the frost like ashes.

He sends his word and melts them;  he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

Praise the Lord.

Excerpts from Psalms 147

As we traveled along, we drank in the vastness of the open road, the complete solitude of the eastern part of the state, and enjoyed the ride.

2,770 miles into our trip, found us delivering the car to its new family with super thankful hearts. Praise God for watching over our journey.

And because I had scheduled in a bit of extra time before our flights home (in case Winter stopped us in our tracks) the adventure wasn’t quite over. ☺️

Crater Lake:

The West Coast:

This finds me back home again, curled up beside my wood stove, reliving the journey. But mostly, just thanking God. The unique variety in His creation is wonderful. And the opportunity to experience so many good things just leaves my heart overwhelmed. He is such a good God. 💞

Praise Him,


👶🏼👶🏼 Baby Shower builds anticipation

This weekend, several of Julia’s friends hosted a baby shower in honor of her and the 2 little Showalters we are so anxious to meet. Julia’s nursery is decorated in forest animal theme, and the shower carried the same idea.

Julia carefully selected a date for the celebration when all of Sherman’s sisters were in town. The nieces were super fun to watch. (And listen to lol)

“I always thought showers would be BORING but this is TERRIBLY MUCH FUN”

“I sure hope I have twins because you get WAYYYYYY more gifts.”

This gift came anonymously with name tags “Miriam” (Sherman’s grandmother) and “Margaret”(Julia’s grandmother) pinned on the front of their sleepers.

So thankful for a Heavenly Father who answers prayers liberally.

Baby A and Baby B we are getting closer and closer to ready for your arrival 😍

Aunt Ken

Bonus Pic:

Sneak Peak of Julia’s nursery. Mother made the wall hanging. Emily made the pillow. Another friend made the blanket… these babies have no idea how loved they are already 💞