Kendra Zinniaseed

The twins have their own way of communicating.

We sit down for a meal “Me prayer” says Isaiah “apple tree, pear tree”

At this point, Julia has to interpret. Somewhere along the line, the boys were with cousins who taught them the Johnny Appleseed prayer song. And they’ve wanted to sing it for every meal since.

I remember their mama being super fascinated by Johnny Appleseed as well, so you might say the apple didn’t fall far from the tree- lol.

John Chapman was born in 1774 in New England and became known as “Johnny Appleseed” after he took a canoe full of seeds that he’d picked up at a cider mill and headed west to sell them to settlers trying to tame western PA, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Ontario and West Virginia. He ended up doing more trading than selling, and often planted trees along the way, so that people coming later would have orchards already started.

Thanks GFA Federal Credit Union Blog for this pic

He wore a tin can hat, coffee-sack cloak, and no shoes. And was very proactive in reading scripture to whatever settlers he came across.

One song that he supposedly sang is the Swedenborgian hymn. And many sing the first verse before meals to as a prayer. (Especially when the twins are there.)

The Johnny Appleseed song

Oh, the Lord’s been good to me. And so I thank the Lord
For giving me the things I need:
The sun, the rain and the appleseed; Oh, the Lord’s been good to me.
Oh, and every seed I sow
Will grow into a tree.
And someday there’ll be apples there For everyone in the world to share. Oh, the Lord is good to me.
Oh, here I am ‘neath the blue, blue sky Doing as I please.
Singing with my feathered friends Humming with the bees.
I wake up every day,
As happy as can be,
Because I know that with His care My apple trees, they will still be there. The Lord’s been good to me.
I wake up every day
As happy as can be,
Because I know the Lord is there Watchin’ over all my friends and me The Lord is good to me.

I love zinnias. They give me all the cheery summertime feels. They’re perfect for a quick bouquet, they’re perfect in the garden. Everywhere they add just little more sunshine.

Last winter, when I was on a quest for a small favor for our wedding, I came across seed packets. Perfect for a March wedding. Aaaaand if I filled them myself, it wouldn’t break the bank. But what flower is the best option? It was a no brainer: zinnias 🥰

“Let Love Grow”

Since then, I’ve absolutely loved watching to see where these little beauties show up.

The row in my garden was partly started by Julia, and the rest were a gift from my 93 year old grandmother. The butterflies love them.

My aunt took me to her garden to show me hers. Perfection.

My sweet friend, Lucy sent me weekly snaps updating the zinnia progress.

The twins caught the bouquet bug and insisted they have multiple bouquets on their little work table.

But then last week, zinnia bouquets rolled in from all over. I received 5 of them to be exact. Ben’s Aunt handed me one “Let Love Grow” she said with a chuckle. If this wasn’t an example of Ecc 11:1 Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.

I have no plans of filling a canoe with zinnia seeds and heading west. I’m not going to start wearing a tin hat so that I can cook out of it if needs be, I’m definitely not going to go barefoot. But I do hope that my life scatters a zinnia fields worth of sunshine. 🙏🏼 If the past several weeks have reminded me of anything- it’s that I need to make today count- life really is fragile/uncertain.

Let Love Grow!

Kendra Zinniaseed

Bonus Pic:

My favorite kind of recovery support team.

Em found a pile of leatherback mushrooms in the mountain last week, so we spent some time making/canning mushroom soup at the recommendation of a friend. VERY excited about this project.

And last but not least- found this one from the Baby Gid Photoshoot and it melts my heart 💙

Gideon Swope 💙

Wednesday, August 17, was a beautiful morning. Admittedly my memories are a bit hazy because of the health crisis I detailed last post.

But my angel mother arrived on the scene to before 7, and spent the first part of the morning caring for me.

“I’m supposed to watch the twins at 11, because Julia has a doctors appointment or something.” she said “If we tell them that Aunt Ken is sick and they aren’t allowed to do the ‘flying squirrel’ on you, I think you’d be fine to come with me. It’s not a great idea for you to be home by yourself in this shape.”

*Side note- the “Flying Squirrel” is a move created by certain 2 year olds where you get on the couch and run; launching yourself horizontally into whichever unsuspecting victim is sitting closest. Line your launch up to where even if they don’t see you coming, they take most of the impact, leaving you to scamper off and prepare for another round. Apparently it’s a blast 🧐

So I was slowly, painfully making my way to the car, when Mother’s phone rang: I could only pick up snippets of the conversation, but I caught “Boy” instantly I was on high alert.

“We have a little boy, Gideon Swope Showalter.”

What a precious gift. 💙

Gideon means “great warrior.” Swope was my Pappy Reuben’s middle name, same as HIS Granddads. so it’s been a family name for generations.

I was trying to find a verse for my new little buddy and I found it- direct words that the Angel spoke to Gideon in Judges 6. “When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”

Stand for truth, show mercy, live uprightly, and the Lord will be with you, and you will be mighty, Littlest bud 💙 I’m praying this for you.

As soon as I was discharged from the hospital, we headed out to meet him. The newborn stage is so precious.

So this is where I’m spending a lot of time resting; the best medicine.

Aunt Em came and we attempted to get a few pics before we blink twice and Mr Gid is running with the wild Indians…

Julia is such a beautiful boy mom 💙💙💙

Welcome to the family, Little Buddy. You are so loved 💙💙💙

Aunt Ken, again 🥰

In sickness and in Health…

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit

Today’s verse of the day was just the reminder I needed.

The truth is, I’ve been anticipating this week for a long time. I mean to be fair- I wasn’t sure that this week was going to be this week, but I’ve been preparing for it.

I cleared my schedule for the last part of August.

I tried to pump up the twins about it. “Isaiah, tell Ms Rachel what’s going to happen when Mama has her baby and you spend the night at Aunt Ken’s house, what are we going to eat for breakfast ?”

And Isaiah with huge blue eyes said “coooookies”

No buddy- PANCAKES!

Regardless- whenever- Aunt Ken was ready.

She thought.

Monday morning found me at my mom’s happily canning some sort of delicious jalapeños goodness that a friend highly recommended. The air was filled with spice. Mother would sneeze whenever she walked past to answer another of my 100 questions, but it didn’t seem to phase me. I got done in decent time. After lunch and the kitchen was returned to it’s former splendor- I noticed that my left lung was painful. Oh well, maybe I’d slipped a rib or something.

I headed home to check in on the chickens and my breath was really short by the time I got to the house. Strange. I called my favorite chiropractor and set up an early morning alignment.

Somewhere along the line I chatted on the phone with Ben and then with my dad and apparently Father hit the panic button. Because suddenly my phone was ringing off the hook.

Ben: You can’t breathe- I think we need to get you checked out.

Another call waiting Em- What’s going on? I think you should go to town.

Another call waiting Father- KP! Are you ok? I’m terribly worried about you.

Anyhow long story short, Mother was summoned and she arrived on the scene the same time as Ben squealed home on two wheels from trucking. The vote was unanimous that I needed to head for town. Ben even created an instant poem in his hour of great concern “Without breath, you can’t have life; and without life- I don’t have a wife!!”

So I went, grudgingly because all that was going to happen was a bunch of expensive tests and then they would send me back home. (I know, priorities 🙄🤦🏻‍♀️)

To cut out a bunch of unnecessary details, the doctor at Med Express wasn’t comfortable with what he was seeing, so we went to the Emergency Room (whether we needed to or not, I thought) and before too long, I was admitted to the Hospital with a medium sized pulmonary embolism aka blood clot.

We were so relieved to have answers.

The next morning, I was feeling okish. The doctor talked of discharging me and I was ready to leave-I thought. They gave me a prescription for blood thinner and sent me on my way. But as I went to leave I got up and realized how horrid I actually felt. Mother bravely loaded me up and we sailed for her house.

And thus began the next 30 hours of intense pain.

I’ll spare all the details of Ben patiently carrying my pillow palace from recliner to recliner at our house trying to find SOMEWHERE that I was comfortable enough to doze off…

Or the fact that I took 8 showers while in my mom’s care on Wednesday trying to ease the intense lung pain.

Finally Wednesday evening, I couldn’t stand it anymore, and Em’s friends at the local rescue squad came and loaded my miserable self up and drug what was left of me back to the ER.

Thanks Em for snapping this moment of Ben living out his “in sickness and in health” promise.

And that’s where I’ve been since. They added pneumonia and sepsis to my list of diagnoses. And I’ve been appreciating every single drop of meds they’ve sent my way.

Trying to see how high they can get my incentive spirometer… I haven’t gotten it to 500 yet… Ben made it to 3500 😏

Today, I think I’ve turned the corner. Hallelujah. There’s been a lot of Hero’s in my story- Ben for patiently and willingly staying with me. Em for using her medical expertise/connections to get me where I needed to be at the right time. My mom for juggling babysitting the twins and caring for her sick daughter. The rest of our families who’ve carried us as best they could in various ways.

So many people have let us know how much they are praying. They’ve sent flowers and food, and stopped by to visit. They’ve walked our chickens, and cleaned the Airbnb and we feel so humbled and loved and supported. This has been a journey and one that I’m afraid won’t go away as quickly as it arrived.

But verses like the one at the top of the post give me courage. “Filled with joy and peace… overflowing with hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit” I want that to be my testimony.

And I left out one small detail. Wednesday night the hospital was filled and overflowing and I couldn’t get a room upstairs so they kept me in the ER. Considering the shape I was in, I wasn’t very good at jokes. But I asked if they could just move me up to my sisters room and give us a family discount. Yep that’s right- there’s a new little Showalter that I’ll introduce you to as soon as I meet the baby myself 😉 so anyhow I guess Isaiah was right after all- if he stays with Aunt Ken probably the only that she could feed him for breakfast right now is cookies- that some sweet friend blessed her with.

Thankful for the gift of life and for such a supportive community.



Harmonia Sacra Sunday

As a child, I always remember that “Hamburg Sunday” meant that most of my friends would be missing from church.

“We went the year that you were a baby. It’s really hot there in August” my parents would say. And that’s where the conversation would end.

Our little town of Singers Glen is rich in musical history. Around 1835 Joseph Funk wrote and published a songbook called “Harmonia Sacra” Eventually he opened a printing press along Main Street and at some point the town went from being named “Mountain Valley” to “Singers Glen” because of his musical presence.

Anyhow this songbook uses shapes notes and four part harmony and has been sung out of ever since. Some of the songs are very familiar. Some are not. Some are incredibly encouraging and beautiful. Others are-well depressing- like the song with about 20 verses that describes in great detail how individuals react to the stream of death. A lot is screaming and plunging at the end of every verse until you get to the last verse “To me, O death! thou hast no dread; Savior I come! Spread, but Thine arms on yonder shore, I see, Ye waters, bear me o’er, There is my home.

So that’s a quick history on the songbook. My mom grew up singing and loving all parts of the culture/experience. My dad- a Pennsylvania native was unfamiliar with the songbook and every time the book is brought out, no less than 2 hours of warbling ensues, and his tolerance/appreciation of the art is not quite as high.

And their daughters fall somewhere in between their parents on love for Harmonia Sacra Singings.

Which brings us to the “Mauck’s Meeting House” part of the story. Built in the mid 1770s, this little church in the tiny town of Hamburg, holds a Harmonia Sacra singing every first Sunday in August.

Somehow I’m always on the road this weekend, but not this year. So it was a great chance to scratch “singing at Hamburg” off the bucket list when someone requested my van driving services.

Our group arrived at the church grounds in plenty of time, so I helped myself to a tour. This church was built with actually slave quarters upstairs. And a very sketchy chimney setup.

The best part of the entire day was my enthusiastic singing partner. I love her.

As expected, the service lasted for 2 hours. As the temperature climbed, my singing zeal waned. But I hung on valiantly until the potluck lunch in the shade.

Beautiful, heartfelt worship; rich history; good food; friendly people- what more could you wish for on a 95° August day?

Hallelujah, Amen