“That It Might Be Fulfilled”

The cows didn’t pay much attention to me. I went plodding through the barnyard, switched the gates around, and went through all the same motions that happen twice every day at milking time. Motions that come second nature for me, yet have not been my world for over 4 years now.

I go for months without setting foot in the barn, and somehow I’m never quite prepared for the nostalgia that hits me.

The sentimental side of me enjoyed the trip down Memory’s Lane-missing the old days of working with Julia, stumbling out of bed in the middle of the night to check on the maternity lot to find a new calf, bedding calves and mixing feed- the daily dairy demands.

But then the practical side of me took back over and reminded me that I’d been on Memory’s Lane long enough- that Sherm is a much bettter dairyman, and that I was terrible at getting up for the morning milking, and recurring back issues often left me skimping out on my share of the workload-while my sweet family filled in… thank you for the reminder, O Practical One 🙄

Before I completely left my sentimental journey, I analyzed why I miss those days. And I came up with a conclusion: because I know what happens next. I know how the next chapter goes: what happens to the key players, and how each puzzle piece fits together, and the sheer joy of living each adventure.


Recently I’ve been challenged by a recurring phrase in my devotions. Matthew’s stories about the early life of Christ keep stating “that it might be fulfilled.” Jesus’s life was full of obstacles that directed the story of His life “that it might be fulfilled” (like the midnight flight to Egypt).

Do you ever look at the crazy turn of events in your life and question? Sometimes I think the rough jagged edges of the current puzzle piece weren’t made to fit into the picture my life is telling. But I believe that God carefully places them, and occasionally allows me to look back with understanding. I love those reminders of God’s wisdom, faithfully writing my story.

This has been a rambling post-but I hope you’ve followed my thought pattern: God directs the steps of our lives, organizing details that are so far above our ways, to have us where He needs is to be, to be of most service to Him… that it might be fulfilled.

Family Vacation 2018

May you find peace with whatever shape your current puzzle piece is, knowing that the finished product will be a masterpiece …

Kendra

Bonus pics:

I haven’t been on the road much recently, but I’ve got a few pics to share (the others from this post came from the dusty archives 😅) I had a day trip to Mt Jackson, where our hosts lived in this beautiful old 1770s era plantation Home. This house doubled as a hospital in the Civil War and had visible blood stains on the floor 🤕. But what really stood out to me was the stairs leading to the slave quarters, where the current home owner had researched the slaves who’d lived there, and the price they’d brought at market, and she’d commemorated them on the steps… real people, real stories, never dying souls…

A dog’s premonition 🐾

I think jealousy is the root of the problem.

In fact I’m fairly confident about this. Allow me to present my case: I’m Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza, farm manager. And I think that’s what got us off on the wrong foot. Well, that and the fact that the Horst gals refer to me as “the best ol boy”. It eats at them. And I won’t say that I don’t understand it, but it doesn’t change the fact: I was farm manager before any of the brother in laws showed up.

And I’ve overheard the exact same conversation with all of them “yeh he’s a nice enough dog, but I don’t think he’s very smart.” And while the girls protest, they never look at me quite the same. Except Ken- her loyalties have yet to be tested, so she doesn’t really count.

I faithfully soldier on. This farm depends on me.


For instance: I could tell that it was going to be left up to Rolo and I even before I noticed the pile of “OBX bound” boxes by the front door. Plus it happens every August, they go away and vacate- and leave the place in our capable hands, er I mean paws. 🐾 But this time- I sensed trouble on the horizon. And no matter how hard I scrubbed my face on the grass in the backyard, I couldn’t shake it. Rolo saw me and tried the same thing. And we ended up in similar predicaments. Flaming red irritated eyeballs, and still that dark cloud on the horizon. The family noticed the red eyes, but not the cloud. So Ken rushed to town and bought eyedrops and every time I turn my back, someone is sneaking up on me and shooting drops into my eyes. Actually make that 2 somebody’s I can easily outsmart/outrun just 1 somebody (hehe take that “he’s not very intelligent” naysaying boys 🙄)

So basically part of the fam rushed off on vacation leaving instructions for the ones vacating later to “check on the dogs” Good thing it was 2 of them, because I wasn’t about to take those drops sitting down. They tried to convince to come into the house, mind you, to take my meds. Nothing doing. They tried to trap me in the garage and I was spinning-wheels-backwards out the door when Deb caught a leg and I was hung. Dumb drops.

But then the dark clouds on the horizon came closer and closer and closer. As night fell on the Homefront, it became dark. So black dark that I couldn’t even see a whisker in front of my face. Rolo was beside me whimpering and carrying on. I tried to be brave and reassure her, but there was something dreadfully wrong. And we were facing it all alone. We survived that dark,dark night, but the rising of the sun did nothing to shake that cold black feeling.

Way off in the distance, I could hear a little brown pickup with a little blonde pup with the hammer down, heading up our road. A small ray of sunshine began to pierce the dark cloud. Up the lane shot Em and River. Rolo and I fell all over ourselves welcoming them. Help had arrived. We were saved! I kept a safe distance because I wasn’t about to hang around for more eye drops, and Em went in to casually open the garage door….

And it wouldn’t work. Sometime in the past 24 hours, the current had quit and there was our entire place becoming room temperature. Eye drops and Veterinarian assignments were forgotten, as Em changed into Supermanwoman/electrician and between both of us, order and current was restored to the place.

See why they keep me around? Admittedly, I’d have been ecstatic to help them empty all those freezers once they returned from vacation, but I chose the high road…

I remain, the ever faithful farm manager,

Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza

‘‘Tis Grace That Brought Me Safe Thus Far”

We are home!

The last leg of our journey flew past, South Dakota and Mt Rushmore gazed at us expressionless on our way past.

The cropland in the Midwest reminded me once again what a microscopic drop-in-the-bucket I play in the National Ag Game. We saw thousands of acres of soybeans and corn, and were amazed by the number of acres that were either too wet or too dry. Farming this year is not for the faint of heart!

We watched the sunset over the roaring Missouri River apparently they had opened up a spillway upstream and the waters were rolling! Any guess which song Em found for this one?

The last day we traveled hard and fast- 1030 miles in less than 16 hours. Our entire route is in pink.

After we told our new Lancaster friends farewell, and Em and I set our faces for Home, we hashed and rehashed the highlights.

What a privilege and adventure to explore this beautiful land. So thankful for God’s grace and provision along the way!

’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.

Thanks for all the support

See you down the trail,

Kendra

Bonus:

If you’re interested in our #americabysong project, it’s posted here 🙂

Then Sings My Soul

“Natural rolling hills, and mountain backdrops stir the soul and make each day impossible to compare”

This quote on the wall of our motel in Jackson, WY perfectly sums up our last few days of travel. So much beauty!!

The visit to Jackson is always a favorite of mine. The Bar J supper was delicious. The Tetons were outstanding with a rainbow nestled among its peaks. Em (who may have been up half the night suffering from the effects of an energy drink she drank too late in the day 😅) figured out where to find the famous barn. I tried to imagine how it would be to be one of the 33 families who lived beneath the shadow of the Tetons for years. Washing dishes with that view would’ve been the best. 💞

Montana sure is beautiful in the summertime. We passed a Bazillion bales of hay, enjoyed the sunset, and the immense variety of wildflowers.

Glacier was beautiful. We spent some time beside Lake McDonald, hiked down to a waterfalls. [*insert- Em’s knee hung in there like a champ, and I’m so thankful she’s been given the opportunity to experience things like this again! She iced it in the frigid waters we found at the falls 😅]

Can you spy my hiking partner? 🤩

Our last stop in Montana was a guided tour of a Hutterite colony. Ms. Rita took us all around, and I learned a lot. The cleanliness of the the main kitchen was impressive. Their garden was huge, with rows of carrots stretching on into the horizon. We all laughed at the fact that our group consisted of Amish, Mennonite, and Hutterite- all different types of Anabaptists. I love culture studies, and I will admit to leaving with more questions than I came with.

O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder

Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder

Thy power throughout the universe displayed

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee

How great Thou art, how great Thou art

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee

How great Thou art, how great Thou art

Praise to the One created all this beauty, and allows me to experience it!

“Auf wiedersehen” as they say, or “see ya later” where I come from 🙂

See ya down the trail,

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

Winner of the Unofficial Most Appropriate Mural Contest we’ve been having 😍

Colorado: Land Of So Much

Every time I blog about CO, it ends up being a form of a love letter. I really do love this state.

So much history:

A quick stop at Mesa Verde taught me a few more details about the people who sought shelter here 700 years ago.

The Durango/ Silverton Narrow Gauge Rail brought history back to life for the 6 ladies traveling with us. (Em and I enjoyed a free day)

So much variety in the view:

Wolf Creek Pass is one of my favorites. So breathtakingly beautiful.

The Great Sand Dunes are another marvel: the way the wind is constantly changing, sculpting the face of the sands; the sheer size of these sand mountains…

The Black Canyon- the impressive walls dropping 2,000 feet to the river below.

The views along the Million Dollar Highway. We are frustrated with the lack of ability to communicate the grandeur before us… so we just say “wow” over and over and over…

Quote Of The Day: Just think, if I had enough faith, I could order these mountains to move back to Lancaster Co with me.

So much agriculture:

We love watching the farmland out the van window. The San Luis Valley impressed us with it’s brilliant canola, beehives, and various colors of blooming potato fields.

So much culture:

We took in a rodeo in Durango. You know that feeling when you can’t bear to watch, yet hate to miss anything? 😅

Our favorite was the mutton bustin’. Emily took these pics and I love the progression. Going, Going, Gone.

So much appreciation:

All over Durango there were “thank yous” to the heroes who saved the town. It was incredible to see how close the charred trees were to the backs of houses, yet no structures were lost!

So much hospitality: (not pictured)

We landed in Delta, and are catching our breath before moving on. As always, the Kennells are making our stay so comfortable. Bless y’all for providing an oasis for weary travelers!

Yes Colorado, you are so much.

Thank you for guiding our hearts in worship of the Creator. It’s wonderful to be here again.

“Auf wiedersehen” as they say. “See you later” from where I come from.

See you down the trail,

Kendra

Brighten the Corner Where You Are

To our friends scattered to and fro:

To those of you who follow me on Instagram, or follow Emily on Snapchat-this is not new news. In fact-I hope we aren’t being super annoying 🙈 But we have challenged ourselves to #americabysong which means that there have been quite a few multiple second clips of us sailing along listening to music that fits the progress of our journey: Country Roads take me home (West Virginia); God bless Texas; Amarillo Sky; Highway 40 blues, etc. Google and Apple Music have been our best friends for this project, along with the fact that several of these ladies are walking music libraries… anyhow we’ve been highly entertained for miles. Thanks for your patience on our project 😅

Yesterday morning we stopped at Four Corners Monument and the song that I thought best fit the occasion went like this:

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,

Do not wait to shed your light afar,

To the many duties ever near you now be true,

Brighten the corner where you are.

That seems to be the underlying theme of the last few days- little things that have been beautiful rays of sunshine in our travel.

I had never been to the Petrified Forest before. Unbelievable. I’m so curious to know the facts about this crystallized wood from a Christians scientific understanding. (Maybe somebody can help me out? Google was not much help on this one)

The biggest day brightener from this stop was found in the crevice of a petrified stump. Hannah dug it out. This purple rock is part of a Facebook group the bold words “you matter” was a cute reminder of the value of the next pair of hands that discovers the hidden treasure wherever Hannah drops it off 🙂

The desert storms have been so much fun to watch. We saw countless bolts of lightning, and dodged a few raindrops. ( side note: We traveled late one night and the girls were super excitedly actually be able to see the strikes hit the ground. I missed that split second event-I was more concerned about finding an elk or a wild horse standing broadsided on the road 🤠)

We were so thankful that even though we drove thru rain-it was never raining when we wished to get out of the van and discover something:) I just love the saguaro cacti down near Phoenix.

Another day brightener has been the quest for wild life. Em wanted to see elk so badly. And this little guy charmed us all

And the wild horses along the way-make us imagine we are cowgirls. 🤠 But who am I kidding- I can’t pretend to be comfortable with equines-especially when I’m traveling with ladies who deal with horses every day.

And the final sunbeam I’d like to reference from our merry way was actually just that-the final sunbeams. We watched the sun set over the canyon and as the low light brought out the deep colors, and then the light faded from the deep walls, we worshiped. How Great is our God?

“And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of thy hands: They shall perish; but thou continuest:”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭1:10-11a

May you find multiple little bursts of sunshine in your world today.

“Auf wiedersehen” as they say. Or “see you later” where I come from.

See you down the trail,

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

For years whenever something scares us- our family has described it as “that turned me into a petrified forest” we now have a visual for that 🙈

Photo credits for a number of these pics: Emily🤠

Deep Dutch

“It’s ‘micka’ season out here in Missouri”

I sat on the backless bench and watched the house wife dutifully shooing away the bazillion flies that descended on our supper. My weary brain fuzzed over her words. Wait-what’s a micka??

Emily and I are currently in #deepdutch We left early Saturday morning, picked up 6 Lancaster County Amish ladies and flew west. This is basically what I look like after 1000 miles:

Saint Louis Arch was a madhouse. Apparently there was a fair in progress. I loved watching the children play in the ginormous sprinkler

Em and I stayed in a darling little cabin and enjoyed a leisure Sunday morning before we went to the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum. It was kinda cool to see the desk where the famous series was penned. Laura’s kitchen was custom built for her- she was 4′ 11″ and Almanzo was 5′ 4″. Also it was pretty neat to see Pa’s fiddle. I enjoyed our time there. If you ask Em if she did-you’ll get a different response 😜

The journey across Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico has gone rapidly, but we’ve enjoyed the ride!

The intense farming that happens in the these parts does my agricultural loving heart good.

We’ve enjoyed stopping occasionally to get a feel for the land we are traveling through.

The stop at “The Big Texan” did not disappoint. The food was tops, and our waitress was very gracious. When I was in my teens-I was sure that I could handle their 72 oz steak in an hour challenge. (Again Em’s opinion is differing here) but those days are gone-I settled for a 9 oz Ribeye instead.

We traveled the Musical Highway on Route 66. We didn’t tell the girls what we were doing, and I wish you could’ve heard the excitement when they figured out the rumble strip was singing lol.

And that leaves us in New Mexico ready to embark on a full day of travel.

If I could sum our #deepdutch tour up with one pic-it would be this one.

“Auf wiedersehen” as they say. Or “See you later” where I come from 🤠 🙈

See you down the trail,

Kendra for the whole gang

Faith the size of a wheat seed 🌾

“Be still and know that I am God.”

I love that verse. Such a good reminder to stop, chill out, and allow God to move.

And I believe that He can and does move, I say devotedly as the sun shines.

But then the clouds move in and the thunder rolls and I’m frantically trying to solve the problem.

I apologize in advance for another post on the weather-but I’m so amazed and enthralled-I just have to share 🙂

Wheat is a pretty big crop for our family, and this year, we watched our fields carefully. January- bitter cold with no moisture. February- unusually warm-no moisture. March- I don’t remember. April- more cold with snow. May- rain and rain. June- rain rain rain RAIIIIIINNNNNN…

The crop looked good. And then it looked bad and then it looked decent and then it ripened and turned a color other than the typical gold we were used to.

In the midst of all this, I stood at the edge of the field and watched. I listened to the seasoned farmers around me hashing what was going on (what else can farmers do when it’s too wet to get in the fields? 🤷🏻‍♀️) I stoically manned the rain gauge to make sure it was dumped every few days so it didn’t run over. 🚣🏻‍♀️ I worried. I prayed a good bit and gave the crop to God-the ultimate Farmer. Then I worried that God didn’t notice His wheat was drowning.

Also adding to the drama is the fact that day after day brought us closer to the scheduled date of a trip West for a certain van driver and her younger sister (a certain grain cart operator) (stay tuned for more info) and I was completely concerned that after we pulled out, Father and Deb would be let alone. Not that they couldn’t handle it- but half the crew is half the crew.

Anyhow. I prayed and prayed and prayed.

“If you have faith the size of a wheat seed…”

Mother says God parted the waters. And I agree. But unlike the Israelites, we didn’t quite walk through on dry ground. A week ago, the sun shone and we flew for the field.

What a rodeo it was. We found wet spots we didn’t know existed and had more excitement than we bargained for.

Thanks to everyone who dropped everything to come to our aid.

We were encouraged to find the crop was not a complete loss, but that specific sinking feeling put fear into the heart of the operator.

We continued on cautiously.

And today, as the dust settles on our last field of wheat stubble, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

The rains dodged us perfectly (sometimes only by minutes) all week-only by the grace of God.

What is the battle your faith is facing? I know in the grand scheme of things, this year’s farming challenge is only a drop in the bucket, but this is my life- what’s real to me.

I encourage you to take a step back from the battle. To breathe. And to watch God move.

Because He can. And when the time is right, He will.

Rejoicing,

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

We had to get a little creative to get all the wheat off. Father’s genius idea of combining with a 4-wheeler was a life saver 🙂

The Rivers of Change

I watched in silence as the muddy water swirled across the bridge and surged through a neighbor’s soybean field.

We had expected the rain. Not this much of course, but the forecast had warned us of downpours and the resulting flash floods all week. And flood it did.

As the dark water moved along, we questioned- what would things be like once they receded? Would the bridge still stand? How long can tender bean plants hold their breath?

Several days passed after the deluge, and I passed that way again- the bridge is standing fine. My little bean friends lined up all in a row, stand soberly, their leaves covered with mud. The sun is shining brightly and life is returning to normal.

I see my life in this tale. Change is on the forecast, and so I stand and wait. I worry a bit about what my world will be like after those waters sweep over my life.

Yet worrying does nothing and the waters still come.

Sometimes I’m given the grace to take an umbrella and splash in the mud puddles, embracing the day, savoring the blessings that rain is to my very existence. But other days- not so much. I don’t always welcome the rain.

Yet the waters come, and recede again, and the sun shines, and all is at peace.

Is change ever easy? I’ve been sorting all this with my return to “only child status” after Deb’s wedding… I used to think maybe some changes are- maybe if you’re the one moving to the far corner of the earth (instead of the one staying home) it’s fulfilling and easy. Maybe I just haven’t experienced the kind of change that’s easy to embrace.

I’ve come to a conclusion.

Change is tough. It can’t be easy to adjust to getting up all hours of the night with a newborn. Moving away from everything familiar is terrifying. And obviously, changes brought through unexpected health diagnosis, termination of employment, or death of a loved one can be devastating.

And yet, there is joy in change. If handled correctly, it gives us purpose and often creates a ministry that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. What kind of tales would be shared at family gatherings if life remained the same and brought no change?

I am so challenged to rejoice in the beauty of today, rather than wishing for yesterday or worrying about tomorrow!

“When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee. When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt. Neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord Thy God, the Holy One of Israel. Thy Savior. Isaiah 43:2

What lessons has change taught you? I’d love to hear,

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

Discovered a nontypical mannequin in Holmes Co this weekend

Deborah and Nathan

Today was the most gorgeous sort of day. A beautiful Saturday in May where the sky was blue and sun bright, and the Valley was simply gorgeous. And then the clouds moved in and raindrops fell.

Today was the most gorgeous sort of day. My beautiful little sister quite enamored by her prince glowed as she made her way to the church. This is so right- we all smiled as we watched them. And yet this is my little sister, and let’s be fair and admit, as she walked up the aisle a few teardrops fell.

Today was the most gorgeous sort of day. The beautiful representation of family, and friends, and good food, and the faithfulness of God warmed my heart. Gaining family is reason to celebrate.

My darling little Deb all grown up. Thanks for including me in your day! Take good care of her, Mr Kennell 🙂

Luv y’all,

Kendra

Bonus:

My dad’s poetry shows up sporadically. Usually it arrives during harvest when he wants to harass his Claas chopping comrades. But today it presented itself as Rolo’s feelings on the event:

Hello my name is Rolo Adriana Rohrer,

I am the one who owned Deborah’s heart back before.

When she left that day in 2015-

The events that unfolded I could not have foreseen!

The fact that she was gone a little over two years

Ended up being the least of my fears!

When I first heard the rumor of some Kennell she caught,

I thought they were discussing my pen she had bought.

But then she came in with those blue eyes that day,

“What’s wrong with my brown eyes I barked in dismay?”

I saw the rest of the family was glad-

Was I the only one who is sad?

And the way I was treated when he was around

You’d think I was just some old mutt from the pound!

I called to her attention how much money I’ve made,

She said that’s how the honeymoon would be paid.

So as I lay here at home on this cold concrete floor,

My poor heart is broken like never before.

Tada! The big day is here, and gone again. We all survived. Thanks for all of you who sent your love- it was completely a gorgeous day.