Jesus Understands Pain

Recently Jesus’s words in Luke 22 at the Last Supper stood out to me. 31: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

I watched Peter’s next moves with interest as the crucifixion story unfolds. Judas arrives after Peter has been in the garden with Jesus praying and SOMEONE cuts off an ear-which Jesus repairs and reprimands.

The group moves towards the trial. Peter follows, watching from afar and is accused by 3 different people of being with associated with Jesus. Each time Peter’s response is similar to this:

60. Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times. 62. And he went outside and wept bitterly”

What emotions must have passed between my Saviour and Peter in that significant look? Pain? Compassion? Betrayal? Forgiveness?

Whatever it was-Peter’s regrets, remorse, and repentance were immediate.

I think Jesus looks with the same burning tenderness into the faces of his children today.

Life throws us all kinds of curveballs. Maybe it’s results from a doctor’s visit that turns our world on end.

Maybe it’s a relationship that didn’t turn out at all like you had expected and trust seems like a distant memory.

Or maybe the wolf is at the door and financial stress is about doing you in…

Maybe you made choices that you need to forgive yourself for. Or maybe you had no choice in the direction your world has taken.

Whatever your pain is- Jesus understands it. And He’s there ahead of the problem. “Satan has requested- but I have prayed for YOU that your faith will not fail.”

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.

Trust Jesus, He understands.


Bonus Pics:

The gorgeous sunrises, sunsets, and rainbows recently feel like messages from Heaven to my heart 💞

Avoid Death

The sun was valiantly attempting to shine through the fog as one by one Paradise Lane welcomed a stream of Emergency Personnel vehicles.

I’m not sure who had gotten in touch with Emily, but they requested that our grain bins be used as training grounds for a staged grain rescue with Rockingham Co Fire and Rescue Tech Rescue Team.

Add a TV crew hoping to get some footage for a safety awareness program they are hosting, and every single dog that our family owns and you pretty much have the stage for the event.

Grain safety is not one I think about often, honestly, but it can be a deadly hazard if someone were to get trapped in its quicksand. Most common occasions would be if the grain is exiting the bin and would bridge creating an air pocket. If someone were to enter the top of bin when the pocket collapses, the grains move rapidly, engulfing the victim, and without a miracle, the victim would suffocate.

There are so many stories of children in gravity wagons, farmers entering grain bins, etc when the results are deadly.

I stayed to watch the event because Em said it was ok (I think she was just hoping I’d help reign in the unruly canines)

After everyone arrived, they had a brief meeting going over the agenda for the morning- assigning different jobs to different members. The TV crew also referenced their goal with this program- to heighten awareness that grain storage is NOT a big sandbox for children to play in. The one lady mentioned that they would love an interview with a grain entrapment survivor. At this point everyone looked awkwardly at their shoes, and mentioned a few names of bereaved families, but no survivors. I’m sure there are success stories, but trapped in grainy quicksand is a very serious thing.

The session began then with everyone heading to the emergency vehicles and pulling out all sorts of apparatus. Air tanks and safety cables were among the equipment ready for use.

My sisters and I stood on the sidelines and alternated between watching the training and watching my dad. Father (who has an allergic reaction to news reporters of any sort) was unloading soybeans into another bin at our storage facility and somehow the one camera guys started following him. I’m guessing that reporter had never witnessed a pair of crocs in such high gear as Father rushed back and forth between the graintruck and the bin before roaring out the lane 🙈

Finally everything was ready and I assumed the climax would be when they retrieved the dummy from the bin. It was a little bit of a let down when they unceremoniously heaved it from the entrance of the bin and left it in a crumpled heap on the ground. (Em said “what did you expect them to do with a dummy? Backboard it? Start an IV? CPR”)

I don’t know wether they considered the day a success or not. But it certainly gave me food for thought. Basically the message is clear. Do NOT enter a grain facility that you are unfamiliar with. Make sure safety is first. Think ahead. Avoid death.

And really this is true in more areas than grain handling. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. The choices that we make today may very well lead us into a grain avalanche that will effect our eternal destiny. Think ahead. Avoid death.

Also don’t be afraid to share your story. I found this quote while looking through my New England Lighthouse pics and it’s been challenging me ever since.

“The scars you share become lighthouses for other people who are headed to the same rocks you hit.”

Avoid death,


Bonus Pic:

I’m finally the “white sheep of the family” 🙈

New England 🍁

For 8 days, my van sailed the New England States/ Maritime Provinces’ shores.

It faithfully hiked the White Mountains and trucked through the Appalachian mountains on the return.

It does not seem at all bothered by the task. The captain however, is ready to be off duty for a bit.

But what a time we had. If you asked me to describe our time with one word-it would be this: FULL.

Full of education:

The Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts provided lots of hands on info of life Pre-Civil War.

The Apple samples were interesting, but I think I’ll stick with Gala Apples 😜 these were all so tart.

We were so excited to get in on the cranberry festival hosted by A.D. Makepeace Farms. Notice the girls in the background trying their hand at running the machinery gathering the berries to market as whole berries.

Another form of harvest is flooding the bog and “vacuuming” up the berries. These go to be crushed for jelly and juice, etc.

The privileged of entering the bog was the icing on the cake.

Full of opposites:

Portland Head Lighthouse

Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse

Village at Peggy’s Cove

We enjoyed our time at the sea. The Rocky Coast is indeed beautiful.

The Mountains were ablaze with color. I will admit to be a naysayer the whole way up into Maine “I can’t fathom what all the fuss is about this foliage. We have leaves this pretty at home.” But then darkness fell and we traveled a few more hours north and woke up to a gorgeous world. I take back my former statement.

Full of Laughter:

Here is our jolly group along the Cabot Trail. There was always some minor or major scenario going on- whether it was retrieving quills from a porcupine roadkill or learning to properly eat a lobster. I love these ladies.

(This is the preferred way of eating lobster if you ask me- a Lobster Roll)

“Anne of Green Gables” audiobook added lots of laughter to our travels as well as refreshed the story in our minds in preparation for our visit to Prince Edward Island. I wonder what Anne would’ve named these mushrooms growing along Lovers Lane?

These farmers were dodging raindrops trying to harvest carrots 🥕 There were a number of stray carrots along the side of the road. And we laughed as we gleaned the opportunity to taste the fruits of the harvest. 🐰

Full of Tears:

Full is an exaggeration. But the graves of a few of the Titanic victims laid out in the shape of the ship’s helm left a very somber feel. There were a surprising number of graves that are unidentified. Mother cried as she read the words of “Nearer My God to Thee” on the grave of the Captain’s son. (This is the song reportedly played by the band as the Titanic sank)

Full of Rain:

It poured so often on our travels. But we felt God’s care when the rains ceased each time we needed to be outside the protection of the van 🙂 this especially happened at Hopewell Cape. This portion of the Bay of Fundy had intense tides. We visited during floor access. In a matter of hours the tide will rise to within a foot of the top the arch.

Lobster Pots and Lobster boats awaiting high tide 🙂

Full of Sun:

Reversing Falls at St Johns at Sunset 😍

I fell in love with birch trees and their gold leaves in the bright blue sky.

Full of Wild Life:

A bull and cow moose on the Cabot Trail

So many wild turkeys

Full of Culture:

Dairy farmer on Cape Breton Island

So many house/barn complexes en route

The pastor of a VT church was a friend of several of these ladies, and he gave the chance to climb the belfry and listen to this bell toll 6 pm.

Full of personal records:

The Windsor-Cornish bridge spans from New Hampshire to Vermont. When I crossed into VT, I officially visited my 47th US State.

Praise to the One who creates Beauty in all things, who allows me such privileges as exploring this great land, for allowing my Mother to join me 😅 and for providing for us over and over again on this trip.

Jordan Pond, Acadia NP



The Kill

I stopped by my friends house to swap tales. “Can I get you something to drink?” She asked

“Please anything with caffeine” I replied with a yawn. “I had quite the hunt this morning”

And then because she didn’t stop me-I launched into all the gory details of my early morning:

I was all prepared for the adventure long before the sun rose. I must’ve gotten comfortable and drifted off because I awoke with a start.

shuffle shuffle shuffle” “CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH

I sat bolt upright and grabbed the weapon that was carefully by my side. Complete silence. I waited.

“shuffle shuffle shuffle” “CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH”

As I moved into position, small beady eyes reflected back at me. With lightning speed I closed the gap between me and that beaver like mouse and using my shoe, I did the deed, bagged a trophy 🐭 and attempted to return to my bed and peaceful slumbers ASAP. I’m not kidding when I say “wake me up at your own risk”

Our house has been wonderfully mouse free ever since we moved 2 years ago. But I’ve noticed with a sinking heart the unwelcome footsteps in the wall behind my bed.

Two nights after the initial hunt, another wood cutting mouse tried to saw through my bedroom door looking for an escape. This mouse was quicker than my infuriated shoe, and had quite the cardio workout the next morning as he shot in and out of furniture while my mom and I- each armed with a shoe- tried unsuccessfully to corner him and give him a speedy ride across that rainbow bridge to never never land. The chase ended when he scaled up a flower pot and disappeared into the self watering part in the bottom. A T-shirt got stuffed in the hole he disappeared into and the plant got watered. And watered. And watered.

Apparently when the furnace men installed the new unit last spring, they opened up a hole on the wall and hadn’t closed it before they left. A can of “Great Stuff” hopefully secured that entrance permanently, leaving me to smash the remaining company in the last few scrimmages…

At this point I paused in the middle of my bragging-confident in my ability to be a mouse killer. (Who are we kidding- you never get the upper hand on mice 🙄)

My friend had listened to my wild tales laughing at the appropriate intervals. And then she opened her mouth and effortlessly trumped my story:

It was early morning, and mom woke up with a start- conscious of a presence in her bedroom. And alarmed at the little feet scampering under her nose.

“David!” (name changed to protect the innocent) “ Wake up! I’m pretty sure a mouse just ran across me!”

“Oh he ran across me too” said the sleepy voice from the other side of the bed “and used my arm as a fireman’s pole to exit the bed.”

Sleep was out of the question with such a circus, so Mr and Mrs David got up and put coffee on to watch the rest of the world awaken.

That same unwelcome presence came seeping into the coffee party and they spied their alarm clock silently watching from the corner of the room.

King David picked up a slingshot that the boys had dropped by his LaZboy, grabbed a piece of saltwater taffy and hit the giant in the head and the giant came tumbling down.

If you come to visit me and you notice a big bag of salt water taffy on my nightstand-don’t judge- I may just be expanding my artillery-ready for the next battle. 😂

Be blessed,

Kendra the Mighty Hunter 🐭

Bonus pic:

Occasionally we have a little craft night tradition. Thanks Pinterest for the inspiration and Book Savers for the .10 book for recycling… I’m so excited with this pumpkin harvest 😅

Hey Florence

Hey Florence

I know we haven’t met, but I have a pretty strong opinion about you. This year has been a challenge already-trying to dodge rainy days and still feed the world in a timely fashion. Stressful but good-the crops that are almost ready to harvest look promising. I’m so excited and thankful for my second crop beans by the river… They really aren’t interested in a swim.

You’ve gotten our attention with your threats of strong winds and double digit rain. There’s a somber tone in the voice of the farmers as they beg us to brave their muddy fields to secure their harvest before your arrival. This isn’t a game.

But then I’m reminded that this isn’t between me and you. I know Someone who can calm waves on command, and just remembering that fact calms the storm in my heart.

It will be ok. Thanks for reminding me where I place my trust. #hurricaneflorence #trustgod #harvest18 #johndeere

Savoring Working for the Beast of Harvest

Most days you’ll find me with my faithful tractor flying over the river and thru the woods between the field and the farm. We hurry to catch the cutter, and usher a couple million pieces of processed corn silage safely to storage. We fall in line behind the cart in front of us. The chopper hesitates for a few seconds, the cart in front of me rolls out, and we fall in stride with the machine, while it loads my cart.

I love watching our John Deere Forage Harvester work. Some days I imagine that it is a beast with insatiable hunger. I watch as the helpless rows of corn fall prey to its ravaging appetite. This beast munches it’s away across the field, leaving only corn stubble in its wake, and with the same desperate hunger moves to the next field.

Sometimes I wonder if the Harvest itself is the actual beast. Using sweet charm to lure us into the game, we excitedly follow. She proceeds to shower us with beautiful sunsets, bright skies, rainbows and appreciative farmers and has us so addicted to her ways-we scarcely notice that we are skipping meals and working day and night. The adrenaline keeps us and our machinery running at maximum capacity and we blindly, deliriously follow at Harvest’s beck and call.

But usually I see the entire process as a grand orchestra. The cutter sets the pace of the music- my tractor joins the tune- even the sound of my safety chains slapping the cornstalks adds to the melody. It is beautiful song.

As Harvest rushes by, I just want to hit pause. I want to watch the rain wait to move across the farm until after we unload the last load of silage. I want to “enjoy” hearing my dad’s version of “here I sit like a bird in the wilderness” every time he has to wait on a cart. I want to relish lathering on more sunscreen because the day is a cooker. I want to bless my mom and the other faithful ladies who send delicious food to the fields right at meal time. I want to grin and throw silage when I meet my sisters in the field and to take lots of pics even if it drives the men on the crew to distraction. I want to savor the whirlwind of these days.

Because tomorrow isn’t promised. And seasons change so fast.

Whatever season you’re in-take the time to savor. These are good days.

Be Blessed,


Bonus Pic:

This week held a red letter day for KJ and Em 🙂 I stopped by their new chicken house for 10 minutes as the chicks arrived and got chased by a chicken 🙄 I can handle them at this size tho 😜

End of Summer Snippets

The following is a random assortment of end of summer snippets. I’m admittedly sad over the dearly departing summer… but I guess I need to take the advice from the sunflower (see below).



Advice from a sunflower:

Be rooted

Keep your face towards the sun and let the shadows fall away

Bloom where you’re planted

Spread cheer

Share what you have with those in need- even the poor goldfinch deserves some seed

Take pleasure in the present season

-credits to my dear mother

A Harvester’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, this morning as I take my spot in the crew lineup and we embark on #fallharvest18 , I come before you with a smile on my face and a prayer on my heart. Go with us this season, Lord, and provide: Patience when the sun is hot, the field is muddy, or the job is intense. Strength when the day runs into night and seems to stretch endlessly on. Grace when differing opinions arise, we make mistakes, or we’ve heard that same joke 1000 times before. Help us to glorify You. Thank you for this time of year, the chance to enjoy Your beautiful creation and for the privilege of working the land with some of my favorite people. Please keep us safe. Be near to each of us who are part of Your Crew whether we pursue a literal or a spiritual harvest, that at the end of that final Harvest Season, we can hear those words “ Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter in and find rest”. In Jesus’ Worthy Name I pray, Amen

And finally- a poem from my childhood:

Barefoot Days– Rachel Field

In the morning, very early,

That’s the time I love to go

Barefoot where the fern grows curly

And the grass is cool between each toe,

On a summer morning – O!

On a summer morning!

That is when the birds go by

Up the sunny slopes of air,

And each rose has a butterfly

Or a golden bee to wear;

And I am glad in every toe –

Such a summer morning – O!

Such a summer morning!

Bonus Pic:

I went trucking with my dad for the first time in way too long. We had such a fun trek to North Carolina with a load of soybeans. Although a lot has changed since the days he always had a daughter or two riding with him- a lot remains the same- he still bursts forth in the most random assortments of songs, drinks Diet Mtn Dew like it’s going out of style, and keeps a well stocked snack bar within reach. 💞

“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 …


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,



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