This is it- Moving Mania

Recently every spare moment has been spent sorting and sifting and mostly hating my less than organized tendencies. I’ve been going through a million childhood memories. A million memories in general that stretch from before my broken arm in second grade to present day happens. I’ve been reading all sorts of encouraging notes that randomly came my way and been blessed all over again by kindness. I’ve thrown out treasures that would’ve broken my heart to do so in the early years (but really, I have no need for a baseball cap from White Tire) And- cheery news to whomever gets the job of going through my estate- unless I develop a lot less sentimental attributes between now and then- I have retained a number of things that I.just.can’t.part.with.

Sorry, but it’s true. Sentimental fool that I am. (now you know)

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Our main moving crew… Detroit rode the entire way balancing on the picnic table on the back of our gooseneck… Grinning from ear to ear

The reality is, that tomorrow is going to be a huge day for me. I am planning to move from Paradise Lane. My parents will be moving soon as well, but I’m rushing off on another adventure, and thought MAYBE it would help ease the fact that I’m glaringly absent if my stuff was taken care of… (Stay tuned for more word on my next trip 😉 )

So, as I reorganize my treasures in their respective boxes, I’m reorganizing a lot of living. I’m sorting through old memories of days that were sunshiny and days that the storm clouds were horribly black and scary. I’m celebrating wonderful times in my past, and I’m praising God for the things that He’s planning in my future.

It’s really no fun to move. I’m telling good-bye to my dairy farmer past all over again. And it makes me sad. But I’m so thankful that God is guiding and this is His idea. And it’s a good one.

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So, here’s to the next few weeks of crazy box living and continued sorting as we take the big step to leave our beautiful Paradise Lane that we have loved perfectly for 24 years. Wow almost a quarter of a century. May the next family love you just as well.

I’m excited that our kitchen window will continue to look at the same mountain range. Singers Glen is beautiful, and I like it already. It won’t be hard to make that home. Thank you, God for leading us…

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But-Paradise Lane- I will always love you… Now if you excuse me, I’m afraid I need a tissue…

-Kendra

Bonus Pic:

One of my favorite bouquet from the flowers Mother did for cousin Jessie’s wedding over the weekend 🙂

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#6for30: Chicken Project and the Fear of Fowl

“The only thing to fear is fear itself” -FDR

Once upon a time, there was a girl who was gone for a summer, and somewhere during that summer, she got a phone call from a very excited Julia: “Oh by the way, Ken, Deborah and I have a new project-we decided to hatch a bunch of chickens.” And had Kendra realized how this decision would mark her next several years, she would’ve been even more alarmed. In fact, I think Julia and Deborah would’ve had scrambled eggs for breakfast had they had any clue. But we don’t see the future. Squawk and Chirp began their reign of terror.

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photo by Sarah Witmer

My fear of fowl actually started years before. I’m not really sure when- but I remember a weekend assignment of checking the neighbor’s heavy weight tom turkeys. Mother grew up with free range turkeys and she was ready for duty. I, on the other hand, didn’t really know what I was up against. I thought I was going to be fine, but somehow I didn’t hear anything he said after the opening line “I don’t know this for sure, but I think these things would kill a small child”I  realized, at that point I was not that big of a child, and this was quite likely my last job assignment. My life flashed before my eyes and the farewell note that I left in their egg room has amused visitors ever since “These birds with their razor sharp beaks, long claws and their wings capable of beating at hurricane wind speed could seriously alter your life in a minute…” And as much as I hate to admit it- I truly was afraid. Petrified.

So anyhow the fact that my sister’s chicken project only produced 2 roosters seemed like a red flag to me- but they were so infatuated by the time I returned home- what could be done? I thought the problem would correct itself.

Instead it snowballed. These roosters hypnotized my dad. Soon he was dragging them all over the world in his pickup. They loved him. He loved them.

They shared mutual feelings with me too. We agreed to hate each other.

I don’t know how many hours we spent at the barn. These evil roosters and I, but I became an expert at combat. I’d back everywhere to try to avoid an attack. I carried a shovel at all times. We’d square off in the feed room. Squawk would dive in for the kill and I’d reroute the attack. I’d hit him with all my strength- but when a rooster is in mid air- all that power just sends him off course. He’d be right back at me again. And then he’d crow his head off and I’d hate my life. lol

Except it really wasn’t funny. I’m not used to being scared of things. Especially not a bird who’s brain is the size of a pea.

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photo credit- Sarah Witmer

The only bright spot to this reign of terror, is the hysterical stories that emerged from this time. Like when Shen Valley Custom was here emptying our pit and Father had the one rooster “riding” on the pump tractor with him, and somehow the  bird got bored and left- and was soon spotted floating on a small island in our pit…

Or when Father was showing us a new trick he’d taught Squawk and the bird whipped his head around faster than you can say “Dumb Rooster” and tore a huge piece of skin off of Father’s upper lip…

But the truth is- more than the hilarity- my fear was like a storm cloud that continues to shows up from time to time.

Chickens show up randomly. I decided that I really did need to face my fears after two escapee chickens circled my van at a rest stop- and I could hardly get up the nerve to get in my vehicle… ok- that’s it! Time to take this in hand.

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So here I am, the proud owner of 8 not so bright chickens. They arrived about 3 weeks ago and Mother graciously took care of them for me while I was away. Is it impossible to tame a chicken? They are as wild as a March hare. I tried to befriend them, but all visions of having a chicken friend have flown out the window. Like the roosters before- they hate me. But the difference is, I want to like them. So while you shouldn’t expect to see any pics of me cuddling with a feathered fowl, I’m discovering something with my little flock: They are scared to death of this big mean human with the loud voice that says “Good morning, chickens” every day and brings all you can eat chicken food. Maybe that was the problem all along- Maybe I misread the sheer terror of me, as pure meanness, and my dad’s roosters really were just scared big chickens.

Who am I kidding.They were horrid. But still…

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What are your fears? Maybe if you explore them- you’ll discover that things aren’t quite the way you see them. One of my little stupid chicks even had the nerve to peck me- and shockingly- I didn’t lose the use of my hand, and I didn’t die. I’m pleasantly surprised. 🙂

May you find that it’s really not that big of a deal.

Blessings,

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

I travelled last week. First we stopped by the Finger Lakes and enjoyed watching the snow fly on Sunday. What a beautiful farming area!  Am I the only one that thinks occasionally signs insult our intelligence? I drove down a very steep road to the public access at Lake Seneca. This sign heroically pointed out the difference in land and sea, I guess.

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Canada… Definitely the highlight was spending a bit of time with the Diefenbachers. And I’ll be the first to admit- Canada is more beautiful than I gave it credit for. 🙂

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My Epitaph

There is an old graveyard on our farm here on Paradise Lane. An OLD graveyard. There may be a few graves from the early 1900s but as best as we can read- the majority of the graves are from the 1800s. No one cares for the place. The previous farmer had cows who broke over a lot of stones, and while a few brave trees guard the area, it just stands in the middle of one of our fields.

When we were girls, we were fascinated with the place. We’d spend hours trudging through the field to the site. We’d carefully unearth each stone and trace the mossy face with our fingers, trying to read what it said. We’d envision relieving the trees of their duty as watchmen, and cleared as many of the branches away as we could. We had high hopes of grooming the small area and mowing it. I think most of us- Julia especially- dreamed of being buried there. Then we’d rush back to the house with the latest collection of cockle-burrs in our hair (much to Mother’s chagrin) The place was so mystic. What was the story of the people who sleep there. Most of them died in their 20s. Did the Indians get them? (A quick reference to local history would not have Indian raids in the mid to late 1800s, but try to convince imaginative 8 and 10 year old girls of that)

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Paradise Mountain Graveyard

Earlier this spring, I had a bit of down time in the town of Bridgewater while my van was getting new tires, so I hiked over to visit a friend. A shortcut took me through the graveyard there right off of Main Street, and I couldn’t help but read the stones as I meandered along. Wow. So much representation of dreams and goals, of accomplishments and experiences, all summed up in a word or two on the back of the stone:

  • a young child “gone too soon”, I wondered what the story was here. I thought about how brokenhearted the family must’ve been to follow that small casket to the cemetery, and how long ago that was and I questioned if anyone even knows that the child existed, other than a line in the history books and one small gravestone.
  • the grave of a WWI vet and I thought about what he had experienced and wondered how it affected the rest of his life.
  • the couple whose stone proudly stated “Our children” and listed all six of them. I wonder if their children really did make them proud.

And I’m pretty sure that the further I went, the more clouds blocked the sunshine and the grayer the sky became. All these people, who struggled through life; dealing with different challenges, making some wise choices, and some not so wise. Did they change the world? “Gone but not Forgotten” seemed rather like a satire, really. Who remembers?  So rapidly the world moves on and people who thought they were so necessary aren’t even a distant memory.

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Mole Hill at Sunset

This weekend, Calvary Christian Academy put together a presentation on the life of Christian Good. Because Christian Good was my Grandma’s Great Granddad, and one of my favorite families in the whole world- had 3 children with parts in the play, I went the first night and was so challenged- I went back for the matinée. I love local history and this was a smorgasbord.

Christian Good was a young man during the Civil War and was required to serve with the Confederate Army. He had promised his widowed mother that he would never shoot at or participate in taking the life of another human. The scenes moved quickly. Christian eventually was allowed an exemption if he paid the $504 fine. Quite a number of the local Conservative men ended up serving time in prison. They faced the extreme ridicule of their neighbors,and one of the elders was actually shot by an irrate neighbor. Christian and his bride lived on Mole Hill and he fled there with their livestock while the entire Valley was ransacked and barns were burned.

I learned so much, and the students did a wonderful job at articulating emotion. How would you feel if a General interrupted your church service to demand that all men 18-45 report to duty? How could you watch soldiers come in and burn your barn to the ground? How do you graciously navigate the waters of 3 marriages and a leadership positon of the church when it split so treacherously and caused a major divide within your own house.

I can not imagine how dark some of the days were for this Great Great Great Granddad of mine, and yet, just like that, it’s a story or two in the history books and a few tales of folk lore and it’s over. All the heartache, the uncertianty, the excitement, the sunshiny days are over. And we really know very little about them.

Which brings me to me. What will people say about me when I’m gone? Will they be able to say that I kept my word and that I lived out my life valiantly? Will they say that there was no question, but that I was faithful to the end? Will they say that I made the most of every opportunity that presented itself? That I loved the life that God has given me? Will they say that I- though obviously human- did the best I could to serve my Lord all the days of my life?

And it doesn’t really matter what “they say” It doesn’t really matter if in 100 years the only thing that’s left of my legacy is a mossy stone tucked in a graveyard somewhere. What matters is, when I come to the end of the road, that I hear those words “well done, my faithful servant…”

I do hope I have a few more years- I have so much to do… Please, Lord, find me Faithful…

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

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Mrs Killdeer built a nest on the corner of our lane. She tried so bravely to protect it. Mother and I put up a little flag to help with the efforts. It rained so hard tho, it’s a wonder she didn’t get washed away!

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I love the expression on this barrel full of monkeys wagon full of puppies. (Especially the poor guy on the right-lol)  They are 5 weeks old and so much fun! If your life needs a German Shepherd, I know where you could get one 🙂

 

 

The Quick Test of the Farm Manager’s intellegence

“An intelligent dog has a bump on his head and a black mouth” The man patted my head and I tried to look nonchalant but as Kendra got that gleam in her eye- I knew I was sunk.

There are few things I hate- one is medicine of any kind. I don’t care if I’m on deaths door- I would rather pass onto the eternal hunting grounds than swallow a pill. The womenfolk around here think they are so sneaky- they hide pills in bread or peanut butter or all sorts of things. And –hehe- I have discovered with careful investigation- the tongue is a powerful tool that can sort out the wheat from the chaff and the pill from the peanut butter. Sometimes they attempt to force feed me- usually I can sense what they are up too and I hightail it to the far corner of the earth… But every once in a while…

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Head of Ranch Security slowing stretching as he takes in his entire surroundings

Anyhow, earlier this week, I’ll admit- the kid life mrisis- I mean the mid life crisis bit was getting to me. And I needed a little bit of affirmation, so I snuck over to Kendra and took my one paw and gently tapped.

“Hey ol pal, whats up?” We chatted for awhile and then suddenly, just as I was feeling so much better about everything, she did it. She pried open my mouth and discovered that incredible secret that I’d been keeping for years. Of course my mouth is black. How in the world did she expect an unintelligent dog to manage this place around her? I was thoroughly shocked and offended. My dignity was completely jeopardized. And not to mention all those” forced pill feeding” feelings came rushing back. My feet were in high gear before the command from my brain even made it to the control station. Forget this!

And on top of that, she and Emily started singing “Happy Birthday” at the top of their lungs. I closed my ears and hit the dusty trail. Hello people was that the sort of thing that makes a sorely offended dog redeem his self esteem? ummm . And guess what else: all of Eastern Rockingham County knew it was my birthday last week- did you see the smoke from all my candles? (Some blamed it on a forest fire… but…) Get your facts straight before you sing!

DSCF4767Back before the Farm realized the Head of Ranch Security had arrived April 2011

Anyhow- So I’ve been an ever faithful servant here for five years. A dog learns a lot in a few years time. The responsibility of running this place is ever before me. This week was amazing tho. I oversaw not only the chopping of the neighbor’s rye, but the mowing, merging and chopping process here. Mainly I stayed in at the bunker, I had an opportunity to ride with Kendra whenever the Lady Joyce and I were delivering food to the crew. The Lady did.not. think it was safe. So with a sinking heart, I followed her back to observe from a safe distance. Later I had another opportunity to ride. And –hehe- may or may not have seized the opportunity. That however is not up for discussion. Case closed.

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Then this weekend, the Main Manager and my heartthrob- the Lady Joyce- left things in my capable paws. Well, me and my assistants. Rolo and Benilli were all exhausted from chasing rabbits during chopping- so they weren’t much help. Kendra was marginally better- but we’ll leave that there. Anyhow, while the Main Spokes were gone, Shen Valley Custom rolled in with rigs of every size and were here slaving away most of the night. I spent a lot of time out surveying the scene. “Woa Woa Woa- slow that pump down faster- remember that tanker only holds 5250 not 5252.. Sigh- you’d think after about 100 loads she’d figure that out…”

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And these are my assistants 😕

And there were soybeans that needed to be planted… I had my work cut out. All this on top of all my other responsibilities- I sure am thankful for a day of rest.

So today as the rain dripped slowly off the metal roof and I took my time before heading out into the drizzle to survey the farm, My heart swelled a little bit. (Don’t tell Kendra, but a swelled heart is a sign of a happy dog) It is the best feeling in the world to have so much accomplished before the rain comes.

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I hope if I hit a mid life crisis and decide I need a career change, that I come to my senses and return to being Farm Manager- what a beautiful life…

Ever the Faithful Servant,

-Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza

Bonus Pics:

The Water at Windy Hollow Farm

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#5of30 Run with Patience

Once upon a time, there was a girl who spent a lot of time watching the world through a windshield and not very much time running. In fact, as a retired dairy farmer- she seldom ran at all.

Fortunately for her, she had a friend named Kim who ran and ran and ran. So when Kim offered to help her run a 5k for her #30for30 challenge, she jumped at the chance and started to train.

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The cardinals and squirrels shook their heads as they saw her first attempts to run in the lane. As winter gave way to spring time, the red-bud trees and the purple violets and that brand new calf in the nearby pasture didn’t feel very convinced either.

Fortunately she was blessed with a lot of encouraging friends who took the time- randomly- to check in with her efforts. “Been thinking about you, when’s the big run?”

And today it was.

You know how everybody says you need to take a multiple vitamin? Well, somehow I was really ornery about that, until I discovered gummy vitamins.  I’ve been bragging and bragging to my family the last few weeks, that I’ve been taking vitamins like clockwork this winter, and I have yet to get sick one time . For me that’s impressive. Not even a cold.

Until Friday. Mr Cold hit me with both barrels, and I began to seriously question my brave ideas.

But today went good.

I’ve discovered a lot of parallels between running and the Christian life. Obviously the writers of the Holy Word had that inspiration long ago, as they penned “I press on towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” and “let us run with patience the race that is set before us”. So I press on.

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The sun shone brightly on the rambunctious gang of people who gathered to Run/Walk for Young Life. Julia and Emily both kindly joined in the fun. I thought my cold was a problem (really, breathing is overrated) Emily managed to fall down a complete flight of stairs Friday morning- and each step caused her great anguish- but she made it.

And we ran, and walked, over hill and dale and through the woods and back again. There were 7 splatter stations, and we got coated. Hilarious. Especially Kim’s blue goatee…

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But now it’s just a memory. Mainly, because the paint powder washed out surprisingly well.

And so, I press on. I don’t know what you’re running through. Maybe you fell down a flight of stairs and have a bunch of sore muscles that nobody know about, or maybe your life has lots of visible splatters that you aren’t sure what to do with… Press on. And I hope that God sends your life encouragers like He has mine…

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And Dear Encourager Team: just FYI, I’m really going to need you if I decide to go for a 13.1 Emily? Julia? What do you think? lol

Blessings,

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

My life according to the comics

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#4of30: Silver Lake Bed and Breakfast

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It so happens that my cousin turns 30 a few months before I do. So, we surprised her with a night at the local Silver Lake Bed and Breakfast.

The B&B has only been open for business within the past year. Before that she underwent an incredible face-lift. I watched with interest as the original rambling white house turned into a beautiful log home. As the progress continued- I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to see inside! So finally that quest has been accomplished!

This morn, as I was a lady of leisure, I stared at the charming imperfections of the exposed beams above our comfortable king bed. I tried to imagine how they had been hewn from the trees around the building sight not quite 300 years ago. I fast-forwarded a few years and looked out the window and expected to see a Confederate soldier ride up on his horse. (I really had too much time to think-lol) I do wonder how she escaped the  dreadful Burning in the Valley. I thought about how many storms this old house had weathered, yet remained so beautiful. I wish I could have heard her stories.

The place had a charming amount of antiques here and there.  And it was so comfortable. The hosts did an amazing job at making us feel like we were visiting old friends.

And so we celebrate the gift of life and of family and God’s goodness through the years- whether it is 30 or 300. What a blessing!

Kendra

 

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1for30: Mini Garden Mania

Julia came home from a trip with her in-laws and made this announcement: “Juanita and I think it’d be fun to get the cousins together and make mini gardens.”

I’ll be honest- I really knew nothing about mini or fairy gardens. So the research began. Sherman even bought Julia book on fairy gardens for Valentines Day. She was all inspired and found 21 red clay mushrooms on Amazon for $.79 total and free shipping. So she made a big purchase.

Suddenly I realized that if I didn’t get inspired- my garden was going to be practically a “graveyard of buried hopes” (thanks Anne of Green Gables) So- I started looking up ideas and chatting about it with the people I was traveling with- my many trips to Lancaster these days provided lots of opportunities for “the quest”. Juanita spearheaded the project and so we all knew that all plans needed to be in place by March 26.

Obviously the first thing we needed was a container and a theme. I had bought a cute little stucco house in Nicaragua and I found a wash tub/planter. But then I picked up a table and chairs and came to the sad realization that my house was smaller than my table. Ooops. So I spent a lot of time trying to plan out my garden in my mind- where things weren’t so out of proportion. And it wasn’t until the morning of- as I was discovering I was running out of time- that the solution hit me. Typical

First stop on our day was the greenhouse of my mom’s green-thumbed cousin-in-law. Wow and what a stop that was! Anne had piles of succulents and cacti and lots of wonderful advice- we left with the trunk full. We ran down to Millmont to finish the quest and then returned to where the fun began.

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It was getting close to lunch- but we spread all of our scenes out and had a blast finally seeing everything take place. And I’m not sure any of us wanted to take a lunch break. 🙂 We filled our containers with pea gravel, then the charcoal product the professional recommend, the moss also advised and lastly, potting soil.

A game plan is really important here- and I know I still did some replanting whenever this plant needed to be moved here or there. Plants went in first, then the path, and fences and last the little extras. Julia made a bunch of little wooden benches and chairs. Juanita provided picket fences.

We had a wonderful supervisor team too 🙂 When they saw how many plants we had, they voted that we had WAY too many for the amount of containers we had- so Plans B and C were implemented, and more containers showed up 🙂 The thing that’s fun about a mini garden is that any container works. So we ranged from a piece off an old tree to a tea kettle, a honey dish, and a goblet. The best thing about working as a group is, there were so many more people to exclaim over each new production. I know I’m sounding like I’m raving- but we had so.much.fun!!

We laughed at how our personalities came out in our gardens. Some of us spent a bit more money than others. Some had perfectly neat paths, while some… Let’s just say that quite obviously VDOT was not planning my roads. Conrad’s wife Sarah had some sort of salt clay that she’d molded, then baked and painted. So she created the sunflower scene. God know what He’s doing when He handed out talents, if I were capable of such things, I’d be out of control.

Julia also had a Nica house. She made this one for a friend- be sure and notice her bike parked by the door 🙂 Meanwhile, I’m obsessing over my chickens 🙂 I loved the fact that Anne had the plant called “hen and chicks” How appropriate is that?

And my solution to my quandary: Layers. I found the bottom to an old clay pot, and added that to my scene. I wanted the house to seem like it was back a ways from the table scene and I think this helps with that feel. A little ladder works for the neighbors to visit, and Julia donated a mini bike to the cause. (Also notice the broom by the front door 😉 )

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So here we are with several of the 26 created 🙂 Would I recommend this? Absolutely! But do it with a couple friends. 🙂 Ideas, plants, advice, cheering over some perfect discovery- creating memories that will long outlive these little planters; It’s meant to be shared!

Easter blessings,

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

I had two social events this weekend where my newfound bunny friends added to the occasion. Who wouldn’t want to eat soup with this little guy watching every move? 🙂

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Rock Removal

The latest adventure around here, was the purchase of “Windy Hollow Farm” in Singers Glen. “Windy Hollow” is a Century Family Farm, which means that it’s been in the same family for over 100 years. The original family kept the old house and barn and part of one pasture, so their heritage remains intact. We are so excited to fall in love with a place that has loved so well. .

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With the warm breezes sweeping across the Valley, it was the perfect chance to start prepping the land for spring planting 2016. Father had his “high hoe” whipping in the wind: clearing out fence rows, taking down trees, digging out rocks…

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View from back yard, happy high hoe operator in the back ground

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While most of the land requires very little TLC before planting season, there is a handful of rock breaks. So, Father dug them out, and my job was to tear back and forth with the Bobcat skidloader delivering the uprooted objects to a gigantic hole created especially to house these offending rocks.

So tear I did! Back and forth, back and forth.

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Father had a head start on me and it seemed like that part of an acre stretched on and on. Meanwhile, I bravely rocketed back and forth. But my mind was as busy as my skidloader. I tried to distract myself envisioning that I were a coal miner, but these thought kept showing up…

“Really what is the advantage here? Wouldn’t it be just as easy to leave these rocks here happily sticking their heads out of the earth, and just farm carefully around them? The way this is working, we are getting the big rocks out, but we are creating a million smaller rocks that will have to be dealt with too… ”

As I was rapidly heading for the depths of despair, Father came over with his hungry machine and started sorting out rocks for me. With him sorting, and me hauling, things picked up speed and progress went into overdrive. The sun shone again and the happy miner whistled as she worked.

My dad -with all of his farming experience- definitely knows best. It will be so much easier to have smooth sailing, rather than picking around a rock break or two, when it comes to harvest time!

There’s an moral to this tale: Sometimes there are things in my life that seem easier to just “farm around”. Sure, the end result would be much of an improvement- but it would take SO MUCH work to get there… So I just let it go. Or eventually things come down to a great earth moving, and I work by myself and feel so frustrated. But when I allow God to work with me- fighting whatever battle I’m in- THEN the break through happens and things look so much brighter…

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Are you farming around rocks in your life? Allow God to work with you- it’s much much easier than trying on your own…

Blessings,

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

The first of many pics of this pond 🙂

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“To let Myself Forget to Care” Canner 2015

Jose walked slowly up the dusty trail, kicking a small stone. He carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. It hadn’t been long since Papa’s death. It was hard for the little girls to understand. They couldn’t grasp why Mama often cried. They didn’t understand why they were so often hungry… They were too little to understand that Papa’s sudden death along with the drought in rainy season made it impossible to have enough food to feed everybody. He knew Mama tried to cut corners. He tried to pick up jobs where he could, but what could a little fellow do? He felt so discouraged. Really, who cares?

Nadia watched her husband leave for the day. Day after day of looking for work, when there wasn’t work to be had. He’d come home defeated. Discouraged. And really she was discouraged too, but she tried to hide that from him- he had enough to worry about. The pantry was definitely looking bleak. She sighed. Really, who cares?

Tanisha is an orphan who came to live with City of Hope in Tanzania. Her life has had so many tough things, and she can hardly believe that she was chosen to come to America to live at a boarding school in Grundy, VA. She is learning so much and is so thankful to God for allowing her this opportunity, but sometimes, late at night, she dreams of her homeland and she fights the feelings of being a little bit homesick… She sometimes wonders, who cares?

Jerry, lives across the mountain at an adult care facility He was born a special young man and is so thankful to live where he can be so excellently provided for. Every morning, he’s up and gathering eggs, and keeping an eye out to enthusiastically welcome any visitors that happen by. “How ya doin buddy?” But sometimes he misses his brother, and his parents. He talks about them a lot. And in his special way, he needs a reminder. Does anybody care?

All year long, there is prep going on for this week. Men donate hours, days and even years. Funds sift in. Everything is primed and ready to go.  Finally this week is showtime.

The MCC Meat Canner rolls in and the fun begins. Volunteers leave their warm beds before 4 am all week. Hours and hours are given to the chopping, canning, labeling of the turkey. More hands are needed to provide refreshments for volunteers. Behind the scenes, ladies are washing uniforms and towels. The entire community is needed to pull this off. I love a community event.

Soon it’s just a happy memory, and we look forward to next year’s visit. But this year, as I dried the millioneth can and cut that turkey into chunks, I had one of my Mother’s favorite poems running through my head…

And I said a little prayer for the recipient of the meat, whether they are in a home down the road, or on some foreign soil, wondering if anyone really cares…

May I never be too busy with my own agenda to be able to take the time to support fantastic programs like this. May I never forget to care.

“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need, but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in him?” 1 John 3:17

I love how each can includes the reminder “In Christ name” May that inspire us to sacrifice again and again- because of His sacrifice for us.

Blessings, Kendra

I wonder if I have the right
To let myself forget to care
While children shiver in the night
Where all is dark and cold and bare.

My little ones are free from dread
And sheltered safely from the storm
Their eyes are bright, their cheeks are red,
Their laughter glad, their clothing warm.

But other little ones must weep
And face new dread with each new day,
Where hunger’s fangs bite very deep
And want sits like a ghost in gray.

I have no need to feel the blame
If pallor dims the orphan’s cheek
I have not made the cripple lame
Nor taken from the poor and weak,

But knowing how they weep at night
Where all is dark and cold and bare,
I wonder if I have the right
To let myself forget to care.

-Author Unknown

 

10 blessings on 10-10

“I’m so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers..” -Anne of Green Gables

This is a ridiculously overused quote this time of year- I know- but bear with me…

I’m not sure when I first heard about Daughters of Promise Magazine..  I do know, that Katie was instrumental in randomly showing up one day with a magazine in tow and saying “Here- I think you’d enjoy this…” She thought right  🙂 Basically it’s a “Anabaptist-founded ladies magazine created to inspire godliness…” And each publication is chock full of food for thought. This discovery has been a blessing. Thanks Kate for the heads up 🙂

And the reason for the sales pitch here- this month they are hosting an InstaChallenge on Instagram. Each day they post a theme and then it’s up to “your creative interpretation”. I have had so much fun with this! Emily and Deborah have gotten on board as well and you may or may not see us roaming all over the fields searching for the appropriate #roomtobreathe photo or sending pics back and forth- “does this look okay for #sweetsips?” And- as I look at my life through my camera lens- I am so excited! October is an amazing month!

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(This is Deb’s #sweetsips entry  a smoothie made from passion fruit- isn’t it a beautiful color?)

You see, sometimes, my prayers go something like this: “thank you, Heavenly Father, for all you’ve done for me. Please bless my family. Continue to keep me in your care…….. In Jesus name- Amen”  I am so blessed beyond what I deserve… But way WAY too often- as I’m talking to the Father- I don’t fully grasp or convey my feelings of gratitude…  I just take it for granted.

So today- I’m excited to claim 10 blessings as mine!! (there are way more than 10… But 10-10 seems like a good day to start with that number)

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  1. I’m thankful for God’s grace. So often when the garden of life produces thistles- I don’t handle them like I should… I’m so glad for a second chance.IMG_5309  IMG_5314

2. I’m glad for supportive parents. My dad and his love of farming and his ever-present Diet Mountain Dew… My mom and her exotic bouquets… They bless me so…

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3. My sisters…( Thanks Jessica Lehigh for the gorgeous shot…) God sure knew what He was doing when he designed families… thanks for what you mean to me!

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4. Protection. God is so good!  I hope I can say that even when the river overfills its banks and eats away at my crops… Thankful for the rain and that it wasn’t as much as they had forecasted.. He takes such good care of me…

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5. Creativity- My sisters have been having a blast with their latest “Cornerside Country Crafts” brainchild… I’m glad that we have different talents are are given the ability to express those in whatever way…

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6. Nature- I love watching God’s creation. Valiant came in earlier this week with 3 small bucks! They “shook their antlers in disbelief” as she walked up to the backdoor and helped herself to the dog food buffet with our labs. Silly deer.. 🙂 A trip to Cass, WV was another chance to enjoy the beautiful out-of-doors.

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7. I’m glad the chance to learn never stops. Last week I felt like I was on a field trip 🙂 I took the owners of a local store on a shopping trip to PA and we hit a pile of warehouses… Did you know that fabric arrives in 100+ yard rolls and there is a machine that folds it in half and puts it on a bolt in 35 yards lots before it is ready to hit the shelves in the fabric store? I didn’t.

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8. Exploration. I love to just roam the fields and observe the change of season- pretty sure this goes back to my favorite afternoons in third grade science- when Mr Ranck would take us out to climb Hobb’s Hill or  wherever and we’d return home laden down with treasures (like those green brain looking fruit that have a sticky glue-like substance- from a crab apple tree? >>oops somebody tells me they are Osage Orange- I remembered it was some kind of fruit😂<< I was sure it was a real find- lol)

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9. Encouragement. My family is my best cheerleaders. (Even if they do roll their eyes when I start a conversation with “I have a big idea”) I’m glad for their support and their voice of wisdom. I’m all excited about my “7 day nature themed encouragement cards” Basically it’s the secret pal idea in fast forward.  I have been so blessed by others encouragement when I’ve gone through a down time and my prayer is that these will make it easy for us to reach out in encouragement to others! Jess and the staff at Campbell’s Print Center did a fantastic job on these. Thanks to those of you who’ve been willing to give my project a try! 🙂

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10. Life is beautiful. Really it is. Sometimes it’s more flamboyant like this sunset in the field the other night. But I’m so glad to be surrounded by beauty..

What are your blessings today? I’m sure the snapshots of your life will look a different from mine- but my challenge for you is to take the time to see how good God is. I’m convicted this morn that this blessing thing is not a one way street.

I will bless the Lord at all times- His praise will continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear therof, and be glad. Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.. I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears… Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes trusteth in him. Ps 34;1-4,8

May my life be spent blessing the One from whom these amazing blessings flow,

Kendra