The Ways of Waslala

Waslala has held a spot on my bucket list for a long time. I tried to visit during 2011 when I was on SMBI’s WATER program, but that didn’t work out. And then after Deb moved here-I knew it was closer to happening-but the drive was long and challenging and her vacation days were few and rapidly spent on connecting with people in the States…I honestly wasn’t sure it was ever going to become reality.

You know those moments when God opens a random door and completely surprises you? This week I stood in one of those doorways and literally pinched myself. One of the girls (named Darling) from Waslala had been helping the church here in Leon and she needed a ride home, so the board graciously allowed us to accompany her and worship with the church of Waslala during their Church institute. (Bless you, OBMM board) I can’t believe this opportunity presented itself right in the middle of my stay!


We were gone for 5 days and packed as many experiences into that time as possible.


We met Mr Sloth on our way as he was inching along the road. He had such a humorous deliberate gait… He wasn’t too sure about the truckload of lady tourist all raving over him. They tell me that he’s more of a rare breed because he has 3 toes instead of 2.


We stayed at an office on Pablo Yoder’s property. Their place was incredible. Someone spends a lot of time tending the out of doors. And not to mention the monkey on its own island and an alligator that lives in the moat.



We went over the river and through the woods to the CAM clinic. They weren’t open this week, but we still got the full tour. They see between 60-120 patients in a day’s time and are able offer the medicines at reasonable rates, thanks to their generous donors.

Beth caught an exotic bird. This wide eyed creature is called a “Red-capped Manikin” and is only found in higher elevations… not sure what brought him down to see us, but he only last for 2 days before he couldn’t stand the heat and melted died. Not sure what temps he was used to because we found the 60 degrees chilly. Ah well, may he Rest In Peace.


Another highlight was heading out early one morning to Darling’s brothers farm and helping him milk cows. Six year old Kenny and his hilarious dog Ranger led us down the trail across the creek and over to where the cattle waited. The birds sang and the vegetation was so lush and green and water gushed along. It truly sounded like the “rainforest” option on that old alarm clock I used to own.

They tie the cow’s back legs together with a rope and tie her calf to her front legs to encourage her to let down her milk, and then milk away-making sure to leave a little for the calf at the end of milking. Deb and I are happy to report, we have not lost our milking ability-but admittedly our wrist strength gave out more rapidly than those who do the task daily 🙂



Upon return to the house, the Mrs had whipped up fresh tortillas ( so fresh she’d ground the corn that morning) rice, and frijoles. AND Cafe con Leche (coffee with milk we’d just harvested). What a feast! Nothing can imitate that open fire flavor.


But I think the most outstanding part of our experience wasn’t possible to photograph. Every day at 1:45 we marched across another river and through the town crossroads. (There was always some sort of animal excitement going on here, whether it was a loose cow, or 2 guys walking along with their pigs on a leash) We continued up the dirt road to where about 60 brothers and sisters in Christ gathered together to lift their voices in song. Such jubilant singing is hard to describe-but it is the sound of the redeemed praising the Redeemer.

We were given the privilege of hearing the brief version of some of their stories-testimonies that tug at your heartstrings

  •  The man who was running from the law and the Lord spoke to him through the death-and miraculous healing-of his oldest child; the pardoning of his crime and now he’s leading a mission church-fervently dedicated to his Saviour.
  • The young girl who’s dad (although once a member himself) doesn’t bless her church attendance and will likely beat her if he discovers where she’s been.
  • The child who was born prematurely but survived after they prayed that God would raise him up a preacher  and now even though he’s to young to learn to read-he carries his Bible storybook around (because the pictures remind him of which stories to tell) and preaches Christ to those who listen…
  • And so much more

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The truth is we all have a story. And while mine might not be the type of miraclous “remind me to tell you her story after church” type- it is still a story of equally noteworthy reminders of God’s love, grace and forgiveness.

I’m extra thankful for this tonight.

Happy New Year, y’all!

Kendra

P.S how many bananas do you suppose $1.20 ( C$35) will buy you in this land flowing of milk and bananas? Well honestly I got a little confused counting them on the hanger we purchased-but I’m pretty sure we came home with at least 105 bananas ☺️ just realizing how many dishes using bananas we need to dream up 

And Find Rest

I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.” Ps 55:6

Somehow this verse keeps running through my head today. All the Christmas splendor in the Valley has had me rushing to and fro, and admittedly I love it. But there are disadvantages to this ultra busy season.

And suddenly I came screeching into a deadline and was carried away on great steel wings to a land far from the beautiful Valley. Nicaragua.

Am I finding Rest? Maybe… or at least lots of potential for it. We went hammock shopping and went from house to house where the weavers took us into their living quarters and showed us their wares.


This little gal and her tv watching parrot amused me 😉

We also found the opposite of rest-a marvel of creation.  We drove up onto the Volcano Masaya and gazed down into the fiery throat of the crater and watched the lava churn red hot below… all the warning signs that told of the danger of a possible eruption didn’t really bother me, and I was ok with signing a paper that said I would not sue if I got killed up there. I didn’t even mind the fact that the gas was bad enough that we were only allowed a 5-10 min visit. But I’ll admit to feeling a little uneasy when we got to the parking lot and Deb backed into the parking spot ” you have to back in, that way you can take off real fast if it erupts.” What?! Regardless what an experience! and even better news-we all survived. ☺️

We also visited a really neat market inside an old Fort. Depending on who you ask shopping is relaxing/restful. Others would vote with the opposite of restful. No matter where it classes-I found some really exciting things 😉


Today was truly a restful day here in Deborah’s home. I enjoyed the hammock and the balmy 90 degrees. I finally met her cat obsession named Moroncito. Silly fellow.


And we all watched in amazement today- as God answered a prayer from exactly a year ago…


A year ago when we were here-the girls were not feeling comfortable with the guys and the bike shop that was in the middle of the street in front of their house. (following pic is from Dec ’15)


The men watched the girls like a hawk, leered and whistled way to often, plus knew way to much about the robbery of Deb’s red bike. We prayed fervently that God would continue to place a hedge about them.

And while I still pray daily for protection about my little sis, I forgot about the stalker bike shop guys. This morning, I noticed they weren’t out front “for maybe a month” the girls said.

Then, as we sat down for lunch, we heard a disturbance in the street below. We stood there aghast as Edwin and his gang tore down the bike shop before our eyes. One year later-right on time

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And this truly does bring me rest. God- who listens to our petitions, remembers, and answers, even when we’ve forgotten that we’ve asked.

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Praise Him!

Kendra

 

Mountains of Reasons to Worship

If you were to ask which part of nature speaks most of the Creator, I would have no problem answering that. “The ocean,” I’d say “impresses me with the vastness and mystery and unconquerable depths… The constant power of the surf. The unrelenting tide… yes, definitely the ocean.”

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But recently, I’ve had a number of days I’ve been called to the mountains. I spent a very relaxing weekend reconnecting with old friends, watching- from the porch of our mountainside cabin- as the world yawned and shook the dark shadows from its valleys in the fresh morning light … I stood in reverence from multiple mountainous precipices, as the sun slipped behind the clouds and bid daylight adieu. I am inspired by the different attributes of God that the mountains call to my attention: Strength. Constance. Color. Stability. Solitude.

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I need these reminders right now. There are so many things that can cloud our vision of Who the Creator of the Universe is and what being His Child means… Maybe it’s fear- fear of the future- I’m honestly so tired of this election roller coaster ride. Or the grieving process that our family is currently in… Or an unexpected diagnosis… … The list can go on and on- there are so many hard things in this ol world… So I’m going to the Promises in Scripture to turn my Worries into Worship…

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1 Chronicles 16: 27 Splendor and majesty are before Him;
    strength and joy are in His dwelling place.

28 Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name;
    bring an offering and come before Him.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.

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Ps 46:1 God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear…

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    He lifts his voice, the earth melts.

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The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done..

10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”.

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 Psalms 19:The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of His Hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun…

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It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    nothing is deprived of its warmth.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.

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14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in Your Sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Amen….

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

No buyers regret for the $2 I spent at an antique store to be able to add this trivet to our kitchen… This was one of Pappy’s favorite sayings:

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#15for30: Watch a Launch #missionFAIL

The truth is- I’m not just disappointed in this entire event. I’m disappointed in me.

Briefly- my mom has an old schoolmate who has blessed our lives for as long as I can remember. And when I first asked for ideas of things to do during this somewhat extensive project, right away Enid said “Watch a launch” her husband has been involved with NASA for years. So I googled it and saw that launches not only happen in Florida, they happen on Wallops Island which is right beside my beloved Chincoteague. I thought it sounded like an adventure, but similar to the book idea, I shelved it to “wait and see”.

Then in July during my Beachathon, I spent 5 lovely days on Chincoteague and somewhere during the course of the stay, they announced on the news that there was going to be the first launch since the somewhat disastrous occasion in October 2014, where the Antares rocket unfortunately exploded seconds after lift off. So I began following the process, skeptical that it would work, but curious.

Fast forward over a number of postponed launch dates and innumerable messages with Enid (bless her patient heart) It looked like we could coordinate our trip to the DC airport with Deb’s Kennell obsession and a trip to the eastern shore. I woke up Thursday morning, checked in on the NASA website to discover that the launch was postponed til Sunday, Oct 16.

I knew we were getting a lot closer than we’d been, because my Facebook feed started showing pics of pieces of the rocket en route to the launch pad. And it being lifted into place. And the full moon rising behind the rocket in position.

I was optimistic enough that I booked a motel room in Exmore. Everything on Chincotuague was sold out. Good sign.

Sunday Morning, I checked the site a dozen times, as I loaded the vehicle, and crowed about how much fun I’m having with my list of 30. We worshiped at church and then met Em and after checking the website again, we were off.

We drove down the road, My heart was full of the blessing of being surrounded by such good sports. Em and I got out our cameras and brushed up on our videography abilities. We sang loudly and laughed about life and memories and ate piles of snacks.

Father and Mother and Em and I. We didn’t even care that riding for hours in that fine Escape is miserable. I was so excited.

Until we were almost off of I64, when Enid messaged the bombshell. A cable hadn’t performed as expected and the launch was postponed a day.

Oh boy.

So somebody totally flipped the switch on the morale in the vehicle. How on earth I always get my family into wild goose chases is beyond me. And how on earth they summons up the courage to head out on round 3,678, I’ll never know, but I hope they don’t discover this unfortunate pattern before I discover a cure…

So we still headed for the island. We paid the $8 to drive out onto to Assateague and walk up the beach a ways, and sit by the water and watch the sunset.

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We headed for the Crab Shack and were not surprised at all that they were out of the Clam Chowder that most of our gang ordered. Nothing was really happening as we were wishing.

I was in a complete quandary, because I had a few things I needed to get home for, but nothing that couldn’t be rearranged.

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The rocket waiting and waiting and waiting…

To make matters worse, Em and I thought we could save a small fortune on motel costs, so we came armed with the appropriate gear to share a room with my snoring father. Did you know that the best snores can penetrate shotgun earmuffs AND earbuds?

The lack of sleep did nothing to enhance the mood Monday morning.

Congress drew up a Bill of Rights and it passed with flying colors, until the President vetoed it without a backwards glance, and we were westbound and down.

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sometimes snapchat filters mirror the mood perfectly

I’d like to say that I handled this major failure with the grace and maturity that all 29 year olds should, but I didn’t. I thought by the time I was at this stage of life, maturity would be accomplished and I could more or less breeze along. Maybe it’s because I haven’t gotten around to getting married. Maybe these qualities can not be full realized until one says “I do”. Perfect excuse, KH

It crossed my mind to ignore the launch after we got home, but, Monday night, Emily and Kerry came over for supper and we watched the launch live over the internet, and then watched the red glow shoot across the sky and I couldn’t help but be super excited and feel a little sick at the same time. We were so close.

The entire object behind my #30for30 is to seize the opportunity to learn. And that was successful. My bro-in-laws got all excited about this and pulled up facts about the Orbital ATK Antares rocket that were incredible- it was over 13o ft tall, and was loaded with 5100 lbs supplies for the International Space Station. The rocket performs in 3 stages and had an incredibly specific window of opportunity (when it would meet the station- someone said 5 seconds, someone else thought 5 minutes, regardless required lots of precision)  It will be “grabbed by a robotic arm” once it reaches the ISS…

I also learned -again- that life doesn’t go as expected. But that’s ok. And a good sense of humor is never a wrong thing

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Thanks Ben, for creating a meme for our “pointless trip”

And when we fail, hopefully we have the chance to make amends and try again:

So this is not the end. Assuming there will be more launches on Wallops Island, I am determined if I live and keep my health. And should my family decide they have better things to do, I’d be happy to add your name to the list of people going to witness this firsthand. But go ahead a pack a big suitcase, We may be staying a few more days than planned…

Kendra

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Samson: a Hero of Faith

When you think of a Hero of Faith- who is the first person that comes to mind? Abraham, maybe? He fearlessly followed God to the end of the earth- packing up all of his household and heading into strange territory. Later, he followed God’s bizarre test to sacrifice his son- because he was a man of faith- he took God at His word.

Or maybe you think of Esther? She suddenly found herself as the balancing act between her husband-the king- and God’s people who, if she didn’t petition for them, had an unjust sentence of death.

Or- Samson. What? Samson? Mr Muscles- who’s long hair and love of ladies got him into hot water on a number of occasions- a hero of Faith? Honestly- this is not the first hero that comes to mind.

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I don’t know how closely you’re following my #30for30 project…. But I’m working away at adding these different adventures into my 30th year. I’m hoping to be at #15 by November. Anyhow it’s been a lot of fun, but a lot of them have become fairly involved. I have a list I’m working off of, so I check the next adventure and start trying to make contacts to pull it off. Basically all of them require a group activity, so as has become standard, I try to rope someone into joining me, which, sometimes requires more nagging than others…. (it’s ok to feel sorry for my family. But they are tough, this isn’t too hard on them- PLUS after all these years, they are fairly used to my shenanigans ).  Then I select a date and try to execute the plan.

Last week was completely non typical. I’d put “Sight and Sound Theater” on my list, but had no plans of crossing that one off anytime soon. Until Destiny got in contact with me: a group was heading up to watch Samson, was my van available?  AND would I go along? Wow! So I marked off #12 without even harassing my fam at all! And in the process-I’m completely challenged by the life of Samson.

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Judges 13 introduces Samson as the only son of a childless couple who was born with an owners manual. He was chosen to be a Nazirite (dedicated to God) and with that came a number of requirements: stay away from fermented drinks and anything dead or unclean. Don’t ever cut get a haircut.

Do you ever feel misunderstood? Samson’s first love was a Philistine woman and his parents were highly concerned about this. Understandably, they offered to find him a wife among their own God-fearing people BUT “they did not know that this was from the LORD, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines”  Sometimes God leads us in a way that seems completely different from how He leads others.(Not saying that He asks us to live in contradiction to His Holy Word) But as long as HE is the one that’s leading-there’s peace.

Do you ever feel completely alone? After a very dramatic wedding, where Samson’s riddle caused a rift between him and his bride: forcing him to confiscate 30 sets of clothes off of the neighbors; resulting in his father-in-law giving his bride to his bestman and Samson rushing off in a rage and using foxes to burn grain fields, olive groves, and vineyards. Samson is up in the wilderness area and here comes 3,000 of his own Israelite men to  capture him and hand him over to the irate Philistines. He goes with them willingly, and in the end, He kills 1,000 men with a jawbone and is so downcast, exhausted, and thirsty, he prays “You have given your servant this great victory, must I now die of thirst…”  God answers him by opening a hollow place and water revives his strength. Sometimes it’s easy to look at life and decide that we are completely alone. It may be after a victory, or after a rejection from people who should’ve stood by you… But at the right moment- God arrives with the refreshment so desperately needed.

Do you ever feel like there’s no way that God can use what’s left of the choices you’ve made? Samson judged Israel for 20 years. His strength was impressive- like the time he carried the city gates of Gaza up onto the far hill, but no one apparently knew the source of his strength- the relationship between the Spirit of the Lord, the Nazirite promise, and his uncut hair. UNTIL Delilah betrayed his trust for no small amount of money and they cut his hair. But the story doesn’t end with the haircut and the loss of strength (and eyesight). The story ends with a subdued Samson in a temple full of idol worshiping Philistines jeering at him and his God, praising their god Dagon for Samson’s capture, when Samson finds the main pillars of the temple and with the words “Sovereign God, remember me” He pushes the temple in and kills more of the Lord’s enemies with his death, than he had in his  entire lifetime.  I love that God can redeem any situation, any circumstance, anything. All that needs to happen is to humbly ask for His intervention and allow Him to work in His way…

The pile of rubble is not where we last discover Samson. The last mention of him is listed in the Faith Chapter, Hebrews 11. As I reread this passage, I was amazed again. God promised that He would deliver and He did. But not nearly in the time-frame you would expect. e.g Abraham died confident that God would make his descendants as countless as the stars. In fact , (vs 26) These were ALL commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.

Because God had promised, these people (look it up, it’s quite the list of them) embraced life, looked forward to the fulfilling of His promise, and died still believing. Confidently.

How are you doing with what God has called you to? Are you able to move forward in faith believing that this is where you are called to serve? Do you struggle with being alone and misunderstood? Do mistakes you’ve made threaten to overwhelm you?

Isn’t it wonderful that we can go to the Scripture and be reminded again and again that God in His wisdom can (and will!) work through situations and redeem them for His glory. We are called to go through life. Confident. Faithfully.

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FAITH- hears the inaudible

FAITH- sees the invisible

FAITH- believes the incredible

FAITH- receives the impossible

Have FAITH in God.

Blessings,

Kendra

 

 

 

 

Local Flair

It’s easy when you’re planning a vacation to look up all the incredible things that your perfect vacation spot has to offer. I know I do. I hit up Google. I ask people who have traveled there before. I pull up all the memories of all recommendations that I can remember… I get all excited.

And I forget all the incredible things that are in our backyard. I drive past and if I ever notice them I think “Oh yeah, sometime I should…”

Recently I visited several places that are within an hour or two from where I live.

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I remember learning about Cyrus McCormick in school. My 3rd grade teacher would do a bulletin board of pictures of inventors and I would always look at Cyrus McCormick as a kindred spirit. You would’ve thought that Henry Ford for his automobile idea, or Benjamin Franklin and electricity or Mr Bell and the telephone, but no- I was mesmerized by the inventor of the reaper. It did make a huge impact on those of us in the grain farming world. What I didn’t know was that that break through happened in the Shenandoah Valley and his grist mill and black smith shop are still very much a part of the land he loved. I also didn’t know that when he had his first field day- 2 men and his reaper cut in a half day what 5 men cut in a whole day and young ecstatic McCormick offered his machine for $50… But nobody was interested

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replica of the original reaper

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Wades Mill was built in the 1750s and is still operating. The new owner grinds on Saturdays, but is open everyday. I’m very anxious to try his scone mix.

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Humpback Bridge was built in 1857 and is over 100 feet long. The recent flood in Allegheny Co damaged the bridge and also washed over the E . (Notice that this is part of the VA LOVE project)  All floodwaters aside- this was still a wonderful picnic spot

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C&O Railroad Historical Museum was also interesting. There is a wealth of info about the company and a train to explore. I discovered that I didn’t realize what the use of the caboose was- other than to be little and red and follow the train… Do you know?

And of course who can resist a ride on the lawnmower/train-tracks combo that circles the complex…

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Smith Mountain Lake holds early childhood memories for me- but it’s been years (like 20?) since I spent the night there. A short trip with a group of delightful ladies reminded me that I should return more often. We had a wonderful time and didn’t even die in a thunderstorm- but it was close. 🙂

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One of the families that I travel with from time to time hosts a wheat threshing day every other year.Unfortunately this time- I arrived in time to watch them finish the first load and get completely drenched-which happened in about 10 mins… It is quite the community event.

These are just a few of the more “local experiences” I’ve had recently…  I’m amazed at how easy it is to overlook these beautiful places in pursuit of something further away and more exotic- when reality is those are local and mundane for somebody (and they may be excitedly researching a trip to my area)… Isn’t that how we are? Somehow everybody else’s life and their gifts and blessings are far superior and exciting to mine…

But for today, I’m going to look at the beauty around me and in my own life and rejoice…

Blessings,

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

Our new place has lots of birdhouses… They kinda fascinate me..

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And last but not least, my mom is delighted to have a birthday buddy… One of our neighbor’s daughter’s had a boy… Dakota Blake    Emily is convinced that the deciding factor of whether a new baby is cute or not is the amount of hair it has…

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Beachin it

“It’s a beautiful day on the island. The sun is shining. The sea birds are singing a melodious tune. The fresh, sweet aroma of the ocean is drifting in the air. It’s easy to feel tranquil here.” -Steve Ludwigs

And this, my friends, sums up 13 of a 17 day stretch in July. Apparently I’m not the only one who feels that undeniable sense of urgency to rush for the shore upon occasion…

3 different beaches in 3 different states. 3 lighthouses. 3 incredible fun groups of people. 3 different dolphin sightings. 2 off shore fishing trips. 1 ferry ride. Countless applications of sunscreen. Innumerable waves. Too many brazen seagulls. (Seriously they swooped in and stole a sandwich out of my friend’s hand on one occasion) So many gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.1 awesome group of family and friends who changed their vacation match my work schedule.

I can’t help but fall a little more in love with the Creator every time I spend time at the water. Somehow these Works of His Fingers speak peace to my soul in a way that’s different from the beauty inland. Praise Him!

-1 thankful Kendra.

And so- here is a brief pic journey:

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Cape May, NJ

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What a deal- a 1/4 lb hotdog

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Ferry from Cape May, NJ to Lewes, DE

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Assateague Island Lighthouse

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Apparently I’m not a lucky fisherman

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The rest stop on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is always a charmer

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My fish was about the same size as the goldfish from my last trip

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Emily captured this gorgeous shot during an all day thunderstorm

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#11for30 swimming in the ocean in the full moon light So SO gorgeous

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Isaac’s trick kite-Notice how close the tail of the kite is- it was that close to my parents heads lol

One of the girls wrote this to the tune of “We Three Kings” I thought it was too cute not to share. This was a group of schoolteachers…

We young ladies from ‘Ginia  are

Dreaming of being on a quiet sand bar

Waves and Ocean, sand and motion

Calling us from afar!

chorus: Oh, beach of sand dunes! Beach of cheer!

Beach with ocean breezes clear!

Seaward calling (We’re not stalling

Seeking oceanside so dear!)

It is calling us all to stop

Swiftly this moment and thoroughly drop

Books and garbish, pens and rubbish

All that burst our tops!

chorus: Oh, how peaceful the waves that play,

Washing the seashore every day

Gulls and seashells, clouds and kitetails,

Chasing our stress away!

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Part 3 of 3: Beautiful Britain and a Child of the King

I don’t remember what the occasion was, I only remember “the talk”. I must’ve been a teenager who had big idea of some perfectly logical reason that she should go to an afternoon social instead of milk. I remember my dad prepared and delivered a fairly lengthy sermon that consisted of “WE are dairy farmers. You only milk every other evening and there is no reason that you are always thinking you should skip out. This is the job we are called to do. It requires sacrifice, but it’s just how it is. WE love what we do.” And the case was closed. Somehow this little insignificant chat stuck with me. I realized that while eventually I would have a choice in my occupation, I was born into a farming family, and therefore, the only choice that I had in the matter was whether I chose to love what we do or not.

Last week, we toured Windsor Castle. We watched the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. We learned so much about Queen Elizabeth and the royal family. We saw about a million postcards with her smiling face. We passed up all sorts of chances to buy souvenirs with William and Kate smiling beautifully. We all thought maybe we should be crossing paths with Prince Harry-lol. But as I stood there in the midst of all those people, all of us trying frantically to see the old guard change out with the new one, I tried to imagine what it would be like to be born into the royal family. What would it be like to be known all around the world because you were given to a certain family? How would it be like to inherit so much wealth and so many mansions just because? What sacrifices do they make because of their title? And even though being a dairy farmer’s daughter and being a princess are completely unrelated, I wonder how similar the principle is- “This is what we are called to do. It requires sacrifice, but that’s just how it is. WE love what we do.”

Somewhere on those bustling London streets, God sent a reminder to my heart. “My daughter, as you are so amazed by the wealth and prestige you see here, are you comparing that to the Kingdom you are an heir of?” Wow. I can’t fully grasp being a joint heir with Christ (Romans 8). Isn’t that exciting? And really, my dad’s words ring true here as well “This is what we are called to do. It requires sacrifice, but that’s just how it is. We love what we do.”

This week, I’m basking in the reminder that I am a Child of the King. An actual heir to those heavenly mansions that will last longer than these 800 year old castles and 5000 year old stone. I am so unworthy… What a wonderful Saviour! Kendra

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Changing of the guard, Buckingham Palace and trying to see over the sea of people…

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Windsor Castle

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This flag flies when the Queen is in

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And they were chopping at the Windsor farm (maybe I have more in common with the royal family than I realized-ha 🙂 ) Who knew I could be so excited over a JCB tractor? The royal family has a farm store where you can buy products from their farm.

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Rainy day fun at St. Paul’s Cathedral

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We really went cross cultural and observed mass in the beautiful West Minster Abby

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We walked across the Tower Bridge while trying to get in Jenny’s required number of miles in a day 🙂

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#8of30 rode a ferris wheel I hope this counts anyways. The London Eye stands 443 ft tall and each glass capsule can hold 25 people. AND I didn’t even die. Thanks Ms Gina for joining us for the adventure 🙂

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Big Ben at dusk

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I loved the random musicians filling the streets with music along the way. Well, there was one new violinist that I didn’t love (my spine is shivering just remembering) but anyway

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Romans built these baths before Christ. The first absolute date they have is 76 AD. This is one of the only hot springs in the UK.

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Bath is famous for their pasties. These are little hand pies filled with chicken, pork, lamb and potatoes or other veggies.

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Pig houses at a pig farm on the way to Stonehenge

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Our experience at Stonehenge was not what I was expecting. We went the day after summer solstice and there were still a number of Druids there worshiping in long white robes. Another group was protesting that everybody had to pay, so they stood across the interstate shouting poetry over a loud speaker and eventually one purple mohawked protester with a sign got up the courage to jump the fence into the grounds and they evacuated all of us. So anyhow. It  is incredible to think they brought these 25 ton stones from Wales before the invention of the wheel.

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Never saw a vending machine like this 🙂

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And just like that, it’s over. leaving only a thousand pics on my camera and a number of memories on my heart. I loved the group that we traveled with. Bring 92 strangers together from all over and it could’ve been something else, but it was a very enjoyable blessing. And thanks to the rest of you for patiently following along on our adventure. 🙂 blessings-k

 

 

Part 2 of 3: Wowed by Wales

Our British Isles itinerary was packed. Before we knew it, we were bidding Ireland good-bye and boarding a very plush ferry to sail across St George’s Channel to the beautiful countryside of Wales.

Our time in Wales was too brief. I wish I could go back and spend more time here, but at least we got a small taste…

Wales boasts of the town with the longest name in the world. We stopped for lunch and found a little cafe across the road where I bought a lamb and potato pie… I asked the ladies that worked there to pronounce the name of the town for me- the daughter couldn’t, but she asked her mom who spouted it off.. What a handle! Maybe having to write out “Singers Glen” every time I write my return address isn’t such a big deal after all.. 🙂

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Wales also boasts of a population of 3 Million people and 9 Million sheep…

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And a coastal town with incredible change in tide where a certain William and Kate live…

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I loved the Beaumarius Castle. The building started in 1295 and went on for 30 years before they ran out of money and had to deal with a foreclosure. Or something- maybe they didn’t have foreclosure’s back then. But regardless- it was my 100% idea of a castle- complete with a moat and everything. We explored through these dark damp chambers, winding stairs, and open areas that c0nnected all over the place- I would love to see the blueprints for the project  – wow… How awesome is it to explore a fortress like this?  And too soon, time was dictating that we head on to the next place…

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We crossed into England and spent some time touring the home of William Shakespeare’s wife Anne Halloway.

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And visited Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford. Found this quote from the man himself and it has me thinking… ” A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” – William Shakespeare

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This is the most unique guestbook I’ve ever seen. Guests were asked to sign the window way back when… This is one way for everyone to know at a glance if your gift is hospitality, I suppose 🙂

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These men had so much Shakespeare in their heads it was incredible. They were taking requests from the crowd- anybody could request whatever, and they would recite it. The man in the red chatted with us a bit, commenting on his love of Americans and said “I think July the 4th is a good day for you to reflect on your sins…” lol I guess English History would probably sound different than the American side-of-the-story we are so familiar with…

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The canal system in Stratford leading out to the River Avon also had me fascinated… This man with his canal houseboat was going through the locks and provided a diversion on the way to lunch. He made us laugh when he opened the lock and as the water level changed, he shouted at our group “Everybody come help my boat is sinking” Meanwhile, His first mate rode calmly in the front to the boat 🙂

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When you’re in Rome you do like the Romans… We enjoyed an afternoon tea in Oxford. I would be glad to meet up with a scone like that one again sometime 🙂 It was so much fun to relax and sip our tea and watch the world go by… Thanks Rachel for the pic..

Because a “Merry Heart does good like a medicine” I leave you with this pic… I finally found a “knight in shining armor”. lol

Blessings on your day of rest, Kendra

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Part 1 of 3: Snapshots of Incredible Ireland

As many of you know, I’m keeping a list in my head of places I want to see… my bucket list. It so happens that I love to travel. And there are a number of exotic experiences I would love to witness first hand. What amazes me is, that even with my mental list, God still manages to add more incredible experiences than I could even dream up… Wow… The last two weeks fell under that category.

Last winter, I was spending some quality time with my dear friends Rachel and Jennifer and somewhere during the course of conversation, Rachel said “Hey do you want to go to the British Isles? I’m taking classes thru Liberty University’s online program, and they are offering me credit to take a tour with them.” One thing quickly led to another and before we knew it, we were boarding a Virgin Atlantic flight to London. What an experience! So here it is, my personal highlights from our trip broken down into 3 blog posts… Enjoy

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First stop was Killarney, Ireland. I couldn’t help but love this town.

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As always, I loved the different flair of culture along the way. We drove the Ring of Kerry which is about a 150 mile loop along the coast of Ireland. We stopped at a museum and learned about the harvest of bog or peat which is a wet product that they find about 18 inches below the ground. So they dig it up in long earthen sausages. Dry it and take it home and burn it like coal. (this is a brief and Kendra like description) Also at the museum they had houses of day of yore. The stable house shocked me. I’ve read so many books where the house and barn where connected so the animals could help heat the house. Somehow, in my mind’s eye, it wasn’t quite this close of quarters.. But, my mind’s eye was wrong. I took this pic standing beside the bed in front of the hearth..

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The countryside dotted with sheep and cattle had my nose pressed to the bus window. And I loved the way all their fields were surrounded by hedges and stone fences. We stopped and watched a demonstration on sheep herding. Shepherd Brendon had a wonderful show. He used 2 border collies to separate out his small flock of sheep. He stood at the bottom of the hill and gave commands and the dogs carried them out perfectly. Part of the time he used whistle commands and the rest of the time, he instructed with a low voice. (Apparently the dog crew around here needs hearing aids) I still can’t believe that there are no predators left on the Republic of Ireland. But he said that the sheep live happily because of the eradication that happened years before.

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And it so happens that on my #30 for 30 project is- cross the Atlantic.. So I stuck my toes in on the other side 🙂

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Every day, a couple of times a day, we did the most far out stuff imagined. So it’s hard for me to decide what all to bore you with… But the Blarney Castle must be mentioned. While there has been a castle there since the 1200s, the present structure wasn’t built until 1446. The ruins are incredible and she still stands quite proudly, keeping a watch over the land around her. We joined the long line that snaked through the meeting hall, up the spiral stairs, through the bedroom, around the kitchen, past the banquet hall. I tried to imagine her in her former splendor- the rock walls were said to be covered with tapestries and some sort of plaster. We stopped by and inspected the murder hole which acted as a defense option should some unwelcome visitor manage to break his way into the entrance… Boiling oil or water or an arrow or a rock or whatever would be dropped on the head of the unsuspecting fellow.. But her crowning glory is the Blarney Stone. Way up in the top of the main castle, is  a blueish stone, that is said to give you the “gift of gab (or eloquence)” if you kiss it. The only down side is that to kiss is, you have to lean back over an opening several hundred feet in the air to be able to accomplish this. My family really encouraged me to do this, because “you definitely need the gift of gab” lol There are two people there- one to help you keep from dying and the other to take your pic to sell it to you for a small fortune if you survive… According to my research there have been people who lost their lives attempting this, but the safety bars they now have in place, had me feeling completely confident. Supposedly they were to sanitize the stone between each kiss, but that wasn’t the case… None the less, what an thrill.

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(The Blarney Stone is on the at the top of the castle, on the inside of the outer ledge way up in the sky there 😉 )

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St Patrick’s Cathedral… Wow… My favorite was the Door of Reconciliation. in 1492 it was time for the bloody feud between the Butlers and the FizGeralds to end, Part of the Butler clan was hiding in the chapel, and because they refused to come out and negotiate, FitzGerald (who had the upper hand) cut a whole in the door, begged for peace, stuck his hand in-not knowing if it would return or not- and amazingly shook hands and the feud was ended.

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Dublin was also a beautiful place… The colorful doors on the Georgian style houses from the 18th century… The ha’penny bridge (toll to walk across it used to be half a penny)… The way-too-tempting coffee shops and pastry displays…

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Photo Credit:Rachel

Praise to the One who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think…More later -Kendra