Happy Birthday, Father

Today is the birthday of one of my best friends.

But he’s more than just a best friend. He’s my boss, occasional partner in crime. He’s the constant that I can always count on to listen and give me sound advice.

His random sense of humor keeps life interesting. His unending energy and work drive keeps me scrambling. He’s shown me by example of what it means to be a godly man.

My father. My hero

For his birthday this year, we ran down the pics from his home on the Mason Dixon Line. I transferred them into a photo book and we waited expectantly til he got home from trucking to open the mysterious package.

Someone did a really good job at capturing life on their farm and family in the 60s.

My dad was the youngest of 4-the only boy. The captions in this family album made me chuckle.

Apparently he got a new hat when he was 3 which merited a photo shoot. Such a cutie. I’m reminded again of how much he and Em look alike.

Today we celebrate you FP (short for Father Precious as Jul calls him) I’m so thankful you were born.

Thanks for everything you do for us. We love you,

Kendra

My God I thank Thee

I’ve been humming this song written by Adelaide Procture all week. Crazy how something penned in the 1850s can apply to 2020 so perfectly and so it’s my Thanksgiving challenge to myself. I thought I’d share it with you too:

My God, I thank Thee, who hast made
The earth so bright,
So full of splendor and of joy,
Beauty and light;
So many glorious things are here,
Noble and right.

I thank Thee, too, that Thou hast made
Joy to abound;
So many gentle thoughts and deeds
Circling us round,
That in the darkest spot of earth
Some love is found.

I thank Thee more that all our joy
Is touched with pain,
That shadows fall on brightest hours,
That thorns remain;
So that earth’s bliss may be our guide,
And not our chain.

I thank Thee, Lord, that Thou hast kept
The best in store;
We have enough, yet not too much
To long for more:
A yearning for a deeper peace
Not known before.

I thank Thee, Lord, that here our souls
Though amply blessed,
Can never find, although they seek
A perfect rest;
Nor ever shall, until they lean
On Jesus’ breast.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Kendra

Bonus pics:

I’ve traveled past this church all my life, but Sunday afternoon was my first chance to actually peek inside a bit. So many questions about the families who worshipped here and when and why this church was abandoned and changed over into a hay shed… Thanks Ben for being my travel agent ❤️ (I’d say tour guide, but someone had already been inside the building enough times dropping off bales, that he didn’t see the need to leave the comforts of his truck, thus leaving his gf to her own explorations 😂)

The Tangle of the Years

I may have mentioned that I’m Queen of starting a conversation with “I have a big idea.” For whatever reason, those I love often groan, sigh, and act like “if the conversation never progresses past that opening line, it’ll be toooo soooon.” But then they listen and either get on board or talk me out of whatever the current idea is.

In ‘12 I had a lightbulb idea before my mom turned 50. She requested/insisted on no hurrah. But what kind of a celebration is that? One afternoon in the dairy, it struck me to organize a literature shower for her.

The plan was simple- ask her friends to send in something- a poem, a short story, a song- just something for her literature loving heart to mull over. If we could get 50 pieces- that’d be amazing.

My sisters were fairly dubious (I think the exact quote was “dumbest idea ever”) but Aunt Janet thought it was a lovely idea- so I prevailed and in the end- my mom has a very thick scrapbook full of wide range of well loved treasures. (50 pieces and lots to grow on)

One by one I’ve hosted a similar shower for my mom’s poetry thirsty sisters and this fall- it was Aunt Janets turn. (Thanks to those of you who’ve faithful shared your favorites for each of these showers 🥰)

Mother and I delivered our pieces in early November and Mother read this one aloud while Cousin Juanita and I winked at each other and handed out tissues…

In the Tangle of the Years

 – Beth Wallace Slaymaker

Tell me where my babies went,

Did you see them pass this way?

They all ran down the garden path

To a place they loved to play.

They ran so fast I never knew

Just where they went nor why,

But here one lost a little shoe

Beside a great mud pie.

And here one plucked a crimson rose

And left his three-legged stool

His sailboat trails a broken mast

Across the lily pool.

All along the path I see

The things they left behind,

Their voices and their merry glee

Still echo on the wind.

Oh tell me where my babies went

And stay these futile tears

I’ve lost them by the garden path

In the tangle of the years.

This poem brought to mind this pic from a Southern Living magazine back in the day… There’s Yours Truly rocking those pink strap flip flops 💪🏼😂

While I smiled a little at my mom and aunts sentiments over thoughts of days gone by- I’m shocked at how rapidly this year of babies has flown past.

📸 credit: Julia

Alexander’s newborn pics came back recently and I’ve been intending to share a few. Jessica Ryder Photography did another excellent job capturing that newborn sweetness 😍

My little buddies 💙 I wonder if Grammy will have passed on her love of literature to any of them 😉

Hope this finds you entering this week of Thanksgiving with a renewed awareness of what all there is to be thankful for.

Blessings,

Kendra

Bonus pics:

I know my posts recently seem to be full of baby pics 😉 but that’d not the only thing we are up to these days. Enjoy a quick photo tour of a few of my favorite fall experiences:

I was in Missouri for a weekend and a neighbor’s mini train has me totally enamored. They got the gas train running the day we were there (not the steam one) We shot through the woods and through the tunnel and around the bend and over bridge before arriving back at the station. Such a unique fun hobby!

My Ben friend took me to breakfast one Saturday and we chased the most outstanding Western Rainbow en route.

Bless his patient heart for being ok with alllll the pictures 😉

After breakfast, Ben covered my first job assignment, so I could linger beside Silver Lake until the hot air balloons had taken their traditional dip. I smiled at the number of kayaks on the chase crews trailers. There’s wisdom in being prepared!

And finally- I’ll leave you with a reminder from our tree at the pond:

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

An Auntie Sleepover Hosted by the Twins

“It’s Papa’s birthday and we’re going away

But the aunts are coming here to stay”

Then I winked at brother and he winked at me

We caught a power nap around 8

And waited til the aunts felt smug (big mistake)

Then I signaled brother and he signaled me.

We stood up in our cribs and proceeded to yell

It bounced off the walls and worked quite well

Til the aunts came for brother and they came for me.

Someone had put away all of the toys

You could hardly tell this place hosted boys

But leave it to brother and leave it to me

We flew thru the house at lightning speed

Tossing toys and tasting whatever we felt the need

No sleep for brother and no sleep for me

“I’m so glad we’re staying up late, aren’t you, Aunt Ken?”

Finally about 10:45 we fought one final fight

With a snuggy under my arm, I settled in for the night

A sleepover for brother/ a sleepover for me

We checked in with the aunts about 2 or so

I think that’s why mama left them here-I don’t know

One aunt for brother and one aunt for me

We woke up early along with the sun

I guess that makes our first sleepover done

A success for brother/a success for me

It wasn’t too stressful I’m happy to say

But I’d rather watch mama any day

Then I grin at brother and he grins at me


Admittedly spent most of the weekend laughing at their innocent antics. These boys bring so much joy 💙 Aunt Ken loves you, buddies💙

Bonus Pic:

Isaiah spent most of the afternoon pushing this recliner in a circle. Grandfather complained of getting dizzy, but Alexander loved it 😂

When God Uses a Grackle to Preach to My Heart

How are you doing?

If I were being gut honest, I’d tell you that while this is one of the more beautiful months we’ve experienced in a long time, I can’t shake the feeling that there’s ominous clouds on the horizon.

I’m not going to make this a political post because that’s the last thing I need this morn, but I watch what’s happening in the world around me with growing alarm. Will I be strong enough to face what’s ahead?

These are the thoughts that keep rolling through my brain. And this is what was on my mind last week as I rode through town with my dad.

He was in storytelling mode and we were reliving the days of his early farming career. “I had no idea what would happen next, but looking back it’s crazy how God worked everything out.”

He was quiet for a little as we rolled into a stoplight, and I stared out the window, lost in thought.

And then I saw it, a shiny little Grackle hopped along the road. He jumped up on the curb and cocked his head to the side and looked at me. Then he jumped into the grass and hopped away.

At that point it felt like God spoke to my heart “don’t you remember what I’ve promised, Kendra? I see the sparrow fall. I’ve got food already prepared for the super annoying Grackle. Can’t you trust me to be working ahead in your future to take care of you?”

And since then- everything has been pointing me of God’s promises. The neighbors field of wildflowers: If God takes such care in dressing these little flowers (which is only here briefly) how much more effort will He put into caring for his children, oh ye of little faith? (Matt 6)

Last nights meteor shower: Lift up your eyes and look at the stars… He created these and call them by name. Not one is missing… He does not grow tired or weary and His understanding no one can fathom… He gives strength to the weary, power to the weak. Those who trust in Him will renew their strength. (Parts of Isaiah 40)

Truly, there is no reason to allow fear of the unknown future take away from today. God is already there, providing for His Children. Be courageous, friends.

If God be for us, who can be against us?

Kendra

Things I’m Excited About (not listed in order of importance)

You know that feeling when you discover something and you just wanna share it with the entire world?

Recently I had to laugh at myself. My sisters are very eager “GetUpside”ers. It’s this really neat app where you scan your gas receipts from participating gas stations and they give you a few cents per gallon back . Apparently gas stations are willing to take a little less to promote their business and this app does just that.

I’ve been a little slow getting rolling with this, while my sisters have been making bank. (Em is at $500 on returns and counting) But one of the nearest gas stations to me just joined GetUpside and have been offering $.20 back. Anyhow I’m laughing at me because suddenly I’m filling up on gas every chance I get, and trying to think who of my friends would love to save money on fuel too. (If you want to check out this app you can find it Here. Using my code will get us both money back.) A penny saved is a penny earned, you know.

Another recent discovery came from my Aunt Thelma. I stopped to visit her and we were talking about life and current tough situations and she pulled up this reading. I love it, and found myself wanting to share it with everybody. I don’t know the writer personally, but I wish I could tell her how this resonates with my heart. I hope it blesses you too.

“I would have pulled Joseph out. Out of that pit. Out of that prison. Out of that pain. And I would have cheated nations out of the one God would use to deliver them from famine.

I would have pulled David out. Out of Saul’s spear-throwing presence. Out of the caves he hid away in. Out of the pain of rejection. And I would have cheated Israel out of a God-hearted king.

I would have pulled Esther out. Out of being snatched from her only family. Out of being placed in a position she never asked for. Out of the path of a vicious, power-hungry foe. And I would have cheated a people out of the woman God would use to save their very lives.

And I would have pulled Jesus off. Off of the cross. Off of the road that led to suffering and pain. Off of the path that would mean nakedness and beatings, nails and thorns. And I would have cheated the entire world out of a Savior. Out of salvation. Out of an eternity filled with no more suffering and no more pain.

And oh friend. I want to pull you out. I want to change your path. I want to stop your pain. But right now I know I would be wrong. I would be out of line. I would be cheating you and cheating the world out of so much good. Because God knows. He knows the good this pain will produce. He knows the beauty this hard will grow. He’s watching over you and keeping you even in the midst of this. And He’s promising you that you can trust Him. Even when it all feels like more than you can bear.

So instead of trying to pull you out, I’m lifting you up. I’m kneeling before the Father and I’m asking Him to give you strength. To give you hope. I’m asking Him to protect you and to move you when the time is right. I’m asking Him to help you stay prayerful and discerning. I’m asking Him how I can best love you and be a help to you. And I’m believing He’s going to use your life in powerful and beautiful ways. Ways that will leave your heart grateful and humbly thankful for this road you’ve been on.”

  • Kimberly D. Henderson, 2017

Press on friends, the battle belongs to the Lord!

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

And since it’s been a week since I shared any pics of my favorite little guys 😍 We had fun attempting to capture these shots of Alexander. (“We” being me. Alexander slept the entire time.)

And my busy little buddies 😅 they each have their own little tricks. And I was impressed again with how fleeting these stages are. Uriah learned how to crawl on all fours this week, leaving the tongue out, tummy crawl days behind.

And Isaiah got his first tractor ride with Aunt Ken. Jul brought them out to the edge of the field to watch as I finished seeding rye. Isaiah stood up in the stroller and hollered until he got a ride. Look out world.

#AuntKenAgain 💙 #boyaunt 💙

“Guys! Deb randomly asked me to cover for her at work tomorrow” Em announced. She and Deb spend several mornings a week sitting with an elderly lady.

“Guys! Deb randomly turned down a chance to watch the boys for me because she ‘wanted to stay home’.” Jul soon added to the announcement. Deb occasionally watches the twins over milking time.

I had nothing to add to the detective work that was well underway so I just pondered these things in my heart.

Thursday came and went and I was convinced my sisters were not Sherlock Holmes. Friday came and went and we still waited. Deb was at home and then her car was missing (don’t ask how we know-more detective work).

Saturday afternoon I dropped in at Julia’s for a little and my phone suddenly went crazy. “DEB WANTS TO FACETIME!”

The twins were sleeping but heard what was going on and soon there were 4 of us peering with varied levels of excitement/understanding at my phone.

Alexander Wade Kennell was born Oct 3, weighing an impressive 10 lbs 3 oz.

His very proud papa says he’s “all Kennell”.

We like to think there’s some Horst there. (Also pictured My dad, 1958)

But we don’t actually even care. He’s ours and he’s here. Thank you, Jesus 💙💙💙

In keeping with the giraffe theme, Grammy gave Alexander the biggest giraffe he’d ever seen

Just looook at that hair.

Alexander “defender of the people”

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

I’m praying this over you, my big little man 💙💙💙

Aunt Ken loves you very much. #boyaunt

📸 credits: the adoring aunties

Bonus Pics:

Told Deb I thought maybe the baby stork had arrived at the pond last week. I didn’t realize he’d need overweight permits 😂

Took a quick trip to OBX for work this week. This song kept running through my head.

If, on a quiet sea towards heaven we calmly sail,
With grateful hearts, oh God to thee
We’ll own the favoring gale.
When I’m under thy sweet control
I know I’ll sail swiftly into the unknown.
Singing praises all along the way,
For when the winds rage, Jesus you still remain my God.
But should the surges rise, and rest delay to come,
Blest be the tempest and kind the storm,
Which drives us nearer home.

The Things Children are Teaching Me

These days whenever I’m at the dairy for any reason, I make up an excuse to enter my sister’s house. The second the door opens, both heads of the little resident explorers whip around. 2 sets of big blue eyes watch my face expectantly. And as soon as I acknowledge my little nephews, 1 little dimple pops out on 2 sets of chubby cheeks and 2 mostly toothless grins respond.

The twins are at such a delightful stage. They are interactive and quite friendly. They’ve figured out how to army crawl and can zone in on a cup of coffee or a cell phone at lightning speed.

Uriah usually leads the inchworm expedition and nothing is safe anymore. Somehow chubby hands find their way thru the bars that are carefully guarding the few plants that survived Jul’s plant purge.

Or the duos favorite new game, inching along throw taunting looks over their shoulders, daring me to try to catch them and give them the tickling they deserve. The belly laughs that follow is the best medicine.

There’s so much I can’t wait to see them learn. In my minds eye I can see our first kickball game, or bike ride. I can’t wait til they read me a story, or to watch them perform at a school play. I hope I’m invited to piano recitals and that I get a detailed account when they win at Bible trivia. I want to be introduced to pet frogs, baby calves, friends, and girlfriends. And I intend to hang on for dear life when they buy a new car and give Aunt Ken a ride.

They have everything ahead of them to learn. And yet, they are teaching me.


I noticed I had a missed call and a voicemail. The message was not was I was expecting.

“KENDRA!” Shouted a high pitch little voice “this is Wyatt! I hear you’re going to be chopping corn at Pa’s tomorrow and I want to come ride. I’ll be there at 2:00. Ok see ya then, umm bye.”

Two o’clock was actually more like 9 am. My buddy beat me to the field and was riding with his uncle before I arrived on scene. I took over cutting and he took over the buddy seat and the fun began.

“This is a big field” he said, “but Pa has another one just as big. I wonder what would happen if you had a chopper head big enough to cut this whole field at once. Where does the corn go after it goes into the chopper? Why do the back wheels turn on this, but the front wheels turn on the tractor? Do you think you’ll get married? I probably will, but I don’t know. I know how to spell my name W-Y-A-T-T.”

Conversation flowed easily with my 5 yr old friend. I told him about the deer that had ran in front of my tractor the night before and how I’d almost hit them. “And then they could’ve gone to Heaven” he said. “No that’s not right” he added “we know deer don’t go to Heaven.” He was quiet after this and I wondered what was going through his little mind. This summer, one of his best buds- a cousin went home to Heaven suddenly.

“I shot a dove with my slingshot” he changed the subject.

“Did it die?”

Laughter erupted from beside me “EVERYONE asks me that! Of course it died.”

And so the conversation continued.

Sweet little man. Five years of learning under his belt, yet still so far to go.

But instead he’s teaching me.


These boys are teaching me similar lessons, in their innocent way: Life lessons that can easily be forgotten in the middle of living. They know nothing of health issues, or financial strain, or unanswered prayer requests. Instead their days are full of complete trust and confidence that everything will be ok.

Their lives are filled with joy. (Except when someone walks past Isaiah without picking him up-heartbreak hotel) And that joy spills over affects everybody around.

Their lives are filled with peace. They are oblivious to the mask power struggle that’s inhaling our world. Or all the political drama. Or the race war. Again their days are filled with confidence- someone bigger will take care of things. It will be ok.

Matt 18: 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Blessings,

Kendra

Bonus pics:

I had a first on a trip to PA recently- the door got left open and I heard something scramble in. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered Billy the Kid rooting through packages under a seat 🤷🏻‍♀️

Cousin Laura got married last weekend. Such a beautiful celebration! God bless you, Laura and Chad

With harvest super hectic right now, I’m not seeing much out of my Ben friend. I did manage to catch supper in the field and a spectator sunset recently tho.

And apparently it’s traditional for me to have a dress in the closet that matches my sisters maternity gear 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

And just for fun- here’s the pic from last year 😉

And lastly- one chopping pic- because what’s harvest season without a few good pics?

Beware of Googled Scripture References

It all started quite innocently as Mother and I hurried home from an early morning chicken checking.

“Just look at the steam rising off the pond. Do I have 1 minute to take a pic? Sure I have 1 minute.” I answered my own question and turned into the cabin’s lane.

The cabin has been busy of late. On a whim I decided to post it on Airbnb. (You’ll find our listing here. ) We are delighted with each booking, guest, and positive feedback. “Pondside Paradise” as we call it, even decided to open its own Instagram page, so I’m on the lookout for pics to promote what we have going on.

Mother sat patiently in the vehicle while I flew about, capturing what I was after, and we sailed back out the lane. 3 minutes instead of 1. But still worth it.

We were chopping at the dairy, so I waited until our day was rolling until I had a minute to post my pic on Instagram. Instead of carrying a Bible concordance with me, I’ve been know to google “scripture about mornings” and get the appropriate passage to fit my thoughts. Today was no exception:

What a beautiful reminder. Because I was still attempting to maintain my position in the crew, I hurriedly posted the 2 Timothy verse along with the reference and our steam laden pond and was on my way.

And just for fun. I threw a video of the same deal on my WhatsApp Status too. Along with the reference only. 2 Tim 2:17.

And there it was all day.

We had a tremendous day, and before we knew it, we were pulling the sheet across the trench and preparing to drag our weary selves home.

Suddenly my phone started going crazy. But because I was helping my dad on some cutter maintenance, it was a little before I could see what was up. My sisters and I have a group chat and it was going nuts.

Julia was sweetly trying to figure out how 2 Tim 2:17 applied to anything. And Deb kept sending videos where she was laughing uncontrollably,(they admitted later) but then she got worried that it would hurt my feelings, so she’d delete her message and start again.

I hastily attempted to rectify the situation by explaining what had happened-too many irons in the fire. So I posted an addendum to my WhatsApp post hoping to salvage the deal. 2 Tim 1:7 is what I was looking for.

Imagine my sisters mirth when I looked up 2 Tim 1:7 only to discover that it’s a reminder of God giving us love, power, and a sound mind, and not a spirit of fear. Sigh.

All day I thought I was quoting a verse about Gods mercy being new every morning. What Faithfulness! And instead I’m quoting the wrong reference on one post and stating “their talk spread like gangrene” on another.

Maybe I’d better hold off on posting for awhile. Or when I do- I’d better learn to double check the verse and reference I’m sharing.

Or maybe there’s some gangrene talk that needed to be dealt with, and God used my feeble blunder to call that to attention.

I’m sure I don’t know, but there is one thing I’m confident of:

I need that new mercy every morning. “Great is Thy Faithfulness”

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

Farewell, Sweet Summertime

A few years ago, my Aunt shared a family tendency with me that I was very familiar with but didn’t realize it was a family tradition.

“It’s the end of summer and we just had to get away” she said “see, I suffer from my dad’s seasonal depression.”

Immediately I was all ears. “Wait, what do you mean?”

She explained something to the extent of “Always at the end of summer, my dad would mope around and lament over summer’s sad parting”

I couldn’t believe it. Suddenly a light was turned on in my brain.

Every August. My dad wrote a lament that he’d sing about the week before school started “Now the summers ooooooover” he’d wail “winter’s drawing nigggggggggggggh” and I remember the sad cold desperate feeling that would touch my very soul.

So my seasonal sorrow has been carried through generations. But it’s not exclusive to our family. Every year I remember the poem Summer, My love and it strikes a chord home.

Ah, summer, my friend. Do you have to leave so soon?

But she must. The calendar page is turning once again, and my sweet summer is slowly, silently ebbing away.

It’s been a good one tho. Campfires, gorgeous sunsets, swim parties, fun travel, outdoor church. This isn’t a summer I want to forget ❤️

A few of the last summer hoorays include:

Thoroughly enjoyed hosting the Rohrer family at the pond. ❤️

My Ben friend is quite the fisherman 😍

Some friends hosted a hayride. It got abbreviated because of the threatening clouds, but what fun.

I’ve really been enjoying my “Shenandoah Dress” from Dressed Up Threads. If you’re in the market for a ready-made dress- I highly recommend them. It’s super comfy and fun to wear. You can find them here.

And finally, another friend has the cutest “pick your own” flowers and herb roadside patch. The timely advice comes free 😉😘

Take your time going, my summer friend, but hurry back ❤️

He has made everything beautiful in its time Ecc 3:11a

Blessings,

Kendra