Then Sings My Soul

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

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

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

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

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

Can you spy my hiking partner? 🤩

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

O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder

Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder

Thy power throughout the universe displayed

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee

How great Thou art, how great Thou art

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee

How great Thou art, how great Thou art

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

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

See ya down the trail,

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

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

Colorado: Land Of So Much

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

So much history:

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

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

So much variety in the view:

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

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

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

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

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

So much agriculture:

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

So much culture:

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

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

So much appreciation:

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

So much hospitality: (not pictured)

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

Yes Colorado, you are so much.

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

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

See you down the trail,

Kendra

Brighten the Corner Where You Are

To our friends scattered to and fro:

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

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

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

Do not wait to shed your light afar,

To the many duties ever near you now be true,

Brighten the corner where you are.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭1:10-11a

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

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

See you down the trail,

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

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

Photo credits for a number of these pics: Emily🤠

Deep Dutch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you down the trail,

Kendra for the whole gang

Faith the size of a wheat seed 🌾

“Be still and know that I am God.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyhow. I prayed and prayed and prayed.

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

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

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

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

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

We continued on cautiously.

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

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

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

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

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

Rejoicing,

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

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

The Rivers of Change

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

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

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

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

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

Yet worrying does nothing and the waters still come.

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

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

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

I’ve come to a conclusion.

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

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

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

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

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

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

Discovered a nontypical mannequin in Holmes Co this weekend

Deborah and Nathan

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

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

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

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

Luv y’all,

Kendra

Bonus:

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

Hello my name is Rolo Adriana Rohrer,

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

When she left that day in 2015-

The events that unfolded I could not have foreseen!

The fact that she was gone a little over two years

Ended up being the least of my fears!

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

I thought they were discussing my pen she had bought.

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

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

I saw the rest of the family was glad-

Was I the only one who is sad?

And the way I was treated when he was around

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

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

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

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

My poor heart is broken like never before.

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

Just as it was in the Days of Noah

I watched as the mountains behind our farm disappeared behind yet another rain cloud. “Today I have one verse on my mind” I announced to no one in particular “Just as it was in the days of Noah”

Mother looked up from Wedding List # 32,417 and said ” because the rest of that verse talks about people marrying and giving in marriage?”

Ummm no- I was referring to rain upon rain upon rain… This week has been something- so many gorgeous rain showers. With all of our field work done, we have enjoyed the slower pace!

The entire world is such a lush green, I can’t help but be enamored.

Thoroughly enjoying the beauty of this rainy, wedding season,

(ok who am I kidding- I won’t be sorry to reach the end of all those lists 😜, but still🙈)

Kendra

Spring Secrets

My mom is an unending fountain of poetry. I’d forgotten this adorable poem until we stopped by a friend’s porch and discovered what Mrs Robin has been busy tending the last little while. It was great to be able to spy out the little nest from ground level-no swinging from tree limbs for this one: she built a nest in a leftover winter bouquet- various evergreens in a wooden basket sitting on a chair. So I took pics while Mother recited poetry 🙈

The Secret

BY ANONYMOUS

We have a secret, just we three,

The robin, and I, and the sweet cherry-tree;

The bird told the tree, and the tree told me,

And nobody knows it but just us three.

But of course the robin knows it best,

Because she built the—I shan’t tell the rest;

And laid the four little—something in it—

I’m afraid I shall tell it every minute.

But if the tree and the robin don’t peep,

I’ll try my best the secret to keep;

Though I know when the little birds fly about

Then the whole secret will be out.


We are on the midst of secrets these days- frantically attempting to save a few surprises for Deb’s big day. Trying so valiantly, in fact, that Deborah dreamed that everybody came the week before the wedding and looked at her centerpieces. A bit of a let down. 🤔 Anyhow, maybe someday after the fact I’ll share a pic or two but until then 🙈

In other news: a non-secret is that spring has been painfully slow in arriving. We’ve spent enough time in the field to make us super impatient, but still we wait on the weather to cooperate. 1 Thes 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” has really been on my heart this spring.

Another nonsecret is our latest batch of puppies- such adorable little rascals. There are still 2 black lab females who aren’t spoken for-they are so cute-I hope they find their families soon!

I’m not sure if this should fall under the secret or non-secret bracket, but my dad is crazy over Crocs. Not sure how Deb managed to get them away from him long enough to wear them out to take care of her puppies, but that’s what’s going on in the pic. I’m just hoping that he will switch back to work shoes once we getting rolling in the fields- time will tell.

And finally, our neighbor has a field of henbit wildflowers-shall we say. It’s rather outstanding. Anyhow, I stopped and enjoyed it one evening.

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you–you of little faith! Luke 12:27,28

I love it when God uses unusual ways to remind me that He will care for me!

Happy Spring,

Kendra

Celebrating Deb

As we are waiting-rather impatiently- for spring to wrap the Valley in her sunny embrace; our family is kept busy. The pile of boxes for May 26 is steadily growing. There are more days that the delivery man stops by our place than not. The planning stage for Deb and Nate’s wedding is in full swing and is currently rather obsessive.

This week, we celebrated Deb over and over 🙂

Laura and Twila rented an old mill and hosted a shower for my little sis.

The fellowship was warm (even if it was flurrying outside) the games-amusing, and the food-fantastic. What a party!

Several months ago, I was at a farm show signing up for every door prize around 🤔 Obviously, I wasn’t reading the fine print, because next thing I knew-I was receiving phone calls that I “had qualified” for a gift card. Hmmm.

All I needed to do was bring someone and sit thru a 90 minute meeting. Oh boy. I’ve sat through a number of these time share racket schemes, and I thought I’d agreed with myself that we were done with those things.

But alas, the next thing my sweet, long-suffering sister Emily knew, she was spending a morning with me touring Massanutten Resort. The down side was that 90 minutes lasted a lot longer than 1.5 hrs. But the positive results were- not only did we obtain a gift card, we received a letter entitlement to 3 days, 2 nights at the resort.

So, in Deb’s honor, we packed up and headed the entire way across Harrisonburg, and enjoyed all the luxury that Massanutten has to offer.

Mother joined us for supper the first evening, Kate came the next evening (📷 credits to her) We hiked a bit, enjoyed a sunset, whipped up a feast or two, and conquered the Escape Room with time to spare (you can just refer to us as Sherlock Holmes from now on 😂)

But the highlight from our stay, was just enjoying the blessing of each other. These days are so precious, I just want to savor them. 💞

And as we are basking in the memories of our getaway, the pain from our morning meeting has dulled somewhat, but I’m still promising myself, and darling Em that I won’t get us into these predicaments again.

At least not for a little 🙈

Take the time to enjoy your family-whatever busy stage you are in- they are God’s most precious gift.

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

A trip to the airport resulted in a detour through Washington DC and the peak of the Cherry Blossom Festival 😍 Wow

So much fun that it suited cousin Juanita to be my co-pilot again for this adventure 💞