The story goes of a couple on a flight home that hit extreme turbulence. The plane tossed and pitched and dropped. Suddenly the young boy seated next to them turned and said “Can you help me? I’m sixteen and this is the first time I’ve flown alone and I’m really struggling with a panic attack right now.” The Mrs without hesitation said “Hi I’m Mrs and this is Mr and for the next 50 minutes, we’re going to be your best friends. That was so brave of you to tell us what your dealing with! So tell us about your school…” And so it went-they discovered a common interest in music and chatted the flight away. Because the young man was strong enough to admit weakness/ brave enough to be vulnerable
I’ve been kicking that story around in my head all week. And then my sweet friend Jeanette posted a beautiful poem about rose pruning on her blog. As I read it I saw so much truth and saw so many times when I’ve failed to show Jesus to the vulnerable… (read the entire blog here) but here it is in part:
So it is in life, and sometimes we see A life that looks bare and bleak No blooms to charm, no fruit to admire We deduct that they must be sick.
For surely the Master Gardener In all of His wisdom grand Would never have pruned the branches back With such a heavy hand.
Unless there were some disease inside That rendered it almost dead. If it were a healthy bush, would not He let it grow instead?
So we pass by on the other side Lest we be infected too. With the plague we are sure our brother has When really we have no clue.
Perhaps the fruit in our brother’s life Is prime for the Master’s use So He wields the shears with a tender hand So the fruit will grow more profuse.
But we walk by with our heads held high Pointing fingers to find the blame For the things gone wrong in our brother’s life And murmuring “What a shame.”
Maybe instead, when our brother is down, We could let him know we care. Or take his hand and join with him Intreating our God in prayer.
As we learn and grow together In wisdom and in years Let’s not draw back in horror At the work of the Masters shears.
When all we can see are the thorny stalks Let’s remember the lovely rose It has to be pruned, to prepare for June When that sweet, sweet fragrance flows. -JMD 2021
How often do we add pain to the already broken? Why is it that when someone shows up truly hurting that we feel like we have to fix and psychoanalyze what went wrong-when all we are called to do is to share Christ’s love, mercy, and grace.
On the other side of the coin-Where is the balance between being vulnerable and sharing too much info (oh dear, here comes that sad row again🥴)
Oh God forgive us-for throwing stones when the weight of sorrow and shame already feels too much to carry; for painting unrealistic pictures of perfect unapproachable lives when the reality is-there’s pain within us all; for completely missing chances to walk beside the hurting helping carry their load and show them Jesus.
I have no answers. Only conviction.
Ease someone’s pain today, show them you care.
My recent travels have contained a fair amount of variety 🙂 It feels good to be on the road again.
Mother Natures best April Fool’s Joke- snow squalls the entire day.
I’d hoped that the lack of crowds at the Cherry Blossoms would make parking easier on my way home from an early morning airport run… no such luck.
And finally… Easter morning Sunrise. Christ is RISEN! So thankful that no matter how heavy the pain is, or how bad we fail- His Mercies are new every morning. Great is His Faithfulness. ❤️
Or maybe the better title for this post would be “It is finished” (Ben friend with the puns going strong over here 😂)
Either way- I’m super thankful the past 2 weeks are behind us.
Ben’s new house is a small ranch style house from the 60s with lots of hardwood flooring and lots of oak trim. And while it has all stood the test of time, it became pretty obvious to us on the first trip thru that it needed a face lift.
The floors were dull and chipped and dirty.
I’d always heard that it was worth your money to hire a professional right out of the gate. (In fact the winning joke we heard when we asked a group of friends if they had experience refinishing flooring was “the most important thing I’ve found for using to refinish floors is the telephone”)
But Ben’s dad had a fair amount of experience with working on school floors, so we waded in.
We rented a sander from the hardware store for 24 hours and chased that thing relentlessly across the living room, down the hall, through the laundry room and 2 bedrooms… back and forth, over and over until dust practically settled on my brain and I lost track of which room I’d sanded last.
We took a hand sander to hit the spots that needed a bit more attention. And hoped we’d done enough.
And then Rohrer Floor and More took over.
I’m overjoyed at the finished product. And I can’t believe that we were able to pull this one off ourselves with the help of family (bless y’all)
Somehow I don’t foresee us becoming the next Chip and Joanna but we are definitely 1-0 with a happy homeowner.
Blessings to you in your new home, Ben ❤️
Our neighbors got in a 2 story modular recently and it was super neat to see how rapidly the house went together. It went from straight dirt to all the pieces into place in about 24 hours.
Grandfather has decided the twins are old enough to go with him everywhere. Usually they have to take turns. Julia commented that it’s like she’s back in her childhood whenever Father drops off a thirsty, hungry, exhausted boy and says “that took longer than I was expecting” 😂 ah, the good Ol days- been there,survived that. ❤️
Recently I travelled to PA with a group of ladies (and Sweet Baby A). We watched Esther at Sight and Sound. Such a powerful reminder that “everyone has a story” “perhaps you were born for such a time as this”. Definitely worthwhile time spent.
The last few weeks have gone past in a whirlwind. If there’s one pic that describes me while my mom was on vacation it’s this:
I love the chance to be Aunt Ken and babysit my little buddies.
In other news-my Ben friend save the day again.
I thought I could save money by varnishing the rough plywood in the upstairs at the cabin. Terrible idea. I worked and stressed and slaved and never felt like it was clean. So now we have laminate flooring and all is peace in the neighborhood.
The other huge deal from this past week involves my Ben friend again:
We have a new neighbor. It just so happens that it’s the poultry farm less than a mile from us 😉 I’m so excited for Ben and just so thankful for the ways that God has provided.
This opportunity has truly been the Hand of God. Maybe I’ll tell you about it sometime. But for now-I’ll just testify that Gods timing is perfect. All praise to the One “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think”.
I don’t know what door you find yourself waiting in front of, but I encourage you to take heart. God will provide in a beautiful way when the time is right.
The Giveaway was so much fun. I loved reading all your comments. Julie Horst is the winner and I’ll be sending a copy of “The Covid Cow” her way. Thank you all who entered.
I don’t know if you remember the Covid Cow who popped up randomly on our western adventures last year.
But he’s back-with his own twist on all the fun.
I put together a short children’s story including a lot of random facts about the places we visited. Example: the steam from Old Faithful is as hot as your mom’s oven (350° F).
My goal was to gift the book to the children of the family we traveled with as a fun little memory. So I only printed a few.
But I have one extra that I’d love to giveaway.
So if you’re somewhere in the US- comment something about one of your favorite children’s books (past or present) on this post and I’ll announce a winner March 7. (Sorry but international shipping isn’t an option)
Covid the Cow and I wish you luck 😘
P.S Naming our mascot Covid was not a solid plan. I’ll never forget walking through a crowded national park and suddenly realizing how we sounded: “Hey do you have Covid?”
Luke 15:8 (with slight adjustments) “Or suppose a woman is working in a chicken house immediately before leaving on a trip to Florida, and somehow her only pair of glasses slips from her pocket. Doesn’t she light a flashlight, walking the house multiple times and search carefully under 60,000 birds until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, her daughter summons her friends and neighbors and she says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my glasses which were lost.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents
It’s true- my parents migrated to Florida and directly before the migration, Mother was helping Em in her chicken house. The temp change from the current Arctic Circle we are living in to the inside of the chicken house is significant and caused her glasses to fog up. So Mother hurriedly stuffed them in her pocket and went about her chores aaaaaaand realized about 3/4 of the way around the outside of the 600 ft house that she’d lost something important.
Praise the Lord on the 3rd round of retracing her steps, the lost was found and after a good scrubbing-the glasses were heading south.
My parents, the famous glasses, a gulf sunset, and “our first ever selfie”
My Ben friend brought my dreams of seeing Blackwater Falls in the wintertime to life this past weekend. It was even more gorgeous than I’d imagined. Bless him 🥰
Just wow. Thank you Jesus for creating such beauty ❤️
It was also more of a health hazard than I’d imagined. All 200 steps were covered with a snow ice glaze that made them very treacherous.
Our travel companions created quite a stir as Deb hauled Sweet Baby A along with ease. What an adventure.
The ice snow glaze over the entire countryside turned the world into the most gorgeous place and made our travel breathtaking.
I’m so thankful to have a Heavenly Father who cares about little things like lost glasses, and a girl’s dreams of seeing a mountain waterfalls in the wintertime and provides the right thing at the right time.
Thanks for rejoicing with us,
Same Day in Feb, Same sweet nephews, Different year 💙💙
The rescuers were more than one man (3 to be exact)
Cats, Sacks, Gals, Van
I wonder if you’re following still-
How many were walking down Mole Hill?
My morning started early. I flew around the kitchen grabbing my standard cup of coffee and a quick bite. I checked my phone and the radar looked like the projected winter ice storm was yet to arrive. I started my van to clear the windshield of yesterday’s winter weather. And I was off in good time. 4:19 a.m.
The roads weren’t a problem as I headed to the other side of the county to load up my first passenger and her boxes. Apparently someone put an ad in the Lancaster Farming “cats wanted”. My friends were about the 40th to respond to the ad. (Surprise) and there was no longer a cat deficiency, but they knew of someone else who wanted 6 female cats. And since these came from an organic farm-I guess that makes them certified organic lol Either way-we carefully loaded the cat boxes in the van’s box and hurried on. Meowing as we went.
Picking up passengers always adds a lot of time to a travel day, but this one was moving along until-whoops fishtailed around a corner and ummmm power braked to stop at Dry River.
I realized that I was in an H.O.T (heap of trouble) about the time I started up Mole Hill. But I bravely continued only to spin out partway up the climb. The road was a sheet of ice.
I knew it wasn’t going to be a problem tho-because I could just back down. Wrong. Every time I hit the brakes to slow the descent, the back of the van would slide to the side of the road. The worst part of the process was this “Hey Kendra, can you see the 15 ft drop off we are rapidly sliding towards?” I couldn’t actually. But I stopped attempting to be strong and independent and did what any girl would do. I phoned up my dad.
He sounded wide awake for it being 5 a.m, and he didn’t hesitate “sit tight, I’ll be right there”
So there we sat.
While he donned his crocs (appropriate foot gear 🥴) de-iced his pickup, loaded a chain, and slipped and slid our way.
We sat helplessly as a tractor delivered more passengers who were anticipating heading to Newville PA to sort clothes for CAM.
We sat helplessly as a Ford Explorer inched down the hill and tooted the horn merrily as it passed by on the other side.
We sat helplessly as my cousin and her dad walked past armed with fresh cups of coffee heading for the dairy barn.
We sat helplessly as our knight in shining armor crocs slid past us in his pickup fishtailing as he went. He turned around, slid past us again and opted that a tractor was a better option for rescue equipment this round.
The rest of the story is fairly anticlimactic. My dad, my uncle, and a neighbor helped get my van on safer ground and after careful discussion, we decided to try to head to PA another day.
So with the pickup as pilot car, I carefully eased back down off of Mole Hill, retracing my steps.
(At one point, I went a different route than the pilot car and it was a good thing. He called with a road report and all I heard was “oh shoot,shoot,shoot… wooosh, I just shot through the stop sign at Bank Church and ended up in the field.” Well then)
So now I’m back to sitting…. beside my woodstove, rejoicing in God’s provision.
And if any of you have need for an organic cat or 6, I can save you an ad in the Lancaster Farming-these are boxed and ready to go.
Last winter, somewhere between the new relationship “what do you get a guy for Valentines Day” status and up-all-night-with-preemie-twins-might-as-well-surf-the-internet syndrome I came across a website with the solution for Valentines Day. A beef jerky bouquet.
It really was ingenious and it got me thinking-instead of ordering one-could I create one?
I collected supplies (and my sisters) and as I remember, we threw the bouquets together while the twins were sleeping and barely got the mess cleaned up before it was time to feed them again. Ah those were the days.
This year, I came across the matching stainless cup to the one that held Ben’s “beefquet” last year just in time to remind me to do this again.
I’m not a meat sculptor by any part of imagination, but these jerky flowers are easy and fun to make.
I just snip tiny “V”s to make the petals and tack another smaller piece on with a toothpick to create depth. The stems are Jack Links sausages.
Add some string cheese and little packages of Sharp Cheddar cheese ( if your bf has preferences like my Ben friend) and you’re all set.
I’m sorry but I just couldn’t wait til Sunday to give this to him 🙈🤷🏻♀️😂
1 Cor 13:4 Love is patient,love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,it is not easily angered,it keeps no record of wrongs.6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
This snowy weekend was such much fun. Quality time with these little men is always a highlight:
The only downside to my beautiful weekend: my Ben friend spent many snowy hours out making travel possible for the rest of the world… thankful for him and his comrades who do a great job at clearing the roads ❤️
“Is the wood stove going?” That’s about the first question that greets me every morning when I emerge from my downstairs bedroom.
“Ish” is usually the reply, because unless I get up in the middle of the night and throw another log on, my little stove is usually down to ashes and a few bright coals.
“Running a wood stove is a lot of work” I commented as I poured myself a cup of coffee. “I’m going down to encourage it”
My mom brought her coffee and joined me. “It’s not work, it’s a lesson in diligence” she said
This got my brain rolling… a wood stove does teach all sorts of life lessons. Here’s what we came up with, I’d love to hear from you if you care to add to the list:
Spread warmth and cheer equally to everyone near by. This wood stove isn’t partial- its happy to share with anyone and everyone.
Take the time to savor. My stove was a gift from my parents and it has a glass door. I love nothing more than watching the flames dance on a cold morning. In fact, my mom got out of bed to drink a cup of coffee with me before I left for Lancaster earlier this week. We chatted and watched the flames before I had to rush off. Isn’t that what everyone does at 3:30 in the morning? 😂 (she’s a rare gem, also there’s a reason I still live at home😉❤️)
A little honest dirt never hurt anybody. (Continually fighting the ashes and dust over here.)
Where there’s smoke, there could be fire- proceed with caution. I wonder how often the winds of gossip fan a smoldering situation into full blown flames. Oh God, forgive us.
Play with fire/ wind up burnt. When the nephews come to visit, we try to protect them from this reality. The stove is forbidden territory-stay away.
Embrace each season. Winter is my least favorite season, but I’m learning to enjoy the beauty here. (Especially from my easy chair beside my wood stove.)
If you need me, I don’t plan to roam far from this spot 😂🥶
May our eyes be opened to see deeper truths in the mundane of the everyday.
My Ben friend conned me into leaving my beloved wood stove for a bit of winter exploration.
We found plenty of winter on Skyline Drive.
Em and I and River took to the ice a bit ahead of what was sensible just because it’s supposed to snow like mad and it’s been years since Em enjoyed a surgery free winter and was able to ice skate. PtL for healing ❤️
And finally… the change in the air temp created a beautiful eventide a few days ago.