April’s (few) Activities

To our friend scattered to and fro

Hello from the beautiful Shenandoah Valley where March was May and April was March 😅

We’ve enjoyed the cold and the wind and battled the drear as best we could.

The rye came off at our home place and we are thankful.

Our replacement help made their first appearance on the crew. They didn’t last very long, but at least they’ve showed up. 😉

My friend Ben arrived just as we finished chopping and proceeded to empty our pit. This injector rig is something different for our farm.

Doesn’t it look good? We’re excited to see what yield increases we get from injecting all the nutrients directly in the ground. Now we are ready to plant corn if it ever warms up.

I enjoyed a small get together with several of my cousins at my little cabin. A tiny group in a tiny house with a couch full of tiny people, haha. Family is such a blessing.

We also had a tailgate party with the Bible Reading Accountability Group I’m a part of. We are reading thru the Bible in a year and using the Bible Recap. I’m loving it. Each day after the Scripture reading there’s a 6-8 minute podcast where Tara Leigh Cobble explains different things about the daily reading. She has a way of clarifying the Old Testament and pointing out different truths and explaining Jewish traditions and describing geographical regions. Each day she points us to a truth of God’s character and reminds us that “ He’s where the Joy is.” It’s been a real source of encouragement to me. And knowing my friends are gonna check in with me keeps my feet to the fire.

Basically the cold has slowed down the farming, and the quarantine has slowed down my traveling. (Who are we kidding- my traveling habit has been killed dead as a doornail.) So I’m spending my days housecleaning and checking in on my cute little nephews.

Lone fisherman at the neighbors pond

Today on the way to our tailgate party, I laughed at how excited I was to see people. I think that’s one of the gifts that Quarantine will leave me with- a deep appreciation for the opportunity to spend time with friends. I hope I don’t forget that soon.

I’m on a quest to see what all positive things this Quarantine time is gifting me. May you discover gifts from Q too. No matter how long this lasts- just remember “He’s where the joy is.”

Praise Him,

Kendra

Let Us Remember

Joel 1:3 Tell your children about it in the years to come, and let your children tell their children. Pass the story down from generation to generation.

Every now and then I see this post show up in my Facebook feed:

“Just so I NEVER forget….. April 13, 2020: Gas price a mile from home was $1.70
School cancelled – yes cancelled
Self-distancing measures on the rise.
Tape on the floors at grocery stores and others to help distance shoppers (6ft) from each other.
Limited number of people inside stores, therefore, lineups outside the store doors.
Non-essential stores and businesses mandated closed.
Parks, trails, entire cities locked up.
Entire sports seasons cancelled.
Concerts, tours, festivals, entertainment events – cancelled.
Weddings, family celebrations, holiday gatherings – cancelled.
No masses, churches are closed.
No gatherings of 50 or more, then 20 or more, now 10 or less.
Don’t socialize with anyone outside of your home.
Children’s outdoor play parks are closed.
We are to distance from each other.
Shortage of masks, gowns, gloves for our front-line workers.
Shortage of ventilators for the critically ill.
Panic buying sets in and we have no toilet paper, no disinfecting supplies, no paper towel no laundry soap, no hand sanitizer.
Shelves are bare.
Manufacturers, distilleries and other businesses switch their lines to help make visors, masks, hand sanitizer and PPE.
Fines are established for breaking the rules.
Stadiums and recreation facilities open up for the overflow of Covid-19 patients.
Government incentives to stay home.
Barely anyone on the roads.
People wearing masks and gloves outside. This is the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic, declared March 11th, 2020. Why, you ask, do I write this status? One day it will show up in my memory feed, and it will be a yearly reminder that life is precious and not to take the things we dearly love for granted We have so much!
Be thankful. Be grateful.
Be kind to each other – love one another – support everyone.”


We enjoyed a very nontraditional Easter Celebration this year. Our little town had a drive in church service, where the preacher walked around with a dust mask on ahead of the service waving at all of us as we sat in our cars. It rained and he dug out his umbrella and preached courageously from the back of a pickup.

His message was so perfect: God can bring good from hard times.

What a mighty God we serve. It was really special to celebrate His triumph over death as we each grapple with the uncertainty of today. He is able.

And so, I hope this isn’t an Easter I soon forget. The bizarre things we are seeing currently isn’t anything like the trauma of the suffering and death of my Savior, but it is a good time for me to stop, and rest in the fact that He will provide for his children.

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Kendra

Bonus pics:

Spring work has started so that gives me reason to get out a little. Even though I nearly froze to death in the process. It legit snowed on us one day last week. Those of us who were running the open station tractors soldiered on. But atleast Father took us out for ice cream afterwards “to warm up” lol

Ben took me on a Sunday afternoon ramble. The redbuds are extra beautiful this year

And the apple orchards 😍 I’ve had this yen to see them in bloom for years… and it happened. I had no idea they smelled so sweet!

“Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of Spring?” Neltje Blancan

Legit Cabin Fever

I’ve honestly had cabin fever for a year now. Well actually longer than that, but a year ago, I got down to business and started to order my little cabin for our pond from a cousin who works at a local Storage Building Shop.

My dad and Uncle put the pad in exactly a year ago and I was on Cloud 9.

I was so excited the day it arrived all folded down like a little box for easy transport. I thought that it wouldn’t be long until I was sitting on the front porch watching the world go by. Ha

My original idea included my ingenious, hardworking sisters and an occasional accommodating brother-in-law… BUT everyone got busy with their own projects and what I thought I had lined up fell thru… and my little project sat in its forlorn little shell for days and weeks. Eventually I hired a few men and slowly the face of my project changed.

And finally- at long last, Lowe’s delivered the fridge today, wrapping up the last of my major purchases.

Even though this didn’t end up being a project completely conquered by our fam- everywhere I look I see details that my sweet patient family (and boyfriend😉) helped me bring into reality.

So Quarantining isn’t looking very bleak these days. Eventually I’m excited to host parties here, but for now- you just find a few of us keeping our distance and enjoying God’s beautiful creation and our little cabin getaway.

Ben- who’s learning all about KH and her constant projects (🙈) asked me recently: “sooooo what’s your next project after your cabin is finished?”

I honestly don’t know- this one ended up being way more extensive/expensive than what I’d expected. I learned a pile during the process. But I think I need a break from my education.

I’m definitely going for that glass of iced tea on the front porch.

Have a peaceful Sunday,

Kendra

Bonus:

Just in case you missed my dad’s poem about COVID-19 you can watch it here.

R.E.S.T.

“Oh wow! Look at the violets!” I excitedly attempted to photograph the little beauties who were basking in the sunshine, as Ben and I hiked past.

“I’m sorry I’m taking so long” I apologized as my longsuffering boyfriend stood there waiting as I swooned over the little purple faces smiling at me.

“Take your time” Ben reassured me “it’s not like we have anything else to do.”

And that pretty much sums up our Sunday.

I’ve often thought Sunday being a “Day of Rest” is a bit of a satire. Back in my dairy farming days- if I’d milked twice, go to church twice, and got invited away for Sunday lunch- I’d drag into Monday morning exhausted.

More recently- I often travel on weekends creating a very similar problem. Without any responsibilities jobwise (thanks to the travel ban) and no literal church meeting- I’ve never experienced such a Day of Rest as this.

My fam took a Sunday Picnic to a Natural Chimeys. The twins slept through the entire thing.

They missed watching Uncle Nate throw caution to the wind and spy out the land from afar

They also missed Grandfather hiking while practicing social distancing to the letter… socializing via text. Thank you, Jesus for protecting him from spraining an ankle or breaking a leg on an unnoticed tree root as he wandered along. Don’t text and walk, folks.

We all missed Kerry and Em at our little party, but I guess them having other plans kept our gathering under 10 people. What a wonderful, leisure day.

And from the sounds of things- we’ll be looking forward to more days like this in the near future.

I’m currently in the middle of a “thru the Bible in a year” study with some friends and not to long ago we completed the Book of Joshua.

Joshua led the Children of Israel through battle after battle and celebrated so many victories.

But the last verse stood out to me. “Then the land had rest from war.” (Joshua 14:15)

I don’t know what battles you’ve been fighting, but I was so challenged to stop an enjoy this break from the typical battles- this season of rest. I even broke it down a bit further:

R: Refocus: adjust the focus of (a lens or one’s eyes).

E: Evaluate: form an idea of the amount, number, or value of; assess.

S: Savor: enjoy or appreciate (something pleasant) completely, especially by dwelling on it.

T: Trust: believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of.

The current virus uncertainty is a little ripple in the ocean of life and is of no surprise to God. He already knows what will become of all the disrupted schedules, plans, dreams, and agendas. He’s already working ahead to provide for us. REST in that. Whatever the future may be: God’s already there. Nothing is too hard for Him- He’s got this. Trust Him.

And mostly seize today for its unprecedented uniqueness. Whether it’s the chance to homeschool your children, the lack of a job schedule, or the wide open Sunday calendar. This is completely unheard of, and can leave you feeling uneasy about what’s ahead. I’m confident- that God can and will take the current situation- and turn this around FOR HIS GLORY. It may not be as we’d expect, but He’s that powerful and He’s that good. ❤️ This is a special time. Claim the promises of Psalms 91!

Carpe Diem, friends. Enjoy this season 🙏🏼💞

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

I just wanna ride around taking pics of signs along the way

These Bugs Around Here 🦠 😷🤒💖

I know, I know. Basically the only thing to do these days is to sit at home and read about viruses and sickness and social distancing.

And here I am joining the mayhem.

But the truth of the matter is, we’ve had a fair amount of sickness.

Julia woke up with the flu, and so we are enjoying adorable pics that filter in on our sister chat, while maintaining a safe distance. All except our angel Mother who braved the bug to rock babies and support the situation as best she can

Em also came down with a fever this week. With her recent surgery, we were highly concerned about how rapidly it spiked. But thankfully she kicked it in about a day.

Again we’ve been trying to maintain a healthy distance (except our Angel Mother) so I escaped outside to work on my next Fisher Price book, and Em’s little blonde sidekick was sure I needed help. Thanks, Riv, but this isn’t the type of help I was needing.

Nate took care of any type of homesickness by fleeing to his Rocky Mountains for a week. Cheap flights and time off of school- made this a fairly easy decision… I sent him this meme as he braved the airlines 😂

“Don’t be afraid to go into the mist. Be excited because you don’t know where you will end up.”
-Sophie Madden

And I’ve kinda been bit by a bug myself this winter 😉 I’ve been terribly shy about posting this relationship on social media, but I’m finally getting up the nerve to introduce you to my friend Ben ❤️

At the risk of sounding like a gushy girlfriend- I’m counting my sisters getting over their sicknesses- but me… ?? 😉❤️

Say a prayer for us, if you think about it- that God will continue to lead and guide us as we seek Him ❤️

Social Distancing/ cheap gas prices combined to give us a chance to explore last weekend. The frozen fog at the top of the mountain was beautiful!

It’s definitely spring in the Valley.

Judging from the first Snow Glories in my neighbors yard, we are about 2 weeks ahead of last year.

Anyhow that’s enough from me. May you have a Happy, Healthy Day ❤️ (or find joy and peace in the midst of sickness😉)

Blessings,

Kendra

March’s Mini Morsels (quick photo tour of recent highlights)

To our friends scattered to and fro,

Hello from the middle of Missouri. I’ve been on the road a bit more this week, and since I’m currently spending several days waiting, I thought I’d jump on here and share a few pics.

I’m staying in the cutest little guesthouse. It’s really fun to just be able to entertain myself for a few days.

I went to downtown Versailles and almost got arrested. Well, not really. Those of you who know me well, know that I love to have a project on the back burner. My current project is sharing my travels via postcard with a friend who was recently paralyzed. So as I wandered around the town square, I was on a mission to find a postcard. I saw a little sign pointing towards a “Museum Store” so I followed it and found the store looking rather desolate, but the door opened, so I went in and found my sought after postcard. But try as I might, I couldn’t find anyone to take my money. So I went back out and up the street to the Chamber of Commerce and found several helpful ladies who nearly heart attacked when I told them I’d been in the museum store roaming around. Long story short, they sold me the postcard I’d found, and with a hearty “thank you for reporting this” we parted ways. But I still can’t decide- was I breaking and entering? Or was I a good citizen supporting the neighborhood watch program. I don’t know, but I got my postcard, and that’s what counts. 😂


Monday I was privileged to attend the funeral of Lydia Stoltzfus. Technically I just attended the grave service, because as the driver, sleep took priority to a German church service. She was buried beside her son Amos who worked part time on our farm until his death in July, 2007. Crazy how many memories this brought back. Same white fence, same blue sky… There is no singing at Amish funerals, and I was just amazed again at how silent and solemn the minutes were as they filled the grave. I’m pretty sure even the birds quit singing. One of Amos’s nieces referenced the joyful reunion that she imagined taking place in Heaven… “Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory?”


Em had another knee surgery on Tuesday. She remembered pics from October, 2017… She’s just as cute as she was then, but there’s been definite improvements made in her babysitting charges ❤️

2017
2020

And since I’m sure you wanted to see more pics of my nephews 😂 such roly poly little miracles ❤️ 📷 credit: Ryder Photography


And finally- my sisters are lucky. I mean, for real. My Instagram notifications stay swamped because Em and Deb are always entering giveaways by tagging me. And I don’t mind. And they win. A lot. Jul isn’t on social media, but she still enters drawings and comes away with the prize. Unbelievable.

Dressed Up Threads was hosting a photo contest, where requirements were: wear a dress made from their fabric and post a pic of you doing something with your plant babies or greenhouse related and tag #springfeverwithdressedupthreads The winner receives a Shenandoah dress from Dressed Up Threads. Anyhow as the contest drew towards a close, I mentioned it one more time, and Jul and Mother got on board with brainstorming.

So this is what we came up with for my post.

“We can BEARly wait to come out of hibernation” says Mama Bear “but I know this season of rocking babies and dreaming about springtime will soon be passed”

And would you believe that we were selected as winners? I can’t wait to see Mama Bear in her new dress!

Ok, I’ve rambled on quite long enough.

Blessings on your weekend,

Kendra

No Hablo Espanol- a major regret

I’m not sure how old I was when “no regrets” became one of my life goals, but I set out to seize every opportunity for what it’s worth. I wasn’t going to look back at days gone past and think “if only I had taken that opportunity” I was going to walk through open doors with confidence.

Ah ambitious youth.

In the month of February I spent one entire week of it regretting.

I followed my brave sister Deb all over the land that she loves watching as she flew up and down the streets of Leòn, Nicaragua.

I waited patiently while she bartered for every single purchase I made at the charming Central Cathedral.

I love all the culture that happens in Central…
We came across this street show different times. Who says men can’t multitask? 🤷🏻‍♀️😘

Or at market:

Anybody interested in lightly chewed onions?
Can you spy the guard of the Plantain booth?

Or at the umpteen unique cultural things we came across that I wasn’t sure if a pic was ok or not. And so she’d ask politely, while I stood there mute.

The local leather shop
Fresh Tortillas coming up

I sat through hours of visiting, chugging bottle after bottle of Coke. Sometimes following a bit of the conversation, sometimes not. Sometimes pretending that I understood was was going on with the “Kendra” followed by a stream of words. Sometimes ignoring my name in the conversation and entertaining myself by counting the geckos living on the ceiling.

The walk to visit our friends was super scenic

Sometimes I hid behind my phone and pretended not to hear that my name was being tossed back and forth frantically inside the van as we traveled along.

Or I studied the delicious fried Buñuelos (Yuca thats been grated and fried and drowned in a sweet syrup) while the conversation flowed as I regretted again and again.

Today as I relived our recent travels, my regret surfaced again and I found myself consoling me.

“It’s ok,” I said “everyone has things they wish they could do differently. If you regret that you didn’t study Spanish enough, it is what it is. You know enough to follow a bit of conversation. Quit overthinking it, accept the facts and move on.”

My Spanish journey (or the lack of it) started my freshman year. Somehow I came down with Mono partway through the year and missed 78 days of school. Because Spanish was a classroom credit, I had to drop out halfway through.

The next stop of my Spanish lament was in Guatemala where I was privileged to spend several months in the beautiful Petén. I had the option of arriving a week early and attending language school with them, but opted instead to stay home and milk cows for a week longer- horrible mistake.

So here I am, with a passport full of stamps from Latino countries and barely a one year old’s grasp of the language. Not cool.

And then as I consoled myself with my lecture, I remembered that not only is my brave little Deborah darling being my patient translator/tour guide during our latest adventure; she’s also a teacher at Berea. A SPANISH Teacher. And if I’m truly as regretful about my lack of vocabulary as I claim to be, I’m gonna apply myself to kicking this regret out of the park.

So I don’t know, Deb, can you teach an old dog new tricks and an old brain a new language?

Maybe we should try, but if it’s gonna happen anymore this winter, we’re gonna have to speak quietly- cause we don’t wanna disturb the niños.

Con amor,

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

I didn’t need an interpreter for this part of our adventure:

Our little beachside getaway included air conditioning AND a hot shower
Tajadas con ensaladas

Breakfast with a view 💞

Nicaragua, our short but sweet visit inside your borders was truly delightful. Thank you. Or in my faltering, deeply accented way- “Gracias”

Grow Little Chickens Grow, Grow!!

I can’t believe I’m actually saying this- but I enjoy helping Em with her chickens.

📸 credit: Kerry

If you remember, I have had a longtime phobia of poultry (complete story here ) so the fact that I’m able to wade through 60,000 birds at a time without heart-attacking is shocking in itself.

And the fact that I actually am enjoying it- will miracles ever cease?!

The Weavers got birds earlier this week, so in the early mornings you’ll catch me in my chicken boots, walking through the flock- keeping an eye out for birds who are sick, or injured, or that have passed away.

(Farmer Em here tending her flock)

As I amble along, I beat on a bucket to keep the little rascals out from under my feet. Or I shout encouraging things to get them to move (“Outa my way, chicken nuggets!” seems to get the desired results) and occasionally I’ll burst forth in song- that really makes them scatter.


Years ago we had a 6 year old Fresh Air boy from NYC and my parents taught him this inspirational children’s song:

Sing little children, Sing, Sing

Sing little children, Sing!

God is good- He cares for you,

Sing little children, Sing!

(Damon and I in 1987)

Apparently Damon really got into this song and before they knew what had happened he even wrote his own verses “Burp little children Burp, Burp- God is good, He cares for you…”


Today, as I was marching along, my mind was racing as I prayed over different things that have been on my heart recently and suddenly I did like my friend Damon and my own verse to this song popped into my head:

“Grow Little Chickens, Grow, Grow!

Grow Little Chickens, Grow!

God is good He cares for You

Grow Little Chickens, Grow!”

And the lightbulb clicked on in my brain.

“Are not five [chickens] sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many [chickens].” Luke 12:6-7

I don’t know what’s heavy on your heart today- but I do know- the same God who watches and provides for the millions and millions of fowl around here, cares about me so specially He even number the hairs on my head.

I am chosen. I am loved. I am cared for.

God is good, He cares for ME!

Sing, Little Children, Sing!!!

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

A continued sore throat has kept me away from my little friends- but at least my pic feed is adorable these days 💞 💞

I call this one “Mess with my Brother, and I’ll mess with your face” 😂😂💞💞:

Home

The big hospital doors swung open, and Big Papa strolled confidently through. Carrying a 4 lb 14 ozish package in each hand. (📸 credit: Julia)

The future awaits.

These days are filled with baby snuggles for those of us who haven’t succumbed to the flu.

We love that Isaiah Stan (on the left) favors his great Grandad Stanley Horst. And Uriah Ray (on the right) is a little Sherman Ray II.

The boys are doing well- hungry little beavers, who are growing to be mighty men.

This super excited Grandfather is trying to break them in slowly- he only scheduled one business call for them to sit in on for yesterday’s visit. He’s been exploring their preferences as far as trucks go, and who wants to run the cutter, or the combine. But so far- he doesn’t have a work commitment from them. They just watch him with big solemn eyes.

Grandmother Rhodes at 91 is exciting meet her second set of Great-Grands. (📸 credit: Sherman)

Mother found a verse in Psalms while thinking about these little blessings and what their future will be. A promise to all of us: For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulnescontinues through all generations. Ps 100:5

Our hearts (and hands) are full.

Thank you, Jesus!

Aunt Ken

The Wait is Over

“Our family Christmas is December 23 this year” my mom announced.

“Who has Christmas Day?” I wasn’t trying to challenge the game plan, but I’m learning that special holidays have to be shared with the increase of in-laws and conflicting schedules.

“Nobody” mother said “but Julia’s been thinking all along that she’s going to be in the hospital by Christmas. In fact Sherm is convinced the twins are coming on December 25. So Jul requested that if she’s still at home on Monday, that we celebrate early.”

Monday night was a wonderful time. The guys provided crab legs for the feast and other than Em discovering that her shrimp allergy now includes crab legs (😭) the meal was relaxed and wonderful. We enjoyed uninterrupted time of family.

We moved downstairs to the family room and relaxed around the fire for our gift exchange. I love these people. Soon Nate had his brand new record player clicking and whirling and Sherm had his bear hide that Em had tanned to surprise him spread out over the floor. I sat my coffee cup on the cedar end table that Jul had made me and smiled at the chaos. I thought about the changes we’ll be facing soon as we thoughtlessly discarded wrapping paper on the floor in our haste to discover what the package contained (clearly not worried about who was going to chew on potentially harmful plastic bags) Ah yes, Family time is precious.

And yet in the back of all of our minds was a feeling of suspense. Like an intense waiting game. Sherm thought for a game we should all write down guesses- twin genders, names, DOB “AND” he suggested proudly “whoever is closest gets the first call” This game idea got lost in the chaos but not before Father declared he “couldn’t wait to take his twin granddaughters trucking”

But the wait continued.


As I read the Christmas story this year, I understand the waiting a bit differently. The world was waiting and had been for years. They knew the promises- had them memorized probably from childhood. But when would the Promised Savior come? What would He look like? What if they missed Him? I’m sure the buzz came and went as generations expected Christ to come. But the waiting continued.

Suddenly things changed. There were angelic visits. Joseph and Mary’s relationship endured all kinds of trauma as the accusations of unfaithfulness and sin floated around. They somehow made an 80 mile trek to Bethlehem before the birth. So many random events leading up to Christ’s coming “that it might be fulfilled.”

I even understand the Shepherds differently this year, as I pull my barn boots out of the cobwebs and make that familiar trek to the barn. One commentator that I read mentioned the fact that it’s possible the Shepherds were watching the lambs used for sacrifices in the temple. So when the angels arrived announcing that THE Sacrificial Lamb- the One who would take away the sins of the World- had been born, basically they were given the gift of retirement. “Your replacement has arrived. Your job will soon be over”


Christmas Evening, the hired men were off, so I was scheduled to help Sherm milk. “Well, not sure you’re gonna get Christmas babies” I commented in passing

“Yeh,” he said “just a few more hours”

About 16 cows later Sherm informs me “It ain’t over yet” and next thing I knew I was milking alone while reinforcements in the form of Mother and Em were sailing my direction to help with the remaining chores.

Christmas Evening, our family was given the most exciting gifts.

Uriah Ray (middle name of both Sherman and his Papa) weighed 3 lbs 12 oz. Uriah “God is my light”

And Isaiah Stan (my dads first name is Stanley) weighed 3 lbs 15 oz Isaiah “the Lord is my salvation”

Aunt Sharon suggested “the Lord is my light, is my light and my salvation” as a family theme song.

And I love that

Uriah is so excited to meet the aunties.

Isaiah sleeps through the first of many selfies

(Will not admit how many trips to the local hospital per day my family is averaging 🤷🏻‍♀️😂😂)

The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid? Ps 27:1

May you grow to understand this verse fully, my little men. Welcome to this beautiful world. We are so glad you’re here.

Ok, gotta run, there’s a few chores I gotta see to until my replacements grow enough to take over for me

Aunt Ken