Hey Florence

Hey Florence

I know we haven’t met, but I have a pretty strong opinion about you. This year has been a challenge already-trying to dodge rainy days and still feed the world in a timely fashion. Stressful but good-the crops that are almost ready to harvest look promising. I’m so excited and thankful for my second crop beans by the river… They really aren’t interested in a swim.

You’ve gotten our attention with your threats of strong winds and double digit rain. There’s a somber tone in the voice of the farmers as they beg us to brave their muddy fields to secure their harvest before your arrival. This isn’t a game.

But then I’m reminded that this isn’t between me and you. I know Someone who can calm waves on command, and just remembering that fact calms the storm in my heart.

It will be ok. Thanks for reminding me where I place my trust. #hurricaneflorence #trustgod #harvest18 #johndeere

Savoring Working for the Beast of Harvest

Most days you’ll find me with my faithful tractor flying over the river and thru the woods between the field and the farm. We hurry to catch the cutter, and usher a couple million pieces of processed corn silage safely to storage. We fall in line behind the cart in front of us. The chopper hesitates for a few seconds, the cart in front of me rolls out, and we fall in stride with the machine, while it loads my cart.

I love watching our John Deere Forage Harvester work. Some days I imagine that it is a beast with insatiable hunger. I watch as the helpless rows of corn fall prey to its ravaging appetite. This beast munches it’s away across the field, leaving only corn stubble in its wake, and with the same desperate hunger moves to the next field.

Sometimes I wonder if the Harvest itself is the actual beast. Using sweet charm to lure us into the game, we excitedly follow. She proceeds to shower us with beautiful sunsets, bright skies, rainbows and appreciative farmers and has us so addicted to her ways-we scarcely notice that we are skipping meals and working day and night. The adrenaline keeps us and our machinery running at maximum capacity and we blindly, deliriously follow at Harvest’s beck and call.

But usually I see the entire process as a grand orchestra. The cutter sets the pace of the music- my tractor joins the tune- even the sound of my safety chains slapping the cornstalks adds to the melody. It is beautiful song.

As Harvest rushes by, I just want to hit pause. I want to watch the rain wait to move across the farm until after we unload the last load of silage. I want to “enjoy” hearing my dad’s version of “here I sit like a bird in the wilderness” every time he has to wait on a cart. I want to relish lathering on more sunscreen because the day is a cooker. I want to bless my mom and the other faithful ladies who send delicious food to the fields right at meal time. I want to grin and throw silage when I meet my sisters in the field and to take lots of pics even if it drives the men on the crew to distraction. I want to savor the whirlwind of these days.

Because tomorrow isn’t promised. And seasons change so fast.

Whatever season you’re in-take the time to savor. These are good days.

Be Blessed,

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

This week held a red letter day for KJ and Em 🙂 I stopped by their new chicken house for 10 minutes as the chicks arrived and got chased by a chicken 🙄 I can handle them at this size tho 😜

End of Summer Snippets

The following is a random assortment of end of summer snippets. I’m admittedly sad over the dearly departing summer… but I guess I need to take the advice from the sunflower (see below).

Enjoy,

Kendra

Advice from a sunflower:

Be rooted

Keep your face towards the sun and let the shadows fall away

Bloom where you’re planted

Spread cheer

Share what you have with those in need- even the poor goldfinch deserves some seed

Take pleasure in the present season

-credits to my dear mother

A Harvester’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, this morning as I take my spot in the crew lineup and we embark on #fallharvest18 , I come before you with a smile on my face and a prayer on my heart. Go with us this season, Lord, and provide: Patience when the sun is hot, the field is muddy, or the job is intense. Strength when the day runs into night and seems to stretch endlessly on. Grace when differing opinions arise, we make mistakes, or we’ve heard that same joke 1000 times before. Help us to glorify You. Thank you for this time of year, the chance to enjoy Your beautiful creation and for the privilege of working the land with some of my favorite people. Please keep us safe. Be near to each of us who are part of Your Crew whether we pursue a literal or a spiritual harvest, that at the end of that final Harvest Season, we can hear those words “ Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter in and find rest”. In Jesus’ Worthy Name I pray, Amen

And finally- a poem from my childhood:

Barefoot Days– Rachel Field

In the morning, very early,

That’s the time I love to go

Barefoot where the fern grows curly

And the grass is cool between each toe,

On a summer morning – O!

On a summer morning!

That is when the birds go by

Up the sunny slopes of air,

And each rose has a butterfly

Or a golden bee to wear;

And I am glad in every toe –

Such a summer morning – O!

Such a summer morning!

Bonus Pic:

I went trucking with my dad for the first time in way too long. We had such a fun trek to North Carolina with a load of soybeans. Although a lot has changed since the days he always had a daughter or two riding with him- a lot remains the same- he still bursts forth in the most random assortments of songs, drinks Diet Mtn Dew like it’s going out of style, and keeps a well stocked snack bar within reach. 💞

“That It Might Be Fulfilled”

The cows didn’t pay much attention to me. I went plodding through the barnyard, switched the gates around, and went through all the same motions that happen twice every day at milking time. Motions that come second nature for me, yet have not been my world for over 4 years now.

I go for months without setting foot in the barn, and somehow I’m never quite prepared for the nostalgia that hits me.

The sentimental side of me enjoyed the trip down Memory’s Lane-missing the old days of working with Julia, stumbling out of bed in the middle of the night to check on the maternity lot to find a new calf, bedding calves and mixing feed- the daily dairy demands.

But then the practical side of me took back over and reminded me that I’d been on Memory’s Lane long enough- that Sherm is a much bettter dairyman, and that I was terrible at getting up for the morning milking, and recurring back issues often left me skimping out on my share of the workload-while my sweet family filled in… thank you for the reminder, O Practical One 🙄

Before I completely left my sentimental journey, I analyzed why I miss those days. And I came up with a conclusion: because I know what happens next. I know how the next chapter goes: what happens to the key players, and how each puzzle piece fits together, and the sheer joy of living each adventure.


Recently I’ve been challenged by a recurring phrase in my devotions. Matthew’s stories about the early life of Christ keep stating “that it might be fulfilled.” Jesus’s life was full of obstacles that directed the story of His life “that it might be fulfilled” (like the midnight flight to Egypt).

Do you ever look at the crazy turn of events in your life and question? Sometimes I think the rough jagged edges of the current puzzle piece weren’t made to fit into the picture my life is telling. But I believe that God carefully places them, and occasionally allows me to look back with understanding. I love those reminders of God’s wisdom, faithfully writing my story.

This has been a rambling post-but I hope you’ve followed my thought pattern: God directs the steps of our lives, organizing details that are so far above our ways, to have us where He needs is to be, to be of most service to Him… that it might be fulfilled.

Family Vacation 2018

May you find peace with whatever shape your current puzzle piece is, knowing that the finished product will be a masterpiece …

Kendra

Bonus pics:

I haven’t been on the road much recently, but I’ve got a few pics to share (the others from this post came from the dusty archives 😅) I had a day trip to Mt Jackson, where our hosts lived in this beautiful old 1770s era plantation Home. This house doubled as a hospital in the Civil War and had visible blood stains on the floor 🤕. But what really stood out to me was the stairs leading to the slave quarters, where the current home owner had researched the slaves who’d lived there, and the price they’d brought at market, and she’d commemorated them on the steps… real people, real stories, never dying souls…

A dog’s premonition 🐾

I think jealousy is the root of the problem.

In fact I’m fairly confident about this. Allow me to present my case: I’m Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza, farm manager. And I think that’s what got us off on the wrong foot. Well, that and the fact that the Horst gals refer to me as “the best ol boy”. It eats at them. And I won’t say that I don’t understand it, but it doesn’t change the fact: I was farm manager before any of the brother in laws showed up.

And I’ve overheard the exact same conversation with all of them “yeh he’s a nice enough dog, but I don’t think he’s very smart.” And while the girls protest, they never look at me quite the same. Except Ken- her loyalties have yet to be tested, so she doesn’t really count.

I faithfully soldier on. This farm depends on me.


For instance: I could tell that it was going to be left up to Rolo and I even before I noticed the pile of “OBX bound” boxes by the front door. Plus it happens every August, they go away and vacate- and leave the place in our capable hands, er I mean paws. 🐾 But this time- I sensed trouble on the horizon. And no matter how hard I scrubbed my face on the grass in the backyard, I couldn’t shake it. Rolo saw me and tried the same thing. And we ended up in similar predicaments. Flaming red irritated eyeballs, and still that dark cloud on the horizon. The family noticed the red eyes, but not the cloud. So Ken rushed to town and bought eyedrops and every time I turn my back, someone is sneaking up on me and shooting drops into my eyes. Actually make that 2 somebody’s I can easily outsmart/outrun just 1 somebody (hehe take that “he’s not very intelligent” naysaying boys 🙄)

So basically part of the fam rushed off on vacation leaving instructions for the ones vacating later to “check on the dogs” Good thing it was 2 of them, because I wasn’t about to take those drops sitting down. They tried to convince to come into the house, mind you, to take my meds. Nothing doing. They tried to trap me in the garage and I was spinning-wheels-backwards out the door when Deb caught a leg and I was hung. Dumb drops.

But then the dark clouds on the horizon came closer and closer and closer. As night fell on the Homefront, it became dark. So black dark that I couldn’t even see a whisker in front of my face. Rolo was beside me whimpering and carrying on. I tried to be brave and reassure her, but there was something dreadfully wrong. And we were facing it all alone. We survived that dark,dark night, but the rising of the sun did nothing to shake that cold black feeling.

Way off in the distance, I could hear a little brown pickup with a little blonde pup with the hammer down, heading up our road. A small ray of sunshine began to pierce the dark cloud. Up the lane shot Em and River. Rolo and I fell all over ourselves welcoming them. Help had arrived. We were saved! I kept a safe distance because I wasn’t about to hang around for more eye drops, and Em went in to casually open the garage door….

And it wouldn’t work. Sometime in the past 24 hours, the current had quit and there was our entire place becoming room temperature. Eye drops and Veterinarian assignments were forgotten, as Em changed into Supermanwoman/electrician and between both of us, order and current was restored to the place.

See why they keep me around? Admittedly, I’d have been ecstatic to help them empty all those freezers once they returned from vacation, but I chose the high road…

I remain, the ever faithful farm manager,

Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza

‘‘Tis Grace That Brought Me Safe Thus Far”

We are home!

The last leg of our journey flew past, South Dakota and Mt Rushmore gazed at us expressionless on our way past.

The cropland in the Midwest reminded me once again what a microscopic drop-in-the-bucket I play in the National Ag Game. We saw thousands of acres of soybeans and corn, and were amazed by the number of acres that were either too wet or too dry. Farming this year is not for the faint of heart!

We watched the sunset over the roaring Missouri River apparently they had opened up a spillway upstream and the waters were rolling! Any guess which song Em found for this one?

The last day we traveled hard and fast- 1030 miles in less than 16 hours. Our entire route is in pink.

After we told our new Lancaster friends farewell, and Em and I set our faces for Home, we hashed and rehashed the highlights.

What a privilege and adventure to explore this beautiful land. So thankful for God’s grace and provision along the way!

’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.

Thanks for all the support

See you down the trail,

Kendra

Bonus:

If you’re interested in our #americabysong project, it’s posted here 🙂

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