The Wise and the Foolish Eclipse Hunters

With a few alterations to Matt 25:

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten solar eclipse chasers, which took their maps, and went forth to meet totality.

And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

They that were foolish took their maps, and guessed they’d find glasses along the way:

But the wise took maps and their ISO compliant eye cover with them.

While the time tarried, they all slumbered and slept, and appreciated the generosity of the local people in the area.

And at midday there was a cry made, Behold, the eclipse cometh.

Then all those travelers arose, and donned their glasses.

And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your eye protection; lest our retinas be burned out.

But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

10 And while they went to buy, the glasses were nowhere to be found; and the eclipse came. They that were ready rejoiced to see the perfect timing of the Father’s Universe: and the time passed.

11 Afterward came also the other travelers, saying, Lord, Lord, we wish to see it too, we knew it was coming, we just needed more time.

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

13 Watch therefore, that ye be ready for the Son of man cometh.

Yes, I’ve joined the throngs waiting to see this marvel. 🙂

More later,

Kendra

Family Time Galore, OBX 2017

Mark 6:31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

Last week found us retreating to a "desert place". Desert by the fact that there was sand. Not desert by definition because there was plenty of water.

The last time our entire family went on vacation was August 2013. We've changed a lot since then. A lot of things have happened. We added KJ to our number. 😉

I love my family. And I couldn't get over how spectacular it was to have everybody together, without previous obligations, or deadlines, or distractions. It was just us, enjoying each other, relaxing and eating amazing meals and celebrating God's beautiful creation.

The fact that every morning I was awake by 6 am by at least 2 people stomping through my bedroom (aka the couch in the living room) to see if there was going to be a sunrise and that it rained while we were outside grilling steaks did nothing to dampen my spirits.

I was with my favorite people, reminiscing about the days of old, creating memories to be cherished, and discussing optimistically the days to come.

I'm discovering as we learn to navigate the challenge of hectic schedules, it's easy to be so busy that we don't take time out to just be:

To be focused only on the blessing of being together. To be thankful that we have the opportunity to spend time together. To be confident in the support we are for each other.

To be family.

Because tomorrow isn't promised.

I hope they know how much they mean to me.

Kendra

New Troops Arrive at the Ranch

I now interrupt this broadcast to bring you this important announcement:

Just in from the head of ranch security:

You see, all week I've been banished to never never land (aka the dairy and German Shepherdville) and poor ol Rolo was left in Singers Glen to defend our property and our honor. I did.not. feel good about it, but hey, did anybody ask me? Nope, they just lured me in with that phony "Detroit, get on the truck" line. (They know I can't resist that 😔) and there we were rocketing out the lane with Rolo standing at the garage slowly wagging her tail, waving a white handkerchief and watching us go. Oh boy.

All week, I was a nervous wreck thinking about my pal. The family was off on vacation, and really the farm should've hired more troops instead of less, but anyhow. Finally, last night, Jul decided that I had the dairy returned to its former splendor, and I was allowed to return home. So I went, preparing to survey the damage.

Rolo faired pretty good, apparently. Maybe she's a better assistant than I give her credit for. The house was still standing, and even the cat was still alive.

The family rolled back in, and Rolo was released from her solo shift. Barely in the nick of time.

Not only are the Ranch Security Divisions reunited and standing fearlessly in the face of evil, our numbers have increased!

I'm so glad to be here to start the new pups in boot camp right way.

And you should've seen River. We are so excited to have all these nieces and nephews! She raced around and picked Rolo a beautiful bouquet of Cyclamens and Poinsettias. Apparently the Mother around here is not running a florist and is not interested in supplying bouquets for the new doggy mother… The idea was nice tho, Riv, but next time, please let Mother's plants alone.

Anyhow, if you happen to run a haphazard outfit, and have an opening for some top of the line security dogs, you may want to get in touch with us.

Quick while supplies last!

Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza/proud uncle

The MidWest

So apparently I didn't quite have my fill of galavanting along with a group of ladies, fearlessly guiding the "covered wagon" know as Farren.

For another 9 days in July, our jolly band explored the Midwest.

We enjoyed a leisure morning of watching the sunrise and waves crash along the shore of Lake Michigan at Illinois Beach State Park. (Except for the driver who slept in and missed the sunrise but it was cloudy on the horizon and she didn't miss much, they assure her.)

Wisconsin enamored us from the beginning. We grabbed an early lunch at Cracker Barrel and some Good Samaritan picked up the tab for all 10 of us. That generous heart blessed me completely.

We managed to hit several open houses at different creameries across Wisconsin. As I watch people interacting with the farmers and their herds, I was again impressed with the importance of "hands on" agricultural education. These farms were doing a wonderful job at that!

The tour ended back at the creamery where I watched children on pedal tractors (provided by the creamery) racing through the yard. And met the resident calf. AND enjoyed a fantastic ice cream cone. What a great stop!

Another stop introduced us to the "Gouda Gals" where we learned about the cheese making process, ate some cheese curds, and got a barn tour by the owner who wore wooden shoes in honor of his native country. (Any guesses which country that is? 🇳🇱)

I hadn't spent much time in the dairy state, previously. I love all those colorful red barns. I find that even though I'm not as closely involved with the dairy these days, there is no way to get certain loves out of my heart. Dairy farming is a wonderful calling.

And then we traveled on to another land flowing with milk and honey, and more opportunity for KH to obsess. The corn belt.

The crops in Iowa are something to behold. We (or mostly me) got all excited about the crop dusting that was going on. It is incredible to watch the bright yellow planes darting and diving, delivering insecticide to the tasseling corn- missing trees and power lines…

Somehow I think this picture resembles me going through 2017 #augustalready ?!?

Psalm 65:8 The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders, Lord;
where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.

More hands on Ag Ed included a tour of a hog farm. 🙊 This bacon in the making is kinda cute, isn't it? 🐷 I would enjoy a more complete tour sometime when I'm not worried about spending the rest of the day smelling like a pig farmer.

Near Charles City, IA is this adorable little brown church. In the 1850s when the area was just a meadow, a Dr Pitts wrote a poem about a church house he envisioned there. He returned after the Civil War, and saw the church house construction. The cheapest paint available then was brown, so the congregation agreed to a brown church house. Dr Pitts remembered his poem, and put it to music in time for a group of high schoolers to sing it at the dedicatory service. And that is the story behind the song "Church in the Wildwood…"
🎼oh come, come,come,come…

The Midwest adventure ended on a very high note. We toured Harvester Works in East Moline, IL. I'm not sure I could've enjoyed a tour more! We followed the progress of a combine from the bending of the first steel pieces until it drove off the assembly line. Wow!

And now with a bit more understanding about the beautiful machine, I look forward to taking my newfound information and returning to the field. It won't be long!! 🙂

Blessings,

Kendra

Olden Memories “the Story of Widow Hazel”

You may remember that one of the projects on the #30for30 was to write a book.

Farmer Stan and his farming shenanigans was graciously received. I assumed this was the end of KH the pseudo author… but apparently not…

There's a lady in our community whom I've never met. I know some of her siblings, and some of her descendants have made an impact on my life, but we remain unacquainted.

Until now.

Hazel's story is fascinating- she grew up in Rockingham Co in the middle of a large family during the depression era. Little details came alive through her stories and I learned so much! What do you know about planting corn the "hill dropping" way?

Her journey into adulthood and the difficult things she experienced made me alternate between laughing and crying.

It takes a village to raise a child, and apparently it takes a village to write a book.

Biggest contributors were: my family; my sisters who willing edited and critiqued; my aunt and cousin who helped the same way. My grandmother who listened tirelessly and helped put things in the right perspective when I was a little unsure. My darling Mother who listened unfailingly and reread the manuscript "one more time" even when she knew it forwards and backwards. Various angels along the way who helped gather information…

Susanna did an amazing job with the artwork.

But mostly, my sweet friend Suetta, who collected all the info about her husband's grandmother, and who trusted me enough to allow me to experience this story.

A young farm girl growing up in a large family during depression years had plenty of adventure and work. There were many songs sung and lessons learned of God's provision and faithfulness.

These lessons took on much deeper meaning to the wife and mother when God called and faithfully provided.  -JRH

If you enjoy local history, coupled with a testimony of God's provision, I hope you get a chance to read Olden Memories, and that Hazel's story blesses you as it has blessed me.

Kendra

Deuteronomy 6:5  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Thomas Jefferson and I 

By coincidence, I spent the last week discovering random facts about Thomas Jefferson.


The last time I visited Monticello was as a 5th grader. I remember being so impressed that Jefferson accredited his good health to soaking his feet in cold water every morning. That same copper basin impressed me again years later. ( I know what you're thinking- 5th grade was just A FEW years ago 😜)

No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.                                -Thomas Jefferson

As I listened and learned about this man who lived so many years ago- I was amazed by his sphere of influence. This little Virginia farm boy grew up to be part of a work that has impacted the world for 100s of years. 

I'm amazed at how much is known about him. "Jefferson believed that all men were equal even though he was a slave holder all his life." "Jefferson designed this house to be a multigenerational house and lived here with grandchildren and great grandchildren."  "Jefferson's bed was a few inches shorter than the owner, he believed it was preferable to sleep propped up by pillows." Jefferson believed…  Jefferson's desire…  Jefferson believed- over and over during our tour.


Yesterday I was at Natural Bridge and guess who showed up again? 

On July 5, 1774, Thomas Jefferson purchased Natural Bridge from the King of England. He built a 2 room cabin near the Bridge and kept a guestbook full of exotic names.

It is impossible for emotions arising from the sublime, to be felt beyond what they are here: so beautiful an arch, so elevated, so light, and springing as it were up to heaven.  -Thomas Jefferson 


It's quite apparent to me that Jefferson was focused with what he believed. Somebody somewhere must have kept careful records for there to be this much information about him after 200 years!


What about me? Is there any chance that my legacy will still stand in 2217? 

I'm still processing our western excursion. Definitely the conversations we had along the trail with random strangers is one of the highlights. "Who are you?" "Amish or Mennonite?" "What's with the costumes?" "What colony are you from?"

I love that my way of life gives me an opportunity to share what Christ has done for me…  and yet as I share that my denomination is Mennonite, but most importantly I am Christian who believes that the only hope of eternal life is through the gift of Christ's sacrifice on the cross; I can't help but wonder… Does my life portray evidence of the kind of love that we as Christian's profess? Or forgiveness and grace? Enough evidence that someday, someone could pause and say " that was Kendra, she believed…"


I don't need people touring my mansion years down the road, or posting my wordy quotes… but I think it's critical to be confident enough with my beliefs that the world is impacted.

"Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!"

Kendra 

Bonus Pic:

Nate fixed Sunday Lunch in honor of Deb's birthday. I had no idea he was hiding such culinary skills… but I sure hope he intends to use that hidden talent more often in the future! :) 

The Finish Line

My alarm went off at 5:15, and I groggily got dressed and headed for the lobby. 

We’d wanted to get through Chicago before calling it quits the night before, so it was after 12:15 when we’d checked in, which resulted in my morning brain being in low gear.

I met part of our gang in the hall, “Did you find breakfast?”

“No, it’s not opened yet”

I headed for the courtesy coffee counter “oh that’s a buzzer” I said Kendra, that did not come out right try again. I laughed “I’m mean that’s a bum kill”  Ugh you mean bummer or buzz kill-it’s time you get home.

So home we flew. We stopped a grand total of 15 minutes max the entire 710 miles home. Whoever says that girls don’t travel well never met these ladies.

As we rolled into VA, down 81, and through Harrisonburg, we wrestled with the wide range of emotions the end of an adventure brings: excitement to see our family and friends, sorrow that a capital experience is over, and exhaustion.

But mainly excitement. “You know that saying is really true.” One of the girls stated as we crossed into the “Friendly City”: “East, Best, Home is West.” 

Silence followed her quote. For several moments. “WAIT!” She laughed hysterically “what did I just say?!” 

We were all ready to be home.

Praise the Lord we made it!

The last few adventures included:


Mount Rushmore in the early morning hours complete with mountain goats on Washington’s head. 😂


A quick stop in Wall, SD where we shopped and enjoyed the wooden/wax figures.

26 days, 11,035 miles, 26 States, 2 Provinces, 19 National Parks (including the 4 in Canada)… What a journey. 

The loving welcome from the homeland outshone the splendor we’d already experienced.


Banners, and excited families welcomed us at every stop.


Farren even had an official finish line.


There is no place like home! 

Thank you to all of you who so faithfully/excitedly followed our journey and who lifted us up in prayer. As I sit in my favorite recliner enjoying the luxuries of home (do you know how much fun it is to drink coffee from an actual mug?) I am overwhelmed praising the goodness of our Heavenly Father. By His Grace and Mercy, we are home!

See you down the trail,

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

Final Farren Foto: VA’s version of the Great Divide 

 



Mountains, Montana, Wild flowers, Wyoming 

I feel a bit sheepish to continually post glamorous reports of our scenic meanderings. If you are sick of those style of posts- better skip this one:

We were afraid that we had been “national park wrecked” by the gorgeous Canada visit. But Glacier rose unflinchingly into the clear morning air, met our challenge, and dazzled us. The clear turquoise river dashed past us and the peaks were snow covered and the weeping wall on the “road to the sun” was practically wailing. I don’t think we are becoming calloused, but our beauty barometer has definitely been peaked out for days now.



The mountains rim the “big sky country” and the wildflowers along the way are breathtaking. Their presence is all over, like someone scattered a gigantic packet of those “wildflower mix” seeds over the entire state.


And somehow, in it’s outstanding way, Montana managed to become a favorite state for a number in our gang.


Oh and we saw not one, or two, but three different moose. Mooses, meese or whatever. (Not pictured)


Yellowstone was another interesting stop. Some of us saw Old Faithful twice. Others only once, but that’s another story.


The wildflowers continue to show up everywhere, even right beside the huge bubbling sulphury springs. I wished I could gather an armful or two of the pink, purple, yellow, and white cheerfulness. But we settled with a small bouquet for Farren.


A visit to Jackson, WY is always completed by a supper at the Bar J Chuckwagon. The food was wonderful and I love the cowboy music after the meal.

Let’s be wild flowers, scattered by the wind,

Let us grow, wild and free, tall and brave,

In places that we dream,

In places where our longings are filled.

Let us grow between the cracks of brokenness,

And we will make everything beautiful.        -g.c


I love the details of nature-like the little wildflowers-that all work together to make this world beautiful and remind me of important lessons.

Luke 12:27 “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. 28 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!
Thank you, Heavenly Father!

See you down the trail, 

Kendra 

 🎼Oh Canada🇨🇦

Way up in the northland we crossed the border and I learned several valuable lessons:

#1: July 1 is Canada Day which means that the entire western Canada population heads to the nearest national park a.k.a. Lake Louise. The extra bonus was that entrance into all national parks in Canada are free this year. Happy 150th Birthday!

We caught the free shuttle to the Lake Louise and watched the rain move in. Then we stood in the line that snaked way across the parking lot-in the rain- and caught the return shuttle. 


The sun came out and we enjoyed the brilliant colors of Lake Morraine.


#2: We weren’t sure if it was worth it to add all the extra paperwork of a border crossing to our trip. I asked a lot of different people. Thanks to those of you who encouraged us to pursue it. And to those of you who said “it’s nothing that incredible” I shake my head. 

The turquoise water in the lakes and rivers reflected the silent towering rugged peaks and the beauty was almost overwhelming. We rode in silence. for miles. Drinking it in.


We took a tour of the Columbian Icefields and roared up onto the glacier in a 6wheel drive monster bus. 

The girls were all freaked out and declared this “the most dangerous thing we’ve done yet” after our driver explained that shifts in the glacier can open up ravines big enough to swallow our bus. I thought they were over reacting. Until one of the men suddenly had his foot disappear into a wet hole and after retrieving it he stuck his selfie stick into the cavern and never found the bottom of the hole 🤔. 

Regardless, we drank the clear water, and took pictures and Deborah regretted wearing flip flops.


The other part of the glacier adventure I didn’t enjoy quite as much. 🙈 I hate to admit this, but I’m scared of heights. I did walk the entire way around the skywalk and I peered nervously at the ground 914 feet below us. And I managed to smile for the camera. But you can’t accuse me of spending too much time on the glass surface.


#4: My Heavenly Father takes perfect care of me. I’ve promised myself that I will never run out of gas if the gauge works. There’s no reason to let the tank get that low. But somehow we found ourselves in the British Columbia boondocks with no cell service and we didn’t go through the town I thought we were going to… And we rolled into the ONLY gas station for miles around with “4 miles til empty” blinking on my dash. Wow. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you!

#5: Canada has an impressive line up of wild animals. We added quite a few to our list including this mountain man:


And da dum da da: the Farren Foto of the day (because it was taken through her windshield) a young grizzly heading across the road after a morning fishing… Isn’t he lovely?


Yes Canada, I hope I get to fight the crowds in your fair land again someday. 

See you down the trail,

Kendra 

Wow, Wonderful NorthWest

To our friends scattered to and fro who are faithfully watching our progress across this beautiful land:

I’m sorry to continuously send glamor reports, but it can not be helped. Oregon did not disappoint in anyway shape or form.

The rocky coast almost took our breath away. Partly because it was 60* with a brisk wind. And mostly because it was gorgeous.

We took the scenic route full of produce fields, berry patches, and fruit trees. 

Then the view changed to untamed wilderness with lots of evergreens and clear rushing rivers, lots of wild flowers, and on one stretch we counted no less than 3 different bald eagle sightings. Seriously-how can you describe such beauty? We have a complete new level of respect for John’s account of Heaven in Revelation. There are times when words fail. As beautiful as this world is-what must Heaven be like?

Crater Lake was so blue. Bluer than I’d remembered-but maybe I don’t remember too well. They were still dealing with the remains of 48 feet of snow, so we didn’t get to hike to the waters edge.

We made friends with a Harley gang and ended up running with them through the park. Farren sure wished she sounded as good as them. 🙈 but I promise-no leather or skull caps for our equation of the gang.

We stopped by Multnomah Falls on our way past; such a unique falls along the beautiful Columbia River Gorge.

Recognize the lovely ladies waving from the bridge?

We rolled thru eastern Washington with the pedal to the metal. Notice how the front of the picture tells tales of us tearing along-pretty sure Deb was driving at the time of this picture.

We rolled into Bonners Ferry, Idaho at eventide and it was every bit as much of an oasis as I’d remembered. And then some. We stayed with friends, and watched the sunset and the elk move into the field beside the house. The more experienced ear could hear them bugle. I imagined I could-but I’m not sure I did. 

The gracious locals added to a capital experience.

And then, with a wistful glance in the rear view mirror, we set our focus towards the northland and head on- praising God for creating beauty too wonderful to describe. 

See you down the trail,

Kendra 

Bonus Pic:

Farren Foto ☺️ yay for Oregon coffee shops!