Farewell, 2013

This past week, I was paging thru a magazine as I played the waiting game, and came across and article about a race to the top of Pikes Peak. On average the assent is 45 minutes.. Sebatien Loeb managed the 156 turns in 8:13.878 minutes..

I remember my first experience with the mountian. Julia and I were with the Ranck girls exploring Colorado. We flew out, and as I recall none of us were old enough to rent a car, so we borrowed an F250 from a friend’s dad, and hit the road. Pikes Peak was definitely on the agenda, so we paid the entrance fee and prepared to climb.. All was well for a little, but as the road narrowed, and the lack of guardrails became more and more obvious, I became aware of the value of the truck I was driving, the lives with me, and.. the fact that I am unfortunately scared of heights.. “Uh Oh, Kendra, what have you gotten yourself into..” Fortunately the feeling of trepidation diminished rapidly, and I learned to look ahead instead of around and before a lot longer-we were enjoying a bird’s eye view- gazing out at the plains, stretching endless from the foot of the mountian.. Appreciating the view, confident in the climb.. Great memory..


That’s where I am as I stand on the summit of 2014.. What a climb 2013 was.. A great year.. had some twists and turns in it that I wasn’t expecting.. But when I remembered to focus ahead instead of around.. God, the Perfect Navigator is good!!

And as I stand on this mountain top, reflecting-I think I can see some things in the Valley below me-things to expect in 2014- My calendar is filling up-a few weddings, some travel, exciting things.. I think.. I’m expecting to go that route- but I’m also aware that the Navigator may see fit to reroute me completely.. I’m glad He’s in control..

I hope that the mountian top of 2015 will be as beautiful as the view is here. I bet it will be.. 2013 will be forever marked as a great year.. I’m enjoying pausing here and reminiscing..

What can be said to properly recap a year full of God’s grace and goodness.. Joy, I’m thinking. Full of joy because of the Love of the Father. That He sent His only Son to earth to die for me..”Behold-I bring you good tidings of great joy..” Joy.. Because of the unbelievable amount of blessings in my life.. My family, my friends, the fact that God is writing my story-guiding my life from the beginning to the end.. Joy.. Because it is a command.. “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice!”


Wishing you a joyous New Year!


Bonus pic:


Deborah recieved a step-by-step guide on how to create balloon animals for Christmas, and our house has been a jungle ever since.. An octopus, elephant, a pair of doves in a heart, diffent kinds of dogs, a giraffe, a teddy bear, a snake, a snail, piles of balloon hats (that she declares are fit to be seen in public-much to her oldest sister’s chagrin.. 🙂 ) She really does seem to have unearthed a hidden talent here.. A ballon parrot, anyone?

Christmas Music

I love this time of year.. The world is transformed into a place full of laughter, joy, peace, love, with a tinge of suspence.. 🙂 I love the busyness of the season. All the special services, the extra gatherings, the opportunity to again stop and let the people in my life know what they mean to me..

I know its easy to get so overcome by everything- that we forget the actual Reason for the Season.. The priceless gift of Christ coming to earth as a baby.. Hard to fathom, really..

Probably my favorite memories from this season include Christmas music. I could go on and on about experiences with candle lit services on Christmas eve, caroling in the hospital when a van run had me spending Christmas day there, riding on the back of a truck-freezing-to sing to people in the community, spending an entire weekend in LA carolling until we knew the songs backwards and forwards.. “Are Orient from Kings Three We.. ” just kidding..

But I love the music.. I remember one of my teachers handed out a paper of cartoons that illustrated different songs from Christmas time.. Some religious, some not.. That was fun. And I guess thats kinda what gave me the idea for this.. Your turn for a quiz.. I’ve posted a number of random pics. There may be a clue or two after the pic.. And there is often more than one correct answer.. How well do you know Christmas songs? 🙂 If you feel fairly confident- you’re welcome to post your answer as a comment.. All the answers will show up there eventually.. Thanks for humoring me.. 🙂

Wishing you a very blessed Christmas.. May the Giver of Music and all good things- be near to you..

Merry Christmas, my friend,


1. DSC04057 (there’s three)

2. DSCF3312

3. DSCF8955 (last rose of summer)


5. image (Thought provoking question)

6. image (snow on Paradise Lane)

7. DSC03600 ,DSCN0065

Bonus Pics:

Julia, Sherman, and I went to Cabelas this week to spend our Cabelas points.. It was really really fun.. Guilt free shopping is the way to go.. 🙂 After spending the morning at the milk plant in Md painting, and philosophizing, Cousin Mervin joined us and we were hammer down. We thought we had plenty of room to haul home whatever..So we shopped happily.. Until..we started to load, Sherman realized that he had picked up some metal in his tire. So we loaded rapidlly, discovered that not all Wal-Marts have a tire center, drove to Advance Auto and bought a repair kit, and to WaWa and parked beside the air compressor and prepared to fix the problem.. Except the repair kit was worthless and the air compressor was frozen (it was 18 degrees with a miserable wind chill..) So AAA to the rescue- excluding the fact that he had virtually no tools other than a battery powered air compressor and “If this battery dies, we are done..” Ah.. To make a long miserable tale of a not so great experience, a little more glamorous, God provides! Eventually we were on the road again.. And while we were waiting, we happened to discover that we had been charged twice for the one knife set, so Jul and I braved the wind, returned to Cabelas, and got back a $100.. So we all lived happily ever after, all ecstatic with our new purchases..

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Mother and Father spent a week in Germany with John Deere. They had a good trip- meeting with the Forage Harvestor engineers, touring a research farm, eating at exotic places.. Probably the funniest story they returned home with was.. While the men met with the engineers, a guide was taking the ladies shopping. He was giving them a hard time about how much money they were allowed to spend, and the one lady quipped, “What are you, the shopping Nazi?!?” Her seatmate was very quick to mention that was possibly not the best terms to throw around in Germany.. 🙂

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Girl’s Club

For 6 winters now, every other Monday night, Julia has plans.. I’m really not totally sure how Girls Club started. My memory tells me that it is a branch off from a vision of an ESL teacher with several of the boys in his classroom.. So they started spending time with boys and eventually saw the need with girls as well..

But it seems like a great program. Julia has faithfully taught the craft side of things. So I’m always on the look out for something fairly simple for 9-11 yr olds to do. Julia loves it. She returns often with a story, or an update on which girl’s family is moving where, or is planning something extra curricular  to do with her co-teacher and their class. Their heart is in the work..

I’m really not sure why I’d never tagged along with her. I’ve often thought I’d love to get involved, but realize with my unpredictable schedule that it’s not realistic for now.. But Monday night, I didn’t have anything going and Julia said, “Come to Club with me..” So I went..

I was totally impressed. Van drivers wheeled in with their passengers. The girls met in the cafeteria at Berea and enjoyed board games and just connecting with their teachers and friends. Then headed to their classrooms for a Bible lesson and a craft..


I loved listening to their chatter.. Batting Spanish back and forth.. Teasing each other.. “Hey, Julia! Did you know that Jesus saved my mom and me?” (The day before we had experienced a wintery mix..) “Well, my mom and I were driving along and it was snowy, right? And we met a truck like from the interstate-I don’t know what you call them.. And the windshield got all blurry, right? And all of a sudden we were heading for the side of the road! My mom lost control of the vehicle.. But then Jesus helped her get control again.. But if He hadn’t we would have been dead…Right?”

Because this was the last class for this year, they met back in the cafeteria for perfect attendance and Bible Memory awards, before snack and dismissal..


As I watched, my thoughts ran in a lot of directions.. It’s so easy to want immediate results.. I’m guessing for those who have given a lot of time- they can watch these beautiful young girls, and see what difference this is making.. And sometimes-that can be discouraging- because we can’t see.. But I was just impressed with the need to be faithful.. Bless those who are doing so much to provide a little bit of stability.. Who are selflessly giving of their time, energy, and resources to make an impression on a child..

“Suffer the little ones to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven..”

Bonus pics:


My Christmas project this year included these candy sleighs.. Attempting to gift wrap starbursts is quite the experience.. 🙂


Poor Rolo.. She became MIA while we were in Fla.. My parents knew how upset Deborah would be, so they didn’t report it to her, and apparently Father was up most of the night calling for her.. Our neighbors are well known in the community for their trapping endeavors.. Once they snared their own dog, ending its life.. And once they laid a snare on a well worn path-to discover that was the neighbor lady’s daily hiking trail.. Ooops.. Anyhow so poor Rolo spent an entire night out in the bush waiting for them to check their traps.. They thought she was uninjured, but apparently her foot was sliced by the iron jaws.. It’s gotten remarkably worse.. So Deb invested in a canine lampshade to discourage her from licking it.. Rolo doesn’t understand her new limitations, and used it as a bulldozer blade.. So that was short lived.. It splintered.. Hopefully somewhere Deborah can come across the perfect combination and rescue the health of her best friend..


For my parent’s Christmas this year, I got the idea to hire David Showalter with Ville View Photograph to take pictures of our farm. Along with my idea came the brainstorm to do it over chopping season. Not everyone was in agreement that it would be great to have an action shot.. So he graciously shot two sessions.. I’m thrilled.. Well, we all are actually. The ending results are fabulous! He gave permission to share some of them with you..  Enjoy.. Thanks so much, David!!!!

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And extra bonus:

This pic kills me.. I obviously wasn’t bothering with the camera smile on this one.. Guess this must be my “no nonsense, focused on the task at hand” face.. Lighten up, Kendra! I really do love my job, lol


Sister Time

What do you have when you cross 4 Horst girls and a blue mini van with 26 hrs of travel, almost 2000 miles, a visit to Sea World, some time to relax on the pure white sandy beaches of Siesta Keys, and 4.5 days? Lots of memories and reason to smile..

We decided to take one last sister getaway quick before Julia takes the plunge.. So we managed a flying trip to Fla.. What a time.. Orlando was first on the itenerary.. And we got in on Sea World’s Christmas Shows- I loved that. Can you believe they had an outdoor ice skating show in 70 degree weather? And I was fascinated by the “sea of trees” which included a lake, multiple Christmas trees and lights-made up of 7 miles of garland.. As always the animal shows were incredible.. But the top was probably their “O Wondorous Night” show which included the Christmas story and 30 different Christmas Carols..

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We had good memories of a family trip to Siesta Keys a few years ago, so that was voted destination of choice.. Wow.. I had forgotten how splendidly gorgeous the area was.. We had so much fun just being together and walking the beach, and relaxing. The vegetation is such a great combo of south (Live Oaks and Spanish Moss) and tropical (a variety of Palm Trees, hibiscus flowers and a flock of parrots in a tree beside our pool..) And what would a trip to Florida be if we hadn’t stopped in Pinecraft for a little home cooking.. 🙂 Every time I clean the garage and come across my sister’s ever enlarging seashell collection, I attempt to write up a law forbidding the trend.. But every trip to the beach, the PERFECT shells are collected, and dragged home to the garage collection.. So if you happen to know a use for perfect sea shells.. 🙂

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Way to soon it was time to head north to reality and the overworked parents who awaited us.. We took a short cut on the way home- thru rural northern Fla and passed at least 15 boiled peanut shacks.. Deborah wanted to stop to get in on a local experience.. But Julia’s sights were set on Paradise Lane.. Family.. 🙂

So I arrived home- at 4 a.m. , bone weary, but in time to help prepare to butcher, embrace the north wind, and with a little bit more love for the blessing of a wonderful family.. 🙂

Bonus Pic:

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Butcher Day is deeply rooted in my mom’s heritage.. Pappy loved the day. Even yesterday, he stayed on, like the patriarch.. Watching the excitement, ever willing to taste the pon hoss, pudding, or fish and give his opinion.. 88 butcher seasons behind him.. Aunt Janet asked me what my thoughts were on the day. At that point I was just weary.. “It’s an art” she said.. And I agree.. Aside from the experience and the treat of the fresh meat- it’s a good time to just enjoy being with family, and appreciating each other for our own uniqueness.. A time to make memories.. And a reason to sleep really good that night with a freezer full of meat.. PTL

Photo credits: Emily, Deborah, and Julia