Farewell Photoshoot

Once upon a time there were 3 little cousins. A chocolate, a vanilla, and a strawberry.

And even though their mamas were sisters and best of friends-the boys didn’t really look alike. Except for their blue eyes-but those didn’t come from mama’s side of the family.

They loved going over the river and through the woods to visit Grandfather and Grammy.

Grandfather had the wildest games he’d play-like “man over the moon”-which was kinda scary until you were big enough to at least hold your head. But so much fun after you figured out that you’d actually survive.

But then something changed from just all being fun and games. (Isaiah isn’t too sure what to think about it)

The reality is life is full of change-but this one is gonna take some getting used to. (Uriah looks on in disbelief)

Sweet Baby A- all confidently optimistic… God asked his fam to move away for a season, to share His love with another community… and they are going.

Isaiah, his mouthful of crackers, and his enthusiastic hugs 😂

So we are soaking up all the hugs we can for a few days yet. 🥰

“Close together or far apart, you’re forever in my heart.”

Go with God-Nate, Deb, and my little Zanderman ❤️

I love you,


Bonus Pics:

All of the pics from this post are by the talented Molly Suzanne. I’d bought a half hour photography session at a benefit auction and we had in mind a grandparent photo shoot before Alexander moved away. She did such a great job and captured everyone with ease (we even had extra time for pics with the ground crew-Deb and I) totally recommend.

Fleeting Moments of Fame

Do you believe in luck?  I don’t until I observe two of my sisters. Then I do.

You see, Ms Julia Margaret is the luckiest person around. She has been for years. We joke that if we want to win a doorprize, write her name on it. Invariably- Dairyman Specialty, James River, and Farm Credit have her number on speed dial after customer appreciation day.  This fall, Julia and her husband traveled to WI to the World Dairy Expo… and out of 70,000 people- guess who’s having UPS back up to the door and unload doorprizes. You guessed it- Mrs Showalter cleaned house. Again.

Now- my dear sweet darling talented sister Emily… Not so much. Poor kid. She has the most popular girls name in the US for over 20 years, and yet she doesn’t manage to really ever get it selected for the big win. or the small win. or any win. It’s depressing, I think.

Enter the Valley Living Magazine, a quarterly magazine that comes out in all our local stores and is celebrating 25 years. This summer, they hosted a photo contest. We take a lot of pics around here. We aren’t anything professional- we just enjoy being click happy. So Mother discovered the contest and suggested that I enter it. “Favorite summertime activity” or something.  Hershey’s family was here and since their children are cuter than most of my photo shoot options (with respect to my family) We had fun taking a few pics. Emily was here too, and we had a brief, mildly heated, sisterly discussion when we discovered we were submitting the same picture. Oooops I thought we were supposed to be more adult than that.


Emily meekly entered a different picture, and guess what?  My adorable watermelon/German Shepherd pic lost to a pair of sneakered feet dangling over a river somewhere… AND Emily’s sparkler girls brought home a grand prize of a wedding photography book. (If you are planning a wedding- Emily is one step closer to being able to perfectly capture the event.)  In the end, Emily and I were not in the same age group of photographers, so I’m not sure what would’ve happened if we’d sent in almost identical entries. But we won’t know. She won. I did not.


The final contest for Valley Living was to send in your life motto. I looked at this, but decided to pass- they didn’t like my entries anyway.

Meanwhile, our local feed company- Rockingham Coop sent out a flyer about a photo contest they were hosting. Julia alerted us to this one. I waited until the 11th hour and sent in a few pics. Julia and I received a confirmation email right away. Emily did not, which I thought was a little strange. But what do you know? Two weeks later, Emily received a phone call that she’d taken second place and there was a $150 gift card waiting on her. Emily sailed to town and without a backwards glance put the prize towards a .308 Ruger All American . She didn’t even care that they gave photo credit to “Melissa Weaver”. “I got the money and that’s all I care about” she said.  Julia lamented telling us about the contest, and I tried to console us that it’s wonderful that since Em has no luck at all, that she can win things based on skill.


It was fun to see the entries that placed. I was shocked to see that two of mine made honorable mention. But there’s no money in placing that way. But what is money? I really don’t need a new gun.


Like Mary of old, I was pondering all these things in my heart, when I received a mysterious email from the editor of Valley Living:

“Dear Joyce, Thank you for your submission to our Life motto contest. Congratulations on being our grandprize winner!”

What?! A quick phone call confirmed that the editor did indeed have the right Joyce in mind. (my parents find it easier to give out my email address, than to check their own account ) and my mom had submitted a quote from Martin Luther King Jr on the sly.

If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.

She was ecstatic with her big win and we all cheered for her.  I told my family that I’m pretty sure I’m a loser in a family of winners. Em wins. Jul wins and wins. My mom wins…

Friday, Emily and Mother were in town and they stopped in to pick up their prizes at the Valley Living office. Emily received her book, and Mother received a painting.


The lady picked it up, dusted it off and handed it to my wonderful Mother “here this is, we had it on our wall until we got tired of it. Oh, and let’s see, this second place devotional book goes with the first prize…” (Thanks Emily, for reporting this)

So I’ve reached several conclusions:

  •  not many people in the Valley have life mottoes.
  • maybe it’s not luck, but an inherited gene that causes my sisters abilities to win

AND on a completely unrelated note- my thrift store pile is really growing of late… Stay tuned for chances to enter random contests and become a lucky winner…

Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them” Ps 126:2



Tribute to a Loving Man- my Pappy

Dear Pappy,

When we stopped by your place on Monday, you were sleeping, which means that the last time I talked to you was a week ago.


You were sitting at the dinner table across from Grandmother and I caught a glimpse of the man from years ago. You were so pleased to be back in your well worn overalls. You’d fished out your billfold and your heart was full of good intentions: “I don’t drink except for a Pepsi every once and awhile, I don’t smoke. I don’t chew tobacco and if I want to use my money to give to widows and the fatherless, then that’s my business. I’m getting tired of the petticoat government around here.” We all laughed and I squeezed your gnarled hand as I headed out the door. “Good-bye sweetheart. Take you time agoin, but hurry back” you said…


Well, I stopped by tonight, but my “hello is anybody home” will never again be met with the standard “Nobody here but us chickens!” Because you were finally called to that Home you’d waited for so long.

So tonight, dear Pappy, as I’m swimming through the flood of memories that’s been unleashed in the last several hours- I wish I’d told you a lot of things the last time we spoke, but it’s too late for that now.

You knew it anyways.

Famous for your wonderful quirky sense of humor, your love of your wife of almost 67 years and her good food, your zeal for butcher day and your constant gift of fresh homegrown goodies- honey comb straight from the hive, black walnuts, sweet corn, red potatoes, and Dentyne gum; you left a legacy of hard work, putting extra effort into loving the widows and the fatherless, and worshiping our Creator for the 91 years you were on this earth-by always having a song on your heart.


And so I rejoice with you over yesterday. I will never forget stopping to see you and asking what you were up to and you replied “Putting in time, just like I’m in jail.” You’ve finally been released, and though we all wished for this, now that it’s here, I’m still really sad.

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For one brief moment, I wished I was still a little girl that could crawl up on your lap and you’d give me a “bearding” with that few days of growth on your face… And we go over my list of favorite food, and I’d show you my latest mortal wound and you’d pull out you pocketknife and say “Here, I can fix that, let me cut it off”. And then I’d run as hard as I could before returning for round 2… I’m so thankful for all the memories.

You knew I loved you, right?

One more reason to be excited about finally going Home…

Rest in Peace, dear Pappy,



The House By the Side of the Road – Sam Walter Foss

often quoted by Pappy

Let me live in my house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by;
They are good, they are bad, they are weak,
They are strong,
Wise, foolish – so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat
Or hurl the cynic’s ban? –
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.





#15for30: Watch a Launch #missionFAIL

The truth is- I’m not just disappointed in this entire event. I’m disappointed in me.

Briefly- my mom has an old schoolmate who has blessed our lives for as long as I can remember. And when I first asked for ideas of things to do during this somewhat extensive project, right away Enid said “Watch a launch” her husband has been involved with NASA for years. So I googled it and saw that launches not only happen in Florida, they happen on Wallops Island which is right beside my beloved Chincoteague. I thought it sounded like an adventure, but similar to the book idea, I shelved it to “wait and see”.

Then in July during my Beachathon, I spent 5 lovely days on Chincoteague and somewhere during the course of the stay, they announced on the news that there was going to be the first launch since the somewhat disastrous occasion in October 2014, where the Antares rocket unfortunately exploded seconds after lift off. So I began following the process, skeptical that it would work, but curious.

Fast forward over a number of postponed launch dates and innumerable messages with Enid (bless her patient heart) It looked like we could coordinate our trip to the DC airport with Deb’s Kennell obsession and a trip to the eastern shore. I woke up Thursday morning, checked in on the NASA website to discover that the launch was postponed til Sunday, Oct 16.

I knew we were getting a lot closer than we’d been, because my Facebook feed started showing pics of pieces of the rocket en route to the launch pad. And it being lifted into place. And the full moon rising behind the rocket in position.

I was optimistic enough that I booked a motel room in Exmore. Everything on Chincotuague was sold out. Good sign.

Sunday Morning, I checked the site a dozen times, as I loaded the vehicle, and crowed about how much fun I’m having with my list of 30. We worshiped at church and then met Em and after checking the website again, we were off.

We drove down the road, My heart was full of the blessing of being surrounded by such good sports. Em and I got out our cameras and brushed up on our videography abilities. We sang loudly and laughed about life and memories and ate piles of snacks.

Father and Mother and Em and I. We didn’t even care that riding for hours in that fine Escape is miserable. I was so excited.

Until we were almost off of I64, when Enid messaged the bombshell. A cable hadn’t performed as expected and the launch was postponed a day.

Oh boy.

So somebody totally flipped the switch on the morale in the vehicle. How on earth I always get my family into wild goose chases is beyond me. And how on earth they summons up the courage to head out on round 3,678, I’ll never know, but I hope they don’t discover this unfortunate pattern before I discover a cure…

So we still headed for the island. We paid the $8 to drive out onto to Assateague and walk up the beach a ways, and sit by the water and watch the sunset.




We headed for the Crab Shack and were not surprised at all that they were out of the Clam Chowder that most of our gang ordered. Nothing was really happening as we were wishing.

I was in a complete quandary, because I had a few things I needed to get home for, but nothing that couldn’t be rearranged.


The rocket waiting and waiting and waiting…

To make matters worse, Em and I thought we could save a small fortune on motel costs, so we came armed with the appropriate gear to share a room with my snoring father. Did you know that the best snores can penetrate shotgun earmuffs AND earbuds?

The lack of sleep did nothing to enhance the mood Monday morning.

Congress drew up a Bill of Rights and it passed with flying colors, until the President vetoed it without a backwards glance, and we were westbound and down.


sometimes snapchat filters mirror the mood perfectly

I’d like to say that I handled this major failure with the grace and maturity that all 29 year olds should, but I didn’t. I thought by the time I was at this stage of life, maturity would be accomplished and I could more or less breeze along. Maybe it’s because I haven’t gotten around to getting married. Maybe these qualities can not be full realized until one says “I do”. Perfect excuse, KH

It crossed my mind to ignore the launch after we got home, but, Monday night, Emily and Kerry came over for supper and we watched the launch live over the internet, and then watched the red glow shoot across the sky and I couldn’t help but be super excited and feel a little sick at the same time. We were so close.

The entire object behind my #30for30 is to seize the opportunity to learn. And that was successful. My bro-in-laws got all excited about this and pulled up facts about the Orbital ATK Antares rocket that were incredible- it was over 13o ft tall, and was loaded with 5100 lbs supplies for the International Space Station. The rocket performs in 3 stages and had an incredibly specific window of opportunity (when it would meet the station- someone said 5 seconds, someone else thought 5 minutes, regardless required lots of precision)  It will be “grabbed by a robotic arm” once it reaches the ISS…

I also learned -again- that life doesn’t go as expected. But that’s ok. And a good sense of humor is never a wrong thing


Thanks Ben, for creating a meme for our “pointless trip”

And when we fail, hopefully we have the chance to make amends and try again:

So this is not the end. Assuming there will be more launches on Wallops Island, I am determined if I live and keep my health. And should my family decide they have better things to do, I’d be happy to add your name to the list of people going to witness this firsthand. But go ahead a pack a big suitcase, We may be staying a few more days than planned…








#14for30: Write a children’s book : “The Adventures of Farmer Stan”

Winter nights at the Horst household in the late 80s/90s included story hour. We loved it. Father read the best stories. They always included lots of sound affects and whatever twist to the story he felt like adding (and Mother prompting him to stay with the actual plot…) So I knew that he was the perfect option for my next project- but there was also some trepidation with this idea…

Let me back up- Way back when I asked for ideas for my #30for30 list, Cousin Marj suggested writing a book. I stored that idea away and didn’t really think about it until one Sunday, I got distracted in the middle of church with the perfect book idea. (unfortunate, I know) I was so excited, that I told my parents on the way home from church my entire plan. Well, dear sweet Father got on board and totally changed my plot to incorporate a joke he’d heard years ago. I kinda stored that idea too… But when I had my book almost complete, he rolled in to see how his addition was… And I went back to the drawing board…

Snapfish was running a sale, so I printed 10 whole books. Since I’m not counting on this being a bestseller, I thought I’d better start out small.

And so, I present to you, the abbreviated version of the Adventures of Farmer Stan:


The book opens with Farmer Stan (incidentally did you know my dad’s first name is Stanley same as his Fathers?) and his Good Wife Joy embracing the morning over a cup of coffee.


They whip through the morning chores. Stan milks the cow, while the Good Wife Joy gathers the chicken eggs. She holler “BE CAREFUL” over the noise of his trusty ol tractor as he heads to the back 40 to harvest wheat. That field is pretty steep, and safety is of utmost concern. BUT he has such a busy day ahead, that he forgets…


TO WEAR HIS SEATBELT… and the tractor hits a bump and poor Farmer Stan flies through the air… (at the point, my sister’s assure me that my book should be rated PG-13 and will traumatize children for years) Fortunately, the Good Wife Joy knows what to do and she calls 911 where a friendly operator assures her that help is coming and help Farmer Stan stay calm.


Help does arrive in no time as the ambulance bounces back the farm lane and EMT Bob soon has Farmer Stan out and on the stretcher and headed to the hospital. The Good Wife watches and tries not to worry. They still had so much work to do, and now Stan was hurt! How would they manage?


But then she heard a noise off in the distance- Farmer Frank and Farmer Fred (with credit to the men who’ve blessed us on a number of occasions) come and bring equipment and soon the wheat is all harvested…


The next morning finds the couple back at the breakfast table, Stan nursing a broken leg, rejoicing in God’s goodness through the blessing of good neighbors.

And thus ends my part of the story. note- I did take the privilege of adding a few details to the following- my dad’s contributions to Farmer Stan’s adventures


Several weeks later, Pastor Phil sets out to check on Farmer Stan. He waves at Neighbor Jake as he goes past, sees Brother Bagger combining in the field and shouts encouragement to him… But then he rounds the corner and comes across something that makes him scratch his head.img_8049

Farmer Stan’s trusty ol tractor is setting beside a pile of straw with Farmer Stan’s daughter Maggie beside it forking straw in the hot sun.

Pastor Phil goes over to talk to her “You’re working way too hard, you better take a little break and cool down under that shade tree.”

“Can’t” she said, “my daddy wouldn’t like that”

He watched her briefly and then insisted “Look, I have on my good suit, or I’d help you. Why don’t you take a little break while I run home and get my skidloader and I’ll return and have this loaded in no time flat”

“Can’t” she still didn’t pause “my daddy wouldn’t like that”

“But this is ridiculous! You’ve got to quit for a little! You”ll have a heat stroke”

“Can’t” she stated “my daddy wouldn’t like that”

“Look” he plead “I know you’re daddy is a hard worker, but he’s also a reasonable man. Let me go have a chat with him. I know he doesn’t expect you to work THIS hard.”

“Sure”she said, still forking like mad “I know he’d love to chat, he’s under this stack of straw, I’m getting him out as fast as I can!”

When Pastor Phil heard that, he didn’t worry about his suit and soon Farmer Stan was out breathing fresh air…


The Good Wife Joy served the entire gang watermelon as Pastor Phil apologized for jumping to conclusions and Farmer Stan thanked them kindly for rescuing him from his itchy prison.

As the Farmer reflects on that year with all it’s unusual misfortunes, he thanks God for taking care of him, and sending just the right help when he needs it.

The book had it’s maiden voyage with my dear friend Andrea’s adorable and energetic sons. Father read it with all the appropriate sounds and motions. The boys hung on bravely til the end and there were no tears, I’m happy to report to my sisters.



And the Go0d Wife Joy just smiles sweetly.


May you be able to see God’s hand at work in your life, bringing just the right person when you need them. Even if it does totally change the plot of your story (🤔) Good ol Farmer Stan😂



Bonus pics:

After Story Hour, the boys showed us their puppies… Too much cuteness!

And… Deb’s addition to our family excitement, Mr Kennell ruptured his spleen at an accident at work… So Mother has been enjoying the chance to brush up on her nursing degree. We are glad that he’s recovering so well. And that his bro and family visited from TN… And Nate, good sport that he is, humored me by reading Farmer Stan to his nephews. Mother brought out Farmer Stan’s barn and that was much more exciting than staying to get Stan out from under that straw stack.


#13 for 30:Answering the Call 🚑

I’ve been excited about Emily’s emergency work for years. She has so many intriguing stories like this one from 2013   But I’ve basically never seen her in action. So I put that on my #3o list hoping that eventually the stars would align and I could gain some priceless experience. We tried once last spring during a baking day at our house. We ran out the back door and jumped in Emily’s truck to respond to a drug overdose. Only to discover that running a call was apparently on our canine’s bucketlist too- they were loaded on the truck and hanging for dear life and we were part way out the lane before we noticed them with the wind in their face, grinning from ear to ear. The patient refused treatment and we returned home, unable to cross that one off the list. But we tried.


Silly Benelli, I miss that dog

11:00am We are eating one of Eber Wenger’s delicious pork BBQ sandwiches and chatting with old school friends at the Spring Creek barn sale and have no way of knowing that way up in the mountain a little lady is going for her first four-wheeler ride… Takes the corner to fast, rolls and is suddenly in need of help

11:30 We are about a half mile past Clover Hill Fire and Rescue when the call comes in “trauma injuries… ATV accident…” Em says ” I’m going to run that” and I say “can I go with you?” And then like usual, I chicken out and my family insists… So we whip into the station. B is already there preparing to be our fearless driver. The introductions are brief. “Kendra, this is B, he’s our driver. B this is my sister Kendra, she’s here to observe.” Em rides shotgun and runs the sirens and radios. I jump in the back of the ambulance and we are off.

I can’t believe how people hit the ditch for us. We sail through the 33 intersection without a backwards glance. (Except for me, my seat faces backward.) We head for the mountain. Em takes turns thinking about the task in front of her “I’m mentally preparing to stand down Air Care, I don’t think we are going to need them” (apparently it’s common procedure to have the medical helicopter ready to launch in case the patient needs to be flown) “how can they know the name of some boondocks camp ground and not know whether she is conscious or breathing?” And sending KJ a shopping list “can you get cream cheese?” B the driver proceeds to explain that he hates cream cheese.

11:52 We drive and drive and drive and finally come to the intersection where a black Dodge Ram is going to meet us and lead us on. Not there. Squad truck 173 continues on up the mountain and finds the pilot car. We follow suit. I wonder how far they had to go to find cell service to call for help.

12:00 We turn off the main road and start bouncing back a path that goes behind a dam…and over hill and dale and with 2 river crossings… Big discussion over whether the Ford or Dodge ambulance would be more preferable here… Regardless-the Ford is performing just fine

12:20 We turn at a paper mache monkey holding a balloon. A man on a four-wheeler waves us on. We drive past a tent city and back into where the patient is as relaxed as you can be laying on gravel with a back injury for an hour. (Em “stands down air care”)

I jump out and follow Em. There’s no grass growing under her feet as she hurries to the scene “Hello, I’m Emily, did you have a little accident here?” Immediately, she’s on the ground beside the patient, talking, assessing, and preparing for transport. P arrived on 173 and he’s quick to grab any supplies Em needs. A neck brace, and a back board make up a few of the essentials.


12:35 Two massive Great Danes lumber over to where we are and look me straight in the eye. (This may be a little exaggeration, but not much) I discover that I have the ability to not say a single word for over 20 minutes.  But I’m taking it all in-the leaves on the mountain are just starting to change. The forest around us has been recently logged. The patient’s boyfriend has refused to drop her hand for a second. Somebody with some medical knowledge is obviously present-the bandage on her arm wasn’t wrapped by a rookie…

12:40 We are loaded and start the long trek back to civilization. The boyfriend follows about 2 feet behind the ambulance. I watch Em and P interact with the patient. P has a story about a scooter that fell on him one time. Em has visited the Big City where the patient is from. P remembers with fondness the hamburger he left on the grill when the call came in. Meanwhile B is doing the best job possible to get us over this logging trail with the least amount of jolting

13:00 We hit black top again. We all breathe a sigh of relief. Em starts doing a more thorough evaluation of the patient’s injuries. Again I watch silently. She moves around the ambulance ignoring the fact that we are hastening down the mountain, curve after curve. She holds onto the bar above the patient, bracing herself. I thank the Great Physician that her shoulder allows her to do this type of thing again.

13:06 We enter cell phone service. The boyfriend stays 2 feet behind the ambulance, texting frantically. I hope we don’t make any sudden stops.

13:08 Em asks if it’s ok if she starts an IV. “Sure.” I admire how brave and agreeable the patient is. Em jokes that if I faint, everybody is supposed to ignore me. The patient comments “Good luck finding a vein, I’ve been told I have small veins.” I’m still watching everything like a hawk. I can’t help be feel a little proud when Em hits the vein so effortlessly. And a little proud that her squeamish older sis didn’t even flinch. I wonder what I would’ve done if this had been a major trauma case.


I updated Deb on Em’s IV ability via snapchat. but I guess Deb already knows- Em has used her for practice. (!) Not me, brother

13:11 Em calls into the hospital “Hello M, this is Emily with Clover Hill Rescue 178, we are about 10 minutes out with a patient involved in an ATV accident. She is….” She goes over her evaluation. “Ok, Room 8? Got it. We will see you soon.”

13:21 We arrive at the hospital with the texting boyfriend still on our bumper. The stretcher is so cool- they push a button and it automatically lowers the legs. And we are unloaded. The doors of the hospital swing open to meet us. Four nurses immediately follow us into room 8. Em briefs them on the case, there are a few signatures required and this part of our job is complete.

13:31 We exchange the IV box in the EMS Room at the hospital for a new one. The quote “Whenever there is a human in need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference” stenciled across the wall inspires us as we open the door. Em gathers the supplies she needs, and we return to the ambulance.

13:35 Em and I ride in the back, Em finishes up the report the entire way out of town. And I continue surveying the inside of the ambulance, lost in my silent thoughts. One small vehicle that has, and will continue, to impact so many people. Because of Em and comrades who are spending their lives making a difference…

This was up on the board in the EMS room.


So I speak to Emily, but this is for all of you who bless our community so selflessly :

Thank you for the continual sacrifice this lifestyle demands. For getting up in the middle of the night, going out in the worst weather conditions, skipping meals and sacrificing over and over and over, knowing that you are simply giving your time and energy, not expecting anything in return.

Thank you for understanding-that I don’t understand-when I get grouchy that our supper was delayed or you didn’t show at all, because “I’m on a call”. Supper can and will wait. There are people who need you desperately, NOW.

Really, you are the backbone of the community, because all of us know that if something happens “call 911”. So thank you for giving us peace of mind,  that there will be help should we need it. Because you are using the gifts God has given you.


Thank you for being my hero.


 Matt 25:37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Frenzied Fourth and Family

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”

The heart was fond for starters. But absence really doesn’t hurt that. My life has been a whirlwind since the Isles trip. Deborah flew in and met us at the airport. What a fun and very short 12 days. Sunday Eve was the definite highlight where the entire family was together here at Windy Hollow and we grilled out. (Actually Mr W grilled and the rest of us ate- what a perfect partnership- lol)


We enjoyed the Herschberger family’s visit completely… Little Kendra’s love of canines is something to behold (except when the pup is going after her watermelon)… What a great family!


The guys had a few firework type activities to complete the evening… They had a contest to see who could shoot a bottle rocket and take out my sky lantern… I felt smug that the score remained sky lantern 1 bottle rocket 0 🙂




As always, time together was too short…. I thought about how many campfires we’ve enjoyed as a family and how special it was to have us all together for the first time in a year. Family is a wonderful blessing.  – Kendra

Bonus Pics:

Wheat harvest came and has pretty much gone..


We tried to cross of #9 on the #30for30… But it sadly remains unchecked. We headed off valiantly to go spelunking… But the cave remains MIA… We got completely drenched after traipsing of the mountain for almost 3 hours in what started out as cloudy and ended in a downpour… And I’m afraid, judging from the poison ivy reports that are filtering in, I’m going to need to summons new troops to get this one accomplished… More on this on later 🙂


And finally attempt at family photos…


Way to point at the intruding dog, Kendra




This is it- Moving Mania

Recently every spare moment has been spent sorting and sifting and mostly hating my less than organized tendencies. I’ve been going through a million childhood memories. A million memories in general that stretch from before my broken arm in second grade to present day happens. I’ve been reading all sorts of encouraging notes that randomly came my way and been blessed all over again by kindness. I’ve thrown out treasures that would’ve broken my heart to do so in the early years (but really, I have no need for a baseball cap from White Tire) And- cheery news to whomever gets the job of going through my estate- unless I develop a lot less sentimental attributes between now and then- I have retained a number of things that I.just.can’t.part.with.

Sorry, but it’s true. Sentimental fool that I am. (now you know)


Our main moving crew… Detroit rode the entire way balancing on the picnic table on the back of our gooseneck… Grinning from ear to ear

The reality is, that tomorrow is going to be a huge day for me. I am planning to move from Paradise Lane. My parents will be moving soon as well, but I’m rushing off on another adventure, and thought MAYBE it would help ease the fact that I’m glaringly absent if my stuff was taken care of… (Stay tuned for more word on my next trip 😉 )

So, as I reorganize my treasures in their respective boxes, I’m reorganizing a lot of living. I’m sorting through old memories of days that were sunshiny and days that the storm clouds were horribly black and scary. I’m celebrating wonderful times in my past, and I’m praising God for the things that He’s planning in my future.

It’s really no fun to move. I’m telling good-bye to my dairy farmer past all over again. And it makes me sad. But I’m so thankful that God is guiding and this is His idea. And it’s a good one.


So, here’s to the next few weeks of crazy box living and continued sorting as we take the big step to leave our beautiful Paradise Lane that we have loved perfectly for 24 years. Wow almost a quarter of a century. May the next family love you just as well.

I’m excited that our kitchen window will continue to look at the same mountain range. Singers Glen is beautiful, and I like it already. It won’t be hard to make that home. Thank you, God for leading us…


But-Paradise Lane- I will always love you… Now if you excuse me, I’m afraid I need a tissue…


Bonus Pic:

One of my favorite bouquet from the flowers Mother did for cousin Jessie’s wedding over the weekend 🙂


#5of30 Run with Patience

Once upon a time, there was a girl who spent a lot of time watching the world through a windshield and not very much time running. In fact, as a retired dairy farmer- she seldom ran at all.

Fortunately for her, she had a friend named Kim who ran and ran and ran. So when Kim offered to help her run a 5k for her #30for30 challenge, she jumped at the chance and started to train.


The cardinals and squirrels shook their heads as they saw her first attempts to run in the lane. As winter gave way to spring time, the red-bud trees and the purple violets and that brand new calf in the nearby pasture didn’t feel very convinced either.

Fortunately she was blessed with a lot of encouraging friends who took the time- randomly- to check in with her efforts. “Been thinking about you, when’s the big run?”

And today it was.

You know how everybody says you need to take a multiple vitamin? Well, somehow I was really ornery about that, until I discovered gummy vitamins.  I’ve been bragging and bragging to my family the last few weeks, that I’ve been taking vitamins like clockwork this winter, and I have yet to get sick one time . For me that’s impressive. Not even a cold.

Until Friday. Mr Cold hit me with both barrels, and I began to seriously question my brave ideas.

But today went good.

I’ve discovered a lot of parallels between running and the Christian life. Obviously the writers of the Holy Word had that inspiration long ago, as they penned “I press on towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” and “let us run with patience the race that is set before us”. So I press on.


The sun shone brightly on the rambunctious gang of people who gathered to Run/Walk for Young Life. Julia and Emily both kindly joined in the fun. I thought my cold was a problem (really, breathing is overrated) Emily managed to fall down a complete flight of stairs Friday morning- and each step caused her great anguish- but she made it.

And we ran, and walked, over hill and dale and through the woods and back again. There were 7 splatter stations, and we got coated. Hilarious. Especially Kim’s blue goatee…


But now it’s just a memory. Mainly, because the paint powder washed out surprisingly well.

And so, I press on. I don’t know what you’re running through. Maybe you fell down a flight of stairs and have a bunch of sore muscles that nobody know about, or maybe your life has lots of visible splatters that you aren’t sure what to do with… Press on. And I hope that God sends your life encouragers like He has mine…


And Dear Encourager Team: just FYI, I’m really going to need you if I decide to go for a 13.1 Emily? Julia? What do you think? lol



Bonus Pic:

My life according to the comics


#4of30: Silver Lake Bed and Breakfast


It so happens that my cousin turns 30 a few months before I do. So, we surprised her with a night at the local Silver Lake Bed and Breakfast.

The B&B has only been open for business within the past year. Before that she underwent an incredible face-lift. I watched with interest as the original rambling white house turned into a beautiful log home. As the progress continued- I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to see inside! So finally that quest has been accomplished!

This morn, as I was a lady of leisure, I stared at the charming imperfections of the exposed beams above our comfortable king bed. I tried to imagine how they had been hewn from the trees around the building sight not quite 300 years ago. I fast-forwarded a few years and looked out the window and expected to see a Confederate soldier ride up on his horse. (I really had too much time to think-lol) I do wonder how she escaped the  dreadful Burning in the Valley. I thought about how many storms this old house had weathered, yet remained so beautiful. I wish I could have heard her stories.

The place had a charming amount of antiques here and there.  And it was so comfortable. The hosts did an amazing job at making us feel like we were visiting old friends.

And so we celebrate the gift of life and of family and God’s goodness through the years- whether it is 30 or 300. What a blessing!