Thursday, June 10, 2021

Any guess which one is Hannah?

I love this picture (above) of some of the ballerinas in princess camp ... no big surprise that the one that's my daughter ...

... is the one without shoes on. So like her to beat to her own drum. All the time!

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Thanking my husband


Will y’all do me a favor?
This man John Kitsteiner has loved me for almost 30 years. He has supported me during infertility, anxiety, depression, in ten homes on three continents.
This last year kicked his butt as he managed a pandemic as the co-director of a rural ER. He never wanted to be the director. And he certainly didn’t want a pandemic, but he did it.
Ask anyone who works with John and they will use the same adjectives to describe him: kind, intelligent, humble, down to earth .... he’s an incredible doctor ....
.... but he’s an even more amazing husband and father. During the last month our family has come out of covid and been hit by anxiety and depression — in me and in two of our children. We know this is probably both hormonal and situational after the year we’ve gone through.
But John doesn’t blink. He continues managing his ER (which is seeing record numbers of patients beyond what their capacity can handle after losing many nurses during the pandemic) and then comes home to a fragile wife and struggling kiddos and wraps us up and guides and loves us while still managing the farm that waits outside his door.
I know it may be corny to shout out to him on social media, and he would tell me not to do it, but I want to.
If you have read this far, will you leave a comment with an adjective to describe John? Or share a story or memory? If you’ve seen him as a patient, please share! He would never ask for encouragement but this year truly took it out of him, and I want him to know how many people value his wisdom and character and the amazing man that he is. I love you JB.


The Internet is always coming up with something new! Here's the latest! Thanks Kristin Girton!

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Chapter 7: Back Dosling/Guck

We are going to be doing a science experiment around these parts. First, we must formulate a hypothesis. If a goose hatches a duck egg and thinks that the little baby is her gosling, will the bird grow up to be more duck-like because of its nature ... or will it grow up to be more goose-like because of its nurture. 

It reminds me of a favorite book in our house: A Blessing from Above which details the story of a kangaroo that adopts a little blue bird. 

As an adoptive-family, I am constantly amazed by the lessons I witness and could give on nature vs. 

Here's the truth: there are things my son that does not share my DNA does that remind me so much of his birthmother. A movement he makes. A facial expression. A look. 

And then, he'll do something that makes me think: he's definitely a Kitsteiner

And now, we will have the opportunity to see how this works with ducks and geese! 

So fun!

Monday, June 07, 2021

Losing in Chess

Sidge snagged these pictures of me attempting to beat my eldest in Chess. 

Truth: he beats me nearly every time.

Truth: if I stand a chance, I have to concentrate very hard.

Truth: While I can sometimes get all the way down to a "win", I stink at preventing a draw!

Truth: Who invented this game? I mean, it has to be the best game of all time? Would anyone argue that?

It's summertime here. School is done for the next two months. So I am trying to spend my days playing games with the kids, getting some long-overdue organizing around the house done, and of course, the farm calls our name even louder in the heat of the summer. 

I have begun to recognize that May may be the hardest month for me on the farm. I think it's because the farm has started to pick up for the June/July push, but I'm still trying to educate my children. We haven't completely finished schoolwork, and yet, the farm is requiring my presence more and more.

June, on the other hand, is actually an easier month than May because the pull to both things has ceased a bit. The kids don't need me for their education. The farm needs me more. 

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Chapter 5: Therapy

Hard labor may be some of the best therapy there is. 

I suppose, in my growing up years, that therapy was my athletics. I can clearly remember struggling with my emotions during my senior year of high school. I asked my English teacher, Mrs. Mackey, to excuse me, and I think, sensing I was struggling, she let me go to my athletic director father's office. (She was a gem by the way)

My wise Dad sent me out for a jog. 


I don't shoot baskets anymore or kill a volleyball to release anxiety and depression. But I can unload the back of a Ford with two tons of chicken feed and feel better. 

Here's what I'm learning ... more and more as I spend extensive time in this rural bit of America ...

We are designed to moveWe are designed to work. Both sexes. (Although I really think, boys especially, need work and girls have the ability to find outlets through other things.) I think athletics helps replace that fact, but I truly believe the absence of movement is affecting our children. 

Our boys are turning into me, and they crave responsibility and jobs and purpose. Today, Sidge successfully pulled John's tractor out of a ravine with the side-by-side. What a moment for him!

Truth: our family is dealing with some anxiety/depression right now. One of my sons is battling. I'm battling. A daughter is struggling with some sleep issues related to anxiety. It's awful to feel this beast as a grown-up. But to watch your child face that same beast and be helpless to fix it, is gut-wrenching. 

But as son and I unloaded these bags of feed, you could tell: this movement, the strength required, sweat, heat ... it's good for the soul. It means something. It's ... therapy.

Pine Cove Camp 2021

This is my oldest daughter. Like any child, she's incredibly special, and it can be hard to put her into words. 

And because I love her so much, I can't even stop myself from posting BOTH of these pictures of her this morning, out with me on the farm as the sun was rising before 7am. 

And while I find it very hard to put her into words, her camp counselor, after just five days with her, was able to put her into these three words above -- which truly highlight her nearly perfectly.

Both my daughters just finished a week at Pine Cove Cam, hosted by my church: First Christian Church Greeneville. This is the second year we've had an opportunity to be involved with this amazing "traveling" camp, and I seriously cannot put into words how impressed I am with every aspect of what this camp does.

Three years ago, our church decided to stop doing "traditional" VBS camps. Instead, they "hired" Pine Cove to come to our church and put on a camp. The first time, my oldest three went. Then came a year off with COVID. And now this year. The boys are too old, Abigail could return, and Hannah could attend for the first time.

From the moment you pull into the property, these counselors are demonstrating more energy than I could have ever thought possible for 9am in the morning. I got a video of our "morning arrival" here. 

I love that my girls were sad the week was over and so blessed by the opportunity they had to attend!

Every time I watch the sunrise on the farm I think, I should do this everyday. Until it’s 6am, and I’m cozy in my bed, and I don’t want to get up to go outside yet. 

But this morning, it’s a perfect 57 degrees, and my heart is resting in the sounds of the world waking up. Everyone needs a chance to hear nothing artificial. I can’t hear any vehicles or sounds but the world waking up.