Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Good and Bad

I continue to have low periods and high periods. I am riding this wave and learning how to trust Jesus in such incredibly real ways. I've often said, "you can only sit with someone in the muck if you have been in the muck." So ... are we willing to be in the muck? Sometimes I say I am. Sometimes I say I can't.

In the meantime, we are slowly but surely ending the 2023-24 school year. Abigail is in 6th grade, Hannah 4th, and the boys 9th. Isaac turns 16 on May 7! We also got new baby chickens in this morning. Exciting!

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Happy Birthday Adrienne

Yesterday (March 23) was my sister-in-law, AD's birthday. This girl is one of the coolest people I know, and I love her to the moon and back. Happy day "A.D." -- you are one of the best parts of my life.


The Production of “Newsies” had to be moved to a smaller theatre downtown. The big theatre had a break in its rigging. So now there are 6 shows with 300 people max instead of 700 on a much smaller stage. 

The show must go on! 

Isaac also got cast as a soldier in “Sound of Music.” He was competing for other parts and almost got one of them, but instead got a smaller role. I am so proud of his determination, passion, and hard work. 

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Time wasted is NOT wasted!


Time goes so fast


Days feel like a perfect length.
I don't need them any longer.
But for goodness sake,
Do the years seem way too short for my soul, corazón (my heart)…
way too short for my soul, corazón (my heart).
-Twenty One Pilots

I am going to try ...

 ... to write each day. To write what I am learning and thinking and growing in. 

Here's what I know. My body kind of "broke" emotionally. But I've realized why! I've realized that I taught myself to please PEOPLE instead of the Lord. It seems simple. But it's not quite that simple. But I am working through it and HEALING. And I will come out stronger in the end.

It's easy for people to say to me: "Just don't worry about others." But in my mind, it becomes SO much more. And I have a really challenging time with it. However, I am going to learn how to improve in this area. 

It's that simple. 


Thank you to those of you who have checked on me. I'm not going anywhere and will be Blogging more regularly. (I hope.) 

Stay tuned for thoughts from Wendi :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

A good day

Thank you for all the love and encouragement. But more importantly, the prayers. I am learning a lot about my body and what I've put it through for 46 years. Eventually, the way you are thinking, won't work anymore, and I am having an opportunity to learn that. I plan to share some of that on my Blog. This life is HARD. We are sinners. This is a sinful world. We come into it with the pasts of our community and our family, and we have to navigate through that. My kryptonite has been people-pleasing. I've convinced myself that that works for me. But the thing is, it doesn't. It puts stress on the body that cannot be kept up with ... eventually. 

I'm hitting this spiritually. I'm hitting it medically. I'm hitting it emotionally. Therapy, medicine, prayer, the whole thing. I have had two good half days and today (Tuesday) has been overall good. Depression and anxiety is no joke. But I am determined to USE this for God's glory and to help others in this. Just like infertility. It will not define me. It will help make me into the woman God made me to be. 

To those of you out there struggling too, you are not alone. 

Also, I'll be talking more about a therapy I am doing. It is called EMDR therapy. Really fascinating stuff. Sounds really kooky, but it really, really isn't. 

Thursday, March 07, 2024

Can't write

I am in the throngs of some anxiety/depression. I don't like to write about that here, if I can help it, because my kids are old enough to get on my Blog and see what's going on. But it is, what it is. I am clawing my way out of it. Mentally unwell is worse than physically unwell any day. Or maybe I am only saying that because I am currently mentally not Wendi. But she will be back. And my writing will come with that, I know. 

Life is NOT easy. Life is NOT all happiness. But it IS worth living. We must hang on and fight and love and support. I have fantastic community. I don't try to hide things. But I really want to be on the other side of this. 

The good news is: I've lost 25 pounds. :) I can't eat when I feel like this. The better news is: I had 25 pounds I wanted to lose. I didn't want to lose it like this though. But, silver linings!

Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Costa Rica Birding

While birding was not the primary purpose of our trip to Costa Rica (this was a family vacation), we still got to spend a lot of time scanning the skies, trees, bushes, and undergrowth for birds.

We hiked over 23 miles on this trip.
I’ve included photos from EBird of some of the more beautiful and unique birds we saw. My kids took a lot of great photos, but they are not really sorted and loaded yet.
I saw 183 different species of bird on this trip. Over 140 of these birds were species I had never seen before except in books and in wildlife documentaries.
I also saw many birds well known to me, birds I see nesting on my farm in East Tennessee. Even though I knew these birds fly to Central and South America for the Winter, there was still an odd sense of disjointed familiarity with seeing a Summer Tanager or Black-Throated Green Warbler in the rainforest of Costa Rica. It was like running into a neighbor at a coffee shop on the other side of the country when you’re on vacation.
Two of my children are also birders.
My son saw 153 new species and reached a big milestone… he saw his 500th bird on this trip!
My daughter is an amazing birder, who frequently sees things that seasoned birders miss, but she loses steam quickly. She can’t spend all day birding like my son and I can, so she typically just goes for a few hours in the morning and spends the rest of the day with the non-birders. Even still, she was easily able to see 90 new species and reached her 450th bird on this trip.
Here’s our birding breakdown.
Puntarenas (Curi-Cancha Refuge and Monteverde Reserve).
Alajuela (La Carolina and Tapir Valley).
Guanacaste (in transit).
183 Total bird species on this trip
143 Lifers
670 Total bird species seen to date
184 Total bird species on this trip
153 Lifers
532 Total bird species seen to date
110 Total bird species on this trip
90 Lifers
458 Total bird species seen to date
Birds seen (* indicates a Lifer):
1. Highland Tinamou*
2. Great Tinamou*
3. Muscovy Duck
4. Crested Guan*
5. Least Grebe*
6. Rock Pigeon
7. Red-billed Pigeon*
8. Short-billed Pigeon*
9. Inca Dove
10. Ruddy Ground Dove*
11. White-tipped Dove*
12. Gray-chested Dove*
13. White-winged Dove
14. Groove-billed Ani
15. Squirrel Cuckoo*
16. Common Pauraque*
17. Vaux's Swift*
18. White-necked Jacobin*
19. Green Hermit*
20. Long-billed Hermit*
21. Stripe-throated Hermit*
22. Brown Violetear*
23. Lesser Violetear*
24. Purple-crowned Fairy*
25. Green Thorntail*
26. Black-crested Coquette*
27. Green-crowned Brilliant*
28. Magenta-throated Woodstar*
29. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
30. Violet-headed Hummingbird*
31. Violet Sabrewing*
32. Crowned Woodnymph*
33. Snowcap*
34. Coppery-headed Emerald*
35. Stripe-tailed Hummingbird*
36. Scaly-breasted Hummingbird*
37. Rufous-tailed Hummingbird*
38. Blue-throated Goldentail*
39. Russet-naped Wood-Rail*
40. Purple Gallinule
41. White-throated Crake*
42. Double-striped Thick-knee*
43. Northern Jacana*
44. Sunbittern*
45. Anhinga
46. Bare-throated Tiger-Heron*
47. Green Heron
48. Western Cattle Egret
49. Great Egret
50. Green Ibis*
51. Black Vulture
52. Turkey Vulture
53. Crane Hawk*
54. White Hawk*
55. Gray Hawk
56. Resplendent Quetzal*
57. Gartered Trogon*
58. Collared Trogon*
59. Lesson's Motmot*
60. Rufous Motmot*
61. Broad-billed Motmot*
62. Ringed Kingfisher*
63. Green Kingfisher*
64. Prong-billed Barbet*
65. Northern Emerald-Toucanet*
66. Collared Aracari*
67. Yellow-throated Toucan*
68. Keel-billed Toucan*
69. Black-cheeked Woodpecker*
70. Hoffmann's Woodpecker*
71. Smoky-brown Woodpecker*
72. Lineated Woodpecker*
73. Golden-olive Woodpecker*
74. Laughing Falcon*
75. Crested Caracara
76. Orange-chinned Parakeet*
77. Brown-hooded Parrot*
78. Red-lored Parrot*
79. Scarlet Macaw*
80. Barred Antshrike*
81. Russet Antshrike*
82. Plain Antvireo*
83. Olivaceous Woodcreeper*
84. Wedge-billed Woodcreeper*
85. White-collared Manakin*
86. Masked Tityra*
87. Northern Schiffornis*
88. Cinnamon Becard*
89. Common Tody-Flycatcher*
90. Eye-ringed Flatbill*
91. Mountain Elaenia*
92. Mistletoe Tyrannulet*
93. Tufted Flycatcher*
94. Northern Tropical Pewee*
95. Eastern Wood-Pewee
96. Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
97. Yellowish Flycatcher*
98. Long-tailed Tyrant*
99. Dusky-capped Flycatcher*
100. Great Kiskadee
101. Boat-billed Flycatcher
102. Social Flycatcher
103. Tropical Kingbird
104. Lesser Greenlet*
105. Yellow-throated Vireo
106. White-throated Magpie-Jay*
107. Brown Jay*
108. Gray-breasted Martin*
109. Southern Rough-winged Swallow*
110. Blue-and-white Swallow*
111. White-browed Gnatcatcher*
112. House Wren
113. Rufous-naped Wren*
114. Rufous-and-white Wren*
115. Cabanis's Wren*
116. Bay Wren*
117. White-breasted Wood-Wren*
118. Gray-breasted Wood-Wren*
119. Black-faced Solitaire*
120. Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush*
121. Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush*
122. Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush*
123. Swainson's Thrush
124. Wood Thrush
125. Mountain Thrush*
126. Pale-vented Thrush*
127. White-throated Thrush*
128. Clay-colored Thrush*
129. House Sparrow
130. Elegant Euphonia*
131. Golden-browed Chlorophonia*
132. Scrub Euphonia*
133. Yellow-crowned Euphonia*
134. Yellow-throated Euphonia*
135. Olive-backed Euphonia*
136. Common Chlorospingus*
137. Black-striped Sparrow*
138. Orange-billed Sparrow*
139. White-eared Ground-Sparrow*
140. White-naped Brushfinch*
141. Chestnut-headed Oropendola*
142. Montezuma Oropendola*
143. Baltimore Oriole
144. Bronzed Cowbird*
145. Giant Cowbird*
146. Great-tailed Grackle
147. Worm-eating Warbler
148. Northern Waterthrush*
149. Golden-winged Warbler
150. Black-and-white Warbler
151. Tennessee Warbler
152. Mourning Warbler*
153. Olive-crowned Yellowthroat*
154. Tropical Parula*
155. Chestnut-sided Warbler
156. Black-throated Green Warbler
157. Chestnut-capped Warbler*
158. Golden-crowned Warbler*
159. Costa Rican Warbler*
160. Buff-rumped Warbler*
161. Wilson's Warbler
162. Slate-throated Redstart*
163. Summer Tanager
164. Carmiol's Tanager*
165. Black-thighed Grosbeak*
166. Blue Grosbeak
167. Scarlet-rumped Tanager
168. Blue-gray Tanager*
169. Palm Tanager*
170. Golden-hooded Tanager*
171. Rufous-winged Tanager*
172. Silver-throated Tanager*
173. Scarlet-thighed Dacnis*
174. Shining Honeycreeper*
175. Red-legged Honeycreeper*
176. Green Honeycreeper*
177. Blue-black Grassquit*
178. Variable Seedeater*
179. Morelet's Seedeater
180. Bananaquit
181. Yellow-faced Grassquit*
182. Buff-throated Saltator*
183. Black-headed Saltator*
184. Southern Lapwing (seen by my son and daughter… I missed it!)
Wendi Huisman Kitsteiner

Costa Rica

We took a family trip (and another family came too!) to Costa Rica. We are home. I took about 7-9 days offline completely. Like I didn't turn my phone on for days at a time! I'm going to be including some pictures and posts in the days to come. Stay tuned.