Weekend Favorites: The Fair, a Fix, and Some Housekeeping!

Crazy, fun weekend!

It was the Niverville Fair, and our girls were very excited to experience it for the first time.


On Sunday, we had our second “Camp Fix” event – a bunch of Red Rock Bible Camp staff came over for the day, and we enjoyed games and pizza.

For all you camp people out there who want to come hang out, our next Camp Fix will be happening on July 8th! We’ll have details up on Facebook sometime soon.


Yesterday was my blog’s second birthday. Thank you so much to all of you who keep stopping by here!

Here are the top five posts of the last two years:

1) What I’m Learning As I Purge Our House

2) Why We’re Leaving Camp

3) Getting Ready to Say Good-bye

4) Tips For Purging

5) Behold, the Picaken.

Wow, can you tell we moved this year?! I’m looking forward to this next year of blogging, and writing about our new adventures that we’ll have, now that the moving part is over!

As always, you can click on the button under “Email Subscription” if you want to be notified whenever there’s a new post, ready to read! (Because life around here is SO exciting that you don’t want to miss a thing…?? Or maybe because you just like to stay connected!)


And last of all, I need to announce the winner of Heather’s book, Dream Big. Thank you so much for all the thoughts and comments last week. I really loved hearing about where some of you are at with your dreams, and trying to figure out what your purpose is.

So, the proud new owner of Heather’s book is Laurie Twibell!

I wish I could give away copies to all of you! Make sure to check out Heather’s blog for info on her book, and to read her thoughts on dreaming for the future.


There, housekeeping taken care of. Happy week to all of you!

Thanks to You

First of all, I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who come around here and give my blog some love. I really appreciate each and every person who visits. Thank you for your interest and encouragement.

You have no idea how much it has made my day when I’ve received comments, emails, and facebook messages from someone to share their thoughts on what I’ve written. I love to connect with you all. I love it when this becomes a conversation between people, not just all Kendra, all the time.

To sum up this last year of blogging, here are some little lists:

Five Most-Viewed Posts:

1. Please Think I’m Special! Lots of people ended up viewing this because I wrote about Charlie Sheen. Apparently I need to write about him more often… or not.

2. Organizing Inspiration – I joined an organization challenge on another blog, and apparently there are lots of people out there who love seeing a messy drawer transformed…

3. What I Think About While I’m Cleaning My House – Seriously, guys, you would think this was a housekeeping blog.

4. When God Asks Us to Do Hard Things – The story of giving birth to Kaylia, without Ben. Hardest moment of my life, but also one of the best.

5. I Love My Esophagus – You would not believe how many people end up at my blog because they have injured their esophagus and are looking for advice on what to do! Really. Almost every day. That is a lot of injured esophagi.

My Favorite Posts

Just because those other five posts happened to be viewed the most does not make them my favorite! Here are my “top” posts, based on the topics that are nearest and dearest to my heart, and led to healing because of being able to communicate something important:

1. Reaching Out To Touch His Robe

2. When We Share Our Stories

3. How to Stop Worrying and Enjoy the Ride

4. The Hard Thanksgivings

5. If I Were the Paralyzed Man

6. When Church Hurts

Hmm…looking at that list, I realize that my favorite posts to write are about Bible stories, about the new things that jump out while I’m doing my devotions.

Well, I have thoroughly enjoyed myself in 2011. Thanks for joining me. I’m super excited about 2012. There are all kinds of ideas just waiting to get out of my head and onto my blog, so we’ll see what happens!

Just a reminder, if you want to be notified whenever there’s a new post, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click “Sign Me Up”.

Same Blog, New Name

Once upon a time, I started a blog. I didn’t really know where things were going to go with it. I didn’t have a clue what to call it, so Ben just labeled it “Kendra’s Blog” when he was getting everything set up for me.

I always thought I would change it, but it never happened. Until now.

A few months ago, I was reading My Utmost For His Highest, by Oswald Chambers, and came across a quote in which he wrote about learning to sing on ordinary days, in ordinary ways. Since then, it’s become a thought I’ve gone back to many times throughout each day. When things are chaotic, the house is a mess, it feels like my patience was used up few hours ago, and there’s pee on my pants that isn’t mine, those words come back to me – learn to sing on ordinary days, in ordinary ways.

And that is what this blog is about. I write about all of the little things that I’m learning in my little life. We do family, and we do camp life and ordinary life, and we try to love Jesus more all the time, and we figure out how to follow Him better each day. I’m a stay-at-home mom, and sometimes that feels small. But as I am faithful in the little things, as I follow Jesus on the ordinary days, when there’s nothing especially dramatic or triumphant happening, I know that He is teaching me to “sing”, no matter what circumstances are surrounding me.

I hope that this new name will continue to sum up the things that I write about – loving Jesus and my family, and trying to live an ordinary life that is becoming extraordinary as I strive to serve Jesus in all that I do.

Last Day!

Emotions are running a little high around here. (Not just the positive ones.) It seems as though it will be a tough task to inspire Team Dueck to finish strong.

But we had a lovely time at the beach.

Thanks so much for all the encouraging comments in the last 2 weeks! I would have loved to respond to them all, but….I didn’t have time. Catch up with you next week! When we will all be back to normal…

Aren’t you glad I’m not a trucker’s wife? 🙂

Fresh Ambition

Okay, new motivation to finish strong! Came across this quote today:

Brett’s away this week, training for a new job, and I find that more responsibility for me comes with more ambition. I like the challenge of holding down the fort, giving extra attention to the girls and maybe–just maybe–I’ll blow his mind when he returns to a clean house and trash cans that I actually remembered to drag to the curb.

I like that. I want Ben to come home to a happy family, not one that’s falling apart. I’m not interested in playing the part of a frazzled wife. With more responsibility comes more ambition! That’s how I felt last week, so we’ll look on the Blueberry Poop Episode as a slight set-back, and carry on!

By the way, that quote comes from an amazing blog I discovered today. You should check it out. And definitely read the “Start Here If You’re New” section – she shares the birth story of her daughter who has Down Syndrome, and it’s beautiful. I sat there with tears streaming while I read it.

Anyway. We’re off to make this day fantastic. The house smells like blueberry muffins – how can I go wrong?

Thanks For Sticking Around!

Tomorrow, it is exactly one year since I started this blog.

I had been writing on the Red Rock Bible Camp blog for one and a half years, but I kept wanting to do something different. I wanted the freedom to blog about anything I wanted to. I had pictures that I wanted to share and things I wanted to say that didn’t really have to do with camp. Ben kept saying I should just do it, so one evening, I told him I was ready for him to help me get started, and my blog was born.

In the beginning, I didn’t really know who’d be interested in our family and the stuff I was sharing – I sent an email to every person I could possibly think of who might be remotely interested in reading a blog I wrote. There were 32 people on my list.

I have no idea where the rest of you came from, but I am so thankful! And humbled. You have read many, many words that I’ve typed. You have stuck around as I  slowly transitioned from just sharing about our family and life in general, to sharing some of my deepest thoughts, fears, challenges, and times of growth.

That means a lot to me.

It means a lot to me that you take time out of your busy day to come here and connect with me. There are many other things you could be doing, but you choose to come here and sit with me for a little while. Thanks.

I write it for God, I write it for you. If nobody read it, I’d quit, and go back to writing in the notebooks that I used to fill.

So thanks to those who have been here from the beginning, and thanks to those who have joined up along the way. Thanks to those who have sent amazing and encouraging emails, comments, and facebook messages, and thanks to all those quieter readers who just aren’t into public comments, but faithfully follow along. I appreciate each and every one of you. Thanks for sticking around as I figure out how to do this all.

Thanks for being a part of making some of my dreams come true. Sounds super cheesy, but it’s true! I’ve wanted to be a published author for years, and now, five days a week, I get to hit the “publish” button on my computer. It’s not the same thing, but for this season in my life, it’s just right!

Now I’m thinking a lot about what Year Number Two will hold.

Where do I want this blog to go? Why am I doing what I’m doing? I’ve tossed a bunch of different ideas around in my head – a new blog name, my own domain (wouldn’t http://www.kendradueck.com be fun?), a blog just for family stuff and a blog just for spiritual stuff, leaving things the way they are, writing an E-book and selling it on my site, etc, etc. The list could go on.

Ben always keeps encouraging me to just go for it. Any of it. All of it. The trouble is that I can’t quite decide what I want to do next. Any feedback? Season Two of Kendra’s Blog. What would you choose?

How to Have More Fun Reading a Blog

I know, it’s hard to believe that it could possibly be more fun. But it’s true. I’ve experienced it all over again this last week.

Here’s the secret:

Leave comments.

I don’t write that because I’m begging for comments. Seriously. You don’t have to comment on this blog. Just go comment on any blog. More than once.

The reason? Because then we start experiencing community. Once you join in the discussion, it becomes yours. You care far more about that blog, and the people who write it or read it along with you. You become connected. You get to know what kind of people enjoy reading the same blog that you enjoy reading. So much fun to be had by all.

I also read on this blog that if you want to show appreciation to someone for the time and effort they put into writing a good blog post, the best way to show it is by commenting. I read a lot of blogs, and ever since I came across that thought, I’ve felt like I need to comment more, just like I say “thank you” when someone does something for me.

But guess what? Commenting the first couple of times scared me – very much. I got extremely nervous and worked up over the whole thing, which was extremely silly, because it’s not like it’s a big deal, but it was really out of my comfort zone. I was very self-conscious about writing something that would sound dumb.

And then I made a mistake while I was trying to post my comment, and accidentally posted it twice, which felt like it was announcing to the world that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. And I didn’t, but I didn’t want anyone to actually know that I didn’t. I am not what you would call computer-savvy.

So of course I had to call Ben and tell him all about how I made a complete fool of myself in blog world, and I was so embarrassed, and then I told him that I would never post anything on a blog again. And my darling husband responded with, “That’s exactly why you SHOULD keep posting. No one is going to remember or care. It’s good for you – it will stretch you.”

And then I had to get over myself, and work up my courage, and start posting comments regularly.

Funny how that was such a big deal, when I write on my own blog all the time.

So I get it. It’s kind of intimidating. And yet you might be the person who will gain the most from it. You will transform from a lurker to a member. You will feel a sense of ownership. Other people might be blessed or inspired from the things that you have to say. And it might even be fun!

You should at least give it a try. Somewhere. Anywhere. I know you can do it!

Top 5 Things Bringing Enjoyment to My Life Right Now

There are some things that I’ve been discovering lately that I’m loving – a lot. They are affecting my well-being in extremely positive ways, and so I decided that I would share them with you.

(Notice that I said “things”. Not people, otherwise of course I would mention my wonderful family, friends, etc. People are always contributing to my life in positive ways! )

So here they are, in no particular order:

1) Exercising! I’ve strongly disliked most physical activities, most of my life – never played on any sports teams in school or college, never exercised on a regular basis, and I have really paid for those choices. Right now, I am seeing a physiotherapist for two different issues that would never have become a problem if I would have been exercising regularly, and keeping my muscles in good shape. These problems have ended up costing me a lot of money and have affected me in very life-changing ways. Once I realized this, I wanted to exercise, but couldn’t, until my body started to heal a little more.

Fortunately, I am finally able to exercise, and I am very, very happy about it. I love how it makes me feel, I love it that my body is getting stronger and healthier all the time, I love it that I’m making better choices than I have in the past.

My sister introduced me to the wonders of Leslie Sansone, so I’m doing some resistance training, along with pilates and yoga. Who knew that stuff could be fun?! I spent my whole life thinking I didn’t enjoy it, and now my body is craving it. But not at first. I had to get through the yucky stage when everything hurt and it did not make my body feel better. I’m glad that doesn’t last forever!

2) My Utmost For His Highestby Oswald Chambers
I think that anyone who knows me well probably knows that I quote this book all the time. I completely believe that no book should replace the Bible, but this book is the devotional book I’ve used over and over again for years. It’s only one page of reading a day, and yet Chambers packs more wisdom and challenging insight into one page than many other authors fit into a whole chapter. Always new stuff to chew on and feel uncomfortable about – in a good kind of way!

3) Organizing My House Using This Book:

My mom lent it to me, and it is changing my house, and therefore, my life. I cannot stand a messy house. Ours is not perfect yet, but there have been some noticeable improvements because of the ideas in this book.

Basically, the author takes the idea of “a place for everything, and everything in it’s place” a step farther, and suggests that there is a “natural” place for everything, and if we can find a tidy way to store things in the places where they naturally tend to end up in, we will have less to clean.

For example, if your family continually throws their jackets in a heap by the door, that is where they will most naturally put their jackets. You could try to train them to put the jackets elsewhere, or else you could just accept the fact that that is where they want to put their jackets, and put up some hooks or a coat rack right there. Then it’s almost as easy to hang the jackets up as it is to throw them on the floor.

Or let’s you have trouble with something completely hypothetical like, say, dirty laundry all over the floor. If you put a laundry basket in every bedroom that’s easily accessible, it will be just as easy to throw clothes into the basket as onto the floor. (It totally works, by the way. Hypothetically.)

My own biggest problem is my kitchen counter. I have a very nice place to file all my papers. I just never used it, for some reason. I could not tell you why. I just didn’t. And I have ALWAYS had a pile of papers on the counter, since we moved into this house. It drives me crazy.

Well, after reading this book, I looked at my pile of papers, and I thought to myself, “Apparently that is where I want to put my papers, so that is where they shall stay.” And I went and put  my file system right there. No more paper piles! For over an entire month, I’ve kept it clean. That is nothing short of miraculous. That is how I know this book works. You can buy it here.

4) tinywhitedaisies – This is a blog that I recently discovered. No words, just pictures – beautiful, beautiful pictures. Of flowers and scenery and decorating and food. All my favorite things! It soothes my soul. Ben thinks it’s weird. He said, “Pictures of…doors?” But they were really pretty doors. Taking time in the middle of a busy day to look at beautiful pictures is such a great way to unwind and remind myself to think about positive things.

5) Project Life – I’ve written about it before, which you can read here, and you can check out the product here. It is amazing. This last year, I undertook the project of taking a picture every day for a whole year. There were times when that it was hard, but for the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed the project. It challenged my photography skills and creativity, and it captured so many memories from our year. I can’t keep a journal worth anything, but I was able to keep up with writing on a little card every day.

Here’s my big book:

So I had kind of decided that I would not do Project Life again this year. I wanted a break. I loved doing it, and I love paging through it, now that it’s done, but I wanted a break. But then something happened to me two weeks ago.

I was carrying my Project Life book over to the lodge to put the last finishing touches on it. I was walking down our front steps when I slipped and fell off the side, right into a snowbank. Everything I was carrying flew everywhere. All of the pictures along the top of the entire album got wet. I carried my poor, wet book to the lodge, and took out all of the wet pictures so that I could lay them out to dry. They filled almost three tables.

Then I went home to cry a little bit, and then I spent the rest of the evening watching a movie and forgetting about my problems for a little while.

Fortunately, everything dried very nicely, and all of those pictures are safely back in my book.

But here’s what I realized: As I worked with all those pictures, and looked at each one, I realized how glad I was to have them. It was a good year. I love the finished product, I love how the whole kit is set up, I love it that it was finished in January, and I’m not feverishly scrapbooking to record all of our memories from this last year – it’s all done already!

So I’ve decided to do Project Life again! I’m just going to do it by the week instead of by the day, though. That way, if there’s some days when I forget to take a picture, or there wasn’t anything really exciting to take a picture of, I don’t have to stress about it. We don’t have to try to live an exciting life just so I can get a picture of it! I’m looking forward to seeing how that approach works for our family this year.

And there you have it! The five things that I’m loving right now! What are yours?

Top Posts of 2010

It’s been a fun year! It feels slightly cheesy to say that this blog has been the most life-changing aspect of my year, but in all honesty….it has! You can’t share your personal thoughts with the general public on a regular basis without it changing you.

Thanks for taking the time to come here and read my ramblings! And thanks to everybody for your comments and encouragement – it always makes my day to hear from you, because then this doesn’t feel quite so one-sided!

I thought it might be interesting to end off 2010 with a look at the top 5 most visited posts on my blog:

1)  Tea Party

2) In Conclusion…

3) Addiction

4) Anniversary

5) Pulling Teeth

Looking forward to seeing what 2011 will be like!


So you may notice that this blog is looking a little different. I’ve been wanting to give it a make-over for some time, but am having trouble choosing the “right” look. (You’d think this was actually an important decision, with the amount of time I’ve spent trying to figure it out…)

The old look wasn’t bad – there were just some things that I wasn’t completely happy with. Don’t know how I feel about the new one, either.

It reminds me of buying glasses, which I always think will be enjoyable, but it’s not. It’s such a major purchase – you have to wear them for a significant amount of time, and they make such a statement about you – what you like and your sense of style is always there, on your face, for everyone to see every time they look at you. Buying glasses is kind of a big deal.

I feel like my blog should also make a statement about what I like – it should “fit” me, but unfortunately, that would cost money, which I’m unwilling to pay, so I need to find the closest free option.

It’s like those “What Wedding Dress Are You?” answers on Facebook. If you were a wedding dress what would you look like?

If I was a blog, what would I look like?

Well, I don’t really think I would be green and brown. I love blue and white. I like simple stuff, but not boring. If I could choose anything, it would be a little bit girly, but not cutesy.

Ben thinks the new look gets big points for having a simple, fresh look to it.

I don’t know. We’ll let it sit for a bit, and I’ll see if it grows on me.

Meanwhile, children are starving, and there are definitely more worthwhile things to think about than the appearance of my blog…