Friday, December 20, 2013

Hochstetler Christmas Greetings from 2013

Happy Holidays!

Are you familiar with bloggers or media people who suggest you pick a one word theme for the year?  Like Courage, Hope, Joy, etc.?  While I made no word pronouncement on 2013, I can now look back and wrap up the last twelve months with GRACE.

G-Gift of Family

A wedding celebration took place in Tulsa, as Josh married Kira Perkins. Two more grand kids were added in the process as we welcomed aboard, Brayden (13) and Cody (18). Kira is working at Arvest Bank, while Josh continues his job with Odyssey Printing.

All of the family but Cody,  made an Oct. visit to Indiana and we enjoyed  playing, crafting and hanging out. Jill (12) and Elle (10) are lovely young ladies!
We took advantage of the season to frolic at a farm decked out for fall activities.

Fun at the Farm

Aubrey, Rebecca and Shawn

Kris and Dan

Dan switched jobs this fall and is now employed by a landscaping company. He also volunteers with the Jefferson Fire Department. Kristina enjoys her days at home with Rebecca (3) and does a great job managing schedules, meals and outings with her family. Aubrey (9) , Shawn (6) and Rebecca bring us lots of joy and fun times.


Ian and Dominic

Eman and Jodi

Florida news: Emmanuel continues with his      mechanics job at BMW, while Jodi enjoys her mothering and creative outlets at home. Their summer visit here was packed with activities and FUN. In between visits, we keep up with Ian (5) and Dominic (3) by Facebook and Skype. 

Austin is helping foster kids who are approaching adulthood to find jobs, fill out applications, get their first apartment, etc. as a life skills coach through a non-profit agency in Valparaiso, IN. He brought us exciting news this Fall! He asked Ashley Buescher to be his wife and they plan to be married in January 2014. Welcome, Ashley, to the family!
Austin and Ashley


AJ and Amanda

Auron and Elika

Amanda and AJ stepped into a new adventure in the far away land of Williamsburg, VA, this Fall.  Sad goodbyes sent them on their way and we wish them well.  AJ secured an IT job there and they are living with AJ's parents in a large, beautiful house.   We enjoyed a brief visit with them when we made  a trip to VA to see my Dad this
November. Auron (6) and Elika (3) will be our  new Skype buddies!

Other family news:
Thanksgiving this year meant time with my Dad and Lena and 2 of my siblings and their families in Harrisonburg, VA. Dad and Lena are healthy and happy together.

Kevin spent May-Oct. interviewing his parents and writing up their history which I was privileged to then incorporate into a photo book for them.  His dad has some health issues, but they still enjoy hosting family in their villa home.


Kevin and I keep company with our jobs every week day,  Tri-State Compressed Air and Goshen College, respectively. We are thankful for employment and likeable co-workers.

Harvest Community is our church family.  We serve there in hospitality, library management and leading groups from time to time. Friends there are priceless.

How fun to keep up with all of you on Facebook! Our lives are enriched through you! Thank you for being a part of us.

A-applications of learning and truth

A Bible study on Genesis this year has proven very inspiring and helpful.  Here's one quote from the author of the study book that encouraged me just when I needed it: 
"God does not test us to make us fail but rather to see us succeed.  Because faith is like a muscle and must be used to grow strong, God tests us to give us the opportunity to exercise our faith.  If you are going through a test right now, consider what God might want to do in your life by allowing it.  And consider the heart attitude God desires for us to have during the test: Count it all joy...(James 1:2-4). It may be hard to rejoice while being tested, but pondering the potential results should help." 

Authors who have impacted me this past year have included Ken Davis, Ann Voskamp, Kay Arthur, Liz Curtis Higgs, Randy Alcorn and currently Billy Graham, as I'm reading his autobiography. World revival came through this humble, servant leader and preacher. Lord, may we be consumed with your kingdom and not focused on what we can gain from this world.

Kevin and I were privileged to attend the Peacemaker Ministries' conference in Columbus, Ohio in September.  The stories of how God is healing relationships among his people and in communities around the nation was very encouraging.  We came away re-energized to share the message of the Gospel of Christ's love and forgiveness.


Kevin and I still strive to become ballroom dancers. Classes are fun, but the moves keep us on our toes!

A missions trip to Costa Rica in June afforded many opportunities to face new surroundings and hard work.  Short story version: we helped in the construction of a church building in a remote area of the rain forest. The women dug clay dirt, while the men pounded the dirt into the floor and built the framework.  We encountered wonderful people, tropical animals, travel delay, a rain torrent and a mysterious illness.  You can read the long story version here.

Growing older has its own set of challenges, but other than some minor health issues, losing eyeglasses and joints that go on strike when you ask them to work, we are grateful for blessings beyond what we deserve.


Our grandchildren bring us energy and pleasure.  We celebrate many birthdays, pre-school programs, first time readers, potty training successes, creative art projects and Candy Land wins and losses. 

We sold our trusty Honda and became Toyota Prius fans. The gas mileage has been impressive.

May this season of the year find you with joy in your heart, comfort in whatever is difficult and His amazing GRACE that is always constant and limitless. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Our love,
Kevin and Ruth

Monday, December 9, 2013

Feasts of Blessings

Did you enjoy all that feasting over Thanksgiving? Hopefully, you didn't have too many repeats of pumpkin pie and cranberries, no matter how they were disguised--sauced, saladized, relished, with a cream cheese layer, under chocolate, with nuts or nutless, or whatever new Pinterest version you were the guinea pig for. And hopefully, you weren't the stuffed turkey when it was all done and celebrated.

What mind menu have you been feasting on over the last month?  Short snacks from books you had to get back to the library, nibblings from the buffet of any witty, opinionated, political or religious articles posted on Faceback, or DIY noshing from woman's magazines? How about  chewy antics and talents from You Tube? And the binging from the abbreviated language of endless texting messages?

I've had my share of these decadent offerings, but there was something more that I find continuing to come to mind and bringing me comfort or encouragement. Did anyone else sink your teeth into some deep, nutritious fare from the table spread the Master Chef had prepared for you?  Whether it's been intentional or has come unexpectedly, I have tasted some oh, so good things lately.

I've been subscribing to the Encouragement for Today emails from Bible Gateway. When I signed up, I wondered if I would really spend the time reading the thoughts every day.  I've been amazed at how relevant they've been to me for that particular day and how the encouragement has lingered.  Here's the first and last paragraph from the one for Dec. 6, entitled the Power of Assumption by Wendy Pope:

"The assumption battle is one I have fought most of my life. I've questioned friends' motives, assuming they were against me. To avoid being hurt, I've detached from relationships with no valid reasons...

Before the power of assumptions ruins a relationship in your life, pause. Settle your emotions and consider what you know to be true about your friend. Take a moment to pray for her and plan how to reach out to her. She might just be struggling with her own assumptions that you could help her clear up!"

Another tidbit from Carey Scott's blog.  

My Monday night Bible Study from Genesis had these comforting words from the author of our study book on the lesson about Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac:

"God does not test us to make us fail but rather to see us succeed.  Because faith is like a muscle and must be used to grow strong, God test us to give us the opportunity to exercise our faith.  If you are going through a test right now, consider what God might want to do in your life by allowing it.  And consider the heart attitude God desires for us to have during the test: Count it all joy...(James 1:2-4). It may be hard to rejoice while being tested, but pondering the potential results should help."

Another day it was a Christmas song I heard on the radio by Chris Tomlin.

From Kay Arthur's Bible Study on Proverbs:

"The effort we're willing to make to attain something is a measure of how much we value it...This is the real measuring stick of our value system-what we're willing to acquire through sacrifice."

This challenge from Romans 12:11 stretched my taste buds, was a bit hard to swallow, and is still digesting:

"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."
Have I become sloppy, Lord?  Not much zeal to speak of when I find myself being critical and focused on myself.  I don't always have a good attitude about serving, let alone the z word in how I do it.

These are the thoughts that cocoon me on a sleepless night, turn on the bubbly fountain of joy inside and cause thanksgiving to come out to the One who guides me into paths of righteousness. He uses simple words to whisper His love and presence and keep me focused on those things of good report.

Help yourself to my smorgasbord and share the delicacies you've been feasting on.