"Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage." Psalm 84:5


i voted. and strange to think that in two years from today we'll be electing a new president.

on a totally seperate note, a few pics from lately...the barker kids squinting in the sun, throwing a football around on the beach, and i just got glasses for the first time ever..strange. i keep thinking i need to take them off when i go inside, as the only glasses i'm used to wearing are sunglasses. also, when i'm walking, it feels like i'm doing one of those mime acts where you pretend to go down a flight of stairs. the upside is i can see what i'm reading a lot better. i'll take it.


chad and i went on an actual date on saturday night after spending the afternoon at the annual Medishare company picnic, thanks to our wonderful new friend who insisted on babysitting (our kids are actually getting old enough to be offended by the term). we went to heidi's jazz club in cocoa beach..chad had gone around getting recommendations at work, made reservations and everything - what a guy. it was nice..great atmosphere, good food, fantastic live trio of piano, drums, and stand up bass, with a guest sax player who kept us highly entertained with his striking resemblance to al frankin. we walked to the beach after and stood on it for a minute, but it was actually getting chilly (!), so we headed home. talked for awhile with our sitter and her friend who came over to keep her company..they were such an encouragement, young women who have a passion and desire for God to work out His will in their lives. and good senses of humor to boot. we felt blessed. went to church via the internet in our living room the next morning..not what we want to do every week, but a nice option for once in a while. went to the beach again that evening - the kids played, chad tried to surf (waves weren't good), and i was in the mood to hunt for seashells. we run so much during the week now, we're really loving our weekends these days.


life in a nutshell...i started working very, very part time at medishare, our kids got to go tubing on the indian river over labor day, lucy's sixth birthday has come and gone and jesse's ninth is just around the corner, still working my way through reading crunchy cons..very good, but somewhat dense reading, found out today i'm missing a jane austin fest with my good friends in Topeka - *boo hoo*, going into week three of two small groups here - chip ingram's effective parenting in a defective world and gary chapman's the other side of love (about anger) - both very practical and insightful, but having homework in both classes can be a lot, getting used to doing laundry in the kitchen instead of the basement (they don't have basements here), seeming to not be getting enough sleep lately, really feeling a need to learn how to type better.

also, the semiannual ccm summit is next week in cocoa beach. last year i tagged along with chad, had a mini vacation while our dear friends kept our kids in kansas. this monday we'll go to the dinner on the first night with the help of friends here who have offered to watch our kids for the evening and try to get back home not too late because they have school the next day. our frame of reference has been jolted, and while in many ways i am amazed and thankful that it's gone so well, i still sometimes just stand back and shake my head at this funky journey we're on.


(drum roll please....) we're closing on our house in kansas on monday!! praise be to God, who takes good care of us.


two mornings ago i woke up to an alarm (actually, the first djembe beats of Enter the Worship Circle) for the first time in a long time, flipped on the lamp next to my bed, opened my Bible and bleary eyed read these words - "Aliens will shepherd your flocks". not an encouragement right off as this was the first day my kids were going to don school logo embroidered polo shirts, grab backpacks and lunchboxes, and head into their first year at Royal Palm Charter School and Oakwood Academy, respectively. A year ago I posted this, and it amazes me how much can happen and change in a year. in any case, i went back later in the day and read through Isaiah 61 in its entirety, and found that though aliens shepherding your flocks sounds as the outset like something you want to avoid at all costs, the whole chapter is describing the Year of the Lord's Favor - good things, positive developments. so i was relieved and encouraged after all.
when i picked up the kids after a day of doing very little and enjoying the silence (more fun than you can imagine unless you've been a stay at home, sometimes homeschooling mom for 11 or so years), they could not wait to tell me all about their days, their teachers, the kids in their classes..they loved it. lucy's wonderful Christian teacher told us that in her 32 years of teaching, this would be her first lucy :). i smiled ear to ear all the way home thinking of how wonderful it was that they were in the hands of capable instructors who actually enjoyed doing things like making charts and sticking to them, and organizing and implementing lesson plans, et cetera. now if we ever find a need to go back to homeschooling, i will do it if it's the best thing for my kids, but i gotta say - it was quite a struggle for me when i was doing it, and i'm just so glad that for this year at least, God has given us a more workable option. With Chad going to work and the kids going to school, we enjoy each other's company more when we do have time to spend together, as i suspected would happen.

here's to a fantastic first, third, and sixth grade year for the barker kiddos.


From troubledwith.org, a website of focus on the family...

"The world’s going on without me. Another common reaction to a major move is feeling like no one really misses you … and maybe they’ll forget you. This panic generally begins following thoughts of how your “old” life — the people you love, your church, your friends and your family — are carrying on moment-by-moment without you. Yes, life goes on, but they haven’t forgotten you.

I’ve only got roots as deep as ivy. With many moves, you are forced to “start over.” Suddenly the grocery store is a labyrinth of scattered items and your quick trip for bread and milk takes three times as long. You get lost … and not just once or twice. After meeting new people for months, you are annoyed with introducing yourself and you crave deep, meaningful conversation with someone who understands you. For many, it feels as if the real you missed being loaded on the U-haul and now you’re forced to reinvent yourself for a whole new audience. This fear has some grounding in reality, for with change, you change. But the real you is still there, and as people get to know you better, you’ll find yourself emerging again."

i read through the list of reactions on this site, and identified most with these two. i knew going into this major life change that I would feel something strongly, experience some difficulties over it, but it was hard to know exactly what it would look like. these paragraphs defined for me what i'm going through right now..i found them helpful, and as long as i can know what's up without focusing on the negative, it will be a good thing. it also helps to know that these are common thoughts and feelings to have after such a jarring change, and that over time they will fade as other things take their place.

on the brighter side, we met our only new friends at sonic with all the kids for dinner tonight, then came back to our house for coffee, board games, good conversation, and a little hurricane preparedness info. they stayed late, the kids played well together (they have two boys a little younger than kansas and jesse, respectively); the only downer was that there was no girl for lucy..she sure misses her little friends. but a good time overall, we were encouraged. here's hoping our three will sleep in just a bit tomorrow...


So I turned 34 last week. I gotta say, it helps that my dear sis is always a year ahead of me (happy birthday, Gina). It's not that I feel old..I just may be starting to have that thing that older people tell me about where I look in the mirror (or at my bunions) and think - huh? I feel so...25!
Anyway, C did his best to make my day special. Roses (twice!), a big box of chocolates that I had the kids help me eat, Dinner - fabulous swordfish in Indiatlantic, a sitter for the kiddos - amazing since we just got into town earlier this month, a funny card, and a few sweet emails. He's quite a guy when he puts his mind to it.

I am trying to take my cues on adjusting to this move from my kids, mostly. They are resiliant, adaptable, taking life a day at a time. I am curious and expectant, while still dealing with the looming lonliness of not seeing a familiar face anywhere. I do like the church we've been visiting, and plan to sign up for a Bible study there. I will help out at the kids' school - they start August 9th...I may work very part time at MediShare's offices or from home for them, swim laps pretty darn cheaply ($1.50/session) ten minutes from my house, maybe volunteer with Meals on Wheels or the Red Cross. Try to write more consistently. Get closer to Jesus. It's still, though, for now, a fine line between hope and heartache.


well, here we are under the great big sun a fifteen minute drive in the beach van to the ocean. (in kansas it was known in our family as 'mom's van', but since our first trek to the atlantic, it has been a sandbox with skim and boogie boards taking up the wayback, where i used to put groceries. now groceries are precariously piled around kid's feet, but i digress...)
we love the city, the surf, the 9-5, five days a week (for the most part).
we miss dreadfully our friends, our home church, our not having to think about where to turn going down to road to wherever.
we do believe that it is God's will for us to be here, so we believe in time a warm blanket of sorts will settle over us, but for now new sights, sounds, and smells will have to be enough to keep the ball in play.
i'm thinking of revamping hmmm... ...i look at sunny peachy colored flowery sandy templates and they seem somewhat appropriate, but then i think of them as a place for hmmm..., and they just doesn't fit. hmmm... just doesn't adjust very well, i suppose. it does fit like a glove in bookracks, in gray northern streets, in earthtones of green, blue, and brown, in museums, libraries, coffeeshops, in rainy saturdays curled up in a worn armchair under a knit afghan, in old hymns, in autumn. ah, something will be figured out, i'm sure.
meanwhile, we are running thought a checklist of seeming endless details...get records in order, new drivers licenses, tags, and registration; buy school supplies and uniforms for the kiddos, find a new pediatrician, CNM, podiatrist, orthodontist, family dentist; find a vehicle for C, learn our way around, get the phone company to get a regular yellow pages to us (sometimes the internet doesn't compare), ETC. There is and end to this, though, and i look forward to getting into a routine again - for our family, it's been too long.


i took the kids to the library the other day, as i have packed and stored away just about every book they own. lucy actually said to me, "mom! i want to read but there are NO BOOKS!" strange to hear such a thing in our house...anyway, we checked out our stash and heard the librarian tell us our due date was long after we'd have moved out of town. yesterday i bought milk and the date it will expire is a week after we hit the road. it really is starting to feel surreal, this business of relocating, moving halfway across the country our kids, where we call home, our hearts, minds, and memories...our day to day life. i used to move around a lot when i was in (and inbetween) college - michigan to chicago to california to chicago to colorado to kansas to arizona and back to kansas...but then we had three kids, and set down some roots; and while i do not feel tied by too much history to this place, i do feel a tugging as relationships change drastically and familiar terrain stretches and becomes remodeled, and as we are facing, as a family, a nearly blank slate that will need to be filled in. Thankfully, the One who holds us together will continue to be the tie that binds, will go before us and hem us in behind, will never leave us or forsake us. So wonderful to have Him as our Rock, our Shield, our Provider, our Father, our Saviour, and our Friend.


currently reading through crunchy cons, a book to which i'm finding i heartily relate. conservative christian who also owns a copy of the moosewood cookbook and shleps around in birks half the time and tevas the other, that's me.

on a completely different note - we've painted several rooms, replaced the bathroom floor, made countless trips to goodwill to donate our unwanteds, held a suprisingly lucrative garage sale, ordered carpet, filled a friend's garage with boxes holding most of what we won't need for a month or two, and are narrowing down our choices on which house to rent when we get to florida for a year or so while we look for a permanent home. phew! and there are still a ton of details to take care of, not the least of which is to get this house sold. we're tempted to be anxious about this, but are praying..you're welcome to join in. chad starts his new job on july 10th, and we're planning to pull out on the 4th for a long, long drive with the kiddos and all our earthly goods. again, prayer is most welcome!


sometimes i get glimpses of how to love..mostly, i muddle through unaware.
this is a wild month for the barkers..between the five of us, ten flights scheduled for points southeast and southwest. dealing with a major breakdown between two of our children we will probably need outside help with. c's job very possibly changing drastically, including a very possible relocation for all of us. plans were made on very short notice, my head is spinning, but my soul has quieted down and is somewhat still before He who calmed the raging sea. I know that this is all in His hands, there is no suprise or uncertainty, no lack of wisdom, no indecision in Christ.
and as for loving...when the mundane starts crumbling, it's not so hard to see how important it is to keep the one thing you can control in place. we need to be there for each other despite the stresses and hard issues, we need to be careful with our thoughts and attitudes, and our words.

i know God is doing something here, when the dust settles i'll let you know what it was.


"Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, 'We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him, and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.'" -Luke 18:31-33

"The angel said to the woman, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, he has risen, just as he said.'" -Matt. 28:5-6

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'" - John 11:25-26


this evening we were watching some dumb show about child stars and chad kept saying things like "what is that smell?". at some point i made some toaster waffles (standard barker recreational eating fare) and he said distractedly when he saw them "when did you make those? is that what i'm smelling?"...i am on the mend from nasty crud and can't smell a thing - i was no help. finally he went downstairs to the boys' room and immediately yelled for me to come down - i flew down the stairs just in time to see him yanking kansas' blanket off of his desk lamp and kansas himself out of bed. his blanket had two large spots on it about to burn through...


we've been really trying lately; really listening in church, aiming to lead our kiddos in the way they should go, really working to be a family that God can smile down on. we know he loves us no matter what, but..you know what i mean.
also lately...kansas has been doing his jekyll and hyde thing - loud disrespect and eye rolling one minute, cute and loving notes ("you're the BEST MOM EVER") the next...jesse is starting his thing we thought we got over years ago again of acting afraid to be in a room alone with his brother,...lucy has seemed to have forgotten it's her job to obey at all...and now this. i feel like we're being attacked. you could pray..that we'll get through this time, that we'll learn whatever lessons he has for us in the school of faith. and that he will keep us safe.

i just went down and looked at the boys sleeping again before i go to bed..shuddered, shed a tear, thanked our Father. i do know that our days are in his hands, but it sure can look on this end like some calls are just too close.


we had a great time in colorado..the kids had a great time here with friends, we're phasing into post-mountain reality. really, i could live out there in all that vast and amazing natural beauty, but our life is here, so..

i have a very sore throat today, playing catch up with the kid's homeschool, trying to unpack, do laundry, make a big pot of chili because, well, it's chilly out - they're predicting somewhere between 2 and 10" of snow by tomorrow afternoon. my house wasn't exactly clean when we left last week, so i really ought to vacuum and swipe some clorox wipes through the bathroom, but that may have to wait until tomorrow. or the weekend. maybe if i didn't feel like an elephant was sitting on my chest and coughing could somehow get him off...


...spending the week in keystone with the hubby. he's here on business, but we came up a day and a half early to ski/snowboard. and sit in the hot tubs on the roof of our hotel. we're going to owe our good friends who are taking in the barker kids big time, for sure!


we made chad a shirt with this picture on it for his birthday.


i drew a picture of lucy last night. it's ok, nothing too special, but resemblant (?) enough to warrant an "I didn't know you could draw that good, Mom!" from my ten year old. drawing is one of those things with me that i love everything about, learned in the most minimal way how to do, and take it up as a transient hobby a few times a year. i have lots of these hobbies - gardening, writing, making funny little free-form things with clay, reading actual good books - there is a copy of 'Jonathan Edwards: America's Evangelical by Philip F. Gura that i found today at the library in the new books on my lap..I was heading to bed to start reading it when I got sidetracked by an urge to blog - ...let's see - cooking anything with gusto besides pasta dishes, flower pressing, knitting (i was really excited about it some months ago, but now of course it's been reduced to fits and starts, still sticking only with the one stitch i was able to master). I wonder how much of this has to do with laziness, maybe busyness with other, more tyranny of the urgent things so that i have not enough to give to extracurriculars; possibly being the second born girl in my family, perhaps having an inward, analytical personality that fears failure so i stick with the little i know and don't venture to try more. in the end, this wondering all gets tiring and i need a distraction, something relaxing to encourage peace creatively...eyeing that watercolor lesson-a-day calendar i gave myself for christmas...


well, we're more than half way done with our first year homeschooling all three bambarinos. it's been..challenging. it took me most of this time to figure out what i'm doing, yet somehow we're pretty caught up for the year. mindful of the fact that this could've been the first year in a decade that i could've sent them all off to school and taken a few months or so to breathe..here we are. i know there have been more pros than cons, we've grown as a family together, we've grown as people ourselves. i think i could do it again come next september, but i won't lie - i'm looking forward to the summer break like few springs before.