Saturday, October 31, 2015


We always try to think of fun costume ideas that coordinate the whole family.  But in typical Barkel fashion, we dig up costumes frantically at bedtime the night prior to the 'Halloween Costume Parade' at school.  And we always come up with something!

The kids had a pirate dress-up day before Halloween.  How handsome is this pirate?!!?!?!

Friday, October 30, 2015

on the throne!

I have the absolute privilege to be reading through Revelations with Bible Study Fellowship!  We study the word in depth, get to discuss and share, and then hear an incredible lecture!  It is SO GOOD for this girl's soul!  And you can read it to!  The hearer of the words of Revelations and the one who takes it's words to heart will receive a blessing!  That is a promise!  That is Truth!

This morning I've just read something for the second time that really hits home.  I read it a few days ago, we briefly discussed it, and now I'm re-reading it with sweet tears!  To the church in Laodicea (Rev 3:14) Jesus gives strong words of warning and compassion to the complacent church.  It sounds like a church in modern-day America... wealthy and satisfied but lacking spiritual riches and sacrifice.  He earnestly desires the church to open their doors to Him.  And He has a reward for them if they do.  Do you know what it is?  I don't ever remember reading this and I am blown away by the offer!

"To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne." Rev. 3:21

Wait, I can sit with Jesus on His throne?!!?!?!?!?!?!

The first time I read this, I smiled!  That is the best reward that he has offered yet!  (Read the letters and the rewards included to the other churches, they're pretty great too!)  But this morning as I read this, I cry!

Jesus has reserved this piece of scripture for me and He has saved the best for last!  And I am humbled by it!  You see, I know that back when Jesus spoke these words to the Laodiceans, He also knew that some 2000 years later, a broken daughter would read these words and it would fill the void!

My dad and I have not spoken words to each other in three years.  And the words spoken before that were not life-giving.  I am not pointing fingers but I know that at this time, the best thing I can do for our family is to remain unconnected.  I have peace in my heart with that decision as it has been made clear to me.  Once he is ready to come to us, we will welcome him with arms stretched open as wide as ever and we will embrace him like never before!!

But my Heavenly Father sees into my broken heart.  He knows....  He's seen.....  He's come to meet me in a divine way and the descriptions in the Word of who my Heavenly Father is real, believe me.  Believe Him that He is who He says He is!

Our family owned a recliner.  And we all knew that when dad got home, that sacred recliner was his!  He would not sit on the sofa, he enjoyed lounging in that recliner:)  But for as far back as I can remember, I would curl up to him on that recliner!  It was my favorite place to be!  There we would lounge together and it was as close as I could ever get to him though never close enough.  We would nap together, watch tv together, laugh at the dog together.  I think I probably was too old when I still made a habit of getting on that recliner with him.  But I couldn't help myself.

The years have passed and I long for his embrace.  For his arms to hold me.  I wish I could go back to the days of the shared recliner. But I fear that this side of heaven, it won't come.  That that was as close as I'll have ever been to my dad.  Not just physically but emotionally.

Then Jesus promises me that I can share HIS throne.

(Cue the tears)

I will do everything I can in this life to earn that reward!  I'm not talking about eternal life that is freely given but the special rewards that we can store away for our heavenly home.

I want so desperately to lounge with Jesus on His throne with Him.  I want to be close to him.  To feel his physical arms tighten around me.  And our heads close together.  I want to feel him breathe.  To be close enough to him to feel his laugh!  I don't typically imagine that a throne is the most comfortable chair but I think Jesus' throne will be!  I don't care that I am on a throne, it may as well be a recliner in a small living room with just the two of us.  What moves me when I read this is that I can be that close to my Savior.  The One who has dried all of those tears concerning the distance between my earthly father and myself.  And I'm going to let that motivate me onward to receive that reward!!  How sweet it will be!

So how?!  In a nutshell, I believe that it will be possible by turning from all of the negative qualities this church was in its being: self-sufficient, blinded by their wealth and thus spiritually poor, without passion, without sorrow for their unsaved neighbors, arrogantly independent, indifferent to Jesus, and useless... these qualities mostly all due to their complacency.  I want to be the polar opposite of these characteristics!  I want to get as close as I can to Jesus!

I share this post for my own children to someday read.  So that their pursuit of Jesus will be urgent!  I share it to come back to for myself to remember what is at stake!  I share it in the hopes that you, if you're a Christian, would be spurred on to fight the good fight.  And I share it for the unbeliever who may stumble across these words and in the hope that they would surrender their lives to Jesus!  Above all, I share it to glorify my Father who gives us these divine and undeserved gifts and promises.  He is worthy of all the glory!  And I'm forever thankful!

Ruby's Seventh

This girl of mine... where do I even begin?!  Ruby is such a thoughtful, fun-loving girl.  She is wise beyond her years!  She loves to tease and tantalize but then she is a caretaker, making sure everyone has good feelings.  She's great with Emmy and little kids. She is a magnet and I'm sure we have a future babysitter on our hands.  She is all-girl and an individual.  She's a leader as well but I think mostly because other kids look to her to lead.  She is very confident (sometimes too confident for her own good!)  Ruby has a tender heart.  She loves Jesus and is developing a sweet relationship with him as evident in her prayers and the way she treats others.  She is still our big story teller.... watch out!  She gives details galore!  

She is amazingly good at reading others.  She can see into the 'real you' and what is motivating someone to act a certain way!  At the beginning of the school year, Ruby had some uneasiness about her class.  She was encountering a person that made empty promises and threats.  She was confused about this because she has great trust in people and thinks the best about them.  And yet, she slowly figured this person out and realized the motive behind the empty threats... it was a manipulation for this person to get their way.  Ruby's first consistent exposure to a manipulator.  But it was a learning tool for her and she can recognize that trait in others too now.  We have had to tell Ruby that it's ok for her to take care of herself and to gently set boundaries against manipulation.  Being a caretaker and people-pleaser, Ruby puts others' happiness above her own.  Her mother does that to a fault but has learned that it's not always healthy to be a 'push-over'!

Currently, Ruby's love languages seem to be physical touch and gifts.  If Ruby is mad/sad/hurt, all it takes is a bear hug and some reassurance for her to calm down,  And she's always been into gifts and things.  Actually, we're afraid she's a border-line hoarder!!  We have to constantly be on her to tidy up her room a bit because if it comes to me doing it... grr!!  I'll come across a pile of wrappers she's saved.  Or small boxes crammed with tiny toys she's forgotten she has!  Even her Lego houses have drawers lined up filled with little Lego pieces!  But it all has a meaning behind it or a 'purpose'!  

We loved celebrating Ruby's birthday!  She loves nothing more than a party all about her!  She has no problem being the center of attention!  

Ruby picked bakery doughnuts instead of cake! 
Ruby, I'll never believe that you are SEVEN years old already!  We are so proud with the young lady (woman?!) you are becoming!  You bring such joy to this family and we wouldn't be the same without you!  We love you!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

our three soccer players

Natalie, Ruby, and Charlie each played soccer this fall.  Natalie's second year (last year she had a broken collarbone), Ruby's second year, and Charlie's first year.  

Ruby made a goal in a game, Natalie had an assist, and Charlie... was goalie once!  But then he asked if he could have a break! We had many fun and busy Saturday mornings.  Unfortunately, we were only able to attend partial games of each kid and grandma had to help out with transporting kids around!  

And Natalie, if you're reading this, I'm so sorry!  We have no pictures of you playing soccer :(  The only reason we have some of Ruby is because other moms took some.  It was Charlie's first year so of course we thought to take some of him.  But your games were actually really exciting being on that big field and all official... I guess we never tried to take a picture!