Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Year Ago...

A year ago today I went to the doctor for my baby checkup.
A year ago Dr. Ajayi stripped my membranes with a 50% chance of going into labor (I prayed I was in that 50%).
A year ago tonight we watched "The Polar Express", not knowing our little family of three was turning into a family of four...literally over night.
A year ago tonight I packed Jackson's suitcase for a fun-filled trip with the grandparents.
A year ago tonight I also packed a small bag for me and Miss Kennedy should she decide to make an appearance...two weeks early. (fingers crossed!!)

At 4:00, I awoke feeling weird.  I didn't really think it was labor, but I was hopeful so I started timing them on my phone.  At 4:30 I woke Jeremy up.  I didn't think I was actually having true contractions because they weren't really that bad, but I wanted him alert!  I hopped in the shower and BAM!  The contractions started coming.  I shaved my legs (who wants to deliver a mommy with scratchy legs?!), dried my hair and put a little makeup on all while Jeremy is running around the house getting things in the car.  We woke Jackson up and shipped him off to MeMaw's (his retired babysitter...this was about 5:15?) and FLEW to Lebanon St. John's Hospital.

Jeremy got us there in one piece, even if I frightened him with my "demon voice" along the way.  What should have been a 30 minute drive was considerably less.  He parked the car in the ER entrance, left it running with the doors open and ran and got a wheelchair.  He ran down the corridor to the Delivery Floor and dropped me off to wait for a nurse.  After waiting for what seemed like EVER, she leisurely wheeled me through the locked door and asked me to stand on a scale and be weighed.  Honestly...I could have hit her (or cried on her shoulder!).

Luckily my doctor was just getting off call and was in the hospital.  While we waited for him, I had the pleasure of having a mean ol' nurse in my face telling me not to push!  Later, I learned that I loved her dearly because she really was very nice and she really did have mine and little miss' best interest at heart.  Finally, I was given a spinal block (HALLELUJAH!) and sweet baby girl was born at 7:55 am, December 30, 2010, weighing in at 7 lbs. 15 ozs, 21 1/2 inches long and two weeks early.  We camped out in the hospital with numerous visitors until December 31st around 5:00.  Who can sleep in those beds? Oh, and YAY for tax deductions and one deductible! :)

Our lives have never been more full than they have been this past year.  We have two of the sweetest, funniest, most ornery but lovable kiddos around.  Here's a look back:

Happy birthday Miss Kennedy Jordan Barnard!  May your life be richly blessed and we pray you follow the Lord's hand upon your life.  We love you pretty girl!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Oh the belly bug...

Yuck.  I know.  I don't really enjoy posting that title, but it's true.  We aren't the only ones that have been hit recently.  My condolences go out to you. :)

Not that I enjoy spending my time cleaning up after the little sick one or tending to my own woes, but it does slow me down.  I didn't get to spend time out and about the last few days because who DARES venture out for too long when this mean-spirited bug runs through your system with a vengeance?  So we spent our first few days off from the real world at home, in our pj's, stressing but not really caring that Christmas chaos was mere days away.  What other choice did I have? 

Are my presents (and Santa's) wrapped? Are we packed, better yet, are all the clothes fresh and clean straight from the washer? and definitely not. Is my house company ready? Uhhh...out of all three, this is the closest to being there, but no it isn't.  However, we got to watch MANY Christmas specials thanks to our Netflix streaming TV (our new addition after the robbery) and eat candy canes, drink hot cocoa and snuggle on the couch (me, two kiddos and one jealous dog). 

So tonight...I will give Jeremy the option to help wrap or clean the bathrooms top to bottom, while I work frantically to pull a miracle out of Santa's red hat.  We will both pray that all are well in the morning, Christmas Eve, ready to play with friends, go to bed in new Christmas pj's, open gifts and head to church Christmas morning.

I'm singing His praises for these little ones...

Mr. Jackson...sick day...beating bad guys as Spiderman.

Sissy (Miss Kennedy) enjoying a candy cane on our lazy day.

My two little precious people.  *Sigh* :)

In my life, I find great joy in these small people.  I hope you can find joy, love and peace this Christmas and throughout the New Year.

Merry Christmas from the Barnard's

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Blessings

My yearly ritual of sending Christmas cards makes me a little giddy.  I make myself wait until after Thanksgiving, but rarely much longer.  Dare I say I enjoy this task more than any other?  Probably.

Usually I have a thought that keeps rolling around in my head that I feel "inspired" to share in our letter.  This year was no different.  My thought for this year was blessings, riches, etc...  I started my newsletter with a quote that said "If you ever want to feel rich, start counting all the things money can't buy."  Being cute I added "So-let me tell you how we became millionaires!"  My corniness constantly amazes me. :)  However, I was being honest!  If we measure our wealth by non-material things we've got it made! 

I then proceeded to share all the wonderful silliness that my soon-to-be one year old little girl and three and a half year old little boy bring to our days.  I caught people up on our year happenings and besides the kiddos-we're pretty boring (thankfully!).  At the end of the letter a scripture kept rolling through my mind and I honestly wasn't sure if it even fit with the whole idea of the letter, but I needed to include it.  I mean, it WAS fitting for the season! 

Isaiah 9:6 “ For to us a child is born, to us a son is given… and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,  Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

I never knew what was to come in just three days.  

Right before I folded, stuffed and stamped our cards, our house was robbed.  Granted, not everything was taken and the robbers could have done a lot more damage, but our home was ransacked and our sense of security was gone. My thoughts immediately went to the Christmas letter sitting on the coffee table ready to fold and stuff into envelopes with picture cards of smiling little cutie pies.  “If you ever want to feel rich, start counting all the things money can’t buy.  So-let me tell you how we became millionaires.”  Okay God.  I’m with you.  Yep, we’re still good-with or without that big screen TV, brand new laptop, jewelry box full of nice and/or sentimental pieces and other things.  We are still rich with those little blessings that made us millionaires before.  Thank you, Jesus, for your peace you place in our hearts and the reminder of what really matters.  Yes, I needed to be reminded of this. 

Praying for you and yours to find rest and comfort for the following year in THIS blessing.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Little David

Jackson's Sunday School lesson was about helping your family.  I love how LifeWay writes their lessons for down to Earth, on their level.  Here is his lesson from this past Sunday.  (1 Samuel 16:11-12, 17:12-22)
"David had seven brothers.  Some of David's brothers worked for the king.  David stayed at home to help his family.  David took care of his family's sheep.  One day David's daddy said: 'David, get some bread. Take it to your brothers who are away working for the king.  Take some cheese, too. Find out how your brothers are doing.'  The next morning David left on his trip.  He hurried to find his brothers and give him the food.  David loved his family and he was glad he could show his love by helping."
Now.  Raise your hand if something is missing.  Yep!  You know, the part where David goes to his brothers, finds them unable to defeat Goliath and are all scared.  David steps up, gets his trusty sling shot and five stones and lets loose on ol' Goliath.  He falls dead.  David is a shepherd boy hero and finds himself as the King many years later.  Wa-la!  Success story!

But, are you like me and missed where it all began?  I did.  David's "daddy" asked him to take food to his brothers and find out how they were doing.  So David went.  Hmmm...the simple servant act.  Dad asked, so I went.  David had no idea he was setting out to discover his destiny or setting the ball in motion for bigger and better things.  He just went because he loved his father and brothers.   Dad didn't know either, he just asked his son to do an act of love.

How often do we do things for our family or our friends OR complete strangers just because they asked or just because we love them?  Hoping for no other reward or future gain?  Looking no further than fulfilling a need?  Sometimes, life really is that simple.  "Here am I, send me!"  Isaiah 6:8

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Nut Doesn't Fall Far

Meeting the parents of kids you interact with everyday answers a lot of questions and confirms a lot of suspicions.  If you've ever wondered if you make an impact on your children, you do.

Take a look in the mirror, mom and dad.  They are you...just littler versions.  Your decisions impact their little lives.  Who you are determines, in a way, who they will be.

Ahhhh!  That's stressful! This is slightly terrifying, but it's life-altering.  Are you joyful or depressed?  Are you full of grace or full of condemnation?  Are you confident or self-conscious?  Are you their cheerleader or their persecutor?  All of these things impact who they are at home, in the classroom and who they will be in 15 plus years.  

Me?  I want to be the joyful, forgiving, confident cheerleader my kids are going to need in this little thing called "life".  Who else is going to be in the corner as much as mom or dad? 

Now the hard part.  "What about when I'm not these things?"  I want them to see that side too.  But I also want them to hear the "I'm sorry"s, and "I'll try better next time"s.  Sometimes, failure is imminent.  This is the grace card.  And this is also life.

No kids?  Not a problem.  Who said they had to be your own?  I have two biological babies and 26 adopted-for-9 months babies (who I carry in my heart for much longer).   There are PLENTY of kiddos in my room I'd love to be a light to, so I'm thankful I have a few more months with them.  Hopefully one day they will remember the joy, grace, and confidence of someone they once knew, whether they remember my name or not.

"Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  To these I commit my day.  If I succeed, I will give thanks.  If I fail, I will seek His grace.  And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest."  ~Max Lucado "When God Whispers Your Name"

What kind of tree are you?  What kind of nuts do you produce?  Just some food for thought...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Little People

Being a teacher is rewarding, fun, exhausting and .......painful.  Let me explain.

This semester I have a student teacher so my time is freed up to do things I normally don't get a chance to do.  Unfortunately, I am learning a lot about myself.  To save you the "our job is so hard", "the State rules our schools", "we have to prepare for the BIG test!" sob story, I'll just say there's usually not enough time in our 9 month year to cover everything we need to.  We rush in, teach, teach, teach and send the little boogers home in a whirlwind of "Remember to study your spelling words!", "Get your planner signed!", "Book orders are due tomorrow!", "PLEASE get on the right bus today!"  I am noticing that the time I spent truly getting to know my kids, without worrying about getting behind in Math, is lacking.

Since I'm not solely responsible for the academic side of planning, teaching and grading I find myself really LEARNING my students.  This year most of my kids desperately need me.  Hopefully I haven't missed the last six years of these same kind of kids.  My kid woes range from family cats passing away to living with foster families or grandparents to being afraid to go home because of people who are in the home that, frankly, shouldn't be there.  My heart has been at my feet more than once this year already and sadly, I feel more times a'comin.

You know what?  It's not just "my" kids.  Little guy crying in the hall because he broke his glasses and mama is going to be mad at him.  A hug, reassurance and he still waves at me in the hall.  Habitual office I know his name and he knows mine.  I check up on him whenever I can.  Amazingly, my list goes on and on.

Eight year old brothers should not have to protect their six year old sister.  But he does.  Schools should not have to feed kids breakfast, lunch AND supper. But we do.  Teachers should not have to drop snacks in backpacks at the end of the day.  But we do.  Kids that sleep in urine-drenched beds should not have to have their items washed at school.  But we do it.  Dirty faces should not have to be washed by teachers, principals, nurses, counselors and paraprofessionals.  But we do it.  Hugs should not JUST come from those same people.  But I'm glad we get to embrace those little ones.

I consider myself lucky to have such valuable time to spend with such valuable lives.  If we can truly listen to the sad eyes, slumped shoulders and sad expressions of these little people, maybe, just maybe, we can help break this incredibly disappointing cycle.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Trying to Listen

I hear it.  I've been deaf to it for too long.  My head, heart and spirit are screaming for nourishment.  I need to be fed.  I need spiritual food. 

Too many excuses and too much time has passed.

Self help books are great.  Bible study books are great.  But I am being drawn more to the Word.  The breath of my Savior written in on paper...sometimes with red ink.  I'm ready. 

However, I covet your prayers.  I want to be consumed by It.  I don't want to just wet my toes in the shallow water. I want to do a cannonball, right in the middle of it where I will want to stay and splash around for awhile.

Do you hear it?  Dare to come along?

* A pastor and a hubby who draws me into the Word

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Wanna Be a Cow

We live in a rural, cow-raising community.  I drive 25 miles through pasture laiden highway twice a day. Today as I was coming home I noticed some calves (baby cows for you city-folk!) trotting right along in line with the big'uns.  It got me thinking.

For those of you who know even LESS than I do about cattle, let me "inform" you.  (insert chuckle)  When calves are born they stay right with mama so they get to know her scent, her call, even her hide.  They depend, as most young do, on her for food and protection.  As they begin to grow, they venture a little at a time into the big world.  Mom is never far away, once again for food and protection.  The older they get, the braver and more dependent they become until, eventually, they are eating their own food and butting heads with the other young ones.  Soon they begin following mom to the food down a narrow "cow path".  Every morning and every night they venture down that same tiny trail.  Mom leads them to the source of food.  She never lets them down, so they follow.
The calves that got me thinking were two little guys walking that cow path, bouncing along, one right after the other, in between a whole line of Holsteins.  I couldn't tell who mom was (I bet they still could!) but they were confident that the narrow path led to food.  So they traveled.

I want to be a cow.  The good kind.  The kind who teaches her calves where to find food by faithfully leading them to the Source.  Every morning and every night (maybe even snack time!) showing them where to find the Good Food.  Our kids are hungry and thirsty for comfort and power that only He can give.  If we show them the way as children down that long, narrow day they will be able to walk the path alone, with confidence, and hopefully with fellow friends.

Be a cow!  They've got it all under control. :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

I'd never keep them little...well...maybe.

If I could keep them little, for just a little while, maybe I would.  I have never been one that was saddened by my little ones growing up too quickly.  I've always been the one that is more excited for their firsts than I think they are!  Smiling, crawling (never a dull moment), clapping, walking, talking (never a QUIET moment), praying, noticing planes, hugging me because they want to, all those little things.  However, I do know that this world can be scary.  Hearts can get broken.  People can be mean. Failure is imminent.  That hurts a mama's heart.  I will endure the "teenage years" more than once in my lifetime, I do believe.  So, if I could let them grow up in the shelter of the perfect world bubble, I would.  But would that be living?  Would that teach them to lean on Jesus?  Would that teach them about the need for a Savior?  No.  So while they grow and I celebrate their firsts, I will pray FERVENTLY for their little lives while they are with OR without me. 

Dear Jesus, protect my babies, the babies you gave so graciously to me to hold for a little while.  I know that I cannot protect them better than you and I can't "worry them safe", but please wrap them in your bubble wrap arms so I can cuddle them for a little while longer. 

Pictures can keep them small and capture those precious firsts and little moments, even if time can't. 

Little Mr. Butterball.

Three Little Lady Generations is hard (but it's SOOOO good).

It was only yesterday...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chick Food

Jeremy and I often discuss chick food vs "man" food.  Honestly, I like both. Him, he wants the "man" food...steak and potatoes, baby!  Why is it called "chick food"?  Is it because it's usually pretty? dainty? light? (ha ha!) small portions?  (oh please!)  Maybe all of the above.  But maybe we dubbed it that so we would have an excuse to get together with other "chickies" and talk...while eating of course!

I had a chicken salad croissant, potato soup and salad from a local eatery this past week and it got me thinking.  While we ate and discussed how DELISH it was, I started relaxing.  As much as I love my husband, I am sure the dear man would not even attempt a taste test of the fabulous chicken salad croissant.  It WAS pretty.  It WAS dainty.  It WAS light.  And yes, it was even TINY portions.  But the company was great.  Ahhhhh....

The next day Jackson and I went with a church friend and her son to Silver Dollar City.  While the boys played in the backseat, we attempted to hold "chick-like" conversations.  (The boys had helium balloons and Hot Wheel cars.  Enough said about the "attempt" part.)  Do I even need to tell you what they consisted of?  I thought not.  Anyway, our whole day was spent chasing three year olds and talking.  We solved the world's problems!   Ahhhhh.....

Today we got to eat lunch with our Sunday dinner crew, which today was just half.  I got to pick a retired teacher's mind and once again, solve the world's problems.  Ahhhhh...

Tomorrow, we get to have a play date with great friends while the men smoke "men food"  (brisket), the kids spend hours in our new play room and the ladies?  You got it...solve the world's problems.  Ahhhhh...

Now obviously we are  not solving the world's problems, but we are decreasing our stress level as we laugh, joke, cry, vent or whatever else we need to do.  These girls get it.  We've all been there or will be one day.  Girls get other girls.  There is no need for gossip, slander, or malice with these chicas, just good old fashioned "You would not believe what Jackson did!" or "Kennedy learned to clap her hands!" or "Have you tried the Mango Pineapple Smoothies at McDonald's?  YUM!" or "Could you remember me in prayer as I deal with this situation?"  We don't judge, we listen.  We don't gossip, we tell Jesus.  We don't laugh...well, okay.  You got me.

My point is that us girls NEED chick "food".  We crave other sisters who can relate to our situation, our feelings, our hearts.  God love a good man, but even THEY want us to take our "chick food" to another gal sometimes.  We're all in this together.  Love on a sister this week.  Let her bear her soul if needed.  Or better yet, find someone you can bear your soul to.  Grab a chicken salad croissant and a Diet Coke and come on over.  I'm game!

Friday, September 2, 2011


Sometimes parenting is a walk in the park.  Sometimes, it's the hardest thing you'll ever do.  Tonight it was the latter.
Jackson is 3 years old and has been going through a "false-hood" stage.  Jeremy and I have worked diligently to "train him up" and to know right from wrong.  I'd say we've done a pretty good job because now when he does something wrong (don't we all?) he tries to cover it up.  Case in point: He was wielding his foam ninja sword tonight in the living room while Kennedy and I played on the floor.  He accidentally knocked over an almost empty soda bottle sitting on the coffee table.  Although I did not SEE him knock it over, he frantically scrambled to set it right and said "Oh sorry!"  Being silly I ask, "Did you knock that over?"  He looked me dead in the eye and said "Uh-uh!  Miss Kennedy did it!"  I began to explain all the reasons it couldn't be her so I asked him again.  This time his story changed.  "Uhhhh, I think a monster did it."  He got to sit on his stool for awhile until he could confess his sins.  Later, we found the Ten Commandments in one of his kid bibles and talked about this in depth.  No spankings, just hugs and instructions.
When Jeremy got home I ran through the, now funny, story for him.  He went to ask Jackson about his day and if he got in trouble.  Once again, lies escaped his sweet little mouth.  He was told about consequences if this continued.  We were feeling laid back tonight and let him eat in his room.  He came and told us he had eaten everything on his plate (HA!  This is a rarity.) so we asked again and made sure he wasn't tickling our ears.  Jeremy reminded him of their conversation earlier and he was adamant....big blue eyes and all!  Well, he seems to have a problem. Jeremy found that someone had put food BACK on his plate! He told Jeremy he was ready to eat, but alas it was too late.  He received his punishment, a few hugs and was sent swiftly to bed where he boo-hooed for quite awhile.

Oh how these lessons hurt a mama's (and daddy's) heart!  But, oh the hurt could be SO much greater if our sinful nature was left unchecked.  "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  Proverbs 22:6  Yes, he's only three.  Yes, he's absolutely ADORABLE.  Yes, he cries for mama when he's upset.  But he has been entrusted to us for a short time.  We are instructed to prepare these little ones to be workers in His field.

So now....I go curl up on the couch waiting for him to fall sound asleep.  Later I can sneak into his bedroom to curl up next to him and pray for his little man heart to fully love the Lord.  Please pray for us as we train up these two little'uns.

Singing His Praises
#12  My babies
#13  Jeremy who keeps me strong when I want to melt into those big blue pools
#14  Parents and in-laws that still pray for their two big kids
#15  Brand new mornings that bring brand new chances for little ones and big ones

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Everyday I see a sign above our sink that says "Christ is the center of our home, a guest at every meal and a listener of every conversation".  Everyday this message grips me.

"Christ is the center of our home"-Everything must revolve around this concept.  Every decision, every hope and every moment revolves around Him.  Are we there?  Hardly.  Do we want to be?  Definitely.

"A guest at every meal"-Have I done what I can to feed my family from our pantry?  Did I use His money wisely while I shopped for those morsels?  Is the atmosphere around our table one that welcomes not only guests but each member of our family?  My biggest "fetish", if you call it that, is not shoes, clothes, makeup, purses or home is food.  I have NEVER gone without food so why I feel the need to hoard it is beyond me!  I have talked to Jeremy about this and he is my biggest witness to this problem. :)    Maybe I have a deep down desire to be the next Food Network Star or maybe I just have a desire to create great meals!  Sadly, these items sit in my pantry way past the expiration date.  Whatever it is, I am working on making my home, my wallet and my table a place I can welcome Him.

"A listener of every conversation"-Yikes.  Need I say more?  This one has impacted me the most.  Am I proud of every conversation I have had with my husband who is only human?  Am I proud of every conversation I have had with my wee ones who are still learning right from wrong?  Am I proud of every conversation I have had with myself when I cringe at the image in the mirror or when I beat myself up over a, once again, messy house?  Yeah right.  And those are just in my home!  Can you imagine in the work place?  In the car?  In the store?  At the doctor's office?  Ughhh...

Once again, I will strive to make this sign my motto and look forward to the day when I am in the center of HIS home, a guest at HIS table and a listener to HIS conversation.  What a day that will be.

Singing His Praises
#11  Grace, yep, that's a biggee.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

So many praises...

Heading to bed and snatched a few minutes of quiet time to reflect on tiny, personal things I am thankful for in my life.  Granted, these are mine, but I'm sure you have your own.  Maybe you'll consider starting your own!  Check out my inspiration

1.  a hubby who helps clean this house
2.  cursive (I write my list down first!)-it's faster and elegant
3.  third graders who are also excited about cursive
4.  the hum of a fan at night
5.  pillowtop mattress
6.  an eight month old (today!) that is feeling better...*sigh of relief*
7.  watching "Wipe Out" with Jackson as he hollers right along with us...hee hee hee
8.  friends who inspire gratitude lists
9.  excitement about my 31 order coming in the mail soon!
10.  having to cut my list short tonight, but SO many more things I could add


I am excited to start blogging again...well...again being more faithfully than my three or four posts on the other blog! :)  This is a place where I hope to sing His praises through gratitude lists, funny stories and the few and far between tidbits of advice I learn in life.  Please check back often...let's sing or shout His praises together!