I'm on a mission this weekend to reconnect with my long neglected internet "friends" and a few writing projects.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
By Tricia Goyer
I was thrilled when I heard the guidelines for this Blog Tour from Trish.
“…we’d like you to take one chapter of the book and share how that chapter, or the principles in the chapter, have helped you in your marriage.”
Cool, I thought. T and I have been studying some new parenting books lately, but it’s been awhile since we’ve looked at one on marriage. I’m a definite Gen X-er, and he is on the cusp, so it should relate to us. What a great way for us to draw closer while I prepare for the blog!
...Well, since that original thought: I began a new full-time job, one of our older daughters moved home, T took over my gourmet cooking class this semester, we're homeschooling both twins, and he's trying to get a new business started!
At a time when we probably need it the most, there just hasn’t been time in our schedule for basic communication let alone something that will draw us “closer” as a couple. The more I thought about it and poured through Trish’s book, I laughed and thought YEAH, well that’s what she’s talking about here isn’t it?!!
SO which chapter really hit home for me???
Chapter 8: “Sweet Child o’ Mine
Why? Because if there’s one thing my husband and I ALWAYS agree on it’s loving, nurturing and raising our kids to be healthy, happy, productive, faith-filled young people.
Well then why aren’t you blogging on “Generation Next Parenting” instead you say? It’s simple. Marriage and Parenting aren’t separate issues as our friend Tricia points out here!
“Children Redefine ‘Marriage Partnership’” she opens the chapter with. In discussing marriage as a purposeful relationship, she quotes Gary Chapman in the Four Seasons of Marriage “All research indicates that an intimate marriage provides the safest and most productive climate for raising children.”
Though I DO see our parenting partnership lately as one of the biggest strengths in our marriage, one of the closing points Trish makes went to my core.
“Additionally the way John and I interact serves as our children’s model for marriage. In fact, the type of marriage I have with John is most likely the kind my kids will have too. That’s huge.”
UM yeaah, that’s HUGE!
It reminded me once more that even in the midst of understandable hard times; when it’s difficult to find the time and way to connect, our marriage STILL has to take precedence. During these times, we are modeling for our kids how to handle their own future marriages under similar circumstances.
As a parent it’s pretty easy to analyze and even critique our own children’s behavior, after all that’s part of our job! Well picturing my child as a future marriage partner, handling particular situations the way we typically do, was inspiration. Not only to try to do better, but my need to aim daily for the BEST relationship possible, no matter what the situation may be.
Now this doesn’t mean we’ll ever become the “perfect” husband/wife, during our lifetime. Rather that in each and EVERY season, we must dedicate precious time and energy toward a future of continuous improvement.
One of my favorite things in this chapter is that Trish shares her TOP 12 list of the best things a married couple can do together for their kids.
I focused in on just a few to share:
“5. Have daily ‘couch time’ where your kids see the two of you talking about your day. It will give them security to see their parents communicate. They will know all is well in their world.
7. Be loyal to one another and stand by each other, even when you don’t think the other person has handled the situation correctly. It’s better to work it out afterward, in private.
8. Let loose once in awhile. Life doesn’t always have to be serious.
9. Pray together as a family. AND...
11. Let the kids see you handle disagreements and resolutions respectfully."
To learn more about other bloggers’ favorite chapters in this book follow the tour here!
Trish Goyer is the award winning author of nine books, has written more than 250 published articles, and is a sought after speaker and presenter for women’s groups. She makes her home in northwest Montana with her husband and three children.
Click here for an opportunity to win a “dinner for 2” courtesy of Trish herself!
Posted by Rebecca Barlow at 10:18 PM
Friday, March 21, 2008
there was "Clumsy" Jason Castro, singing from the heart, at church.
Well, the news is all good so far!!
Jason's made it to the top 10, securing a position on the AI performance tour this year. Simon Cowell was quoted on Oprah this week as saying he expects him to be in the "top 4". Leonard Cohen has "Dreads" to thank for a revitalized career, Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah" hit #1 on Itunes in memorium, and J's 1.5 minute version was the first AI contestant download to break the top 100...
I love this video though, because it's at the core of the "real" Jason. Behind all of the Hollywood glamour, the fan threads, the magazine articles and Ford commercials is a cool, humble, easy-going, goofy, God-honoring young man.
If you're so inclined, please keep up the prayers as he travels this wild pop-culture journey. Check out a new blog dedicated just to that, it's called:
Tune in Tuesday nights on FOX (at 8/7c), to enjoy his next performance (award winning smile included)...then VOTE him back again!!!
Saturday, March 8, 2008
A couple of weeks ago T and I were asked at the last minute to help out with an adoption “hot topics” class at church for families that are considering adoption.
The topic of the week: "Bonding and Attachment” is one that has been intimately woven through our lives the past 10 years. In fact, truth be known, we are only speaking about it now, because of God’s faithfulness to us. I wish I could say it was the other way around, but we haven’t always been full of faith in our parenting. Thank goodness for his perfection in using “broken tools” to create priceless works of art from individual lives.
Attachment and Bonding are basic components of human life--
Typical attachment begins at birth and the process unfolds throughout a child’s first few years. This unique period where an infant learns to trust and rely and relate to a “primary caregiver” is integral. In order to be healthy, an infant must internalize that initial relationship at the core of their being.
It can be broken though, just as ours was when sin entered in. According to Dr. Walter D. Buenning:
“…bonding is a two step process. First, the parents must give the child love. Secondly, the child must accept it. The problem arises in the second step or phase. Because of past loss, some children are unable to trust.... It is difficult for most parents and many clinicians to believe that this could happen with children and even infants. In adoptive homes, love is like a gift given to the child. The core problem is that the child does not, indeed cannot, accept the gift. In the end, the result is that the child looks and acts as if he has not been loved.”
Is this reminiscent at all, of your own Christian walk?? I know it has been of mine. There are varying degrees to everything, but our own adoption parenting reminds me again and again to fully accept God’s grace in my life. Accepting the love he has for me is the freedom and security I need to survive. Continuously placing him at the center of my being, allows me to reflect his image once more.
What a work of art our adoptions have been in his hands. Any obvious flaws, were our own unskilled additions to the canvas. Many, he has even graciously touched up.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
I have to hand it to our twins for courageously journeying through another surgery on their feet last week! Each girl has a left foot abnormality, that many never notice, since it's hidden pretty well beneath the cover of their shoes.
What was their first wheelchair bound outing??
Posted by Rebecca Barlow at 9:28 PM
Monday, February 4, 2008
At 4 months old this little guy was sickly and malnourished, weighing in at less than a pound.
Finally after months of tender care, he turned the corner!
From then on he grew, and grew, and grew, and grew, and grew...
These photos were taken in September, to celebrate how he was finally catching up with the others.
He ended up being the healthiest, friendliest, cuddliest, chubbiest teddy-bear of a cat, with a deliciously plush, silky fur coat replacing his old, thin, straggly one.
Tolkien seemed to greet each day with an attitude of confidence and joy in life. We'll miss him dearly! Having shared in the miracle of his life,we only wish it wasn't such a short one.
Posted by Rebecca Barlow at 4:00 PM
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Ever feel like your world is turning a little bit upside down? Well ours is, and I’m starting to feel a little bit dizzy lately! And I don’t really “DO” those upside-down, spin-you-all-around rides at the amusement park anymore. (It’s one the few flaws in my otherwise adventurous nature.)
Anyhow, I’ve shared how things have been kind of out of sorts here the past several months. Well, the latest in our change of events is putting my equilibrium to the test.
When the beginning of this school year came into view, I was flourishing knee-deep in family life, writing, word counts, reading, studying my craft, and teaching some fun classes at the local co-op and private school. Since then, however…Emma was brought home for school, our tumultuous series of unfortunate events began, T and I surfed through the holidays applying for new jobs, Olivia began home schooling again too, and NOW apparently I’m the one going back to the 40-hour-a-week working world!!
A few jobs have finally come along--on God’s timing, of course--making sure we didn’t miss another sound lesson on trusting completely in Him! He’s been beside us through the struggles this far. So, I’m reminding myself daily that I won’t step out of the comforts of home and back into the great wide working world alone.
Who would have dreamed a short time ago that my darling husband would take over my Gourmet Cooking class, that we’d be “Team Homeschooling” the twins, starting a family business, considering a little cattle ranching on the side, and that I’d be breathlessly anticipating the offer of a full-time RN “office job”??
Yeah, well—me neither!!I’ve been drawn to this soothing familiar scripture lately…
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven….
What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.
I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.”
...and, I'm bracing myself with that thought until the ride is either OVER and I can get off, or I miraculously acclimate to the centrifugal force!
Posted by Rebecca Barlow at 3:27 PM
Thursday, January 17, 2008
…of American Idol. It’s the 7th season of what has been named America’s #1 television show.
I honestly can’t attest to that because last night is the first time our family has ever watched an entire episode. Anyone who hangs around here knows that when it comes to Movies-- "ask the Barlows" we KNOW those--blockbuster, indie, foreign, you name it!; Sports (at least Ted's up on them)--we're cool; Music (between the lot of us)--it's covered; but TV shows??--I admit it-- with very few exceptions, we're pretty much total NERDS!!
Some of you who have watched it can imagine then, our initiation episode was quite an experience! WOW, what a curious menagerie of talent and painful experiences, we thought. NOT really #1 in our opinion, but we won’t judge it as harshly as Simon Cowell might. It’s obvious we’re a little “wet behind the ears” still, as my 15 year old son’s initial reaction was, “I don’t know if I can keep watching that show every week. I mean I KNOW they were REALLY, really, really, bad, but I felt just terrible for some of those auditioners!” (Hmmm, think that’s what the producers are trying to get at??)
You now ask, “WHYee??...then are the Barlow’s suddenly deciding to spend Tuesdays nights watching 'Idol' this season?” OR perhaps blurt this out instead, “Umm, I know you guys are adventurous, and all, but this is a new one for the record--are you getting THAT desperate from lack of travel this year, or excitement around the house?” nope! The answer is simple…we can’t help ourselves.
We are thrilled with excitement, and on our knees in prayer for some friends of ours, whose son is competing this year!!! Tania Grace our oldest who has spent a little time with him, says, "mom...he is such an amazing guy." Knowing him to be a very talented and godly young man at only 20 years of age, we are anxious to see what God does in and through him during this experience.
Saturday night he was leading worship...
So, IF you’re a FAN, and perhaps a little more seasoned in American Idol than we are, then please join us in praying and cheering for our one and only reason for suffering through, oops, I mean watching an entire season of American Idol this year!! (Yes, that’s right we plan on watching it right up until he wins!)
Adventure, fun and blessings Jason!!
“For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Since attending my first writer’s conference this past fall, I have had an enormous stack of books sitting by my bedside waiting to be read. The wealth of talent, challenge, encouragement and fun was put in to them by many of the “dear” authors that I met!
Overwhelming stack or not, I jumped at the opportunity to blog on this new book by Susan! I didn’t know anything about the story, but Susan is one of those endearing writers that I actually had a chance to learn from. Ok, so we only met briefly and chatted, while she signed my fresh copy of “Reclaiming Nick”, but I came to appreciate Susan and her talent by attending a couple of her writing skill seminars.
The seminars were rich and witty, and full of vivid detail. So, I was excited to see if her books would match. Chill Out, Josey--does just that!!
Josey Anderson is a newly wed, happily intent on becoming the Proverbs 31 woman in this new role. Ideals set in place, Josey is sure she is on her way to “surpassing” as a wife. At least until the first wrinkle sets in—her husband accepts a job in Moscow, Russia. After all, that’s where she was working as a missionary when he up and followed her to proclaim his love! Josey isn’t so sure about going back. She’s ready to settle in to her dream house, with 2 kids and white picket fence. Didn’t her biblical mentor have all that?
Unexpected events, well kept secrets, and seductive co-workers keep Josey on her feet once they arrive. As her hopes and dreams seem to fly right back home to Minnesota with out her, panic begins to set in. “What’s the perfect wife to do?”
I invite you to enjoy this entertaining and delightful story. It made me giggle, as I recalled being intimidated myself, as a new bride, by the perfect Proverbs 31 woman! Yes, I finally got over that!! So, it was fun watching Josey mature into the woman God created her to be here, too! Nope, not her perfect plan…because His is even better. There’s a message here for all of us.
Susan is adept at teaching and encouraging you in a Christ honoring life, while you simply curl up for a fun read.
Having spent over 6 weeks in Russia for our various adoptions, I can attest to the description and humor that she brings on the life of an American in Russia.
Click here, to read more about Susan May Warren, and use THIS link or the one in my reading list to order Chill Out, Josey now!
Saturday, January 5, 2008
2008. How did that happen so fast?
With a year flying by so fast, I’m not sure why I can’t manage to keep a New Year Resolution for a full year. But at some blink of a moment in time, it finally hit me that was true! Being the truly "reformed-from-my-perfectionist-tendencies" woman that I am, I immediately resolved to give them up the next year! I haven't made one since. In my book they're right up there with the Proverbs 31 woman. One of those things I'm just not ever going to achieve--this side of heaven!!
We have, however, been trying to use the first of each year to sketch out some plans. As a family we address the latest issues and upcoming events or ideas. 2007 has held quite a few “surprises” for us (more like our own little “series of unfortunate events”). SO, either we didn’t plan thoroughly for September on, last January, or we’re in need of a few “lessons”, and our Father decided that this was just the right time in life. ??
Our “planning” is minimal for 2008. We decided instead to focus our family goals on strengthening communication, relationships, unity, and each trying to seek the best for the others as a whole. We figure no matter what comes along in 2008 those are the things to carry us through in the long run!
All that said, our “luck” (or “lessons”) don’t seem to have come to an end (or is that a new beginning??) with the annual midnight toast.
We must be acclimating to this new way of life a bit, because now T & I just look at each other and shrug when something goes completely and unexpectedly wrong, or when an added expense or bill pops up from nowhere.
“Hmmm…wonder how that’s going to work out?”
“Not really sure.”
“Guess we should pray about it, huh?”
“Probably..., add it to the list!”
Others are isolated events, like the one on New Year’s Day that reassured us our lessons weren’t over.
Tonight’s "surprise" event was a little more sober. As we arrived to feed again, we found my filly was injured. Thankfully, she’ll make it, but the bill—yep, another one of those sweet surprises!
So you see, NEW seems to be relative for us so far this YEAR!
One thing refreshingly remains the same. God is sovereign, He loves us just as much as he did in 2007, and we are grateful daily for His divine provision and protection.
Here’s to 2008! Cherish the ups AND the downs, ‘cause I’m sure that’s what it holds!
Posted by Rebecca Barlow at 11:39 PM