September 22, 2011

sweet moments

thank You that You would smile upon me & give me the blessings of my amazing husband & my sweet children (with another one on the way from Uganda). i pray i would not take these moments for granted. what joy in the simplest things.








thank You, gracious Savior!

watch this & be encouraged!

September 15, 2011

caroline eloise

four years ago today our sweet caroline was born into the arms of Jesus. 
this day, for the past four years, has been a hard day, but praise the Lord, it gets easier as the years pass. the crazy thing for me is that for 23 years of my life september 15th was just another day on the calendar. our God's plans are beyond us.
for those of you who don't know our story... michael & i got married in november of '06 & we both had "decided" we weren't going to have kids for quite a few years so we could "enjoy just being married", whatever that means. ;) well, the Lord saw fit to give us a baby girl.
this picture was taken right after we took the test & found out we were pregnant. (sorry it's so yellow & blurry.) i was pretty much freaking out. right after we took this picture i fell on our bed & cried for probably about an hour. haha. michael was so patient with me as i complained about not wanting to have a "mom's body" & wanting to enjoy life with just us, all very ridiculously selfish things. the Lord very quickly changed my heart. i'm grateful He gives mommies & daddies 9 months to prepare. ;)
in our cute little apartment (man i miss that place) at about 8 months along. i could not wait to be a mommy & hold our baby girl & sing to her. michael read to her while she was in my belly EVERY NIGHT, seriously! we were so ready! we believe the Lord led us to have a home birth & we had met with our midwives so many times, we had an ultrasound done & our girl looked so healthy. the pregnancy was great & her vital signs were perfect through all 9 months. 
i woke up on september 15th to early contractions. labor progressed quickly & our midwives came over. her heart rate was perfect through all 10 hours of labor. i pushed for a while & she was born except we had no idea in that moment that she was already looking into her heavenly Father's face. our Savior was holding her & yet we began to weep because we wanted to be holding her & we wanted to hear her cries. 
the midwives did all they could & we waited for the EMTs to come. our family met us at the hospital & we wept. i have never known such deep mourning. we were so saddened & broken. how could we go from not wanting to have a baby right away, then the Lord gave us one, & then He took her home? for days & weeks & months even i felt like i couldn't breathe. our arms were empty. 
i know these things to be true... my God is good! His purposes for us our beyond us, but they are good! He is sovereign, He allows hurt to happen for our refinement & for His glory! He is my Healer! i trust Him! i rejoice & find joy in Him! our sweet little girl is dancing before the throne & she never had to know the pain & sin & loss of this world! she is whole & in the only home she'll ever know! we don't weep for her loss, because she has not lost anything... we weep selfishly because we miss her, because we wanted to hold her & see her grow. if the Lord had not taken her home we would not have our jude & sammy. He has brought us the joy of 2 beautiful babies!
isn't she beautiful? she looks so much like jude & sammy. i cannot wait to hold her in heaven! she will be whole & perfected & we will worship our God together!
this is such a beautiful picture to me. (my mom passed away from brain cancer 7 months after we had caroline.) i love to think of them together. to think that when my mom went home caroline ran to her & said, "let me show you Jesus"! oh i miss both of them so much! 
earlier i was listening to a worship song that made me rejoice in our Father. 
"though He dwells beyond the stars, His redeemed are on His heart. even now He intercedes, Jesus cares for all our needs. hallelujah, hallelujah the King of love is on His throne. hallelujah hallelujah His grace will lead us safely home."
He is SO good! He is King! He is seated on His throne! NOTHING is out of His sight or His hands! we are on His heart! He intercedes for us! all things work together for our good! He is great & greatly to be praised! His greatness is unsearchable! 

michael & i have known the healing & mending of the Lord. He has been near to these 2 broken hearted parents. He is our joy. He is our peace! amen!

if you or anyone you know has been through something like this i would love to hear about it & i would also love to be an encouragement if the Lord wills. also, please don't hesitate to ask michael & i questions about what we've been through. all glory to the Lord! 

September 12, 2011

family picnic


family adventures

we LOVE having adventures as a family! here are a few memphis adventure ideas to do as a family...

the carousel & play place at the mall... $2.

the zoo. so worth getting a membership!

we really like the new playground at shelby farms!

just hanging out at shelby farms is fun too.

the children's museum. again, so worth getting a membership!

the levitt shell has great free spring & fall concerts. take a picnic!

muddy's is always a fun family treat!

ride a trolley downtown for $1 a person. (take the riverfront loop.)

the farmers market at the agricenter or downtown are free (if you don't buy anything) & fun. :)


a bike ride. :)

or just stay home & make breakfast & build an awesome fort. ;)

fall is my favorite time of year. it's perfect weather to get outside after being stuck in the house because of the heat.

events that are coming up:
*september 17th- cooper young festival (free).
*september 24th-25th- cordova art festival (free & right around the corner from our house at the old community center).
*october 1st- dixon art museum family day (free).
*october 22nd-23rd- river arts festival (free).
*november 5th- india fest ($2 adults, $1 kids).

fall traditions:
*the corn maze at the agricenter is open september 15th-october 31st.
*jones orchard has a corn maze as well & you can pick your own apples.
*cedar hill farms looks cute. has a corn maze, pumpkin patch, etc. open september 29th-november 5th.

enjoy your family! i'm going to do that now!

September 11, 2011

spelt biscuits

here's what you'll need:
2 c spelt flour, plus more for dusting
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/3 c coconut oil, plus more for brushing
3/4 c hot water

how to whip them up:
oven at 375, line a baking sheet w parchment paper
in medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder & salt
pour the oil & hot water into the dry ingredients & mix w rubber spatula until fully combined & a dough is formed
if the batter is too dry, add more hot water, 2 tbs at a time, until the dough is sticky
dust the counter w spelt flour
place the dough on the prepared surface & drag it thru the flour
pat the dough gently until it is 1 inch thick
using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out the biscuits & arrange on the baking sheet
brush each w oil & sprinkle w salt
bake the biscuits on the center rack for 8 minutes, rotating the sheet 180 degrees after 4 minutes
the finished biscuits will have a golden flaky crust
let the biscuits stand on the sheet for 5 minutes before serving
can store at room temp for up to 2 days

September 8, 2011

brownies! (vegan & gf)

here's what you need:
3/4 c brown rice flour
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c coconut cream (you can put a can of coconut milk in the fridge for a few hours & the cream will rise to the top, then just scoop it out)
1/4 c vegetable oil (i'd like to try coconut oil next time i make them)
1/2 - 3/4 c agave nectar 
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c chocolate chips
you can also add:
handful of unsweetened shredded coconut
handful of chopped pecans

how to whip them up:
oven to 350, grease 8" square pan. 
whisk or sift together all the dry ingredients
in another bowl whisk together coconut cream, oil, agave & vanilla
fold in the dry ingredients until just combined, don't over mix
fold in chocolate chips & extras
pour into pan & back for 15-20 mins
let cool, only slightly because you won't be able to wait very long before digging in! ;)

September 4, 2011

yummy mexican dinner

a favorite in the barker home... mexican! super easy (vegan & gluten free) dinner, or lunch for that matter: tacos or tostadas (for gluten free people) & guacamole.
what you'll need:

*whole wheat tortillas, corn tortillas (for gluten free tostadas)
*refried vegetarian black beans
*daiya cheese (the most amazing vegan cheese ever!)
*garlic powder

heat some olive oil in a skillet on medium. put a spoonful of beans & cheese on one side of the tortilla, fold it over & fry on each side till light brown. yum!
heat about a 1/4 an inch of oil in a skillet over medium place the corn tortilla in the oil & fry on each side till crispy & browned. you'll want to warm the beans up in a separate pot so they're warm when you put them on the tostada. then top with cheese, guacamole & salsa. 
guacamole- 1 1/2 - 2 avocados mashed, 1/2 - 1 lime juice, diced tomato, diced onion, season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic powder & cayenne!enjoy!al

"sing for the beauty that's to be found"

something i am currently learning... with kids, with ministry, with life it's not just about the end result, it's so so much about the process! i've been encouraged by sara grove's song "setting up the pins". she finds the humor in how we're all just doing the same thing over & over everyday, we're setting up the pins (bowling pins if you didn't catch it) to just knock them down & start all over again tomorrow. so often as a mommy & homemaker i feel like i'm cleaning the house to have it just get dirty & messy again, cooking food that's going to be consumed, grocery shopping only to have to do it again next week, washing dishes, cleaning & folding clothes, the list goes on & on. & i struggle with feeling like no one notices. is my work just busy work or is it fruitful? Colossians 3:23-24 "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." praise the Lord that He sees!!! i have my reward in Him, that's so much better than the praise of man! hallelujah! 
second thing... i want to "sing for the beauty that's to be found" in the mundane. i want to enjoy & soak up every minute with my sweet boys & my loving husband! i want to appreciate sitting & rocking my sweet sammy to sleep at night, even if it takes 45 mins & i feel like he should already be asleep; & again when he's awake for 2 hrs during the night. :) children are going to do childish things & my job is to walk with them through everything & teach them & be patient with them & point them to Christ. & so i end with this...
Psalm 127:1-5
"Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."

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