January 29, 2012

late again on the holiday posts

just wanted to share some photos from our Christmas time. enjoy.








January 28, 2012

happy thanksgiving! wait, am i late??


here's a little of what our Thanksgiving looked like.


it's so crazy to look back, even just 2 months ago, on pictures & see how much the boys have changed already! TIME FLIES!!! & the older they get the faster it slips away. Father, let me not take these moments for granted!


pumpkin waffle breakfast. my husband is THE best breakfast cook!


sweet faces & spaces.

this blog blesses me.
i could waste hours of my life looking at this.
i HAVE to make this!!!


January 27, 2012

* * * * * * *


michael & i are in such a fun season. i am so in love with him! i just want to be with him all the time & listen to him talk & laugh with him! he blesses me so much! I'M GONNA ENJOY EVERY SECOND OF THIS SEASON & trust that the Lord will keep us here. :)

January 26, 2012

in my weakness

there are days when i feel like i'm doing well, i'm showing grace to my family & showing them how much i love them... & then there are days that i'm completely FAILING at all of the above. i let a cloudy day, a juice fast (that i'm doing voluntarily), potty training, a sick little boy that needs to be held all day & is super fussy, a to do list that isn't getting completed & numerous other small insignificant things dictate my emotions! how ridiculous! & then i feel like i've messed everything up because i WAS doing well.
then, i get a moment alone & remember these truths...

"my flesh & my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart & my portion forever."
ps 73:26

& then i can breathe again. i remember that i am only human. that i WILL fail. but my gracious Father DOES NOT & never will fail! i am weak. 

"but he said to me, 'my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' therefore i will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. for the sake of Christ, then, i am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. for when i am weak, then i am strong." 2 cor 12:9-10

um, wow... "for the sake of Christ, then, i am content with weaknesses..." i'm never content with my weaknesses (obviously i'm going to strive for growth, etc). but in weaknesses Christ's power is resting on me so i should rejoice in that i can't hold everything together all the time. 

a quote from milton vincent's gospel primer... "consequently, God now has only love, compassion, & deepest affection for me, & this love is without any admixture of wrath whatsoever. God always looks upon me & treats me with gracious favor, always working all things together for my ultimate & eternal good. God's grace abounds to me even through trials. because i am a justified one, He subjugates every trial & forces it to do good unto me. when i sin, God's grace abounds to me all the more as He graciously maintains my justified status. when i sin, God feels no wrath in His heart against me. His heart is filled with nothing but love for me, & He longs for me to repent & confess my sins to Him, so that He might show me the gracious & forgiving love that has been in His heart all along." AMEN!

He is never disappointed with me. He uses these trials for my good. His grace abounds. amen! 
Father, keep my eyes fixed on You & eternal things. grow me in grace for my sweet boys. & show me how to see them the way you do... nothing but love, compassion & deepest affection for them... with no admixture of wrath.










January 25, 2012

tempeh & other stuff

>i've been saying it wrong for a few years. i've always called it tempUH (the soy goodness, better than tofu) but it's actually pronounced tempAI. it's so delicious when it's made well. :) here's one of our favorite tempeh recipes... indonesian tempeh. oh my goodness it's amazing! the boys even love it. yum! these sound amazing as well!

>speaking of food... mike & i just started a 2 week juice fast. feeling a little hungry to say the least. ;) it'll be good. detox & shrink my belly. we are going to do juice fasts twice a year.

>this site looks so fun! i could waste many hours looking at all this. i've been thinking about changing my blog & making it better. we'll see. i rarely have time to read a book during the day so how would i find time to create an amazing blog design? ;)
    *what resources do you use as a blogger to make your site better & get a bigger audience?

>i've been inspired lately to evaluate our family's style... what do we want to be about & what do we want to portray. obviously, the Lord first, always. what should our home feel like? what kind of music should fill our heads & hearts? what kind of movies should we fix our eyes on? books, how important are books? what should we read? how should we dress? basically, what should we value? i think one of the biggest things mike & i have talked about is "simplicity".
    *Lord, lead us as we seek you about what our family should be about. may it be pleasing in your sight.

>movies... i took my sweet jude on a date yesterday. we had sooo much fun laughing & talking & singing. we were sitting in the cupcake shop & "hey jude" came on. we sang along & danced a little bit in our chairs. it was fun. we went to see "we bought a zoo". it looked cute & jude LOVES animals so i thought it would be good. i even looked up the ratings on www.kids-in-mind.com (btw, mike & i use this app EVERY TIME we're about to see a movie) & they seemed good. i should've read all that was in it, i didn't this one time... i'm grateful that jude is young enough to not understand it all, but i learned a lesson. :) i will be researching each movie our boys' sweet little eyes will see VERY well from now on.

grateful for the grace of our Father!

January 23, 2012

some thoughts...

>my husband is currently reading this book & he loves it! (good pointers in raising our boys.)

>mike & i are watching this series & i've learned more about our nation's history then i ever did reading text books in school.

>speaking about school... we are going to homeschool our kids. i was homeschooled from 2nd thru 12th grade & i loved it. i've been doing a lot of thinking (& some research) about what style of teaching we want to use with our children.
    *charlotte mason
    *or all of the above :)
it's quite overwhelming thinking about what a big responsibility it is to teach our children everything they need to know. i guess the same is true about raising them & training their hearts & pointing them to Christ. that's why, as parents, we just have to do what the Lord leads us to do & trust that He is in control.

>some books i want to read about education... the well trained mindyou are your child's first teacherplayful learningthe creative family.

>this website is great.

>hope we're in memphis in april so we can go to this.

the end

January 21, 2012

fondue date

michael & i are always trying to surprise each other & come up with creative dates. i LOVE surprising this man!!! i get all nervous right before he finds out what we're doing. :) it brings me a lot of joy to bless him!
so i planned a date at home. i asked him to run the boys to our friend's house because "i ran out of time & didn't get to finish something for our date." ha. i told him to let me know when he was on his way back home. while he was gone i ran around like crazy getting everything set up. & here's the end result...



our fondue pot is one of the best things we've bought for our kitchen; that & our waffle maker. :) i just pour some vegetable broth in & add some herbs.


 cut up some veggies & buy/make some yummy dipping sauces. one of the easiest meals.



i love how long it takes to eat fondue... so you can just sit & talk & cook your veggies.




the ambiance is very important to me. so we had lights strung like a tent around us, candles everywhere & records playing.



& this man, oh, this man! i adore him with all my heart. i cannot imagine life without him. he is my best & dearest friend. what a blessing to have his hand to hold & lips to kiss through all of life's joys & sorrows. i am grateful to my Lord for giving him to me. oh man i'm so grateful!


dinner was delicious & the fellowship was rich.

& then of course we had to have dessert...



mmmmmm. YUM!

January 20, 2012






mmmmmmmmmmmmm!!! this soup is DDDDeeelicious!!!!

January 19, 2012


just wanted to share this picture i took of our dear friends, the gales. don & megan love their family so much & love the Lord even more. mike & i are so challenged by their love for the Lord & how they pursue Him. we adore them & will miss them very very much when the Lord moves us on from memphis. check out megan's blog & don's blog.


January 18, 2012

i know... but i'm crazy about them

i know most of my posts are about my little boys... but i adore them so so much! 
& they're just so incredibly cute!!!!

they are so much joy to michael & me. i'm savoring these years. 
i've got to read this book soon.

January 17, 2012

A Tribute to my Lady

Hi. I’m Mike. Husband to the author of afterhissmile.com.  Al and her sister have been in NYC visiting her other sister.  So I have been barely getting by without her tending the home front since Saturday. I have hacked into her website to share some observations I’ve compiled from our experiences over the last 3ish days as a tribute to my wife.

I am far less patient with our boys when it’s just me and them.  It never lets up.  The only time I’ve had for myself is nap time and bed time.  And during those times, I’m trying to clean the house up.

Two crazy boys are more difficult than just one.  I know it sounds like simple arithmetic: 1+1=twice as hard.  But it’s not arithmetic.  We’re dealing with exponents and logs and calculus stuff.

The time I spend as their sole caregiver corresponds directly to their readiness to disobey me. I thought Dad was above the fray when it came to getting his kids to obey.  I now understand that I’m just around them less so they haven’t tested me as much.

It’s incredibly difficult to keep a teething toddler (who doesn’t like to watch TV) happy.  No lie, at this moment I’m typing with my right hand and holding a screaming little boy in the other (father of the year right here).  I wasn’t planning for such a short nap.  He’s crying “Momma” now:(

I can’t keep our house clean.  It’s ridiculous.  I was going to post pictures, but I’ll be lucky if I can even get this thing posted.  I’ve been staying up ‘til midnight trying to catch up.  That’s a nice segue into…

My boys’ understanding of “tired” differs greatly from mine.  I feel like I can barely make it through the day while they run at full speed until they collapse, unconscious, in their beds.  Their tired also involves crankiness, tears, and tantrums (maybe we’re not so different after all)

It takes at least an hour longer to leave the house than I anticipated.  There’s always one more toy on the ground, dirty dish, full diaper, shoeless foot, forgotten snack.

Kids’ capacity to get lost in a crowd is nearly limitless.  We went to the children’s museum yesterday (bad idea if you live in Memphis and it happens to be MLK day).  The parking lot was nearly full, so I warned Jude to stay close before we even went in.  I answered one text from Al and he was gone.  I found him after three of the longest minutes of my life. 

So I’m sure none of this is news to those of you who are with your kids all day, but it was new to me.  This entry is surely not as eloquent or clever as most of you are used to, but it is true.  My wife is amazing.  She wrangles these crazy boys, takes care of me, and still finds beauty to share with others every day.  I love you Mrs. Barker.  Don’t leave me again soon…or ever.

catch your breath

there are days as a young mommy that i feel like i can't catch my breath or get ahead of fighting my frustrations with my boys. most days it's because i haven't made time to be in the Word before starting my day. on days when i feel like my household is going crazy & my boys are at your feet whining all morning & they keep taking toys from each other & i keep giving in to being annoyed/angry about them being so demanding of my attention...
it's just like when i workout & i can't catch my breath. i just keep taking lots of short/shallow breaths just to make it through the workout, but sometimes i have to stop working out for a minute just to breathe in & take a deep breath, then i can get back to working out.
so it is with my days, i have to stop & refocus myself & my family. whether it be walking away from them for just a minute to look up a scripture, getting on my knees to ask the Lord for grace, turning on some worship music (which ALWAYS brings peace to our home) or just showing them that whatever it is i'm doing is not as important as them by getting on the floor with them & loving on them.
take a breath mommies. it's not worth all the frustration of "short/shallow breaths" to just barely make it through the day. the Lord is our Help & Sustainer. we can't do it apart from Him.

"my soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when i remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings i will sing for joy. my soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me." ps 63:5-8

January 16, 2012

sweet boys

what a blessing they are...








i love how they're becoming buddies more & more everyday. they play & crackup at each other all the time. when jude wakes up in the morning he goes straight to sammy's room & says, "hi sammy. i sleep good." & he starts handing sammy toys to play with in his crib until i go in to get him out of bed. :) precious big brother. sammy gives brother kisses a lot & he loves to tackle him. he wants to be just like his big brother. he doesn't want to eat an apple cut in pieces he wants to eat the whole apple... just like "bubba".
i adore these boys with all my heart. & i pray for the grace & patience to love them the way the Father does.

January 15, 2012

dinner time


oh my goodness gracious i enjoy cooking for my family! i enjoy that we eat healthy! & i really enjoy making our time together special... quality time is extremely important to me. :)
here's a yummy quiche recipe from my sweet friend megan.


& one of my favorite healthy sides for meals... sweet potatoes!!! cut them up, put them on a pan w coconut oil & salt & pepper. cook at 350 for about 40-45 mins. turn them a few times during cooking.

also, this sweet little boy got glasses...

isn't he the cutest thing? he looks so grownup to me. sad.
he's far sighted like his daddy & has a lazy left eye so it's a good thing our pediatrician did a 3 year old vision & hearing screening. :) we're praying the Lord heals his sweet little eyes. all things to the glory of our great & sovereign God.

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