February 28, 2013

"the gospel in her home" (the journey)

"not that i have already obtained this or am already perfect, but i press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. brothers, i do not consider that i have made it my own. but one thing i do: forgetting what lies behind & straining forward to what lies ahead, i press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. let those of us who are mature think this way, & if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. only let us hold true to what we have attained."
philippians 3:12

i have recently thought about how i would like to go back through all of my blog posts & adjust them to look the way my current posts do. i've also thought about my photography style & how it's grown & improved & how i'm kinda "embarrassed" with how my pictures used to look. but then i realized... it's all a journey of growth & perfecting what i want my blog & photography to be & represent. the constantly changing & ever evolving look & feel of my blog & photography is part of who i am & who i'm becoming. i don't need to worry about how things look & if it all "fits together well". it's all so different & i'm not who i was a few years ago!
(oct 2011)

& so it is in our Father's good gospel... He is ever changing us & sanctifying us & making us more like Him! we have not "arrived"! we will never reach a point of "being perfected" on this earth. with our children, we are not standing on top of a peak calling them to join us. we are walking this road with them as fellow sinners. & it's a hard/beautiful journey.
(feb 2012)

we should increasingly pursue the knowledge of Christ. we are like a runner straining for the finish line! if a runner looks behind him to see how well he's doing or if someone else is gaining on him, he will only be slowed down. & we cannot rest or relax on previous achievements. we strain for more of the Lord! this is not to say that we don't remember what the Lord has faithfully brought us through, saved us from & how He's made us more in His image.
(feb 2013)

everything that is sanctifying & difficult & maybe "ugly" to us is really soooooo beautiful because it is the Lord expressing His kind love for us! the whole story, ALL OF IT, is glorifying to Him! let's not be consumed with tears & the laughter of what the Lord has done over the years, but strain for more of Him!!!

read brit's post here.

(some of the above thoughts are from our pastor's sermon this past sunday.
listen to it or watch it here.)

don't forget to comment with your thoughts &
maybe share your "the gospel in her home" post as well!
thanks for fellowshipping with us!

February 27, 2013

inheritance in the saints

"the gospel is not just a message of reconciliation with God, but it also heralds the reconciliation of all believers to one another in Christ. through the death of Christ, God has brought peace where there was once hostility, & He has broken down the racial, economic, & social barriers that once divided us outside of Christ. 

also, when God saved us, He made us members of His household, & He gave us as gifts to one another. each brother & sister is a portion of my gospel inheritance from God, & i am a portion of their inheritance as well. we are significant players in each other's gospel narrative, & it is in relationship with one another that we experience the fullness of God in Christ. 

hence, the more i comprehend the full scope of the gospel, the more i value the church for which Christ died, the more i value the role that i play in the lives of my fellow Christians, & the more i appreciate the role that they must be allowed to play in mine."

what rich fellowship we can have with the body of Christ! we are not alone on this journey! brothers & sisters are "a portion of my gospel inheritance from God" & "we experience the fullness of God in Christ" by relationship with one another! 

how do your current relationships accomplish this in your life?

since we just moved i'm sooo desperate for fellowship with the saints here in louisville!!! while we get settled & start making friends i'm so grateful for dear friends far away!

February 26, 2013

"the gospel in her home" (the idea)

oh friends, i am soooo excited about this idea the Lord gave me & i pray it blesses you & me in our walks as mommies/wives/homemakers/daughters of our dear Savior! 

so here it is... my friends britneytiff & i are starting a blogging community called "the gospel in her home". our goal is to build a community in the blogging world of gospel centered posts, encouragement, links, insight & wisdom. our Father's gospel is so rich & we have much to learn from the gospel in our efforts as mommy/wife/homemaker. we get to learn from our Lord & what He's done for us everyday & all day... if we are willing. it's so easy to see folding laundry, washing dishes, washing dirty babies, making meals, discipling hearts, running errands or decorating our home as simply more things to get "good" at & learn about in books. BUT all of these daily tasks can remind us of the gospel & point us back to our sweet Savior. & there are so many things He's teaching us in our failings. 

"God never reveals our hearts to discourage us. convicting us of sin is one of the most profound ways he demonstrates his love for us." -Paul Tripp

as mommies/wives/homemakers we often feel soooo discouraged by our failings & sin. but in convicting us of our sin our God is showing us how much He loves us. & so our times in our new blogging community will be discussing our sin & failures & we will also rejoice in our triumphs & joys. our Father is so kind to us! 

"work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." philippians 2:12-13

"and I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." philippians 1:6

here's how we want you to share in this fellowship with us... britney, tiff & i will have a weekly "the gospel in her home" post where we apply the gospel to normal mommy/wife/homemaker lives & share our thoughts & truths the Lord has shown us. PLEASE PLEASE share your thoughts in the comments! we ARE NOT alone... we have fellowship with the body... & we can enjoy that fellowship here in our little spot on the internet. ;) if you would like to join in & share your "the gospel in her home" post share the link in the comments as well. we'd love to learn from what the Lord is teaching you!! & share this little community with your friends who will appreciate it!  

thank you for being here friends! let's walk together.

February 21, 2013


i think as parents one of the best things we can do for our kids is REPENT & show them our desperate need for our Savior daily, moment by moment! they need to know that just because we're further along in years & we're "mommy & daddy" doesn't mean that we're never wrong. we're quite often wrong! just a few nights ago michael & i had this long conversation about how we may be doing a few things wrong with the boys. so we reevaluated, we prayed, then the next day we talked to the boys about how we had been messing up & we asked for forgiveness. just by asking our kids to forgive us we're teaching them that no one is perfect & we're all in need of God's grace whether we're 2 or 80 years old. we never "arrive" to the age where we can say, "we always know what we're doing & we always do it right". what a relief as a child... we're showing them that we don't expect them to always have it together, but we do expect them to repent when they've sinned against someone & to cling to the grace of our Mighty Savior as they are sanctified & try again. (& all of this is trusting that our boys come to a saving relationship with Christ Jesus.)

our children need "good", weak, repenting, humble, gracious parents.
& their parents need a GOOD/strong/forgiving/gracious Savior!

February 20, 2013

tiny detours, empowerment, & a blessing (guest post)

my dear dear friend, emma, agreed to share some wisdom filled words with us. this woman... i have so much respect for her & i rejoice that we get to learn from what the Lord has taught her! :) read more from her here.


In the midst of the constant barrage of tears, tantrums, discipline, unending questions, surges of hormones, the lack of adult interaction and sleeplessness, I find myself swirling in a tornado of emotions and feelings that are so strong I can barely keep my footings.

On any given day I can experience emotions of heightened joy and laughter and 5 minutes later sadness and doubt about my calling as a mother. So how does a god-fearing mother live her life according to her emotions?? SHE DOESN'T!!
As Christian mothers are called to live our everyday lives by the truth found in the Word of God and our faith in Him. You can look at our emotions as tiny detours and distractions trying to take us off course. We cannot rely on them! We need to feel them, and recognize their presence in our lives but not allow them to dictate our responses to our children or to the Lord.  I realize that this is easier said than done!:)

Begin to practice living a life of faith everyday. Read the word, Believe it and Live it! Relying on the grace of God, which is His supernatural empowerment, I can do ALL things through Christ. I now look at my emotional ups and downs as blessings because through them I am being sanctified to become more like the Lord and the mother I was created to be. My little ones daily witness my constant surrender to the Father as I ask for His forgiveness and theirs.:) We are not called to be PERFECT mothers we are called to be mothers who are perfected through the grace and mercy of our Lord.
May you be blessed today, may you recieve a fresh impartation of grace and mercy. May peace and rest be yours today as your press against the swift current of your emotions. And May the joy of the Lord be your strength!!

Emma Wilson and her husband Jim reside in Northern Ontario Canada. They currently have 3 little ones: Judah (5), Mercy(3) and Atirah(1). Emma is a full-time mommy and homemaker. Through motherhood the Lord has taken her on a journey of surrendering everything to Him. She regulary blogs about her experiences and challenges on her blog. Check it out at: www.simplybeautifullife.wordpress.com

February 19, 2013

His love is full & rich

i've written on this subject before. pretty much every day i think about this... goodness we're surrounded & bombarded by image & material possessions & discontentment with what we have & who we are. social media is so good for connecting with people & learning from people on the other side of the country or world. i'm grateful for the ability to connect with family who live too far away. i'm grateful that i can share with other women who are going through the same things i am & learn from women & we are able to know we're not alone in our sin & failings & joys. but if we don't guard ourselves... we will wish we were where everyone else was. we'll want to be anywhere & be anyone other than where & who we are. i've noticed MANY times (if not every time) after looking at blogs, scrolling through instagram feeds, watching vine videos, etc that i am sooooooo discontent with my family, my home, myself, our clothes, our belongings. i want to fill my mind & heart & eyes with things that inspire me in creativity & give me ideas for enriching my kids' childhood, but we sin when we start coveting others' lives & things. & we can only guard ourselves from that when we are fulfilled in our Lord's full & rich love! a few practical things i've either started doing or considered doing...
*i'm thinking vine is not something i will continue to use. it's just something else for me to waste time on & less time & attention that i give to my family. it's not that inspiring to me & it's another way that i sin by coveting someone else's life.
*i don't want to start my days by scrolling through my IG feed. that doesn't help me start my day in the right frame of mind. 
*i want to cut down the IG feeds i follow.
*i would like to only look at IG in the afternoon or bedtime. if i look at it throughout the day it really affects my attitude & my view of my role as mommy, wife & homemaker.
*staying away from pop culture... music, certain tv shows, clothing websites, etc.

all of this is important to consider as we look at others' social media, but we should also consider how we present ourselves through social media. are we wanting others to envy us? are we sharing only the "good"? let us not try to cause others to stumble as they observe our lives. 
His love is SO full & rich & we have been given much! let us live fully right where we are!!! cut down on blog reading, IG, twitter, fb if it's causing us to neglect our family & role.

what are your thoughts on this?

February 17, 2013

lately grams

photo copy 6photophoto copyphoto copy 3photo copy 2photo copy 4photo copy 7photo copy 5
follow me on instagram... @albark
(my account is private so please request to follow).
1) gorilla munch & soy milk. 2) 3 bags of snacks for 3 hungry boys. 3) coloring some birthday presents for a new friend. ;) 4) they all got valentines in the mail & they were super excited. 5) home. 6) barker family valentine's party. 7) there's a super cute mouse in our house. 8) sammy & mommy date night! 
funny/favorite/current things...
*my sweet sweet friend wrote a little post about my blog here. THANK U!
*planning a trip to see my sister, with my other sister, in nyc! had some money saved & i know by the end of march this mommy will be needing a break! ;)
*john piper spoke at our church today!!!!!!!!!!!! so blessed!
*jude says the funniest things like all day long!!! most of the time he's just making up conversations... but it's hilarious! i gotta get it on video!
*sammy always asks if toy people are "good guys" or "bad guys". haha!
*amos is getting soooooooo tall!!!! oh my gosh this boy is going to be bigger than his mommy AND daddy!!! ahhhhh! 
*i want this sweet little print!
*i am soooo blessed to have dear dear friends from memphis that i get to talk with at least every other week!!! love u girls! 
*i'm taking a trip with my boys to meet my friend megan's newest addition, henry!

got some lately grams to share?? share your link below!

February 14, 2013

love that grows!

photo copyphotophoto copy 4photo copy 2photo copy 5photo copy 3
hi friends,
just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate you following along in our adventures, struggles, tears & laughter! if you're new or you've been around for awhile we appreciate you! please feel free to join in on commenting on posts & sharing with friends that would enjoy reading as well. we'd LOVE to be able to grow our blog so we can use any money we make to go toward our adoption!!! 
here's how you can help... share my blog link on ANY social media & keep reading & sharing your thoughts! we soooo enjoy your gracious & kind words & we rejoice that the Lord is being glorified through this little blog. above anything else may He be honored & get more fame! anyone interested in sponsoring now to help us bring our baby girl home?!

we have exciting new features & gospel centered community coming up in the next couple weeks. stick around & know you're not alone in the sanctifying joys of being a wife/mommy/sister/daughter! please feel free to tell us what you're going through & what the Lord is teaching you! share your blog link below... let's get to know each other better. :)

thanks! happy valentine's day!

perfect love

this little boy in my arms has taught me more about the love of the Father than anyone else in my life thus far! at times it is sooooo hard to love him. my love & compassion for him doesn't come as natural to me as it has with jude & sammy. & when i see amos's helplessness & stubbornness & sinfulness & desperate need for a Savior & a loving mommy & daddy, i see my sinful state & my need for my Savior. our son has brought out sin in me that i didn't know was there... & the Lord is refining me & sanctifying me through this little boy. him needing me so much & being quite dependent on me... i see how much i NEED God! i cannot love my boys, be what they need me to be, not completely mess them up, point them to Christ, & show them the gospel WITHOUT HIM!!! 

oh i need Him! 
thank you for pointing me again to my Savior feisty, joyful, funny, 
little amos benjamin. i love you son!

& happy valentine's day friends! may we draw near to God as we celebrate family & friends that we love dearly. it is only through His grace that we love them anyway.

"beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. in this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. in this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. no one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us." 1 john 4:7-12

February 13, 2013

it's exhausting for me

this morning i woke up at 6:10 & got a few minutes in the Word before the kids needed my attention. i felt "prepared" to start the day & "handle" the demands that would be made of me as "mommy" & "wife". but boy was i wrong... everyone started calling for me & asking questions. i had to take a shower, make breakfast, dish out vitamins, get clothes & diapers changed, clean up dirty dishes, get myself ready & get out the door for jude's eye appt. in the midst of all of that i wasn't leaning on the Lord's grace to serve all 4 of my guys. i was relying on the amount of sleep or alone time i had. i was relying on my on abilities & strength & i already know how far that gets me. ;) i'm a very weak sinner in desperate need of my strong heavenly Father who gives me grace to love & care for my family. & when i begin to complain & feel sorry for myself i'm not trusting the Lord. He's put me in this position to love my family & it is ONLY through Him that i will "succeed" (& by "succeed" i don't mean doing it right all the time :)). i'm putting myself before my 4 guys & the Lord when i whine because too much is being demanded of me. Lord give me grace to rest in Your strong love for my family that i might serve them as unto You. & any good i do as a mommy i want to exult in the Lord for giving me His grace to love them well... it is all from Him.

"what do you have that you did not receive? if then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
1 corinthians 4:7

February 11, 2013

joy in the mundane

a guest post i did for see the skyline last week. :)

when i started my blog my plan was to do/write about anything having to do with family & being a mommy... so i did a lot of recipes & some DIYs (the normal mommy blog stuff), but as i've grown in my blog i'm reminded that THE MOST important thing to cling to as mommy is the gospel of Christ. what are we, what do we have apart from Him? our efforts are empty & failing without our gracious Father sustaining us. 
our days as mommies & followers of Christ feel so pointless when we start feeling "what are we accomplishing?" it can be overwhelming at times... folding clean clothes & putting them away just to get them dirty again, washing dishes just to fill them with food & dirty them again, cleaning floors that will have dust & dirt scattered in minutes. but what joy to worship our Father in the daily... many days of repeat, dirty & clean, empty & full. our Father does this with us daily. we sin & He returns us to fellowship with Him as we repent & on & on it goes. this is redemption's work. filling what is empty, & making beautiful what was ugly. we are rehearsing the gospel in all of our mundane tasks. we are bringing Him glory. may we see our many days in a new light. He does not grow weary & impatient with us, praise the Lord! may He give us the grace to not grow weary or faint. 
the gospel proclaimed through pears sliced & juice poured to fill a little one's belly that will only be empty again. He sees us in our need & fills us & all glory is to Him.

February 8, 2013

lately grams

photophoto copy 7photo copyphoto copy 2photo copy 3photo copy 4photo copy 5photo copy 6
follow me on instagram... @albark
(my account is private so please request to follow).
1) this boy is learning to enjoy looking at books. still have to watch him... he can be pretty rough with them. we keep board books around for him. ;) 2) window. 3) sammy boy feet. 4) just talkin on the phone. 5) reading spot while the littles are napping. 6) homemade honey sweetened soy/coconut milk hot cocoa. mmmmmm! 7) doors open on a nice 60 degree day! 8) jude's little house in the backyard... he had a vegetable garden right next to his house. :) i used to do this all the time when i was younger. my brother, sister & i had a whole city we made in the woods on our farm. good memories!
funny/favorite/current things...
*mike's sister & her husband are coming to visit this weekend!!! we love them!
*soooooo excited for warmer weather! we were out in our backyard yesterday, because it was 60 degrees, & i cannot wait to be out there with the boys almost everyday. learning & playing & maybe growing some vegetables. ;)
*i'm so excited about ideas the Father has given me for "learning/character/imagination & wonder building" stuff for the boys!!!
*jude has the greatest imagination. he comes up with the funniest names for toys. he can play on the floor with his toys in his own imaginary world for hours, if his brothers don't try to mess "his world" up. ;)
*amos is learning all day long. he follows his brothers & wants to do whatever they're doing! it's good to have them so close in age for amos's sake. 
*i am beyond proud of my smart smart husband!!!! he's such a good student & he's doing so well in seminary. i need to be faithful to pray for him more as he has A LOT on him. he wants so much to do it all well... including being a husband & daddy. :) love u michael sammy!

got some lately grams you want to share??
share the link in the comments! :)

February 7, 2013

spring come quickly!

watch all the olive us videos... super cute & inspiring! 

February 6, 2013

adoption & the gospel pt 9

as time goes by amos is feeling more & more like he's always been with our family. like he's just one of us, always has been, always will be. & it is sooooooo good!!! in april i would've said "i'm not sure it'll ever happen." but attachment is happening & i'm loving him more & better & being consistent, by the grace of God. as our family's bond grows more i want to remember where we were just a year ago... we were still just a family of 4 & our amos was waiting in the orphanage alone & had no idea there were 4 barkers who couldn't wait to welcome him into their family. & we've been through MUCH! but by the grace of God we are moving on & things are get easier & lighter everyday & his fits aren't as crazy & he has learned to calm himself down when he's upset & i'm not as quick to anger with him when he's being unreasonable & his big brothers see him as one of them & he seems like he just fits & feels safe. hallelujah!!!!! to God be the glory! what looked hopeless & unattainable just a few months ago is easier & joyful & becoming whole! He restores the brokenhearted & he does not leave us as orphans. 

so it is with us... while we shouldn't hold on & cling to what we were before Christ saved us... we should often remember where we were before Him. we were lost & without hope. He came & rescued us when we weren't sure if anyone ever would. but He did! & it was hard... we weren't sure we wanted to be loved, we had been alone & handled things on our own for so long. & it took time, but we are becoming & looking more & more like we fit in His family. we run to Him first. we can calm down & realize when we are upset that He won't abandon us. He will never leave us or forsake us. the fact that we're His is becoming a part of who we are & we look back on the orphan we once were & all we can do is rejoice!!! for He makes ALL THINGS NEW!

& where would we be apart from Him? we would have nothing! we would be destined for death & separation from Him! but He came & called us His & we have been given LIFE!

oh dear friends, please listen to/watch this sermon.

(pt 1pt 2pt 3pt 4pt 5pt 6pt 7 & pt 8)

February 5, 2013

tired days

there are days... many lately, that i'm worn & weary. by dinner-making time i'm not sure i can muster up the energy to finish the day. all my efforts in resisting sin feel like they're waning. i'm ready for the little ones to be in bed. & once they're in bed i can barely keep my eyes open. & at the end of those many days i feel like i've failed. "why am i so tired?" "why can't i handle more?" we don't give ourselves enough credit as mommies! we often don't realize the stressors on our lives, not that we use those as excuses or reason for a pity party, but it's good to think through why we might be tired?... 

*for the past year i had my husband around more than normal & now he's a full-time student.
*our 3 boys are very close in age & they're boys with A LOT of energy.
*all 3 of our boys are maybe not "high needs", but they're quite dramatic little boys.
*i don't get a lot of alone time.
*i have a huge "to do" list for myself & just thinking about that wears me out (i've learned not to expect as much from myself each day. i can't be super mom!).
*almost a year ago we adopted amos & while things with attachment are much better he still needs LOTS of attention & direction.
*i live in a home with 5 sinners & only 2 of them are saved by grace. 2 of us are leaning on the Lord for grace while the other 3 are still learning that they need the Lord.
*it's wintertime & we're stuck inside a lot with way too much energy.
*we just moved & haven't made a ton of friends yet.

so now that i have my list... i don't whine about it, i just realize i have a lot going on & give myself & my children grace. He is all that will sustain me from the moment i hear their bedroom door open in the morning till the moment i shut my eyes. being mommy is hard & it's sanctifying. i want to be more like Christ, so i rejoice in my trials & their sanctifying work in my life. i just want so much to do this well! but as i've learned... my weakness, points myself & my whole family to Christ. WE NEED HIM! they don't need a perfect mommy, they need a mommy who knows how much she needs Him!

i recently read a chapter in this lovely little book about this same subject. she humorously compares our small & shrinking amount of energy everyday to a milkshake & all of our children have straws & everyone is drinking away. & when the milkshake is almost gone everyone starts drinking as fast as they can. everyone is super intense about trying to get as much as they can. "they are panicked. i am panicked. i want everyone to stop so i can have a chance to whip up a new batch. no one stops. the demands for your attention and energy get suddenly loud & obnoxious when you feel like there isn't anything left to give."she talked about how we will learn how to handle our days better... as a runner trains, they have better form, they run faster, but if they're pushing themselves it's still hard. "i think it is common to have this mental ideal of what your days as a mother are supposed to be like. we think that if we were doing motherhood right, then it wouldn't be this hard." the Lord will give us the grace to get in bed earlier, to read books & blogs filled with wisdom for mommies, to find friends that are going through the same things & can be an encouragement... but it will always be hard.

"when we are at home with our children, this is the means of our sanctification. this is the testing of our faith. and it is Christ's faithfulness that enables ours. it is our job to cast off sins, to be faithful. it is Christ's job to renew us. we need to be faithful, because He is faithful to us. we can trust Him to fill our milkshakes, because His never runs low."

good news for weary mommies!!!!!!!

i blogged over at see the skyline today! :)

February 4, 2013

lately grams

follow me on instagram... @albark
(my account is private so please request to follow).
1) my man bought me some tulips (one of my favorite flowers) & made us gluten-free berry muffins. 2) popcorn snack & movie time. 3) ahhhh time alone! praise the Lord for a man who takes care of my emotional needs! every monday he gives me a few hours away... ALONE!!! 4) this is my FAVORITE spot in the house! 5) the 2 youngest playing at daddy's school while we waited for big brother to be done with his motor skills class. 6) popcorn is a favorite snack around our house... mainly because it's super cheap (we're on a tight budget) & it's easy & quick! & the boys are really liking this Bible from their grandpam & uncle carl. it's sooo gospel centered & easy to understand! 7) leftovers for lunch! we REALLY like eating leftovers because it feels like a "free" meal. ;) 8) amos boy was too busy to eat his fill at breakfast so he climbed back up to finish his waffle an hour later. :)
funny/favorite/current things...
*i'm soooo enjoying how my photography is progressing! i'm super grateful for the chance to learn from kristin rogers, but i'm super sad the class is over!
*i'm using this dvd to workout during these winter months & i'm loving the results!!
*i was in the kitchen the other day & i heard the boys in the playroom... sammy was getting frustrated with a toy & started fussing. he decided to figure it out. he fixed it & jude said, "good job sammy!" jude is great with the littles!
*amos calls jude "jude" & sammy "bubba" & the other day he was calling sammy, & sammy looked at me & said, "me sammy, not bubba." ;)
*mike & i have come up with a good weekly routine for me to get one on one time with jude & then the 2 little boys. i'm using this book to work on motor skills with them appropriate for their ages. & then we do some creative crafts & work on learning letters & numbers. jude is eating it up!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...