Archives for March 2008


Since you now know (thanks to my last post) that our family is a bunch of competitive game-playing crazies, I might as well tell you about what we simply refer to as “the book”. It’s not enough that we thrive on beating each other, but we have to keep track of it. We don’t keep a record of every game we play — just those we feel most competitive about :)

I am the keeper of the book, and I make the marks. (Could that be a clue as to who is the most competitive?) The idea for keeping a book actually had its roots in our early card-playing days (30 years ago now!) with our long-time friends Matt and Ruth. Ruth kept that book — also a little spiral notebook. I guess you could say I learned my bookkeeping skills from her :)

To me, keeping a record of wins and losses is just part of the fun of playing games with family. We played Blokus for the first time with Kristin and Shawn during spring break, and when I wanted to start a page in the book for that game, Shawn thought I had lost my mind. After all, you don’t even play on teams in Blokus. He said we didn’t need to keep track of everything, but Kristin seemed to agree with me. Guess it’s easy to see who the blood relative is :) As it turned out, we caved in and didn’t keep records for Blokus. Good thing, too — I didn’t do that well on that game :)

Shawn’s right, though. There are some things we shouldn’t keep track of. You know, things like mistakes and offenses. The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:5 that love “keeps no record of wrongs.” None of us would probably be so blatant as to keep a book and mark down the times that someone offends or hurts us, but if we’re not careful to forgive, before we know it, we may be keeping a book in our hearts.

God shows us a better way. When we ask Him for forgiveness for our wrongs, our sins, He freely gives it and washes them away. Scripture tells us that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 KJV) In fact, in Jeremiah 31:34b the Lord says, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” When God forgives, He graciously forgets. What a blessing!

Are we keeping track of some things we shouldn’t? Let’s be careful about the books we keep. Someone might even be learning bookkeeping skills from us.

*Photo by my husband Don

Good Medicine

I did my best to avoid it. I took mega-doses of C and sucked on zinc lozenges for well over a week, but the crud finally got me. It started wrapping its fingers around my throat while we were at Kristin and Shawn’s last week, and by Easter Sunday morning I had to croak my way through our choir’s cantata. On Monday I pushed through the day’s activities, but by yesterday I had to give up and collapse. Funny how a little fever makes the body demand some rest, huh?

Since I’m still feeling puny today, I’ll keep this brief but did want to pass along a home remedy guaranteed to at least put a smile on your face when you’re feeling under the weather. Proverbs 17:22 tells us that “A cheerful heart is good medicine…”, and thanks to some fun memories from our recent visit with Kristin and Shawn, I’ve had some good medicine to help me through these days of feeling bad.

You see, when we get together with our kids, we play games like crazy. In fact, as shown in the picture above, we had to move the table in by the tv so we could continue our games while the guys watched basketball :) As you can imagine, over the course of a couple of days, many hilarious moments transpired.

The one that makes me laugh out loud each time I think about it happened when we were playing Blokus. At one point while Kristin was out of the room, Shawn announced that we are the most competitive family he’s ever known and then went on to refer to us as “you three loonies” :) Maybe you had to be there, but that funny moment has provided me with some really “good medicine” the past couple of days. Thanks, Shawn :)

Ah, fun memories — now there’s a medicine I don’t mind taking!

Happy Easter!

May this beautiful sunrise remind you of the “Sonrise” that can change our lives:

“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.'” (Matthew 28:5-6) “…if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved…’Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'” (Romans 10:9,13)

May the hope that comes with trusting Christ as Savior be yours today. Have a blessed Easter!

*Flickr photo by notsogoodphotography

Take A Break

Spring break has sprung at the Barker house. Since that means it’s time to take a break from some of our normal routines, I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Short so it’s easy for me, and sweet so it’s a treat for you.

To fellow spring breakers — try to squeeze some relaxation time into your week “off” when you try to get everything under the sun done :) And to those of you who don’t get an official spring break, I encourage you to try to create one somehow (not at work — at home!).

Think of a couple of your normal responsibilities and simply take a break from them for a few days. That’s right. Get take-out or go out to eat instead of cooking. Ask someone to fill in for you on your volunteer commitments. Give yourself a break. Put your feet up. You’ll be glad you did. (Sweet, huh?)

“[Jesus] said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'” Mark 6:31b

*Flickr photo by idea ablaze

First Signs

Yippee! Let’s hear it for the first signs of green poking through the dull canvas of winter! Just when we feel like our cold season is never going to end, we begin to spot little glimmers of hope. Patches of green start appearing on our lawns, tiny buds can be seen on some of the trees, and we begin enjoying warmer days here and there. Yes, spring is on the way.

Not only is spring a season of hope as new life becomes visible all around us, it is also a season of excitement. Everyone and everything seems to be inspired and invigorated by spring. Give us a warmer day and just watch us come to life. Birds start singing their little hearts out. People really do get a “spring” in their step (how coincidental!), and everyone seems friendlier. Conversation flows more easily with everyone greeting each other with things like, “Don’t you just love this warmer weather?” and “Isn’t it a gorgeous day?” Energy seems to abound.

You know what else is great about spring? It always comes. I’ve never seen a year when winter did not give way to spring. The season of new life faithfully arrives. We can count on it. The barrenness of winter finally takes its leave, and life starts fresh again.

Our lives seem to cycle like the seasons, too. Even though we may face a dark or barren time, we can count on spring to arrive. If you find yourself in a winter stage right now, be encouraged. New life will come. Hope and excitement are on the way. Be on the lookout. The first signs might be just around the corner.

“There is surely a future hope for you…” Proverbs 23:18a

**What are you most looking forward to about spring? I love the warmer, no-jacket temperatures and the color that comes back to our world. How about you?

*My photo