Archives for May 2008

Reunion Bound

I’m up to my ears in excitement! My camera’s ready and squeals are on the tip of my tongue :) Family members from seven states will soon be hitting the road (or the skies), all of us bound for the same destination — our long-awaited family reunion in Branson, Missouri.

We haven’t all been together in over five years. By “we”, I mean Mom and Dad, their four daughters, and all of their grandchildren which now includes two great-grandchildren. Three of the gang will be meeting our son-in-law Shawn for the first time, and almost all of us will be meeting our newest family member (Adam and Lyndsey’s little Emmalyse) for the very first time. Sorry, Shawn, but I think Emmalyse will be the star of the show :)

I think I can safely say that eager anticipation rules the day today for our clan. We echo Paul’s words to the church of the Thessalonians (3:6b): “…you long to see us, just as we long to see you.” And that longing will soon be satisfied. Thank You, Lord!

And what about the reunion that awaits us in heaven? Yes, I’m longing for that one, too. How wonderful it will be to see our loved ones once again. But more than that will be the joy of finally see our Savior face to face. He’ll be the star of the show there, won’t He?

Are you reunion bound? Looking forward to that heavenly reunion? Until then, I hope you get to experience the joy of other reunions. Anyone else going to a reunion of some sort this year? Share your excitement with a comment. I’d love to hear about it!

*Flickr photo by Per Ola Wiberg~powi

An Anniversary Close To My Heart

Two years ago on Memorial Weekend, our family and friends gathered to share in one of the happiest days of our lives — the marriage of our daughter Kristin to her beloved Shawn. Since these two love each other like crazy and have a knack for enjoying life already, their two years of marriage have flown by in a happy blur. They are currently on vacation and emailed the picture above from Tiger Stadium in Detroit. Another neat memory to add to the happy blur of their lives :)

Kristin and Shawn’s anniversary actually brings up a host of wonderful memories of their wedding weekend. Family and friends arrived from all across the country and beyond — one of Kristin’s bridesmaids came from London and another from Ecuador! A work crew composed of family and bridesmaids transformed a great reception hall into beautiful perfection. At the rehearsal dinner, I relaxed in marvelous reprieve from being in charge. And then on wedding day when we finally made it to the church and then on to the party (you can imagine the craziness that transpired in the hours leading up to that!), our dreams unfolded before our eyes. Moments of contentment and joy swept over me one after another.

Words really do fall short in describing the joy I felt that day — and in the days since as I think back on that chapter of our lives. What a blessing it was, what a dream come true, to be able to give Kristin and Shawn a wonderful wedding celebration to mark the beginning of their lives together (thanks to Shawn’s parents for their help, too!). The beauty, the fellowship, the fun…all turning into precious memories we can savor for a lifetime.

The greater blessing, though, was seeing the Lord bring these two together. For years I had prayed for a husband for Kristin who would love God above all and love her the way He intends — and He answered that prayer in Shawn. That was the biggest blessing, the biggest dream come true. And I’m sure Shawn’s family feels the same way about Kristin. My heart still overflows with thanks to God for blessing our precious kids with each other.

So “Happy Anniversary”, Kristin and Shawn! Your special day, May 27th, will always be close to my heart.

“Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 106:1

Conquering the Canyon

There he is — Canyon Man at it again. May at the Barker house means another Grand Canyon expedition for Don. For many years now when the spring semester is over, he’s been leading groups of college students on the trip of a lifetime — a field biology course to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

No, they don’t go down on the mules or on the trails where you’re likely to see other hikers or park rangers. They do it the hard core way. They pack for a three night stay, filter water where it can be found, and hike out — exhausted, hungry, and sometimes injured. Even though I enjoy hiking, I’ve never attempted this adventure. I know my limitations. If I did go, I would probably fall into the “sometimes injured” category :)

This year they did something new — something they’ll probably never do again after finding out how difficult it was. Instead of hiking in and out on the same trail, they hiked down one trail and then trekked several miles each day to make it to the trail they would hike out on. In fact, they hiked over 14 miles on the day the above picture was taken — Don’s 55th birthday. What a way to celebrate, huh? And by the way, he’s much older than I am :)

The thing about the Canyon? You can’t really change your mind once you’re at the bottom. You’ve got to get yourself out. The planned hike for Don’s group this year was a killer, but they did it. They persevered, even though at one point they lost the trail (Don thought, “oh great — I’m gonna die in the Canyon on my birthday!). He even developed huge blisters on his feet, but he pressed on. Others, I’m sure, had their own personal challenges. They didn’t give up, though. They conquered the Canyon.

Are you facing a killer challenge? Or maybe you’re in a race you’re tired of running? Let Canyon Man be an inspiration to you. Persevere and conquer your canyon!

“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b

Sweet Victory

Remember the fun day (chocolate included, of course) I hoped to have in T-town this week with my daughters? Well…mission partly accomplished. Since we had to change our original date, Kelli couldn’t join us, but Kristin and I did our best to carry on without her. (Even though you can’t tell it from this picture, Kelli, we really did miss you!)

As usual, we had too much we were trying to accomplish in one day, but we planned The Cheesecake Factory as our last stop. That’s goal enough to keep anyone going. As long as we knew we were getting dessert at the end of the day, we really didn’t care what we ate for lunch, as was evidenced by a quick stop at Arby’s a little after 2 o’clock.

And why such a late lunch? Well, if a girl’s shopping for shorts, she can’t try those on after she eats, can she? Kristin wanted to make it to Old Navy before lunch, and we couldn’t help it that DSW happened to be right on the way :) By the time we reached those places, though, we had already stopped at Kohl’s, Michael’s, Shoe Carnival, and Bridal Palace (talk about deja vu! And no, Kelli’s not getting married, but Kristin is a bridesmaid later this summer. Yea, Emily!!)

Also of note, I found out I still manage to embarrass Kristin without even trying. When a lady at Shoe Carnival announced over the loudspeaker a special sale going on in one corner of the store, I guess I asked too loudly, “Where did they say those sale shoes are?” I’m sorry, but I didn’t realize I was supposed to whisper things like that so as not to draw any attention to my daughter :) She was plenty happy to have me speak up later in the day, though, when one of her purchases rang up on the register for more than the advertised sale price. Good ole’ Mom came through again, huh, Kristin? :)

I realize I’m rambling a bit with this post, but that’s what we did that day — lots of rambling, from one thing to another to another. All of it very carefully balanced, however, around our end goal of chocolate dessert! Ah, sweet victory :) The picture above says it all.

Let me offer something of substance, though, to balance out my sweet and silly chocolate talk. Remember Paul’s words in the third chapter of Philippians — the ones about pressing on? He said, “…Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal…” It seems like I heed his advice pretty well where chocolate is concerned, don’t I? What about more serious goals, though — for both me and you? Is our desire for them strong? Are we pressing on, even straining, to reach them? Let’s get back on track if we need to. Let’s press on. Sweet victory surely awaits us if we don’t give up.

**p.s. For you chocolate lovers out there, the dessert was the Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake :) Very yummy, but, Teri, I think I liked their Black-out Cake we had in December even more :)

A Double Dose Day

Ever have a double dose day? You know, a day when you get whammed with the same kind of problem not just once, but twice in the same day? Maybe your car breaks down, and then when you finally get home, your computer crashes. Or you discover your insurance is not going to cover a certain expense only to hear later in the day that your kid needs braces. We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

I got double-dosed on Monday. Not with mechanical or financial problems, but with disappointments. Granted, they were relatively minor when you consider major ones like a job loss or a failed marriage, but they were still disappointments I had to work through emotionally.

The first one came in the mail. You guessed it — a rejection letter. You would think after getting rejections for years now, one more wouldn’t bother me. None of them feel good, but this one hurt a little more. Probably because it was something I really wanted. So I let myself feel properly deflated for a bit but then just accepted that this, too, was in God’s hands, and He had brought about what was best.

The next dose of disappointment hit me after the 6 0’clock news when I realized that weather was going to play havoc with my plans to meet my daughters the following day for a fun day in T-town. The forecast for severe weather was nothing to ignore, especially following the killer storms that hit our region last Saturday. We all agreed we needed to postpone our plans.

That half of my double dose was the harder pill to swallow. We were all looking forward to our day together, plus I was thinking of it as a late Mother’s Day treat for me :) Because of scheduling conflicts, it will be June or July before we can shoot for it again, though Kristin and I hope to meet later in the week. But darn it all, it was supposed to be the three of us!

Even with this, I knew God was in charge. Since we were going to be helping Kelli car-shop for part of the day, maybe God knew this wasn’t the right time for her to buy a car. Or maybe He was preventing us from being in a car accident. Whatever the reason, I trusted God’s hand in it all.

I’ve got to admit, though, that I still felt blue — you know, felt the disappointment. And that’s normal, I think. Even in the midst of a double dose, I still found great comfort and peace in knowing I can trust God to work all things out for my good (see Romans 8:28). I love being able to rest in Him, to trust Him in everything.

How about you? Are you resting in Him? If not, I highly recommend it. There’s no better place to be.