Lent and Liberty

Am glad to hear someone else say it…

PatrickBarber's Blog

Having grown up in the Church of Christ blentut having a lot of Catholic friends, I knew a little about Lent and Ash Wednesday, but I never practiced such things.  Those things were, in the terminology of my spiritual teachers and guides, “denominational.”  That meant, those things weren’t taught or authorized in Scripture.  The conclusion or application for us, then, was that we shouldn’t participate in such ritualistic behavior.  So that’s what I thought for a very long time.

Some of those same guides, however, were pretty pumped up about wearing WWJD (What would Jesus do?) bracelets back in the day.  Was that authorized specifically in Scripture?  No, of course not.  So did that make it wrong, unbiblical, ritualistic, or sinful?

Whether it’s wearing a bracelet to help you remember your dedication to following Jesus or observing a 40-day period of fasting to commemorate the sacrifice of Jesus, anything…

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Friday Fun Facts: Vonnegut and Saab

Food for thought. If at first you don’t succeed, try something else?

Plowing the Fields

Before Kurt Vonnegut was a writer, he owned the first Saab dealership in the United States. Within a year, it failed.

For people who love his books, that’s a good thing.

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With the Expert’s Trust

I love the analogy Susan uses to describe trust and responsibility.

Pure Purpose

We went on a tour of the school where we served in Israel. Near the end of the tour, we walked down a basement hallway with a mural that was barely started. Most the length of the wall was filled with black lines, marking our paint areas. Later, we met the artist…and he was a bonafide artist. We thought he was simply a man who was capable of drawing good murals for kids. The last day we served, we found out he was a professional artist. We visited a website of his creations and were in awe…

…especially when we realized he trusted us enough to paint his creations.

©PurePurpose.org ©2014 PurePurpose.org

Sure, we were basically doing paint-by-numbers without the numbers. When we finished one job, he would grab a cup from his cart, pour in some base paint, then add a little of this color and a little of that…

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Ready or Not

Ready or Not.

Whether on trails or just sitting at a desk, this is great advice!

GoodReads review

http://In the Shadow of SinaiIn the Shadow of Sinai by Carole Towriss
My rating:
5 of 5 stars

Loved this introductory historical novel. It is not often a Christian author chooses the Old Testament as story backdrop, but through careful research and well-crafted writing, Mrs. Towriss puts the reader squarely in the midst of the Hebrews as they began their exodus from Egypt. Her characters are real, not just figureheads from the distant past, and yet her story is biblically accurate. Loved this book, and also loved its sequel, By the Waters of Kadesh, which was published in November of 2013. Looking forward to more from this excellent author.

View all my reviews

What now?

Well, this is going to be a different school year. I am having difficulty with what should be a joyous occasion. Our youngest is beginning her senior year of high school. Her sister who is 4 years older was supposed to be a senior in college, but due to health issues (primarily uncontrolled depression), she was unable to even complete her junior year. The future should be full of hope and opportunity, anticipation and excitement. Instead, I am full of dread and fear. Comments in blogs and articles about mothers’ actions and the effects on their children strike me to the core. Reading a preview of Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, “The Best Yes,” this sentence rises from the page like a leering specter:

I struggle with wondering if my inability to do it all will make my kids wind up on a therapist’s couch one day.

We’re already there.

Both of our daughters have been battling depression the past few years. The youngest went through 2 years of intense counseling, and has done well. Our oldest, however, has traveled a rocky road invisible to most who know her. She began showing symptoms of depression a few months after suffering a concussion the fall of her senior year, but thought that just taking a pill would “fix it,” and refused to go to counseling. She completed her senior year, and then started classes in the fall at a local liberal arts college. Things seemed to go well for 2 years. Then, physical illnesses coupled with severe side effects from medications took their toll. Her fall semester was interrupted and she had to with draw before midterms; in the spring, she tried again only to fall ill 4 weeks before the end of the term and had to take incompletes in most of her courses. Finding a counselor with whom she felt comfortable has been a 3 year journey, but when she became nearly suicidal in early May of this year, we managed to locate one with whom she developed rapport.

After a long summer of weekly counseling, frequent trips to doctors, and much prayer and thought, Abby has made progress. But the future is still uncertain. I struggle with wondering what I could have done differently.  Spend much time in the blogosphere and one is quickly overwhelmed with posts from homeschooling mothers and stay at home wives who have lived up to the Proverbs 31 image of a woman who is in charge of her home. (Or at least give the impression they have.)  I don’t even begin to compare. I have worked outside of the home full-time the past 31 years. My husband encouraged me to continue working and the reality is, we really couldn’t afford for me to quit. My “yes” was to continue my nursing career.  (The concerns and frustrations I’m currently experiencing with my job are a subject for another day.) So, I ponder if my decision was correct. Did I really follow God’s calling? Are the problems our daughters face the results of my choice? A quote attributed to Jacqueline Onassis echoes in my memory: “If I fail my children, it doesn’t matter what else I did.” Yikes.

So now what? I can’t turn the clock or calendar back or undo my career choice. (Other nurses’ kids are doing just fine with their moms working full time.) Where do I go from here?

“Am I Enough?”

“Am I Enough?”.


Beautiful post. Such a familiar feeling to many mommas I’m sure, whether they stay at home full time or whether they hold an outside job as well.

And, with our daughters now 21 and nearly 17, I still wonder, “am I enough? ” Have I done enough, have I failed in some respects, and if so, it’s too late now. Dangerous thoughts that lead me down a path of negativity. I have to stop and remember that it is not about me. God has a plan, and sometimes we can’t always see exactly what it is. So, yea, I’ve goofed here and there. But so thankful for my precious gifts of my grown girls.

Mother’s Day Celebration


So excited to read @bonniegray ‘s new book! What a celebration for my on-line friend who has prayed and battled through some very tough emotions.

My family will be celebrating this Sunday with both moms, his and mine, and my sister in law and her family-at a restaurant where our youngest daughter now works. She is working this Sunday. Her first job. And this momma is wondering where the time went! I am so thankful for all the Mothers Days we have celebrated together, even the ones where I was working myself on the actual day and we celebrated on a different day, because my mother refused to allow the family to take her out without me along. So we will have a large group gathering at a table,  and none of us moms will have to cook or clean up the dishes. And we will be thankful for time together in our busy lives.

A Tough Job Description

Recently a video has gone viral that talks about “The most difficult job ever”. I watched it yesterday afternoon after seeing the header pop up on my Facebook page repeatedly. Many of my friends commented that it made them cry, that it was a “must see”. I have become skeptical in my old age about this “must see” phrase, but I bit on it anyway.  And yes it was touching. By the time the narrator says the part about no breaks, no vacations, and no pay, I had a pretty good hunch what the job was and was reaching for the tissue box. The reactions of the folks who were “interviewing” for this job ranged from sheepish grins to full-on tears. I teared up a little myself thinking of my own mother, who is having health issues that are a significant threat.

But the real tears hit me this morning when my soon-to-be 20 year old posted the link on Twitter and tagged me in her tweet. This young lady puts up a tough front,  and usually is not the publicly sentimental type. But out of the blue this morning, she thought of me. Like many young folks these days, she is busy with her agenda, feels the need to exert her independence, and doesn’t always communicate except when she needs something. Her post hit me as an early Mother’s Day card. She may have just wanted to make sure I saw the video because she knows I’m sentimental, but I’ll take it anyway!
And, there we have what the creators intended: a reminder to tell your mom thanks. And perhaps for some it’s a sad reminder of what their mother isn’t/wasn’t.  But it reiterates what I always heard my mother saying as I was growing up: “A mother’s job is never done.”
I want to be a blessing and a tribute to her hard work. I know my children are a blessing to me. And THAT is a payment far beyond any tangible benefits like paychecks and paid vacation.

I Always Hated My Arms

Insightful perspective.


Written by Emily

Yesterday I made bread with my mom. She sprinkled the counter with flour and dropped a wad of yeasty dough at my fingertips.

“Knead it for at least 7 minutes,” she instructed. “Do you know how to knead?”

I did. I’ve seen my fair share of Food Network shows.

I pushed the dough forward with the base of my palms and pulled it back with my fingertips. Push. Pull. Push. Pull. I fell into a rhythm.


As I watched the dough move and change, my arms worked. I could feel them tense and tighten as the dough loosened. Those arms. My arms.

I always hated them.

I coveted lean, toned arms in a way that should have made me run for the nearest confessional. I was convinced there was something in my genetic make-up that made it impossible for me to achieve a sculpted shoulder–short of buying…

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