if we; even though; i am


if we leave out or exclude, because they aren’t blood. 

i am thankful to be learning about 100% inclusion. 

if we shame or scold because they aren’t saved. 

i am thankful that maybe the peace i receive from my relationship with my Creator could help someone else experience peace too: even if, even though.

if we back down or stay silent because we don’t want to rock anything even if the side of love is tipping it all in the way of safety.

i am thankful that there is an anchor for all of it, always.

if we forget to say it, if we want to leave it behind, and step fully into wholeness of healing, but waves of fear keep us timid. 

i am thankful for healing, in all ways, in all its own timing, in all days.

i we have more than enough but our plans get spoiled by the inconvenience. 

i am thankful for abundance and leaning into the uncomfortable ways in which i can learn to give more always.

if we experience differently by the sheer truth that our cells do not rage with pain- unfelt because of the side of history, unaware of inequalities, no fear because we have been sheltered from it. 

i am thankful that my ignorance is being shattered. i am thankful to unlearn my viewpoint, and relearn that my privilege isn’t something i can dismiss without causing pain to those i love. 

if we feel we are less, have less, deserve more, expect more because it isn’t fair. 

i am thankful that my brain is seeking, still seeking to notice this narrative and distrust it with every ounce of equality i can muster. i am thankful that the bitter is softened with the sweet. i am thankful for the seasons, the changing of the skies, to show me that we are always moving. i am thankful that i believe we can live them, these seasons, together, going forward, with compromise, hard work, and shared pieces of apple pie. i am thankful that even if this holiday is sweet and hard, i have hope that we see each other, reach out, teach more: of sharing, of past sacrifices, of past pains that need to be healed still, and that most importantly, we can eat together. ONE table, ONE shared meal of grateful grace, even with its flaws, even with, even because of : if we, even if, 

i am thankful. 


i don’t have enough



love is lavishing.

i don’t ever have enough for all of you. but collectively Someone does. let’s seek out that Someone.

let’s put each other in the path of healing and nod approval to our fear-busting chops, that we together can fight this pain. this  brokenness. this inertia toward unrest.

collectively, WE can be enough for each other. WE need one commonality. WE need LOVE.

you don’t need to know what i believe in to love me, nor i to love you.

we ALL bleed red when oxygen hits, we ALL have blue veins underneath our skin.

we have the most unique pigments to our skin, that scars when it heals, and sweats when it’s too hot.

WE are the SAME bones, with various patterns and layers upon us.

THAT IS IT. please stop telling me that i cannot take care of you because of my differences.


alive and without abandon.

let us move beyond the sludge of labels, of greed, of proving something to anyone. let us prove we can love our neighbor as ourselves. let us start by dropping our ‘better than’ labels, and start with the lonely, the orphaned, the needy.

in return for your sacrifice you will be infiltrated with joy. you may try to fight it off. you are just doing the ‘right thing’ you say.



you are LIVING. we are MADE to be LIVING TOGETHER, one with each other. that’s why sports games that are nail biters are catalysts for fist bumping. it’s not because we are the actual batter or referee or coach, but we feed off of the energy:

just like church when we raise our hands in worship.

exactly like the sway you start, unknowingly, alongside your favorite crooner, their guts toppling out under pyrotechnics.

mirrored in an art installation that instantly makes you weep, or boil with anger.

public outcry means

we are not de-sensitized like

the Hungry Hippo of They

say we are.

you know why? the THEY is made up of us.

so let’s stop the madness of US verses THEM.


your neighbor. the one who insists that they’re fine, who deals alone with a sick parent, and craves a short respite from the worry.


exhausted, overwhelmed new mom who “should” be happy but can’t seem to stop crying and is afraid she will hurt herself.


frightened young teen who does not know where their next meal will come from from, but thinks hunger will be less painful than remaining in abuse and chooses to run.

our THEY is the collective.

WE have to start taking better care of THEM.

because regardless of our ‘busy’ … man, woman, child …  we need EACH OTHER to survive.

busy is bullshit.


let’s start living like we mean it.

let’s stop pretending that making our pockets deeper or more fashionable will make our hearts bulletproof to LIFE and it’s CITIZENS.

i may sound angry, but I’m not. I AM JUST WAKING UP TO WHAT MATTERS TO ME.

it’s going to be a tough road of learning, but i’d rather be about YOU and THEY than about me.

i can’t function alone, and i’m guessing that a potluck, party of 1, seems kind of stale.

let’s celebrate THRIVING and dig deeper. i know we can heal us TOGETHER.

party’s at my house.



i have HOPE because it was SPOKEN (part one)

View More: http://mnewsomphotography.pass.us/hopespoken how do you explain a special gift of attending a women’s Christian conference & a travel plan that makes you anxious (switching planes & a big Hotlanta airport with an embarrassing story to boot), & the connections from a stranger-turned-friend are placed in just the right timing? & even perhaps, how you sit next to the people on airplanes that may make some Christians balk, & make me open up even more about how i know we are ALL loved, & how all of it makes for one of the greatest weekends of my life? i will try with humor & truth. but is all of it just coincidence? nuh-uh. it isn’t. i am starting to believe in non-coincidence. if you think i’ve gone all crazy eight ball lady, you are wrong. i went to Hope Spoken, & the words, hugs, stories, shared meals, “coincidences” that i experienced are not fake. they did not happen on a reality t.v. show, or to someone’s aunt’s best friend. they happened to me. & i am going to be as brave as possible  & share those stories, some bits of the conversations (privacy will be upheld completely), & down right COOL things that i experienced, & i will hopefully give you a sense of how this weekend & another weekend over a year & a half ago, have changed me forever. i went to the Influence Conference well over a year ago. that began the process of this weekend for me. click over here to read that recap. so i kinda knew what a women’s Christian conference could be, or would maybe look like. & was i ever excited. but the BEST part of this experience, is that while that conference was my first, & i loved every second of it, Hope Spoken felt like it was a gift from God, JUST FOR ME. that may sound selfish or weird, or like i loved this conference more, but i believe that what God started at the Influence Conference, He finished at Hope Spoken. He is the Ultimate Storyteller. when i tell you some of the deets, you will *hopefully* know, why it has taken me so long to even process this conference, & while some of it, will remain in my heart as a private love letter from God, shared only for my hopes & dreams, & for my future.

my roomie: darling, sweet, HILARIOUS, open, warm. her name is kerith, & i love her. she’s from texas. a mama, a wife, & an all around great friend & sister. View More: http://mnewsomphotography.pass.us/hopespoken kerith & i had not met in person before this weekend. by the time dinner rolled around a mere maybe two hours after we met, people at our table (hi beautiful ladies!) asked how long we knew each other, thinking we were long time friends. God knew that i would be shy to room with a “stranger”, that’s why i felt okay about letting some of my gunk out there prior to meeting her. we got to know each other online through emails & texts first. & i now cannot wait to stay in touch & become even better friends with this hilarious, sweet soul that lives in Texas. i’ve already asked if she’ll move her family to the mitten …. (please leave comments to coerce her to at least consider it, & leave out any details of said polar vor-anythings). 😉

the town: dallas. i may be in love with you. i told every person i encountered that i was from michigan. i had a confidence i never knew i had, i talked to the hotel peeps, the taxi drivers, the waitress, & i was just SO excited to have my toes painted with my open toed sandals on. i’d love to visit you again, perhaps next year for the Hope Spoken conference again? it is on my prayer list to go. let’s make it happen Dallas!

the decor/overall feel: i cannot express enough how in love i am with every little detail. casey, danielle & emily were so lovely, so thoughtful in their planning, & it made my heart sing, especially because i am a graphic design student right now, & am falling more & more in love with everything visual.

Hope Spoken welcome

♥ we were welcomed with hope ♥

Hope spoken treat table outside

♥ treat table; i spy a hard working host husband ♥

every detail was lovely

every detail was lovely

this is the warm up post. i will finish the other half of this with stories to tell you… (oh the stories!) and hopefully explain a little of how this weekend was one of the best in my life! more coming soon! and if you think of it today, will you say a prayer, or shoot some positive energy my way tomorrow morning. whatever is your thing, i’d love some good stuff, as i start a new adventure on a new job, and i’m a bit nervous! thanks lovelies!  toodlelooly for now! (my grandma kitchen used to say that every time you left her…miss her SO much).


5 :: hopespoken


one:: hi, i’m barb, and i’m going to the hope spoken conference! whoohoo! i am so blessed to be able to go. this is a picture of my mom and i from a few weekends ago on a family visit to south haven, michigan (which is an AWESOME coastal town on Lake Michigan that you should visit if you ever get the chance).

two:: i’m a student again, studying graphic design, and it is challenging me.  some days are hard, and some are so fun.

three:: i am a little nervous about my ability to talk too much and get sweaty because i realize that i’m talking too much. also, the real thing that makes me nervous is leaving anyone out. i hate leaving people out.

four:: something i am hoping to take away from the conference are more friendships, more connections, more security from God that this is the path He wants me on.

five:: i also want to let you know that i am a little random in my interests: i consider myself a hippie-cowgirl-sport lover who wants to own her own farm one day, even though she grew up in the burbs. oh, and i love everyone. and carbs. i love carbs, which is hard since i have given up gluten for health reasons (stomach problems stink!), and so sometimes dream about sesame seed bagels.

i hope to see you at hope spoken, and please give me a hug and say hi if you are! (sorry if i’m sweaty during the hug! 🙂 but now you’ve been warned).

i’m linking up with casey, one of the sweet hostesses or organizers or hopesters? i don’t know what to call her, her awesome blog link up for us is here!


my horizon is my hope

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAi can hear the rumbles, but it cannot scare me away this time.

i feel the mist, and yet, i am not affected.

nothing can stop this exhilaration of hope.

i am able to do hard things through one person here, & the Greatest One Ever.

me, & Him.

with work & FAITH.

He has built an unsinkable ship, & held strong through my storms – his coördinates = freedom.

i find it.

i always find it.

Him, there, with his heavenly arms outstretched, calling me to His comfort, His protection.

“rest my child, you are  stronger if we bind together, like the braided rope of your anchor to me.”

i wonder if it is that easy.

it is?


i realize, He has given me my handsome, bravest, kindest, blue-eyed love, & our very favorite girl.

the silliness we create together, and the adventures of a lifetime (even if we didn’t see a bear).

how could i ever doubt my Father’s love for me, when i have experienced that kind of love?

which is a sliver, or a millionth of a sliver, of His love for US.


but most importantly,

i see HOPE.

i hope that my love is enough to show HIM through all i do.

not just my close people, but those of you whom i pray for with big auspicious prayers, without hesitation, i pray for us all, with HOPE.

and when we get to that great swell, that we are together.

for that is all i SEEK.

ALL of US together.

it makes me happy just the dream of it.






with the Him that started it all, and will conclude with a choir of angels, singing:

hallelujah, you are here. we are here.

i am HOPEFUL that His love will set us ALL free.

you, me, and whomever knows of this kind of LOVE.

is loving yourself is as freeing as giving yourself out of love?

let’s do the work and find out!

we must try to love the hard love every day.

we must laugh, and sing, dance and rejoice, every single day.

include, include, please include your hard-to-loves.

seek the sun, seek the sun, seek the sun. 🙂

if you are faint, cling to HIM.

for He will save us as He did His son.

and for that, we shall always know where our horizon lies.

my horizon is my hope.

gooey s’mores

*source by clickable link*

i don’t know if it is the perfectly perfect little thumbnail picture that we choose.

which statuses we “like”.  who we “follow”.

or the idea that somehow beyond the visual pixels and colors and music, that these people, be it a blogger, or fellow “pinner”, or a coworker’s jealous-inducing status updates on facebook, that make us think, when we click on their space, their intimate, well cultivated place, that somehow they have not had tragedy.

they have not had uphill battles fought hard with the knowledge of nothing, but perched upon faith.

or struggled because they forgot about faith.

i don’t know if it is the well curated photos with red lips, and beautifully hilarious children, or the personification of their personalities over twitter and instagram that makes us forget that these are real people.

they have had lives that have been altered from the brink of disaster by God’s miracles.
they have triumphed over cancer, deaths, divorces, addictions, loss, pain that is unbearable, and yet, with help from their support systems and their faith, they did bear it.

and not only did they bear it, they LAID it bare.

for us to read about here, and to comment, and to open our wounds just so that somehow they may help just.one.person.

that is why i love bloggers. not just women bloggers, not just mommy bloggers, not just fashion bloggers.

but bloggers.  of all kinds, and all categories. as long as it is positive, or i learn, or am inspired.

it’s the same really with famous folk, and the infamous ones too.

they are all human beings with stories that no one knows if we just skim, and flip through, and don’t stop to listen to.

do you realize sometimes that you are skipping the best part?

you are eating a s’more without the marshmallow.  it is not the part you want because it  oozes messiness all over your plans.  your agenda.

don’t worry, i do it too.  all the time.

while we are so intense on our focused task/schedule/life/next thing you must rush to do/accomplish/claim victory over –

there is someone in our path that needs a light.


they need our light.

the very one that we are trying to hold close, because we’re just too busy, and can’t find time.

forget the folding of the laundry for once.

give that elderly man the extra few seconds at the grocery store to tell you about his youth.

if you can, play princesses or trucks with a wee one, and get down on their level – literally play at their level.

you will see their light.

you will feel their warmth.

just by giving of your YOU-NESS, you will have affected another in a way that you may never knows is exactly what they needed that exact moment.

so, please, let us stop the rush.  especially right now.  let us stop the hunker down pace that we have set for ourselves.

because I’m guessing, just like me, you actually like the taste of a s’more.  all the gooey center.

or maybe you are the one that needs the flame? talk to someone about it.  open up just a bit.

perhaps you are craving someone to listen to your messiness?

let’s take caring out of the taboo/too little time bin, and place it right at the dinner table, the gas station, the bank, the homeless shelter.

well, my belly is grumbling.  my match is ready, the light is here for you, oh, and my mess too. 😉

maybe it is not changing the world, maybe it’s not solving all those peoples’ worries, hurts, pain, but…it starts with one graham cracker, with the messiness of goo, AND OBVIOUSLY CHOCOLATE, melted hearts, coming together with another graham cracker, in a sweet, messy, delicious hug.

let’s create a fire together, and enjoy some of life’s sweetness.

*this post not sponsored by anyone but the love i feel for humans and animals, and well, just life in general. be forever lovely my friends.*


stitching love

Recently, I have realized I have several of these, one of which is this one, which is the catalyst for my words below.

my great grandma's homemade quilt

my great grandma’s homemade quilt

Some of us need it for warmth.  To wrap it around ourselves, and know that we are covered in its whole.  We are cold from everyone’s expectations. Including our own.

Some of us need it to sit upon, and reflect. To just be there upon it, noticing its stitches. Maybe we are unsure of how this whole thing is pieced together.

We are overwhelmed.

Some of us needed it to rest upon.  To just be still, and REST.  We are burdened and weary from too much waiting on this, and fretting about that.

Others need it to see how their fabric is woven into it, relished for its unique pattern, and justified for its price.  We aren’t sure if we are worthy of it.

Others have never seen it before, and just being next to it, being able to touch it, is what they needed to start their own.  Does it really exist?  Or is it – just a tale?

Those who knew about it thought that theirs was small, not knowing that each of us, have our own, but when we stitch it together, we are making one big one.

Some knew, but had NO IDEA how big.


Our quilt of influence.  Our Blanket of knowing smiles, and dancing of joyful tribes.

Our community of a hug, or a thrifted mug of coffee, just for us.

Our quilt may look crazy when scattered about, the textures bashing into each other in cacophonous swirls.

Without the other pieces.

But when we are physically done carrying around our quilt here, someone else will need to use it.

For warmth.

For protection.

For sitting upon and reflecting.

And our thread is the Good News.  This is not the end.  We are not aware of the whole picture.  Hope is all around.  Love your neighbor, love yourself.


We have influence.  We can do the hard things.  We can love the weary.  We can build again after castastrophic events.  We are loved.  We are worthy.  We have warmth.

We are bigger and smaller than we imagined.  In the best possible way.

God.   His gift to us.

Our quilt is crazy.  It exists.

And someday, when someone asks for a place to rest, or if it exists, or to really have a hug with impact, we know that its there.

Just waiting for us to enjoy in its splendorous pattern.

Crazy stitches, different colors, looped together, forming a blanket of grace.

Just for us.  And everyone we meet.

Because we are human, and what binds us together is simpler than even we can understand or comprehend.


One love.  For life.

One gift.  Of love.

One hope.  For tomorrow’s sunrise.

Each day.  Together we fight for this life to be better.

One blanket of humanity, warming the cold, covering the weak, sheltering the lost.

We are in this together.

One world community.

I am all in.

What does community mean to you?