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).

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#themustachesmile

mustache-smile

***PLEASE USE #THEMUSTACHESMILE for your hashtags. I MESSED UP!*****

#themustachesmile

my dad has had a mustache my entire life, although recently he has grown it into a goatee. for his third quarter if you will. 🙂

and my dad is one of the kindest, gentlest, most caring souls around. case in point, he just finished painting my living room for me for my upcoming birthday present. he is a professional-skilled painter too, so he didn’t just slap some paint up there. 🙂 he took his time, and really, really rocked it out. i am so grateful. my dad is one of my best friends, and i would be lost without him.

yeah, but what does that have to do with mustaches, or this post?

and more importantly, what kind of title is that?!?

well, i have a new friend, and her name is kerith. we’ll be rooming together for my upcoming Hope Spoken conference! i cannot wait to meet her. maybe that is weird to say she is my friend, because we haven’t officially met, but the internet is weird, & so am i. we have emailed a few times back and forth, and this girl’s heart is GOLD. and she’s funny, so, i love her already, obviously. 🙂

while meeting new folks, i know i always am an open book, share too much, and generally accept them for whatever they are willing to share with me. needless to say, she has shared with me, and what a story she has.

it has been a year of overcoming for my new sweet friend, and the very worst of this year has been losing her dad, who had a mustache and a great smile to boot. (see the title reference now?) you can read more about her dad, and his awesomeness here.

her Dad passed away from a heart attack while serving during church one day in april last year. they had a very tight relationship, & she misses him dearly. and as a daughter who wants to honor her father, she wants everyone to do something, today, March 5th, to be kind. march 5th was her padre’s birthday, and it seemed only fitting to her, and her family that they love in his honor on this day.

so, i want to help her honor her dad, and i want to give you the assignment of helping out. if you use social media, or even email a lot, would you be so kind to use this hashtag?

#themustachesmile

kerith has a lot of awesome ways & ideas that she has conjured up to show kindness today. go to her blog, and say hello, and please, for her dad, and every kind man with a mustache out there, do something out of kindness today. and tell the person or people you loved on, that you did it for the mustache smile. 🙂

show an act of love to someone that you don’t know. because her dad did those kinds of things all the time, and she and her mom and sister are passing around his love in the best way they know how. by sharing it. ♥

won’t you join us?

much love & kindness,

barb

usually-almost/always

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the world can try and tell me what i “should” do.

what i “shouldn’t” say or believe.

but i am drawn to the light of goodness,

i am feeling the warmth of others in this polar h-e-double-hockey-sticks, as opposed to suppressing myself into being what i “should” feel.

it is so scary to take risks, and learn new. to make hard choices.

but i believe, when you make choices that you believe are right, and good choices, that LOVE is behind them all, and not malice, that joy will be your destination.

the reward is joy for following your heart, which is usually-almost/always the same as your gut feeling, which in my life is guided by Him.

even when i believe i’ve made a wrong turn on this path—-> God says He has another laid out for me.

the road less taken (if you will), or the Frizzie Hippie Volume 7,777 (if that is how many tries it takes me to ask for His help) is what He calls it. 😉

that is my greatest fear. not the fear of not living, but the fear of living wrong.

making the choices by whim, instead of thoughtfully having convos with my Maker.

BUT, He takes care of us, even when we forget to text Him, or shoot him a quick Direct Message.

in the age of internetationalism (that definition can be found in the Frizzy Hippipedia), the best part about believing that i’m not alone, is that I’m Not Alone.

and neither are you!

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even with a thousand ways to do life “wrong”, when we are seeking love, and being kind, and working hard to make this life equal for all, we are doing life RIGHT.

so, even though it may be a hard choice to make, & i’m a human, mess up terribly, & pass judgement where i have no room to talk, i seek the good. the honest way.

the kind way.

i am just one person, but i believe that love is fit to be equal. it is sown to be shown. (like the upcoming tulips, & hyacinths 🙂 ). it can mend where nothing else would mend. & it has a way of seeping in your soul when you give it away, in the most redemptive kind of way. the reason that i think that God can love us SO much, is that He gave us the ultimate gift, and how amazing that would feel to give a gift of salvation! imagine how awesome you feel when you give an amazing Christmas gift to your hard-to-buy for Father in Law, or that perfect scarf happens to make your sister’s day brighter than you could have dreamed – not for her, but you. giving ALWAYS makes me feel amazing, and i bet God had a little clue that that’s how He’d feel once He gave us His son.

so, do the love thing. whether it is the right thing, or the hard thing, or not even a thing, but an act of love. do it, and friends, do it bravely.

love bravely.

i think we’re covered. 😉

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.

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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.*

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snippets of summer

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enjoying life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsmelling the flowers as much as possible.

2013-05-26_15-26-55_826being asked to “drive” the Jeep off road out of a HUGE, DEEP, MUDDY hole…

2013-05-26_15-26-40_79this angle does it no justice!  i got us out though, stellar off-roader that i pretend to be.

2013-05-25_09-38-54_665enjoying the sunshine on this beauty’s face as much as i possibly can (and that little furry nugget too).

2013-05-25_19-01-02_698a little of this…

2013-05-26_16-20-37_382a smidge of this…

getting my first final grade (an A!) for my new path. 🙂yay

 doing lots of this for homework:

2013-06-30_20-50-51_772 knowing that this isn’t perfect, but that i’m trying my best.

2013-05-28_16-46-13_672learning about different ways that this is art, and how i need to relax about it.

2013-06-03_17-42-45_557enjoying a lot of this

2013-06-16_20-28-27_369this

2013-06-28_12-50-13_527this and

IMG_20130513_100241there is quite a bit of my homerun hitter thrown in, which makes my heart SO happy

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and of course there’s always, ALWAYS room for this guy:

2012-07-22_20-51-06_765 (1)and of course some of this goodness too
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but no summer would be complete without a lot of this:

2013-06-27_15-41-37_237but, in my humble opinion, due to our rainy mitten weather this year, i haven’t had enough of these to enjoy (hint, hint, Big Guy 😉 )

2013-07-05_21-28-17_5and i can’t wait to use this to keep pop and vino cool, especially since my rl made it for me (it was my grandparents’) :

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this guy and i agree, it has been an amazing summer so far, and i’m so pumped for the rest of it! may your days be filled with the glory of His masterpieces

IMG_20130624_195844and may you always

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today i want to tell you

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THERE’S A REASON YOUR HEART HEARS A BECKONING.

THERE’S A REASON THAT YOUR TEARS FALL WHEN THEY MAY.

THERE’S A SILVER GUILDED SILENCE THAT WRECKS YOU IN THE MOST UNIMAGINABLE WAY.

THIS IS YOUR DREAM. THOSE ARE YOUR SIGNALS.

YOU WERE MEANT TO LIVE THOSE DREAMS BEFORE YOU ARE NOT ABLE.

DO THEM.

GET THEM.

WORK THEM. THEY ARE YOUR GIFT; SO LOVELY.

EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING THEY STRIVE FOR, THEY NEED AND WANT.

YOU ARE ALL WORTHY AND WORTH IT.

DO NOT HARM ANOTHER IN YOUR STRIVING, BUT WORK TOGETHER.

WE CAN ROCK THIS WORLD, WE CAN ROLL WITH WHATEVER.

I PROMISE.

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sprinkles

of joy:

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our little guinea pig Gus, who is growing day by day, and snuggle by snuggle.

of filling up the soul:

john blase’s words, are inspired.  simply inspired. find his words here

of note:

beautiful artist/singer miranda dodson, whom i heard originally on npr. stunning.

of sight:

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of my ever changing michigan.  she is a fickle lass, but i do adore her.

what kind of goodness has sprinkled your life lately?

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blueprint :: the Kitchens

at the Kitchen table with our family treats.

at the Kitchen table with our family treats.

:: the idea man ::

my papa was a builder.  brick by brick he planned the great structures he would erect in the metro detroit area.  he and his brothers became known for their quality of workmanship.  they have a few local Detroit landmarks from their years with the DMKitchen Building Co.

but, in my eyes, their legacy, especially my papa’s, are their families –  their testament that faith in God, with love and hard work, yields joy, in every circumstance.

we had to say goodbye to the house that my papa built this past fall.  it was a very long, time-consuming process for my family. it was emotional.  it was dirty.  it was hard.  i helped moved a few things and kept a few things too.  but of all the things that i still have, it is without a doubt, not the things, but the feeling of home, of love and togetherness that i will take with me when i think of that beautiful peach house (complete with trap doors & various cool built-ins).

i remember hot july days playing water tag, and fishing for guppies with salty crackers and big nets at their lake.  my cousins, sisters and i would tuck the “caught” fish in our dug up sand ponds right on the shore of the lake.  my papa would sneak us Cheetos and Cheese Puffs from those bright blue canisters, while my grandma told him not to spoil us (full well knowing he probably was, that was my papa).

i remember taking trips in his pale yellow work truck, and him whistling an old tune about it being “hard to be humble”.  laughing, knowing that after he finished singing, we would share a giggle, and have some breath mints.  The roll kind, with the shiny blue and white wrapper.

i remember the crisp hugs after church, followed by countless french toast breakfasts with watered down orange juice at their house on sundays.  sometimes, when we were lucky, we went out to eat instead, and he would order Moons over my Hammy from Denny’s.

every christmas eve we were at the house…loud, chaotic joy.  all the grandkids.  plenty of wrapping paper.  one year, almost every one of my cousins and sisters received pearl jam’s Vitalogy cd.  we have joked about it ever since.

:: the architect’s best friend ::

gRAMS

my grandma just passed away february 1st of this year, and her funeral was the following week.  i have never attended a more beautiful ceremony of someone’s life.  it was a celebration.  my mother (with help from some aunts and uncles) wrote and read a poem about my grandma’s life, especially with a few nods to her Don (my papa). my sister and cousin read our grandchildren memories aloud.  there were plenty of tears and laughs alike, and the jist of all the 90 years she lived the good life here on earth, was this:

each day is a gift, name your blessings one by one, cherish those family and friends whom you have, and never, ever try to do anything without “fuel for your tank”.

i will remember all of these nuggets of wisdom from my grandma, but i carry a part of her every single day.  i am named after her, and some other cool chicks named barbara from my family tree.

barbara is a name that i have always held with a bit of curiosity.  to quote one of my favorite bands: “could i have been anything other than this”, to which i wonder, if my name had been jessica, or betsy, or monica, would my life have turned out differently?  i think so.

my name is a part of me, it is stitched into my dna.  it is the scottish treasure of a grandma i just said goodbye to, and the feisty english opinions of my intelligent, independent mother.  i am the sixth.

i cherish it even more now.

:: the imprint ::

yet, a name means nothing if your heart is not attached to your attitude, your gratitude, and most importantly your love.  barbara to me, means living my passion, just as my ancestors did, just as my grandma would have wanted me to.

what i noticed about her funeral and wake, was that people did not attend to remind us that she was the great builder Don’s wife.  they did not visit the church because her name was Barbara Kitchen, or was the first woman deacon at the Kirk, or because she faithfully volunteered at Beaumont every Wednesday for nearly 3 decades. (*that is me just mentioning it to brag on her.  she was a gem, whom i was privileged enough to care for a few times a week for the last couple years before she entered into a memory care facility).

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:: leaving their cornerstone ::

they came, because no matter what she did, she enjoyed life so fully, and loved her family, friends, church goers and hospital visitors so well, that they felt it important to tell us what a wonderful, happy, loving woman she was.  that she was kind.  that she prayed for their well-being, and they wanted to say thanks to us, and mainly, to celebrate her love for God that was so clear in her day-to-day life.

there were several blueprints that we retrieved before we left the peach house on Lakewood back in the fall, tucked away in musty boxes and briefcases.  the winding circle driveway encapsulated with trees will always remind me of the intelligent and thoughtful way that my grandparents built their home.

but none were as profound as the blueprints the Kitchens left for all of us:  every day is a gift, name your blessings one by one, and know, that home is more than your name, or your address, it is in your passion.  their passion was love, God, family.

i plan on building my life according to their blueprints.

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please… enjoy it!

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the thing about life is, it can be stressful.  it can be downright unfair.  it can be sickish, and dirty, and grumpy, and disgusting, and mean.

BUT…sometimes it can be fun.  it can be light.  it can be hilarious, and lovely, and comforting, right down to the joy at getting some new awesome mittens.

take it from this viking with a HUGE heart … today, take a moment to find something small, something great, something lovely, and enjoy it!

7 to start

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With just seven minutes left on my lunch hour, I will start.

I will blog more, share more, LISTEN more.

I will conduct more PASSIONATELY my life and times here, and everywhere.

I will be BOLD in the face of uncertainty, because I know that even if I fall, countless folks, and a very important Him, catch me every.single.time.

I will continue on this battle AGAINST hate, and FOR love.

I will strive to know that even in seven minutes, I can perhaps convince someone, somewhere, somehow, to give that someone who is DIFFERENT than them, a chance.

I will know that as much as I love to THINK that my skills or lack of skills are all my own, they are a GIFT to me.

I will know that the only way that these skills are of any USE to anyone, is to GIVE THEM AWAY.

I will be starting a series on CONFIDENCE with you very, very soon. And? There will be guest posts! YAY for fresh voices. YAY for a new approach. YAY for friends and family that have agreed to help out.

And you? YOU. You, world, are the reason that I want to say anything. I am encouraged each time I see kindness. I am happily lifted up each story of hope that is shared.

What is our purpose in this life?  TO IMPROVE OUR LIVES EVERY DAY, BY LIFTING EACH OTHER UP.  (at least that’s what I’m going with).

Helping others, not just in the season of peppermints and pine, but in the season of everyday divine.

This post took 15 minutes of my time.  I have 24 hours a day.  I don’t need that much sleep.  🙂

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