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.

the breath of freedom


the curtains take in deep breaths, as if they know i need to.

the hum of the day, the dusk settling in, my lap warmed by the addictive portal.

i speak of kindness, of loving your neighbor, but it is more than that.

we must love our words too.

protect them fiercely, know that they carry weight.

we must protect those themes that young and old will absorb,

as if the pulse of humanity depends on it.

it just may.

now, no more shall my lips produce another vile spewing,

i’ve realized i am done with their toxic effects.

i am free!  i don’t need to make excuses, nor belittle myself, or others.

my God has set me free, and i no longer need to feel the death grip of fear.

anxiety does not have a hold on me.

for :  i know that i will be going to the Highest place of Peace (one day), for the sole purpose that i am loved beyond my earthly understanding.

i am thought so highly of, that my breaths – are counted, measured

as a sleeping babe in swaddles was, once, long ago.

that thought provokes more than just happiness in me.

i am overwhelmed by it.


so, i strive to perfect this earthly breath i have been given, knowing that i shouldn’t and can’t be perfect.

don’t be perfect, it is a waste of breath.

love your best, and the rest will fall into place (i must tell myself).

there was only one perfect one.

and He saved me.

and the words that keep striking me over and over again, are

‘Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, and now am found, was blind, but now I see.’

so, if i can just carry that notion, tucked alongside my ribs, it will become my anthem.

i just need to remember to sing it.

amazing grace (in)

how sweet the sound (out)

that saved a wretch like me (in)

i once was lost (out)

but now am found (in)

was blind (out)

but now i see. (in)

i am overwhelmed by grace friends, and it is good.

it becomes my breath.

i am alive, and i am free!

happy monday to you, i hope your night is filled with love and light!


on my way to

where to?

i’m not sure yet. i know that there is a purpose for me feeling so purposeless. not in a depressed way, but in a professional, life mission way. like, where the heebies am i going?

i wish i were….this is the quote that starts many conversations that i have inside my head.
wondering, what if, and “if i must, then maybe…”. i’m not quite sure what this trip around the sun will bring me. but i’m hopeful that i will find out soon.
try to become a permanent member at this job? 


start my etsy shop & intentionally work every day on lovely things to remind others of goodness? 


commute for a purpose? or change the location of the end point?

i feel wasteful with my day and life when i just drive.


the purpose of this drive (both physical, and mental)  is not to make my life hopeless.  i know that.  but responsibility keeps me going. 


so what is happening? i am leaning HARD on God in these moments, and He hasn’t decided that I need to know yet.

onward child, He says.

i’m a little bit worn, a LOT bit excited, and just a wee bit scared.

but change is here, and embrace it i must!

i know that i want to have the heart of an artist, whose purpose is to create art, and to obtain the grace of a poet, to know when to edit that art.


“For so, surely you will cast a light of gladness upon his onward journey, and contribute your past towards the building of that kingdom of love which links our earth to heaven.”  Edward Carpenter

“Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.”  Henry Ford

stay lovely my friends,

trying to wear this one out.

what is it about this season of my life that makes me snap as i never have before?  so scared of making any mistakes?  as if, i haven’t made millions already?  and i’ve been forgiven (when i shouldn’t have been), but i’m terrified to fail.  at being a mama to alex, and a best girl to rl.  at living a life i’m proud of and not having any regrets.  is it that responsibility that holds me back from truly embracing this “one wild and precious life” (mary oliver)?  or myself?  perhaps.

is it that i’m afraid of what others may say or think?


but i think what i’m starting to realize is that even though my mouth sometimes has a mind of its own (as oftentimes they do), i’m trying to reign in whatever may break another’s spirit, before i unleash.  hard lessons have been won lately.  mistakes that have cut others.  i don’t want this to be my legacy.  my sword of a mouth.

we don’t always heal the same, and i’d be lying if i told you that i don’t want every.single.person that i meet to like me.  and that i’d love to leave them happier or more at ease with our passing tides.  i do.  that is always my intent.

i think that’s human nature.

but intent and actions, are two different beasts.  i’d like to tame actions.  to make it my medal.  that all my actions are graceful acceptance and loving reactions to what life throws at me.

this upcoming season in my life, i’d like:

to look forward:

more light,

more life of spring,

more bulbs, seeds, plantings of goodness

more songbirds,

more blooming life of what was forgotten in the dark, the enshrouded.

to look forward with hope.  i am the only one who can weed my own snarls out.

i am stepping forward, i am looking up, i am seeking the sunshine.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!”
Isaiah 43:18


i linked this up here:

hitching posts

i don’t believe beauty and hope can be separated, nor ugliness and dispair be conquering where the beauty/hope team unites.

i don’t believe hate can be divided into straight or narrow.

i believe we(each other) are the hitching posts for support and understanding, and that we must use these truths to be self-preserving of

the human spirit

regardless of anything.

be forever lovely amigos,


copper connector, railroad conductor

i am not sure what the path that God has chosen for me except that somehow i’m a connector.

love more

i am the railroad conductor.

child, sister, mediator. long term-er.

connector.  like a copper wire of sorts, weaving my way around, making sure the electricity is on between folks.

i utilize this copper with a sense of urgency, then, restraint.

i rearrange this metal hoop, with which, i cannot jump through without affecting another human, someone’s child,- perhaps, someone’s aunt.

should i make stuff to sell on etsy?

move closer to alex, get a new job, a new home?

remain in tact at a job that i’m slowly building confidence and regard to usefulness?  make paintings of my poetry, hoping to gain extra income to stash away for blue bears farm?

i know that i will not stop dreaming and believing in this blog.  a blog that has been a dream for over two years, that i don’t update nearly enough, and that i obsess over & OVER who reads and follows and likes.

i know that i am not the same kind of dreamer you are.  we don’t work the same or react anything alike.  i don’t like photos of myself, and barely know how to keep a home running.

but i love.

with all my heart.  every single minute.  the people and breathing living things around me.

they feel it.  i know they do.  even when i feel guilty for calling a friend at exactly the wrong time every.single.time.  they know at least i thought of them.

and i break.  a lot…my compass of what’s right, and what’s too much to say or worry about is often in the shop.   BUT…

i know i can make this blog work.  somehow it will generate interest enough.  it will liken someone to know how to be nicer.  more sensitive.  laugh louder.  eat more bread. (y’all know i’m a carbsLOVER, right?).  maybe someone thinks i’m kooky for laying this all out there.

but me?  i’m only doing what i think is right.   a connector of worlds.  step-mamas, singles, marrieds, old, young, cranky, hippy, artsty, muscially inclined to fall in love,  sportsy, overweight, undervalued, book worm, sassypants, bike riding, motorcycle passengering, river fishing, middle of the long road, different path taken people.

i believe i have the power to connect them all.

diy life

1. be born.

2. make it through middle/high/elementary life while being awkward.

3. discover your path does not align with “well, on paper it’s perfect”.

4. realize that this is exactly where & when you’re supposed to be((hear))

5. fall down, fail, get tragically uninspired by comparison to your-friends-peers-others.

6. realize that you hate this path, pray, choose another.

7. understand that what you thought you would be at age 3/11/18/21 will always change based upon changes around you.

8. realize that life happens.  your problems are more or less the same as others, except there are worse, & there are more/less.

9. surround yourself with love, laughter, & the occasional drink. repeat.

10. hold babies & loved ones as if it’s the last. especially repeat.

11. realize that even though your parents may not understand or appreciate your path, all they really want is for you to be happy, because, they are wonderful people. & they love you to the moon. same with your siblings.

12. fall in love.

13. fall out of love >> cry at rdiculous movies that are not real life. << repeat

14. buy new “you” clothes.  << repeat

15. eat ice cream. repeat, especially in place of dinner(sometimes).

16. work hard, & do not understand why. then understand that life is not recess all the time.

17. be irresponsible. learn. repeat.

18. make others proud.

19. make yourself proud. repeat.

20. dance. in the rain, in sweaty ridiculous clothes, at weddings, on the street, in your unders.

21. find love, real love. accept it, cherish it, show it to others.

22. make mistakes. forgive yourself.

23. learn.  (bike riding, monopoly & experiencing softball through a girls’ eyes help).

24. understand love/be kind to animals.

25. meet expectations while demolishing expectations.

26. create. make messes, repeatbeat yourself up, learn, heal, create. repeat.

27. FAIL.  fail again, and again, and again.

28. learn.

29. read. lots, read lots & lots. the classics, the mags, whatever makes you wonder. don’t forget #5 & then #26.

30. discover that friendships will sway, & bend, & melt, & become stronger through lapses of time, & space & the elusive cheap airplane ticket.

31. take pictures, write vague and meaningful statuses, upload, download, load & reload music. don’t take yourself too seriously.

32. listen. to everyone & everything. toss salt.

33. try to understand that this life is yours, & yours alone, & as long as you are always striving to be happy, spread love(not hurt), & keep the right view of grace in tact, you will be okay.

you will be okay. you will be okay.