Wow, where do I begin. Things with the Barkers have changed in so many ways since my last blog.
Abree and Maelah are doing great. Abree is still a challenge but Andy and I are learning better ways to communicate and get through to her. However, she is such a joy. She keeps us on our toes and amazes us with her understanding of complex issues. We have so much fun with her now. She has a great love and concern for people and makes friends everywhere we go.
Maelah is 16 months now. Recently her vocabulary has erupted and she now says so many things and tries to say anything that you ask her to. She is very independent, but can be cuddly too. She is also very mischievous and keeps me running after her all day. She makes us laugh constantly and just one look at her can turn around any bad mood.
Andy is still working at the All-State data center in Rochelle. For the most part he enjoys his job even though it lacks challenge for him, but we are very thankful for it.
I am busy being a wife and mama and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Yes, every day has its challenges, but I am better because of them. I have also recently had many opportunities to take photos. This is a great creative outlet for me and I love it. I haven’t had many births to photograph, but I am looking forward to one coming up around Thanksgiving.
So……It is pretty impossible to put into words in just a couple paragraphs what has gone on since the last blog so I will have to really leave a lot of detail out.
Our summer was busy with family outings, friends and fellowship, gardening and mowing, and lots of playing; all the while, our house was still for sale. We finally had some interest on it and accepted an offer in August. This time was filled with mixed emotions from sadness to relief, freedom, and joy. I think most people know our reason for selling, but just in case I will remind you in a very small nutshell. Andy and I felt very strongly that, although we had dreams of our own to raise a family at this house and land, God wanted us to use our time and resources in other ways…in ways to better serve Him and his children and show the kind of love that only comes from Him. We still don’t know exactly what this looks like for our family, but we are now in a better position to pursue some of the vision God has given us.
We closed on our house on September 30th. We are now living in an apartment in the south side of Rochelle. This move has faced me with some personal challenges. The first was just letting go of the dreams we had for our house and land. It was so hard to say goodbye to a place of so many great memories and a place that had so much of us put into it. The second challenge was facing the fact that I had some pride issues. Andy found an apartment that met our specific needs, but it is not at all what I imagined living in. It took some time of adjustment and reminder to myself of the privilege this humble apartment is when millions of people around the world are starving and without shelter. We are now settled in and it actually feels quite homey. We have been very comfortable and are definitely enjoying some of the town living benefits again. While here, we hope to form relationships with our neighbors, be available for God to use, and be praying about our next step.
Also, Andy and I are learning Spanish. Although we don’t know specifics, Andy has had a real heart for the people on the Mexican border. This last summer we visited some ministries down on the border to get a feel for the needs of the people and also see if there was a place that we might fit it to help minister to these people. All in all, it was a good trip and we definitely have stuff to pray about. Up till now, we have been pretty distracted with the move and getting settled here in Rochelle, but we hope to get some clearer direction soon.
This area has a large population of Hispanics so it will be neat to see if we form any relationships here to aid in our understanding of their language and culture. We have a real peace that this is where we are supposed to be for now. Just last night we took a trip to the local Mexican market to look around and then we enjoyed some Mexican treats afterward. My new challenge is to find a good cactus recipe and try it. They sell it fresh at the market and it intrigues me. 😛
Well, I guess I will end with some pictures and with a quote that hangs on my wall….”Every end is a new beginning”