One whole year in Florida for the Barelas…


We are coming up on one year of moving from Indiana to Florida. Hard to believe it’s been a year. Looking back it’s difficult to put into words what this year has been like for us and meant to us. Words really don’t do it justice but I will try. So here it is.

We are different people today than we were when we pulled up in front of our townhouse with the moving truck and looked at what was now home for us. We are stronger, more confident, walk with more humility, a whole lot braver and more dependent on God and each other. In a sense we all have grown up quite a bit.

We have been stretched and pulled till it felt like we would break and we were brought to our knees more than once. We have laughed more this year than ever and cried more tears than ever. Looking back the ups and downs and twists and turns of our year almost make me a little dizzy. I never planned to move to Florida so all the happenings of this year, the good and hard, were all one surprise after another.

This year we survived 2nd grade (barely) and kindergarten x2. We survived 2 soccer seasons, 2 baseballs seasons, 1 basketball season and gymnastics. We officially have 2 new readers in the house and another one who reads through books well beyond grade level.

Many miles have been ran, a marathon completed and another one scheduled. There is also a new runner in the house preparing for his first marathon.

We managed to chalk up a badly sprained thumb, a concussion, a broken knee cap and a season of sickness that lasted a good 3 months.

We have started and thrived in 2 new jobs that were both a total change of pace for us. We have learned many new work skills that have now become second nature.

We started a new business that is thriving!

We tried 5 churches and finally landed on #6 a month ago and have all (well 4 out of 5 of us) agreed we are staying!

We can confidently say we have friends here that are nice, normal people. They like us, we like them, it’s all good in the hood.

We are still beach people, even after a year. We still love it and can’t believe it’s just right there! And we have managed to get the beach routine down to a science that is perfectly simplified and doesn’t include making multiple trips back and forth to the car.

We finally feel like our head is above water. Just slightly, but still. It has taken almost a year but we are past the point of just surviving and almost to thriving. It’s a good feeling.

We are still homesick for family and friends that know us and miss what was “normal” to us. But slowly, v e r y slowly this is becoming our new normal. I can’t say I love it but I am growing to like it. We all are.

What I do love is what God has done in our marriage and within our family. And what He continues to do. The way we have changed inside and out would have never happened if we would have said NO to God’s calling to move.

First hand I am living out that God never promised obedience would be easy. But He did promise He would be with me every step of the way. He has been. He is. 




Called To Consistency


The days come and go pretty quickly. Work, school, homework, sports, dinner, bedtime routine and start all over. We are pulled thin and feeling full just by keeping things going. It’s a unique season in our family right now. Lots of routine to just maintain with not a lot of extras. Fun crafts, special meals, special outings etc. It’s just not happening much. It is enough to just make it to the end of the day all alive and semi-well.

Sometimes that ugly mom guilt washes over me because I don’t have the margin of energy to do the “little extra things”. I hate when I get on pinterest and see all the things I am NOT doing. Yep, the little Easter decorations we do have are still in the box in the garage. Sigh.

I was praying and thinking about this the other day and felt like God said “It’s ok, just be consistent. Be consistent.” 

And then I felt like I could let out a deep breath that I didn’t even know I was holding in. We’ve all had enough change and difficulties in the last 9 months. A special Easter craft or amazingly colored Easter eggs are not what is most important now and not what is going help our hearts. Grace, kind words, encouragement and love is what we need most, more than anything.

I’m sure my kids are going to remember fun, extra little things I did for them when they look back on their childhood. And that is great, I want that. Because I do enjoy doing those things. But more than anything I want them to know I was always here for them. Loving them, helping them makes sense of hard days and I want them to know I was in it with them. Not getting it perfect but always there. I want them to be able to count on my consistency.

So there is nothing really spectacular or pinterest worthy about our days recently but I’m okay with that. God is doing a great work in our family. It’s hard and messy but I know what is happening now is building a great foundation for each of us individually and as a family. That is worth it.

If you are feeling like you aren’t doing enough or keeping up with everyone else I just want to tell you it’s okay and you aren’t the only one. Be brave, stay the course and be consistent with your family. That speaks more than anything.


Something New!

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I’ve got a little something up my sleeve that I’ve been working on the past couple of months. And I’m excited to invite you in and tell you all about it! Ready?!

Let’s GO!

I believe God has given me the gifts of service and hospitality. I love to serve others in a way that brings simplicity to their life. I want to make you feel known, comfortable and at ease in whatever stage of life you may be in. I also am a goal setter and love to help others set goals and then help them achieve them. So I put all that together and some other details and the idea of being a Virtual Assistant is really exciting to me!


Are you overwhelmed with managing life and feel there is just not enough time? Is your inbox taking over your life? Do you have a business and looking for someone to do those managerial tasks that you just don’t want to do? Maybe you are planning a trip and need help planning the details? Whatever your need, I may be able to help. Check out my new website. I would love to hear what you think! To get things started I will randomly be picking from the comments and donating 2 hours of service. Leave a comment and your wish just might come true! Answer this question: What’s one task that takes up too much time during your week? 

And of course if you are in need of a Virtual Assistant consider yourself one step closer! Go to my website and leave your info. I would love to have an introductory and call see if I could help you and if we’d be a match!



This verse.


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This is the verse I have been holding tight as we continue to fumble our way through a new normal in Florida. This just makes so much sense to me as life plays out before us. Although His plan is unclear to us there is ALWAYS a plan. 

5 on Friday.

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Kicking it old school today and bringing back 5 on Friday. Why not?

Here we go.

1. One more week till Spring Break – Holler! Why am I really excited about this? Well because my parents are coming to visit for a whole week. The excitement that we all have to be around people that know and love us is beyond words. It’s going to be a good week. And speaking of Spring Break, funny thing I’ve learned; Florida people go skiing on Spring Break! Yep, that’s right. The midwesterners come to the beach and Florida people head for the slopes. I guess we are all looking for a break from the norm, no matter where we live. We still are loving the beach and excited to share it with our family.

2. Something I read awhile ago talked about being a “yes mom”. So often the word No comes out of mouth almost instinctively. Sometimes no is necessary but sometimes it’s because I just don’t want to deal. You know what I am talking about. But after reading this post it encouraged me to more of a “yes mom”. Forget the schedules, inconveniences and get over the “but I don’t feel like it” and just say yes. My friend Christi from Letters From the Nest posted a similar post about saying yes this week that just melted me. Particularly the picture of her husband and son. Oh my. So this week I’ve been putting it into practice and maybe even more so because Daddy was traveling and we were all missing him a lot. I said yes to fro yo, renting a movie, a bath with all 3 of them in our tub (ie splash zone), an extra story, a sleeping buddy and my faves; making cookies and dinner in front of the tv. Next time, I encourage you. Just say YES! I think you’ll be happy you did.

3. One of my goals this year was to keep track of how many miles I run. I am pleased to say that I have actually stuck to this and also for the fact that I have logged in 95 miles. I have never done the tracking thing so I really have no expectations so I’m going to go with YAY for 95 miles!

4. So I used to be crafty. Let me restate that. I used to have time to be crafty. Now the days just kind of fly by and nothing creative happens around here. Unless you consider how many different ways I can arrange the many pillows I bought for our new couch. I went pillow overboard and love it! I miss being crafty so I am on the hunt for a spring wreath to make for the front door. Any suggestions out there? I haven’t seen anything I absolutely loved on Pinterest.

5. I saw this sign and decided this needs to be one of the next projects I make. That is when I sit down and make the times to do it. If there was ever a time that this was true of our family it has to be now. A subtle reminder that this is true of us and for good reason we don’t choose easy. I’m thankful that we are teaching our kids to choose hard things. Amen.



There it is friends! Have a fabulous weekend!

I get this.

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A to the Men on this one. Especially the pressing mute to the demands from everyone else. I go for a run, clear my head and make space for those that are most important and need me most. I am a better wife and mom because of it.

What do you do to clear your head?

Letting Go


As a mom one of the hardest things I am learning right now is letting go and letting my kids do their own thing. Even if it is different than what I might choose. Gasp! I know, you mean these people that I had a hand in making are not little clones of me and don’t think and act and see things exactly the way I do? No. Sadly they don’t. Because then that is when there is friction and tension and messiness. And I don’t really like that stuff. But you know what I am seeing? There is also independence and individuality being born. They are figuring out their style, their like and dislikes, learning from their mistakes and growing. They are becoming brave as they step out from me and go out on their own. Oh, it’s hard to let go. It’s hard to see them fail and hard to see disappointment. And if I am honest it’s hard when they think differently than me. But even better is teaching them to get back up and push them back out there. It’s worth the messiness when you see the boldness that comes from within their hearts as they figure things out and start to figure out who they are- uniquely made for amazing things designed by God. Oh I can’t wait to see what’s in store for each of our kids. I pray for continued boldness and bravery for all of us as we grow together. And that maybe, just maybe one them will ere on the side of their mama.

For the love…


Late Valentines edition of what I am loving these days…

A warm cup of lemon and honey water before my cup of morning coffee. Pinterest says it’s detoxing me, not sure if this is true but I like to think it is.

My new running shoes, Asics 2000. Love them. Working at a running store and staring at shoes all day long it’s quite amazing that I don’t come home with shoes more often. Self control at it’s finest. Thank you Dave Ramsey. Your welcome Brian.

The weather. I know I am walking a fine line here even speaking of this topic as most of my readers are in the midwest and hating life right now. In fact they may even stop reading this  post as of now. But for us here in South Florida the weather has been so pleasant. Cooler mornings and evenings, mild afternoons….ahhhhh. So nice. Don’t hate.

I’m reading two books right now. I know, I know me the non-reader, reading two books. I’m loving both so much I can’t stop either so I just keep reading both simultaneously. Packing Light and The Antelope In the Living Room. Both are non fiction books about life, that are light hearted but with moments of true meaning. I highly recommend both.

My walks around the lake. I take Brian to work in the morning and I have about 30 minutes before I have to be at work. There is a lake right where Brian works that has a nice path around it. Most mornings I put on my headphones and make a couple laps. It’s peaceful, a time to connect with God, reflect on what’s going on in my heart and mind and soak in the quiet.

Honeydew and kiwi. Yum! I have a new found love for both. I am trying to push both on the fam to help them branch out from the usual apples and bananas. Slowly, I’m working them over.

Bible study with my girls. Oh my goodness the sweetness (and randomness) that comes out of these times are precious. It is most informal and lasts all of 20 minutes but I am loving this time with them.

Watching Brian coach Mason in basketball. Yes, there is a lot of intensity because both my boys are intense and extreme on all accounts. But there are also moments of tenderness with encouraging words and pats on the back. They are buds on and off the court and I love watching their bond grow stronger.

Well that’s the most random list ever but it’s all good when it’s falls under the topic of love and thankfulness. What are you loving these days?



It’s ok.


12163981715_f3a09ef905_cI don’t know about you but I needed to hear this today. This little reminder of grace. Whatever happened or didn’t happen yesterday that you wished did happen “it’s ok”. Take the pressure off and take a deep breath. Look in front of you at the next moment, “you can do that.” Maybe the big picture overwhelms you, I know it does me. So one moment at a time reminding yourself that “it’s ok”. Simple words that carry a lot. Take them with you today. You got this!