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I will not be moved.

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You know when you don’t think you can take anymore, and then it comes on even stronger? Yeah, that.

This past week has been another series of events that I never would have put together in my wildest of dreams.

My parents came to visit. It was going to be a nice, long visit ending with them cheering Brian and I on at the Miami marathon this Sunday. I was looking forward to having them here, not rushing the visit, inviting them into our everyday lives that they miss so much and that we miss sharing with them.

Well our plans aren’t always the same as God’s.

After only a short visit of maybe 36 hours we got a phone call that my Grandpa had taken a fall and was not in good condition. The next call that came told us that he passed away. My dad and mom were here and they learned this over the phone, sitting on our couch. Several hours later they were back in the car returning home in disbelief and with heavy hearts. I had lost another grandparent.

You see, just 3 months ago my mom was visiting and after only 36 hours of her arrival she got a phone call while sitting on our couch that her dad, my other grandpa was being life flighted and taken into emergency surgery. Sadly, he did not make it through the surgery. She quickly returned home in disbelief and with a heavy heart. What? My grandpa was gone? But, I wasn’t ready for this. We had just said goodbye to my grandma exactly a year earlier.

I have a felt a lot of feelings and emotions this last week. Mostly sadness because this all just isn’t what I planned. It’s not what any of us planned. But God never promised He would steer me away from a whole bunch of crappy situations. He did promise He would never let me go. He will carry me through. He will stand on my behalf. He will be strong in my weakness. He will take on my burdens.

Even in these hard, crappy situations God has shown up. With flowers being delivered, texts and phone calls, and a dear friend flying down last minute to help and bless us in the most tangible way. Even when I don’t have the words, when I feel emotionally dead He has been here for me, for my family, for all of us trying to make sense of this.

He is forever faithful.

I will not be moved.

One Word.


The last couple of years I have been in the practice of choosing a word for the year to focus on, to live out and practice in my everyday life. This year I almost didn’t because I’ll be honest, I don’t know if I successfully accomplished my 2014 word- Trust. There were plenty of days that I did not trust God and what He was doing. But there were many days that trust in Him was the only thing that got me through the day. It’s not about perfection but the journey and God definitely took me on a journey of trust in 2014.

So I am jumping back in with a new word for 2015- faithful.

This past year has been one of the hardest years we’ve experienced as a family. Trial after trial, death, sickness, discouragement, loneliness, fear and hurt. But in those hard, ugly, very real moments I saw God’s faithfulness. He showed up time and time again. He redeemed hard days, with unexpected blessings. He answered prayers unmeasurably more than I could ask for. Sad moments were followed by moments of laughter that surprised us all. He was faithful and I want to hold on to that.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope

we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:23

I read the verse above and I just picture myself holding onto the back of a semi truck’s bumper by the grit of my fingernails as it fishtails down the freeway at an exceedingly high speed. This way and that way I sway, barely hanging on, not knowing which direction is coming next. But…I am hanging on and determined to not let go. He who has promised me so many things is faithful. And by His grace I strive to be faithful to the calling He has given me. To walk humbly with Him, to serve and love my family well and love others as He does.

I have to choose to believe He is faithful because really,

in my eyes there is no other choice. 

This song below describes this all too well. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Happy New Year friends!

37 and counting…

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Today is my 37th birthday. Hard to believe. On one hand I still feel like I’m a kid just pretending to do this adult stuff because I can’t possibly be old enough to do this for real. And then on the other hand life at 37 feels very real.

How is it when you are in high school and college you think you know everything and you have it all worked out. Then as you get older and have actually experienced life, have been bumped and bruised along the way you see you really don’t know much at all?

So yeah, I definitely think I know a lot less than I used to but I have learned or am learning a couple things …

  1. Even when I think I have it all figured out, I don’t. So I don’t even think it.
  2. I’ve learned to be brave. To try and do hard things because it is always worth it and I won’t regret it.
  3. A smile and a kind word goes a long way and I do my best to go out of my way to do it everyday.
  4. Everyone has hard stuff going on. We all need lots of love and grace.
  5. I pretty much have done ALL of the things I said would never do before I was in that particular situation. Therefore, I have learned to keep my mouth shut and just wait my turn because I don’t really know what it’s like until I get there.
  6. There are still days I am in awe that I have 3 little people to mold, shape and take care of. It’s sucks the life out of me one minute and fills me up the next. Being a mom is no joke.
  7. It’s okay to take a leap of faith when I don’t have all the answers. It’s called trust.
  8. I need lots of sleep, good, healthy food and exercise to function well. In other words I can no longer run on little sleep and lots of caffeine.
  9. Marriage takes hard work to make it good. But it just keeps getting better.
  10. My need for Jesus each and every moment.

I am thankful for where I am at right now on this crazy ride God has me on, with the people I have in my life near and far and for all that is to come. Because I know it’s going to be good, I am going to grow and learn and most importantly God is in control.

Here’s to another year of brave flying.


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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.


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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?