Tag Archives: church

Just Keeping It Real


I started this blog to share life and encourage myself to do it bravely. I hope it encourages you to do it bravely too. But I have a confession to make. Something came up in my life that scared me and I couldn’t write a word. Roger and I want a baby.

We thought that’d be pretty easy. I mean, first comes loves, then comes marriage, now all we need is the baby carriage. We agreed before we got married that we weren’t getting any younger and we wanted an average to above average size family so why wait too long? Sure, I’m in full time graduate school and about to start full time work. Sure, finances are tight. But we put it entirely in God’s hands anyway. Wasn’t that nice of us? And as a month or so went by, I planned my adorable baby blog. I’d announce it with something akin to the photos flooding Facebook these days: baby shoes and chalkboards and what-have-you. But as the next couple of months went by, I got anxious.

I told my sisters and a few friends but didn’t broadcast it because I didn’t want friends to awkwardly avoid the subject of children. Hearing about babies and pregnancies brings HOPE and JOY. Keep those baby shoe photos and chalkboard announcements coming! But honestly, who wants to hear that a couple is “trying”? Ew. And then there is the uncomfortable feeling that as soon as someone knows you want a baby, every day you aren’t pregnant you are failing at being a woman. Pleasant conversations about starting a family and having babies suddenly sound accusatory and insulting.

Loving Friend’s Actual Comment: So are you two going to start a family soon or wait a little while?

What I Hear: Is there something wrong with your 30-year-old uterus or are you too selfish to have children?

Twisted. I know. But I have a feeling this may resonate with someone out there. I have the wonderful blessing of being in a community of loving and supportive friends and family who ask loving and supportive questions.  But when it comes to producing what an entire community is waiting and watching for you to produce, the pressure can be a little mortifying. Just keeping it real.

So as the months have clicked by, I have had several panicky prayer sessions. My husband came to the rescue. He told me in no uncertain terms that we would have a family because that is one of the main reasons God brought us together. He also reminded me that God was entirely in control and knows the timing of our family perfectly.

He helps me stay brave.

He helps me stay brave.

And a few amazing things have changed over the last year. First, I have grown to love and respect my husband more than ever, due in large part to the way he has led me out of fear and into faith. Secondly, the Lord has sharpened our calling as a couple and deepened our desire to serve the Lord in any way he calls us. And I have deep peace with the plans He has for us. Lastly, I have been convicted to write about something pretty tough.  I realized that while I can write about mom’s cancer and death, my struggles and fears, love, engagement, and marriage, when it came to this, I was terrified. I didn’t want to share such a vulnerable fight of faith, a fear of failure in an area that should be so natural. I mean, just take a look around, babies happen! But they aren’t happening quite like we thought they would for us. However, I named the blog eb does life. Not eb fakes life. I can’t shut it down because I’m not producing the perfect results here.

So, let’s be real. Life doesn’t unfold the way Pinterest pins it, the way Instagram chronicles it. It unfolds the way God Almighty says so. If you are fighting to believe today, I am right there with you. If you are afraid to tell people that life isn’t going according to your Twitter feed, just remember what this pastor’s kid just told the whole world.

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Dawn Driving and Staying Brave


The Aussie and I share one car. We drive approximately four thousand miles a week but it’s ok. We figure that one car keeps our minds sharp. Like doing a crossword puzzle every day.

“I need to go from point A to point B through K today.”
“Ok, I will drop you at A and you walk to points B to C. Then I can meet you at D and catch the bus to points E through F.”
“Perfect, then I’ll drive the car to point G and we can go to H through J together before I go to K.”

We will never get Alzheimers.

If I want the car for the day, I wake up at 5 am and drive an hour west to take Roger to work. Actually he drives and I finish waking up by talking a lot. He must miss me when I don’t go with him. Poor guy. However, if you know anything about Honolulu traffic, the LAST thing you want to do is drive east between 6 and 8 am on a week day. So, instead of wasting hours of my life and an excessive amount of gas idling in traffic, I don’t go home immediately. Instead, I go to Starbucks. There are some interesting folks at a coffee shop just before 6 in the morning. But I probably fit right in since I am usually still wearing my pajamas. I read my Bible and my textbooks. And sometimes I write blogs. And I have realized that these early morning hours are FAR more productive than the late night hours. So, for now, I am pretty happy with this situation.

This morning I have been contemplating yesterday’s sermon at The Mission. Pastor Tripp encouraged us to consider the places that Jesus would go and the people he would engage with. No place is too scary, too dark. No person is too unlovable, too sinful, too lost. I consider myself a pretty friendly person but I can also be fearful. I try to be brave. But all too often my excuse for not going somewhere or doing something that Jesus would do is that I am just plain scared. I don’t want to be this way. Jesus stood in a really scary place a couple thousand years ago and told his disciples that his church would be built in these kinds of places. But he assured them and us that the gates of hell will not prevail against his church. Gates don’t march at us, we march at gates. And those gates won’t stand up to us. I think that loving purposefully and sincerely is a form of bravery.

So, today I determine once again to be brave. I will be brave at Starbucks and at Crossfit. I will be brave in classes and in the clinic. I will be brave at church and at home. And those gates won’t prevail.
Have a brave day.

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Remember the Rush


So, as I’ve mentioned before,  I am darn near crazy about holidays. Love them. The older I get though, the more I realize why adults get stressed over the winter months and for some it is a crazy time of laboring under expectations and fighting for joy.  The more I see this trend, the harder I try to buck it. And to do that, we have to be brave.

I know it may not naturally be the hap-hap-happiest time of the year, but it should be merry and free. After all, these holidays are all about freedom: we are free to worship and not worship as we please thanks to the voyaging of the founding fathers. And we have the ultimate freedom through what happened on that night in Bethlehem when God pierced this hurt-filled world with the most thrilling hope ever. That piercing, freeing, miraculous, rush of a night. But round ’bout this time, complicating factors steal the rush.

The Aussie has been on the Big Island for work this week and I go over in a couple days for Thanksgiving week. He took the Porky Terrier with him so that the whole family, dogs included, would be together for Thanksgiving. So, missing my little family, I went and spent a few nights with friends Zan and Matt and their massive hound Harley.

There is something about spending a night or two away that simplifies your life. I think that is why I love hotels so much (well, also the puffy robes and room service with the metal covers on the plates). I like the fact that I can get by with two sets of clothes, a toothbrush, a few books, and my laptop. I am more productive with studying (as evidenced by this blog entry) and I’m not surrounded by half-finished projects and distracting tasks like laundry and dishes. It’s been refreshing to sit and study over cups of coffee with Zan and take breaks to listen to her sage marriage advice or dream about the rural health clinic we will open one day.

These few days have made me look forward to joining the whole family with a simplified mindset for the first round of holiday cheer. It is undeniably a season requiring bravery. It is only our second round of holidays without Mom. And we have elected to spend them at home instead of in a memory-less vacation house. I know a lot of you are steeling yourselves for a fresh wave of grief in the coming months. But remember, these holidays are about new life and freedom. So be free to grieve. Don’t steel yourself against it. Just make sure you have people who love you close at hand and keep it simple. If we don’t belabor the minutia, keep from emphasizing expectations, and focus on a free and purpose-filled future, it can and will be a hap-hap-happy time.

Let’s all buck the trend and remember the rush.

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The Barley Family Does Christmas.


It was epic, it was quick, and it was messy. But we did it.

First, we all played a part in hosting 1,500 people at the Living Stones Christmas Eve service. Some of us played big parts and some small parts. Ryan just did all the music and worship and Dad just preached a rocking sermon. The rest of us had big jobs but I’ve forgotten what they were.

Next, we ate a lot of delicious food on Christmas Eve because I couldn’t stop cooking all week.

Then, on Christmas morning Dad, Megan, Sam and I drove to sister Sara and family’s house and did the fastest Christmas morning you’ve ever seen. It was a flurry of wrapping paper, “thanks, I love it so much”s, toys, treasures, and “Get in the car!”s. We were out the door and heading for the airport, Home Alone style, by 9:00 am. Kauai bound! Dad had planned the whole thing and even got us great rolly carry-on bags for Christmas. Yes, I do feel very cool rolling it. It’s silver and awesome.

And we didn't forget a single person.

Flying with the nieces was perfect. No time to worry about turbulence.

We spent an unforgettable four days on Kauai going to beaches, relaxing at a blessed and beautiful vacation house, playing games and enjoying the family. I have also discovered why all outdoor movies seem to be filmed there.

I could live here.

Or here.

Candlelit dinners on the lanai were my favorite.

Waimea canyon was a once-in-lifetime experience. So I’ve had my one time and I won’t be driving that car sick wonderland route again. It’s breath taking, so go at least once. And if you enjoy puke-inducing mountain roads, drive it again and again.

We were the two happiest people to be done driving.

Barley men

Well, the parents might have been happy the drive was over too.

We also went bike riding for the first time since 1993 and got a kick out of ourselves. We certainly rode in the same order as before: Stand-up Pedal Adventuress Sara blazed the way, I Can Too! Megan followed close behind, and Wait, I Can’t Make Right Turns on This Thing Erin brought up the rear.


But we ALL looked cool.

Even this kid.

It was a successful Christmas. We missed Mom. We celebrated Jesus. We had fun. Well done, family.

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