Cheyne, Shane, Bear, Peter, Little Carter, Miss Kitt’s Awana Group…

Prayer is powerful. I mean really powerful.

From the time they were small, I prayed with our children every night before bed and every day before school. Our youngest daughter developed a prayer ritual that was so faithful it made my heart leap. Her memory of prayers and prayer requests was incredible for her age.

One by one, she would recite the people on her prayer list, and pray about their needs.

Cheyne is our friends youngest son. When he was five years old, just days before Christmas, he was diagnosed with neuroblatoma… cancer. We were devastated. Tiffany was faithful in her prayers, year after year, with childlike faith that Cheyne would be ok. Cheyne is now 15 years old, plays basketball and football, and is super cute!

This picture was taken long ago, but you can see how adorable he is!

This pic is a more recent one, and shows Central Park in the background. Cheyne and his mother travel to NYC every six months to get scans to make sure the cancer has not returned.

God heard Tif’s prayers, and the prayers of countless others who prayed for Cheyne faithfully. I have stood amazed by God as I’ve seen Cheyne grow, not only for the miracle that he is, but for what God has done in the life of my friend, Cynde, his mother. She always had a loving heart, and has shone unwavering faith in God and strength of character through all of this battle. She is a good and faithful servant.

Prayers have been answered for Cheyne. Stay tuned as I recount the blessings of the others on Tiffany’s prayer list…..

I remember these answers of prayer as I come before the Lord God Almighty, asking for Jericho sized prayers to be answered– either with a door wide open or a door closed tightly. I rest assured know by that God hears my prayers and is faithful.

In Him I pray

Blessings, SB

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life. All rights reserved

Press Release – Masquerade – the battle within

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Masquerade

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Samantha Elizabeth Barrett releases ‘Masquerade: The Battle Within’

Book tells story of one woman’s trials in life, how she emerged victorious through her faith in God

 MURRYSVILLE, Pa. – Samantha Elizabeth Barrett wanted people to understand that, through God’s help, they do not have to be victims of their circumstances and they can claim victory over trials because of “God’s provisions for us.” This objective prompted her to write “Masquerade: The Battle Within” (published by WestBow Press), a personification of a woman’s struggles, and gives hope to readers that they can survive the battle as well as the war.

The book shares the story about a woman who experiences trials in life that cause her to doubt God and even contemplate suicide but, through Christ, emerges through her trials with the knowledge that God is with her, and always will be, regardless of future trials that she knows she will face. It is not a fairy tale, but one that shows there is hope in the trial through Jesus.

“I personally experienced some of the topics covered in the story – I lost my own father to cancer when I was 8 years old and struggled in my young life to find purpose amidst my hurt,” Barrett says. “As a young adult, I found Jesus as my Lord and Savior and have dedicated my life to mentoring others in various capacities, to try to help at-risk youth see that they can have hope through Jesus Christ.”

Barrett’s sincerest hope for readers is that they would see that, with God’s help, they could emerge victorious over difficult circumstances.

“Masquerade: The Battle Within”  By Samantha Elizabeth Barrett

Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.5in | 128 pages | ISBN 9781973605591

Softcover | 5.5 x 8.5in | 128 pages | ISBN 9781973605584

E-Book | 128 pages | ISBN 9781973605577

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Samantha Elizabeth Barrett is a musician, engineer and mentor. Her desire is to leave things better than she found them. She is a sister, daughter, wife, mother, aunt and a friend.

Teaming through Personality Differences

Let’s face it.  Every one of us has worked with people we don’t like, and, believe it or not, you may not be liked by some people. It’s really hard when the person we don’t like is on our team, and we have to work together on a project.  What can we do, in those situations, to continue to perform at our best?

  1. Learn to value people

All of us have value.  When we look around at a co-worker that we believe is not pulling their weight, we tend to dismiss everything they do as unimportant. Further, our feelings are exacerbated because we feed on our self-justification and dislike of the person to continue to tear down everything they do.   The hard reality is that they, too, have gifts and talents that are every bit as important to the company or projects as yours.  When we can truly find some value that they add, we can begin to look at them differently.

  1. Learn from them

Yes, you heard me.  They have something to offer – some skill that they do well where we lack.  First, learn to recognize it (go back to step 1 if you cannot recognize their strengths).  Once we can recognize and acknowledge their strengths, sit back for a moment or two and think about what you might be able to learn from them.  Often we get so caught up in being angry that they are not all we want them to be for us that we fail to see that we can actually learn from them.  Open your eyes and your mind.  The leader who is always learning from others, even from those who may frustrate them.  I challenge you to find at least one thing you might learn from them.

  1. Embrace Humility

It’s maddening to me that every time I strongly believe someone else needs to change all of the things that they are doing wrong, when I get to the place where I can truly look objectively at the situation, I often find that I’m the one who needed to make an adjustment.  I can honestly say, in hindsight of course, that this was the single largest realization that helped me in situations where I once was confident I couldn’t get along with someone because of the way they are.  It takes years to perfect this, and it certainly isn’t easy, but when we can make incremental improvements toward our goal, we become better people, better teammates, and ultimately better leaders.

  1. Learn to leverage the differences

You may have heard it said that if someone always has the same opinion as you, one of you isn’t needed.  Indeed it is true.  In my career, I have found that the most effective teams are not the ones where everyone agrees with the leader of the group, but the ones who are able to debate in a healthy way to arrive at the best solution for the situation.  When I’ve had the opportunity to build a team, I deliberately looked to fill the team with a blend of personality types across the Myers-Briggs spectrum.   In cases where we work with teams built by others, take the time to discover and consider how the differences in personality type can work together for the greater good of the organization.

Building a high potential team is fun and takes time and work. Don’t give up the dream of having an awesome team.

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life. All rights reserved

Seeing miracles

When you watch for miracles, you see miracles. Friends, God is still in the miracle business! He has a sense of humor, and it is fun to watch miracles unfold before our eyes.

I’ve been praying for someone close to me for a very, very long time. You all know I’ve been praying for some rather large miracles. On Easter weekend, I confided in several friends that I was “letting go” of the dream because it was more important to me that this person meet Jesus. In my heart, I let go of what I was praying for and began praying for this person instead.

In that one weeks’ time, I have seen ridiculous things happening in hay persons life, things that I know are because of God. Last night this persons said to me, “well He’s got my attention”

Thank you, Jesus.

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life. All rights reserved.

Miracles

Training my eyes to see

The beauty in Your World

All that You created

Here for blessings like a pearl

All that You have for me,

Wanting to be

All that I can be for You

With eyes wide open,

I see miracles around

Your love 💕 abouds,

astounds,

In You I place my trust

You are my everything

Hands and Feet

Matthew 25:40-45 New International Version (NIV)

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me,you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Last Saturday, members of our youth group had the pleasure of helping a Veteran and his wife move their belongings from one home into another.  We gathered in front of our church.  In the brisk morning air, we shared a prayer for the privilege that God had given us to help someone, and prayed for the opportunity to share the Gospel with them.  We didn’t know all of the circumstances, but we knew that the man was a US Veteran of the Vietnam War, and he has a terminal illness.  We piled into our cars and rode over to their mobile home.

They were moving from one mobile home in a small mobile home park to one down about 3 doors, which had just been vacated.  When we arrived, part of our group went to the home they were leaving, while I accompanied the other part of the group to the home they were moving into.  As we entered, we noticed a vacuum cleaner in the living room.  It looked as if it hadn’t been used, and I thought it made sense to do a little cleaning of the recently vacated home before the other group began moving things in.

I went to the kitchen and found a bucket, some cleaning solution, and a dirty sponge, so i filled it up and began cleaning what i could of the cupboards.  The other team began to bring kitchen items and food over to the new place, while we worked as quickly as we could to clean as much as we could. The vacant home had been left filthy, and we didn’t want the couple to live in it without cleaning it up.

Eventually, we met the couple who was moving.  In all honestly, it seemed as if they were overwhelmed by their circumstances, and had a difficult time processing all that was going on.  “Kay”, as I’ll call her, was most concerned about papers they kept on their fridge regarding who to call for Hospice care.   My heart was broken, overcome with sadness for their circumstances.

To think about knowing your days on earth are numbered fewer and fewer is humbling. I mean, we all know it will happen some day, but I’d bet the majority of us think it’s a long way off. Although the Bible tells us that life is a vapor, most of us feel as though our 70-80 years on Earth, or more if we’re lucky, if were honest with ourselves, most of us believe it’s a long time away. However, we don’t really know when we will leave this Earth. We prayed for an opportunity to share the gospel with John and Kay so that they can be ready when their time comes.

We continued to clean and move their belongings, trying to set up a home for them in which to live. We wanted to be a blessing to them so that they would we God’s glory through us.

Before we left their home, we had an opportunity to pray with John and Kay. What a blessing. I was proud of the work that our kids did that day, and humbled by the work that God did. It’s awesome to serve a God who loves His children so much.

It was a blessing for me to meet John and Kay that day, and I pray Gods continued blessing on their lives as they live out their days.

Blessings,

SB

Copyright Journey For Life 2018. All rights reserved

Reflecting or absorbing?

In our youth groups’ meeting last name night, we asked the question: “are we reflecting it absorbing God’s glory in our lives?”

Over the past few months, I have realized that ALL we are, and ALL we have came from God, belongs to God and is being used by us momentarily.

I am on a crazy journey for life. God is so incredibly amazing I can hardly sit still watching for the miracles as they unfold before my eyes. Everything I am is from God alone.

It’s easy to absorb the glory of God, especially when we do something well. The reality is, however, even when we do well, the gifts that we have that allowed us to do well cake from God in the beginning. Be it athletic talent, musical ability, creative writing, all of it came from God.

Lord, please let ALL you’ve given me reflect Your Glory in my life. Continue to purge the areas of my life that absorb your glory for my own purpose and work to reflect all that You’ve provided. I trust You with my life.

Copyright 2018 Journey For life. All rights reserved.

Free and Clear

In my prayer time over the past few week, a phrase continues to haunt me. I’m praying some Jericho sized prayer, and the phrase just keeps popping into my brain.

When I think of free and clear, I think of ownership. But this Easter, perhaps I think differently.  Perhaps “Free and Clear” really means what we are through Jesus.  Because of the price that Jesus paid for us on the cross, we are “free and clear” of sin.

Free and clear. In Christ Jesus

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life. All rights reserved

One-Two-Three-Thumb!

I told my piano students tonight that I would have to write a book called “one-two-three-THUMB!”  In practicing scales, I have noticed that, for some reason, the most common mistake that I see in my piano students is in the fingering of their scales.  With their hands separate, and only one hand to focus on, it goes fine.  As they play up the scales, their fingers play on the keys:  1-2-3-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-1-2-3-4-5.. and back down again.. 5-4-3-2-1-3-2-1-4-3-2-1-3-2-1…   but for some reason, when they put both hands together… and one of them is supposed to play 1-2-3-1-2-3-4… while the other one plays 5-4-3-2-1-3-2-…  they lose their minds and play 1-2-3-4 instead of 1-2-3-1.   I find myself continuing to holler “one-two-three-THUMB!”  With the latest students to whom I taught scales, I began their scale lesson by simply having them practice C-D-E-F using their right hand: 1-2-3-1 fingering over, and over, and over again, and C-B-A-G with their left hand: 1-2-3-1 fingering over, and over, and over again, until I thought it would be possible to do it together.

Over and over and over and over..  that’s how they need to practice it in order to develop the muscle memory for their fingers to go where they need to go when the time comes.

Scales are important to a piano student (even though relatively few believe they are “fun”) because they build dexterity in our fingers, and help to prepare us to play more complicated works.  Developing good scale habits positions us to play very complicated pieces of music with ease.

With only one hand to focus on, we can get it right.. but when we add another hand, our mind gets distracted, and if we haven’t committed our fingering to memory, it is likely that we will get it wrong.

As I thought about this tonight, I realized that it’s a little like focusing on Jesus.  When we’re away at a spiritual retreat, or with friends or families who believe like us, it is easy to focus on Jesus.  But when we add “the other hand” and the distractions of life, if we haven’t committed to the things of Jesus, when the distractions come, we may get it wrong.

With my students, the lesson that I teach them is to do it over and over, thousands of times, until it becomes like second nature.  That’s what we need to do with Jesus, too.  Spend so much time focusing on Him that it becomes second nature to us.   Then, and only then, can we focus on Him when the distractions come our way.

I challenge you tonight, to repeat your spiritual scales over and over and over again, developing the spiritual dexterity needed to navigate busy lives.  Developing our spiritual dexterity so that it becomes second nature positions us to be able to do more complicated works for the kingdom.

Blessings,

SB

 

 

 

Now you know

There are many choices in life, but only two in eternity. You choose.

Last summer, my husband and I attended a wedding. The groom was the son of a man my husband hunts with, whom we got to know nearly thirty years ago while we were dating. The officiant for the wedding was a friend of theirs that they called, “Cuddy”. I had met Cuddy for the first time nearly thirty years ago, just one time. He was a little rough around the edges and he liked to party, so years later, when my husband told me he was a pastor, I thought, “ok, he probably got a license off the internet so he could perform the wedding”. I wasn’t expecting very much. The friends that would be at the wedding also liked to party so, as I got ready for the wedding, I wasn’t expecting much.

We arrived at the wedding, which was held in a barn. It was a unusually hot September day in Western Pennsylvania and the seating for the ceremony was in the hot sun. My husband and I sat on the right hand side and our friends all sat near us. Shortly before the ceremony began, Cuddy went to the front of the makeshift alter and asked everyone to pause for a moment to pray for the day, the event, the guests, attendants and the couple getting married. I’ve played for many weddings, but never have I seen a pastor stop the prelude music to pray for the wedding couple.

The music resumed and the attendants made their way down the aisle toward the alter. After they were all up front, and the sweat began to bead on their brows, Cuddy began. He welcomed everyone and said that he knew it was hot, but that he had a short message that he knew he needed to share. He said that he knew, as soon as the couple asked him to perform the ceremony, what he wanted to share.

He began by talking about how, when he was a little boy, his family lived across the street from a church. He attended the church for years, but never really heard the message. He grew up, and married, and had children. His wife would take the kids to church and Vacation Bible School when they were little. His children came home from VBS all excited to share the songs that they had learned with him. As they sang about the stories of the Bible, he was embarrassed because they sang about things he didn’t know, even though he grew up in church. He said, “I didn’t know”. He didn’t want his children to know he didn’t know, so he waited until they went to bed that night, and shared with his wife how embarrassed he was. He opened a Bible and began and began to study the stories, and as he did that, the Holy Spirit got ahold of his heart and began to change it. He developed a passion to know more, and as he sought, God shaped him into who He wanted him to be. It wasn’t instantaneous, but God began to shape his thoughts and his life, until he got to a place where he surrendered his whole life to Christ. He went on to share a salvation message to all of the people who were there, and gave an open invitation for them to accept Christ as he had done.

When he learned of the opportunity to perform the wedding ceremony, he knew immediately that he wanted to share his testimony with his friends, many of whom had known him, like I did, before God got ahold of his life.

By this point, I was sitting beside my husband, dumbfounded, trying to hold back tears. Then he said this: “There are some of you here today who didn’t know. Now you know”.

See, we have a choice of what we do with the words that we hear. There are many choices in life, but only two in eternity. Now you know.

Copyright 2018. Journey For Life. All rights reserved.