Cheyne, Shane, Bear, Peter, Little Carter, Miss Kitt’s Awana… part 2

Previously,  I shared with you the prayers of a little girl making a difference in my friends’ boys’ life. That same little girl, in her faithful prayers every single night, Today, I want to tell you about Shane and Bear.

Shane is the son of the pastor who married us and his wife. He is about six months older than our oldest daughter. We have known his parents for many years and consider them among our closest friends.

Shane is a very special young man, and when he was young, they got a dog and named him Bear. Shane and Bear were very close, and Bear was very good for Shane. One day, Bear got hit by a car, and it didn’t look like he’d survive. This would have been devastating to Shane so his parents asked for prayers. We, along with many others, prayed for Bear, and miraculously, he survived his injuries. To this day, our youngest continues to pray for Shane and Bear.

Shane is in college now, and Bear is getting up in years, but still looks forward to Shane visiting.  Prayer kept Bear around for Shane when it was really, really important for him to have  dog to love him unconditionally.

How much we all need someone to love us unconditionally!  Dogs are awesome in that regard, but then, so is God – it’s crazy to me that he loves us no matter what.

Thanks for your prayers!

Blessings, SB


Copyright 2018 Journey For Life – all rights reserved

Drinking from a saucer

When you live your life expecting and grateful for blessings, blessings abound.  I remember years ago in local diner overhearing a man respond to the waitress asking him how he was by saying, “I’m drinking from a saucer”.   It was his way of saying his cup runneth over.

Well, tonight, I am drinking from a saucer.   In all honesty, it’s hard to know where and how to begin sharing the blessings God’s poured out on my life lately, but here are a few…

so… I got a phone call from my son,  who is attending school in Minnesota, late Saturday night. He said,”Hey I’m in Chicago.”    “Whatcha doin there?” I said.  “I’m on my way home for the Blessing of the Bikes“.  My son and his friend drove all night to get home around 8 am to go to the blessing of the bikes.   His friend got to experience the Blessing of the Bikes, and we got to hang out together for lunch and again this evening before they head back to school tomorrow. It was a fun trip and it was great to see him… and that was a blessing.img_1277.jpg

Here was another blessing… all week, they’ve been calling for the weather to be terrible on Sunday – 40’s and rainy, then 60’s and rainy… The Blessing day starts early – the church service is at 11:00 am and the actual blessing is at 12:30.   We prayed for God to hold off the rain… and look how He answered the prayer… (Don’t ask me what is up with His sense of humor to send snow flurries to Murrysville on April 17… that’s another question for another day)  In reality, God held the rain off in our area until after 5 PM, which gave bikers who attended our event plenty of time to get home to a dry place before the skies opened up… that was a blessing.

and.. just some funny things that happened today…   it’s pretty awesome that, when you’re rocking the baby and don’t have room for a diaper bag, you can simply stuff the extra diaper right in your pocket.. that was pretty awesome.  LOL

And.. it’s also pretty awesome when your phone is sitting on top of the keyboard that you’re playing, and it thinks that you are driving.. that’s pretty awesome, too.

There are just so many other blessings I’m receiving right now that I could literally go on for  long time… but suffice to say that God is Good… All the time.

Blessings and Bikes

Blessings and Bikes – 2016

This post was originally from 2016, but tomorrow morning is the 2018 Blessing of the Bikes  – and my son just called to say he and a friend are driving all night from Minnesota to be present for the blessing – so say a prayer for their safety, will ya?

Last Sunday, our church hosted the 20th annual Blessing of the Bikes.  It’s an event that started when 4 bikers from the church approached the pastor with an idea to bring their friends to church. The first year, there were 162 bikes, and the town of Murrysville wondered what in the world was going on as they all rolled through.  Over the years, that event has blossomed, and is very well-known in the area.  The town of Murrysville actually sends the Mayor and emergency workers now, and even shuts down traffic for a while, to allow the event to be held.  It’s a completely free event, because, in the words of Pastor Dan, “so is gift of salvation”.   This year, on the 20th anniversary, we estimated approximately 15,000 bikes piled in – to our parking lot, and the adjacent blessing_bikes.jpgstreets, and the parking lots along Rt 22.  Figuring many bikes had 2 riders, we’d say there were A LOT of people who turned out for the event.  For the past 13 years, I have had the privilege of participating in the music for the service.   This year, our good friend Dave Smith, sang a song called “Jack Daniels & Jesus”.   I’m pretty sure there wasn’t another church in the country that sang that song on Sunday.

(By the way, I think there’s a message in here somewhere about starting a “movement” – it doesn’t take something BIG to make something BIG – it just requires someone to dream it and make it reality).

“Jack Daniels & Jesus”

Lately I’ve been trading
A good sermon and some praying
For a stranger in my bed
And a night that needs explaining
I’ve opened more bottles than I ever have my bible
This dirt road communion sure won’t lead me to revival

Between the black label and the letters in red
I felt what livin’ is
And what it’s like to live dead

I’ve taken a ride in the devil’s Cadillac
I’ve been so high I thought I wasn’t coming back
And just when I think I’m too far gone
Ringin’ in my head’s the 23rd psalm
I’ve seen the light
I’ve seen the darkness
Only God knows where my heart is
I’ve got my strength
And Lord knows, I’ve got my weakness
Oh, I’m lost somewhere between
Jack Daniels and Jesus

It’s my fault that I ain’t called
My momma in a month of Sundays
She’ll smell the whiskey through that phone
I can’t stand to hear her heartbreak
Next week, I see my brother Casey for the first time
Since it all went down
And I blacked his eye the night after our daddy died

I ain’t afraid to admit I’ve hit rock bottom
You wanna see a lifetime full of sins
Just look at me
I’ve got ’em

I’ve taken a ride in the devil’s Cadillac
I’ve been so high I thought I wasn’t coming back
And just when I think I’m too far gone
Ringin’ in my head’s the 23rd psalm
I’ve seen the light
I’ve seen the darkness
Only God knows where my heart is
I’ve got my strength
And Lord knows, I’ve got my weakness
Oh, I’m lost somewhere between
Jack Daniels and Jesus


This is what 25,000 bikes looks like from the Medic One Helicopter.

Wall to wall people



(can’t see the killer boots from here, but they were awesome.. lol)

I am watching life unfold for several young adults – some of them are making some very good life decisions, and some of them are making some incredibly bad life decisions, some of them very, very public, and some of them very private.   And my heart breaks.   In almost all of the cases, I say to myself, (and I’ve heard their parents say), “but they were raised differently than that”   and then I remember the words, “somewhere between Jack Daniels and Jesus” and remember that we’re really ALL somewhere on that journey.   I haven’t had Jack Daniels in over 30 years  – one REALLY BAD experience with it all those years ago, and I can’t even smell the stuff to this day…. And I was raised differently than that…. And still, I made some poor life choices along the way – hopefully ones that I have learned from, and that have made me stronger.  By the grace of God alone, He brought me through those poor choices and gave me a second chance, or maybe a third and fourth.   And, by the grace of God, He will bring those folks through their choices as well, allowing U-turns to correct their course.   Pray for them, will ya?


Copyright 2018 Journey For Life – all rights reserved

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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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.