and the winner is…

 

If you have faith as big as a mustard seed, you can move mountains (Matthew 17:20) or mulberry trees (Luke 17:6).  Faith is believing in something you cannot see, but know is real.

My faith has been tested many times throughout my life, and the more it is tested, the more I know that God is not only real, but cares about even the smallest details of my life.

A few weeks ago, my husband told me that I have enough faith for both of us.  He meant it as a compliment, but on the other hand, it makes me sad.  I want the world to know what an awesome God we have, and to have faith that can move mountains and mulberry trees.

As miracles unfold before my eyes, I am convinced more than ever that God has a plan.   Our job really is simply to get to know Him and recognize His voice, and follow His lead.

I am learning that, the bigger our dreams, the bigger the opportunity we give to God to work miracles in our lives.   I’ve always been a dreamer – I love thinking of possibilities – and I see treasure where others see trash.

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The feature image is a screen shot of an on-line spiritual gift test I took a few years ago.  Though I wasn’t surprised about Faith and Leadership, I must admit, I was a bit surprised by “Pastoring” being my number 3.  I’ve never thought of myself as a pastor, however, I have a unique opportunity to coach people, both through my day-job as a manager, and in my hobby-job as a piano teacher.   It is my sincerest desire that people come to know Jesus as their friend…. so I guess that means “pastoring” to some degree.

It’s an awesome responsibility, and an awesome opportunity all at the same time.

I’ve asked you all to join me in praying for a really big miracle – and I’d like to ask you to keep praying.

If you have ordered the book, Masquerade, I want to thank you very much for your support!  If you haven’t yet, I’d like to encourage you to do so – it’s a story about a spiritual battle faced by a career driven mother of 3.  It’s not a fairy tale story, but one of hope during dark times.

If you like my journey, please follow my blog!

 

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life. All rights reserved.

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Cheyne, Shane, Bear, Peter, Little Carter, Miss Kitt’s Awana…. part 3

I’ve been telling you all about the prayers of our youngest daughter, whom I’ve learned so much from about being faithful to prayers.  

Today, I’d like to tell you a story about Peter and his dog, Millie.  Peter is an acquaintance of mine from my last job, who also works for the same company I currently work for.  When we worked together years ago, he told us a story of driving home one day, and pulling into the driveway only to feel a “bump” as he pulled into his driveway.  Unsure what he hit, he put the car into REVERSE and backed up, over the bump once again.  He got out of the car to discover that he had run over their family pet, Millie.   He was devastated, as were his kids.  They took Millie to the vet, but she passed away shortly after.

I was telling my family about the story, when our youngest daughter, who loves dogs, said she would pray for Millie.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that Millie had gone to doggie heaven, so instead, I suggested that she pray for Peter instead.

So, in faithful prayer, she added Peter to her prayer list, and has been praying for him ever since – every now and again, I’ll run into him at work and let him know she’s still praying – he can’t believe that she remembers the story, let alone still prayers for him, but he’s very thankful for the 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

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

Wall to wall people

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blessing_shirt.jpg

(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

Press Release – Masquerade – the battle within

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Masquerade

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

EDITORS: For review copies or interview requests, contact:
Marketing Services
Tel: 866-928-1240

Fax: 812-961-3133

Email: pressreleases(at)westbowpress(dot)com

(When requesting a review copy, please provide a street address.)               ­­

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.

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