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Monday, December 17, 2012

The Monday After a Connecticut Friday


If remaining home with your children one, or two, or all the pre-Christmas break school days is what's required for you to grapple with and find a measure of rest & peace...do so.

Friday, December 14, 2012

To Tell The Truth

A Christian woman's thoughts on this horrific morning (Connecticut School Shooting): 

When horrific things happen: school shootings, natural disasters, etc., why do Christians seem so quick to pipe up with, “This is why...,” or, “This is what happens when....” To tell the truth, these statements make me cringe. Shake with umbrage. And trigger a vomit reflex not unlike the precipitating horror. Why do Christians—Christians not
 involved in said horror; Christians without loved ones involved in said horror; Christians far off, removed, and without any clue as to what is going on save CNN, Fox-News, or TwitterFeed, always seem to have a “Thus Saith Me the Prophet” thing to say? To denounce the spiritual state of a grieving populace—community—state--nation--continent with self-subscribed Oracle of Spiritual Discernment?

I don’t get it.

To tell the truth, I want to scream at them—shake them and bellow, “Shut up! For the love of kindness—tenderness—grace—of freaking propriety shut the hell up.” Why do Christians—North American, post-modern culture Christians—do this? It comes across as small. Souless. Ineffective. What’s the point in speaking—writing—tweeting such opinions right then--right now? Will they resurrect the dead? Breathe life back into the lungs of a man, woman, or child? Will they—in their immediacy—imbue spiritual hope? Christ hope? into the sorrowful cries of those affected? To tell the truth, I don't think so. #ToTellTheTruth

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Crabby Christmas Mom Memories


Memories, light the corners of my mind.
 Okay, it's official: the older my children have gotten the less wacko I've become during the month of December.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dear Santa: A Grownup Christmas Wish List


Tis the Season when I channel my inner Amy Grant and share my own, albeit a bit more shallow than Amy's, grownup Christmas wish(es) list. Fra-rah-rah-rah-rah!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Don't Do Me Like That


You may kick it a certain way in your teens, 20s, 30s, even early 40s, but I guarantee with each passing year of age there will come a limit...a boundary...an unapologetically embraced, "Oh! I don't do...."  

On Friendship: History. Bawdy Laughter. Forgiveness


Monday, October 22, 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

What Are Some of My Biggest Mistakes?


What do Prince (a/k/a/ The Little Dude Formerly Known As), French definitions, abdominal scars, and Miss Clairol all have in common? Listen and find out!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Who Says You Can't Go Home? Lessons Learned On the Homefront


What lessons do you learn when returning back to your home or somewhere else from your past?

The Importance of Tenderness


That woman you just waved hello to via single-individual digit? The teenager you presumed was up to 'no good' or elderly couple you dismissed out of hand? Yeah, stop that. And try less assumption & presumption and more tenderness.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Importance of Being Spontaneous


Dare to chuck your Google calendar and scheduled-out-the-wazoo day, week, month, years, and life 
and discover what can happen. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

When In Doubt...LOVE


Four simple words, eh? But how to live out? Here are a couple of places to start. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Julie Answers Your Questions


Q: So, Julie, what's the deal with all things Israel, Mideast, and Jerusalem? You sure seem to talk about such things a lot. What up?"


Monday, September 24, 2012

The Finicky Muse of Creativity


The stories and conference teaching of Ken Blanchard, Paul Young, Peter Stropel, George Barna, Mary DeMuth, and countless others underscored, affirmed, and sparked all manner of thoughts and considerations regarding the Art of Writing and wrestling with the finicky muse of creativity. #rewrite2012

Bonding Over the Birkin

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Let It Go, Monica.

Dear Monica Lewinsky, (((warm maternal-like-you're-my-daughter-yet-boldly-honest-like-I'm-your-mom-or-older-sister hug)))...

Don't do it. Let it go. The book. The "details." All of it. Relinquish. 
You--your essence and intrinsic worth--are of (far) greater value than the fleeting monetary accumulation of dollars and notoriety this publishing advance will bring to the doorstep of your soul. 

Tha
t which your heart, body, and spirit aches to receive (if reports are to be believed): to be cherished; tenderly nurtured and esteemed by one above all others? Quite frankly, no word count or royalty number will satisfy. Let it go. Close the door and throw away the keys on that particular door leading back to your past as your worth supersedes it all. 



#YouAreWorthFarMore

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Importance of Noticing


Rome wasn't built in a day, nor a successful writer's conference, or life for that matter! Today is all about YOU noticing and calling out the "support staff" which makes the world go 'round a bit more smoothly.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Biblical (and Reasoned) Perspective on Current Events in the Mid East

Mr. Joel Rosenberg consistently offers sound teaching on all things biblical prophecy and personal responsibility when considering the world in which we live. Got Middle East Questions? Listen Here!

Always remember, never to forget, these two words my Friends, when it comes to biblical prophecy, the Return of Jesus Christ, and all that is and will continue to tran

spire: Frequency and Intensity. All that thousands of generations have seen and experienced before this present age has and will to continue--with this caveat: an increase in frequency and an increase in intensity. As this occurs, pray for the peace of Jerusalem, for the Mid East in its entirety, and LIFT UP YOUR EYES for as these things transpire the Redemption and Redeemer of mankind is drawing ever closer. If the thought of such an encounter makes you nervous, angry, or scared, private message and I would like nothing more than to speak with you regarding Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Importance of "We" & "Us"


Somewhere along the way we lost the ability to effectively dialogue. Conversations gave way to public debate (ad nauseum) and warm, friendly, connecting pronouns have been swallowed up by "them," "they," and "those." Enough. Here's to taking back the novel concept of respectful discourse and delightful words which convey the community of the human experience.

Monday, September 10, 2012

I Want to Want to Believe

"My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in Heaven," which reminds me of, "In Him we have have redemption, the forgiveness for our sins, according to the riches of His grace which he has l.a.v.i.s.h.e.d. on us in Christ Jesus." 

I don't know about you but my needs (and those of the people I know and love) are overwhelming. They are, well, needy. Financial. Relational. Profession
al. Spiritual. Needy, needy, needy. It's so easy to shrink back from approaching God with yet one more request. To cower back in a crazy self-sufficient human way and desperately attempt to "fix" people, bank balances, contracts, dreams, and to still the ever-increasing voices of sadness, angst, stress, disappointment, fear, and shame.

Which leads me back to this..."My God will supply all your needs..." Do I believe this? Nope. Not in totality. Maybe in 'this' area, but whoa, baby, not in 'that' one! (Just being honest with you.) I want to want to believe it--and not simply an ethereal bible-verse-quoting-knowledge, but rather know as the result of an resolute TRUST in His character and who has proven Himself to be time after time after time. You'd think I'd have this down pat. Eh, not so much sometimes.

So, this early, early, morning which began around 4:02 AM (I feel this compulsion to tell you all just how early I've been awake! *smile*) I'm relinquishing myself to the Supply Side Economic Reality of God's ability to do, be, act, and move towards me and those of you who are swimming in the same waters of life experience. I'm handing over an admitted infinitesimal grain of faith and exhale a whispered prayer of thanks for even that--a grain of faith given by Him, seen by Him, and honored by Him.

Would you like to join me? Private message your "infinitesimal" prayer of faith; your Supply Side Economic Reality which only God can cover and I will stand by you and remind you of truth: "A three strong cord is not easily broken."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Too Blessed 2B Stressed"...oh, shut-up, already


Be honest: don't you get tired (and a wee-bit cynical, fed-up, and/or weary) of all the bossy mental health "Buck up, Buttercup!" directives flashing about on FB? Maybe it's just me, but sometimes it'd be nice to read: "Today Stunk and It Was Everyone's Fault But Yours." If you're blessed, but still stinkin' stressed (thank-you very much!), listen in and discover you're not alone...Buttercup.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Time Passages

This morning or afternoon/evening as it may be for many of my International friends photograph & take in, really take in, the facial features, cheesy grins, and scowling frowns of your little ones. Commit them to memory; sear each one into 
your frazzled Mommy mind. 

And then wait...5, 10, and even twenty-years.

Travel the bumpy crazy road of parenting and when you are older, perhaps a bit wiser, slow down, rest, and gaze again upon each one. And you will see (how did you ever miss it?!) peeking from just behind each gummy, drooling, toothless grin; each smiling documented proof of first steps, proud rolling over back to tummy, lost toothth, hard won trophies, and successful (at last!) over-night stay with Papa & Nana, the amazing son or daughter standing before you today.

Happy 24th Birthday Sweet Girl! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Stupid Prayers


Been there, prayed that. In my sad defense; having long hair and a larger bank balance seemed extremely important at the time. I think you'll identify you'll understand and identify, at least I pray so...(in Jesus' name) *smile*

Monday, August 13, 2012

To Live a Peaceable Life


There comes a time undoubtedly in each of our lives when we can do something to promote peace. Peace with our friends. Peace with our enemies. Really? Yes, really? And peace with our selves. Sometimes that will require your silence. Other times your speaking and writing a peace of your honest and gracious mind. No matter the "hows" and "whys," let me encourage you with the words of the Apostle Paul, "If possible, so much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all."

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Your Attention Please...


Given the current stars of Reality TV (and forthcoming incomes upon research), I have decided to remove most of my teeth, lose most grammatical rules of speaking (and ritenn), purchase cameo cut-off shorts and/or tube tops, and root out varmits on stage and in non-fiction writi....er, ritenn. That is all.  #TurtleWoman

Friday, August 10, 2012

Where Julie Goes Out on a Confessional Limb - Part 3


That's right, I said it. And you'll have to listen to learn the details as I still haven't figured out how to sum it up in a pithy sentence. (Where's my editor?!) Let's see...it involves an obscure web site, the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, prayer, and that confession.

Where Julie Goes Out on a Confessional Limb - Part 2


That's right, I said it. And you'll have to listen to learn the details as I still haven't figured out how to sum it up in a pithy sentence. (Where's my editor?!) Let's see...it involves an obscure web site, the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, prayer, and that confession.

Where Julie Goes Out on a Confessional Limb


That's right, I said it. And you'll have to listen to learn the details as I still haven't figured out how to sum it up in a pithy sentence. (Where's my editor?!) Let's see...it involves an obscure web site, the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, prayer, and that confession.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Meatloaf: A Retrospect on Teenage Love Gurus & the 80s



(My kingdom for an editing tool which allows greater thumbnail choice on Youtube!)
 Sometimes aging (i.e. adult perspective and maturity) sucks all the fun out of your favorite songs from the 80s: who knew listening to the oldies of ones teenage past could be so different as an adult 47-year old!? 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Mother's Sweet Lament

 Ever so lightly I press mothering fingertips against the tanned left forearm of my Sleeping Man-Child; the center-of-my-soul flips as whispered, "thank-you, thank-you, thank-you's" set off an avalanche of memories: his 9lb, 11oz., entrance longed for and celebrated by a family of four who eagerly spoke his name as soon as the sonogram confirmed he was our sweet little Patrick Michael; the peals of delighted laughter as Kristen & Ricky Neal sat transfixed as he kicked and caused a cup of water to slosh about on my belly; apnea monitors which sent me to the brink of despair and strong maturing lungs as day after day, week after week, month after month, and year by year passed...finding me and him here this evening. One fast asleep, the other awake and mindful of the bittersweet passing of time. You are loved Patrick Michael Barnhill, you are loved.






Thursday, July 26, 2012

Phat Bible But's


Four words. One oft-repeated phrase: "But as for me..." Listen in as Julie reminds listeners (and herself!) of the power of choice.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Take a Peek at Some Current Work-In-Progress Writing!

"I’m going to confess something here which may send you flying to the bookstore for a return on your purchase. I hope not, but I can’t do anything but speak as candidly as possible through these pages. 

Sometimes I envy, seriously envy, those who do not have a million-and-one memorized Bible verses ricocheting throughout their head. A million-and-one, “Ooo! Ooo! Pick me! Pick me!” answers--good answers, even, which all too often suffocate a much needed first-response to pain, grief, confusion, and worry. (See, even as I typed the "w"-word at least three bible verses popped into my mind and almost compelled me to write a “But Christians aren’t supposed to worry,” disclaimer. And I'm pretty sure some of you did the same thing.)

Sigh. Sometimes it’s so wearying being me. Being you?

Said confession is almost cringe-worthy, isn’t it? Especially coming from the author of the book. But I hope you'll hear me on this; the heart behind such thinking is simply this: sometimes—many times, I long to be given permission to exhale.

To feel my pain.
To feel my confusion.
To feel—dare I say it—my unbelief.

And then permission to discover the transforming power and sensitivity of those 1,000,001 life-giving, life-restoring, commands, principals, directives, and truth.

Here’s what I think and know to be true in the world in which we live, and move, and have our day-to-day being: What the world needs and what the believing church is desperately crying out for is a Christian woman who bleeds—one who would submit her application into The Worst Kind of Christian arena as she certainly doesn’t have everything figured out and wrapped up.

See, I think that woman is the one you and I would most want to share a room with over a relaxed weekend retreat. She’s the one we’d stay up with into the wee hours of the morning; baring our soul over the course of confessions, prayer, laughter and, of course, tears. I believe it is that woman you want sitting alongside you on a comfortable sofa while intermittently sipping chai tea and spitting out anger and grief regarding a difficult family relationship.

I believe it is that woman you (and I) would trust to draw near when we’ve all but convinced ourselves that we too, without a doubt, are The Worst Kind of Christian.

The Worst Kind of Christian…
who has come to the end of herself,
for whom God seems to be actively working against, (yes, I said it),
and whose prayers, while spoken, are rarely felt or believed heard.

The Worst Kind of Christian…
who has experienced the humiliating unraveling of finances, job security, family, dreams, and health (perhaps all at the same time),
for whom God seems aloof, if not removed,
and whose prayers, while whispered, are rarely felt or believed heard.

The Worst Kind of Christian who violently grasps and holds to faith—believing there is a God who sees—even if it seems He’s chosen to close those metaphorical eyes; choosing to believe—despite everything emotions and rationality propose and submit— that He will never abandon her, if for no other reason than its an impossibility given His character (2 Timothy 2:13)...see, there goes that "Ooo!" "Ooo!" thing again.

The Worst Kind of Christian following hard after Jesus in the best kind of honest way.

Most certainly me!
Perhaps you too?"

Writing research regarding The Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13) and return of Christ brought me here early this morning...


Former Navy SEAL Tells How To Protect Yourself in a Situation Similar to Colorado Shooting

Surreal and an altogether disconcerting interview--recalling Phil Collins lyrical "Land of Confusion" observations as I listened.

THIS is the world we live in...a trained military combat sniper--moved by a compassionate urgency for defenseless civilian masses- educating average Americans (like you and me) on arming themselves for survival (sur.vi.val. people!) in their day-to-day lives. This is the world we live in..."be prepared" tips such as carrying on your person at all times a blinding 500 lumen flashlight in order to gain 3 or 4 seconds of "save your life" time when faced w/similar Aurora theater shooting and/or horrific terrorist situation.

This is the world we live in and the world my children came to age and are staring squarely in the face as young adults: a Modern Warfare reality played out in formerly benign shopping malls (Westroads, 2007; Tacoma, 2005; Toronto, 2012); sanctuaries of worship (New Life Community, Colorado Springs, 2007; Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, Knoxville, 2008; First Baptist Church, Maryville, IL, 2009); schools houses (I was stunned to read the following statistics athttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_shooting) as well as the seeming safety of your own front yard/front door/neighborhood (Nicole Westbrook, 21, 2012; Harry Stone, Raytown, MO, 2012).

"Sweet Jesus (and you'd better believe that is spoken as a prayer), grant us wisdom, discernment, and clarity of thought in these increasingly dangerous and malevolent days. As evil increases both in severity and frequency, may we who are called by Your name humble ourselves and pray and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways, for it is then that You tell us...'I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.' Help us to throw off paralyzing fear and to speak and live in a manner worthy of the hope that lives within us."

"Superman, where are you now?" Superman has left the building, but God is close to the brokenhearted and those crushed in spirit. May we as believers submit ourselves to Him and learn all the more to entrust ourselves to a Faithful Creator.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Found in San Diego: Daniel Returns!


Rare is the son or daughter who can outrun the love of a tenacious Mother. Grateful news concerning the young man mentioned in prior video: Missing in Reno.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Missing in Reno. Devastated in San Diego.


Life is hard and there is something we can do to help ease the burden friends (and strangers) bear...pray. Pray for the safe return of my friend Lisa's teenage son Daniel. And though it may test your ability to do so, I also ask you to pray for the parents of James Holmes who are facing an altogether unfathomable reality as mother and father.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Porn-y Effect


Some thoughts on trickle down lasciviousness and kick-in-the-pants encouragement 
to do...to be...to think differently.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Embracing Spontaneity and a Little Country


On living off-the-cuff. 

Andy Griffith & the Sweet Mystery of Life


Sometimes we simply need to exhale, stop trying to figure everything out, and embrace a little Mystery.

What Speaks To You?


Be it the sound of crashing ocean waves; snow-capped peaks of a mountainous range; the trill of a toddler laughing; or thunderous clap of a lightening bolt, we all hear and sense the presence of God. What is the sound? the image? the place? which brings you to a place of awe and reverence?

Morning Bondage, Part 2


Here's to being a hypocrite and drawing lines in our own life.

Morning Bondage, Anyone?

Nothing like a casual early morning talk show interview on BDSM to rattle ones cage (pardon the pun).  Maybe you've asked the same question I have: how did we get to a place where this is casual conversation? As always, I'll tell you what I think.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Spiritualist Seeking Jesus


It's been said (and I believe) we all are marked with the divine thumbprint of God. As a result, we seek understanding and meaning in and for this life as well as the one to come.

What Should I Forgive?

Agreed, they don't deserve it. Agreed, they may never understand (or care) how much they hurt you. Agreed, it'd be nice to hear them say, 'I'm sorry.' But forgiveness is never about the other person; it's always about you...about me...and the Life which comes as a result of letting go and wiping the slate clean.

What Forgiveness Is

Ever wondered what forgiveness looked like in your day-to-day reality? Or if you've truly forgiven even though you've 'forgiven'? Perhaps these words will help.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Forgiveness: What It Is Not


Often times I find it better to know what something doesn't look like...or what something is not...before the more obvious "what it is." So too with forgiveness.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Things I Will Never Do


Yep. Aging brings more than a few definitive "not gonna happen'" understandings. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

On Shady Sex, Take 2


Never underestimate the lasting influence of a tawdry Sidney Sheldon read as a teenager. More thoughts on erotic fiction and its place (or not) in ones reading world, marriage, and Christian life.

On Shady Sex


Some thoughts regarding "Fifty Shades of Grey," erotic fiction, the long-arm of Sidney Sheldon and reading choices.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Things Men Need To Know



Some inside fact tips, gentleman, regarding thoughts and perspectives of the female set.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Teenagers: A Delightful Reminder


Lest one believe otherwise, raising a teenager can be fraught with appreciation & delight. Count off 2, 3, even, 4 things you enjoy about the one living in your home and be sure to let him/her know as well.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Teenagers "Living Their Own Freakin' Life!"


Heads up, Moms and Dads! Facts are your friend & not-so-secret-weapon-now when it comes to raising a teenager. If you can set aside emotional drama (theirs and yours) and simply state the way things are or the way things are going to be you'll be ahead of the parenting race. YOU CAN DO IT!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Raising Teenagers with Hope & Soul


Goodness knows there's a limitless number of books to be read, Kindled, and borrowed when it comes to the subject of parenting teenagers and no doubt I've made my way through 96% of them. Yet, after all has been said and read there are two titles which I believe truly stands above the rest. Oddly enough neither has anything to do with the parents and teens...well, not at first glance perhaps. Listen in and discover two books which can (re)shape your heart, mind, emotions, and actions when it comes to you and that Teenager you love so much.

Raising Teenagers: What's Really Going On Beneath


Perspective. It's not always such an easy thing to find or keep when it comes to parenting your teenager. You're "this" close to the emotion, "this" close to the ups & downs, and "this" close to losing it--be it patience, hope, tenacity, or perspective. But there is something at work in our children's lives...and I believe the accompanying video link will help bring it to light and soften your heart in parenting places which desperately need to see what is really at work in the life of your beloved son or daughter. 

Raising Teenagers: Two Recommended Resources


You can do this! Yes, you.
Staying with it and sticking by your teenager isn't always the easiest thing to do and you certainly aren't able to handle everything perfectly that's going to come your way. Fact is, you are going to fall short. Drop the ball. Miss the mark. In other words, fail.
You're also going to do, say, believe, and handle innumerable things right.
But not by your strength alone. 
No stinkin' way (trust me on this, seriously)! Thus, my encouragement--my exhortation (see and hear me cheering fiercely) to gather two recommended resources to shore up wisdom, perspective, communication, and love, love, love, as you delight in these amazing teen years with sons and daughters. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

On Being a Mom to Your Teen


Maybe you don't have a clue what to do--or what to think--regarding this child whom you formerly knew, understood, and enjoyed. Perhaps the teenage months and years have all but overwhelmed you and left you spent & undone. Exhale, my friend, and know you are not alone. Come join me on my front porch as we speak truth and engage in honest discussion. — at My Front Porch, where friends can be real .

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Are You An Apocalypse Friend?

She's prepared for anything...and I'm talking anything! Maybe she's you. Maybe not.so.much.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nice Elbows!

I've been off the Blog grid for a few weeks hence the lengthy chat.