It all started here.
Two people, in love with Jesus, met on the mission field in Belize, Central America.
Meet Mr. & Mrs. Barkman.
Marriage and 31 years later, they’ve expanded the family.
They began with four daughters.
They loved the girls, but decided they’d try for sons as well.
They had two, and everyone was so happy.
Meanwhile the children had children, and the family grew and grew. [where does that line come from? I’m having a deja’ vu!] At this point it’s not even basic addition; it’s more like multiplication. :) It’s so fun!
We met from various points of the east (Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia) at a chalet in the mountains of West Virginia for several days. Time like this is so special because we don’t get to all be together very often, and also, we never know how many more times together we’ll be gifted. Life is such a GIFT! And we want to treasure these sweet moments.
So, what does a family do in the boonies of West Virginia, where there is hardly any cell phone service and no internet? Well, be together, of course. While the no connection with the outside world came a bit as a surprise, it was actually welcomed because that meant there wasn’t as much room for distraction and time being frittered away on electronics.
Besides, there were deer in abundance – one evening drive counted in the fourties – and the men were ecstatic. There was even a few points of high excitement as one of the brothers-in-love pulled out his bow and arrow for a shot at a groundhog.
There was so much good food. SO MUCH.
Mom and we girls each took a day of cooking, and it worked wonderfully.
There was time to sit and relax, with hot coffee and early morning light.
For those without little kiddos, these moments were definitely longer and more relaxed. :)
And being raised in the home of our book-loving mother, we all brought various books or picked up some that were already present. My book-loving children were ecstatic by the entertaining uncles and aunts and Papa and Nana.
Zoe, meet the Boxcar Children.
There were trails hiked and tennis games [I won’t even say how many I won, er – lost] and ping-pong battles, and funny games where we laughed so hard we could hardly breathe, and times to sit out by the mountains.
My family is at a stage with lots of change right now.
In a year and a half, my parents went from having 3 daughters and 2 sons at home, to having only 1 son in the house. My three sisters got married, and my brother is moving into the city.
We spent a lot of time together talking about life, praying, dreaming, blessing each other.
It is such a BLESSING to be part of a family where Jesus is central.
I know it’s rare, and I treasure it.
All those family devotions growing up? [that I would sometimes get tired of]
I’m so grateful for them now, for the way they still let us see into each other’s hearts.
For the way it opens up conversation to talk about the things of God,
how He’s working and leading and moving.
It’s so exciting!
This vacation? We all said it was The Best Vacation Ever.
Early-rising children. Vacation looks a bit different with little kids. :)
There was a little nearby town to explore, with a Goodwill and some quaint little shops.
We did more window shopping than buying, but it was fun to get out and look around.
Oh, and there was an ice cream shop, right by a little stream. We couldn’t resist.
Besides, Ervina’s baby was hungry. :)
And in typical Barkman fashion, we must carve out a few minutes of time for some pictures. These were probably the most informal we’ve ever done, but hey, it’s documented. :)
We’ve got all kinds of lovebirds…
And these two are expecting a new little Lovie. We cannot wait until March!!
And one last picture…
Parting words from Zoe, age six,
“Mommy, why is it SO SAD to say goodbye to them?”
I know, Sweetie. I know.
To us, family means
putting your arms around each other
and being there.
“Siblings: children of the same parents,
each of whom is perfectly normal until they get together.”
– Sam Levenson