Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Hopes and Fears of All The Years...

Kristin and I had such high hopes to get a Christmas letter out this year - but with many of our other hopes, it - uh - lacked the follow-thru to get it done. But we did want to share with you the many things God's done in our world this year, and technically, it's still Christmas.

As most of you know, in September of 2006, we bought our first house, and shortly after added Maggie to the family (as you can see in the pic, she's very helpful). Alex pretends not to like her, but they have fun running around the backyard. It gets a little crazy when we take them to Frank's Mom's house (she's much more patient than we are), but the dogs all have a great time together.

We began attending a church about a mile away, and in February 2007, we helped out with Disciple Now, held at Collin County Adventure Camp.

Before we went, we told each other, "we're not going to get into working with youth again - we need to find a young adult group." To that end, we'd been trying to start a home Bible study, but just couldn't seem to generate the "critical mass."

Anyway, we should have known better than to tell God where we were going to serve Him. D-Now was incredibly fun and within a couple weeks of praying about it (read: "Oh God, there must be some mistake - surely you don't want us in youth ministry again??"), we were regulars. Since then, Frank has taught the high school boys group, written devotionals for the kids, and occasionally taught the large group, and Kristin has worked with the high school girls. Kristin also jumped in with her mad video skills, covering D-Now and the summer mission trip, among others.

In May, Kristin's cousin Kelly got married and Frank graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary, with a Master's of Arts in Biblical Studies. So many family members came into town to help celebrate, and it was so great to see them. Even though it took a lot of time and money to do, seminary was an incredible experience, on I'm very grateful for. As one of my favorite profs said, "when you come to seminary, you think you know the answers, but you don't even really know the questions. When you leave, our biggest hope is that we've at least helped you learn to ask the right questions."

May also brought sadness, with the passing of Kristin's granddad, Robert Duard Davidson, after a battle with cancer. There could be entire post written on him, but suffice to say that the effects of his simple life will be felt for generations to come.

In June, we celebrated our third anniversary, and Kristin found an incredible last-minute deal on a short cruise to Ensenada, Mexico.

In August, Frank's uncle Randy came out and helped Frank build a roof to cover in the back porch ("helped Frank" is a joke, if you didn't catch it. If Frank ever builds a bridge, find another way around). Laura's husband, John Talley took one of his rare days off to come help in the sweltering heat, which was much appreciated - especially since we were using all his tools, anyway!

In September, we got our first taste of small-town Texas high school football. In Melissa, you might as well close down the town between 7 and 10pm when there's a home game.

In October, we found out we're going to be parents in June. I think we both know life as we know it will never be the same, but we're uncertain and hopeful and excited and scared all at once. So please pray for us: for wisdom, patience, and all the other stuff we'll need.

Frank is still working at Speech Privacy Systems as the marketing manager, and loves it. In addition, he's gotten the chance to work with his brother-in-law Eric on several installs of the sound masking system SPS sells. Eric is just a great all-around guy, and makes the long hours really fun. Kristin moved to a different role at Broadlane, where she's worked the past few years, and she loves her team - even if the 45-minute or so (each way) commute gets old.

Christmas is always a time to be reflective, and with our coming Little One, there are so many mixed emotions. Looking back, we see how God has been so incredibly faithful to us - but somehow I still struggle to trust Him with tomorrow.

But this is what Christmas is about, after all. In "the fullness of times" Jesus came to save humanity, to fix what was broke. He is our hope. Into a broken world with lots of needs and fears and struggles, God Himself came... to a barn, out in the Judean hills.

For thousands of years, people all over the world have had more or less the same hopes and fears I do now - and 2000 years ago, God Himself came as the answer to all of them. As the line goes from "O Little Town of Bethlehem:" "the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight."

As Kristin and I get ready for a new year with all the changes a baby will bring, this has a lot of meaning for us. We have so many "hopes and fears." But looking back has been helpful - it reminds us that God hasn't yet failed to take care of us (even when what we need isn't what we want), and there's no reason to expect Him to drop the ball now.

Merry Christmas to all of you - you are each such a blessing to us, even when too much time goes by without seeing you.

The Barnetts - Frank, Kristin, Alex and Maggie (and "Yet To Be Named")

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Spreading Holiday Cheer

Christmas is here, and this year the house looks especially pretty. Kristin finally talked me into putting the lights up outside and getting down her boxes of decorations. (yes, that does include stockings for the dogs).

Today, a new addition was added: a BEAUTIFUL centerpiece arrangement from the Farmers (my Mom's youngest brother and his family).

Last weekend, we went with the high schoolers we work with at our church to a nearby retirement home to brighten some of the residents' holiday season. No surprise that only one of my guys showed up to wrap doors (they don't get real excited about decorating), but that also left Chase surrounded by older girls, so maybe he's just wiser than his buddies.

Anyway, there were some real wrapping paper artists, my wife definitely among them. You can see some of their handiwork here:

I was really impressed with the way the kids handled themselves. They understood right off that they were there first to show some love to the seniors, and to decorate second. This meant we didn't decorate all the doors we had hoped to do, but watching them as they listened to stories about family members, ask questions about photographs, and genuinely love on some total strangers was really cool to watch. It was neat because that's how Jesus did it - He was never too "task-oriented" to stop and listen for a little bit.

Merry Christmas to you all! (next up on the to-do list: write that elusive family Christmas letter!)


Monday, December 3, 2007

Tres Barnetts?

So maybe we should have thought out our blog address a little better, because now there is a little one on the way!! Frank and I found out October 1st that we are expecting our first child. S/he is due on June 11, 2008 and we cant wait to finally meet him/her. We had our second sonogram today - but the first one where Baby Barnett (BB) actually resembled a human. We learned that BB likes to sit on it's head for the most part and has a TON of energy. S/he would hardly sit still long enough to be measured! :) The doctor tried to find out if it was a boy or girl, but again, BB wasn't cooperating, so we will have to wait until next month to find out.

For those of you new at reading sonograms, BB's head is in the lower right part of the black oval. S/he's laying on it's back and has it's right hand up to it's face (possibly sucking it's thumb already!). You can see one foot in the air on the left side.

The pregnancy has been pretty good so far. I've been sick on and off for the past 7 weeks, but I think I'm finally on the tail-end of that phase. We have not yet chosen names, but we have a few in mind that we like. However, Frank and I have decided not to reveal the name until the baby is born.

We are very excited to finally be sharing this big news with everyone! We would appreciate your prayers as you think of us. I'm pretty sure we have no idea exactly how much our lives will be changing. Thanks to everyone for your support, and for those of you who have helped us keep a secret up to this point! I'll update you on any new news as it comes!


Monday, November 26, 2007

Giving Thanks

For Thanksgiving this year the whole family gathered at my parents house in Allen. My Aunt Susan and my Grandmother braved the heavy traffic to join us. We also had a house full of dogs - Bichons, actually. My parents have two, Amy and Eric have two, and my Grandmother brought her Bichon/Poodle mix. It was quite a circus. The company was great and the food as just as good. We had turkey, ham, sweet potatos, rolls, green bean casserole, and my Grandmother's famous homemade dressing and gravy. Everyone wants the recipe, but every year she says she just "wings it" and ends up tweaking it a bit. Next year I'm going to stand over her and write everything down as she does it! It's not fair to keep these things a secret! :)

I always love the conversations that our family has around any table. There are always hilarious stories told that leave us in tears - even if we've heard them 100 times. My favorite are the ones about the stupid things my dad and his brother did as kids. I think we would have talked for hours if we werent all so tired from the large meal.

The boys definitely put away alot of food! I think Eric even skipped breakfast to save room for extra turkey. I only remember Frank going back for seconds, but I easily could have been distracted.

As you can see, my mom already has all of her Christmas decorations out for the year. Saying that Christmas is a big deal to her would be an understatement. I think she has at least 4 full sized decorated trees. She also works at a store that sells Christmas stuff year round. Every year Christmas bleeds into Thanksgiving a little bit because it's our tradition to put together a Christmas puzzle during Thanksgiving week.
We dont do anything special with them, we just enjoy puzzles. Frank is still learning to like puzzles. Dont be fooled by the excited look on his face here. This is actually the only time he participated in the effort. The rest of the time he was either focused on a football game, taking a nap, or eating dessert. For some reason we decided that we had to have the puzzle finished within that hour, so we worked hard and got it done. Unfortunately, by the end we realized that one of our pieces had been eaten by one of the dogs. I think it's probably in the backyard by now. ha.

Eric got creative and covered it with a cup for the picture. I'd say it turned out pretty well. We may need to get another one out before Christmas.

Maggie and Alex also had alot to be thankful for. They both got new toys that we call thier "bobos". They are SO cute running around with them. Maggie squeaks hers constantly and Alex just likes to protect his. Once Maggie has squeaked hers enough she will go after Alex's bobo. At that point we either have to put them up, or Frank will throw Maggie's bobo for her so wont think that she is missing out.

Obviously I cant end this post with mentioning the awesome Aggie/t.u. game last Friday. Ags beat the always-overrated team from Austin (again) 38-30 (and it wasn't nearly that close). WHOOP!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Aggie 100

On October 26th, my dad was honored as a member of the Aggie 100 for 2007. The yearly awards are given to nominated business owners who have maintained the highest overall growth rate over the last three years as compared to other nominees. My Aunt Susan read about the Aggie 100, and insisted that my dad be nominated. Between her and Frank, they were able to get my dad to fill out all the necessary paperwork to complete the process. It's a very prestigious award, and I'm so proud of my dad for winning a spot in the Aggie 100. On top of competing for growth in sales, each nominee must meet certain requirements. The company must have been in business for a minimum of 5 years with verifiable revenues of at least $100,000 in 2004. My dad came in 94th place with a compounded annual growth rate of 31.65% for his company Speech Privacy Systems. He works so hard, and he loves what he does. The whole family was so proud to see him awarded for his efforts.

Here are all the award recipients before the ceremony being posed for their group photo. My dad is on the top row, 6th from the left.

After the group photo, he came to join the rest of the family who had just showed up. We were snapping away like papparazi. The guy behind my dad thinks he must be be famous. :)

Mom and dad posing together.

The award ceremony was held in The Zone at Kyle Field. It was a very fancy venue that was meant to impress. Each table had very nice centerpieces that we took home, and we were also greeted by the most stuck up "salad" I've even seen in my life (see below). No one really ate much of it. There were over 650 people in attendance.

Congratulations, dad! We are all very proud of you! WHOOP!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It's been a long time!

I can’t believe it’s been more than a month since my last post! I don’t know why, but I just haven’t felt up to it lately for some reason. However, there hasn’t been too much going on, so I didn’t miss out on any huge events. I did manage to keep my camera handy so I could at least document some because I knew I would come back to my blog! Just to get everything going again, here is a cute picture of Maggie with her new frog toy. She was absolutely thrilled with her frog. Alex got a new bear toy that she was very jealous of. However, in true Maggie fashion she had both of them destroyed within a week. They now have matching mallards! It’s really cute.

Yesterday we had two trees put in our backyard to add some more shade and landscaping. We got a Maple Tree and a Crepe Myrtle.

Frank also had some Zoysia sod laid by the back gate and was excited enough to take a picture of it. Actually, I think he cares more about the grass than the trees.

The dogs must take after him because they were also only interested in the new grass. However, after Maggie got tired of sniffing the grass she started rubbing her face in the mulch under the tree. What is wrong with that dog?? We can’t help but love her.

Last week Frank surprised me by sending a beautiful set of petite roses to my office. I was so sure it was a mistake when the receptionist told me that I had a package to pick up, but it turns out that my husband is just incredibly sweet and wanted me to feel special and spoiled. It worked. :) Aren't they beautiful! I think they are my new favorite flower.

The only other event in the last month was my sister Amy's 27th birthday. She had a few friends over for a relaxing Saturday evening in our PJ's. We ate some snack foods, played a game, opened presents, and watched a movie. It was nice to stay in and just lounge around.

My mom has a long-standing joke with Amy and I that she not only can't remember how old we are, but she likes to round - so she bought Amy candles for the cake that said "29". Kelly fixed it, though, with some simple subtraction.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

High Society

Frank and I had the opportunity to go to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra this weekend. Laura Stiller works for a non profit organization and the DSO gave them a lot of free tickets, so they invited us to join them on a fun, free date evening. We were told that seats would probably not be great, but we would at least get the priviledge of going. We met them in the lobby and enjoyed some coffee and cake before the show. We took a few pictures ahead of time since we werent allowed to take any in the auditorium - and I fully intended to follow that rule. Too bad it didnt work out.
Frank and I before the show - trying to look refined so we would fit in with the old money of Dallas. That didnt work either. :)

Meet the Stillers. Danny and Laura just moved back to Texas recently, and we've enjoyed spending time with them. Check out their blog here.
Like I said, we werent supposed to take pictures in the auditorium, but when were surprised by our amazing seats, I HAD to take a picture of the stage to show how close we were. I didnt even use the zoom! I looked up the seating sections and prices before we left, so I knew how good we had it. We were in some of the most expensive seats in the house!! We are really spoiled now. We throughly enjoyed the performance - especially the very animated conductor. He stole the show. We will definitely be going back.
Like I said - High Society. Yes, I pretty much always have a camera with me.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Friday Night Lights

Have you ever watched those football movies where the setting is in a small town, football is a way of life, everyone knows everyone, and the quarterback is king? I live there. Seriously. What's crazier is that I didn't find this out until tonight - a year after we moved here. We went to our first Melissa Cardinal's home football game tonight, and after seeing half of one game we are officially hooked. I had never even seen the stadium, but you dont need directions - just follow the light. We could see the lights the minute we left the house. We didnt get there until right before half-time and we couldnt find seats in the sea of red shirts. The beachers were packed with students, band members, and proud parents. All that I expected. What I didn't expect was to know someone in every section of the bleachers! We found about 15 of our high school kids, some of their parents, and THE REST OF THE CHURCH! I'm not kidding. The pastor, associate pastor, youth minister, all the youth workers (us included), the worship leader, the audio/video technition, Sunday school leaders, choir members - you name it! Our neighbors from across the street were there too! We do so much work with the HS kids that we rarely get an opportunity to socialize with the rest of the church. We had the best time between watching some great football, seeing our kids, talking to the adults, and cheering for the band. We even bought our very own Melissa Cardinal t-shirts for the next game.
I just cant tell you how blessed I feel to live somewhere so unique - at least to me. We moved to Melissa from Dallas (yes, an actual Dallas zip code) and life is SO different here. I've often heard that we are very "country" - and while we do have some of those qualities - I think that "community" describes us so much better. I really do know my neighbors - and not just their names. I KNOW my neighbors. They come over often. I trust them and I feel safe here. This place just keeps getting better with time. First we fell in love with the house, then the neighborhood, then the neighbors, then the church, then the youth group, then the youth leaders, then the kids, now the community. I LOVE living here. It's hard to care so much about wanting the town to grow and focusing on rising property value when you see how much this type of community is really worth. I wouldnt change it.
Here is the MHS Band playing at half time. I was told that they do have formal uniforms, but they dont wear them while it's so hot. Four of our kids are in the band.

David and Frank after the halftime show. Dave plays trumpet in the band and he is also a great drummer. We have so many talented kids.

Cambria and I at the game. I totally just plopped myself down in the middle of the student section to take this picture with her. I heard alot of "who's that??" from the kids around me. haha. I love being older now and truly not being worried about what people think. If only I could have attained this power in highschool! Oh well - Cambria handled it great. In fact, she introduced me to the mascot. She must be way more confident than I was at her age. Love her.

I can't wait to do this again, but unfortunately next week is not a home game. However, when those home-games roll around, just know in advance that we have plans. :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Every Day a Blessing

As I sit at my desk at work feeling pretty grumpy I am reminded of a story that Amy told me about last week written by Max Lucado. It's about the difference between dogs and cats. I'm feeling more like the cat today (with respect to work) and feeling convicted about it at the same time. That is a tough place to stand since I have to make a concious decision what to do with my thoughts. I can no longer just sit here and pout without feeling bad about it, yet I don't want to decide to be happy either. I'll keep working on it and let you know what I decide. In the mean time, enjoy the cute story.

Excerpts from the diary of a dog:
8:00 a.m. Oh boy, dog food – my favorite.
9:30 a.m. Oh boy, a car ride – my favorite.
9:40 a.m. Oh boy, a walk – my favorite.
10:30 a.m. Oh boy, another car ride – my favorite.
11:30 a.m. Oh boy, more dog food – my favorite.
12:00 p.m. Oh boy, the kids – my favorite.
1:00 p.m. Oh boy, the yard – my favorite.
4:00 p.m. Oh boy, the kids again – my favorite.
5:00 p.m. Oh boy, dog food again – my favorite.
5:30 p.m. Oh boy, Mom – my favorite.
6:00 p.m. Oh boy, playing ball – my favorite.
8:30 p.m. Oh boy, sleeping in my master’s bed – my favorite.

Excerpts from the diary of a cat:
Day 283 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat while I’m forced to eat dry cereal. I’m sustained by the hope of escape and the mild satisfaction I derive from ruining a few pieces of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant. I attempted to kill my captors this morning by weaving through their walking feet. Nearly succeeded. Must try this strategy at the top of the stairs. Seeking to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair. Must try this on their bed. To display my diabolical disposition, I decapitated a mouse and deposited the headless body on their kitchen floor. They only cooed and condescended, patting my head and calling me a “strong little kitty.” Hmm – not working according to plan. During a gathering of their accomplices, they placed me in solitary confinement. I overheard that my confinement was due to my power of allergies. Must learn what this means and how to use it to my advantage.
I am convinced the other household captives are flunkies, perhaps snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems naively happy to return. He is, no doubt, a half-wit. The bird speaks with the humans regularly. Must be an informant. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal cage, his safety is assured, but I can wait. It is only a matter of time.

The day of a dog. The day of a cat. One content, the other conniving. One at peace, the other at war. One grateful, the other grumpy. Same house. Same circumstances. Same master. Yet two entirely different attitudes.
Which diary reads more like yours? Were your private thoughts made public, how often would the phrase “Oh boy, my favorite” appear?
“Oh boy, sunup – my favorite.”
“Oh boy, breakfast – my favorite.”
“Oh boy, traffic jam – my favorite.”
“Oh boy, vacuuming – my favorite.”
“Oh boy, root canal – my favorite.”
Well, not even a dog would relish the root canal. But wouldn’t we like to relish more of our day? We can. Begin with God’s grace. As we accept his forgiveness, our day of gripes and groans becomes a day of gratitude.

from "Every Day Deserves a Chance" by Max Lucado

Monday, September 3, 2007


We spent most of our day at church yesterday, which is always fun. On top of the normal morning and evening services, we attended the "back to school bash" for the kids. We played some dodgeball and basketball while Frank resurrected the "Frank's Franks" restaurant and cooked hot dogs for everyone. All of the leaders were sporting the new Xtreme Student Ministry t-shirts that Tricia designed. They turned out so well that we decided Target would probably sell them. haha. We really do have all of the talent tucked away in the youth department!

I'm sure there is some kind of joke here about chuch, angels, fighting for the kingdom, etc, but it escapes me. From L2R: Elisha, Wes, Donna, Marcus, Tricia, Me and Frank.
Miss Kate and Miss Ashley.

Krissy, Cambria, Trisha, and Ashley.

Here is a fabulous picture of Brett Billings rocking the Coach handbag.

***KATE: I fully expect you to post this on your myspace page and promote it!***