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!