I had no idea that I was saying, "I do" to my caregiver. My Bob has done everything to care for me and for our home.

We don't know what tomorrow brings, but we do know Who brings tomorrow. There is no way that we personally can get through it; it is only through Christ that we can. I think my biggest passion today, when I get on a platform to speak, is Philippians 1:21, "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." Those women will not leave the auditorium without hearing the plan of salvation and how to reach heaven.

Q: Looking back, are there things that you would do differently when raising your family?

A: I look back now and say, "Dear Jesus, I am so sorry," because I would do it differently. I would have sat on my knees and prayed and not on my knees cleaning the floor when I thought that floor was so important. It is not as important as our relationship with God. Bob and I don't even have that floor anymore that I had to scrub and leave so shining. If I could go back, I would spend more quality time with the children, playing games or just rolling around on the floor. It's not that I didn't, it is just that I look back now, and I see the importance of that time with the Lord and the children.

Q: Emilie, is there anything else you would like to share to encourage parents in their relationship with the Lord and how to be strengthened in this season of raising kids?

A: Yes, there is one thing that I often share when I speak. One day, my husband came home from work and he said to me, "Emilie, you love those children more than you love me." That just pierced my heart. I had to go before the Lord to see what my priorities were. I got to thinking, "Emilie, you were a wife to your husband before you were a mother to your children," and that turned me around. As I look back now, our children have made lives of their own, and I thank God that Bob and I developed our relationship as we were going along. Now that we are empty-nesters, we have each other. Even during my time of illness, my husband was so thoughtful. Let me give you an example. I decided I wanted a prayer closet, a real prayer closet. We had a walk-in closet with room for a chair in it. I said to Bob, "Oh, I would love to have a prayer chair that I could put in the closet." One day we were out having lunch. I went to the bathroom, and sitting in the bathroom was the perfect chair. I went out and called Bob, "You've got to come in here and see this chair." Well, weeks went by and one day, about two days before my birthday, I walked into my closet, and there was my prayer chair. It is a slipper chair, made in the 1800s. Bob had made a birthday card for me, and this is what it said: "To my wonderful wife. Happy Birthday!" Remember, this is in the middle of my cancer. I had a bald head twice, I was either over the toilet or sleeping, and he often had to hand feed me. And, I thought, "I am a wonderful wife?" But, that is what makes that priority time as spouses so important.

So, God is our first priority. Our husband or wife, if we have one, is our second priority, then our children and then our home. Now, we haven't even gone to work yet. You see; it takes that much time. But, people will see the results of that in your family. They will.

Emilie Barnes is a nationally recognized home-and-office organization expert, author, speaker, and homemaker. She is also an active participant of the More Hours In My Day time-management seminars she founded with her husband, Bob. A gifted communicator, Emilie has been speaking throughout the United States and Canada for more than 20 years, teaching women creative ways to get organized and simplify their lives. Her seminars show women how to cut cleaning and cooking time in half, save money on grocery bills, set up and stick to a budget, entertain without hassles, and seek God through daily study of His Word. www.HarvestHousePublishers.com is a good place to discover Emilie's books. Emilie and Bob Barnes live in Newport Beach, Calif. They have two grown children who have blessed them with five grandchildren.

Diane Wheeler is the senior staff writer for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. She lives with her husband, five children and assorted animals in lovely Placerville, Calif. Diane enjoys reading mystery stories, drinking strong coffee, and gardening with her family. Contact her at Diane@TOSMag.com.

Copyright, 2003. Used with permission. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com