I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.

5 Sep

the kids are alright …

One of the primary reasons God sent His Son to earth was to bring tender salve and relief to those whose hearts were broken.
~ Beth Moore

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted,
and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed.
Psalm 34:18 {NCV}

As I watched the girls take off on their scooters last week, I couldn’t help but smile at how resilient and {God} protected they’ve been.

It goes without saying they’ve been through some difficult circumstances over the last few years. And I’m not sure why, but I’m amazed time and again at how joyful their little spirits have remained through it all.

We’ve had some new changes in our lives recently, and as I watched them go, I marveled at how they seem to take it all in stride.

Truly, it can only be explained by the tender salve and relief {brought by our God} to those whose hearts were broken.

Thank you Lord.

As they crossed the street and disappeared into the park across the street, I went inside the house to finish up some chores. I was busy upstairs when Wynter came flying into the house shouting, “THE ICE CREAM TRUCK!! Can we have some money for ice cream?!”

I came flying down the stairs shouting, “GRAB MY PURSE!!”

We found some money and off she went running with me high-tailing it close behind her.

I LOVED the ice cream truck as a kid! In fact it’s probably one of my favorite memories! I used to get the ice cream that had a bubble gum at the bottom … kind of a two-fer-one deal!


I stood watching my born & raised country-mice experience the ice cream truck for the very first time. My heart full. Moments earlier I was smiling in wonder at their resilience. And as I watched them make their decisions carefully, I thanked the Lord once again.

It’s in these small memorable moments they’re wrapped in His tender salve and relief. And I’m thankful.

Posted in family thoughts, girls, life

5 Mar

one door closes, another opens …

“Faith never knows where it is being led,
but it loves and knows the One Who is leading.”
~ Oswald Chambers

I know I shouldn’t be … but sometimes I can’t help but be in total awe of the way God works in my life!

There was something in our lives the girls and I were looking so forward to. I can’t share all the details at this point … but trust me when I say this “something” filled us with joy and filled a void we’d been feeling for while now.

We’d made some changes in our lives over the last few months relying on this “something” to come to fruition. Our whole everything was wrapped up and counting on it.

And then God decided to shut the door on our “something.”

We were devastated. Truly.

I heard God telling me He had something better in store for us, but in my despair and selfishness, I pushed His promises aside. In fact, I selfishly argued that we’d been through enough and deserved something positive to happen in our lives.

Arrogance much?

Fortunately, I’ve learned not to drag out my arguments with God and within a day had dried my tears, turned my heart around, and decided to trust Him. After all, trusting Him is a choice we’ve been given.

Faith is a choice.

I don’t always know what His plans are, but I can choose to always trust.

And wouldn’t you know? The very next day — the day after I stopped pouting and started trusting, just two days after our devastating news — God opened the door to a much better “something” for us. Something we’d never of seen or been aware of had He not closed that first door.

Once the girls and I were absolutely settled on knowing this second “door” was the best option for us …

Wouldn’t you know? That first door opened up again.

Even though that original door has opened to us, we know in our hearts the second option is better and what’s best for us. And we never would’ve seen it had God not redirected our paths.

Some may say it’s “coincidence.” And sure, it all could be, I’ll give you that. But I prefer to believe God is leading and directing my coincidences in this life.

Have you ever had a door shut only to realize God had something much better in store?

Posted in faith, life

13 Feb

working on her bio …

Wynter had a book report to finish up, but needed to include her autobiography. As she sat at the table wondering what she should write about herself, I couldn’t help but notice she looked EXACTLY how I feel when I’m writing. The hands, the eyes, the furrowed brow … most importantly you’ll note the “no-fingers-on-the-keyboard-action!”

I gotta admit, tears came when I read what she {finally} did write.

Wynter Johnson is a sister to five. She loves playing with her family. She also likes to cook. She loves to walk her dogs down the road. She also likes to play with her dogs. She is 9 years old. Her birthday is November 3, 2003. She was raised in Wisconsin, but moved to North Carolina. In Wisconsin she left a very important friend. Her name was Audrey and Wynter is never going to forget her.

I can’t help but wonder at what point in her writing I captured this photo. Was she thinking about her family? Missing her dogs? Remembering our move? Or reminiscing about a very important relationship in her life?

Posted in life, wynter

29 Aug

i decided to turn my twit around

It’s been a little quiet around here lately, huh? I’ve been busy getting the kids off to a new year of school and clearing the wreckage summer left behind. I’ve also been working on a little writing project I can’t wait to share with you. Lastly, I’ve been carrying a bit of emotional baggage.

My life for the last year and a half or so, has me doing all I can, with all I have in me, to keep my head above water. When even the slightest bit of heavy sneaks its way into our lives, it pulls me under. And that’s where I’m at. Sputtering to keep my head above water.

I wish I didn’t feel so deeply. I wish I didn’t care so much. I wish I could close the door and walk away. But God didn’t create me that way. I’ll tell ya what though … I’m so thankful to be in the middle of the 31 days of faith online study … as much as I’m journaling and encouraging you every day, believe-you-me I’m letting each word and truth sink deep into my own heart.

Anyway. I’ve been struggling with this emotional mess and in the process have been just a wee bit short-tempered, impatient, and preoccupied. And, ahem, please don’t ask my children for a definition of “wee bit.”

Last night I was at my computer when the girls came bounding in … all loud-like and full of energy … you know, like kids do. I had just clicked over to this post and quickly read mid-post, “Distracted by one wrong thing, I was missing out seeing many right things.”

As Hunter hit the iPod play button, Wynter broke out in a crazytown dance, and Piper stood by observing it all … my annoyance and impatience gave way to smiles as I too, decided to turn my twit around.

With my twit in check, it was a better day. And truly … we have so much to be thankful for. So much to give praise for. Those are the things we need to stay focused on. His mercies are new each morning … it’s our choice to take hold of them or not.

How ’bout you? Could your twit use a little redirecting today? Wanna make a deal? Next time we feel our twit out of whack, let’s stop what we’re feeling and say to ourselves, “turn my twit around.” Maybe on repeat. I had to do it a few times today and ended up making myself smile. Seriously … how can you not smile by saying, “twit.”

One last piece of wisdom from Lysa:

The Devil loves to make us focus on the little that’s
wrong so we miss the big picture of all that’s right.

Posted in encouragement, life, parenting

27 Jun

an abandoned checker board

WARNING:  Long, rambling post to follow.

Nothing like an abandoned checker board to grab my attention, put my emotions in check, and quiet my spirit.

My life is nothing short of crazy. Truly. I really should don a red helmet and carry a hose on my back because it seems all I do is move from fire to fire.

Humor me as a share a sampling and then circle back to my thoughts?

Monday night I was on my way to a painting class/party at a friend’s house. I was pretty excited and looking forward to it. I had my Texas caviar and watermelon margaritas all ready to go!

First hitch, Taylor … my sitter for the night, was late. And. I couldn’t reach her anywhere. For over thirty minutes. Morbid thoughts started assailing me when I finally got a text from her.

With 20 minutes to spare, she finally made it home and packed up the girls to take them to dinner. The girls had friends over and Taylor had a friend, which made 7 in total so they needed to take my car. Which was fine because it gave me the opportunity to hop in my never-used sports car, and I couldn’t wait to drive with the top down and wind in my hair!

I pile everything into my car, watch Taylor back out the drive, and turn on my car raring to go. I push the button to take the roof down and nothing happens. Well … actually … I did get a “click.” But I didn’t get any roof-coming-down action. So I tried it again. “Click.” And again. “Click.”

And then. Liquid started pouring through the roof of the car onto the console. Not dripping. But pouring. A green, greasy-like fluid. It started pooling in the interior light fixtures and continued to pour onto the console.

For some reason Taylor pulled back into the drive. Now what was the reason again? Thinking … thinking … oh yeah! Money. Humpf.

But good thing, cuz I needed the keys to her car.

While she was getting me the keys, and I was getting a bucket in place to catch the unwanted, green, greasy-like matter pouring into my car … a boy comes into the driveway on his bike. Selling raffle tickets.

And since I’ve got my wallet out handing cash over to the teen, I figured I’d get a raffle ticket too.

It’s currently 6:55 and the party starts at 7:00.

As I’m filling out my raffle tickets, the boy’s dad pulls in on his bicycle. He sees our Wisconsin plates, tells me he’s from Chicago, and proceeds to tell me his life story.

They leave and I’m finally on my way.

Let’s see. Then there’s yesterday morning. Well … first, let’s quickly back up a month to some extremely extensive and painful dental work that left me with a temporary crown. Given mine and the dentist’s travel schedule, it was about four weeks out ’til I could get the permanent crown put in place. That probably would’ve been just fine. But let’s say hypothetically a milk dud might’ve pulled it out about three weeks too early. And the derned thing kept coming off, leaving me in quite a bit o’ pain!

I was thankful to finally have the permanent one put on. Yesterday morning.

When he took the temporary one off and left my nerves exposed to the air and cool squirting water that seemed so important to get in there, I just about jumped outta my chair! It seemed fruitless to get a novocaine shot for 10 minutes of work {I really do hate those shots}, so instead I sat there in excruciating, yes excruciating pain as he fiddled and futzed and made it just right.

There may have been a tear or two, or five hundred.

Meanwhile, I get a call from home. And a voicemail.

During a break {dentist, not me}, with cotton in my mouth, and tears on my cheeks, I listen to the voicemail. It’s from Wynter and it goes like this:

“Hi mom. It’s Wynter. I threw up and have throw up in my hair and I’m wondering if I should take a shower. That’s all. I love you. Bye.”

And a few more tears may have fallen {me, not Wynter}.

Anyway. Torture dentist done and I’m on my way home.

And the Invisible Fence {dog training} guy calls and says he’s on his way to the house for training {dog, not me}. “Okay, I’m on my way there and will see you soon,” I say.

And then a call from the plumber. He’ll also be at the house shortly. See, the day before a water meter guy rings the bell and explains to me that I’m using some 77 thousand gallons of water in the last few weeks, and my meter is running out of control which indicates there’s a leak in the house somewhere.

I get home and am literally bombarded as I walk in the door. Oh! and did I mention, there’s already a guy in the basement wallpapering a bathroom that had previously been torn apart due to mold in the walls?

And that I needed to get Taylor out the door to a doctor’s appointment for a pretty banged up arm {go-carting accident}?

Anyway. The crazy continued and I could go on, but after 800 words, I’m thinking you get the gist.

In the middle of all the above, I found myself standing at the kitchen table where an abandoned checker board sat. It was all set up and ready to play. Sadly, I recalled the prior evening.

In the middle of preparing Texas caviar and margaritas, Hunter asked if I’d play checkers with her. I told her I would and to set it up on the table so I could play between my prep. She took her turn and told me it was mine. I said I’d be there in a minute so she asked if she should play my turn. I told her that was a good idea.

And that’s all I remembered. And now it sat there. Abandoned.

I was up to my eyeballs in the crazy of the morning, but felt a peace overcome me as I knew what I needed to do. I found Hunter and asked if she wanted to finish that checker game.

I may be getting misty as I’m recalling the sheer delight on her face as she excitedly answered, “yes!” and ran off to find the game.

I don’t know. No big epiphany, metaphor, or analogy from me today. Just a message to say that sometimes in the middle of crazy, all it takes is a simple reminder of what’s really important in life. The crazy’ll always be there. My prayer is that my eyes are always open to what matters most.

Posted in encouragement, family thoughts, life, parenting