It’s been a whirlwind 18 days with my two (and a half) favorite boys, visiting four different cities and sleeping in six different beds. We squeezed a lot of necks and missed out on hugging even more. Traveling with a toddler is so different. Our time is much more limited and intentional and it definitely had it’s exhausting moments. But also the most special ones. . We’re catching a flight home to our tiny island in a few hours and we would appreciate your prayers for a smooth and sleepy flight for our little guy. The flight here was a red-eye and pretty awful with little sleep and a whole lot of inconsolable screaming. I told Josh when we landed that I’d miss him when he went back home because I was not getting on another plane with a toddler anytime soon. But here we are, driving around Bend after one last lunch at @jacksonscornerbend, hoping to squeeze out a quick car nap before embarking on the long journey home (the bulk of it taking place during bedtime). 😳🙏🏽 . Aloha, Oregon. You have been so sweet to us, but it’s time to sleep in our own beds and get some sand between our toes again. 🤙🏾
We sat there, tucked away in a back booth with some dear friends last night, the table littered with charcuterie and flatbread and half-full glasses still ringing from a spontaneous cheers-toast. A friend’s son had walked in and joined us, nearly finished with his second year of college and well on his way toward a dream of law school to practice immigration law. His mom is also a boy mom, so I asked her honest: What’s your one piece of advice for raising two boys? . She answered quickly and confidently, as if it was the daily reminder she whispered to herself every morning. The kind that realigns your spirit and leashes your natural do-it-my-way kind of unspoken leadership. . “Let them be themselves,” she said. “Don’t push them into one particular sport because you love it or his brother played it well. Find what they love and cultivate that.” . And then she dropped the golden teaching-nugget that can only come from a seasoned mother: “Let them shine their light. Don’t try to shine it for them. Because our light is often different than theirs.” . As she said the words, I imagined beams of different temperatures and intensities and shapes dancing and moving and ever-evolving, and the impossibility of harnessing that kind of light. “Raggi de solé,” as another girlfriend’s Italian father called them. They are the kind that linger after your life is over. The kind that kiss the generations after you and provide their own kind of starting-shine. . It’s one of those nuggets that I will put into the boys’ journals when we get home - turning to a random future page and praying it’s the one that I will need to re-read it the most. To remind myself to let them shine their own light. And resist the urge to hold and harness their light for them.
Dear #miraclebabyjohnson, From the moment those two lines revealed the secret presence of your newly-woven life, I had to make sure you knew: I wanted you just as deeply and desperately as I did your brother. I felt a sort of anxiety to get it written out in words, over and over that all of those years of begging God? They were for you too. . But then came the ultrasound that showed us a little bit more about you. And the moment I knew you were a boy, it was like a tucked-away puzzle piece suddenly appeared and slipped right into a hole that I didn’t know was there. And when it did, that anxiety subsided. I feel a quiet confidence about you - like God is picking up the “quiet” and “confident” threads and as He weaves that part of your sweet little spirit together, they pull on my own. . I pray that as you grow, you will learn to walk in that quiet confidence, with your head held high and your soul grounded in the one simple fact that God has a very specific calling on your life. That we waited 12 years for you for a reason. . I don’t plan on telling you that often. I want you to grow and live and laugh and be free and not feel the pressure of living up to a name or a calling or a gut-feeling your Mom had about you when you were only five-months-woven. But just know... I know it. And I’m quietly praying it over you. . It’s funny, in a way, knowing that part of you before we even know your name. Now we just need to decide if we stick with the “J” theme or break the mold with you. Something tells me you will be a mold-breaker anyway. But we’ll just have to wait and see about that. #miraclebabyjohnsontake2 #22weeks
There’s something so special about face-time. And I don’t mean video chatting with long-distance friends and family. I mean good, old-fashioned, waking up on the couch with bed head and coffee and debriefing on everything that’s happened since the last moment I squeezed your neck, regardless of whether or not I’ve already heard the story on social media. Because usually, those are the moments that the harder, not-made-for-social-media stories come out. The tough, nitty gritty kind that are like sand stuck in your teeth, still requiring verbal processing and an I’m-sorry-I-didn’t-call, it’s-still-fresh kind of conversation. . It’s truly a sharpening - dragging your life and words across the presence of a friend and leaving a little bit sharper. A little bit stronger. And little bit more capable of cutting through the thick of things. Solomon knew what he was talking about in Proverbs 27:17 when he talked about friendship and the need for like to sharpen like. But here’s the thing: iron-sharpening doesn’t work virtually. It has to be physically done. In-person. Edge-to-edge and face-to-face through a series of conversations that leave you walking away with a brightened countenance. The kind of interactions that literally change your face. . It’s the feeling I always have after a weekend away with girlfriends. And this weekend, six of us gathered around one extra-special friend to celebrate a 40th-birthday milestone. She’s the kind of friend with history. Like when I sat with her in the hospital after she went into labor at 30 weeks and then snuggled her preemie miracle-babe on Sunday mornings so she could go to church with her family without fear of her still-fragile babe getting sick. Or when she welcomed us home after a month away when Shawna died with groceries on the counter and gossip magazines on my nightstand because she knew I wouldn’t be leaving my bed for awhile. And this weekend, we tucked ourselves away on the Oregon coast to celebrate her. . And I’m leaving feeling sharpened and brightened and understanding that Proverbs-verse just a little bit better.
We’ve been on the mainland for almost a week now, celebrating family and big birthday milestones (like my Dad’s 70th!) We’ve explored museums and walked all around every corner of the zoo and threw schedules out the window to eat late dinners outside chasing that golden Oregon light. . Josh and I were best friends for two years when everything changed for us on a whim of a road trip in that old Mazda Navajo that he affectionately called Blue Steel. We left for that trip as inseparable friends and returned something different. His car had been broken into just before that trip with the radio stolen, and six hours of concentrated in-the-car conversations can have that kind of “hey, I really kind of like this guy” effect. This morning, we left our little guy at home with his grandparents (I might have cried when we got in the car) and are headed north for the day, retracing that fateful driving route we took almost 16 years ago to take in a baseball game with my brunette best. Back then, we spent a chunk of the drive there with me listing off all of our friends that he should date and why they would be so good together. This time? I’m so glad he chose me. #raisingjordy
I wasn’t really prepared for the number of questions that came my way when I jumped on the “ask me a question” train yesterday morning in my stories. It’s funny how YOU know your story and all of its twists and turns and nuances and sort of assume that everyone else does too. And when I say I wasn’t prepared, I mean that I didn’t expect the renewed feeling of a running-over cup as I picked through and recounted and thoughtfully answered as honestly as I could. . Thank you for indulging me. For being brave and reaching out and asking the questions to further your own waiting-strength. Thank you for cheering us along and being part of our story. As I paused to think in the midst of one of my answers, I rested my hand on my belly the way that a pregnant woman does in that subconscious and loving and protecting-without-even-realizing it kind of way, and I felt this tiny second miracle kick from the outside for the first time. And it felt right ... recounting our journey while growing him. I’m pretty sure he was giving me a high-five from the inside in that “hey, Mom, thanks for waiting for me” kind of way. . Also, I’m really, really excited to be a boy mom. . My story is stuffed full of Q&A today (with many questions still unanswered - so sorry if i didn’t get to yours!) and they are all saved as a highlight for future reference. And if you missed this go-round, I’m sure I’ll do another one in the near future. (I had too much fun this time not to!)
This morning’s Dear Monday devotional went out and it is rooted in a quiet time of the most kind of divine interruption. Reciprocity is a theme I’ve noticed in my morning quiet times for well over a year now. You know, the idea of a reciprocal give-and-take. I’ve noticed that God doesn’t ask us to do anything that He doesn’t first do for us. And this morning’s Monday devotional was my realization that He is my portion - that I knew. But when I saw a Deuteronomy verse that says the LORD’s portion is His people? That’s about the time He started singing over me with an unexpected love song. . “More than anything else,” I wrote, “more than what we believe, or the promises we learn to trust, or the bravery we muster up - we have got to first believe that He loves us. But, even further than that, He loves ME. This is not just a one-sided crush. This is a rich and mutual love story. . And when your heart fails, feels a little hollow, and begins to forget His love as you linger longer in the in-between, you have to do a little bit of self-discipleship. And sing yourself a version of that Song-of-Solomon song: I am God's portion and He is mine. Yes, Jesus loves me. . Because sometimes, in the thick of it? The most simple starting points are the ones we tend to forget. . Swipe to see another peek at this morning’s once-a-week devotional (and, BONUS, read the entire email in my stories!) . Want to get in on the Monday morning devotional action? Tap the link in my profile and sign up to start at the very beginning of the series, waiting in your email for you every single Monday morning. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a better way to start my week than heart-deep in His Word!
Last week, our little family gathered into a darkened room to catch a glimpse of the newest tiny miracle being woven into our worlds. This little babe was burrowed in tight and stuck like glue and settled in comfortably, and God hid His holy weaving-hands for a moment to let us peek at that tiny, perfectly forming face. . I just shared the story of miracle babe #2 on my blog, and the time that I asked God to “do it again”. Use the link in my profile to go read it and find out if this tiny babe is a BOY or a GIRL!! #miraclebabyjohnsontake2
✨GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED✨ . Congrats @Brigitte.desko!! Winner, winner chicken dinner! 🙌🏾 There is so much to be said for having girlfriends. But not just any kind of girlfriends. The kind that form a sort of sisterhood and lean in when life gets rough and celebrate the milestones and speak truth over you, cultivating your calling. It was such a gift to be a part of the @abound_co conferences for five years in a row because out of it came a cherished circle of girlfriends that we’ve affectionately titled the #brunettesisterhood. And to celebrate it, I’ve teamed up with them for a super fun GIVEAWAY!! We are going to pick one lucky winner to receive a $200 gift card to Amazon (so you can buy all their amazing books now - and mine in October - with a whole lot left over for the best kind of frivolous spending!) All you have to do to enter is follow these steps! . 01// LIKE THIS POST! (This will be your entry) . 02// TAP THIS PHOTO+ CLICK ON THE PERSON TAGGED . 03// FOLLOW THAT PERSON + LIKE THEIR GIVEAWAY PHOTO . 04// CONTINUE THE TAP+ FOLLOW+ LIKE STEPS UNTIL YOU LOOP BACK AROUND TO ME! That’s it - you’re all entered! . 05// Make sure you are following ALL 4 of us to win! We will confirm! . 06// BONUS: You’ll get an EXTRA entry by tagging 3 girlfriends in your own sisterhood in the comments below! . Giveaway ends Monday, July 16th, Winner announced on Tuesday July 17th. . PS: this contest is in no way sponsored or endorsed or associated with Instagram Inc. . 📸: @simplyheavenphotography back in January and our little babe has already changed so much! 😍😭
These last four months have been a whirlwind. I determined to be just as intentional in documenting every single moment with this second babe as I was with Jordan but with him I had all the time in the world to daydream about him and sit still and lingering in the afterglow of God’s ten-year-long miracle. I was about this far along with him before I even received that sovereignly-sent email out-of-the-blue from @harvesthousepublishers about writing a book about our story together. And it wasn’t until three months after he was born that I even started writing it. I have a lot of big things vying for my attention these days, with that tiny little hand-holder running around in his fancy flag shoes every moment he’s awake, and book-launch-planning taking up my attention in the daytime moments he’s not. But then there are the moments when I step outside of it all. And look at it from the outside of this life-glass. And remember the “do it again” whispers for one more miracle. And marvel that I wrote a BOOK. And I’m releasing two babes into this world in just a handful of months - one for you and one for me. . Those are the stolen-words kind of worship moments. When the glory of it all is so much bigger than I ever could have dreamed. . We snuck out a couple of weeks ago for a belly photo to find a dead battery on my digital camera, so we blew the dust off my medium format camera just as the sun disappeared, and ripped open some rolls of film (one of which was black and white). And for a moment, this busy and surreal life that I have found myself in stood still. And those are the kind of standing-still moments that will mean everything for the rest of my always-moving ones. #miraclebabyjohnsontake2
When you open up the very first chapter of my book, these are the photos you will see staring back at you! (Hello, book design teaser! 😍) love what you see?? I opened up the application to join my book launch team this morning to my newsletter subscribers and would be so honored if you applied! . A lot of work goes into successfully launching a trade book, and I can humbly say: I cannot do this alone. So I am looking for a Gideon-team of hand-picked women who are desperately committed to helping people fall in love with Jesus through the written word. Does that sound like you? I would love to consider you to be part of my team! Tap the link in my profile to read all about it! . We find out the gender of baby #2 this week, and I cannot wait to finally know! We’ll see if you guys are right - over a thousand people chimed in on my social media poll and nearly 75% of you think it’s a girl! I change my mind daily, but I also think that’s because I was convinced Jordan was a girl (and was clearly wrong), so I’m having trouble trusting my gut! . Once we know, I’ll finally be sharing the full story behind how we found out about our tiny miracle babe 2.0, and revealing the gender that will complete our family all at the same time! (Wow, those are some crazy words to say! 😍) I hope you all had a wonderful start to the week! Xo #janewritesabook #mercylikemorning #fromjanesblog
Born in the USA 🇺🇸✌🏾 #starsandstripesforever