Tuesday, September 28, 2010

About the Time...

...I begin to lose perspective, one of my pillow pets comes runnin', "Mama, picture!"

Don't Ya Love it...(updated)

...when your son says, "You going to town today?"

"Wasn't planning on it. Why???"

"We have an 'opening ceremonies' competition tomorrow...and I need black pants, black shoes and a white shirt."

...of course, son. Right after I jump in my time machine AND water the money tree...

****Whew, I knew I wasn't the only mom dealing with this! Just so ya' know, I do get the less-than-24-hour-notice too. This call occurred on my way to town...

"Mom, do you have your checkbook...cuz you need to stop by the school NOW and pay for my FFA jacket. Oh, and I will also need a black belt and black socks to wear tomorrow for the competition...since you're going to town."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bring it on!

I'm taking this week in segments of one half day at a time. We're getting as much done ahead of time as possible because it's going to be a l.o.n.g. one!
It was a beautiful evening for pitching practice with Dad...
...and being stuck in the house completing a geography project due next Friday.
I'd say it turned out pretty good!
I'm not thinking about what's between now and this time next week. No, I'm not. Tomorrow is an orthodontist visit, Festival preps, work and Kolton's JV game; Tuesday is school meeting and softball game; Wednesday is long day of work and youth; Thursday is Kandle making; Friday is picking up a truckload of mums, setting up at Festival and football game; Saturday and Sunday are Festival days where we will sell every single mum and Kandle we have. But I'm not thinking about this right now...

Football and Fundraisers

Friday night lights! Go #25!
Putting together another fundraiser for our fall festival booth ~ hairbows!
Last night we celebrated Mid Autumn Festival with other adoptive families! I LOVE these gatherings. I have an adorable picture of 3 little princesses sitting in a chair loving on the kitty, but since I didn't ask their mamas' permission, I won't post it. Trust me, it's cute! And THANK YOU gals for purchasing Kandles!

Speaking of fundraisers, my friend Jodi is selling these awesome tees to bring her 2 boys home from Ethiopia. Go check 'em out! I got mine Friday and love it!
*it's my blog; I can cut my head off if I want to* :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

*Note to Self*

When my 3-year-old complains all day that her tummy hurts, even though she seems fine, I would be wise to take a change of clothes to the football game...and another vehicle.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stellar Week

It's been a busy one...but it's just gonna get busier.
Kooper skyped with his friend M from his province who is now home!!!
Today we are making the initial preparations for our very first Fall Festival next weekend! My helpers and I drug out all the supplies and made 66 candles.
First batch
It's so hard to keep good help :) Acting like they're done!
Tomorrow Kooper will march with the band in the NWOSU parade (he's a little excited!)
I'm afraid as busy as this homecoming week was, next week will be even more crowded. More softball, more football, orthodontics consult, pick up our mums and set up for Oktoberfest!

The Very Thing

"You were looking for some big thing to give up, while God is telling you of some tiny thing that must go. But behind that tiny thing lies the stronghold of obstinacy, and you say, 'I will not give up my right to myself' - the very thing that God intends you to give up if you are to be a disciple of Jesus Christ."
Oswald Chambers

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

See You at the Pole!

This mama and 7 kids will load up at 6:45 this morning and head to the school for the annual See You at the Pole. Since Daddy drives the school bus he doesn't get to join us, but this is our 7th SYATP, and we wouldn't miss it! Each year it becomes a little more challenging, but it's totally worth the effort (even if today is school picture day too).

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chr 7:14


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

From Me to You...

Here come your Kandles!
I've held off shipping for fear the heat would affect the wax, but the Kandles that have been delivered have arrived safely ~ PTL! ~ so here they come!
Good thing I've got more supplies coming tomorrow cuz the Kandles are going like krazy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Drama from the Mama

This is one of those things I'm not even sure I should share. Really. In the last 10 months that Kooper and Kinley have been home I have grown incredibly close to other mamas of adopted teens. I treasure their prayers, their opinions, their testimony...and their availability! I can't even count the number of times I've texted or emailed the need for urgent prayer, and there is always a response! Just so ya' know, gals, I'm SO grateful!

This weekend was no exception. I HATE Saturdays! Seriously! When we are out of routine, we are khaos! And to top it off, the man of the house is usually gone on Saturday so I'm suddenly the sole referee, feeder, reader, wiper, washer, dryer... yeah, that's me, queen of khaos kontrol! Sometimes I get so overwhelmed and caught up in the moment I lose perspective, like this weekend.

A little recap ~ Kooper has come a l.o.n.g. way since October 18 when we first met! And things keep changing for him. He is generally rolling with the punches, although he likes to know what's ahead. School is going fantastic! He is in mainstream classes with modification; preparing for an assessment and working on the IEP. He loves being in school. I'm sure it's because of the work and not about the socializing! His language is developing. Shoot, he's even learning Spanish...but that's a whole other post. Once he picks up a catch phrase he uses it ad nauseum. In the early days of school he said, "What's up, man" to everybody, all the time. With him, it's all or nothin' so the mom and dad laid down the law and said, "No more 'What's up, man,' period." What did he do? He learned it in Spanish so we wouldn't know what he was saying. (He has no clue how I know everything:) Now if he does or says something inappropriate at school, he's quick to 'confess' to me when he gets home before I can bring it up - lol! He's a smart cookie and keeps me on my toes.

On the bonding side of things, he's really opened up! He shares his feelings, what's on his mind, and whether his heart is 'good' or 'sad.' We had a rather candid conversation Saturday morning that left me downright brokenhearted a little sad. I know he still doesn't understand everything he's feeling or everything we talk about, and he can be very direct (it's a cultural thang!). But I admit in my weakness his remarks left me in a funk. Then to top it off, he asked if he could call his ayi in China. He doesn't ask very often, and when he does we oblige. Once again, I said yes...but my heart was saying no!

After all, he's been with us almost as long as he was with his ayi! And when he talks with her, he seems so...happy. He seems so lighthearted. He seems like the silly kid I remember. I know their conversations aren't deep. He shares them with us, and they are very much about what interests him at this moment...like playing in the band, anticipating playing basketball, how hard his homework is, what he currently likes to eat... And after he hung up, he hugged me and said his heart feels better now.

And I realized I was jealous! Seriously! How embarrassing is that?!? And in my quest for perspective, God wrapped His arms around me. He gave me Psalm 37. He gave me vision. And he reminded me that Kooper is always talking to us about band, always talking about school, always pretending he hates the bazillion spelling words we go over every night, always talking about what he likes to eat...but we are constantly asking him to talk a little lower and a little slower.

Heavens, I don't want to squelch his bubbly spirit! In my attempt to teach him acceptable social skills, I am often missing what's really going on! He's communicating. He's expressing himself. He's reconnecting with his feelings that have been cast aside for nearly 14 years. He's finally becoming confident. He's finally learning to like himself. He's realizing that he is valuable! I am so ashamed that my fears have gotten in the way. God, in His infinite wisdom and perfect timing, granted me a huge blessing yesterday! Kooper came to me and said, "Mom, I'm sorry. I think when I talk to ayi your heart is sad. I'm sorry. I love you, Mom."

Thank you, Lord, for perspective! No more drama from the Mama!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Care Package No. 1

We decided it was finally time to send Little Miss a care package. So in celebration of the Autumn Moon Festival this week, we've ordered moon cakes for the swi staff through our favorite Ladybugs n' Love. Who knows, maybe we'll get some pictures in return!!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

She Has a Family!!!

News that makes my heart sing! Remember my post about XCY needing a family NOW! Well, her family has found her and has committed the next 7 weeks to frantically getting paperwork together to bring her home! God moves mountains on behalf of the orphan!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Show Hope...

Look at this a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e. family! Lori and Kelly are paper chasing for their teen son! No secret, adoption is expensive. Check out her site ~ you can help them bring their boy home AND get some cool tees!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I know our Canon fundraiser is a long way from being over, but I am so overwhelmed by your generosity that I have to stop and say THANK YOU to those who are linking to us, those who are giving, those who have ordered and continue to order Kandles, for the Scentsy fundraiser, Forever Family Designs and the outpour of support! We knew this journey was a giant leap of faith...and we trust in the One who is faithful always! He has used YOU to touch our hearts!

Some have asked how our last fundraiser ended up. I have to tell you we were blown away! Remember last Wednesday, September 8th was the call to pray and fast on behalf of the orphan. We prayed and fasted that God would raise up families for those without one; we prayed He would move in the hearts of judges; that He would move roadblocks in paperwork and policies; and we prayed for provision.

September 8th was also the last day of our fundraiser, and in a 24 hour period He brought in $1,000! Our final tally was $1,430!!!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010


That is the word preceding "MATCHED" on an agency file of a waiting child. If you haven't taken a peek, please check out Lifeline's list of beautiful waiting children. 7 of them are on HOLD!!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Urgent ~ Seeking Forever Family!

This beautiful girl, XCY, has only until November 5th for her Forever Family to find her! On that day she will turn 14 and no longer have the chance for a family. If you or someone you know is paper ready, dossier in China, or if you are willing to trust God for a miracle, please consider this precious healthy girl!
If you would like more information, please contact Dick and Cheryl Graham at iaap2000@gmail.com

Need a Change ~ Make a Difference!

It's compliments of Mandi!

My sweet friend, Mandi, has turned her creative skills into a business, all in an effort to fund adoptions! Matt and Mandi are parents to six beautiful children, three born biologically and three born in their hearts.

Mandi is truly a voice for those without one, and one way she is helping adoptive families is to raise funds through her blog makeover business. 100% of the proceeds go directly to families in the process of adoption, including ours!

Please check out her beautiful blog makeover site - consider making a change that will make a difference!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Scentsy ~ A Fundraiser!

Do you know about Scentsy? This amazingly generous gal contacted me a few days ago and offered to host a Scentsy fundraiser for our adoption! If you don't know anything about the beautiful products, please check it out. And if you already know, please consider ordering from our 'party.'

All you need to do is follow the link below, THEN under the "My Open Parties" tab, scroll to Johnson Adoption Fundraiser. In order for us to receive credit, you must order under our fundraiser.
Follow this link to Becky's Scentsy Site! Thank you, Becky, for blessing us!

Kambry, Take II...and Football

Same position, different day! With bright lights, music blaring and 65 teenagers during 5th Quarter, Kambry's just gotta have a rest!
Kolton suited up for the first time since his broken finger! Go 25!
And there's my band member!
Life's good!

Friday, September 10, 2010

School ...and a Recipe!

Yes, she's sleeping...standing up!
Three weeks of all-day Pre-K for a gal who does NOT take advantage of her Kinder Mat (oh, give me that mat!), has taken its toll. After emptying the trash can to find some good reading material she's had it!

That's kinda the way I feel after 2 hours of science and geography homework with my precious teen who doesn't understand a lick of what we're doing. I'm learning more than I even knew I forgot!

And now for the recipe. This is not mine ~ I got it from my friend Brandon, and it's so easy and yummy I have to share it!

Chicken & Rice
1 lb cooked, cubed chicken
1 cup rice, uncooked
1 package Lipton Onion Soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup water
Mix all ingredients and place in a greased 9x13 pan. Cover and bake at 350 for 1.5 hours or until rice is done, removing foil the last few minutes for browning.
*I doubled this, and it needed a little more water. But we ate it all - gulp! It was delicious!!! Thanks, Brandon!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Canon Rebel T1i Fundraiser/Giveaway!

Look at this bad boy!

I'd love to have one, but I'd love even more for you to win it!

It's a Canon EOS Rebel T1i 15.1 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera, and it's our next item for giveaway.

The ChipIn is in our sidebar and here's how it works:
The Drawing will be held November 1.
For each $25 contribution, you get 1 entry
For each $50 contribution, you get 3 entries.
With a contribution, for each blog post, link on FB, or sharing our button on your blog, you get an additional entry. *please leave a comment to let me know you did this*

I hesitated to have another fundraiser/giveaway on the heels of the last one...but we have a darling little girl who needs to come home, and we've committed to working as hard as we have to in order to raise every penny needed.
God is faithful to provide!

Ready to Ship!

If you've ordered one of these...
...it will ship tomorrow!
If you haven't ordered, but would like to, check out the sidebar, or email me.
Off to make more candles...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Ya'll are just going to have to wait a second because I want to give each of you a HUGE personal THANK YOU! We have been blown away by your generosity. Many of you are adoptive parents, some recently returned home, some in the process, some with a longing to adopt, some with a heart for the orphan, all with a heart for giving...and you are all WINNERS!
Now for the drawing...
The Netbook goes to:
The $100 gift certificate to My Red Thread goes to:
The boy's backpack from My Red Thread goes to:
The Show Hope tee donated by my friend Lori goes to:
Please contact me so I can get your prizes to you!!! You have blessed us beyond imagination!

Today is the Day...

...to fast and pray for the 147 million orphans worldwide.
Pray for families committed to adopting.
Pray that our hearts would be broken for the things that break His, and that we would obey His commands, even if it means a radical lifestyle.
Pray for God to remove obstacles, whether financial, bureaucratic, or paperwork.


...for the Netbook drawing!
As long as the ChipIn is still open, you can enter.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tomorrow is the Day!!!

If you haven't had a chance to enter the drawing for the HP Netbook, you've got till tomorrow! It's as easy as clicking on the Chip-In on the sidebar. There are also other cool prizes ~ a Show Hope tee, a $100 gift certificate and bag from My Red Thread.
$25 - 1 entry
$50 - 3 entries
Add our button to your blog or FB - 1 entry
Post about the giveaway on your blog or FB - 1 entry
(leave a comment if you're linking or posting so I know to enter you!)
All funds are to help bring Kasidi Joy home!
Hope YOU win!

Monday, September 6, 2010

"Special Focus" Children!

We are thrilled that CC*A is allowing agencies to highlight waiting children again!

There are so many children on the shared list it can be overwhelming, but with the new "Special Focus" program, many more of these precious kiddos will get the attention they deserve, which will hopefully lead to the families they deserve!

Here are just a few of the precious children Lifeline is highlighting. Lifeline is currently accepting applications from prospective adoptive parents, and they only get to highlight these kiddos for three months, so please contact them if you are even considering adoption.

Jubilant Natalie!
Beautiful Maria!
Adorable Brady!
Please email Amy ~ Amy.Dummier@Lifelineadoption.org

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Krazy Love ~ Kasidi Joy Come Home!

This post includes excerpts from my recent Memorial Box Monday post. Please check out my friend Linny's Crazy Love post, a call to action to fast and pray for the orphan! Many of us who step out in faith to adopt face roadblocks in our journey. Why? Because the enemy hates the family! Please, let's put on our armor and wage the war together!

It seems crazy that in the midst of our 10-month transition and striving for a new ‘normal’ that God would draw us back to China. Several months ago I sensed Him burdening me for those left behind and began asking Him what our role would be. Were we to walk alongside adoptive families; were we to advocate for waiting children; were we to fundraise for medical needs of orphans…? There was no clear answer except, “Seek me.” Jeremiah 29:13 ~ You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

The answer came in August when God removed our fears and asked us to follow Him once again. But adoption costs money, lots of it. The last year has definitely left us without a ‘rainy day fund’ or ‘safety net.’

We are reminded that our lives are not our own, that we are here for His purposes. While we have never had the funds set aside to adopt, this time is different because we know we have to fundraise every single dollar. We've asked the Lord to give us creative ways to raise the near $30,000 it takes to bring a child home from China. We stand on His promise to never leave nor forsake us, and we are plowing forward, prepared to work hard to do our part, all the while knowing He is faithful!

We would be honored if you would pray with and for us, as well as the 147 million orphans worldwide who are in need of a family. We cannot let the enemy win this battle. We have committed to pray and fast on September 8th. Will you please join us?

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Prov 19:21

Only Three More Days!!!

Our HP Netbook Giveaway ends this Wednesday! You still have time to enter the drawing for this awesome computer, as well as the other cool prizes!

Thank you to all who have donated, linked to us on your blog, FB and posted about the giveaway.

To read about the details of the giveaway, please click here. God is faithful to provide what we need to bring Little Miss home, and we thank you for being a part of it!
(**If you read this post when I originally posted, I had the wrong dates - sorry, looking at October - lol!)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

It's Fair Week - and The Home Study Experience

What a whirlwind first 2 weeks of school, with county and local fair, the start of Friday night lights, and other stuff!
Kolton and Blaze, ready for the parade.
Sorry it's blurry, but that's Kooper with the cymbals! How cool is that?!? He LOVES band!!!!
Kolton and Boomer.
The audience (Kayden, Kambry, Kinley & Kaeleb)
Kuyler drove his VW and Kooper worked the crowd.
Kolton's Freshman class float.
Kenzie on the Spirit float.
Kolton and Blaze bringing up the end of the parade.
All of my kids were at the parade today!

I can only wish the next few weeks would slow down, but there's really no hope in that.
The youth staff has our first 5th Quarter next Friday night; hopefully an awesome adoption fundraiser on Saturday; two kids getting braces soon...
Kolton's finger is healing, and he will start playing football again this week.

On the adoption front, we had our home visit yesterday since the kids were out of school for the fair. Our SW was scheduled to arrive at lunch time. I have no idea whether it's appropriate to invite your SW to eat lunch with you, but I DID! What a stupid brave thing to do - invite our SW to the trough table!

The good news is after 3.5 hours in our home, she is still willing to complete our home study... even though somebody told her to go home, somebody came out of the bathroom half nekkid needing assistance, somebody climbed the back of her chair and said 'boo', somebody shared their food with her, Daddy asked somebody if he needed to cut their toe off when they stubbed it, and somebody spilled a gallon of Sunny D after carrying a stool to the fridge and helping themselves during the three minutes we walked to the hallway. I'm sure my responses were all appropriate :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wo Ai Ni, Mommy ~ My Heart on It

So you know up front where I stand on this documentary, I applaud the Sodowsky family (and others like them) who have allowed a camera to capture some of the most difficult moments of their lives.

As the film began, I could sense the anticipation of a family bringing their child home. There was paperwork to be done, last-minute errands to run, arrangements to be made as they prepared to bring home their 8-year-old daughter from China, who, until now, had only been real in their hearts and on paper. No doubt, everybody’s life was about to change.

As Donna Sodowsky and her father waited nervously in the Civil Affairs office, her daughter Faith arrived, silent, stoic and obviously frightened. A Chinese woman, possibly Faith’s nanny or an orphanage representative, began to talk to Faith about her Mommy, her new name, her home in America and the rest of her family waiting for her.

And because 10 months ago, I was just like that mommy, meeting my teen son, I think I know exactly what Donna was feeling. I know the questions running through her mind, the concern for her daughter, the lack of confidence in herself as a parent.

Before the family ever left the Civil Affairs office we begin to see Faith open up, even smile, and we breathe a sigh of relief that everything just might be okay after all. The rest of the film reveals some of the transition, including both frustration and blossoming. It's hard to capture months of transition in a 90-minute documentary, so we are left to fill in the gaps. As the parent of an adopted teen, I can imagine the process, and it is left to the filmmaker to determine what would be most beneficial to show.

The day after the film aired, I read a few opinions from adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents and adult adoptees. I stopped reading when I saw a pattern of criticism from people who have clearly never adopted an older child. Why is it easier to parent someone else’s child? Probably the same reason it’s easier to judge others from our limited perspective. And sometimes our criticism of others is the only way we know how to deal with our own hurts and misgivings.

There is criticism of the family ‘trying to Americanize’ the child so quickly. I’ve really been pondering what is meant by this statement. It seems many were outraged that Donna ‘brought out the flash cards’ in an attempt to teach Faith English while they were still in China.

I can only speak from my experience, and I have no criticism of this at all. Because when we see Faith roll over on the bed in frustration from trying to learn new words, we forget that this is only a segment of their long days in China. They have shared meals together, watched cartoons, gone shopping, maybe gone swimming, played games, colored together, and now they are learning together. Why? It’s about communication, which is about relationship!

This mom is not trying to ‘Americanize’ her child; she’s trying to communicate with her! She desperately wants to connect. When we adopt children who are much younger and completely dependent upon us, we begin to bond through touch, carrying the child, feeding the child, bathing the child, and talking to the child. We are building a relationship. When the child is less dependent and speaks a different language, we must take a different approach. If we intended to stay in China with our child, we would learn Chinese. Why? So we could communicate and relate. But the truth is, we are coming home to America, and as much as we adapt to our child, the child must adapt to his or her new environment as well. Is it hard? Of course! As parents, it is our job to make that transition as smooth and painless as possible for everyone.

We are often parenting children who have never known love or nurture before. They often think they know what is best; they grieve; they tantrum; they regress; they self soothe; they fight back. And we must teach them how to be loved and to love.

I don’t know any parent who claims to be perfect. In fact, most of the parents I know are sinners saved by grace. We struggle with our human nature every day. We think we know what is best; we tantrum; we regress; we fight back…

Among the criticism I read that the adoption process is ‘evil and horrendous.’ So my question is what are we to do? Sit on our hands and do nothing? Are we to believe that children orphaned in another country are better off left in a temporary care facility for the sake of remaining in their birth country, rather than having their world turned upside down in the process called adoption? It is true that orphans are victimized and marginalized…before they are adopted.

If it weren’t for the process of adoption, five of my children would still be in China. Three of them would likely be victimized again as young women, sold into prostitution and slavery. One of them would have already aged out of the orphanage and would be left to fend for himself, with little education or life experience to stand on. I can’t bear the thought!

I’m sorry that some are so unhappy with their lives that they must criticize others. I would like to introduce you to the Redeemer. He is the One who turns ashes into beauty. He is the One who takes the messes we make, like the orphan crisis, and redeems it. He even uses imperfect vessels in the process. Just as He has redeemed my selfish, wretched life, He longs to redeem others.

Orphans are the victims. Adoptive parents are not the perpetrators! I want to encourage adoptive parents to move forward with the courage of Christ and the confidence of the Spirit! And for those willing to let the cameras roll during your transition, my hat’s off to you for exposing yourselves to the public. Your motive is not selfish. You are trying to educate, and in the process we see an amazing transformation. Hopefully, much like the transformation Christ is making in our lives every day as we learn to communicate and relate to Him.



Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thankful Thursday!

It is Thursday... right?
It's crazy here, but crazy is good...normal, even.
Today I'm especially thankful for~
Jesus, my Lord and Savior
My husband, who loves Jesus
My children, who bless me every day
Friends who love my children
Friends who traveled a long way to visit us last Sunday (and brought a delicious lunch!)
Friends we will visit in a few weeks
Friends who work with me, keeping the business going (Karisa and Martha, you rock!)
Friends who have our back all the time!
Church family
Your amazing response to our candles (seriously blown away here!)
Our home study visit originally scheduled for the third week in September, moved to t.o.m.o.r.r.o.w.!!!
And so much more ...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I've got the supplies, I've got the motivation, and I'm ready for the orders!

K & Kompany Kandles are back!

Our Kandles are 10 oz, long-burning, beautifully labeled and wrapped, perfect for gift giving or for your own enjoyment. They are $13 + shipping. You can see a picture and place your order in the right sidebar. Or feel free to email me with questions or for ordering (cjohnson@pldi.net).

We are starting with the following four scents:

Joy ~ Buttercream Crunch (Sweet fragrance, like fresh-baked cookies)
Peace ~ Cinnamon Bun (Aromatic Cinnamon)
Kindness ~ Sage & Citrus (Very fragrant, more masculine)
Faithfulness ~ Pumpkin Pie Spice (Spicy fragrance, holiday baking scent)

It will take at least 5 days for me to make and ship your candles, but once the holidays start, I will be able to ship immediately!
Thank you for blessing us!!!

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