Cherished Time

Can we all just say that 2020 is throwing all of us more punches each and every passing day. I honestly feel like I am living in the middle of a scary movie, not real life. Each day I wake up and have this feeling of dread about turning on the TV and watching the news. What possibly could be going on now? There are even some days that I choose not to even turn on the TV. I make this choice for my own mental health, but my families as well. Do we need to stay informed about what is going on? Absolutely!! I am not making the choice to ignore what the reality is. I, of course, want to be educated and knowledgable so that I can keep my family safe and healthy. However, I do think because of the many different things going on in the world that each of us need to also give ourselves a mental break. To not feed our minds with the negativity news and images that is in abundance right now. Constantly feeding yourself with the negativity will not be good for you. One might think that watching the news or scrolling through social media will not have a great psychological effect, but it most definitely can. I would guess, and I am not an expert nor do I have a medical degree, that after all this is over there will be an increase of numbers of people who are diagnosed and have to be treated for depression and anxiety.

Because of all the negativity in order to prevent ourselves from falling into the rut of being depressed or anxious we must turn away from the negative images and find something that will help us take our minds off of the current circumstances of the world. One thing that has helped me is to find a way to cherish each and every moment that I have with my family. The world has changed in drastic ways, and so that means my family has changed also. My husband and my kids are living in this crazy world too, not just me. They have fears, anxiety, missed opportunities, time away from friends and loved ones, changes in their activities, restraint from activities, and the list goes on. Not only that, but we all are getting another year older, getting to new phases in our lives, and adapting to new changes . In fact, I have my oldest, Taylor who will be in her last year of college, Emma will be leaving home and starting her first year in college, Elle will be starting high school as a Freshman, and Abby will begin her journey in junior high as a 7th grader. Lots of big changes for our family!! This is one of the reasons that I try to block away the negativity and take time to cherish every little moment I have with my beautiful family. In a blink of any eye it goes by.

The time together is so important to me. I want to hang on to each minute. I was so thankful that we made the decision to take our girls to the beach a few weeks ago to get a much needed break from the real world. Before I get any hate about our decision to go to the beach, I want everyone to know that we stayed in a private residence, practiced social distancing, and wore masks while we were there. We made sure our daughters were never put in harms way or that we would put ourselves in a position to pass to others. All safety measures were followed!! It was a personal decision we made as a family to spend this quality time together. Like I said in a few short weeks, our lives will look much different because of the stages my girls are entering. Not only that, we have no idea in this ever-changing world what will be thrown at us next. So, I want to take the time to remember today. To see my girls all together smiling, laughing, and making memories. I want to see them enjoy life, despite the fear that may be lingering in the air. I want to cherish the second, the minute, the hour, and the day we have right now. I don’t want to watch the news everyday and feel depressed or weighed down. I want to lift my hands up in the air and thank God for the gifts that are standing in front of me right now.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34.

Again, I am not promoting for anyone to ignore the news, or not take the events happening now seriously. I actually feel the total opposite of that. What I am saying is give yourself a pass. It is ok to do what is best for you and your family. Do not feel guilty for missing one day of news reports. Do not feel bad if you have to get away from it all, if done in a safe way. Make sure that your family has the opportunity to have a mental and emotional break from it all. I would even suggest to talk out loud about your fears. The most important message I have is do not ever let what is going on, take away your time as a family. Cherish all of it. Do not let anything steal your joy. Hold on to the precious minutes you have with your kids. I can tell you it seems like yesterday by 21 year old was just a baby. Now, she is a grown woman who dreams of her own family. Do not let these moments slip because you are scared. Take a hold of this season, even though for everyone it is a rocky one, but take a hold of it and turn it into cherished time together. When my 18 year old leaves for college in a few weeks, I certainly do not want to have any regrets that I did not find joy in my last few days with her at home. I do not want to take my time or life for granted. Every breath is a gift, every moment with my girls and husband is a gift. I may worry about the type of future that is ahead for all of us, and I am sure most of are having those thoughts right now, but I want to live in the present. Each new stage my kids enter is bittersweet. I have loved watching them change and grow but it also makes this mommy a little sad too. I will tell you that letting go is so very hard, that is why I want to cherish every second before my hands have to let go.

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2.

Hope this finds you all safe and healthy and with many blessings. May God bless each of you.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer

Strong Faith

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25.

As a Christian there are many people that I have admired and been inspired by throughout my journey. I have had the privilege of being witness to several woman who have been shining examples of not only Christians, but mothers, wives, leaders, entrepreneurs, and friends. There are strong women everywhere. Society over the course of the past several years has also began, I feel, to celebrate and empower women more than they have ever done in the past. As a mother of four daughters, it is important to me that they become strong women, and by having good examples of that it will definitely help guide them along the way.

Of all the strong women I have had the privilege to know one of the ones I admire the most is my husband’s grandmother, Billie. I remember when I was a teenager and first began to date my husband she welcomed me into the family instantly. It was like she had known me forever. I knew from the first moment I met her that there was something very special about her. There really are no words to describe what it is. Her spirit was just magnetic. You can’t help but to be drawn to her. Billie has always been one of those ladies who was always doing for others, but rarely doing for herself. I remember anytime we would call and tell her we were craving some of her delicious gravy and biscuits, she would stop what she was doing and make it for you. Once Ryan and I were married and had children she was always cooking for us, buying gifts for the girls, and volunteering to babysit. Oh, she always loved to babysit the girls, they had the best time together.

Billie has always just enjoyed life and she really doesn’t let much bring her down. She always finds a way to have joy in her heart. That joy comes from the relationship she has with God. Since I have know her, God has always been at the center of her life. Nothing ever came before that. To her, that is where all the blessings flow. Her faith has all been something I have so admired. Yes, I have faith, but hers is not easily shaken. For someone who has been through everything that she has, and still have unwavering faith, now that is something. Billie, in her lifetime, has lived through wars, depression, deaths of many loved ones ( including her husband), a stroke, the current pandemic , and many other trials. Yet, with all these, her faith has always remained strong. The stroke Billie had a few years ago left her confined to a wheelchair. She was always so active and overall healthy. I remember her always playing on the floor with my girls, singing, dancing, playing jokes on people(she loves to do that), she could do anything we could. But now she is unable to move her legs, and has weakness in her arms as well. Despite all this, she has the best attitude. She not one time has ever complained or asked why me? Her faith remains strong. Through it all, and even what is happening in the world now, she just smiles and says “Well, we are just going to pray about it.” And that is exactly what she does.

The whole Johns crew

I can tell you this I will spend the rest of my life to strive to be more like Billie. To always keep God as the center of my life, to always keep joy in my heart, to laugh and love with abundance, and to have such a strong faith that nothing will hold me down. The world would be a much better place if we could all be even half of the person she is. I pray that each and every person that reads this will develop a strong faith that never waivers no matter what storms you are facing. I am so blessed that I have someone like Billie in my life, and I pray that you do too.

God is within her she will not fall. Psalm 46:5

I pray for health and safety for all of you today and that each of you are covering with many blessings.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer

Raising Queens

It is no secret to anyone that my four daughters are the center of my world. I live and breath for them everyday. They truly are my biggest blessings. People always ask me how on earth do you do it with four girls? Well, what I am thinking is how can I not? I sure would not want life any other way. My girls bring life into our home and my heart and make me want to be a better person everyday. Now, I’m not one of those moms who thinks their kids are perfect and do no wrong. Trust me, they make mistakes and are in no way perfect, no one is. I can say, however, that each of them do their very best to let God guide their path, and in that I am so proud.

As a mother of four daughters it can be tricky navigating your approach in raising them into the women that you hope they will be. Unfortunately, the world we live in today makes these challenges even more difficult. In this day and age not only are we faced with the normal struggles in parenting with school, activities, peers, and dare I say it BOYS! But now we also have the influences of social media that play a huge role in the lives of our children today. To juggle all this and still be able to guide our children to make the right choices, have positive experiences, and seek God above all else can be challenging. Being a mom is hard work!!

Emma Miss Kentucky Teen 2019


In 2019 my family had a big year. Our second daughter, Emma, competed in her very first pageant, and won!!! She got to represent Kentucky as Miss Kentucky Teen and also in the Miss Teen USA pageant in Reno, Nevada and had a year full of experiences and blessings. She also received the honor in being named Homecoming Queen at her high school. A year of being a queen!! This year as I enjoyed watching Emma grow and learn from her experience it made me reflect on life with all my girls. What if I can make sure that all my girls experience being a queen every day? Not necessarily a queen in the literal sense (although that’s great too) but a queen in their hearts, minds, and overall life experiences. All girls know that being a queen seems so far out of reach. Most girls are plagued with so many insecurities that being a queen or even thinking like one seems like something that would never be a possibility for them. But I am here to tell you it is. I am here to tell you as a parent, we must start changing the atmosphere our girls are living in and change their world by making them feel like the queens they are.

How can we make our daughters feel like queens? Here are some things I have learned with raising my daughters:

  • Seek God always. We all belong to God. He is our helper, our healer, and guide. With God guiding your path being a queen is a easy thing to do, because with God all things are possible. We need to teach our daughters to pray, to dig into the Bible for answers, and to always listen to God’s voice
  • Make them get our of their comfort zone. My oldest daughter suffers from social anxiety, as do I, so I try to push her and myself to do things that is something we would not necessarily be comfortable doing. It may be going out to a social event, trying a new hobby, or meeting new people. Taylor is shy also but by encouraging her to get out of her comfort zone she decided to start her own you tube channel and her very own blog. Everyone should check her blog out!! Emma was out of her comfort zone when she competed in her pageant. She also told me my push was the reason her life was forever changed and she is grateful. So you never know what can happen and the confidence that they build in trying something new will help build that queen mentality.
  • Teach self-love. Like I said, in today’s society it so hard for anyone to love themself. We are bombarded with so much on how we should live, look, and act. It’s hard to look in the mirror and love ourselves. However, we need to teach our girls that they are perfect in God’s eyes. He made them exactly as they were meant to be. You are beautiful, for you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14. Teach your daughter to seek God’s approval, not people. God already thinks she is a queen.
  • Praise them. Don’t spend all your time nagging. Yes, we know that this sometimes can be hard to do, especially with teenagers. But tell them how proud you are of them. Tell them how kind they are, how beautiful they are, and how special they are. Let them have a home that they want to come home to. A place where praise is a priority and not negativity. This doesn’t mean to praise them constantly and never point out any flaws. As a parent it is our job to do both. To show both strengths and weaknesses, but this is about guiding them, helping them feel confident, and letting them know they can accomplish anything because you have their back. With positive reinforcement they will certainly feel like queens.
  • Teach them never to settle and dream big. This can include a lot of different areas of their lives including school, work, friends, relationships, etc. Whatever it may be, never settle. Never allow anyone to make them believe they don’t deserve the very best. Let them know they deserve to be loved, respected, and encouraged. They will certainly feel like a queen when they have the confidence to never settle. Encourage them to always dream big and go for whatever their hearts desire. It may be starting a blog, competing in a pageant, or learning something new. Whatever it maybe, teach them always to reach for the stars. God has big plans for them.
  • Teach them to be strong. Show them how to take up for themselves and the importance of not letting others influence their decisions. Make sure they are confident in who they are so they never back down on their beliefs and values. Make sure they know as a women, they have the power to change the world. Lastly, make sure they stand strong in their faith, and that no matter what others say that will never be shaken. Even when they may feel weak, God will be their strength. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 30:31.
  • Love them. Just love them. Show them you do everyday. They are never too big for a kiss, a hug, or a pat on the back. Never stop reaching out to show them affection. They may push you off, but do it anyway. Talk to them about their lives. Make sure you show interest in things they enjoy. Listen to them and don’t be so busy that you never have time to just talk. Show them grace and forgiveness even when they do mess up. Lastly, just make sure you show them they are truly queens, not only in your eyes, but God’s as well.

I pray that each of you enjoyed this blog, and that it encourages and helps you in the raising of your queens as well. I pray today that each of you see the blessings that are around you.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer