Join me at Woman to Woman Magazine and Blog!

w2wI am so excited to be joining the Woman to Woman Magazine and writing community!

You can follow this great group of women and find out more about them through their website and blog.

Sign up to receive their magazine and enjoy encouragement from women just like you.

I write for their magazine each quarter and for their blog each month.

You’ll love reading about recipes, relationships and spiritual growth.

Read this month’s “Scripture Sunday” post by clicking here.

Enjoy and thank you for being a part of this community – you’re wonderful!

Kasey

When Their Brains Turn Off

onoff2It happens more than I’d like to admit.

First my boys will do something truly stupid or completely against how we raised them (like licking the table, shooting each other with rubber bands, etc…).

Next, I will look at them and say, “I think your brain turned off for a minute – let’s think about this for a minute.”

I only use this line because if I didn’t I would say something like, “Quit that!”, “What were you thinking!?” or “Stop it now!”

{side note: asking a boy WHY he did something is like asking a dog why it peed on the rug – they don’ t know, they really don’t}

Tonight was one of those nights.

Matt took the older two boys to football and I dragged our youngest through his older brother’s Open House. It’s our first year with a middle-schooler and I was anxious to hear from all his teachers and make sure I was in the know.

I stopped by the counselor’s office and as we were talking I noticed the counselor’s eyes kept drifting past mine to look behind me. When I finally turned around I saw my 2nd grader jumping up and down on the chair sitting in her office.

I was mortified.

We don’t jump on furniture! I don’t even let them jump on their beds! What. Was. Happening!?!?!

I apologized, he got down and we went to the next class.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was embarrassed and amazed all at the same time. Where did he get the idea that jumping on the furniture of a workplace was okay?

As the science teacher walked us through his power point I started to think about why I was so bothered.

Then I figured it out…His brain turned off and even though I had stopped the behavior I wasn’t certain it wouldn’t happen again.

As we left science he asked what room we now needed (his job was to locate room numbers throughout the night).

I pulled him aside and said we were going to skip the next class. Here’s our conversation:

M: Buddy, do you remember a little while ago when you were jumping on the chair in that lady’s office?

J: Yeah (as he picks his nose and tries to wipe it on the wall behind him)

M: Do you think that was a good or bad choice?

J: (lengthy pause) Bad.

M: I’m wondering if your brain just kind of turned off for a little bit.

J: Yeah, maybe.

M: Do we jump on furniture? Especially other people’s furniture!?

J: No.

M: So, how are we gonna remind your brain not to that again?

J: I don’t know.

M: We’re gonna need to go back into her office and apologize for jumping on her furniture.

{his face reflects the sentiment, “things just got real”}

J: I really don’t want to do that.

M: I know, but when we make choices that go against what we KNOW is right, we have to apologize – it’s not easy.

J: I REALLY don’t want to do that. {tears are beginning to form}

M: Well, we’re going to do it and I’ll be with you. Let’s not make a big deal about it. Just walk in and say, “I’m sorry for jumping on your furniture” and I know she’ll say it’s okay.

As we walk to the office his fists are clenched and he’s moving from sadness to pure anger.

M: Hi Mrs. Smith, it’s just again. James had a quick thing he wanted to say to you.

J: I’m sorry I jumped on your furniture.

She was very forgiving and it was over in 30 seconds. But as we left her office the tears truly began to flow. At the end of the night I told him I was SO PROUD of him. He owned his choice and he made it right.

I asked him if he thought he’d ever jump on furniture again.

His response?

“No way mom! My brain isn’t gonna turn off about this again!”

I am fairly certain I’ll have to pull him off another piece of furniture very soon – but I’m hoping the act of apologizing will influence his desire to keep his brain turned ON, not OFF.

What are some of your kids’ “off” moments?

How do you help their brains turn back on?

Leave a comment – we want to hear from you!

Kasey

Permission Granted: 8 Truths New Moms Need To Hear

permission slip 2Congratulations! You’re a Mommy!

You’ve given birth.

You’ve experienced what it means to sacrifice everything to bring another human into the world.

You’ve probably also discovered how quickly you lose any sense of modesty and/or control of your physical body.

But when you hold that beautiful child in your arms all the pain and fear just wash away…

 

And then you are home, alone, with your baby…

 

Feedings every 2 hours, Mastitis, Colic, uterine contractions, stitches, constant bottle washing, staples, extra weight, hormones, spit up, constant laundry, pumping, the list could go – on but we’ll stop here…

Even if someone TRIES to prepare us for what is to come we don’t understand until we live it.

So here’s my point… no, my PLEA to any new mom out there…

I beg you to ignore the celebrity moms who grace magazine covers and the voice in your head whispering doubt into your spirit.

Instead, please accept the following as a gift from me and other members of our Smarter Moms community – you are not alone and you’re doing great!

Dear new Mom,

You have permission to grieve. During your pregnancy you probably made a plan and had expectations. I hope all your expectations were met and plans came to be – but in case things turned out differently it’s okay to take time to grieve the loss of your expectation. Welcome to parenthood – where expectations are sometimes crushed by reality. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just part of the gig.

You have permission to have a messy house. The laundry, dishes, vacuuming and windows don’t have feelings. They don’t care if you ignore them and PLEASE HEAR THIS – real friends won’t care either!!! Don’t be afraid to have people over – sometimes you need conversation more than cleanliness.

You have permission to cry. You’ll cry at nothing and everything and all that emotion means one thing – you’re normal and you have a soul. The tears won’t flow forever so don’t see them as a weakness, see them as a release.

You have permission to ask for help. Enjoy the fact that people want to help you. Let them bring meals, do laundry and run errands for you – you aren’t superwoman so stop acting like nothing happened and you can do everything like you used to. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!!!!

You have permission to hate your body. It’s amazing to see parts of our body grow, change and flop in ways it NEVER has before. Some of us bounce back quickly – if that’s you, I’m very happy for you. For the rest of us it’s sometimes a year before we can wear regular jeans again. You can hate the way your body looks, but you gotta love what it’s capable of doing. You created a human being and that matters more than the size of your jeans. Soon you’ll have the energy and drive to reclaim your physique. For now, stay away from the chocolate and Twinkies and get some rest!

You have permission to tell your mother, mother-in-law and other well-meaning family members to go away. Their intentions are good but their follow through can sometimes be lacking. Sometimes they have more suggestions than solutions and their desire to support us begins to feel like they are suffocating us. Be kind, but be firm. They will understand – even if it takes a little time. Do what is best for you and your baby – trust yourself.

You have permission to call “cold cereal” dinner. When it comes to feeding others and yourself you want to keep things healthy and routine, but there are days when the exhaustion, sleep deprivation and physical strain are too much. On those days you don’t have to justify the pizza, cereal or frozen lasagna on the table (I’m not a new mommy and this STILL happens in our house – just keeping it real)

You have permission to mess up. While trying to trim my newborn’s nails I actually cut the skin on the tip of his finger. I felt awful! How could I hurt my baby!? Once I laid my newborn on the sofa and I didn’t place him far enough back – and he fell onto the floor! I don’t think I’ve ever admitted that to anyone, not even my husband – but ya know what? He’s fine. He’s a healthy, handsome sixth grader. Make mistakes, laugh at yourself, learn from them and MOVE ON! Don’t live with guilt or fear, they drain you emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally. Guilt and fear don’t deserve to have the best parts of you – save those for your baby.

Having a baby doesn’t mean you will have the answers.

It does mean you have the chance to learn from your yesterdays, enjoy your today and look forward to your tomorrow.

And if anyone questions you or tries to make you feel guilty – just show them your permission slip – or as I like to call it, your baby.

Children are more important than our reputations or other people’s expectations…take care of yourself and you’ll be able to care for others.

One day, one hour, one task at a time. It’s better that way.

You are loved!

Kasey

 

Jumping Off Point

mom essentialsThe last 2 weeks have been amazing.

If anyone remembers what it feels like to  share a personal story in front of their peers (flashback to High School creative writing class) – you know it can be a very nerve-wracking, confidence-crushing experience.

Thankfully this blog tour has been just the opposite.

I’ve been surprised, encouraged and most importantly – reminded that this entire thing – every word, concept and challenge – has been God’s idea from start to finish.

While writing this study I spent many days sitting in front of my computer with tears streaming down my face as God spoke to ME through the words I was typing.

It’s an amazing experience to be put together, shaped up and equipped by God – it’s a humbling one as well.

I’m continually going through this cycle and my prayer is that a mom, stepmom, or grandma will complete this study and smile as she sees God’s hand at work in her life.

This blog tour has allowed me to meet some amazing women and the best part is hearing how the study impacted their life and what they found useful.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the last 2 weeks – I hope you’ll take time to read the posts from these moms – they are great women!

Jessie Jo followed the essential of honesty when she shared,

“Sometimes you just need simple terms to get the big picture. This book was wonderful at doing that for me.

I totally understood the things Kasey was trying to tell us, even the verses. I felt so connected. “

When I read Dana’s challenge to moms I had to smile. She wrote,

“For you tired, you poor, you huddles masses of overwhelmed Momsies out there – take an afternoon, make a cup of tea, put your feet UP,

maybe even allow a little toddler tv, and just read this book.  It will be a balm for your soul.” – LOVE IT!

Jeanni is a blogging, homeschooling mom who knows her stuff. She wrote about reading portions of the book out loud to her husband – scripture is something we can share with EVERYONE! After she reviewed the book she wrote:

“Please do not wait to pick up a copy of Mom Essentials by Kasey Johnson. I truly believe that God will use this book to bring you into a closer relationship

with Him and allow you to understand in a deeper way, your role as a mother.”

Yolanda asked me to write a guest post and I enjoyed having time to explain more about why God led me to write the study. She also shared how the study directly effected her:

“It has opened my eyes to the importance of an “active prayer life” but also to finding joy and peace in my parenting while studying the scripture.”

 Jennifer is a gluten-free cooking wife and busy mom to three. She included pictures from the book and I loved her honesty. After completing the study she wrote:

“The thought of doing a Mommy Bible study was right up my alley. What I didn’t realize was how powerful, the study actually was.

It was love at first read! I felt like Kasey was personally talking to me! She understood my feelings of putting my kids and family first while neglecting what I need/want out of life.

She understood my fear of not being needed as my children grow. She took all of these fears and concerns that I have about Motherhood and provide lessons, scripture and worksheets to help me work through them. She was inspirational, genuine and knowledgeable.

If you are struggling with your journey through Motherhood or searching for a tool to help transform you into the best mother you can be, I highly suggest this book!

Its worth reading over and over again.”

Jessica and Kristy have a wonderful ministry through their site, Grace for Moms. They were so excited about the study they offered their readers an opportunity to complete the study with them through an online study group. If you’re interested in joining, please let them know! While you’re on their site you can read the 5 questions they asked me and my 5 answers – I love these ladies and their honesty. They know how to keep things simple and useful – they even gave some books away! So fun!!

Jill Savage is well known to many of you. Her amazing group, Hearts at Home, encourages and empowers moms across the country. If I’ve talked to your group about the  concept of “Must Versus the Might” you’ll love reading my guest post on Jill’s site. I appreciated Jill’s encouragement when she wrote:

“If you’re looking for a renewed connection with who you are as a woman and a child of God, Mom Essentials may be just perfect for you!”

 Christie lives in Orlando, loves fashion, crafts and her family. here’s her take on how the study impacted her:

“After going through this book, I not only felt like my life is validated, but also enhanced.

I’m motivated, rooted and blessed with a new outlook on the life God has given me.”

 Amy is a woman who shares my love of running and humor. Her blog is honest and challenging and I really appreciated her taking time to read the study and write:

“I highly recommend this book to any mom in need of some direction of how to balance out the “essentials” and the “extras”!

 It really reminded me that if I just take a little time daily with God to focus on me – my strengths and my “limitations” – then my family will be all the better for it.”

So….here we are. It’s the jumping off point. We’ve prepared, planned and explored this study and now it’s time for action.

Will you “jump in” with me?

Would you pray about what your next step is for your neighbors, friends, church or work?

Maybe God is calling you to gather some women of all ages together to help them find encouragement and community. You don’t have to have all the answers, but you can be the one to show others where to find the answers – through scripture.

I can’t wait to hear stories of how you utilized this study and what God did through your group.

Don’t forget about the free introduction and closing videos (scroll down on the linked page and you’ll see them listed), leader’s guide and Facebook page. All these resources are here to support you and your friends as you go through the study.

Thank you for being on this journey with me.

A HUGE thank you to all the bloggers and mommies who took time to be a part of this tour. You’ve warmed my heart and ministered to my spirit.

Let’s jump in a do this thing!

Kasey

Extra Ordinary

HAH-Blog-Hop-graphic (3)-1I love watching news stories where the reporter says something like, “Just an ordinary citizen, doing extraordinary things”.

It brings hope that someone like me, an ordinary mom, can do something extraordinary.

But what IS extraordinary?

Is it saving someone’s life? Donating money to a charity? Inventing a product that changes the world?

If extraordinary means doing something huge or heroic I think I’d like to stick with my nice, ordinary life.

In fact, I think I’d like to have a little EXTRA bit of ordinary in my day – ya know why?

Because if things are ordinary that means everyone is healthy, our needs are met and my life has a balance and purpose to it.

Ordinary suits me just fine. Not because I’m boring or because I don’t WANT to be extraordinary – quite the opposite!

I think extraordinary things happen when ordinary is okay:

1. When I accept my ordinary calling to work inside or outside our home = extraordinary peace

2. When I take time to plan the ordinary parts of my day so I can feel efficient and effective = extraordinary contentment

3. When I accept my ordinary child for who they are and not who I hope they’ll be = extraordinary relationships

4. When I am able to gather ordinary people around the dinner table, without technology, and connect with each other = extraordinary joy

5. When I stay disciplined and reach an ordinary goal I had for myself (physically, spiritually, financially) = extraordinary strength

When I think about ordinary I think about the disciples. You don’t get much more ordinary than a bunch of fishermen and tax collectors – and yet Jesus chose them to be His closest companions and partners in ministry.

God is using me, just like the disciples, to be fishers of men (or pre-teens, babies, toddlers, young adults) and I need to trust that even the ordinary moments can become extraordinary when He is orchestrating the moment. My job is to obey and trust – during the ordinary and extraordinary moments. God’s power is ALWAYS extraordinary, even during the mundane, ordinary parts of my day. When we tap into that power, you and I are changing the world one diaper, carpool and lunch at a time – we can be extraordinary even during the ordinary tasks in our day.

Keep going, ordinary citizen – YOU are doing ordinary, extraordinary things!

Kasey

 

Blog Tour Update

Here we are – the middle of the blog tour and I have to say, it’s been quite an experience.

I wasn’t sure how blog tours really worked and when my publisher suggested we do this to help promote Mom Essentials I thought it sounded like a great idea!

Then I found out some of the bloggers would be reading the book and posting their honest review of it – YIKES!

After working on this study for over 3 years I have become incredibly connected with the content and the vision God placed on my heart to have this study reach mothers of all ages across the United States. To think someone might not like what is written in the pages is a reality I constantly surrender to God – knowing I was obedient in what was asked of me and I can’t fret over how it’s used or who likes it.

However, thanks to this blog tour I’ve been able to read some honest feedback that reminds me – this is GOD’S PROJECT – not mine and He is moving and working through this project – praise the Lord!!!

Anyone who has participated in the tour, ordered the book, written a review on Amazon or Goodreads, given the study a rating, decided to use it as your curriculum for your mom’s group or just helped spread the word…

YOU ARE AMAZING!!!

You encourage my heart.

You bring me joy.

You are VITAL to God’s plan for our families and our communities.

In case you missed any of the great stories, reviews or connections from our tour – the links are below. These are some great moms with awesome perspectives. The tour continues tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook to stay connected – love you all!

Kasey

Kathi Lipp   (Podcast with Kathi too!)

AlexandraKuykendall

Channel Mom

Jessie Jo

Momsie Blog

Double Digits

kid with binocularsWhat is it about the double digits that seems so daunting? When our oldest turned 10 it felt like he was turning 20!

A decade had passed and I could see such growth and remember so many precious moments – I had to wonder what the next 10 years will be like.

Then I REALLY started to think about it and well…that wasn’t a good idea.

Ya see, in the next 10 years (we’re already 2 years into that season) my son will go to middle school and high school. He’ll graduate, hopefully go to college and that means he’ll leave our home {gulp}

This morning I took my boy to the church to leave for camp. He’ll be gone until Friday and this is the first time I’ve been away from him for this long.

I know he’s going to have a blast but it’s just not the same around the house and it’s only been 1 day!

Our kids are constantly growing and changing – that’s part of life.

But I wonder how many of us are truly ready for the next transition while still being able to enjoy the one we’re in – that’s a tough balance to keep!

Along with our children’s transitions, we too are growing and changing and that’s important. Sometimes I feel like I’m supposed to have all the answers or be a more “relaxed” parent because I have a kid in double digits – but that’s just not possible.

Today will bring as many “firsts” and “new” issues as I encountered the day I brought him home from the hospital.

When I look forward I find hope in the knowledge that God is already there. He’s preparing my son and ME to accept what is coming.

You see, I can be aware of our future but I need to resist the temptation to worry about it.

I need to put all my energy into TODAY. What my kids need right now, in THIS season.

I’m aware of the future because as I’m teaching them and caring for them I’ll keep in the back of my mind that everything I’m doing and saying is working toward their next transition and mine. Today will impact our future relationship, their choices and my hopes and dreams for them. But still, I don’t have to worry – even if I mess up. I can be certain that God is bigger than my flaws or mistakes.

Joshua 1:9… Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

God is with your children, God is with you. You are not alone and you can be strong and courageous no matter what transition or unknown you are facing!

Hang in there Momma – you’re doing great!

Kasey


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My man. On the road again #nofilter #Beauty Difference between moms and dads #backtoschoolnight #pottyhumor #boyswillbeboys I mean seriously. #socute #Amelia #beinganauntrocks #birthdaygirl These two. #soprecious #Buddy #Pumpkin 6th, 5th and 2nd grades - first year for public school for everyone. They were so excited to wear their own clothes and not uniforms! :) (I think Ty was still waking up) 😜 Soooo this is happening. I'm excited to see how God uses him and how he grows but I'm sad too. #MiddleSchool #CanIPleaseStopTime Best road trip EVER!!! Why? Because tomorrow morning I get to see my boys! It's been a long week and I can't wait to wrap them in my arms and see their sweet faces!! #gauranteedtears #hopingicansleep #soexcited

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