It was a typical crazy morning in the Johnson household. We were all running around getting dressed, eating breakfast, making lunches, etc. Emma had field day at school, so she was extremely excited and ready to leave for school earlier than normal. It was also First Friday, so there was a school Mass which I wanted to take the rest of the kids to. Dan had a meeting that morning, so he went ahead and took Emma and I continued to run around the house looking for diapers, keys, and one lost shoe.


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Yesterday, I published a post that was primarily an update on how the kids are adjusting to Faustina’s arrival. This morning, I felt inspired to share a few thoughts about how I am adjusting and trying to let go of my desires to be a perfect mother for my children. My parish is offering a mom’s book study and we are reading the book Momnipotent by Danielle Bean. The chapter that I read this morning, while sipping coffee and holding my two youngest at 5:30 a.m., was all about perfectionism.


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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!  As I sit here typing, I am still enjoying the lights from our Christmas tree, even though the branches are quite brittle and dead. Today is the first day of the new year and the last day of Christmas vacation.  Despite the short break, we did manage to have a lot of fun and even accomplished a few things around the house. It was awesome having Dan home for a straight week and a half. I loved walking into the kitchen to find him laying on the floor, with the pull-out trash can on top of him,  fixing it so that it would close again…and then he went around and tightened every knob on our kitchen cabinets.  Merry Christmas present to me…it’s the little things.  We spent a lot of time with family and friends and just enjoyed being together. 


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Potato Delivery

I was sitting on our front stoop and watching the boys quietly dig in the dirt. They each had their own holes they were working on and they were in their own little worlds. My attention then turned toward the house across the street. A sweet elderly couple lives there. The wife is not able to get around very well and spends most of her time at home. The husband is retired and spends his days loving and serving her. At this particular moment he had pulled into the driveway and he slowly got out of the car and then walked to the passenger side and picked up a bag of groceries, a Chick-fil-a bag and two drinks. He walked up to the front door and once the door was opened, I heard him say, “potato delivery” and then the door was shut. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched this little moment and reflect on the gift of marriage.

Two weekends ago, Dan and I had the opportunity to go on a retreat. Just the two of us. With no kids. Dan needed to attend for his job and since it was a retreat geared towards married couples, me joining him was kind of a must.


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Roses and Humility

So yesterday was one of my favorite days of the year and I usually build it up way in my head and expect it to be a great day. I published this post yesterday morning- and just so you don’t think that we always have it together… let me tell you about the some of the  “roses” I was sent yesterday…

The day began at 5:30. Joshua was ready to get up, he knew there was much fun trouble waiting to be made. I went and checked on Dan, he was still asleep, so J and I went back upstairs, made breakfast, I got ready, got the other two up and ready, and then took Emma to school. I wanted to go to Mass and I was excited because Emma’s class was going to be at Mass too. So the boys and I sat in the back and they did pretty good until Kolbe whispered that he had to go number 2, so the 3 of us rushed to the cry room and Kolbe went potty…but he took for-ev-er and decided it was the perfect time to tell me all about the difference between a T-rex and Spinosaurus.  I could hear the Mass going on and knew we were about to miss Communion, meanwhile Joshua decided it would be fun to bang on the bathroom wall, which I pretty sure could be heard by the rest of the congregation. We did make it out of the bathroom in time, but I am sure I was red in the face an flustered. Rose of Humility #1.

Once back at home (after I treated myself to a speciality coffee) we went and checked on Dan. He had a fever and hot flashes and was exhausted. He said he didn’t get much sleep the night before and just needed some time alone to rest and sleep. I was bummed because I had wanted to spend time with him and the boys. Bummer man, he delivers. Rose #2.

Kolbe left his chocolate milk out, which of course Joshua found and he managed to spill drops of it stretching across a huge section of the cream-colored carpet. So I then spent a good 15 minutes scrubbing that carpet and thanking St. Therese for rose number 3.

Lunch time rolled around. Dan didn’t want anything, so I just reheated some leftovers and ate with the boys. After lunch, K and J were playing and then K ran into J, which upset J and he was screaming crying and he got so worked up about it all, that he threw up his lunch all over me. #4.

After lunch, I took Joshua to run some errands and then picked up Emma from school. Once we were home, I checked on Kolbe who was happily cuddled up with a half asleep daddy, watching a cartoon. And I was a little jealous. As I turned to go upstairs, Dan yelled out “Sweetie,” I turned back around and he said as sensitively as possible, “There is a rip in your pants.” And sure enough there was a huge rip going down along the entire back pocket of one of my favorite pairs of pants. I don’t know when the rip occurred- but Publix is known for their hospitality so they probably wouldn’t have said anything anyway…Roses 5 and 6.

 I ran upstairs to change and then I heard Dan cry out “Lauren” in that panicked tone that no one ever wants to hear. I ran to the stairs and Joshua was standing at the bottom surrounded by broken glass and my injured husband had jumped from the couch and threw himself on the floor, trying to get a hold on Joshua so he wouldn’t cut himself. (And thankfully there were no injuries for the baby or the daddy) At that point I was shaken up and close to losing it. #7

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 I had planned on cooking a special dinner and then wanted to make cupcakes with the kids. But because of the day I was having, I was already worrying about the mishaps that could possibly happen and I was also just tired. So Chickfila saved the day, the kids were thrilled and so was I. I got the kids in bed a little before 8. Dan was finally feeling better, so I was excited to cuddle with him and watch a show together. By 8:30 I was sound asleep and drooling- I know this because Dan was kind enough to tell me when I woke up.  #8.

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I do have to say that the “roses” I mentioned above were coupled with sweet moments too. Like when I saw Emma walk in the church with her class and she had the biggest smile when she saw us. And once Emma was home from school, all three kids cuddled together in my bed and watched a movie together. And  Dan had roses delivered to house, in honor of the feast and also as a “thank you” for serving him since his surgery.  #9-12.

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So really, looking back on it, it was a pretty good day, considering today started with my  15 month old waking me by pouring a glass of water on my face. And then I heard Emma crying out, ironically, for water and found out that she had a 103 fever.  So here we go…just another day in the life. And I love it.

 


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The saints intercede for us all of the time and I believe that sometimes they find ways to remind us that they are with us. This is a little story about one of those heavenly blessings…

Two years ago Dan took 10 students, plus 3  chaperones, to World Youth Day in Madrid. They joined a larger group from Franciscan University and before going to Spain, they journeyed to Rome and Assisi for a 10 day pilgrimage. It was an incredible opportunity, especially for the teens. I was so excited for them and supported the trip, but I was sad and anxious (and maybe a tad bit jealous) about him being gone in Europe for 16 days.

There were many moments while Dan was away that I felt St. Thérèse was showering a few roses my way, like when I was cleaning and stumbled upon a holy card of her in the midst of some children’s books. Or  when Dan and his group got stuck in Miami over night and were taken to a parish for Mass and when they drove up, found out it was named Little Flower. And then when the dying rose bush in our front yard, that I had yet to see a rose grow on, suddenly bloomed. We had no clue that these little “Thérèse moments” were preparing us for something incredible.

After their journey through Rome and Assisi, the pilgrims made it to Madrid. One morning I woke up with a text from Dan that said something about an amazing experience and a St. Thérèse relic and that he would call soon…thanks to the auto-correct, the text didn’t make much sense and I had to wait impatiently for a phone call from Spain. A few hours later he finally called and shared his story. His group was waiting outside of one of the churches for Mass. This Church was designated for the English-speaking pilgrims and they were told it was dedicated to St. Thérèse for the week. A huge crowd was gathering, waiting to go inside the Church doors. And rumor had it that they were waiting for St. Thérèse to arrive.

Dan happened to be standing on the outskirts of the crowd and over on the side of the church, he saw a woman drive up in a white Volvo station wagon with a picture of The Little Flower on the door. He watched the woman get out of the car and walk toward the trunk. Dan quickly put the dots together and realized that the remains of St. Thérèse were inside- so not just a small relic- but her actual remains from Lisieux. Dan looked around and no one seemed to be heading in that direction to help. (I guess it is fitting that this saint of the Little Way would arrive in such a humble fashion, almost unnoticed.)  So he walked ran over to volunteer, he smiled and flexed his arm muscles. She smiled back and nodded her head, letting him know that she would appreciate his help. So Dan turned and called some of the guys from their group over and they helped to lift the casket out of the car.  Meanwhile, the Church doors opened and the people started to file in. Dan and the other men remained in the back and then they carried this little saint on their shoulders, down the aisle and placed her in front of the altar.

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By the time he finished his story, I had tears streaming down my face. The previous 11 or 12 days of him being away and me being home, taking care of the kids – our exhaustion, all of the sacrifices we both made and trials we had while apart from one another – this moment, this gift was reminder to us of God’s love for us and we felt the graces and we were given a renewed spirit.

I know this happened awhile ago, but I think about it often. I love that even though I am the one with the huge devotion to this saint, my husband was the one who had this experience. But because we are one, united in our marriage, I felt as if it happened to me- and it brought us closer together spiritually. I know he was praying for me, for us, and for our children the entire time. It can be so easy to get caught up in the things of this world, I know I do it all of the time. I worry about our country and the culture of our society. I worry about our kids growing up in this culture and the influences they will have and so on. But then I think God sends these little reminders that our life shouldn’t be about this world, but about trying to get to the next. We have to be those lights in the darkness, just like the saints and I believe that they are helping us to do that, we just can’t forget to ask. Today, I am thankful for the life of Thérèse and her yes to follow Jesus. I pray for the grace to daily say yes to Jesus, as well.

“I feel that my mission is about to begin, my mission of making others love God, as I love Him, my mission of teaching my little way to souls. If God answers my requests, my heaven will be spent on earth up until the end of the world. Yes, I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth.”

Thank you, St. Thérèse.

And happy feast day!

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