What’s YOUR Ding?

Today my vlog over at Keeping it Personal is a reflection about Steve Jobs and a quote from him about putting a “ding” in the universe, go here to check it out.

Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me. - Steve Jobs


{Photo 267/365}  Today was his first day on the job at the coin shop.  He could not wait to get there.  He and Brent have been going to coin shows for the past couple of years.  Zach’s been collecting them and now, he’s taking it to the next level.  He’s turning this little passion of his into something more.  He’s committed to learning, being groomed.  He left the house with his inventory to sell and came home excited to tell me all about the day, what he learned, and the plan to go back to work.  So proud of this little “business man.” so proud.

Our Gifts

{Photo 264/365}  I tell him we all have our own unique special gifts.  Just because others are good at or excel in certain areas, subjects at school, doesn’t mean that we will OR have to.  His least favorite class is art.  Drawing isn’t something he feels very good at.  For his book report in literature class, he has to draw the story in pictures.  He’s doing his best and I’m proud of him.  ”What we are is God’s gift to us.  What we become is our gift to God.”  - Eleanor Powell

Watching You

{Photo 200/365}  He plays hockey all year, its his sport.  This summer he’s attending an intense hockey training camp each day, it’s really kicking his butt — getting him into shape — he’s enjoying it.  While taping his stick today and getting ready, he talked about how he’s trying to be as good and as fast as his dad is at taping sticks.  He said, “The more I practice, the better I get.  Someday, I will be just like my dad.”  As I drove him to the rink, I reflected upon what their little eyes see.  They are always watching us (me) in every way.  One of their favorites songs is, Watching You, by Rodney Atkins. “…I’ve been watching you, dad ain’t that cool?  I’m your buckaroo, I want to be like you and eat all my food, and grow as tall as you are”  It’s so important that I set a good example, lead them, guide them, teach them, prepare them.  Father, lead me, so I can lead them.  Let me never forget they are watching. Amen.

His Mountain

{Photo 196/365}  This is his mountain.  Not technically, you know.  This is just where he enjoys recharging, clearing his mind; unwinding.  It’s a happy place for us.  It’s beautiful here.  But as long as we can spend time together, I am happy anywhere.  He’s so special…I am thrilled we were able to make this work; for him mainly.  He’s working, networking, connecting with friends.  But most importantly, he’s looking at this.  “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way.” - Dr. Seuss

Grandpa Bob

{Photo 144/365}  What a treat to have him here.  He’s living with us now for the “non-snow-bird” months.  When it gets cold here, he will head south again.  The boys love having him around.  Tonight he and Zach watched American Idol and just chilled one the couch.  They weren’t too thrilled with me taking the picture as you can tell, really?  I’m so grateful that the boys have close grandparents in their lives; something I didn’t have as a child.  ”A child needs a grandparent, anybody’s grandparent, to grow a little more securely into an unfamiliar world.”  ~Charles and Ann Morse

Reason. Season. Lifetime.

{Photo 118/365}  She left them both a note.  She was gone when they got home from school today – we miss her already.  God hand picked her to be a part of our life; for a reason – a very specific one, I can see that now.  We had no idea the season would be so short; truly – way too short.  Today was her last day – a priceless gift in our lives, a blessing taken away.  But, our friend now for a lifetime gained.  I am grateful for her, the impact she made in my life, her positive attitude – her encouragement – her smile – her willingness to work hard – her loving heart…she just fit into our family so well.  The influence she had on my nuggets, she was like a grandma to them – they absolutely adored her.  So, I’m asking God, “Ok, now what?  What is your plan?  Where do we go from here?”  I’m typing this through tears – I cannot grasp where these deep emotions are coming from.  My heart longs for simple.  I think she helped me find simple in my complicated world. reason. season. lifetime.


Stories are Gifts, Share

This morning I was having coffee with my husband at Starbucks.  We were sitting outside talking about our day when I noticed the words on the Starbucks door.  They might be on every Starbucks door or window across the world, I don’t know – I hadn’t noticed them before;  Stories are Gifts – Share.

I LOVE watching good movies that share heartfelt stories.  I LOVE reading good books, both fiction and non-fiction, that tell stories.  I enjoy telling stories to my kids and hearing stories about people in my life.  There is nothing better to me than getting to know and understand people better through their stories.

A special friend of mine has an amazing gift of sharing her life and relating to others through analogy stories.  I always look forward to talking with her and listening as she shares her insight and wisdom through great stories.

As we embark upon our 1 year anniversary of our terijohnson.com blog and our Daily KIPs, I’ve been reflecting.  These words, Stories are Gifts – Share, speak to me.  Over the past 12 months, I’ve had the privilege to hear AND read a lot of personal stories.  Many of these have encouraged me.  Many have brought me to tears.  Many have changed me.  Many have inspired me.

It brings me joy to share MY story with the hope to encourage or inspire others…….or simply plant a seed in someone’s life.  Stories ARE a gift and I am grateful that I’ve been on the receiving end while others were willing to share.  Priceless!


Today’s Daily KIP REALLY got my mind racing about areas in my life where I rationalize.  One way that I would describe rationalizing is excuses I make to justify WHY I’m making a decision or WHY I’ve done something that I had ALREADY decided and spoken that I was NOT going to do.

Let me share the most current situation that I’m struggling with……..VIDEO GAMES, yep – I’ve RATIONALIZED and I’m not happy about it.

When my boys were a few years younger, just starting to get into video game playing, the games they enjoyed were educational, some were rated E for everyone and a few were rated eC for early childhood.  I felt these games were ‘safe’ for their impressionable little minds.  Games such as Mario Brothers, Dora the Explorer, NHL, NBA, NFL, and NASCAR speed racing, just to name a few, checked out OK with me.

I, personally, do NOT enjoy playing video games.  I believe it is a waste of time.  I don’t understand how most of the games work or how to operate the controllers.  The bottom line IS, I’m just NOT into video games.  As a child we had an ATARI where I attempted to play games like asteroids, frogger, donkey kong, pong, and pac-man.  When the first Nintendo game came out, I DID get pretty good at Mario Bros. but that was the extent of my video game playing career.  I have NO desire to pick it back up and master it by any means.

Because of my ignorance and extreme lack of interest I took the ‘lazy’ route and decided to base my video game buying, for the boys, on what the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) suggested.  That was simple, NOT very smart, but simple.  Here’s what I decided…….the boys could play E rated games until they reached 10, then they could play 10+ rated games until they became teenagers.  At that time they could play T games.  Then lastly, IF they were STILL into video games, by the time they were 18, they would be considered ‘mature adults’ able to make their own decisions and play the games they wanted to.  That was my VERY naive decision, but I was going with it……………so I thought.

I remember the FIRST game that made its way into our home that was T rated, Tony Hawk.  This is where the rationalization started.  Honestly I don’t even know how it got into our home, it just appeared!  A birthday gift? or something?  My point is, I read the cover, my boys were getting bored with their current games, it was JUST skateboarding – RIGHT?  With some blood – YUK!  Come to find out, my boys ALREADY knew how to play the game!!!  HOW?  Because they played it other people’s homes.  OH MY!

The door had opened to my U10 boys playing T games.  The new obstacle for me now was saying NO to the MANY other requests to play other T games.  Our conversation at Target in the video game isle would go like this:

Zachary:  “Mom, can I get this game?”

Me (with a smile):  “UM NO, that is rated T, please pick one that is rated E.”

Zachary:  “Mom, all the E games are soooo boring, I have the ones that I like, can I PLEASE get this one? PLEASE, pretty PLEASE?  It’s no big deal mom, I’ve played it before, it’s FUN!  Plus you’ve already let me play Tony Hawk and THAT is rated T!”

Me (not smiling):  “NO.  AND really?  You’ve played this one before too?”

Zachary:  ”This is so cheap!!  I never get what I want – It’s MY birthday money, I should be able to get the game I want!”

Me (frustrated):  “Let’s go, we are leaving!  No game!”

This ONLY lasted a few times until I ultimately RATIONALIZED and gave in.  I would read the covers, consult with the “teen-aged” workers to get THEIR advice on whether THEY felt the game was appropriate for MY child and eventually I was purchasing T games.  OUCH!

Here’s the kicker, it didn’t stop there – YES, I eventually broke down after NUMEROUS conversations like the one above and have NOW purchased 2 M rated video games.  WHY?  Because I was convinced by my child that the T games were NOW boring and the M games are no big deal, besides, they played them before with their cousins and with friends.

Enough said……this my dear readers IS RATIONALIZATION at it’s finest.  I am NOT proud.

Understand this – MY conviction may NOT be your conviction.  I am not sharing this story to pass judgment on any parent who has different views on video games for their children.  I’m sharing my story to shed light on how easy rationalizing can make its way into our lives; inch by inch.  I’m sharing this because I’ve seen rationalization become a common excuse for our behavior; with the excuses and rationalizations we can begin to buy the lies of this world that lead to destruction.  Lastly, I wanted to share this to simply get you thinking……are there any areas in your life where you’ve rationalized or are starting to?

Fear, people pleasing, selfishness, comfort, laziness, unwanted judgement of others, and insecurity are what lead me to rationalize on the video games.  I’m taking back the ground that was lost from rationalizing and making changes.

Answered Phone Call

dfp_500telephoneI have to share with you my friend’s story……
(for privacy purposes, I’m using fictitious names – thanks for understanding)

On Sunday my friend, Kelly was in her husband’s office at the church that he pastors.  She stopped in briefly to talk with him and the phone rang.  Understand, it was Sunday morning, offices were closed and she typically doesn’t answer the phone at the church office, but she did.  There was a female voice on the other end asking if there was any way she could get picked up to attend their church service that morning.  Kelly asked a few questions, what’s your name? where are you?  The caller answered, “My name is Heather, I’m at a woman’s shelter a few miles away, I just got out of the hospital last night, I’m here because of a domestic abuse situation and I’d really like to attend your church.  If it’s not too much to ask I really would like a ride.”  Kelly talked with her a little longer and got off the phone.  Heather told her that she would be waiting on the corner outside for her to pick her up.

This was an odd phone call.  When Kelly answered the phone she assumed that someone was calling who needed to know the times of the services or maybe someone needed directions – who would’ve thought there would be a call this early in the morning from a random person with such a need? AND What were the chances that Kelly just happened to be in the church office to pick up the phone?  THIS was a GOD thing!  How cool was that!

Ok, so Kelly made a phone call to the woman’s shelter to ensure that the call was legit, did some due diligence and off she went to pick up Heather; she took along a guy from the church to ride in the car with her for safety reasons.

During the drive to church Kelly and Heather got to know each other.  Heather shared with her the situation she was in and how she had broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder and had been beaten by her boyfriend.  She explained that she almost died and could not go back to the home where she was living and that she needed to get far away from there so her boyfriend would not find her.  She had NOTHING just the clothes on her back and a small suitcase.  She was in a lot of pain.  Defeated. No money.  No strength.

With the help of Kelly’s church they were able to help Heather purchase a bus ticket to make the journey to another women’s shelter that would get her closer to her family.  She was very grateful for the help.

One question that Kelly asked Heather was, “What prompted you to call our church? Did you find us in the yellow pages? or what?”  Heather responded, “While I was in the hospital last night, the nurse that cared for me suggested that I call your church, she gave me your phone number and said that your church would be compassionate and loving. So I called.  That’s how I found you.”

As Kelly and Heather’s encounter was coming to an end, Heather was dropped off at the shelter to get a taxi to take her to the bus station. Kelly asked her one last question.  She said, “Heather, do you have a relationship with God?  What keeps you going.”  To Kelly’s surprise she responded, “My father is a baptist minister.  Several years ago he told me that I could NOT be a part of HIS family UNLESS I got my tattoo removed, I stopped smoking, and I stopped living my life the way I had been living it.  He has put conditions upon me to be accepted.  I’ve done so many terrible things that God could NEVER forgive me.  I am unlovable – God would not want me.”

Through both of their tears Kelly shared with Heather that she IS worthy of God’s unconditional love no matter what she had done in the past and that what she was believing were lies.  God loves you – JUST AS YOU ARE – He created you, chose YOU! Kelly was able to give her some materials to read to help her understand God’s love and forgiveness and then Heather was gone.

I was touched by this story and I have to tell you why;  this is SO Keeping it Personal – I LOVE IT!!  You see it’s the little things that we do that make the most impact AND it’s those very simple things that we do or say that we may NEVER know the impact it has on another life.

The nurse who referred Heather to Kelly’s church DID NOT let the lingering thought pass through her mind – she took ACTION!  She shared with Heather, she encouraged her, THAT IS Keeping it Personal.

Kelly, picked up the phone, LISTENED, asked questions, gathered information, DID NOT pass judgement and that impacted Heather’s life.

The nurse AND Kelly may never know how what they did or what they said impacted Heather’s life, but they took action and it is so GREAT!!  Priceless.

I am inspired by this story.  I was grateful that Kelly shared it with me.  I hope that it inspires you to take action on those little thoughts no matter what the outcome might be.

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