what i wish. num 6.

Welcome to "What I wish I could tell you"...an anonymous platform for bloggers to share what they don't feel free to share on their own blogs.  If you have a story/thought/ache/hurt/feeling/secret/prayer request you want to get out, feel free to email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com.  You will remain anonymous to all but me unless you choose otherwise. 
The author of this entry has chosen to stay anonymous.  Say hello to anon #6: 

I wish that I could tell you that I have the most amazing relationship with my in-laws and that they love me. I married my husband over 11 years ago and we have been together 17 years in all. These people have known me for years but, yet never gotten to know me. I will admit that I wasn't always the best "christian" person and I may still not be, but then I am not perfect and I am trying. But I do want the respect and love from them like they give my children. And I must say that they have gotten better towards me since I had our first child, but I still don't feel like I belong. and is it wrong of me to feel like they should be not so much kissing my feet but showering me in love since I have given them the only grandchildren they will ever have? My brother in-law is in his 40's and has never been married and more than likely never will. And if it wasn't for the man who married my husband and I we may not even be together because he didn't want children at the time too. I feel like my husband thinks that I am crazy sometimes for thinking like they don't like me, but then I think that he knows but is too afraid to say anything. And I know that he has issues with my side of the family too, but then I always stick up for him. Is it crazy that I just want to be accepted for who I am? I am a stay at home mother of two and now I can add college student to my resume as well. I wish that people would get to know the real me, the me that would bend over backwards to do anything for them, the me that cries when I haven't talked to you in years or cries because I haven't talked to you in years. I want people to know that I can put my foot in my mouth at times and sometimes it is only me trying to make things better for others even if it destroys my friendship with you ( which has happen a lot). I also want you to know that I am a crafty type person and that I do love to make things from quilts to purses and everything in between. But I think if I could tell you all something else it would be this.. I am an Unhappy person with my life the way it is and I am sorry but I am trying to work through it. It has nothing to do with the people around me or in my life it is just a feeling I have had for years. I hate the way I look from my weight to my hair color. I guess that in closing I just want to feel like I am loved and that I belong.

Want a turn to share?  Email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com. 
Feel free to comment and encourage or just relate and assure.


 There's a lot of awesome in the air today...

Here's the first one...and email in response to a "What I wish" segment...

July Fourth of this last year was probably the happiest I’ve ever been. The boy of my dreams and I ran the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta with my family and then drove up to the North Georgia Mountains to spend the rest of the day with his family. We were watching the sun on the hills and fields when he suddenly turned to me and said, “This is where I want to marry you.” My heart sang. We’d talked about marriage before but this moment was so clear and so perfect that it felt like the first time.

     The next day everything changed. My dear boy, my honey bear, told me that he “didn’t want to be in love anymore” and to just forget everything he’d ever said.  My heart was absolutely broken. I hope you won’t judge me, but we’d switched colleges together and moved in together and waking up next to him every day was something that made me believe in God. We used to have all these silly rituals to make even doing laundry and dishes something fun and it blew my mind that he couldn't see how stupidly happy we were.

     I just read “The Truth About Singleness: A Letter to God from a Longing Heart” and actually burst in to tears in the middle of the library. I’ve watched the boy I was supposed to marry start dealing drugs and having sex with cheap girls with fake blonde hair and fake tans who are nothing but ugly on the inside and it’s made me, at times, literally unable to get out of my bed. It’s been so hard waking up to an empty room and not having those goodnight kisses or random midday laughs. For two years I constantly had his love and trying to live without it has been excruciating. This letter really gave me hope that I’ll find something even better than that love and I’m so appreciative that you posted it. If it’s possible could you pass this along to whomever originally posted it? I think people should know when they’ve changed a stranger’s life. For the first time in a long time I think tomorrow will be a better day.

Thank you!

Totally awesome...and encouraging.  By awesome I mean...how great to face a day with hope for the first time in so long?
I love to hear from you...especially emails like this.
More awesome things... 
 ...a new chalkboard...waiting to set and be broken in...
...laundry is caught up...dishes are caught up...photos to be printed, caught up!...
 ...sewing and custom orders...caught up!  
...bathrooms cleaned...house clean...
(thus another post today). :) 
 ...while it is still my hope and prayer to move HOME...I have at least moved out of the despair of being utterly homesick...I'm still homesick...but at least I haven't cried about it in a few days.
 ...my husband makes my coffee every morning...
 I'm going to be thankful this year...you can particiapte, too...
Go visit No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane to find out more.
...all of my meals for the week are planned and shopped for!  This week I choose recipes from some of my favorite bloggers...last night was Meg's Potato soup!!

You have to make it...it's tasty, easy, warming and awesome!
Perfect for Fall!

Here's the recipe, with my changes. 
12 hash brown patties 
(I could only find packs of ten so I had to get two...but 
you could totally get away with just ten if you have the same problem)
2 cans of chicken broth
1 stick of butter
1c shredded cheese
1 tsp dry onion
1 tsp powdered garlic
2c sour cream
2c milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Put patties and broth in large pot over medium heat.
Cook until patties fall apart. 
Put in stick of butter until melted.
Add all other ingredients.
Heat for 20 minutes until hot...don't let it boil.

Top with shredded cheese and crumbled bacon.
I served it with a nice green salad...but bread would be good too!


OK...I know that's a lot to take in...so I'll stop at that much awesome.
I hope you're week is just as awesome. 


we call this his gary busey hair.

trick or treat.

 I'm posting these tonight so a certain bop-bop can get a dose of his 
Virginia boys first thing on Monday morning.  We got Moses' costume at Old Navy in September...tonight was not the first time that he wore it...he's getting out money's worth for sure.
 This was hoho's monkey costume number two...borrowed from our neighbor...monkey suit number one was a hand me down from Moses that was just a tad too small. :)
 so SO cute.
 Monkey costume number one...and hoho saying "cheese".
 Cutest shark ever.
Moses was a bit unsure of the first house...after that he ran from house to house.  I had forgotten how fun trick or treating could be...the boys were super cute and had such a good time!
 This may have been my favorite part...the way Aaron held his little treat bucket...sweet little fist.
 And here's me and my little monkey!
It really was SO fun...and even though we only took them around for about an 45 minutes...we apparently chose the best neighborhood...because they officially have more candy than I would let them have in a year.  All in all...a super fun family night.

on halloween.

I've had several people ask me about halloween and how, as a Christian family, we approach it.
The honest answer is that we are still working out the kinks so to speak...but there are some steadfast "rules" for our family, for those who are interested...keep in mind we approach this, as all things in life with Romans 14:5-9 in mind...

As a general rule we don't "celebrate" halloween.  By that I mean we don't do gory, or spooky, or ghoulish or gore.  We don't do anything scary.  And all of that is generally a life rule for us.  We don't watch scary movies or anything like that.  We avoid stores with Halloween displays or the Halloween sections of stores as much as possible.  We don't celebrate the dead.  We rarely even use the word "halloween".  

We have adopted the idea that our kids little minds are going to be filled with somethings...might as well save as much room for good as possible.   As naive as I know that sounds.

We emphasize the time of year...harvest, fall, leaves changing, celebrating God's abundant blessings.  We carve (silly and happy) pumpkins.  We let the kids dress up on this day...as with many other days...this is their first year trick or treating...which honestly will consist of walking up one side of a block and down the other.  And trick or treating this year doesn't mean it's going to happen every year...like I said, we are still working the kinks out... 

And that's it.  Not much more feels OK to us.  And that is how WE approach it.  We aren't saying that this is the way that it should be for everyone...or for every Christian for that matter but that this is what works for our family.  And everything will continue to evolve as we evolve as a family and in our faith. 

For the record, we don't feel like our kids are missing out...or will feel left out...or whatever...will they feel different from their peers? I hope so.  I want them to glow with the light of Christ...I want people to know that they live by Christ's definition of good and not the worlds.

So that's where we stand...and now I'm curious...as a Christian what is your stand on Halloween?

what i wish. num 5.

Welcome to "What I wish I could tell you"...an anonymous platform for bloggers to share what they don't feel free to share on their own blogs.  If you have a story/thought/ache/hurt/feeling/secret/prayer request you want to get out, feel free to email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com.  You will remain anonymous to all but me unless you choose otherwise. 
The author of this entry has chosen to stay anonymous.  Say hello to anon #5: 

 The Truth About Singleness: A Letter to God from a Longing Heart

Dear Love,
I'm figuring it out.  And by it, I mean the dusty island that is my heart.  A girl doesn't need to be taught how to recognize when a boy likes her.  It's like there's an embedded honing device that measures the longer-than-necessary glances and million dollar smiles that are code for "you are the gravity that keeps me spinning."  These automatic signals are picked up starting somewhere around the age when everything about a girl's physical self changes, and they are sent straight to her heart...where they are forever banked.  And if a girl keeps her bank at least partially filled, her feminine heart and hope for a heart-rescuer remain intact.  If, however, she ever finds her heart parched and her bank dehydrated, her "hope ticker" falls: Down, down, down. 

I can't pretend forever that I am missing the honing device or the bank.  I'm a girl.  I also can't pretend that I am living in an ocean when my bank dried up a long time ago.  At least, I can't pretend with you.  Love, I have to tell you a secret.  A long time ago, when I realized the throat of my heart was getting a little croaky with thirst, I shut down my hope bank.  Yep, that's right.  Just stuck some dynamite in the middle of the dry, cracked bank and watched it go up in smoke.  It seemed safer, easier that way.  Better to not sit in the dusty cave, waiting for a signal to be found while my heart shriveled some more.  So I gave up.  My hope bank closed.  And I pulled on my boots and straightened my vest, determined to look the part of the proper banker.  After all, who needs the building?  Who needs?  I certainly don't.  Desires are the for the weak.  No man needed here.

Love, I gave up on being chosen, being loved {in only the way a man can love a woman} a long time ago.  And I'll have you know I lit the bank on fire myself.  Granted, it was dry and went up like a twig in a forest fire, but I lit it.  You see, I have another secret.  I'm not who I want to give.

I guess I've just always dreamed of making a man smile to his toes.  I don't want my hero-man to just be content.  I want to be his Jesus-pointer, his partner for life, the beautiful girl on the cover of Brides magazine.  There's only one problem: I'm not her.  I'm ME.  I'm complicated, emotional, less-than-gorgeous, and full of big dreams that no one, sometimes not even myself, want to carry or realize.  I'm like the booby prize from the county fair.  I buried my hopes because it's just safer.  If I can't give away the ten day cruise to the Bahamas, I'm not gonna be giving away the half-alive goldfish, either.  Not that anyone has been longing for the booby prize of ME, anyway.

Love, I've always dreamed of the very thing every girl dreams of: A man to love her and pursue her, a man to be the closest picture of Jesus she will ever hold, this side of heaven.  Several heart-years ago, I noticed my prospects were non-existent, so I took myself off the market.  I built walls around myself, pretending it didn't matter.  "I'm strong!" I proclaimed.  "I'm a fortress!  I don't need a man!  Heck, I don't even want a man!  They have cooties, right?"  Love, I've come to peace with the idea of you and I.  Just me and Jesus, carrying His dreams in me.  To Timbuktu with desire!

You just helped me realize something, though.  Maybe I'm limiting you.  Me, with all my crazy dreams.  Because all I see when I look at ME is a giant fortress protecting a pile of rubble.  Maybe you intend to tear the walls down so that the world can see what is blooming out of the ashes: A new hope only you could create.  A new hope in God-given desire.  Because maybe I am holding back someone's down-to-the-toes smiles.  Maybe steady and gorgeous is not every man's dream.  Maybe there is a man outside the fortress, waiting to be let in.

So, Love, here's my fearful plea, a sacrifice of the very guts of my soul: Heal my heart.  If you want them, I'm giving you my bricks and mortar, my wall-building tools so that you can do something I've never dared try: Expose ME.  Fair warning, though...the bricks are many, and they protect little but a pile of ashes.  Can you make something grow where my hope bank once stood?  If not, I'm content with just you, my Everything.


Want a turn to share?  Email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com. 
Feel free to comment and encourage or just relate and assure.

20 minute crafter. glass bubble magnets.

 Aaaaaaaaaaand we're back! :)  Did you think I was ever gonna come back?
 Today we are going to make cute little glass magnets...these are GREAT teacher gifts, grandma, gifts, babysitter, mail lady, etc.  The combos are endless...
 Here is what you need:
(everything but the paper/photos was bought at The Crafty Dragonfly)
glass marbles
diamond glaze (i use this because it is GREAT for getting rid of all of the little cracks and bubbles in the glass marbles)
pretty papers or photos
 Move your marble around on your paper/photo to get an 
idea of where you want to center your marble...
 ...same process with your photos...
 ...add a SMALL dot of glue to the center of the image you are using...
a little diamond glaze goes a long way...
 ...place your marble on the center of the glue dot...
 ...to work out all the tiny bubbles and what not you can gently 
twist the marble back and forth until they work themselves out...
 ...when the diamond glaze is dry...say overnight...you trim away the excess paper but cutting along the edge of the circle of glue...it helps to use your scissors at an angle to get in nice and close.
...add your magnet with glue.
Let dry and gift away!  These look cute presented in a dressed up altoids tin...or if you shop at Micheal's they have similar pretty tins by the registers. :) The process is the same for photos, too.

I'll answer any questions in the comments. :)

a letter to an anonymous emailer.

I love being able to blog.  Truly, it is one of my favorite things...I love that I can document our lives for my kids...that I can share and stretch myself.  I love all of the great people that I have met because of it.  My blog life is full of great stories.  I can't imagine what will ever make me stop.  

My least favorite part is that blogging opens you up to the backlash of others.  Whether you deserve it or not...and generally I think that most do not deserve it.  My generally policy is, if you are going to say something that goes against what someone else believes...sign your name to it.  If you are going to criticize and be unkind...sign your name to it.  Otherwise your words are hollow and meaningless.  Coward like.  I realize that I am currently working on a series by anonymous bloggers...however these are sharing hurts and pain and are not meant to be daggers to anyone.  There is no maliciousness involved. 

Recently I received the following "anonymous" email.  I say "anonymous" because if you have any brains in your head you can pinpoint the exact address of any "anonymous" email.  True story.  So if you, and you know who you are, have ever sent me some "anonymous" ugly...just know, I could send you a Christmas card if I wanted to.  Back to the email...here is what anonymous had to say:

"if youclaim to be such a christian  (a good one)  you sure talk alot of negative stuff all the time.  i would love to belong to your chuch.  but you will et what is coming to you ne day"     

Now other than terrible grammar (I have a thing for correct grammar and spelling), this email doesn't bother me in the least...at least the content does not.  What grieves my heart the most is the poor soul behind it.  What makes a person so hurt that they take time out of their day to lash out at others in such way?  What pain has brought them to the point that they feel the need to take a jab at a stranger?  Whatever it is makes me so very sad for them.

So instead of getting angry and defensive, which is something that not so long ago I would have done, I choose to pray for them and have been praying for them since I got the email.  And I am sharing all of this so that you can do the same.  Can we all come together for this stranger and ask that God show up in their life in a big way?  Can we pray for healing and light in their life?  Can we pray that God shows up and grips them in His mighty hands and has His way with them?  I'm serious.  Will you take a moment and pray for a stranger?   

And pray that they will get what is coming to them one day...grace, mercy and a love that knows no end.  



 We carved pumpkins last weekend...Moses was pretty excited to design his own this year...
 He drew a face and I cut it out.  I think it's the cutest pumpkin that I've ever seen.
 This was mine...may or may not reflect how I feel about Charlottesville. :)
 I did this one for hoho...
and this one is Doug's.
Moses is excited to go trick-or-treating for the first time this year...I wish I had a camera on him to catch the look on his face when I explained it all to him...needless to say he has asked every day since then when we are going.  

And that's the extent of the Halloween experience at the Johnsen house...Halloween does nothing for me...and I honestly can't wait to rip down all the Fall decor and get to Christmas! :)      

what i wish. num 4.

Welcome to "What I wish I could tell you"...an anonymous platform for bloggers to share what they don't feel free to share on their own blogs.  If you have a story/thought/ache/hurt/feeling/secret/prayer request you want to get out, feel free to email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com.  You will remain anonymous to all but me unless you choose otherwise. 
The author of this entry has chosen to stay anonymous.  Say hello to anon #4: 

To my mother,

I was born into a long line of women who have not known how to communicate. Because
none of us were taught how to communicate. When things got messy, you did the
most logical thing—you swept it under the rug. That did not mean that messy things
disappeared. They were just waiting to come out and make a bigger mess.

But when my husband and I decided to adopt a baby from a foreign land—a land where
no, the people do not look like us—that was when you decided to communicate. First,
by your silence. Then by voicing every single inappropriate and self-righteous argument
that could possibly have been made. Not once did you think of this baby. Not once
did you think of your relationship with the grandchildren you already had, and how that
might be threatened by your words and actions. And to me, perhaps most significantly,
you did not consider what this meant to our relationship as mother and daughter. Oh,
yeah—and you call yourself a Christian.

When we came home, and we walked down the steps in the airport with our new baby in
our arms, you weren’ t there. A few others were—people who had become our family by
choice, not the family we were born into. Once again, you wanted to sweep everything
under the rug and pretend that the entire previous year—the hurtful words that cannot be
taken back, the arguments that you made, the prejudices I believe you still have—did not

But because I do have a relationship with Christ, and believe in a loving and forgiving
God and because I honor Him above all else, I forgive you. I forgive you for MY
healing and my own well-being, not for yours. I hope that someday you realize that
only because I honor my God, I have chosen to continue a relationship with you. It is
hard, it is not what I would have chosen if I would not have gone through months of
struggling and leaning on my one True Parent—my heavenly Father. I realize now
that I can relate to my child, who was abandoned as a tiny baby in a faraway country
because of circumstances we can’ t even imagine. I can relate to my child because I too
was abandoned by my parents. I hope and pray that I can help my child find the same
healing that I continue to find in Christ. However, I also offer my child the promise of
unconditional love and the safe and secure knowledge that my child will NEVER be
abandoned by me.

Want a turn to share?  Email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com. 
Feel free to comment and encourage or just relate and assure.

what i wish. num 3.

Welcome to "What I wish I could tell you"...an anonymous platform for bloggers to share what they don't feel free to share on their own blogs.  If you have a story/thought/ache/hurt/feeling/secret/prayer request you want to get out, feel free to email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com.  You will remain anonymous to all but me unless you choose otherwise. 
The author of this entry has chosen to stay anonymous.  Say hello to anon #3: 

I wish you knew how difficult it is to be the wife of a minister. I love that my husband serves with all of himself but at times I would love to be able to tell people, "enough, he is mine and I would like some time with him over dinner when the phone doesn't ring and he is out the door to be with you instead of us."

I wish you knew that I just want a friend, someone to talk to honestly that I can trust won't go and tell others, or judge me for not being the "perfect" Christian wife. I wish you knew how hard it is for our family to set boundaries for ourselves to keep God first and next our family, before our service to you. I wish you knew how we have to constantly remind ourselves that we weren't called to please people, but to please God alone. Sorry it upsets you that we aren't having this event, or singing that song but we really do feel like "this" is where God has called us to lead you.

I would love to feel comfortable just being me. I don't blame this all on you, I know I need to be accountable only to God and not to who you think I am or should be.  I'm reminding you that we are just like you; sinners saved by grace, over and over again. Is it to much to ask of you to remind me of that too? Could you tell me you know how I feel when I can't seem to get my kids to obey and get in the car. The look of disapproval is just to much for me today. I'm not a fan of the way they are acting either but I don't always have the answers either.

This may be shocking to you but my husband and I would LOVE for you to invite us over for a beer and smores  by your fire pit like you do all of the other couples in the church. He loves the movie The Big Lebowski, I read things other than the Bible, and it would be awesome if we could just feel like normal people when we tell you that.

I guess I just wish you knew that I'm just like you. My husband would love to have biscuits and gravy for dinner but I don't care; I hate biscuits and gravy so we aren't having them. Unfortunately I yell at my kids sometimes. I love to sing Hillsong at the top of my lungs.  I curse. I am brought to immense emotion when I grasp even a little bit of what grace really is. Sometimes I would love to quit. Sometimes I think I have it all figured out. I love my kids more than I ever thought I could. I thought our family was going to fall a part two years ago, but you would have never known it. I eat to much ice cream. I love my husband more today than any day before but I have a very difficult time telling him that. Don't you?



Want a turn to share?  Email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com. 
Feel free to comment and encourage or just relate and assure.


 I am using this...
 and this.
 Admiring these...
 ...and eating these.
Doing a little of this. 

And making THESE.
And more coffee. 

I am praying for all the women contributing to "What I wish". 
And just enjoying each and every blessing that has come my way. 

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