Friday, 27 May 2011

Author Spotlight Week - Thoughts from JoAnn's Journal

Children... I don't know if you have any children of your own or not, but it never ceases to amaze me how much I can learn from them. Today, I hope you don't mind, but I'd like to share with you some thoughts I pulled from my journal last year.

Last week I was caring for a boy who has seveer disabilities. This fellow only has one arm, his vocabulary consists of about four words, he has health issues and... he has the most beautiful smile in the whole world. The look on his face when you play "peek-a-boo" with him--well, the only equivalent I can think of would be like me being offered a million dollar contract for a book. Such joy!

On the 4th of July, we headed over to a friends house for a BBQ. All the children we're splish-splashing in the pool. A mother came up to where I was standing and asked if the water was cold. She went on to explain that she won't get near a pool unless it's bath temperature. The kids however, didn't worry about the temperature, they are so resilient. When and why did we lose that?

Then this morning, my husband, one of my sons, and I went jogging. Now you need to understand, here in Vermont, our summers are very short and heat is not something we need to deal with on a regular basis. But...yesterday my husband dug out our window unit air conditioner to deal with this "heat wave." Need I say more? back to today. I stepped one foot out of the house and saw the haze across the sky and thought to myself, This is NOT going to be fun. Off we go-- down around the bend, up a hill and wham... I felt like I was trying to stuff a brick wall into my lungs. The humidity was just too much! That's when I looked at my son next to me who turned and gave me a bright grin. "It's a little hot today, huh?"

I groaned, "I little?!"

Kids don't let things zap their energy. There are so many other great lessons to learn as we watch the children around us, but even just these few made me stop and think of the passages in the Bible where it says how we need to embrace the simplicity of life to understand it. Matthew 18:2-6; Mark 10:15; Luke 18:17

(The Message) Matthew 18:2-6 "For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, "I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God's kingdom. What's more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it's the same as receiving me. But if you give them a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you'll soon wish you hadn't. You'd be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck. Doom to the world for giving these God-believing children a hard time! Hard times are inevitable, but you don't have to make it worse and it's doomsday to you if you do."

Mark 10:15 "The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.

Luke 18:15-17 People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. "Let these children alone. Don't get between them and me. These children are the kingdom's pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in."

Perhaps today you're feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders. I'd like to encourage you to remember the beauty in simple pleasures and joys that the Lord surrounds us with everyday. Today, lets look at things with the wonder, joy, energy, and of a child--a child of God.

Question of the day: What have you learned from children?
JoAnn Carter lives in Vermont with her wonderful husband of 18 years, four children and Ginger, the best dog in the world. She enjoys being with her family & friends, writing, reading, and cooking.
In the past JoAnn has worked as a Licensed Practical Nurse, an apple orchard guide and as a substitute teacher. She is available for speaking engagements to book clubs, reader groups, library groups, women's ministry events, school events and church retreats.
You can find her at:


  1. Let's see if this will work for me today, like it did yesterday... here's a post from Teresa...

    Ms. JoAnn,

    You probably think I'm stalking you!, LOL.

    My son is an only child and I've raised him by myself since he was born. I tried to work things out with his father however it didn't. Before my son was even out of the womb. I dedicated him to the Lord. I said; "Lord he's yours not mine, I'm just the caregiver." I swaney that child move so much in my stomach after that he reminded me of John The Baptist.
    From the time he was born, I took him to church. I raised him in the church and always kept positive roll models in his life.
    I also spanked my child when he needed it.
    We laugh about that now. My son is 23 and he said he can count on both his hands of the spankings he got. However he will tell you everyone he deserved.

    Where I'm going with this is; because of his up bringing and how we lived. I was single mom who didn't make a lot of money. Our needs were met but we didn't have money for a lot of extras. No designer clothes, K-Mart or WalMart was what I could afford. No Nike's or AirForce One tennis shoes just payless or again WalMart.
    Because of this lifestyle and the Grace of God, my son has turned out to be one of the most optimist I know and has more faith in the Lord than most children his age. When I felt like I couldn't go on anymore because of tragic circumstances, he was the one who picked up the pieces and tell me; "mom just have faith, the Lord has never let us down. We've never went without mom."
    What do you say to that? I say, I'm blessed. Especially to have a son who is an inspiration to me when times are rough. We dont see each other much. Even though we live in the same house. I take care of my parents and work an hour away from my home so it's just easier to stay with them M-F. and go home Friday night. Usually my son's drum group is traveling on the weekends. Even with these circumstances he always does something to lift my spirits. I've come home and he has the house spotless down to mopping & vacumming. To just leaving me a card and flowers.

    Thank you JoAnn for all these inspirational blogs. God always put people in your life for a reason. I think he pointed me your direction for encouragment. Have a blessed Memorial Holiday.

    Teresa K.

  2. Teresa, what a wonderful post. Your son sounds like a very special young man!

  3. Diane C. was having troubles posting too. Let me see if I can get this to work for her...
    Hi JoAnn,

    I love your inspiring post!

    I've learned a lot from all 6 children, but especially our daughter Amanda. She's 21 now and was born with Down syndrome. I cried and cried after her birth because even before the genetic test confirmed her unique chromosome pattern, I knew from her almond-shaped eyes, she was born with DS. We had already been blessed with a daughter (Sara) with DS so I was afraid Amanda would also be low-functioning like Sara.

    I didn't need to shed so many tears. Amanda is bright within her limitations. She does wear two hearing aids like Sara. But more importantly, she gives our family life and joy on a daily basis. She loves people and embraces life to the full extent constantly. She's amazing at taking pictures with her digital camera and loves to pose with the person while snapping it of both of them. She never takes bad pictures and just took so many of the bride and groom at a wedding we recently attended.

    When she was younger, she wanted so much to be a server at Mass. I didn't know if she could handle it for different reasons. But she stopped the priest after a Mass and asked him directly if she could be a server. My heart tood a nose dive because I was afraid he'd say no. He said yes right away and instructed her during the Thursday night Mass when there was lower attendance. She still serves and he says she's the best server he's ever had.

    There should be more Amandas in the world -she is a little mother hen and loves to take care of people. She has a big heart and such a great sense of humor. She is the most motivated person I know and has a bright outlook all the time.

    The negative side is she wants to drive a car, go to college and get married. That's probably not going to happen. But I'm sure she will continue to love life, no matter what!

    Hugs and Blessings,
    By the way, I've written a book about my experience in being blessed with children having Down syndrome.

  4. Hey, it worked for me again. I have no idea why, but I'm thankful.

    Amanda sounds like a joy! Caring for others, a sense of humor, a person full of motivation, and optimistic... they are all things I strive for in my own life.