The Greatest Gift God ever gave me, and the Day she got Cancer.



In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
And in the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me… in the eye of the storm

I tried to write this last night.

I tried again early this morning.

Then I went to work, and my mind soon became distracted by the everyday activities around me.

These people don’t know. These people have no emotion about the situation at hand. This is not because they are cruel or unkind but how can you really care about someone or something if you are unaware of it in the first place? Their day is great and I am just a little confused how we can both be here having the same conversation and you are completely unaware of the topic running through my head. But then I realized how lucky am I to be so aware, to be so ever-present and raw with emotion because I get to KNOW. I knew I would 10,000% rather be there knowing and feeling it all rather than walking in, smiling and saying hello, feeling nothing at all on this matter because knowing means I am the luckiest person standing in this room! Your day is great but my world is bright because I KNOW MY MOM.

You should really get to know her too.

My mom is fearless.

like the bravest soul I know. Which is weird because I feel like a 4 foot something ANYBODY shouldn’t have as much as a ‘tude as this one can carry. When she was really young, I want to say about 5, her dad had her and her brother out to help clean the yard. He instructed them to wheelbarrow all the leaves across to the other side of the field to dump. Halfway across the field one of the cows in the pasture knocked the wheelbarrow over resulting in leaves going everywhere. Thinking they would then have to rake the entire field because of this, 5 year old Tina balled up her fists and hit that cow as hard as she could directly between the eyes. In hindsight, she wouldn’t have had to rake the field, and the cow was just doing what cows do but my point is….I think the last person I want to square up to is someone who was already punching animals 30 times her size at age 5.

My mom’s spiritual gift is taking in children like they are stray cats.

Ma didn’t give birth to me or my other three siblings (Haley, Brandon, and Ayla.) She had three children way before we were born. Her youngest is seven years older than me.


(Pictured above: Shawna, Billy, and Summer)

She took us in November 2002. I almost feel as if that was the day I was born because if you were to ask me when or where my life began, it was there. It feels as if the seven previous years were a life lived by someone else that I mostly just heard stories about.

Ayla was just a baby and doesn’t remember anything about when we first moved in with my mom but, for Brandon, he remembers the ride to our new home that night, singing “Zaccheus was a Wee Little Man”

For Haley, she remembers the cinnamon rolls for breakfast the next morning and she thinking this was the best food she has ever had in her life.

For me, I remember walking in and being automatically sent to the tub to take a bath because although you had seen how neglected we had been, I didn’t understand why I needed a bath. I didn’t want to like you ma. It was the making us brush our hair everyday which I found completely absurd at the age of 7 (And honestly anyone who knows me now at 22 probably thinks I still feel the same way.) It was the making us play outside, it was the day you told me that I had to quit going behind you and telling the other kids they didn’t have to listen to you because you weren’t our mom, it was everything. I just didn’t want to like you because you weren’t my mom.

You were supposed to have us for 3 months, and that 3 months has turned into 15 years. You turned into my mom.

I don’t really remember when I stopped calling you Tina and started calling you mom but just so you know, you were my mom way before that.




(pictured above: Haley, Brandon, Ayla, and I throughout the years my mom has raised us)

My mom is the mom of all moms.

“May she who gave you be happy.” Proverbs 23:25

“A kindhearted woman gains respect.” Proverbs 11:16

She raised seven kids. SEVEN. And we are all relatively decent human beings. Relatively.

I am an over emotional, over eating stress mess who has a weird obsession with dinosaurs. But I have a good work ethic, and I love people, and I love God.

Billy is a hippie mountain man who loves hiking more than the normal human who understands heat sucks but then again he is the most likely to survive an apocalypse.

Summer is a homebody but has the gentleness and patience to try to model her life and raise her kids up in the way of the Lord.

Shawna got every bit of Ma’s attitude, but she can be the most fun you’ve ever had and still have the ability to juggle 12000 other responsibilities at that exact moment.

Haley is the most gullible out of us 7 but our hardest worker. She’s in the military and just hearing her everyday work/social life makes me want to nap for 2 weeks. She’s also our caretaker, the queen of empathy.

Brandon… mom used to ask him “Boy, you would argue with God wouldn’t you?” and he would but he’s also quick to sell everything he owns if it means it is helping someone else.

Ayla, an over emotional stress mess like myself who loves everyone and the most considerate of others.

My mom did that. Every good quality I have ever acquired can be credited to her influence.

For 15 years my mom has been my support system in every way. She has sacrificed so many things, relationships with many people for my well being. She has made me laugh. She has made me cry (Sometimes no is a word we need to hear.) She has set me straight. She has uplifted me. She has motivated me. She has loved me.

She has loved me like I was her own.

Nothing I write, Nothing I have written will ever be good enough. Never will I ever have the words to fully sum up the extraordinary person that is my mom. I have only had her for this chapter, there were chapters in her life before I was ever present and somewhere, someone is telling the stories from those chapters letting someone know about the craziest, bravest, funniest woman they know….and that’s my mom.

I sit and think of every great thing I have in my life, every great person I have come to know. I look at Cole and think…..I would have missed out on this if my mom hadn’t been MY mom. Everything I have and everything I ever will have I owe to her.

It is so funny because when I was little and we first moved in, I would pray to leave. Please let me go home before Easter. Before my birthday. Before Christmas. Before I am 18. Surely by the time I’m 18 my biological mom would want us bad enough, right? I used to think that we did something to deserve it, that we were being punished. Little did I know that this was the biggest blessing I would ever receive.

The greatest gift God ever gave me was my mom, and Tuesday she was diagnosed with cancer.

I don’t have a lot to say on this matter. Mostly because it is truly news I don’t know how yet to process. It’s news we still don’t know much about. All  I know is my mom is beautiful, kind, loving, outspoken, brave, bold, loud, sassy, fun, a good cook, my favorite person to argue about Survivors Russ vs. Rob, and the only person who 110% witnessed 2013-14 Johnna and survived. She will scare you twice in a row just for you to turn the corner and she jumps out for the third time. She will then proceed to tell everyone the super embarrassing story of your reaction. She’s the only one who will hold my feet up for strangers comparing the length of my abnormally long toes to her fingers. She is the only one who will read everything I write and tell me it’s a work of art even when it has 20 typos and I’ve missed 4 words.

Everyday, when my mom would pull home from work, Haley, Brandon, Ayla and I would run out and smash our faces up against her driver’s side window. She hated it because we always left prints and she was usually on the phone (I know secretly she loved it and misses it now) but the excitement we felt seeing her car pull into the drive every evening is like that of a puppy realizing their human is home. She is our human, our love is so great and that excitement is the same every time we see her. That’s our mom. And she’s the coolest.

If you don’t believe me, there are 6 other kids who can tell you the same. Three of them are lucky enough to have had her since birth. 7 out of 7 say this mom is the best mom.

“Life is tough my darling, but so are you.” Stephanie Bennett Henry

I love you mama.

Johnna Signature transparent



4 thoughts on “The Greatest Gift God ever gave me, and the Day she got Cancer.

  1. Magnificent! Both your Mom and your response to her. I do pray full healing for her, and that God will turn everything she – and the rest of you – experience into great blessing. (Romans 8:29)

    Liked by 2 people

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