Monday, December 15, 2008

Don't Stop Believing!

December 15, 2008

Recently I was questioning my purpose as I returned from a writer’s conference. I knew I had encountered God but I couldn’t help wondering if I was on the right track. My internal voices argued over whether all my writing endeavors were worthwhile and I found myself really questioning whether I should shelve it all and go get a regular paycheck. One afternoon I was sitting at my computer grappling with my voices of doubt when my 10 year old daughter Kayla marched purposefully into the room. “Mom, I’ve got something for you.” She picked up my hand and pressed into it a folded piece of pink paper that had been stapled closed. In fact it had been stapled all the way around. Smiling at me she leaned over, kissed my cheek and walked right out of the room.

I started to put the paper on top of my “Get to It Pile” until I saw what she had written. The bold letters of her fifth grade script blazed into my unbelieving eyes.
“Only Open if stopped Believing!!!” – Kayla
Stunned, I sat back in my chair amazed at how she could have known the depth of my struggle. I knew I hadn’t talked openly about my doubts and wondered how her young mind had comprehended my need for encouragement. I turned the paper over and over in my hands struck by how neatly the staples were placed and how if I really wanted to open it I was going to have to tear it open…with a lot of effort. There was no denying it, God had met me here and He had used Kayla in the process.

In the weeks since this amazing encounter I have to admit, there have been moments when I really wanted to open up the note. I’m curious to find out what she wrote but also just romantic enough to believe that if I open even one staple then perhaps, that does signal the end of me believing in my writing dreams. Instead of burying it beneath the stack of papers on my desk, the note has been placed prominently where I can see it daily. It’s a good reminder that whatever the circumstance there is a purpose and maybe even a challenge…I know I’m not ready to stop believing.

What about you? Are you ready to stop believing? Are you ready to let go of your dreams, feeling as if they are not worthy of your time and energy? I pray whatever your circumstance that you will find yourself on the receiving end of God’s grace and mercy. I hope that you receive exactly what you need and that your gift will come in an amazing way. God’s timing is indeed perfect. The faith boost He gave me through my pint size messenger was exactly what I needed. I pray that He will deliver the same kind of reassuring message to you and that you will be blessed.

Merry Christmas,
Ally Johnson

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's snowing where I'm going!!!

It's snowing in Idaho right now. I can't tell you how excited I am to get to be leaving in less than five days. We are heading north to visit our families for Christmas. The first week will be in Yakima WA with my parents, sister and brother and their spouses and kids. The second week will be in Sandpoint, Idaho with Grant's brother, spouse, kids and his sister. I'm getting excited just thinking about it.
We've taken this trip so many times I've lost track but there is something about the anticipation that starts to build up inside me and I can't think about anything else. I think the best memory I have of Christmas is Christmas Eve when me and my sisters would sleep in the same room anticipating Santa's arrival and giggling with eachother about what presents we might find under the tree. We would talk and talk and then eventually one of us would say, "The sooner you go to sleep, the sooner Santa Claus will come." Without fail every year that was our routine and now, you guessed it...I say it to my kids. They think I'm silly when it makes me tear up but it's part of me. I can't wait to steamroll my brother Christmas morning and watch my Dad who is 67 act like a kid! I can't wait to make pies with my Mom and help Zach and Kayla with their gingerbread houses. I can't wait to snuggle beneath a big fuzzy blanket and read the story of the Three Trees for the gazillionth time to my kids and I definitely can't wait to read the story of Jesus' birth, it makes me cry every time.
Oh, yes I'm's snowing right now and I hope it stays that way!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Grace on a Thursday

When we feel unlovely we want to hide because we can’t imagine anyone could love us in those moments. Let’s face it - we all have those moments, and that’s usually when God speaks the loudest.
My Grammie was one of the loveliest women I have ever known, but one Thanksgiving she didn’t think so. Our tradition was to dress up in our Sunday best, dine at two and go to the movies. We all knew with Grammie being sick there would be no movie this year. Released from the hospital two days earlier, we were just happy she could be with us for the holiday. But now another storm was brewing.
“Mom!” My sister ran into the kitchen. “Grammie says she’s not coming to dinner. She says she doesn’t have anything to wear, her hair isn’t done and she is not about to come to dinner in her pajamas and robe.” Laura’s green eyes pleaded with Mom. “What are we going to do? We can’t leave her in her room all alone…not on Thanksgiving.” Nervous knots formed in my belly as I wondered what would happen.
A few days earlier I had taken a trip to the hospital. My mind hadn’t comprehended the seriousness of Grammie’s condition until I stood in the doorway of her room and was struck by her frailty. I paused for a moment taking in the image of my sweet Grammie lying in that hospital bed looking like a small child. Without the benefit of going to the salon, her normally jet black hair had turned gray. Her milky white complexion had grown sallow and pale. Broken blood vessels from her IV etched the skin of her once smooth hand.
The contrast to her usual self was startling. Throughout my childhood, Grammie had come over for dinner on a Thursday after her weekly hair and nail appointment. Smelling of Estee Lauder perfume, she would sink into the sofa and beckon to me with her beautiful hands. I loved sitting next to her, and my heart would sing at the invitation to be near her. I breathed her in while listening to her soft, gentle voice tell me about the events of her day, and then she would ask me about mine. Her hands stroked my back or played with my hair. She made me feel safe and loved. But in the past few years the allure of college and my social life had kept me from spending Thursdays with her. And now she was in the hospital.
I moved closer to her hospital bed and picked up her IV pierced hand. She smiled at me and asked me about my day. It felt just like our old Thursday afternoons, only we were conversing over the starched white sheets of her hospital bed, with the scent of antiseptic lingering in the air. She couldn’t reach out and stroke my back anymore, but I could curl up beside her and stroke her hair and smell her sweet perfume. Even in the hospital she still smelled like flowers. I cradled her hand in mine while her words curled around my heart. She loved me unconditionally and in that moment I saw Jesus. Like Christ, she gave to me even though I hadn’t made her a priority over the past few years.
The hospital released her for Thanksgiving and as the scent of roasting turkey and pumpkin pie filled the air, my sister and I watched our mother, wondering what to do. Mom told us not to worry while she placed an apple pie into the oven. I could see her shoulders quietly shake as she tried to hide her emotion from us.
“Mom, what if I fix her hair and put a little makeup on her,” Laura said. “I think that might help her feel better.”
“Yes, I think that’s a great idea, but let’s do more than that.” She stirred the gravy and then a smile broke through the clouds that had covered her face. “I know…let’s wear our bathrobes to the table. We can surprise her!” Pausing for a moment to let the idea sink in she continued, “We can wear our normal clothes underneath and each of us can come to the table in our robes. That way she will know that she fits right in. What do you think?” Her face shone with excitement, and I knew we had our answer.
Laura nodded her head in agreement. “I’ll go tell her that we aren’t taking no for an answer and insist that she let me fix her hair. Even though we all think she’s beautiful without being fixed up, knowing Grammie there isn’t going to be any other way to convince her.”
We thought we would surprise her so we didn’t tell Grammie of our plan. After a “We’re not taking no for an answer” conversation with my mother, Grammie finally let my sister Laura fix her hair and apply a little color to her cheeks.
I will never forget how excited I felt when I stood next to my chair at the dining room table. I looked around the table at my family. We were attired in our Sunday best, our bathrobes draped over our shoulders. My little brother even had on his slippers and was grinning from ear to ear. We barely contained ourselves with the excitement of our secret and hoped that Grammie would feel a part of our family as she had on so many other Thursday afternoons.
Dad wheeled her into the dining room, her normally robust frame wilting in the wheelchair. We stood quietly at the table until she looked up. When she did, we shouted “Surprise!” Her face went from pale gray to a soft blush, and a giant smile engulfed her face. She giggled my favorite giggle and for a moment she was my joyful, adoring Grammie again.
Tears of relief rolled down my cheeks, she was with us again, and we were all overjoyed. Conversation bubbled across the table as we shared our Thanksgiving meal. I believe we were all thankful that our family was complete. It would not have been the same without our Grammie.
Grammie died two days later. For her funeral we dressed once again in our Sunday best. I wished we could have worn our robes again. It seemed appropriate that in one of her final moments here on earth Grammie was more beautiful to me than ever, without the earthly adornments of hair color and makeup. Grace is God’s way of pouring out His love upon us regardless of our clothing, whether we feel lovely or not. To Him we are always lovely, a fragrant aroma and a blessing. He accepts us, offers us grace when we don’t deserve it and puts on our humanity out of love, every single day of the week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Giving Thanks

What are you thankful for? The truth is, when someone poses that question to me I often can’t answer right away. For me it’s the kind of question I don’t want to skip over with a pat answer like, “Oh, I’m thankful for my family and friends.” Who isn’t? That kind of thankfulness just goes without saying. No, what I’m talking about is that deep swell of gratitude that floats across your heart when you realize you have been on the receiving end of God’s favor.
One Thanksgiving I was not feeling thankful as my family had just endured a season of challenge I thought we would never recover from. My heart was burdened by the heaviness of battle and I felt abandoned and alone. Looking back on that time I’m startled to see the coldness in my heart and the sadness in my demeanor. The contrast to who I am today is mind boggling and can only be explained by the truth spoken in Titus 3:3-4, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” Now I can testify that my family has been restored in ways my human brain could never have imagined.

God is acutely aware of our suffering and knows the reality of our pain. Because He is committed to loving us freely He lays some of His authority aside allowing struggles so that our faith will grow and we will know more of Him. The challenge for many of us is to face our struggles with faith. When we successfully stand on the foundation of our faith God’s kingdom is magnified. I’m thankful that as God’s child I can go boldly to Him with my needs, casting them at his feet with confidence, knowing He will provide me with the grace and mercy that I need.

Taking Action:
Reflect for a moment on what challenges you are facing at this time and then answer the following questions.
· What would you like to see happen?
· What steps can you take today to move towards your goal?
· What are you thankful for? Tell someone.

Life coaching is a powerful alliance that God will use to uncover his purposes for your life. For more information visit my website: and contact me for your free 30 minute consultation.

Blessings, Ally Johnson

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tough Times

I've been thinking about the tough times so many people are talking about right now. Whether it's financial, spiritual or emotional so many people I talk to are really struggling with finding hope and peace for their lives. Interestingly enough I find myself in the same category as I too look for ways that I can find hope in times of financial struggle.

I spent the first week after Glorieta wondering if it was a profitable use of my time to pursue writing and coaching. Even though I had heard nothing but positive feedback from the editors and other writers who had seen my work, I wondered if I should go and get a real job. I allowed myself to linger in this doubtful place and proceeded to bury myself in it.
I wondered why God allows bad things to happen and why good people struggle when it seems like people who have no integrity prosper. I felt frustrated by my lack of connection with God, especially when I had felt so connected with God while I was at the writing conference.

The turning point came for me this week when I was talking with my own life coach. We were discussing the very painful struggles that people often face that cause them to turn away from God. I was reminded of Hebrews 4:15-16 "This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most."

There was my answer, I had forgotten that God has a very real perspective on pain and suffering because he himself experienced every sort of struggle there is. He is acutely aware of what we go through. He lays some of His authority aside and allows us to struggle for a purpose. He desires to grow us in our faith and wants us to come to him with our needs. When suffering is met with faith it allows us to demonstrate the power and glory of God.
It would be easy for me to abandon the call on my heart to write and coach and go and get what some people would say is a real job. The truth is, coaching and writing is my real job and it's what I'm called to do. These are things I love to do and regardless of the challenges or struggle s that accompany me staying true to my calling, I will not compromise my commitment to these endeavors.

What ever your circumstance and wherever you find yourself today I want to encourage you to listen to your instincts, stay true to your heart and believe that you are a person of influence in all you do.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Barbies, Barbies Everywhere!

Kayla is the Barbie Queen. We just spent the last two hours sorting her barbies, accessories and all the Barbie cars(4). She declared herself too old for Barbies now, and maybe someday her daughters will want to play with her stuff. I too had a similar mindset back when I was the Barbie Queen, and when I presented her with said Barbie stuff circa 1970's she promptly turned her nose up. I tried hard not to be offended but my Barbie stuff was cool! I couldn't see why she didn't want to mix my authentic, antique stuff with her very hip, very modern Barbie Ballerina, Barbie MyScene and Barbie Hannah Montana.

My favorite Barbie was Cindy. She was based on the Cindy character from the Brady Bunch. I had all of her stuff right down to the cardboard decorated walls that you could set up and make a four square house. She rocked! I was really excited to share her with Kayla. The only problem was, when we pulled her out of the box awhile ago her hair had grown sticky and a lot had fallen out. No one told me back when I was lovingly boxing my Barbies up for my future children that the hair would be the first thing to go. Her eyes had grown pale and her skin had yellowed. But still, I thought she was beautiful and remembered the long weekends I spent in the basement of my house with Barbie town set up all over the place. My girlfriend Jayme and I would cart grocery sacks of our stuff between our houses. Those were the days when we could actually walk down a public street and not worry about getting hit or kidnapped. Ahhh, I miss those days.

Anyway, as Kayla and I were sorting her stuff she decided that maybe she didn't want to get rid of all of the Barbies afterall. Maybe we could just put them in boxes and stash them up on her shelf? So, that's what we did and she can get them down if she wants to. She made comments about some of her favorites, that was fun. I had forgotten that there was a Belle Barbie from Beauty and the Beast and a Barbie Jasmine from Aladdin.

We created a Barbie tote just for the Barbies. If I had Barbie's body I don't think I would want to be boxed up and stored just to lose my hair... And would someone please tell me why none of them had clothes on? So we have a tote filled with naked Barbies and in about ten years we will have a tote filled with naked, sticky, hairless Barbies. YIKES! Maybe when she's ready to move them from her shelf to the goodwill pile we can talk about it. Or maybe not. Why ruin a good thing?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Three Steps to Transformation

“Mom, you’re different.” Kayla sat on the edge of her bed, preparing to snuggle into her blankets for the night. Wrapping her arms around my neck she whispered, “It’s okay. You’re still the best Mom ever.” Kissing my cheek, she released my neck and dove beneath her covers. Her words confirmed that God had indeed transformed me. Ideas that were once foreign had become the building blocks of my new life.
Know Your Values
You were created with your own God-given design. Within this design is your individual set of values. These values are the foundation upon which you build your life, empowering you to steward your life well because you are clear on what is important. Recognizing the values He instills within you allows you to live with clarity and purpose. Knowing your values gives you the ability to partner with the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 where God “plans to prosper you.” You can release yourself from the world’s expectation of being someone you are not and instead trust God to show you the truth.
Do you know your values?
Know Your Passion
Discovering your passion begins with God and it’s through this relationship that you can become a person of influence. Operating in your passion makes everything fresh, meaningful and filled with purpose. Passion is what gives you the energy to dream the impossible, believing it is possible.
God places this passion in your heart, desiring for you to seek Him so that you can live out your passion. Ask God to break through the lie that says you can’t do anything and embrace the truth from Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
What is your passion?
Know Your Way of Being
It takes courage to admit when we aren’t content and it feels risky to appeal to God for a new way of being. According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.”
Christ calls us to seek Him because He wants to be our way of being. Now, the words “You’re different Mom,” are words that fill me with the affirming truth of being in a transformational relationship with Jesus. The old has gone, the new has come. Will you let Him transform you?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Leaving New Mexico

My time here at Glorieta is over and I'm a little bit sad. I will miss the fall colors, the crisp morning air and the people I have met. It's been an awesome conference and God has blessed me with some amazing new contacts. I have met with editors from Beacon Hill, Tyndale, AMG, Harvest House and a variety of different professional writers and magazine editors.
Every single editor from a publishing house requested that I submit my book proposal and the first few chapters. That is like a baseball player getting a hit every time they are up to bat. AMAZING!

Last night I had the blessing of dinner with John Van Diest who is the senior editor at Tyndale. He publishes Max Lucado, Chuck Swindoll, Brennan Manning and tons of others. The time we had together was sweet. I felt as if I was in the presence of God as this man poured himself into me. We talked for almost two hours over dinner about life stories, political views and who our favorite basketball team is. It was more than I ever expected and I am still in awe of how God can bring two people together. He lives in Boring, Oregon, near Portland. That is an area I am very familiar with and it was fun to talk about different points of interest along the Oregon and Washington coast.

I leave here with hope in my heart and in deep need of some good sleep. My brain is exhausted but in a good way. My heart is full and I'm excited to see what God will do next. I find myself undeserving of His favor and blessed with abundance.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Mexico...It's Freezing!

Good Morning...I can't believe I'm actually up already. After traveling most of the afternoon and evening yesterday I arrived here at Glorieta, New Mexico. I'm tucked away at a conference center outside of Santa Fe surrounded by fall colors. There was even frost on my windshield this morning. Yes, I've already been out of my room, crazy right!

This morning at 6:30 with coffee in hand, I dragged myself across the campus to secure appointments with editors from a variety of different publishing houses. I get to visit with some editors from Tyndale, AMG and Beacon Hill. This is the time where I have to sell myself, my book writing capabilities and hopefully cast a vision as a writer who people will want to read. It's easy to get caught up in the frenzy of it all...if this morning is any example it's going to be a crazy couple of days.
For the next four mornings I am going to be writing an story that will be published in a collection of other articles...more on that as it develops. I'm excited about having another publishing credit and what's even cooler, the story is about my grandmother. That's a tribute to her legacy!

It's fun to see some people I recognized from last year and I already have a lunch date with Diane who I met last year. She has a great blog, you can check it out on my blog roll. It's called Words In High Def...let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The fortress

I remember being a little girl and building forts out of couch cushions. We would angle them just right so they would keep each other up. My sisters and I would drape a blanket over the top for a roof and haul all kinds of stuff inside pretending that we were stranded in a blizzard back in the olden days or that we were hiding from wild animals in a dark, foreboding cave. When night fell that made it even more fun because we could take flashlights into our fort and pretend the power had gone out and giggling with glee we would create another imaginary scene where we needed rescue of some sort.

As an adult I think about those afternoons we spent inside our forts and how much fun we had keeping anyone else out. We were always sad when it was time to put the fort away. I remember feeling like our magic was disappearing as we put each part of the fort away. There is something about pretending that you are disconnected from the outside world that allows you to dream, imagine and be free for awhile. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a fort like that again...maybe it's time to build one with my kids?

In any case the fort that we build as kids is a completely different kind of fort from the one we build for ourselves as adults. I think we all have our ways of protecting ourselves from danger and sometimes when I'm feeling especially threatened I build myself an imaginary castle with a giant moat around it so that no one can come in. It feels good sometimes to retreat to my fort and protect myself for awhile. Last night I heard a really cool story about forts...

A woman was telling her son about how God promises to be our refuge in times of trouble and how we can rest beneath the shadow of his wings like a baby bird does under it's mothers. She explained to her son that God is like a fortress that we can run into and find ourselves safe from the outside world or any enemy that might be trying to harm us. She felt satisfied with her description and wondered what her son was thinking. She sat quietly next to him and waited for him to think through what she had explained to him. He turned to look at her and in a very serious voice he said, "Mom, you know the fortress isn't only where we get our protection," he paused and then with a mischevious smile he said, "It's also where we can turn around and fight."

Isn't that the truth. We can take shelter in the fortress our Lord provides us and while we are covered we can fight the battles and win the wars that wage all around us. We can rest in the hedge of protection this refuge provides, knowing that our every need is provided for.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One challenge for another...

Tomorrow I get to speak to a women's bible study group and then I get to head directly to the airport. It's been a crazy day to say the least, but not in a bad way. I've been looking forward to both events for a long time and the fact they are on the same day feels quite perfect. God's timing is amazing!

I am speaking on Psalm 91 and how trusting God and taking refuge in Him during times of trouble is a gift He offers us. My season of challenge has been colored by an insidious, invisible illness that almost robbed me of my marriage and my family. Thankfully we are experiencing the healing power of the Lord and things are under control. The thing is...painful things often act as a megaphone from God, causing us to seek Him and hoping that He will cover us. C.S. Lewis said, "Pain is God's megaphone..." it's how he gets our attention. Wouldn't it be nice if God could get our attention without all this pain? It feels unbearable while we are experiencing it and we often make promises to never, ever forget how awful our experience was. Time passes and lo and behold, we are right back where we were before. Maybe that's part of the plan, the same thing keeps coming around until we learn the lesson.
In any case, I know that even though we have moved through one challenging season another one will follow. I hope that I'm better equipped the next time around.

Friday, October 17, 2008

School Days

So, it's been a long week and yet it was only four days. What do I mean? Well, we only had four days of school this week and yet it feels like we've been through the ringer. Don't get me wrong, I love my children's school, it's examplary and Blue Ribbon. What's bugging me at the moment is the amount of homework they bring home. Maybe it's because they are both in the same grade, fifth, or maybe it's because they really do have a lot of homework! All I know is when they have homework, I have homework and I'm ready for a vacation from it.

We've been studying states and capitals for the last few weeks. Can you remember when you were memorizing the states and capitals? It's been so long that I had to dust off my atlas and pull out a map of the US. Sorry, I couldn't remember the capital of Nebraska or Michigan. Anyway, imagine my surprise when my daughter Kayla tells me today that she got a whopping 21 on her states and capitals test. Yup, all that studying really helped. Argh!@

I couldn't believe it and asked her to pull out her test...sure enough 21. I then pulled out Zach's notebook and since they are in the same grade started looking for the same test. I kept thinking something was wrong, maybe it was a mistake...Nope sure enough he had the same test but for some reason he got a 94. None of this made any sense to me and I started to question Kayla. I was feeling really bad for her because I was thinking she was being unfairly treated.

Well, it turns out that two weeks ago her teacher announced that it wasn't enough to just know the states and capitals, they had to put them on the map. Hmmm, that would have been good to know. So guess we get to study them in a whole new way. I just hope we do it right this time. And for the record, I'm going to make sure in the future that we know what we are supposed to be doing before we do it wrong.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Celebration: Part Two!

While I was working out I had a vision...sounds profound doesn't it. It really wasn't but I will say it was one of those AHA moments that God so often brings to me while I'm chugging away on the stair climber.

My earlier post asked the question "How do I stay true to my authentic, celebratory self?" Well I think I have the answer. Before I unpack what came to me let me say this...I believe every person has the ability to be true to themselves regardless of their personality type or level of self awareness. I think we will all agree that at some point we have been on the receiving end of some sort of unjustified verbal attack that has left us reeling. Wondering what we might have done to deserve it. Some people are not aware of how they come across and sometimes it's appropriate to let them know and sometimes it's better to give grace and move on.

So back to the it is: When you allow others to be true to themselves, you are also giving yourself permission to do the same. Let's look at that for a minute...
I had a situation this morning that made me want to tell a person that what they had said was hurtful to me. But I didn't...they wouldn't have understood where I was coming from and it would have been a lesson in frustration for me. It took all of my efforts to not blast them in the same way I had been blasted. Yes, I'm human and sometimes prone to temper tantrums, but I digress.
My point is this, When I choose to look past the issue at hand and instead, look at the persons heart, I can often let go of my ugly feelings and see what God sees. I can forgive them, allowing them to be who they are, whether they allow me the same is not the point.

It's not always easy and I admit doesn't always happen right away but when I take responsibilty for myself and what is mine, then I can see what doesn't belong to me... after that I can be free to really be me.

So today I'm going to be free to cheer lead, to champion and enjoy! I'm not going to worry about being anything else than I already am. And I'm going to celebrate along the way!
Enjoy your day!


I have always been excitable. I'm like a kid on my birthday and Christmas sends me right over the edge. I love celebrating and having fun! I hope I'm passing on the art of celebrating to my children because it's something we all definitely need.

Part of my personality is to look at any progress as an accomplishment. I'm a process person and I enjoy the steps that bring me to my goal. I look at every part that is accomplished as something to celebrate, as its own individual goal. I have been known to stand up and shout, "Yes!" pumping my fist in the air, or shouting with glee when I get excited. That's me, the consummate cheerleader.

So, here's the challenge: How do I stay true to my authentic, celebratory self?

Stay tuned, I'm going to work out and will get back to you.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I have a website!!!

Hi Everyone,

I'm excited to tell you that it's finished! Wahoo! Yes indeed, my website is finished and thanks to my husband Grant it's beautiful. At least I think so. Check it out at and let me know what you think. I'm truly thankful for the opportunity to connect with people through this site. I have to pinch myself, it's just hard to believe I actually have a website.

Grant did all of the design and creative work. I just had to come up with the words and gave input on the pictures. He really could do web design on the side but assures me there is no way he wants to do that. I'm not sure, I think he could be convinced. I guess we'll see. :) Anyway, I'm off to enjoy the rest of my birthday. I can't think of a better birthday gift, to launch my new website. I'm happy, filled with love and excited to see what tomorrow might bring!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fox News Junkie

Ok, it's time for me to come clean. I've become a news junkie. Yes, it's true...and I don't think I'm going to be able to give it up at least not for the next four weeks or until the election is over. I remember my dad watching Walter Cronkite during our dinner time and it was loud. We weren't allowed to talk if Walter was talking and only during the commercials were we allowed to ask for someone to "please pass the peas" or "can I please have the salt?" I am not that bad I promise but I fear I'm turning into one of those people that only watches the news. Based on what's on tv these days that might not be a bad thing.

I don't watch soap operas or Oprah or Dr. Phil...might I not be as hip as I hope? My favorite shows are Hannity and Colmes, Grey's Anatomy, The O'Reilly Factor, Dirty Jobs and I really like Neil Cavuto...he cracks me up. I probably spend about 90% of my tv watching time on the news and the rest is just filler...I do love Grey's though.

I keep telling myself that this new infatuation with the news is because it's an election year and it's important for me to pay attention. You know, be informed. I want to know what's happening with the candidates, I check the polls daily and pray to God that the right person ends up in office. I get excited when Sarah Palin says, "Doggone it", because that's one of my favorite sayings and I love it when Sean Hannity has to talk super loud to get the last word in over his partner Colmes. And just to be fair...I do really like Anderson Cooper on CNN, he's got it together. Yes, I recorded the debates and recorded all the interviews with Sarah Palin. I just didn't want to miss any of it. She inspires me and makes me think that anything is possible. Especially for a woman...a Christian woman at that.

Maybe I should just cut myself some slack and admit that I just really like the news. There isn't anything wrong with that...right? I promise to tell you if I start muting my children during dinner so that I can hear the latest from my friend Neil. If that starts to happen than I know I've crossed the line and that takes me right back to my old friend Walter Cronkite...would someone please pass the salt?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Today is a beautiful day!

I walk every morning after my kids get off to school. Sometimes my husband joins me and every morning my dog Yukon is with me. Today I intended to spend my time listening to Chris Tomlin and was going to meditate on the content of my coming speaking engagement. I came around the final corner of my one mile walk, (I know not very far) and I was pleasantly surprised when I ran into my sweet neighbor. We did the smile and wave thing and then she surprised me again by turning around to walk with me. I guess I'm so used to walking alone or with Grant that I had forgotten how nice it is to walk with another girl. We chatted easily and I walked faster than I would have alone. It was fun and we ended up walking around the block, twice.

I have to confess that I have not done a very good job reaching out to my neighbors. I'm content with my routine and don't always look for ways to change. It takes effort and I'm not always excited about doing much that takes effort. This morning was one of those mornings where I found God blessing me when I least expected it. In spite of myself and my lack of motivation to reachout, I was reminded that sometimes that's exactly what I need to do. Stretch the limits, try something new and move outside myself.
It would have been easy to stay fixed on my normal routine this morning. I could have passed her by and missed the chance to stretch myself a little. If I had, I would have missed the blessing of getting to know someone new and the potential of making a new friend. I'm happy to say that this morning I think I made a new friend. I think we may be walking again tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Wow, I have a blog!

Well it looks like I've finally joined the 21st century. It's been a long time coming but I am finally part of the blog circuit. I can only hope that people out there will enjoy the random thoughts that often float through my mind. I'm excited to see what comes from this and welcome your feedback and encouraging words.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Contact Me

I would love to hear from you please email me and let me know what God is doing in your life. Many blessings!

Click here to email me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


God Calling…
By Ally Johnson

“Mom, you’re different.” Kayla sat on the edge of her bed carefully arranging her stuffed animals as she prepared to snuggle into her blankets for the night. Standing at the foot of her bed, I tucked an errant corner of her patchwork quilt back under her mattress and turned to meet her gaze. Smiling at her I reached out and tucked a strand of her honey colored hair behind her ear, “Sweetie, what do you mean I’m different, different how?” Thoughtfully she turned back to her stuffed animals for a moment and then surprised me by throwing her arms around my neck and whispered in her tiny voice, “Mom, you’re still the same Mom I’ve always had, you’re just different.” And then, as if sensing my need for reassurance, “It’s okay; you’re still the best Mom ever.” Kissing my cheek as she released my neck, she sank into her pillows inviting me to finish tucking her in. As I turned out her light her words echoed in my mind. I knew I was different, definitely. God had been working on my heart for a long time, it just hadn’t occurred to me it was noticeable, especially by my ten year old.
I walked down the hallway gathering dirty laundry as memories of my former self washed over me. I was amazed at what a different person I had become. It wasn’t so much that I was a changed person altogether. If it wasn’t for the gray hair around my face, and the crows feet making themselves comfortable in the corners of my eyes I would tell you that I pretty much look the same as always. Freckles, blonde hair, a smile that takes up my whole face and according to my sisters, a rear end that fills out jeans pretty well. No, the changes my daughter was talking about were internal. Changes I knew that came from a deep desire to be closer to God.
Dropping the load of laundry into the washing machine I smiled to myself. I liked who I had become, and who I was becoming. I had a new outlook and felt excited about where God was leading. The fact that Kayla noticed was specific confirmation that God indeed was at work, and that made me feel even more excited. Walking through the rest of the house locking doors and closing blinds I reflected on how God moved in me and how I had gotten to this new place of freedom and contentment. I had been on a truth seeking journey and here are some of the things I discovered along the way.
Be Open
For me the road to change was filled with challenges. I was like a parked car. No one could steer me, not even God. I wasn’t willing to go where God was leading and so I stayed parked on the side of the road for a very long time. Sure my motor ran just fine and periodically it would rev with excitement, but I could never pull away from the curb. Moving forward and allowing change is sometimes the most difficult thing we imagine. We tend to forget the challenges we face are meant for us, designed for us and lived out through us. Being open to Gods equipping so that we can get to the other side of the challenge, is what brings us into a closer relationship with him. Shifting out of park into drive is the choice we have to make before we can ever move forward into more abundant living.
I had to believe that God valued me before I could open my heart to the truths he would reveal. It was my choice and I chose to be open. What will you choose?
Know Your Values
Each of us is created with our own unique God-given design. Part of what makes up our unique design is our individual set of values. Our values are the foundation upon which we build our lives. Part of my new way of being is to stand firmly upon these values, allowing God to show me what is exclusively mine and then, I hold only these things as truth. Who I will be, as a woman and beyond, is founded on my values. Knowing what I believe and not compromising my beliefs allows me to live with freedom, inviting my family and friends to discover their own set of unique values as part of their own God-given design. What are your values?
Know Your Passion
Knowing your passion answers the question, “Who has God called me to influence?” Discovering your passion begins with God and it’s through this relationship that we can become women of influence. Operating in our passion makes everything fresh, meaningful and filled with purpose. Passion is what gives you the energy to keep going in spite of impossible odds. Passion is what gives you the energy to dream the impossible believing it is possible. Passion is what gives you the energy to hang on when you’ve got nothing left to give. God is the one who places that passion in our hearts. Until I understood my passion came from Him I could do nothing with it. It’s up to us to get past the lie that says we can’t do anything, when in reality we can do everything if we begin with God. What is your passion?
Way of Being
It takes courage to step out into something new, even if it seems like a sure thing. If we are open, stand on our values and embrace our passion we can be assured that God is in it. All of these things contributed to the changes God made in me. At some point I got tired of being parked at the curb and decided to meet God where He was leading me. It took courage to admit I wasn’t content and it felt risky to appeal to God for a new way of being. The truth is He wants to be our way of being. He wants us to seek Him, leaving behind our old selves allowing Him to create in us something new.
I used to be afraid of change but now the words, “You’re different Mom,” are words that fill me with the affirming truth of being in a deeper relationship with Jesus. I know I’m different and I know it’s because God called me and I chose to answer the call. When He calls you, how will you respond?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


It has always been my desire to share my passion about life and what God is doing with it. I believe that God has a plan for all of us, it's just up to us to figure out what that plan might be. Through speaking God has given me a vision of how to reach the hearts of women everywhere who are suffering in silence, existing in the shadows and believing their lives are not worth living. They are the people that God wants to reach and I pray that as He has given me words to speak, they will resonate with the heart of every woman, and call them out of the shadows into lives filled with abundance!

Scheduled Speaking Events: October 2, 2008 Community Bible Church

Monday, September 1, 2008

Life Coach

Many of the people I meet are somewhat curious about what life coaching is, and how it can benefit them. In short, counseling is about healing the past; coaching is about designing a purposeful future. As we get to know one another better, we can discuss the specifics of coaching in more detail.

As a coach, my role is to listen intently to your words and your heart, to reflect back to you God’s design upon your soul, to help you chart a path forward and illuminate the immediate steps on that path. I am not the expert for your life, but I am committed to being a resource, a sounding-board, a partner in prayer and encouragement. Coaching is a unique relationship where we partner together to move you forward toward your goals and purposes. It is built on friendship, but it is much more than that…a powerful alliance that God will use to uncover his purposes for your life.

Coaching is a unique relationship where we partner together to move you toward your goals and purposes. – Coach Ally