Joy By Surprise {Winner of Give Away Announced!}

Surprised Little Girl

What is it about a surprise that so greatly blesses the soul? I’ve been pondering this for several days. When a thought becomes a perpetual circling back I do what any lost soul would do.

I grab a map and start walking. It’s just that my walking stick is a pen and my map a dictionary.

According to one meaning of surprise is to be “struck with a sudden feeling of wonder and astonishment as through unexpectedness.”

It was sixteen years ago this week that my husband and I were on the receiving end of unexpected wonder and astonishment.

Seven years of infertility had finally ended with “and they lived happily ever after.” God saw fit to bring us a son. He was born by the labor of our hearts and the womb of another woman. Matthew’s adoption was the journey of a lifetime. His birth and arrival were characterized by one miracle after another.

Remarkably, God had more in store for us. Matthew’s biological, baby sister was born six months after his homecoming. Despite her traumatic birth and “almost didn’t get to keep her” moment, my husband and I were graced with not one, but two children in a very short time.

We never imagined having more children. God had answered a mountain of prayer regarding our son’s adoption. The birth of our daughter and her discharge from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was an additional pinnacle of answered prayer.

We were blessed.

We were grateful.

We didn’t dream of asking for more.

But then God surprised us.

Two years later we learned we were pregnant. Our Christmas baby was born in December of 1998.

He was Joy by Surprise.

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I’ve always told folks that each of my kiddo’s had special entries into the world. Our youngest is no different. He’s heard the narratives regarding his older brother’s adoption. He’s also heard about what seemed to be a supernatural healing that permeated his sister’s conception and arrival.

His eldest siblings own pretty big stories when it comes to their worldly debut. Consequently, I’ve always felt it was important to reaffirm how monumental his coming was.

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But how do I help him understand? How do you explain that you’re grateful for the dozen roses on your anniversary but the York Peppermint Patty your hubby gives you when he walks in the door from work means just as much.

The Peppermint Patty is proof positive that he hasn’t stopped thinking about you. The Patty is all the more sweet because you never expected it. It slides from his hand into yours and soon your heart is warm like the toasty trail of peppermint left from your first bite. The minty affirmation that you are loved is as important as the aromatic roses that annually grace the kitchen table.

James Joseph is my peppermint patty.

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He is our Joy by Surprise.

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Sweet DoAheads, may I encourage you with a parting thought? I know there are seasons in life that are heavy. I also know first-hand what it’s like to implore the heavens for help and good news. But with every fiber of my being I’m convinced that the Good News has come.

My conviction isn’t meant to minimize or disqualify any burden a friend out there in cyber-land may be carrying. Rather I’m hoping that after reading this you’ll find that

He’s here to carry it for you.

Christmas is such a beautiful time of year and yet for many it can be a very difficult time of year.

  • Finances can be tuff.
  • Strained relationships can be stretched further still.
  • Loved ones may be far or just plain gone.

My prayer is for Joy by Surprise. I’m praying it for you and for myself. I’m asking for eyes that see, ears that hear and hearts that recognize the Peppermint Patties God continually slips into our lives.

Years ago (many years ago) I was captivated by a song called Joy by Surprise.  Click on the link or visit  DoAheadWoman  on Facebook if you’d like to hear it. I hope you will. Be sure and finish it to the end (the steel guitar may throw you off a bit). I promise the chorus at the close will leave a beautiful imprint on your head and heart.


And now I get to announce the winner of last week’s Give Away! Drum roll please for:

Barb McCue!!!

Please email me at with your mailing address and I’ll get Gina’s book to you ASAP!

Last but not least don’t forget its Inspire Me Monday!

These lovely ladies (including your DoAhead friend) will be co-hosting with Angie: Denise J. Hughes and Anita Strawn de Ojeda. Below are your  1-2-3′s for linking up and living life inspired!

1. Link up an inspirational post from the previous week (just one please.)
2. Visit two other contributors (especially the person who linked up right before you) and leave an encouraging comment.
3. Share the inspiration three ways…you can tweet, share a post on Facebook, Pin-It, Instagram-It, WHATEVER form of social media you choose…just SHARE!

Here’s hoping everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well as an upcoming season of joy by surprise!

Your DoAhead Friend,


  1. Cindy, I love it! Peppermint patty prayers for all! May the sweet surprise of Jesus be a blessing to all this season!

  2. I am reminded that I really need to come pay your a visit more often. What a sweet and inspiring post. Joining you in this . . . “I’m asking for eyes that see, ears that hear and hearts that recognize the Peppermint Patties God continually slips into our lives.”
    Blessings to you and yours.

  3. I’m definitely a fan of Peppermint Patties (and joyful surprises arranged by God). Thank you for sharing your beautiful story :)!

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