Hey friend! I’m Johanna Winchel – though my friends call me Jo, without an e if you would be so very kind. I chase joy like the sunset and have an insatiable thirst for more coffee and more Jesus. I believe in turning hugs into dances, singing even if they are listening, and loving long and hard. You can usually find me frequenting the corners of the local coffee shops, in constant pursuit of finding the world’s best vanilla latte (please, drop me a line if you think you’ve found it). Born and raised in Southern Californian sunshine, I’m the daughter of two, a sister to five, and a soul sister to the people I’ve completely adopted into my circle besides. Needless to say, there is never a dull moment in our home. I’m currently an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Biblical Studies. God won my heart in my early teen years, but His continual pursuit of my affections has never ceased. That is perhaps the most important thing I could tell you about myself really: I am loved by the Maker of the stars. This is my unchanging definition and it is the truest thing about me.
As to Gracenotes, well that is what all of this is about really. Gracenotes is a kind of open journal, a hopeful ministry, and a dare all at once. It’s an open journal insofar as everything you read here is only an echo of what my own heart is learning to rest in as I journey through this messy and beautiful thing called life. It is also and even more so a hopeful ministry – and that is not because I believe my notes are all that consequential, revolutionary or life changing. But if by being open about the growing joys (and pains) of my journey with God can somehow encourage you, well then my job is done. My prayer is answered. I am content. Finally, Gracenotes is a dare – a dare to all who pass by to claim their identity as beloved sons and daughters of God. It is a dare to reach high, hands open and palms up – ready and expectant for God to do all that He has promised; a dare to dig deep and wring every day out like a rag until these moments our dripping with intentionality and these hands are caked in grace.
But my real heart is for this site to blossom with the fruit of the Spirit of God. This is not about me – this is about Jesus. And so may every jot and tittle of what you read here lead you to think less on the she behind the notes and more on the He behind the grace. I am a woman after God’s own heart. But here is the far, far greater contemplation: even if I was not, and even when I fail to be – He will still be a God after mine. His grace finds me. This is all I know – all I need.