Sunday, December 10, 2006

Too Busy To Blog

When I set out to post my thoughts, I figured every other day or so would be a nice, steady pace. It appears I can only manage to post once a week. Busy. Busy. Perhaps this week will afford more time to write.

Last week's recap:

Monday we recuperated from Sunday which seemed unusually busy...why was it so tiring? Oh yeah, Philip worked through the night so I was on my own to dress/feed 5 kids, warm up my voice (choir sang in both services) and orchestrate a "good hair day" all before 8am. We did it (James drove so I could finish my face)....together we did it. I got a really good nap that day, I remember now. Praise the Lord for rest. We attended evening worship and ate dinner with the college students. We stayed late visiting....and next thing we knew, it was Monday morning with new mercies and a lot of laundry.

Monday night Philip and James each had a Bible study to attend, the 3 older kids had choir practice....Ashli, Mari Alice and I just hung out watching folks come and go.

Tuesday morning I helped choreograph a banner entrance for our Choir musical this coming Sunday. That night was datenite.....DEEE-Lightful!
(kids choir practice #2)

Wednesday....a typical Johnson day followed by AWANA/Choir Practice

Thursday... We had honorary Birthday celebrations for Ashli since she was planning to be out of town on her "day-day". The kids showered her life with quality time, generous gifts, encouraging words, acts of service, and lots of hugs and kisses. It was a tremendously sweet day. After CHOIR PRACTICE (will it ever end????) we had a family party. She enjoyed herself and then said she needed to get to sleep 'cause she was "goin' to Sean's house when the sun comes up."

Friday... We loaded up and headed for Canton (half-way between us and Sean).
We had a great lunch with friends, handed off Ash, then headed back for Mar-shall! We arrived just in time to greet Philip upon his return from work and ready ourselves for the Sunday School party that evening. Ashli called that evening and asked if she could spend the night.....she missed a couple of the memos. I missed her.

Saturday: Take a guess where the kids had to be at 10am....RIGHT-O! A pizza luncheon completed the final choir practice for the YEAR....and then we were off to 4-H. Philip normally takes the kids, but he had to work, so James, Mari, and I shared quality time waiting for the other 3 to shoot their targets. James and Philip replaced the brakes on his car, and requested queso with venison for supper....I obliged. I cleaned the kitchen, chatted with a friend, ironed clothes, and folded laundry until Saturday became Sunday.

Today had a rough Mari screaming from 3-4am...followed by Philip being called to work at 5:something. We made it to most of Sunday School. Well, the kids did. Mari and I had brunch in the parking lot, finished my face, and prayed for grace to make it through the day. (Why is my face never finished when I leave my house?) Praise the Lord for another good nap today. The kids shared their Christmas Musical tonight. All that practice produced an enjoyable evening of song and dance. It was a wonderful evening...until the Cowboys lost. What is their problem? I had no faith when I saw the first quarter score, so I chose to partake of "Extreme Makeover - Home Edition" instead. Man, that show makes me cry. The people who get the new home are always so humbled, so honored...the folks who work their tails off all week are always so grateful for the gracious, so honored. It just gets to me. I think that's how I feel about God's love for me....that I'm so helpless, and could never afford the extravagance. And yet He lavishes his love on me to the point that I just weep. I think it's also a picture of how I want to be a blessing to others. I want to give, to love so unselfishly, that (even without being paid by ABC) I find joy in serving and providing for others. I want to wear "forgiveness" like a crown....not there me Jesus.

Night has fallen, and the baby is in her big girl bed, so I'll listen to every noise down the hall as I sleep not quite as deeply as I did when she occupied her cradle. Thank you, God, for never sleeping. Watch over my children as I sleep and help me be an attentive mom. Be with Ashlin and bring her home safely.

More Later

Saturday, December 02, 2006

'Twas the Season

Today we close another chapter in the Johnson book of hunting. Luke shot his big buck for the season. Everyone was proud for him, and I was thrilled. Philip has already harvested a buck and a doe, and Landen has been quite a copy-cat of that. Four deer lay at rest in my freezer, and now, with Luke's buck lying in waiting (aka the big red cooler), we must bid farewell to the life of the huntsman. From this day on, at least until next fall, our only source of enjoyment will be the incessant story-telling and comparisons of each wilderness pursuit...oh, and the venison chili.

I insist that I shall begin my own hunting excursions. It seems rather appealing to rise before dawn on a weekend morning, leave without a word, and remain at-large without household responsibility until well after dusk. My scheme begins to crumble when I consider not only the use of firearms, but also the use of outdoor "facilities". I'll keep working on a plan.

In other news, the tree is up. The door has a wreath. And I think that'll about do it! Our house is a dark shadow of a rectangle, except for the porch fixture that barely provides enough lighting for said wreath to be seen. We are bad, bad Marshallites...what with the "Wonderland of Lights" and all. Our lack of luminosity is an embarrassment to our community for sure. But Philip says "They'll get over it....I ain't staplin' a bunch o' junk to my house when I gotta take it off again in a couple weeks...." I'll spare you the remainder of the thought-provoking speech he delivers each time I suggest that a few outdoor lights would be festive. I'm not so interested in "sharing the light" that I actually go outside with a ladder I concur. The tree looks good, and my scrooge is really handsome, so all is well.

Come over anytime for a candy cane off the tree. Seriously, the girls are waiting. Right now. They wanna get one down and give it away. And we have venison with fascinating narratives to accompany. So come when you can. Happy Holidays.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Simple Math

Ah, the intrigues of having a college student under our roof. My baby brother, better known as "Uncle James-ey" has been living with us for more than a year. His presence here has not only added excitement and drama to our days, but has expanded our vocabulary as well.

For instance, "I really know what you're going through," has been replaced with "I'm feelin' ya dog." Calling one's attention to something or someone is no longer accomplished with words like, "hey", or "hi there", or "wait a minute". With great efficiency, we all just holler, "Dude!" However, the most influential addition to our verbiage has been two little words called "Plus" and "Minus".

This powerful duo of mathematical terms helps communicate a broad expanse of emotions and opinions ranging from gratefulness: "Plus on bringing home a Dr. Pepper!"; to disappointment: "Minus on eating the last brownie!" One family member might pass another in the living room and grin as he confirms that evening's activities: "Plus on watchin' a movie with me tonight!" One child might express his displeasure with a sibling's choice of plastic-ware: "Minus on takin' my cup!" This verbal technique can also be abbreviated by simply making comment -- positively or negatively. When someone tells you your shirt needs ironing, you may frankly disagree with "Minus". Perhaps you arrive home to find your favorite meal prepared for dinner. Adequate delight is conveyed with "Plus!"

Minus on leaving your laundry in the floor.
Minus on being late.
Plus on bringing in the mail.
Minus on watching TV while I clean the kitchen.
Minus on telling me I'm "in a mood".
Plus on wearing a shirt that matches.
Minus on whining.
Minus on pooping all over your clothes.
Plus on being so cute!

With all this "plus"-ing and "minus"-ing, I have become acutely aware of my speech. Essentially I am labeling my remarks as either positive or negative when I utter them. It stings to realize how often I say "minus". This categorical system leaves no room for neutrality. I am either encouraging or discouraging. I build up or tear down. I gather or scatter. Whether this verbal fad will sweep the nation or not, I have developed a heightened sensitivity to the words I speak and their effect. And I pray that God will give me the strength and self-control to be a total encouragement to those with whom I live. Minus on my rotten attitude sometimes. Plus on God (and others) being patient with me!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hunger and Thirst

I was in the kitchen preparing dinner when my son walked in for another drink. He seemed baffled by his unquenchable thirst. I hypothesized that his lunch had included quite a few salty foods. He asked, "Why does salt make you so thirsty?" That nutritional discussion faded off as my thoughts were captivated by such potential spiritual profundity.

Are we not, as believers, declared in scripture to be the "salt of the earth"? And doesn't Christ Jesus claim to be the source of "Living Water" who promises to satisfy our deepest needs? Therefore, shouldn't our contact with the world cause people to "thirst" for the Source of fulfillment?

I heard a rumor once, that all-you-can-eat buffets put extra sugar in the tea, so that people would feel full sooner and thus eat less food. Can sugar really diminish hunger? I'm not sure, but it's great for today's extended metaphor, so let's run with it! Are there attitudes we display that would actually suppress someone's hunger for the things of God? Lord, have mercy!

Who knew lunch meat, Dorito's, and sweet tea could be so enlightening?

Psalm 73:25-26 "Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Psalm 107:8-9 "Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men, for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Last night was one of those "His Needs, Her Needs" discussions that comes up every season or so. I arrived at the conversation physically and emotionally drained. I will typically hang in there just for the thrill of skilled debate, but not last night. After a few volleys of "My needs, your needs", I could participate no longer. As I walked toward the bedroom, I calmly admitted that the Holy Spirit would have to tell us what we needed to know. We exchanged "I love you"s and let the proverbial sun set.

Today as Philip returned home from work, he asked me: "Did the Holy Spirit speak to you today?"
I said "Yes, He told me that you are a great man, and that I should be patient with you."
We both smiled. I asked him if he had heard from God.
He replied with a smirk, "Yes, He told me that you are a wonderful woman and that I should be patient with you."
We both cracked up laughing 'cause we're hilarious, that's why.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Just the Facts

Item #1: Mari Alice has been sleeping through the night (10pm-6am) for 3 nights. Ahh....let's just enjoy that great news for a minute.........

#2: Philip (accompanied by Ashli) harvested a doe this evening. When he pointed out the deer on top of the hill, Ashli stuck her fingers in her ears and said "Shoot it, Daddy...shoot it, Daddy!" He did. She removed her fingers and said, "Good job, Daddy....good job." It's been several hours and he is still basking in the triumph and praise.

#3: We had a tremendously busy week so it's Saturday night and my house is a mess. BUT everyone's clothes are laid out for early service, and all meals for tomorrow are already prepared. (Luke spent a couple hours of "quality time" in the kitchen with me this morning and we cooked ahead. Big fun.)

#4: Landen slept in until he felt like getting up, then did zero school and played outside all day...until he helped his dad and brother gut a deer. We believe he lived his ideal day.

#5: Ardyn announced today she would like a horse.

#6: James......yes, James.....well that's a whole blog in itself.

#7: I am great. My house is a mess (did I mention that?) but I refer you back to item #1. 'nuf said.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Q & A

We were playing our usual dinnertime game...the one Uncle James made up where we take turns asking a question and hearing one another's responses around the table. The question making the rounds was Luke's: "If you could attend a party hosted by anyone in the world, who would that host be?" I said "Martha Stewart...not for a good time, but for great ideas and intriguing, thematic decor." James said "Cari" ('cause he knew I'd be serving brownies soon and he wanted a double portion). We got around to Sean (Ashli's 4-year-old buddy) who answered immediately "Ash" as he pointed his thumb over his shoulder at his good, good friend. We all sighed, overcome by the sheer sweetness. Then someone asked him "Why Ashli?" He replied with similar promptness and heartfelt resolve: "Cause I just love her alot." Ashli, not wanting the moment to fade, leaned into his ear, and while the rest of us bustled our reactions, she probed, "Why do you love me so much?" He smiled and said, "I don't know, I just do."

Everyone should have a friend like that!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Our God is Large and in Charge!

I was talking with my friend "Kelly". She and her family relocated recently and during the process, her one, continuous prayer was that everything would work out smoothly. Months into the process, looking back, "smoothly" has not made the list of adjectives describing her experience....not even once. If it could go wrong or be delayed or tossed into the air, it did and was. She has put her life into the Father's loving hands. He will give her strength and peace and continue to bless her.

I visited with my friend, "Sue" the other day. She hasn't asked the Lord for anything grand or specific. Yet, within the last few months, she has received wonderfully surprising news of great joy....followed by equally surprising news of great tragedy. She has put her life into the Father's loving hands. He will comfort her and continue to bless her.

My friend, "Leigh" has prayed diligently for years for a very specific blessing from God. In recent weeks, it seems as though the Lord may be giving her precisely what she has longed for all these years. She has put her life into the Father's loving hands. He will protect her and continue to bless her.

I have heard the same message shared from three separate women's lives. Whether we ask for it or not, we face challenges everyday. Some are monumental and others mundane. Some exhilarating, others exhausting. Our only hope is in the promise that God is God. He never changes and He cares for us. We have our wishes, we make our decisions, we live like we're making things happen, but the ultimate truth is that God is in control.

But realizing such a huge truth should not cause us to feel powerless. His love is powerful. His sovereignty empowers us to live abundantly. We rest in Him. We trust in Him. We live for Him. We believe Him when he says He loves us and will complete the good work He has begun in us.

Thank you, Lord, for my friends (You know their real names). Thank you for loving them and letting me see You at work in their lives. You are mighty and wonderful. Give us all the courage to cry out for You and the patience to wait for You. Thank you for Your promises that make life so abundant. You are worthy of all our praise!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Weekend Update

Friday we worked two shifts at the MOPS Pumpkin Patch fundraiser. In coordination with our own apathy toward selling pumpkins, it seems there was a community-wide phase of indifference concerning autumnal gourds. Due to gusty winds and brisk temperatures, we looked over the patch from the cramped warmth of the Suburban. We sold a total of two pumpkins after 6 hours of effort, and decided that in order to redeem the day, Daddy would have to take us to CiCi's pizza before heading home. He obliged. All was well.

The Fall Festival in the church parking lot brought our weekend to a conclusion. Landen dressed as a hunter, while Luke painted a "P" on his shirt & blackened his'll get it in a minute. Ardyn wore 27 yards of wired ribbon and 2 pounds of silk florals, and became the beautiful garden fairy that she's always been in her heart. Ashli was a lady bug, and Mari Alice wore a "Got Milk?" shirt and allowed me to paint a white "milk-mustache" on her upper lip. We enjoyed frito pie with friends, listened to good music, frequented the "jumpy-things", and gathered too much candy for anyone's good.

Today we started a fresh, new job chart. The previous one had run its course and had become predictable and mundane. There is excitement in the air. People seem to be pleased with their division of duties. I know very well, they'll be grouchin' and gripin' by this afternoon. We sorted "arts and crafts" this weekend, straightened school books/supplies, and organized the videos and games. If only I would accomplish my goal of replacing current wardrobes with "the Fall 2006 line -- uhr, tub" sometime this week, then the only dream I could still cling to would be for "little bit" to sleep through the night. Yes, well.... speaking of the smallest Johnson, the brunch bell rings!

Remind me later to share about God's good and perfect gifts.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Checkin' In and Checkin' Out

Mari Alice had a 2-month check-up today. She's growing beautifully and needed 4 preventive shots. The older kids worked on schoolwork in the waiting room while Ashli made her "supportive big sister" debut. When the doctor entered the room, she whispered some type of experiential warning concerning this man in scrubs and his tools of torment. She reported to the doctor that Mari cries a lot. He asked "about what?". Ashli replied, "Mainly 'bout my when she's starvin' or when she's suckin her nose and stuff." Ashli continued in her role of comforter/informant with great skill. She held Mari's hand during the inoculations and spoke softly in a high pitched, melodic tone: "OOH, Baby Girl, it's alright...sister's's almost're ok." Then in a surprising change of tone, she addressed the nurse and admitted smugly, "Mari Alice is not a very tough-girl, huh?"

A rainstorm followed us home. The effectiveness of my single cup of coffee this morning has now expired. I wish for a nap. I long for a nap. I'd give $20 cash for a nap! Do you think the next time the baby sleeps, I could get 4 kids to go to separate rooms and stay quiet for $5 bucks each?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sniffles and All Things Sinful

Mari Alice has a cold. I sheltered her the best I could, but with 4 siblings, an uncle, a dad and a bunch of friends, it was inevitable, I suppose. So, like I did with her older brothers and sisters, I have begun to use the (dun-dun-dun)NOSE SUCKER! It is now my goal in life to keep her sinus cavity free of mucus. A cold is one thing, but a secondary ear infection is quite another. So, to this preventive end, I arm myself with the light blue suction bulb, and boldly go where no mom likes to go....snot-sucking.

I learned with Landen that no good comes from dragging out the process. It's not going to be fun. You can gingerly approach the nostrils and attempt to remain gentle and pain-free, but this technique is not only time-consuming, it is ultimately ineffective in the overall removal of drainage. Instead, it is wise to hold the child down, close the opposite nostril, then quickly and steadily suction the unwanted mucus out of each passage. This approach is not for the faint of heart. You can fully expect the child to kick, flail, scream, cuss, and try to hold her breath until you leave her be. But this, too, shall pass. When the eternal 90 seconds of procedure has concluded, you can comfort her with an embrace then whisper words of restoration into an ear that will hopefully stay well.

Is there a life lesson to be learned from snot suckage?
#1 Unhealthy things in our lives must be removed.
#2 Ridding our lives of such "yuck" can be uncomfortable and potentially painful.
#3 The benefit of clean living is the hope of sustained health.

After a day of worship and Bible study, I am conscious of sin that has taken up "snotty" residence in my life. (I imagine it like that Musinex commercial where the animated, green blob unpacks his things) I know if I confess it, God will forgive me. But some habits have to be "sucked out" in order to avoid continued sin or secondary "infections". I honestly do not look forward to the process of God "cleansing" me....according to scripture, God uses a refiner's fire instead of a blue bulb. Some of my sinful ways are REALLY comfortable and kind of fun. But to keep an eternal perspective, the peace of righteous living and the hope of sustained holiness far outweigh the momentary discomfort or pain of "expulsion". So I will surrender to the One who loves me enough to deal with the "nasty junk" in my life....the One who doesn't promise to keep me comfortable, but comforted.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Evidence --or lack there of

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." -Philippians 4: 4-5

It goes on to say WAY more than I can deal with today.

I'm living here in these 2 verses until otherwise notified.

Rejoice how often?
I didn't hear you, please say it again, I'm s'posed to what?
How often?

What is to be evident?
To how many people?

Efficiency doesn't count?

Gentleness, you say...Just to strangers, guests, close friends?

Do I have any excuses?
Oh, You're near?

making & molding?

Good to hear.

Gotta go do!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Enjoyable day

Today has been filled with good company and fine merriment. (Last night Philip and I watched "Sense and Sensibility", so I'll be speaking in fine fashion for a day or so.) The overnight hours with Mari Alice were utterly dreadful. I place my unwavering faith in the hope that sooner than not she shall slumber deeply --not wanting for any comfort or companionship I could afford her. Despite the weariness brought about by lack of rest, we enjoyed fine fellowship with friends breaking journey from Denton. Their bountiful offspring adjoined unto our own made for a frolicking display in the yard.

This "Jane Austen" verbiage should wear off by the morrow. Perhaps we shall view a portion of "Larry the Cable Guy" this night so as to bring about balance and restore propriety.

Until then

Friday, October 13, 2006

My Thoughtful Place

I just cleaned out my garage and found a box of journals. Some were full of thoughts and prayers, while other books of good intentions still remain unfinished. I've always seemed to find comfort in getting my thoughts out on paper. Sometimes folks read my musings, othertimes, the writings remain quite private. I decided that since it is 2006, and typing is faster than penmanship, I'll post my thoughts here.

My brother, James suggested the title be an accrostic for my initials. He's tricky like that. I rest in the hope that I will certainly discover joy in the days God gives me to live for His Glory.

More Later , CDJ