Saturday, April 28, 2007

Ultimate DateNite

We could not decide where to eat. As we waited in the construction traffic that congests our road between here and the interstate, we considered leaving the county. Which direction? North? East? South is a "no-go". WEST! Because if we didn't leave town, then we would face even more challenging decisions after dinner.

We happily redeemed a Christmas gift certificate at OUTBACK. As we sat in our little wooden booth, a flat screen just over my left shoulder was broadcasting the Ranger game. I could see the incredible conflict of interests flooding Philip's life. I wasn't feeling very talkative, so I welcomed the distraction. I would sip ice water and glance up at him. What a stunning left profile! Sip. Glance. Again with the profile. Oh! He turned to look into my eyes and smiled that charming grin that has been my downfall for years. I looked to my left....ahh, a commercial break. The food was really tasty and the company was comfortable. As we left the restaurant, the Rangers were ahead five to one.

"Where to, now, my love?" he asked, trying not to sound too obvious. He continued obliging and offered, "Books-a-million?" I accepted. As we drove in Friday night traffic, I knew I was still not feeling talkative. I knew how much he loves to watch the Rangers, and how seldom he gets the chance. The shopping center that houses B-A-M, also contains a Michael's, and Old Navy, and a Best Buy. I stretched my hand across to rest on his shoulder. I suggested he go in and see if the guys at Best Buy could tune in the game. He turned abruptly to see if my facial expression would determine if I was joking or not. I was not joking. I was really excited about the impromptu shopping spree and I knew he would prefer baseball over flip-flops, florals, and page-flipping. I leaned over to kiss him and told him to meet me when the game was over.

As we were getting out of the car, I saw a friend and her husband between a row of cars. I waved and shouted, "Hello". They asked what we were up to. I cheerfully replied, "DateNite!" and turned to smile at my date. He was walking across the parking lot toward the opposite end of the shopping center. I looked back at the couple. They were giggling. There was no time to explain, so I just giggled too. I found a flag shirt for $5, a craft for $1.40 and a nice, cushy chair and a pile of interesting books for zero dollars. Philip found me after the Rangers had triumphed.

Datenite is ultimately about meeting one another's needs. So, all things considered, it was a great evening. We won't make a habit of know, just consolidating childcare for each of us to have separate alone time...but for a one time change-up, it was a winner!

When we got home, we explained the strange turn of events to James. He kept rocking in the recliner and mumbled, "That's exactly what happened on 'King of Queens' tonight." I'm not sure that's a good sign.

Thank You, Lord, for the quiet comfort of companionship. Thank You for all the really great, deep, conversations Philip and I have had over the last several weeks. Thank You that just being together (sort of) was enough to strengthen us last night. Thank You for drawing us closer to You and to one another. Thank You for Your love.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Three Happy Things, No Five

I went to WalMart this afternoon and discovered 3 new favorite things.

#1 PicSweet frozen mexican seasoning blend. It has blackbeans, corn, red peppers, etc. I put it in a skillet with 3 frozen, skinless, boneless chicken breasts and a little EVOO (shout out to Rachel Ray). Several minutes later, I chopped up the chicken and spooned the mixture onto corn tortillas with shredded cheese (that were waiting on the griddle). Tasted awesome! So simple.

#2 On the cracker aisle, which is always a tough one when I'm dodging partially hydrogenated oils: Annie's Cheddar Bunnies. They are just like goldfish, but better for ya! The kids said they were great.

#3 Continuing to avoid the oils that are one molecule off from being Tupperware.....Skippy has a natural peanut butter that you don't have to stir. It still has sugar and salt added, but no nasty fat.

Oh, and Big Lots had Easter stuff 90% off. I brought home each child a little something...and spent a total of $.88! They were thrilled. When Philip saw all the loot, he asked, "What did Daddy get?" To quote my favorite cell phone commercial, I replied, "Daddy got hosed!"

I'm off to spend some QT with the hubbie.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday Morning Worship

I was on time to Sunday School today. Thank you, very much. (Make-up in transit, but that still counts) Between class and choir, I stepped into the "little girls' room" to check the make-up that had been applied at 70 miles and hour. A lady came in to empty the coffee from her class. She asked how I was feeling. I told her "great!" She asked a couple more sweetly sensitive questions, and next thing you know, we're both crying and hugging. Yes, I was hugging a a bathroom.... while crying. I can't explain it. I'm not sure how it all happened. We kept talking and missed the entire worship service. (I'm an inadvertent choir-ditcher) Everyone knows that given the opportunity to choose a bathroom activity, I would have gladly chosen cleaning the toilet over of hugging and crying. But I'm growing. The Lord knew I needed some encouragement. I guess He figured if my pride/insecurity concerning cosmetics could lead me into the bathroom, He would just meet me there. Well, I repent of my shallow pre-occupation with powder-to-lip-gloss ratio, and I thank, You, Dear Father, for sisters who build others up in Your beauty and grace.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Family Day

Today the entire household traveled with the boys and their county 4-H rifle team to the district shoot. They each did really well. Landen shot his record last night in practice, and nearly reached it again today. Luke did great, as well. We did not stick around to get his final score....we were all tired, and he was one of the youngest to compete, so we'll hear the scores later today. It was a great excuse to be out in the sunshine, pack a lunch, and use the stroller.

As I type, James and Mari Alice are taking naps in their respective rooms. They seem to represent the peak stages for rest requirement. My oldest 4 darlings are hunkered down finishing a movie they could not complete before "lights out" last night. Philip is on the couch watching baseball. We are so grateful that FOX offers Saturday MLB games to regular, non-cable, non-dish, non-network folks. I sat with him for a while. We miss baseball. Secret confession: we were on a date last week, and after dinner we seriously considered going out to the ballpark to watch some kids play. The boys have not mentioned little league. They continue to play a daily rotation of football, baseball, and basketball on our property with friends and family, but have not mentioned missing "the ballpark".

I must go check dinner. Philip and I are meeting some couples from our SS class (that we no longer attend because we're with the college peeps) at the bowling alley. The kids are meeting the kids of said couples at the church. James and Megan are being collectively hired to monitor all the fun and frivolity. SO everybody under this roof will load up around 5:30. It's my job to provide some food, clean up the mess, change into some cute "date" clothes (that will look good with bowling shoes???) , pack a diaper bag, and get my game on. Ok, so there's no game to get on, but the rest -I should be able to take care of.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Good Night

Tonight was MOPS' annual "Evening of Friendship and Faith". We met at a local BnB, ate fancy little girly food, and enjoyed a wonderful time of sharing. I love to hear people talk about all that God is doing in their lives. I am literally inspired.

Let's see what else is new....We rented "Flicka". It was terrible. I have little patience with a weak plot. I have less patience with bad acting. The popcorn was good.

We are in our Spring Break of school....between grades. With no baseball, we are just absolutely enjoying every drop of sunshine, every breeze of fresh air, and even the thunderstorms seem wonderful. The kids are doing review lessons each morning, but we're pretty much takin' it easy. We've been to the Life Center three days this week, plus tomorrow will make four. Yeah!

That's it. Nighty-night!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Quote for Today

My brother, Josh, emailed an article this morning. Great read! It included this quote that is too good to keep to myself....

Author Walter Wangerin Jr. once wrote, "The difference between shallow happiness and a deep, sustaining joy is sorrow. Happiness lives where sorrow is not. When sorrow arrives, happiness dies. It can't stand pain. Joy, on the other hand, rises from sorrow and therefore can withstand all grief. Joy, by the grace of God, is the transfiguration of suffering into endurance, and of endurance into character, and of character into hope--and the hope that has become our joy does not (as happiness must for those who depend upon it) disappoint us."

May we certainly discover joy.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


All the Johnsons are back under the same roof tonight. The fellas returned from the "Big Campout" this evening a few minutes after the gals came home from church. We all greeted and hugged in the kitchen for EVER. I felt like I was living one of those logic problems from 5th grade: "If there are 7 Johnsons, and 3 of them haven't seen the other 4 for 5 days, how many possible combinations of reunion hugs would there be?" I was cracking up at how much my kids missed each other. Philip and I grinned at each other as the boys passed Mari back and forth, calling her "Baby Girl" and "Sweetie Pie". They hugged the older girls, and told them how much they had missed them. To which, Ardyn exclaimed: "I don't think we should ever be separated again!" We authorized an impromptu movie night, and put Mari Alice in bed. The others quickly agreed on a movie, and ran off to the boys' room to get started. Collectively, they are the perfect size to fill up one standard loveseat....shoulder to shoulder. Philip and I enjoyed the empty kitchen as we chatted and shared highlights of our time away.

Thank You, God, for family. Thank You for bringing us back to each other happily and safely. May this phase of sibling bliss endure beyond the morning light.

Cucumbers? They're Bad For You, Aren't They?

I don't have a post to match this title, but when James offered such an astute, enlightened inquiry, I threatened to blog it. So here we are.

Have a nice day.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

22 Days of "Why You Haven't Heard From Me"

Sat 3/24: Choir Rehearsal, Birthday party, "stomach virus"
Sun 3/25: Ok, maybe not just your average stomach virus...
Mon 3/26: Seriously, I'm in pain....I'm calling the doctor. She can see me at 11. I drive. She observes. She calls a surgeon and sends me to the hospital. By 3pm I'm on a morphine drip and no longer have possession of my ruptured appendix, or my gall bladder. Nifty.
Tue 3/27: Ice chips, IV antibiotics, and morphine does the body good. (The morphine was also helpful in the unanticipated weening process) Philip brought the kids by to see me after "Sacrifice" Rehearsal. They were all so sweet. As soon as Mari saw me, she dove out of Philip's arms toward my bed. She buried her face in the crook of my neck and grabbed a handful of my hair in each of her fists and then just nuzzled. It was so sad for me to think that I nursed her Monday morning and never came back. No memo. No nothing. She was fine.
Wed 3/28: Day 5 of no food. A little mix up with the nursing staff was finally resolved around 6pm, and I got a bowl of broth. Nifty-Neat!
Thur 3/29: Broth and jello offered for breakfast...."No Deal". James sneaks up to the hospital with instant oatmeal and I have never been more thankful for a meal....ever. (La Famile has dress rehearsal for the "Sacrifice")
Fri 3/29: Finish up last IV. Home sweet home after noon. Doctor's orders: "Take it easy and don't lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for another 10 days."
Sat 3/30: In-laws come to see "Sacrifice". Pain pills prevent me from remembering anything else.
Sun 4/1: Mom, Grandma, Papa, and Josh come to town and attend the "Sacrifice". I go with them. Not a great idea, but we'll cover that on Tuesday.
Mon 4/2: Everyone attends the "Ward Walker Lecture" during chapel at ETBU. Philip works since he took the previous week off. (No Disney World this year, rats!) No pain pills because I'm driving. My children behave magnificently! As people were discussing the achievements and accomplishments of the Walker brethren, I thought to myself, "I may not have a terminal degree, but my 5 children just sat through 50 minutes of Chapel, and a formal luncheon with no incidents....and they look cute too!" Home to take a pain pill and visit with the "folks".
Tues 4/3: Oh, my.......I can't walk. Perhaps being "up and about" Sunday and Monday was a bit premature for my overall healing process. TV for the kids, pain pills for me.
Wed 4/4: Feeling MUCH better. No meds today. Do some light household stuff to make up for Mon/Tues.
Thur 4/5: Post-op doctor's visit. Lookin' good. Oldest three children complete day #170 of school and We're done!
Fri 4/6: MOPS playdate plus friends with children come for lunch and the afternoon. Big Fun.
Sat 4/7: Garage Sales with Ardyn. I FINALLY paint the girls' room pink. Beauty!
Sun 4/8: Happy Easter, everybody! I keep my commitment that I made months ago to teach the 2-year-old nursery. The boys treat us to Gucci's with their "pine cone" earnings. Good, easy, family time the rest of the day.
Mon 4/9: I can officially lift 10 lb again. (Does he honestly think I have not been carrying Mari around for days? sh-sh-sh!) Get tire fixed, work out, dentist appt, library, bank and dry cleaners....spaghetti, and bedtime.
Tue 4/10: MOPS, laundry.
Wed 4/11: Load up 3 girls and their belongings and head for Weatherford.....arrive just before rush hour. (Johnson men head for Tyler to camp and fish and just be manly-men) James holds down the Southfield fort in order to stay current with all his educational and occupational commitments.
Thurs 4/12: While in the metroplex, some visit the zoo and park and science museum and merri-go-round and sonic. Others stay home and chill.
Fri 4/13: Shop at Kohl's for the first time ever. I'd be broke if I lived in a city. Tornado warnings to jazz up movie-night.
Sat 4/14: Pack up same three girls with same belongings, and head back home. Unload, unpack, get the mail ('cause that was not on James' to-do list), and chop veggies for a bridal shower. James watched the girls for "not-really-datenite" so I could go to the shower. Philip and the boys should return tomorrow....with some incredible laundry requirements.

Now we're up to date (if you made it this far). I intend to make my posts more often and less lengthy. We'll see.