Monday, September 29, 2008

Dear Friends

Recently I heard someone say we should surround ourselves with different kinds of "friends". She entertained the notion that I need rich friends to occasionally use for their wealth or to advance my own status. I need spongy, annoying friends to help me appreciate my good friends. And I need strange, unfashionable friends to bring me down to earth. I also need forever friends that will wholeheartedly attend to me despite minimalistic maintenance.

With "friendship" on the brain, I thought about facebook, where friendship is mutual. You have to be invited to be a "friend" or you go find some folks and invite them to be your friend. All invitations must be confirmed in order for relational information to be shared. The alternative to confirmation is ignorance...literally: "IGNORE".

Thanks to the electronic book of faces, I've regained contact this week with several friends from the past: roommates, choir comrades, travelin' buddies, senior classmates. By way of confirmation (either theirs or mine) we are now friends again. Haven't spoken in ten or twenty years, but with two sentences, we're rock solid friends. I can't get my brain around it.

My emotions are a mess of nostalgic bliss and foggy regret. Isn't it wonderful to virtually reunite with my closest confidant from college? Isn't it awful to know that after a two year blitz of sharing our deepest thoughts, we just went off the radar for a decade or more?

In 1991, When I moved back to Texas, I was dating a guy who still lived in Washington. He assured me our relationship would be able to withstand the distance. Two months later, he flew down for a friend's wedding and invited me to attend with him. We spent the whole weekend together. Then, as he waited for his flight home, he called me and said these words, "I guess I'm just a 'here and now' kind of guy, and you're not 'here now'." That sentence has haunted me...obviously since I'm blogging about it 18 years later. His words brought along a surge of insecurities.

I thought to myself, "We just spent an entire weekend together AT A WEDDING that he did NOT have to take me to. We had a GREAT time. He was humorous and affectionate. But if he has to be apart from me, he has no need of me?" Since my senior year, I had been a bit of a "player" on the dating scene, but that verdict-bearing phone call from someone my whole family assumed I would one day marry, broke my heart. As my emotions tried to heal, callouses formed. Huge patches of hard snobbishness concealed my aching insecurities while vindictive, control-freak tendencies crusted over most of my vulnerable sensitivities.

Thankfully, the Healing continued. That first semester of ETBU was complicated because I transferred in as the new VP's daughter. I couldn't tell if people were interested in me or obligated to befriend my dad's daughter. I missed my OBU friends. I missed that 'there & then' jerk. I was lonely. It was so simple to be the out-of-touch, can't-get-hurt, don't-care-if-you-miss-me-when-I'm-gone girl. So simple to preserve myself by hiding in a cocoon spun of self-reliance. Eventually, I was forced to open up and let folks in. INNERVIEW changed everything. 60 consecutive hours spent in & out of a 15-passenger van...sing it with me: "Nowhere to run to, baby. Nowhere to hide...". Those folks were exposed to glimpses of the real me. I loved those trips. I loved those friends.

Over time, God sent many friends who shared His desire for my good, and were faithful stewards of the emotional reserves I offered. Most importantly, He sent Philip, who could see with Spirit eyes, the beauty hidden deep within my heart. God gave Philip the patience and compassion to help me dig out of my dysfunctional pit. I love them both for that.

Throughout those years of having very few friends, I know Jesus loved me. He was my friend, though I had done nothing to deserve it. His message to me was (in stark contrast to others) "I am a 'here and now' kind of guy...and I'll always be able to say to you, 'I'm here now." Thank You, Jesus!

Back to that advice I mentioned earlier. I think no matter what kind of people we relate with - and there are sure to be many various types who come into our contact for many different reasons. If we are friends of God, then we will model His friendship. I realize I'll have friends who know me better and friends who spend more time with me than others, but I don't want to use people for my gain. I don't want to shun people just to avoid being inconvenienced or annoyed.

There must surely be a Godly way to befriend people. To speak the truth in love. To joyfully give and receive tender care. To offer our time and talents to God so He can work all things together to heal those who need healing....'cause there's really no way to tell what's going on beneath the skin. Couldn't we live our life as one great big, friendly "invitation"?

Even before opening Pandora's facebook, I had entered a new season of bountiful friendship. I thank the Lord. I want to be a good friend. I want to put others' needs before my own, and simply trust the Father to meet my needs. If I know Him, He'll probably use some of those very fun girls who I call "friend" to bless my healthy heart.

John 15:12-17
[Jesus said] "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command.
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
You did not choose me, but I chose you ...
This is my command: Love each other."

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, Monday, September 29, 2008

Outside My Window...A yard that needs to be mown... is that a word? Mowed? Would fabric need to be sewn or sewed? But a car would need to be towed, not town...that's a city. CRUD. The grass is high, peeps!

I am beautiful my children are inside and out. I get so used to seeing them around, that I don't look closely at them. It's like the door to our laundry room or the inside of the microwave. (Except that those two things are messy & gross and that is NOT the point I'm trying to make about my darlings). You look at them and touch them several times a day, and soon, you stop taking notice. I'll make it a point this week to gaze upon my children with love...AND wipe out the microwave.

I am thankful for...laughing children, jingling dog tags, and busy washing machines.

From the kitchen...Lots to do. Lasagna for tonight. Dishes from yesterday. Lunches for tomorrow.

I am wearing...gray pants, black t-shirt. JW said he likes these pants. Plus. I'm sure that is code for, "Hey, you really DO have articles of clothing that have been purchased this century!"

I am creating... a new script for the Christmas Musical. The one that came with the music is just sorta silly and illogical. You know I can only do silly if it's logical. I'll be able to customize the speaking parts to our fantastic group of talented kids. It will be fun.

I am the Country Club tonight for a women's ministry kick-off deal. Do you see how much girlie stuff I've been doing? And I'm still having fun. Go figure.

I am reading...oh, no! I forgot to turn in my library books. Shoot! I'm sitting here thinking, "What am I reading?? Oh, I'm almost finished with that little book of prayers...I better hurry because it's due back at the library on Friday...which has already happened....Shoot!"

I am get a chance to read some pages on facebook. Since my [20 year] reunion activities are being planned on the site, I opened the can, folks. I realize this has huge potential for addictive keyboarding behavior, but I'm back in contact with people from elementary school, high school, and colleges. The funnest part, so far, is hearing from college kids I traveled with in INNERVIEW. The last year we traveled, I was pregnant with Landen, so it's been thirteen years since I've seen some of them. Most are married with kids. Very fun to catch up.

I am hearing... God speak. He hints and nudges and commands and compels. He declares and interrogates. He voices imperatively. He thunders. He whispers.

Around the house...the figurative weight has shifted toward the messy end of the scale, but that generally means everyone [but me] is relaxed and happy. We'll see if we can move two clicks toward tidy without jeopardizing our joy.

One of my favorite things... is Bible study. I'm not trying to sound ridiculous. I think I just recently realized it. At the conference this weekend, one of the activities was to study a small passage of scripture and flesh it out. I had a ball! I actually said the words, "This is one of my favorite things to do."

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Dentist, LIBRARY, hello?, Church meeting on Wednesday, and the fellas are sprucing up the deer lease this weekend - which evidently begins Thursday noon, this week?? One more week of school before our Fall Break [read: the week where Mommy shuns the children in order to remodel the hall bathroom]

Here is picture thought I am sharing...I regret to admit, there is no picture this week. After two failed attempts at uploading, I surrender. Some people say, "A picture is worth a thousand words". There are times with the bogginess of dial-up, that it would just be faster to give the thousand words a shot.

Enjoy other Daybooks at The Simple Woman.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy MP3 Day

MP3 sang in both morning services this morning. They did a fine job! Thirty 1st-6th graders sat handsomely in the loft shortly after 8 am. Impressive.

Sunday School was good. (Great lesson on talents and rewards)

MP3 in 11 o'clock service, then adult choir, and (naturally) this was my day to supervise a room of 4yr olds during the sermon. Landen was my helper dude. He's amazing with little kids. Jacob invited him over, so I dropped him off and headed home to meet up with Luke and the girls plus Amanda.

Philip was called out to work. (Naturally) This meant that after a brief nap, Mari and Ash had to be dragged to Christmas Musical Auditions with the rest of us MP3-er's. I rewarded them with the opportunity to "try-out". At the end, they each took a turn on the microphone. Ashli honestly did better than some of the older kids. Mari just stood there and swayed. She recieved a spirited ovation.

Auditions went well. I'm always so pleased when the kids volunteer to fight their fear in order to walk up on stage and sing a solo and recite scripture. It was a good time.
Finally, on a day dedicated primarily to MP3, it was time for rehearsal. It went MUCH better than last week. Big fun.

We came home and ate left over sloppy joes, and now several are watching the recorded Cowboy game. JW is house sitting, so we'll be just Johnsons this week. Sad times.

Thank You, Lord, for MP3. Thank You for making us for praise. Show us Your holiness so we can praise You more.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Whom Shall I Send

The “Going Beyond” event with Priscilla Shirer in Bossier was SUCH a blessing. I absolutely needed to hear what God sent her to share. Aside from the excellent, timely teaching from the book of Joshua, I heard about an orphanage that has recently been built in Uganda. The founder brings children out of poverty and gives them fine food, suitable shelter, and exceptional education. The hope is that the boys will be inspired and equipped to go beyond the bondage of poverty and lead their communities into freedom.

Tonight as I was putting Ardyn and Ashli to bed, I told them about the home and the orphans. They immediately burst into enthusiastic brainstorming.

AG: Are YOU going there, Momma?
AR: Can we come with you? Hey! James has a map in his car and we could fit, even Mari.
CDJ: James has a map to Africa in his car? We can’t drive to Africa.

AR: Great! It’s been a long time since I’ve been on an airplane!
AG: We should take some new clothes for the children…can we?
AR: Yes, lots of new clothes with no holes in them.
AG: Are we really going, Momma? Can our whole family go?
AR: We need to tell them about Jesus so they won’t want to love Satan.
AG: Oh, yes, we will tell them about Jesus and teach them songs to sing to Him.
CDJ: That’s a really good idea.

AG: We could teach them all kinds of stuff! Hey! We should invent a school over there, so that we can just teach them everything they need to know.
AR: Make sure we bring good paper…no paper with holes.
CDJ: That’s sweet of you.

AG: I could teach them math or spelling…I’m a lot better at spelling.
AR: I could teach them how to count to 100…and I could teach them to read.
AG: No, Ash, that’s too much like spelling, think of something else.
AR: (pause) I could teach them….knock-knock jokes, I know a bunch!

After a brief demonstration of their comedic repertoire, they settled back into our impromptu planning session. “So, when can we go, Mom?” Trying to cool their jets, without snuffing the flames of evangelism in their hearts, I told them we needed to pray and ask God to work out the details. I had to grin as each girl instinctively buried her face in her hands. At once, they whispered wordy, excited prayers to their Heavenly travel agent.

Thank You, Lord, for a glimpse of Your Life in the hearts of my precious girls. Help me validate these impulses and nurture their desires. Teach me to grasp onto childlike faith. Help me go beyond my silly preoccupations and boldly step into Your promises. Wherever You lead, I’ll go.

Spread, O spread the mighty Word,
Spread the Kingdom of the Lord,
That to earth’s remotest bound
Men may heed the joyful sound.

Word of Life, most pure and strong,
Word for which the nations long,
Spread abroad, until from night
All the world awakes to Light.

-J.F. Bahnmaier 1827

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Follow Up

Today was my post op appointment with the gastro-doctor-dude. My friend, Shelly, kept all 5 of my kids. Lord, bless her and multiply her time right back to her. My kids love her house. Mrs. Shelly always has something wonderful planned AND she lets them paint. She does not share my aversion to liquid messes. Although, her kids have been heard rejoicing, "Yay, we love the Johnson's house, Mrs. Cari lets us mix the play dough colors!" To each her own...with occasional sharing:)

As I drove across town to my appointment, I soaked up the unusual silence. I prayed something like, "God, you know exactly what this guy's gonna tell me. I trust You to help me receive it with Your perspective..." Then I automatically began to construct the possible sentences I'd need to later share with family and friends. "Well, my report was good. Well, the report was not so good --wait -- even if the report is 'bad' it will be FOR my good, so I need to call it that..."

My Father and I could have chatted and brainstormed all afternoon, but I soon arrived at the hospital and went in. I would have continued the conversations in the waiting room, but honestly, Rachael Ray was on the TV hanging in the top corner of the room, and her show absolutely captivated me.

"Mrs. Johnson..."
oh! I'm up!

In the exam room: more waiting, no Rachael, so more divine discussions. Three weeks earlier, this same doctor had announced, "Your lab work is sharply elevated and indicates that you do, in fact, have liver disease. I need to get a biopsy and sonogram to see what kind, and how bad it is."

I thumb through my calendar, thinking... "What if I need a new liver? What if I'm going to die soon? What if it will be a painful death? What if I don't die, but I will still need to endure painful procedures in my future?" In the honesty of my heart, I am resolved to receive whatever my future holds. My only recurring concern is how to orchestrate five children's lives during a potential medical crisis. I tell myself with great sincerity, "Jesus died on the cross so that whatever you must endure, you may be comforted by the fact that he has gone before you and endured more than you'll ever be asked to..."

A tickled smirk sneaks across my face as I squint toward the heavens, "No disrespect, but uh, Jesus didn't have childcare to coordinate, huh?"

(No, it's more like Our entire life for all of eternity is orchestrating child're very welcome)

A knock at the door, and my doctor greets me with a smile. He asks, "How did your biopsy go?" His tone was like the manager at Chili's, wondering if my steak was cooked to satisfaction.

"Great." I plainly stated.

"Well..." His pause was cruel and confusing.
"Your liver is great. The sonogram showed nothing. The biopsy showed no disease, no damage, no scarring, no fatty buildup. You have a normal, healthy liver."

His only explanation was that, apparently, I am part of a tiny percentage of the population who's 'normal' is exceptionally high. (Well, duh?) I've been trying to tell you people!

I was relieved. I just smiled broadly. God made my liver beautiful in His time; that's all I know.

As the doctor hastily scrolled down a list of boxes, he checked them off with enthusiastic confidence. "There's no reason for you to have continued testing. There's no need for you to have further lab work. You will not need to see me again, unless a new concern arises."

In full throttle comedic defense mechanism, I chided, "Our relationship is over? You breakin' up with me, Doc?"

He giggled. "Ok, now who's being a total girl?"
Then he admitted, "This is the only good news I've given all day. This is VERY good news."

I had to stop by the business office, and by then, my defenses had dissolved into doxology. The attendant confirmed, "You do not need another appointment." I beamed, "Praise the Lord! Isn't it wonderful? I have several emails to send. I've had a lot of folks praying for me."

She smiled. "That IS wonderful."

Wonderful Father, Healer, Redeemer: Thank You for today. Thank You for being near me every single step of the way. I'm sorry I blew You off for a cooking show. You are so patient with me. Forgive me for not being more vocal with my praise while in front of the doctor. I know in my heart that he needs You. I'll be obedient to follow up in whatever way You think is right. Nothing compares to the glory of You! I'm not sure how/what You did with my liver, but it is COOL. Praise You!

Let There Be Light

(photo by KF)

"Jesus said to them, 'I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12 NIV

"People are like stained glass windows: their true beauty can be seen only when there is a light from within." --Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

"For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! For this LIGHT that is within you, produces only what is good and right and true." Ephesians 5:8-9 NLT

Monday, September 22, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, Monday, September 22, 2008

Outside My Window...Darkness, which woudn't be frightening, except that Philip is watching "The Village" behind me, and the music is creeping my brain out. Plus, in the driveway, James' car is the "bad color". I'm not kidding - there are woods at the back of our property, and "the ones we do not speak of" live just beyond the pines. "Do your very best not to not be frightened, it is only farce."

I am thinking...that we got so much accomplished today by unplugging the phones and turning off the computer. But I'm also thinking that I have several voice mail and e-mail messages to respond to.

I am thankful for...the encouragement I received from the friends who met at Nicki's tonight. The theme was "Light". After several ladies shared helpful ways we can make our homes more beautiful, one precious saint of a woman added: "With Jesus in your heart, you have all the light your home will ever need."

From the kitchen...I'm actually not sure. I came in from my meeting, kissed the kids goodnight, and came here to catch up on blogs. For tomorrow, I already have beef browned and cans set aside and spices measured so Luke can dump it all in the crockpot. Hearty Southern Chili for dinner, anyone?

I am wearing... Black capris, black & white sweater top, wavy hair, and pink toenails decorating bare feet. I've decided to stop arguing with my hair every morning...on whether it should be straight or wavy. It seems on days I want to determine and demand sleek, straight sheen, my folicles team up with the humidity and I am frizzily outvoted. One day last week, I showered and was promptly sidetracked which resulted in by naturally wavy 'no-do'. It didn't look THAT bad, and it didn't turn to frizz like my usual "persuaded" style. And it takes zero minutes. I'd been contemplating a whole-hearted conversion, when Philip said, "Babe, I really like your hair fluffy." Granted, he might have chosen a more becoming term, but his pleasure was fully communicated, so...fluffy, it is!

I am creating... nada. I'm created out. Another burst of inspiration should come soon.

I am, I'm never going anywhere...I should have written this post this morning, then I could have said, "I'm going to a Women's Ministry Meeting tonight". Shucks.

I am reading...several blogs, and that's about it for tonight.

I am hoping...that tomorrow's lessons go just as smoothly as today's, and that the kids and I have fun together...and that wavy hair comes back into style very soon :)

I am hearing... Oscar's collar tags jingle as he and JW head for bed...and thankfully, no more M. Night Sh-mock-a-luck as I like to call him.

Around the house... Everyone is in bed. A couple more links, and I'm right there with them.

One of my favorite things... is a well written plot. One that is cohesive enough to be intriguing and believable, while containing just the perfect voids to remain interesting and unpredictable.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Lots of school, a few meals, choir practice, paint the girls' nails and then I get Friday evening and Saturday morning OFF to attend a conference in Bossier. Looking forward to that!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

I post this year-old photo (Philip was in his "before" stage) in response to some disgruntled commentary concerning an obvious lack of blog photos of Phiip and JW. I believe Phil got an entire photo post to himself not too long perhaps the anonymous complaint was aimed more toward JW??? Do you see what I deal with? I'm only one woman...

Enjoy other Daybooks at The Simple Woman.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday Night Live

Tonight Shmeg and I drove over to Louisiana to lead worship. It went really well. The ladies were wonderfully kind and participatory, the speaker was inspired, and the worship was joyful.

I am really zonked. Philip actually got called to work in the middle of the night, so he's been running on fumes all day. Landen traveled with his team and had a fun time. Not only did Luke's team go into multiple extra innings, the battery died on the truck, so Philip was not able to make it home in time for me to leave.

(Cue: Indiana Jones Music) Jessica surely saved the day! She had come for a luncheon visit and committed to stay until Philip made it home. The two of them have had a rocky go of things over the years, what, with all the chili cook-offs and cake contests where Philip reigned victoriously. But today, may the record books show that, despite his questionable worthiness, he was indeed bailed out by "the Queen of all things helpful". Thank You, God for Jess. You made many, many things possible this evening through her selfless act of kindness.

I'll be worshipping with our 2-year-olds tomorrow. OH, I just realized Mari Alice is in that class now. What a treat! Then mp3 tomorrow evening. I'd better get some rest.

Thank You, Lord, for the faith You are growing in me. Thank You for family and friends who love me with Your love. Your love casts out fear. Thank You for helping me find Your way. All to Jesus, I surrender...
"Send a Holy fire on this offering, let our praises burn so the world will see,
It's not for us, it's all for YOU!"

Friday, September 19, 2008


Philip was able to get off work today in time to take me on a date. Hoo-Rah! He and James both had crazy schedules this week, so he knew I had been "cooped up" for more than a week. We got out of Dodge. We ate dinner at a sports grill that neither of us had been to before. It was ok. Loud, but we enjoyed discussing the golf tournament, MLB game, and college football being broadcast from every corner of the room.

After dinner, we went to the pet shop to get Oscar a new tag. (If he's ever lost, his current tag would have him sent back toward Austin.) Then it was on to more shopping. A list of random things, really, that I've been jotting down over the past couple days. Things I wanted the freedom to look for and purchase without kids.

We drove back into town and went to the Labor & Delivery floor the hospital. His cousin and wife are in the midst of their first....well, ...labor & delivery! We got to visit with them a little. It brought back so many memories of Landen's birth. Our first many much to be excited much to be scared much to be tired about :)

A tiny bit off the subject: I remember the rush of anxiety and motherhood insecurities that overwhelmed me as we strapped 3-day old Landen into his car seat in the circle drive of the hospital. I sat in the backseat beside him and just burst into tears and sobbed: "He doesn't even know if we're safe drivers, and he just has to go home with us anyway!"

Ok, back to date night. We kissed the new parents-to-be good night and told them we'd come see their little blessing tomorrow. As we left, the nurse on duty told us goodbye. She recognized us from ALL five of our own deliveries. "Frequent Flyers" of sorts, we are!

All of our little darlings were still awake when we returned home, so we got to cuddle with big, deep breaths of their clean, damp hair and freshly brushed teeth. After some much needed family lovin', the kids headed to bed, the menfolk put in a dvd, and I came here, to Bloggerland, to chronicle our lives. happiness.

JW took all three girls on a date this morning. Not at was 9ish when they left. The boys and I rocketed through a huge chunk of lessons in their absence. James said when they entered the donut shop, Mari, who was thrilled to be on her first "girlie time JW date", marched in to the rhythm of her own chant: "Do-nut Shop! Do-Nut Shop!"

Tomorrow there are games in and out of town. The girls and I will be in and around, out and to speak. Tomorrow night is Daddy night. I'm going with Shmeg to lead worship for a Women's dealie. Soundcheck at 4. It's like an INNERVIEW roadtrip all over again. I'm really looking forward to it and I'm grateful to be given the opportunity.

Dear Father, thank You for giving Philip and I some alone time tonight. I love him so much and I thank You for bringing us together. Thank You for my beautiful children and each of their healthy deliveries. Be with the Johnsons tonight. All the many, many, many more Johnsons :) Protect Landen and Luke tomorrow. May they bring Glory to You in all they do. I thank You for our time set aside tomorrow night. I'm so excited about meeting with You and some of Your daughters I've yet to meet. I hope You enjoy Yourself. I'm already enjoying You - just thinking about it. Thank You for JW. Guide him as he seeks out the plans You have for him. You keep blessing me through him. Thank YOU.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Blog from Ash

This journal was dictated by Ashlin Rae Johnson. (Transcribed by CDJ -- except for the last line. That was typed by "her infinite cuteness")

I look cute in this picture. I think I was three or two.

Oscar is having a good time. He been playing with us for a long time. He likes us so much. One time he jumped on me and I didn't care cause I was brave. Oscar likes his new home. We like him so much. He likes me. I can teach him to do tricks. I walked him today. I can pull him...he's too strong, but I can pull him.

The ladybug costume looks cute on me. I'm gonna wear it on Fall Fest. I am gonna be a ladybug.

I wanna talk about Johnathan, now. Johnathan is a cute baby. He kissed me so much. Oscar licked him alot, but it was so funny.

The storm was scary. It tree fell down on...when we were doing AWANA.


A Blog from Ardyn

The following journal was dictated by Ardyn Grace Johnson
(transcribed by her fabulous mother; word-for-word with mild polishing in the spelling department. Grammar was left unedited - by a consuming effort of concentration)

My uncle is taking me and my sisters to the donut shop and the animal shelter tomorrow morning. I am so excited. He said we could wake him up, so we're going to ask Dad to wake us up when he leaves. That means we can go around 6 am.

Mari loves to sing on the keyboard. She climbs up into the chair and pretends she's a rockstar. She sings "Holy, Holy, Holy," while she plays.

Ashlin is my sister who like to play dressup. Today I helped her put together her Fall Fest costume. She's going to be a ladybug. I helped her with her school today, too.

Luke is my brother. He is at baseball practice, so I don't get to see him right now. Luke and I ...I was uhm's spelled with a G, I know. Anyway, we fighted each other. He was the bad guy and I fought him like crazy.

Now I want to go to Daddy. I love my dad. He is a really great dad because he goes to work and helps people's lights go back on. He picks up poles. He's a really great dad. Every night when we go to bed, he sings us the "Papa Song".

I have a great time with my mom at school. And I love her too. Last night my mom and I played a duet. She played the low part and I played the really loud, high part. We did it from our heart and recorded it on the keyboard so we could play it for my dad.

Oh yeah, now it's about my brother, Landen. My brother Landen is really good at climbing trees and he's just ...he plays with me really sweetly. We play Indiana Jones together and I just really really love him. Well.

Oscar, my new dog...he jumps up on you and runs around. He goes outside and he ...if you run, he will catch you. He runs like the wind. I just really really love my family.

This is a picture of me and my friends, Abby & Kaitlyn at a tea party when we were four. They both moved away, but our moms blog together so we can keep seeing pictures of each other. Abby lives really close to me again and Kaitlyn is still far away and I miss her.

I love everyone.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Called Out

Philip is still working. Oscar is keeping the children distracted from missing him. Me? It's gonna take a little more than a chocolate eyed, four-legged, silver shadow to fill the void. If the crews are able to restore power to our community this week, then some will be sent to other regions north and south of us. This may not be the time to mention I've been praying that by some miracle we could be debt-free by year's end. I'll quietly thank the Lord until Philip is able to return home and catch up on his rest. (He'll be more in a mood to celebrate once the overtime "hours" turn into overtime "dollars") Thank You, Lord. Keep him in Your safety.

We had no dial tone again today. Through all these outages, it has become clear that my largest distractions during the day are brought about by the dial tone. With no calls, and no Internet, we have stayed on schedule all week. What a nice feeling. I may just have to yank that cable outa the wall from 8-4. would I dare?

Today during our lessons, we read "The Master Puppeteer" by Katherine Paterson. The passage in which Kinshi introduces Jiro to his fellow apprentices brought Luke to a doubled over belly chuckle. I LOVE the fact that he found this amusing. He's such a quick-witted blessing. Let us share...

Next to the ugly Wada, you will see the fat and handsome peasant face that belongs to Minoru. He is handsome because he was born of a beautiful mother. He is fat because he has committed his life in single-minded devotion to the great and gracious god of the rice bowl. No god has ever been served by a worthier or more loving priest.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, Monday, September 15, 2008

Outside My Window...Wounded pine branches and shingles litter our yard, but the calm, crisply cool air breathes hope of better days to come. Beyond our neighborhood, Ike's damage is evidently worse. Schools are still closed. Dairy cases remain empty. Lineman work overtime.

I am thinking...about how addicted our society is to electricity. Philip literally hooked us up Saturday evening, so I had the freedom to contemplate this troublesome mystery while I watched a dvd in my lamplit, air-conditioned home. Just one of the many perks of sleeping with a handsome lineman. Even though we had power, we had no dial tone. What good is electricity if you can't even blog????

I am thankful for...the physical safety that God provided us over the weekend. "Us" was defined as Josh, Kathy, Johnathan, Oscar, Papa John, Granny Alice, and all 'us' Johnsons. I say, if you're gonna spend the day in peril, have plenty of people around to keep the party going.

From the kitchen...Silence. Tidy, lemon-scented silence. I served lunch, snack, and dinner on the patio, so clean up was minimal and earlier than usual. I heard JW in there 'wallago'. He typically eats his latenight meal like a jewel thief -- you know things are missing, but there's no evidence of who, how, or when.

I am wearing... shorts and a pink striped shirt. Can you believe it? Pink? It was on sale, and you know I love a good deal more than I hate pink. It's actually growing on me.

I am creating... a schedule for homeschooling. I've been doomed by distraction these past few weeks. I need a plan, people!

I am include this simple woman link before I forget.

I am reading...the new Fall BHG that came in the mail, and a pile of Bible Study resources.

I am hoping...that Philip will be of sound mind and strong body as he continues to work in dangerous conditions. He called today and greeted me with "YES?". Confused, I clarified that I had not called him. He said he got a text message saying "Call your significant other". Just as my curiosity was piqued, he had to abruptly end our call. He called back a few moments later. "Hey," he said. "Hey", I replied with reservation, "you were about to tell me about your other significant other???" He was thrilled with his apparent high connections. "It was from my number, so I guess the Holy Spirit was telling me to call my beautiful wife and tell her I love her." um-hmmmm. He continued to offer his condolences that I was indeed his ONLY 'other' of any significance at all. "You're all I've got. I guess it stinks to be you!" Giggles all around.

I am hearing... trucks traveling on the nearby highway and windchimes gently swaying in the cool, night breeze. Thank You, Lord, for open windows!

Around the house... Everyone else is in bed. Ahhh... let's just bask in that warm, wonderful thought for a moment longer......
Philip is working. (Have I mentioned him yet, or the fact that he is working?)

One of my favorite things... "kitchen lemon" handsoap from Bath & Body Works. (Thank you Kilgore women!) It smells so delightful, I am tempted to diliberately soil my hands ...just for the opportunity to wash them again. Fingertips near your nose: Deep breath in....ahhhhhh.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: I hope to spend the next few gorgeous afternoons outdoors: rocking, reading, writing, and perhaps even romping. I need to go to the grocery, but I need for the grocery to have timing will be tricky. I missed worshipping with our church family this past Sunday. Hopefully, we'll be together again soon.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
This is our beloved Oscar. He is cordial, well-trained, hypoallergenic, tidy, and with the help of frequent baths and breath mints, he is quite genteel. Isn't he cute?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm Good

About my liver: here's the deal. Whatever is wrong will undoubtedly fall into one of these categories. It's not a big deal, and there's just some stuff I need to do/take to treat it. OR It's a huge deal, and there's nothing I can do/take to treat it. Either way, I see no benefit in worrying right now.

I'll meet with the doctor in a couple weeks. Until then, let's concentrate on the really big news. We're adopting!

A dog! My brother, Josh took a new position at a university that offers housing benefits, but no doggie benefits. My children's lifelong prayers have been answered. James is getting a sleepin' buddy. And Anyone who has known me for even 15 minutes assumes I have lost my mind. I have not. I love my brothers and my children more than I hate pets. As of tomorrow night, the "Beloved O-dog" -the miniature Schnauzer whom you may call Oscar- will reside here in our loving home.

Despite what you may have heard concerning either of these opportunities, I assure you that I am good...for now:) Speaking of good, Kathy's "Thoughts for Thursday" post is wonderful. Click here to enjoy.

Thank You Lord for creating the heavens and the earth and knowing my inmost parts. Thank You for Oscar and the love you'll grow in me through our relationship. Thank You God for being absolutely Good absolutely all the time!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Outside My Window...The grass is REALLY green from a pouring shower earlier today. I love the brightness of the lawn when the sun comes out to chase away the clouds.

I am fun it is to teach math. Problem solving revs my engine!

I am thankful cozy home on rainy mornings and the breezy outdoors on sunny afternoons.

From the kitchen...Landen and Ash are tackling "Cheesy BBQ Quesadillas" for supper. They begged me for the chance. It's best I not supervise. They'll be sure to clean up the mess, and as far as germ-free cooking, this is one case where "what I don't know will [hopefully] not hurt me".

I am wearing... blue shorts, fish camp shirt, ponytail, barefoot, glasses. (wow, that's copied from last daybook....I should really kick the wardrobe up a notch or two, huh?)

I am creating... a color pallet for the hall bathroom. I'm being a big, fat copycat of shmeg. The orange paint stripper will come out this week. (that's a scented liquid solvent, not a colorful dancer of ill repute)

I am include this simple woman link before I forget.

I am reading...the Bible (and a couple other resources) as much as possible trying to finish up the studies for November.

I am hoping...that my liver biopsy yields some helpful results. My specialist is apparently not a believer, so I am trusting the Lord to work through him for my healing as I pray for his HEALING.

I am hearing...children chattering and the a/c running. I'm thankful it's not the other way around :)

Around the house... School work is everywhere, one load of laundry left to deliver, and the floors desperately need attention, but the household is happy.

One of my favorite being read to by my husband. After the biopsy yesterday, I had to lay on my right side for two hours. He came up to my room on his lunch break and read a chapter of "The Rest of God" by Mark Buchanan aloud to me. Curled up on my side, I was gently lulled to sleep by the sweet, low rhythm of my darling's voice.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Adult Choir, prep work in the bathroom, lessons for the children, and hopefully a visit from Josh, Kathy, Johnathan, and Oscar.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

JW and the gang at the Circus...Mari's not too sure about the Shriner Clown.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Weekend Update

Friday night was datenite. And though the activities seemed routine, the company was priceless. Philip and I went to dinner and then walked around at Lowe's picking out paint samples for the hall bath. Then we went to WalMart together and bought groceries. We picked up a dvd on the way home. James had the kids in bed, so after we unloaded groceries, we lounged in the living room and watched "The Last Sin Eater". Good movie based on a Francine Rivers novel.

Saturday was filled with sunshine and friends. While Philip and Luke headed out of town to play ball, the rest of us enjoyed a birthday party. We did a kid swap so I had Ashli, Mari, and KJS travelling to Landen's games. Once Philip finished his games, he brought Luke and a friend to Landen's game. After waiting the customary inning, I loaded up the girls, left the boys, and headed into L'view to shop. As the sun tagged the moon, we reconvened at John/Jessica's new house. We un-swapped kids, held their yummy 2-month-old Cara one more time, grabbed some cobbler, and headed home. (I was determined to bring something yummy home from their house. I would have preferred the sweet girl-baby, but the cobbler did just fine.)

This morning, Philip and I attended adult Sunday School together as non-teachers for the first time in two years. It was wonderful. We reacquainted ourselves with the peers we had abandoned long ago and enjoyed hearing a friend open the Word. And since I wasn't teaching, Philip had his arm around me the whole time. Scripture and [mild] snuggling. mmmmm.

Tonight, we had our first rehearsal of MP3 (Made to Praise Father,Son & Holy Spirit) kid's choir tonight. 34 kiddos, 3 helpers, and one slightly frazzled director. The kids were great. We learned one of the songs from our upcoming Christmas musical. We even mastered the motions (thanks to Shmeg). We shared sugar sprinkled Christmas cookies (thanks to Melanie) and lots of smiles and hugs (thanks to Becky). I just set up the room and kept the good times rollin'.

Tomorrow I am having some tests run at the hospital. If you think about me, please pray that I'll be patient and calm. I'm not looking forward to the "procedure" planned for the afternoon, but I have a good book and a writing pad packed for the remainder of my multi-thousand dollar mother's day out.

Dear Lord, thank You for my handsome husband. Thank You the work You are doing in him. Thank You for sending Jesus to take away my sins. Thank You for friends who echo our love for You. Thank You for Immanuel. Thank You for forgiveness. Our trust is in You alone. Thank You for coming to MP3...and bringing such wonderful helpers. You are worthy of our praise! Thank You for clearing Your schedule for me tomorrow. How awesome is it - that You can grant undivided attention to each of Your children all at once?? I look forward to our time together :)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Following the Leader

Some clarification concerning Simple Woman's Daybook. It was originated by a gal I've never met, but my sister-in-law, Rebecca, set the trend in my life. Admittedly, she had to help me along with my first couple posts because there are rules, people! Link obligations, perma-link statutes, photo link requirements...

Reading my daybooks alone, might give the reader the indication that it is a "simple daybook from a woman". However, I believe the creator of this meme (?) - I'll have to look in my "Blogger for Dummies" book and get to the bottom of that one - intended it to be "journal starter for the simple woman". Her site is even called "Simple Woman". Stop saying it! I KNOW I'm complex and at many times perplexedly complicated. My only qualification might be the simplicity of my skincare and wardrobe. Nonetheless, I joined in the fun.

A big part of the fun is to post your link on her website each week so other simple women can read your entries. Or in my case, other women could simply read your entry. She has all the guidelines on her site. I have nothing but Monday motivation on mine, so I'm hopefully sending you back to the source.

Is that enough linkin' forya? All I'm saying is that if you're posting a daybook each Monday, please don't merely follow my example. (I don't always do it right) There's more to know & more to do.

Now I feel as though I've offered the way back to the creator of the daybook. I'm sorry if I was misleading. Though my "weak link" daybook was not worthy of being an example, evidently it served as one anyway. The only way to get everybody back on track is to get back to the original author.

Hey, that's kind of deep....Beyond blogdom, there is a Kingdom truth here. "I want my life to offer the Way back to the Creator. I am sorry if I am ever misleading. Though my daybook -the pages of my life that lay open today- is not worthy of being an example, many times it is anyway. The only way to get everybody back on track is to get back to the Original Author."

ooh, I like it!

"Jesus said, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." - John 14:6
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." - Hebrews 12:2

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Dry and Thirsty Land

Despite the swamp-like physical conditions out of doors, today possessed an arid, parched spiritual climate. It seemed with each passing moment, I was desperate for God to rain down upon me and reign in me...and I guess while we're at it, rein me in. I was stinkin' out of control. And I felt like I watched the whole thing go down. Nothing major, just an underlying incapability to be joyful. Ugh.

I found myself crying out (literally) for God to help me. I have more than one friend who are facing huge challenges right now. I've told them I would pray for them. I have committed to pray more for my husband. At first, I thought, "If I can't pray effectively for myself, how in the world...?" I felt so beaten down about my own junk, but I started praying for them. At one point I was reading a book aloud to the children and was on "auto-pilot". Have you ever done that? You're pronouncing all the words and even reading with inflection, but your mind is a thousand miles elsewhere. Anyway, I was praying while reading aloud. (Don't TELL me I can't multi-task!) ANYWAY...I just started weeping. My emotional outpouring apparently did not correlate with the cheerful passage I was reading. The kids were MAJORLY confused.

I just needed God to show Himself and fill my heart with His calming assurance. During dinner preparations, I was praying more. (Multi-taskers of the world, unite!) One of the things I was praying for was our finances. I was actually praying something like, "It's ok, God, I'll be fine. I can work it out..." DO WHAT? I shut that line of prayer down hard. I straightened my shoulders, took a deep breath and asked, "God, You know I have $4 in my purse. I don't need anymore than that. I know that if I need more than that, You'll provide it. I love You."

Another recurring theme in my prayers was my relationship with my kids. I'm such a bear sometimes, I wonder if they'll ever want to come back to my house when they're grown. I don't want to be so cold and worn out all the time with them. I need refreshment and peace.

Across the table, this is how the Lord mercifully answered my prayer.

Ardyn: "When I grow up, I'm gonna live in Montana."
Landen: "Well, you better make sure you know how to get from here to there, and back again."
Ardyn: "Why?"
Luke: "You have to come to Thanksgiving!"

As I loaded the car to run folks to practice, this is how My Father in Heaven lovingly provided for my need before I even had one. I picked up the tumbler of water from my last excursion, and noticed something lining the bottom of the drink holder...a mysterious, crisply folded twenty dollar bill. (It will be fun to see what need arises...He and I will get a jolly smile outa that one!)

I leave you with the comforting lyrics of Fernando Ortega referencing Psalm 36...

Oh God, You are my God;
Earnestly I seek You.
My soul thirsts for You,
And my flesh yearns for You
In a dry and weary land
Where there is no water.

I remember You at night,
Through the watches of the night.
In the shadow of Your wings
I sing because You help me.
My soul clings to You,
And Your hand upholds me.

You alone, You alone,
You alone, You alone.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Outside My Window...It is STILL raining. Gustav has worn himself out, they say. The rain began to fall last evening, and is predicted to continue throughout the week. Puddle jumping, anyone?

I am nice it was to visit with the Flannery's over the weekend. I love that girl! I found a little too much comfort in the Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla, Dulce la Leche??? -which must be Spanish for 'whole lotta mo sin', and Dark Chocolate M&M's. (There is a reason I don't keep that stuff around!) But late night scrap booking and mid afternoon movie/naps are worth the two pounds I gained. Apparently, the one mountainous walk to three bowls of ice cream is not a ratio conducive to continued weight loss. Bummer.

I am thankful awesome brother who will bring milk home so I don't have to load folks up and head to town.

From the kitchen...Cheesy Hamburger Pie is cooling on the stove top. The dishwasher is quietly running, and there is a cold cup of forgotten coffee that has been sitting even more quietly in the corner since this morning.

I am wearing... blue shorts, fish camp shirt, ponytail, barefoot, glasses.

I am creating... DVDs of all our VHS home videos. Dubba-dub-dub!

I am include this simple woman link before I forget.

I am reading...blogs to catch up from the weekend, and the curriculum that came with our Christmas musical.

I am get to bed early this evening and that Philip is able to get some much needed rest.

I am hearing...the low squeak of my exercise ball upon which I sit. Back and forth, I rock...stopping occasionally to balance "Indian style" atop. Trying to burn more calories than blogging alone might. (You're welcome for the comical mental image, and you are not to tell ANYONE about's our little metabolic secret. shhhh!)

Around the house... Possessions are tidy, and children are ready for bed.

One of my favorite things...laughing with my husband. Yep. Very favorite.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: A haircut before Adult choir rehearsal tomorrow, Baseball on Saturday, and the long-awaited kickoff of Children's choir on Sunday evening. Woohoo.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

This is the rough draft of the mp3 (kid's choir) t-shirt I designed.

Monday, September 01, 2008