Friday, October 30, 2009


Last summer I tried and tried to convince Landen NOT to wear the black tank top with his swim trunks. Beyond girlish tan lines and the conjured images of Bing Crosby in a 1930’s beach musical, it was just strange. He had a decent enough reason for wearing a shirt: the tag at the back of his shorts was “itchy”. Tucking the undershirt into his waistband solved the problem. Oh? I hadn’t mentioned the black tank top was tucked in?? Yes sirree!

Anyway, gentle prod after pointed discussion brought about ZERO change.

Until…he attended a Jr. High lake party. He magically returned home cleansed of all his warped stylistic preferences. In Landen’s words: “This girl with blond hair looked at me weird and I asked her what she was looking at and she just looked at my shirt one more time and said, ‘Nothin’.”

Super. I WISH I could have been part of the solution, but ultimately, as long as he’s not flaunting the “tank ‘n’ trunk” ensemble anymore, I’m pleased.

Next issue. For months, Landen has had a rash of sorts behind his ear. He scratches it all day and it gets raw and then spreads. We have seen the doctor twice about it. We have some medicine that keeps the skin clear as long as it is applied consistently. Therein lies the problem. Landen is 13. Consistency is not his strongest suit. It’s not really my strongest suit either, but I’ve already got an infant and a preschooler who NEED me to gear any consistency I’ve mastered toward the forefront of their personal hygienic maintenance. I’m only one woman!

Over the months, my frustration with his chronic “grossness” behind his ear has led to several different tactical approaches. I threatened to shave his head if he didn’t stop scratching it. I promised to withhold meals if he hadn’t properly applied the medication. I even authorized anyone who saw him scratching his ear to slap his hand…hard! I preached and I nagged. I begged and I griped. I pleaded and punished.

Then… a couple weeks ago I noticed he had clipped his fingernails down to the quick. He said he did it so he wouldn’t scratch his ear. “AH-HA! I’ve made a break though!” I congratulated myself. In the following days he began to proudly display the clean and clear skin behind his ear. My naive assumption that my eloquence and influence had won him over to a life of cleanliness was short lived.

Yesterday in the kitchen, I told him how pleased I was that he was making such consistently mature decisions about his ear. I waited for his “Shucks, Mom, you really are the best for patiently proving to me the importance of personal hygiene!”

To my disgrace, it sounded like this. “Well, Mom, you know a couple Wednesday nights ago? I was sitting in Bible Study and just as I reached up to scratch my ear, this blond girl behind me kind of coughed. I’m not sure if she saw my ear and thought it was gross, but I stopped scratching and pulled my hair over my ears just in case. When I got home I cut my nails and washed my ears really well and put the medicine on. I’ve been putting it on about 6 times a day since then. It’s working!”

A blond girl clears her throat, and the boy has revival in his life.

I’m done. I’m hirin’ me a blond girl with squinty eyes and a tickle in her throat. I’m gonna give her a list. She’s gonna change my world!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I am convinced that the Good Lord gave little girls long, tangle-prone hair so that once or twice per day, they might be afforded the much needed opportunity to "cry it out".

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Tuesday, October 27, 2009...

(By the inspiration of my lifelong hero, I'll attempt to complete each entry in less than three lines...cheer for me...I usually can't give my name & address in fewer than 200 words.)

Outside my window... The last rays of warm, bright sunshine cast long, broad shadows over our marshy meadow of a yard, while chilly children run and romp along the driveway.

I am thinking...that "needing to let your food settle" is an excellent excuse for avoiding almost anything...even the dinner dishes.

I am thankful husband who loves me when I'm not very lovable and shows patience when I've lost mine completely and remains committed to me despite the notion that I might need to BE committed.

From the learning formal education today. MOPS, "Phantom Tollbooth", Monopoly, GoFish, snuggling and chatting.

From the kitchen...Green Chili Venison Stew over brown rice with turnip greens and baby peas. The crowd has mixed feelings about the veggies...I love them both!

I am sweats, Texas tee, and's chilly.

I am creating...a recipe notebook. We decorated binders at MOPS today. Brown and Cream Toille! Happy fabric!

I am AWANA, Bible Study, Fall Festival, and Church...and probably to W@lM@art at some point, wouldn't you imagine??

I am reading..."Turn" by Max Lucado and my Fall magazines before bed. It's time to go to bed just a minute or two pile is mounting!

I am maintain good health - family wide! So far so good with operation: Dodge the Flu.

I am hearing...Preschool worship dvd in the living room and older kids happily hollering outside.

Around the house...messy, messy. This is the price we pay for a truly relaxing day. We'll get'er tidied up after baths.

One of my favorite things...giggling with the kids. I'm too serious too often. I'm a fun girl, and I need to act like it.

A few plans for the rest of the week...lessons, house cleaning, finalize plans and make some lists for Thanksgiving and live abundantly.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...Baby "LizBeth" (The kids have shaved two whole vowels off her name...not really what I meant by nickname)

To participate or simply enjoy more daybooks, visit The Simple Woman.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Monday, September 19, 2009...

Outside my window... Bright and Chilly. The lawn is drying out after last week's flood status and is in desperate need of a trim.

I am thinking...that I have a kajillion chores to do, but the kids are all doing theirs and I would prefer to blog. Later we'll trade: I'll do chores while they read & write. :)

I am thankful for...two strong weeks of good food and exercise. Life is just better when you're not acting like a fool.

From the learning rooms...The three older ones have recently exploited my diminished involvement in their day-to-day learning. Assignments dodged, Quizzes overlooked, Reading ignored. Comprehension NOT checked. We had a little "come to Jesus" meeting last Thursday and I believe we've had revival & renewal...the restitution may take a few more days:)

From the kitchen...the dishwasher has been broken for a few weeks now. Evidently, my darling purchased the Mercedes Benz of dishwashers so we're having trouble locating a certified technician and replacement parts. So we wait. And I wash. Each person drinks out of the same cup all day and we eat lunch on paper towels. And once or twice a day, I enjoy the gentle roar of the faucet. My hands automatically scrub and rinse each dish, bounce it twice in the air to remove the water, and set it gingerly along with the others to dry. All the while, I get to chat with my Heavenly Father about all things we feel are important. Good times.

I am wearing...jeans, last year's MP3 shirt, and tennis shoes.

I am creating...Fall Festival of my favorite expressions of frugal creativity. Ardyn attended a costume birthday party Saturday, so we got a bonus run at the craft. With less than 10 minutes and $0 she was transformed into a Japanese doll. She wore my red silk wrap-around robe with a wide black sash around her waist. We smeared diaper medicine and baby powder all over her face and accentuated facial features with bright red lipstick and black eyeliner. We poked two black pens and a sprig of silk flowers into the bun on top of her hair. Lots of fun.

I am take Elizabeth to her 4 month check-up. She is such a great baby and growing so fast!

I am reading..."Turn" by Max Lucado and my Fall magazines before bed, and "Phantom Tollbooth" after lunch to the's really not a read aloud, but it was referenced by a character in our last book, so I was interested to read it. They are enjoying it too.

I am hoping...that MP3 does a great job next Sunday with the adult choir. I love those little worshippers!

I am hearing...the chattering children and muttering motion of several chores being accomplished simultaneously...and Ashli humming "Holy is the Lord God Almighty"...she ALWAYS sings while she works:)

Around the house...there is so much to do. I should wrap this up.

One of my favorite things...making Philip laugh. Strangely, it doesn't happen often. While he finds me beautiful, industrious, and intelligent, he fails to fully appreciate what I would consider my finest examples of humor and wit. But last night I got a good, hearty guffaw out of him - I don't remember what I said, or how I said it, but he laughed a wide, toothy laugh. Very satisfying.

A few plans for the rest of the week...lessons, costumes, house cleaning, and hopefully a family day in the garage to transition from baseball to deer season.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
She said she was a big girl and could listen to TWO chapters.

To participate or simply enjoy more daybooks, visit The Simple Woman.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Flashback Foto

A day at the Pumpkin Patch in 2005...when the two littlest Johnsons were in the mind of God. Thank You, Lord, for Harvest!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

People Last

Today I was chatting with a friend about selfishness. She reviewed her recent efforts to be a blessing. "I give money to God, rescue animals, donate to the library, and...well,...and people last, I guess." We chuckled at her honest, albeit disturbing list of priorities.

Those two words caught my attention. "People last." Isn't that such an easy approach to life? Do the work. Get the stuff. (Rescue a hound or two.) Make your way. Do your thang. And, at times, relational investment gets squeezed into the mix almost as an afterthought or coincidental bonus.

In the midst of interpersonal dealings, how tempting it is to consider our own preferences and potential benefits before an other's. "Me first. Other people last." Or if we're REALLY honorable, "God first (yay! even the Grammy-recipient rappers get this far) Me next. People last."

But with a few repetitions and a tilt of the head, it can sound completely different. "People last." "People LAST!"

Humans are eternal beings. The manner in which we treat one another has everlasting effect. Bless or curse. Gather or scatter. Confirm or deny. Peace or strife. Love or hate. Stuff in this life will be either eaten or destroyed. Souls are for keeps.

I struggle to find a righteous balance between productivity and personability. Too often I discard or ignore time with people just to get a couple more things done. I value the routine of responsibilities more than the household of hearts. I set my mind on earthly tasks and time while eternity holds everything of worth. The only way to access that treasure now, is to set my heart toward the Creator and the ones He has made in His image. Love God. Love folks.

In Matthew 22, Jesus says, "Love the Lord, your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, 'Love your neighbor as yourself'. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Then in John, He shares with His followers during their last supper, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another....Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

Next time I'm tempted to put people last, I hope to remember: people last.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


I think I may have forgotten how to blog. It's been so long. Several times a day, I think of some freshly illumined truth, or surprising connection and I say to myself, "Self, you should blog that!" And then the day continues. My thoughts continue. But I never find the time to sit and write it out. When I do sit down to "pen some words", I can't quite remember how the truth or the illumination occurred, and in a late-day fog, I can't quite piece together the sequence of surprise, much less, the connections. I forget. I blog to remember, but at some point I must remember to blog:)

But this is what I know for sure. God is good all the time. He is Truth and Light and Love and Purpose. Unpredictable, yet Reliable. Uncomfortable, but Comforting. Simply Complex.

I found this photo on my camera. Evidently, Luke snapped it while I was walking.

"From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, the Name of the Lord shall be praised!"