Monday, October 31, 2011

Multitude 10.31.11

Giving thanks to God in community for His gifts ...

crisp autumn breezes
rustic benches for lakeside sunsets
sticks and stones, hills and streams - offering hours of fun
acorns and rocks, clamshells and driftwood
bright sunshine that warms to the soul

friends who are chatty - willing & capable to carry conversations along
friends who are quiet - adding worth to each lengthy exchange
friends who love enough to smile and say, "stop it!"
friends who laugh easily, yet sincerely
friends who are practically perfect in every way

emphasis on listening
super great ideas

okra and tomatoes, squash and potatoes
slow-smoked chicken with hand-knotted dinner rolls
Sunday afternoon drives down quiet winding roads
coffee with dessert
the re-creation of recreation: family camp


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Thursday, October 27, 2011...

Outside my window...
A cold front sneaks across the muggy morning...darkening and chilling everything in its path.

I am remembering...
The first time we took Landen up to Uncle Don's farm for the Fall Family Reunion.  His toddler senses had been overwhelmed all day with sights and sounds and smells of autumn.  In the middle of the night, he spoke out in his sleep - a word he had never uttered in consciousness.  He tossed and turned and dreamed a sleep smile, then he stretched out his arms and charmed, "Punkin:)".

I am thankful for...
sweet friends who agree to meet with me before the day fully begins - such a safe, inspiring part of my week.

I am creating...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


 And after all that talk of back pain and bed rest yesterday...

Last night as I was pushing the grocery cart, my left knee went numb and then my lower back began to ache.  I gingerly finished my shopping, asked the cashier for assistance with the dog food and the case of bottled water, and gently loaded the bags into the car.  I called Philip on my way home, and by the time I arrived, he greeted me with a delicate hug and a less than inspirational speech about how my back would never be the same and if I didn't watch myself, the disc would rupture and I would have to have surgery.  (yadda yadda) oh, I'm kidding.  I was truly inspired.  not really.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rest in Peace

Last fall I had a back injury and was prescribed several weeks of complete bed rest (on my belly, flat on the floor).  Once I had recovered, and began physical therapy, I found it difficult to accomplish my usual load of tasks with my typical high standards. 

Luke sneered, "Yep, Superwoman has died...and in her place has resurrected a mere mortal...who burns toast and has a messy house."

During those weeks with my face in the carpet fibers, the Lord began to work on my heart.  During this past year, He has been faithful to chip away at my pride, stir up my passions, and grant me daily measures of the wisdom and courage necessary to rest in Him.

This is how emily p. freeman words it in "Grace For the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life".

"All of my life, I had been able to either perform my way into success or hide successfully from my failure...As good girls, we subconsciously label ourselves as the strong ones, the responsible ones, the sweet ones, or the right ones.

We try to stand tall and capable as the good Christian, the good wife, the good mom, and the good one. But Jesus is calling us to a deeper, truer, freer identity.

All he wants is simply you - minus your good works, minus your perfect attendance, minus your politeness. When you really believe that, you may discover that all you want is Jesus, simply Jesus.

Not just to get to heaven or to help you be a good person or do the right thing, but to simply love and be loved by him."

I stumbled across this graphic yesterday and thought it was so fitting, considering my current concentration on "abiding" in stead of "striving".

  (props for content) (props for design)

Good, good stuff:)

This has now become my sincere prayer....

I want Superwoman to die...again today.  In her place, please resurrect this mere mortal who walks and talks, abides and finds her strength and worth in YOU.  (So that when she burns the toast and has a messy house, she still identifies with the truth that she is worthy --not because of her performance, but because You say so.)  You love me.  Period.  The end. 
"I my unbelief!"  Give me courage to let "it" go and REST in You.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Multitude 10.24.11

Giving thanks to God in community for His gifts ...

the nook table piled high with evidence of a happy, active family
crescents of crisp green apple lie in a pile on the cutting board
the harvest platter we found on top of the fridge...just in time
toile fabric paired with checks - textile happiness
onions and lemons crowd together in the basket...waiting their turn to start something great

the vintage crested mug from my dad's alma of the few things here older than I

the woman who rolled down her car window just to compliment my child
kind acquaintances who comfort and cheer
true friends who hold me accountable
courageous kindred spirits who are devoted to my messy life

Philip asking me "What can I do to help" ...more than a few times yesterday:)
Landen's cheerful "Yes Ma'am" almost every time I ask something of him
Luke offering me a hug when I came home visibly tired
Ardyn's lovely new shoes that satisfy her stylish preferences despite my lean budget - a rarity indeed
Ashlin playing happily with her friend all afternoon...never a cross word or selfish ambition
Mari Alice's beautiful work ethic in a choir filled with older children
Elizabeth asking for me to "hold her like a baby"

God's prodigal love - lavishly abundant
Plunging deeper - even overwhelmed by fresh understanding of that love
Realizing there's still a lifetime of learning ahead


Saturday, October 22, 2011


Today, Elizabeth and I spent the whole day at home together.  Philip took the other kiddos to watch Luke play in his final tournament.  They romped in red dirt and drank water from the cooler while she and I enjoyed chatting and chores - and a few snugly books.

I am completely sick  of being in the kitchen.  Sorry.  There is no joy in cooking these days.  Philip is half-way through a 21 day nutritional cleanse.  Ashlin & I are supporting him by following the same guidelines...just not in liquid form.  She and I like to CHEW our food.  Mari is on the bubble.  She wants to eat the expensive sanctified food to prove she is on the cleanse too, but she would like to have donut holes at church. 

Pink Ribbons

Before October is over..... may I recommend this novel for you to enjoy in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.


Laura Jensen Walker
Women of Faith 2006 Novel of the Year

A friend of mine offered me this book when she heard I hadn't read much fiction.  Her comment was, "Sometimes you just want to read before bed, instead of watching TV...this is an uplifting, entertaining, easy read that I really enjoyed."

Well.  She was right.  The chapters are subdivided so even the tiniest of reading opportunities can be concluded with a feeling of closure.  I will say, the plot was a little predictable, but I enjoyed getting to know the characters.   I was also intrigued by the author's tell-it-like-it-is approach to the sensitive subject of breast cancer.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Swiper, No Swiping!

 This year, we are being "resourceful" as opposed to straight up "creative".  

Ardyn gets 30 bonus points for wishing to re-purpose last spring's recital dress.  She will add a halo and glittery make-up and become the embodiment of the angel that she is:)

 Ashlin has chosen -rather randomly, yet decisively - to dress as Peter Pan.  We googled the young character and we believe we can pull this off with minimal effort.

Mari Alice, desires - with all her sprinkly heart - to be a cupcake.  We found this costume at Pottery Barn for a kajillion dollars.  We shall venture to fashion our own version.  This one will be the most work, for sure, but it has the potential to be "oh, so cute!"

Elizabeth does not get a vote.  We discussed all the possibilities during her nap, and we have concluded that she shall be a red crayon.  Period.  The End.

Thank You, God, for the world wide web.  Thank You for the creativity You have given others.  We hope to bring You honor as we have a super great time dressing up and using our imaginations and fashion design "skills".  We love You!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Two for One

Mari Alice and Elizabeth snuggle in for a backseat photo op in the parking lot of Chick-fil-A.

"Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply... " ~Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814

Thank You, God, for my "little girls".  They are so precious.  Mari wants to hear You speak to her more clearly.  We both know this is the essence of Life.  Thank You for beginning a good work in her.  Thank You for Your faithfulness.  Please continue to call Elizabeth to You.  Help me as I parent her with wisdom. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Multitude 10.17.11

Giving thanks to God in community for His gifts ...

plenty of good food in my pantry
lots of clean running water available throughout my house
being a small part of operation christmas child
the sharing of clean water
the sharing of good food

God the Father -who gives good gifts
God the Son - the greatest gift
God the Holy Spirit - who remains and keeps giving gifts like peace & joy
when children sing praise -  not hindered by hardship, not restrained by pride
when adults truly sing praise - unhindered through hardship, humbly unrestrained

Elizabeth wearing her pink Texas Rangers hat backwards
Mari Alice noticing that she and I "match both together"
Ashlin making wise choices for so many days in a row
Ardyn making lunch for her sisters...with cheer...and a great deal of butter
Luke asking me for help as he prepares to share with an atheist in his class
Landen carrying my heavy box if it delighted him

Philip choosing freedom
Friends who agree to intercede...and really do
Hugs from that kind of friend
When blessings come in disguise


Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Sabbath Song

In the stars His handiwork I see,
On the wind, He speaks with majesty.
Tho He ruleth over land and sea,
What is that to me?

I will celebrate nativity,
For it has a place in history.
Sure He came to set His people free -
What is that to me?

Till by faith I met Him face to face
And I felt the wonder of His grace -

Then I knew that He was more than just
A God who didn't care,
That lived away out there.

And now He walks beside me day by day,
Ever watching o'er me lest I stray,
Helping me to find that narrow way -
He's everything to me.

He's everything to me.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Flashback Fall Festivals

This year, I have agreed to discuss costuming with whomever is up-to-date with school work. Waiting....

I do enjoy the challenge to be creative and resourceful while keeping thriftiness as a premium.

Click to see photos from 2010.
Or 2009.

A post from October 2008.  I find it so ironic that I was struggling with internet consumption back then, and I just mentioned last week that I feel like I'm drawn into the 'web' far too often for way too long.  Lord, help me find the balance.
Photos from October 2007.

Five years of blogging...

In the fall of 2006, Mari Alice was a newborn. I have no clear memory of that happy hazy time. Despite the absense of photographic evidence, this is what we were up to that week.

Thank You, God for good memories, spurts of timely creativity, and bountiful celebrations.  You are Lord of the harvest:)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Meditation on Micah 6:8

Micach 6:8

He has told you, O man, what is good;
A God of faithfulness is He...without iniquity, just and upright is He. (Deut 32)
He is Good.  His mercies never come to an end. (2 Chron 5)
It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord. (Psalm 92)
and what does the LORD require of you fear the LORD God,
to walk in all His ways,
to love Him,
to serve the LORD God with all your heart and all your soul,
to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD,
which are commanded for your good? (Deut 10)
The sacrifices of God are
a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.  (Psalm 51)

but to
do justice,
execute  fairness -

bring about conformity to God's standards

and to
love kindness,

take great pleasure in tender compassion
and to
walk humbly with your God?

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.   (James 4:10)
All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo,
I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Well, my mom turns 65 today.  October 12.  "Yes, Columbus and I discovered America on the same day!"  Her famous punchline.

This photo is of us in 1973.  She looks a tiny bit tired...but not me!!  That's what I'm saying for the photographer (most likely, Dad).  Pointing to my soul with all my fingers, "Me!  Take a picture of ME!!"

Mom teaches her piano students with passion for music and compassion for people.  She dines out with friends.  She listens to AWANA kids recite their scripture.  She keeps careful records and makes great presentations.

She is an amazing mom. Check out her kids. I'm not kidding! This is not some vain attempt to talk about how great we are. You want to know if a mom is great at what she does? Look at the fruit. ALL of her kids are handsome, charming, and love to learn. All of her kids find incredible joy in worshipping the One True God.

All of her kids who are married, happily chose spouses who share that same purpose and pleasure. All of her kids who have children of their own, are actively raising them to do the same. (Sorry, JW, but you're not giving me a lot to work with...Jesus loves you, man...hang in there!)

Mother's investment in her kids has blossomed into a bouquet of blessings. No matter what happened on each and every single day. No matter what mistakes she may have made. No matter how things deviated from what she might have planned. The harvest of her mothering efforts is rich and plentiful.  Her grandsons know they have someone who will listen.  Her granddaughters feel her love and they want to be Godly Grammy's too. She has gently made her mark on the generations to come. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Outstanding, admirable, and OLD...I think that's the main idea here, today.  I think I actually have more gray hair than she knows I'm just pickin'. She is by all accounts aging beautifully and gracefully.

Thank You, God for giving me my mom. You did Good!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A-Lubba Lubba Lubba Lubba Waya Holmie

"I LOVE THE WAY YOU HOLD ME" Jamie Grace with Toby Mac
If you have trouble, you can click here to watch it on youtube.
This is Elizabeth's FAVORITE song! 

Your hand shall lead me,
and Your right hand shall hold me.
Psalm 139:10 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Multitude 10.10.11

Giving thanks to God in community for His gifts ...

watching my fellas play ball
the giggle that comes just before the first tickle - arms held high in tense anticipation
crushed ice in the slightest bit of water
the silent cadence of meditative scripture that provides the background baseline for my day
forgiveness when my selfish thoughts scratch like a needle on vintage vinyl

making sandwiches for lunches at large - so many at one time - I am rich
the exciting sizzle & sweet aroma of coffee brewing (may my praises be as such)
electric washer and dryer - so much time redeemed
the hand crafted swing set my father-in-love made - where darlings soar and sway 
my trusty crock pot - diligently prepares while I accomplish multiple tasks

stirring discussion
differing opinions
whole-hearted agreement
standing up for what's right
yielding in the non-essentials

waking after a long night of deep sleep - rested and ready to face a good day
waking after a brief night of interrupted sleep - resting in Strength made perfect
the new song He has put in my heart
beautiful daughters with whom I spend my days
daily opportunities to serve...Lord help me discover and fulfill each one


Sunday, October 09, 2011

Thessalonian Thoughts: Part 3

Thessalonians 5:23-24

May God himself,
the God of peace
sanctify you through and through.

May your whole
soul and
be kept blameless
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The One who calls you
is faithful and
He will do it.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

In the Club

This week I attended my first book club meeting.  Ever.                                                                                                                     There is a group of women here in town who have been meeting regularly for years, enjoying clever hospitality and rich discussion of classic literature.  Different ones have suggested I join them many times.  This time their invitation arrived during a season of less-than-saturated schedules and heightened hunger for good literature and meaningful discussion.  So I joined the club.

I was nervous, at first, about going.  I had read the book, and done a tiny bit of research about the author, and read a review or two.  But I knew these women to be intelligent, serious, and passionate.  I wondered if the discussion would branch into such complexities that I might not be able to navigate a response.   I wondered if I should get the cliff notes or see if there's a movie.  Silly girl.

Just in case, I prepared some open-ended, redirecting responses to offer if times got tough.  Lots of deep sighs, and dramatic nods of my head followed by "Yes...isn't that interesting....I'd love to hear your thoughts on that." (All of this would be delivered while cradling my chin with a bent pointer finger and thumb.)

Friday, October 07, 2011

Flashback Friday

"Up and Away" originally published 10.04.2008
This morning in my closet, Mari spotted some brand new play dough up on the top shelf. "Pay-doe! Pay-doe!" She looked at me as if we had just stumbled into riches. When I did not share her delighted surprise, she squinted up at me with disapproval - as though my secret "birthday shelf" was an offensive betrayal. After a moment of non-verbal reprimand, she returned to the issue at hand. "Pay-DOE!!"
She immediately toddled through the house to find a ladder.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Pest Control: How to Combat Tummy Yuckies

WARNING:  This post contains vivid terminology concerning stomach viruses.  Proceed with caution:)

A vicious stomach virus has circulated and infused our church body for weeks.  Our home has managed to dodge its attack until Tuesday.  With a household this big...with THIS many folks and THIS much love....tummy yuckies are NO bueno.

When Landen was a toddler with a  bug, our pediatrician gave us a prescription for phenergan gel and strategic orders by which to minimize and abbreviate the awful effects of a stomach virus.  He rattled them off as if everyone knew this, but he was being especially kind to take a few extra moments to enlighten such a maternal greenhorn.

We tried his strategy, and never had to use the gel.

Field Trippin

Here is the link to more photos of Ashlin's week with
The funnest mom on the block.

And also a trip to the Zoo.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Table Talk

Into your trusty skillet, deliver:

1 chopped onion
1-2 lbs ground beef or venison

Drain meat if needed, then add
1 bag of slaw (chopped cabbage/carrots etc)
season with salt & pepper when wilted.

If you are low-carb, simply serve as main dish with fruit on the side.
If you are carbolicious, you can nestle spoonfuls of meat mixture into artisan rolls w/ or w/out cheese.

And if you know me, you know my meat was already browned and in a zipper bag in the freezer.  So I literally dump the defrosted meat, onion & slaw into the pan and dinner is ready in less than 10 minutes.

Every single Johnson enjoys this (almost too easy) meal:)

Table Talk:  You know how we spell out undersirable words, so the little ones remain blissfully unaware?  Well, Monday, when I asked Elizabeth if she was finished with lunch, she responded...
"Yesh Ma'am.  So now I haffa go take a N.A.P. ??"

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Thessalonian Thoughts: Part 2

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

Do not put out the Spirit's fire.
Don't allow your complaints and earthly perspective to
smother or snuff out
the delicate, yet powerful work of God.

Do not treat prophesies with contempt.
Don't despise, or disgrace
or deem worthless
those messages from the Lord.
"A prophet is not honored in his own land"

Test everything.
But don't be naive.
Try to prove everything you hear - according to the Bible.
Examine it to determine its validity.

Hold on to the good.
"Eat the meat and toss the bones."
Look for the good and you will find it.
Grasp the helpful and persist in encouragement.

Avoid every kind of evil.
Keep away from...
Steer clear of everything that is not of God.

Evil has many obvious forms:
sexual immorality
impurity & debauchery
(contamination & excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures...
seduction from virtue or duty)
idolatry & witchcraft
(excessive or blind adoration and devotion)
(enthralled by the art and practice of magic)
"anyone who hates his brother is a murderer"
(disagreements, quarrels, conflict)
(mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry)
fits of rage
(wrath, frenzy, madness)
selfish ambition
(seeking your own preferences in earnest)
dissensions & factions
(small groups of strife-stirring souls)
(distracted by the longing for someone else's achievements and circumstance)
drunkeness & orgies
(unbridled indulgence of dancing, singing & drinking)

"Flee from every appearance of evil."
"Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."

Do not put out the fire of the Spirit.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Click to See Photos

Ashlin is enjoying Fall Break at her home-away-from-home.  (I am battling covetousness mightily.)

Today Ash and Sean went to a pumpkin patch.  Happy October, everybody!
(click link to see more Fall Fotos)

Thank You, God, for Ashlin.  We miss her when she is away, but You are so good to lavish her with bonus love and friendship in a home that loves her as much as we do.  Thank You for Mommy's that actually take cameras WITH them to fun places.  Everything for Your Glory!

Multitude 10.3.11

Giving thanks to God in community for His gifts ...

scripture that is alive with wonder-working power
sunshine & shade
family projects
ravioli and spinach with two kinds of sauce
when my brother calls just to say he loves me

autumn and all it brings
the yard blanketed with crunchy leaves
window screens living to full potential
pumpkin pie shakes
earlier evenings

sabbath nap time
library cards
salt & pepper
hard boiled eggs
cream & sugar

the way my husband smiles when he thinks I'm especially cute
potty trained toddlers
baby wipes....I'll still take them everywhere even if their traditional use has been dismissed.
kind words from my mom
friends who know me well and still want to hang out regularly:)


Sunday, October 02, 2011

Thessalonian Thoughts, Part 1

(1 Thessalonians 5:16-27)

Be joyful always.
Let your words and actions and appearance
express peace and delight and a sustaining gladness
in every way, at all times.

Pray continually.
Offer praise and petition to God - who is Love
in every way, at all times.

Give thanks in all circumstances.
Gratefully acknowledging the benefits of
communion with God - who is Immanuel
in every way, at all times.

For this is God's will
This is what God prefers.
This is God's plan and purpose.
Not only for His own glory, but...

for you in Christ Jesus.
This is God's will for you
For your good.  For your benefit.
For you in Christ Jesus.
You in Him.
Abide in Him, for apart from Him, you can do nothing.
With Him, all things are possible...
In His way, at His timing.

So that you might be joyful in every way, at all times.