Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A New Year to see God at work!

Its already halfway through the first month of 2010. One of my New Years Resolutions is to continue the hobby of blogging. I really do enjoy it – it is a calming hobby and I always find that as I blog or journal I look for the ways God moves in my life and other day to day things that sometimes, if too busy, I can take for granted. So, here goes. I was reminded yesterday how fast a year can fly by. Have you ever had a moment where you realized, ‘Wow…exactly this day….last year…I was here, or this had happened…..and now, it is exactly a whole year later’. Well, that exact thought came to my mind yesterday. For me, those moments generally come from a place of awe..that I made it through and my heart is so grateful. Ok...my heart is overwhelmed with 'whew...I made it!!'. Do you relate? However, the older I get, the more at ease I become with each challenge because of God’s faithfulness to me. It is the one thing that will never change. Time and time again, I can look back over a year and though there are always challenges, and I do mean always, I can say – “Thank you God, you carried me all the way through it”.

Psalm 100:5
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations

Well, I don’t have experience with many generations, but I know what my family has experienced and time and time again – I have witnessed God’s love, mercy and rescuing hand. Sometimes it was through true miracles and we didn’t see the source of earthly help. Other times, it came in the form of my prayer warrior friends and family who hold me up and encourage me to brighter days. Either way….I saw God move in 2009. It started out as a year where I fell totally dependent upon Him and needed God’s strength desperately. As I searched for Him, I found these verses that totally encouraged me through most of 2009;

Isaiah 43 : 1-3
But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

I pray that you can look back on 2009 and even through the hard times, you can realize that He was there. Maybe you can see and be encouraged at the fact that you are still standing…the water did not rush over you nor were you burned by the fire. It doesn’t mean we enjoy the fire…believe me. But we know that nothing will overtake us, there is certainly joy in the morning! Looking to 2010 – I pray to walk closer to my God than ever before. I know if I can do that, it will be an amazing year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

18 Years of being Married, and I'm still learning!

It's been over two months since my last post and I wonder what all I've done. I haven't given up being 'online' but I think I can say that Facebook has taken precedence over my blogging hobby. I hate that because what I love about blogging is what I get to glean from other people - their thoughts, suggestions and life experiences. I hate that I've been slacking....because truly, God has given me some really cool experiences lately that I could have shared with others as well. But...today, while I am at home (on my second pot of coffee) I thought it would be a great start or re-entry if you will to my own blog!

Sunday, November 22 I celebrated my 18th wedding anniversary. Amazing how the years fly by. We were both really busy over the weekend so planning a celebration was not in the forefront of either of our minds. I had been with 50 teenage girls over the weekend and Kevin was busy helping me and taking care of things at home. So,when I got home Sunday evening, our oldest already had friends over and had started a bonfire in the back and the other two boys were busy as well. Not the romantic night anyone would plan for their anniversary - but not too late in the evening,we were lucky enough to find that the teenagers had abandoned their bonfire and gone to a movie! Score! We found a place to have some quite time. I found two wine glasses and my favorite white wine and soon, the two of us were having romantic conversation and enjoying a beautiful fire. We enjoyed that for maybe 30 minutes before our youngest very excitedly came out asking so nicely "may I join you two". No kidding...that is what he said. Of course we said yes. And we enjoyed our time with him around that fire. We laughed, roasted marshmallows and enjoyed being together. And after he left about an hour later, we were left with smiles and laughter as we both had this amazingly blessed feeling. We looked at each other and shared our thoughts on how happy our life is. It is not perfect by any means. We get frustrated, hurried, mad, overwhelmed, stressed, angry (yes we fight) and sad.....but at the end of the day we are there to help each other through all of those feelings. We also get to share the craziness our boys bring to our lives, bonfires with friends and being active in our church family and other groups like teenage retreats with lots of girls or boys. I can't imagine my life without this man.

Some days all we can find is 30 minutes around a second hand campfire. I know that is not enough - and believe me, we would both love to find more time. I hear people speak often of having a date night no matter what.....and I wonder how in the world do they do that - when Kevin and I can't seem to make that work with 2 busy teens and 1 busy 5th grader in the house. Our volunteer schedule seems to always be packed too. And I'm not complaining, because we love our lives...and our schedules. But we do crave more time with just each other. So, we take the 30 minutes here and there and we try and take time daily....weekly to make calls and send texts to express how much we love each other. And how we love this life we share together. I love that my husband is the only one who can truly share my joy and sadness where my family is concerns. He can laugh at the same things I find incredibly funny about my boys...and the crazy chaos we share inside the Johnson home. He gets it. He gets me and the fact that even though he bought me a front loading washer and dryer last year to help me with my laundry...I still wait until its piled up and nobody has underwear to wear. That is just one of the many things that sweet man deals with. I won't go into the rest!

I've shared before how my husband is an amazing gift giver. Well, this year - he did not disappoint. I came home to find a beautiful conch shell sitting on my dresser. This may seem small to many of you....but it was OVERWHELMING to me. You see, we took an amazing vacation this summer to St. Marteen and my husband went snorkeling and found 5 or 6 beautiful conch shells. I fell in love with one of them and while trying to take it home with me, it was confiscated by the airport authorities of St. Marteen. I was devastated. Our family who flew out a week after we did, learned from our mistake and packed the shells in their suitcases and were able to bring them home. For our anniversary, Kevin had them send one of the shells back to us and surprised me with it. I just cried. The shell they sent was from one of our favorite days there. Kevin knew this. I could not think of a more special gift to receive from my sweet husband.
Is this shell not amazing????(Thank you Steve and Nancy for sharing!!!)

Marriage is an awesome expression of love. I love what 1 Corinthians 13 says about love. The entire 13th chapter is wonderful. I hope to love my husband in this way....and my friends as well. Sometimes, I'm sad to say its harder to love my husband than my friends. I seem to take out my stresses on him daily because he is always there. He should be the one I give my best to at all times, but isn't that the way we are at times. Offering others the very best and the ones closest to us, and know us best are getting the leftovers. My aim is that I offer my amazing husband the type of love that is found in 1 Corinthians 13. This version is from The Message. I love how it reads;

1 Corinthians 13
The Way of Love
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

How amazing would it be to consistently love someone like that passage explains. I am thankful for the last 18 years being married to Kevin. I look forward to walking through many more situations with him...laughing,praying,running,crying and anticipating.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Turtle Truth

I know...cheesy name - but what else do you call a blog centered around a turtle? This 'happening' has actually stuck with me for a while - and maybe just maybe you'll laugh with me - or quite possibly be encouraged today by this silly blog.

A while back my sweet husband and I were out for an early Saturday morning date. We were driving to get some breakfast when we saw the sweetest little turtle trying to cross a busy road. Of course we had to get him!!! I can't bear the thought of those turtles getting run over. Little known fact about me??? I simply love turtles. I also love tortoises. One day...I will have one. For now, I settle for the occasional found turtle. Anyway, we rescued this little turtle who lived as a member of the Johnson family for about 2 weeks. I think rescued is a funny word to use when you think that we literally picked him up - disturbing his walk - only to place him in a large box as his new home with brief walks given to him daily. ANYWAY....Max loved this turtle and for some reason named him Jim the Turtle. It worked for him. He loved Jim - but Jim was not happy living with us and we could not find anything he wanted or would eat- so eventually, we all agreed we would have to let him go. When Max would take him out for walks before school, we would put him the yard and he would start to book across the grass.....only to be picked up by a 10 year old placing him right back by the walk way where he started. He never made any real gain....but he would keep booking it each time he was placed in that yard! It was funny.

On Jim's last day with us, we decided to take a few pictures so we could remember what a great turtle he was. Very social - never shrinking into his shell to avoid us. Sweet - just a great turtle!! As I began taking pictures - I noticed that Jim was determined to get out of his box. He really thought he could get out all by himself. At first - I sat and watched as he rose up and just looked over the box that sat inside his larger box. (Max was trying to make him a bedroom)

It was funny to me that he just stood there on his little legs. It kind of cracked me up. So I took a picture of his little face.

And Jim seemed to have much determination - he began to scratch his little feet against the box and try with all of his might to climb over the side of that box! Those little turtle legs were moving! First the scratching with the right leg....

Then the left leg went into action....

And then soon - he had some real progress!!! I was shocked at this little guy!I was cheering for him!!

And then......he made it!!! But...there he sat. Not one bit closer to being out of that box. Instead....he found a bigger, higher wall to face.

If you are like me - I sometimes find myself in the same situation that Jim landed in. I'll scratch and climb over one wall...only to find I am facing an even bigger one! But the lesson in this turtle truth is that we should still fight like crazy to get over the wall - never be satisfied or stop working toward something better if you know it's out there. It takes courage, determination, and belief that a better day is coming.

I Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Are you ready for some football????

I love this time of year! Not that I am huge fan of football itself. But, I am a huge fan of friends and gatherings and tailgating in general. So fun! If you know me even a little bit, you are probably familiar with the fact that my house will never turn down company or a party! So tonight is fun in our house for two reasons. One, my husband has his official NFL Fantasy Football draft. He takes this very seriously along with the other men that play with him. Now, this group of men started as a small group of a church we attended a few years back. All in the name of men's ministry right? Well, they all became friends and they are still playing years later. They literally gather in a room and have draft drawings, trading and so on. All I know is that every Packer accessory we have is packed in Kevin's car to be used tonight to decorate 'his area'. I love this for him!

Tonight for me will be the Spain Park Jamboree. Our son Scout will play for the first time as a highschooler. He is a wide receiver on the Freshman team and he is psyched! Here is his game face...

Cute face....

This was his first 'wear your jersey' to school moment. I am sure it was a good morning. And while I am excited for him, I prayed for my oldest today as he went to school without his football jersey today. He's played football since 6th grade and has loved it. This past year, at the end of his junior year, he decided not to play anymore. Though he had a fun 'free' summer of no practice - he felt a twinge of sadness this morning. His best buds still in their jerseys today....and he's not. I know he made the right decision for him - but I also know what he felt today and will feel tonight at that first kick off. Say a prayer for boy if you don't mind. Actually say a prayer for both Scout and Nick. Scout - that he plays well and stays safe. Nick, that he has joy and confidence in his decision and that its not as hard as I imagine it might be. Oh...a mama's heart.

Earlier this week I blogged about the first week of school but had lost Max's picture. Well, here it is! Better late than never. Oh...check out the shoes. Max has never asked for anything in particular when it comes to shoes - but this year...he wanted Vanns. How fun for me.....kicking it old school....back to the 80s and my day!

Is he not cute? He may look 10 years old...but his wit is years beyond 10. He cracks us up! Thank you God.