Friday, December 23, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Happy Holidays from our family to yours. We pray that you enjoy a season of peace, joy, expectation, thankfulness, and beauty! Our hearts are full, and we feel enriched with more blessings than we could imagine. We embrace each day and have made no exceptions this holiday season. May you feel the love of Christ as you celebrate with your dear friends and family. Merry Christmas!
Love, the Johnson family (including Rosie, the chicken).

Monday, December 5, 2011

In Which She Turns 9

It's hard to believe that my once tiny little baby is now 9 years old. I remember holding her small 6 pound frame and how fragile she felt (I am entitled to some reminiscing). We celebrated in true Kaylynn style...complete with thwarted plans due to our spontaneity. We started the day with breakfast at Kaylynn's favorite place: the Cafe Nomad. Then we decided to venture up to Augusta to visit the Children's museum only to find it closed for remodeling (note lack of planning here). So, here we were with an expectant birthday girl and no idea what to do. Thank the Lord for parks and water! We had a blast running, playing tag, lava monsters, swinging, and enjoying a picnic lunch.

She is growing into such a big girl!

And getting STRONGER!

I put this photo on here because we truly have about 30 of the playground

(all taken by Kalli and Jeremie). I love the kid's eye view.

Kaylynn also enjoys taking pics.

Our best pouty faces

PRESENT TIME!!!! Kaylynn is easy to please and appreciates anything homemade. She LOVES "back then" times and understands how much hard work goes into making a gift. So, imagine her delight when gift time came and nearly everything she opened was homemade: A felt doll made by Kalli (with help from Jeremie), American Girl accessories made by her cousins, a journal made by Auntie Louise and Uncle Brian, her very own moccasins made by daddy, and a quilt (yes my very first) made by me!

This hat was not homemade but picked out by Jeremie especially for his sister. She adores it and wears it everywhere. She does have a hat fetish and almost always has some sort of head covering....a bonnet, a winter hat, a baseball cap, a hood, a knitted hat, a beret.....really anything.

Everyone inspecting the moccasins Daddy made.

Kaylynn and the quilt. I cannot tell you how pleased I was to have this kind of reaction! I was so nervous. I am not an experience seamstress. I do not sew straight, but I love sewing, and I love fabric! The quilt was crooked but still absolutely beautiful to my sweet daughter.

And of course cake time!

And here is the quilt on her bed (this photo taken by Kaylynn). The last birthday gift was another American Girl doll purchased with her very own money (she was so proud). She saved for months and was able to buy it after she was given some birthday money from relatives! I feel so blessed to watch my daughter grow into a young lady. A young lady who loves the LORD and loves life. She teaches me everyday to laugh, have fun, and embrace all that God has to give. Although, I am not so sure how I feel about her growing up....some days I do wish there was some way to slow that down.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cami's Debut

Cami absolutely loves to dance. Just tonight she was helping me with the dishes when the kids turned on some music. She instantly started groovin. Then she looked at me (realizing that I was not dancing) and said, "Dance Ma." I guees it kind of runs in the family. Often we catch her moving to a beat only she can hear. This video is classic, though, because EVERY time the kids turn on this particular song, this is how she dances to it. She has some great arm action plus more. Also take notice of the little bear she is holding; it goes nearly everywhere with her, even to the beach. We went to the lake with some friends this summer and birthday bear went swimming. It was very entertaining! Anyhow, enjoy the video!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Circus

We do things rather spontaneously around here, and I guess I kind of like it that way. This usually means that we have some crazy fun but may not always be super organized. Kaylynn decided that she wanted to have a circus so we ran with the idea. Check out books from the library about the circus, decide on an act, gather up the cousins, practice, practice, practice, enlist daddy to turn the living room into the Big top, make some popcorn, give daddy a viking hat, tie, and suspenders and call him the ringmaster, invite Grandma and Grandpa to come watch, and you get one Super Fun, Extremely crazy Johnson Circus!!!

The kids chugged around the house in their circus train led by conductor Ean. They all made their own train car then followed as Ean led them around the house until they "arrived" at the Big Top.
Cami just enjoyed the popcorn.

Kaylynn played some fun circus music.

Jeremie and Jaden were our clowns, and they were quite the entertainment.

They even tried juggling.

But their favorite was jumping through the RING OF FIRE!

Kaylynn took her act very seriously and practiced diligently for her balance beam act.

Cami even wanted to do the balance beam (along with all the other children).

Kaylynn's second time on the balance beam.

Kalli was our "pretty" girl, and even she wanted to try the balance beam.

I did some juggling ( I bet you didn't know I could juggle)....

well I juggle good enough for the Johnson Circus anyway!

We had a wonderful afternoon full of many great acts not picuted here including: a gazelle (done by Gabe), the two headed child (done by Kaylynn and Jeremie...they were quite intimidating), a dancing baby monkey (done by cousin Bob), a magic trick by Uncle Brian, and a super fun ice cream fight (inpsired by Pipi Longstocking)...well fun until the kids got too cold. Be a circus banner, get some sheets for the Big Top, put some costumes together, and have a circus! It is such a blast!

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's Not That Serious

Have you ever had one of those "Aha" moments? You know the ones with the light bulb? Well, I have had many, but the most recent one was very liberating! You see, I am a very intense kind of person. Intense in a laid back sort of way (if you can imagine that contrast). I like to go with the flow, but I am also very intentional. I also have a very addictive know the kind that checks an ebay listing over 30 times in a matter of minutes (okay that is an exaggeration but you get my point). So, put intensity together with a quasi-addict trying to live intentionally and you get (drum roll please).....ONE STRUNG OUT MAMA! I have felt so trapped lately in my "intentional" living. Have you ever felt that way?

Like your completely stuck and any headway you're making isn't really headway. With my zeal to live intentionally came bondage. I was trapped in my head and couldn't get out. Question after question: Should we or shouldn't that, travel here, spend here, teach here, play now, read goes on and on. I laid awake at night thinking about these things and more....will our kids be safe? Will our kids succeed? Will our kids be followers of Christ? Are we really raising them to love Christ?

I am also very good at creative problem solving and a great rule follower (is that even gramatacilly correct)? Naturally, when I would come up with a question, I would make a rule to "fix" it. For example: I think we need more Bible time so Alan will read the Bible to the kids at dinner every night (on top of what I do during the day) and that will make it so they are better Christians. OR we will use Christmas to celebrate Jesus' birth but we will NOT give gifts; we will "serve" somewhere. OR I will read my Bible and pray twice a day so I will have more patience and more wisdom with my kids. Now, none of these things are bad or wrong, but they are simply rules. MORE BONDAGE!

I wanted to RUN freely!

I used to be a mama who LOVED everything about...well....being a mama. I enjoyed teaching, nurturing, and I loved to play! This year, I have grown to dread those things because all I can think of do I make this year do I make sure they are learning everything they need to learn.....that mom is using that curriculum I should too...maybe that is intentional. And again, the battle in my mind begins. The other day, Alan said to me, "Is it hard being so intentional?" This question has run around and around in my head, and the answer I have is: I are not intentional, I are OBSESSIVE (I think I am being a little dramatic here, but it fits)!

I recently started reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, and I have gained new perspective (well, actually it is old perspective just new in this stage of my life). She talks a lot about living in the moment. Breathing in the here and now, and seeking out 1,000 things to be thankful for. I cried when I first started the book because I remember being that kind of person.....the one who could see God's grace in everything. Then I mourned because I realized the kind of person I had become. I became so obsessed with trying to live life as fully as God has asked that I completely forgot about LIVING and embracing the here and now.

I began to fly again (which is a little scary at times)!
I had to change the way I was looking. I didn't have the right lens. I was looking at life through intentionality NOT through Christ. What my heart desired was good but the way I was carrying it out was not. I wear glasses, and when I take them off I am as blind as can be....if I wear Alan's glasses, I am still blind. And when I am blind, I run into things and gets dangerous. I felt like I was walking through life blind (for a few months). I didn't have the right glasses on. You know it's bad when your 8 year old says, "mom, you never play anymore." OUCH! I used to play, but then I got serious....too serious about being intentional.....and I forgot to play.

I used this photo because it fits my transition. The older two are looking out (figuratively seeing what will come), and Kalli is so living in the moment (hiking up her tights).

Matthew Chapter 6:25-34 has solidified a lot of this for me. Many people know it as the "worry" passage, but I like to call it the "take no thought" passage. I will not type it all out here, but just the first verse (25):

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

"Do not worry" in this passage literally means "take no thought." Take no thought about your life...and all the other things mentioned. I was taking too MUCH thought about life.

So now it's time to relax.

Even when a dear old grandpa wants to buy each of the kids Jelly Bellys at the store (simply because they remind him of his grandkids), and everything inside of me screams, "ALL THAT SUGAR!!!! It isn't good for them.....their teeth....their health.....their lunch..." I take a deep breath, thankful for this kind man's generosity, thankful to be a blessing to him, thankful that I can teach my kids to humbly accept a gift, and Relax. I say to myself, "is it really that serious?"

I still consider myself intentional....I have simply shifted the way I look at living intentionally, and right now that means taking a deep breath, laughing out loud, living in the moment, going back to old home school routine (I will talk more about this in another post), seeking out things to be thankful for (rather than things to be intentional about), and PLAYING!

There you have it....probably the most transparent you will ever see me get on this blog, but I wanted to share God's goodness and grace with all of you because...well...authenticity is important!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


The word "Authentic" has been resonating with me lately. I have heard it in conversation and spoken it many times concerning friendship and fellowship. Webster's defines authentic as "not false or imitation: Real, Actual." We can all value a friendship or fellowship that is truly authentic....not false, real, actual. Yet, I feel like we live in a culture that does not embrace authenticity but settles for something less in friendship and fellowship. As human beings, we yearn for human interaction but should we settle for anything less than REAL relationships with people? Should we compromise who we are in order to "fit" into some pre-determined mold? I have been so blessed recently by REAL, AUTHENTIC relationships that I felt compelled to write about it. I cannot express the gratitude that swells in my heart knowing that I am surrounded by people with whom I can be completely transparent with, people who will be transparent with me, thus spurring each another on in true fellowship.

I recently visited one of my very dearest friends (for like 16 years now) in Chicago. She is preggers with her very first baby (you have no idea how long I have waited for this), and I flew out for her baby shower. Oh, to be with another woman who knows me inside and out and speaks my language. I cannot tell you what a blessing it was to be a part of her community and see the love that surrounds her. I had such an intense, authentic encounter while visiting her that I came home feeling renewed and ready to approach relationships with a new perspective. It happened like this:

Saturday of Dana's baby shower, we pull up to her friend's house feeling very excited to share the afternoon together. Another friend of hers arrives at the same time. I walk up to the door, and this friend of hers (whom I have never met) says (with intense enthusiasm), "Charity, it is so good to see you!" And gives me a FULL embrace, just as if we had always known each other.

I can honestly say I have never had an encounter like this, and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to experience this kind of authentic love. It was like seeing a neon sign:


And now I have the opportunity to bring this my relationship with my husband, my kids, my family, my friends, my community, and complete strangers. It had become far too easy for me to settle into the routine and forget that the people I interact with are REAL, and they (like me) need someone to be authentic with them! Someone to:

-Really listen
-Really pray
-Give REAL hugs
-Cheer them on
-Have REAL conversations (even the hard ones)
-Grow with
-Grieve with
-Laugh with
-Accept the core of who they are
-Speak the truth
-Be transparent
-Show them honor

I went to visit a friend, and I gained a whole new way of looking at people. I have to say...that is a great vacation! I cheer for Drew and Dana in their new adventure in the mommy and daddy world. I feel so blessed to watch my childhood friend bringing new life into this world (now if only we could convince them to move to Maine)!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Little Bit Of Fun

For the past three years, we have taken at least one trip to Funtown/Splashtown (thanks to Alan's mom and dad). What can I say....we are thrill seekers when it comes to rides and adrenaline rush. This year Kalli was old enough to go as well. Such wonderful memories with the kiddos.

Kalli LOVED this little canoe ride. She literally sat there as though she were gliding steadily down a beautiful river, looking all around her at the scenery. She was so still; it was so fun to watch.

Then there's Jeremie who is our "full throttle" kid. He decided that he wanted to catch Kalli's canoe so he rocked his back and forth to make it go faster (way to have a homeschooling lesson at the funpark)! And as you can see, he did catch her....then he had no where to go. When he got off, he said, "mom it was just too slow so I made it go faster."

This photo was taken right before the ride started. They were so good until Jeremie realized that he could control it from both his side and Kalli's and made it jerk up and down so that the whole ride jerked then all the other children followed suit. Ugh....some days I am so thankful for, and other days, I just shake my head and offer gracious correction.
Then there is our massive thrill seeker. Last year, Kaylynn really wanted to go on the Dragon's Descent, but she was too short. This year she was just tall enough so of course she had to do it! She went with daddy first. He coached her (although she wasn't really scared at all). This ride goes up I don't know how far, sits at the top for 15 seconds then drops! It is a HUGE rush, and I don't even know why I go on it. After daddy took her, she wanted to go again so I took her. I am much more aprehensive and kept saying, "why am I doing this again?" Kaylynn says, "Mom, it's okay, just will be fine." I love my 8 year old! So we drop, and I scream (yes all the way down), and Kaylynn.....she WAVES to daddy below, and I hear her shouting, "HI DAD!"

Splashtown is full of fun water rides, and the kids enjoyed playing on all of them. It took Kalli some time to get comfortable one them, but once she was, she had a blast. And of course wanted to keep going on the "pink" one because pink is not scary.

Cami stayed with Gramma Kay and Papa Les and had a great time. I had to take this picture (even though it is blurry) because I thought it was so cute that she was wearing Kaylynn's Five Fingers.