Archive for June 2010

Community living, My Knight and other happenings   1 comment

WE live in community, we LIVE in community, we live IN community, we live in COMMUNITY……….  you get the picture?    Gills Rock is small, maybe 80 folks who live year around and swelling to around 150 in the summer months.   Although I do not know all my neighbors, I know many of them because I work along side them, go to church with some of them, share gardening and living wisdom together and have fun with a number of them!   We are very connected in many, although different ways.  I like it 80% of the time and the other 20% of the time it drives me crazy but you won’t hear too much about that here on our blog, the 80% trumps the other!

This does mean that our lives are very intertwined, we share many things, many material things.  I remember coming home from Tenn. a few years back, to find that my large pans were all missing from my kitchen.  A good friend had done a huge Thanksgiving dinner and needed extra cooking pans and came to our kitchen to get what they need…..  love it!  A friend needed a shawl for a wedding last Saturday and so Kristi and I gave her a couple to choose from, my friend needed some different greens for her garden and so I rooted out a bunch of my antique poppies and gave them to her, I mentioned that I have always wanted climbing roses and out of the blue I was given three, folks need child care for their children and they know they can call on us to care for and love their children, when ever we need help moving things we can count on a number of men to come and help and the act will be returned when ever they are in need.  I can’t fit what I need in my car and so I know I can ask for a neighbors truck to use.  The list goes on and on and on.  This is community.

Last Sunday we sang I am So Glad I’m a Part of the Family of God in church, a certain young women named Jennifer was sitting in the back and cried through the song.  Life is hard, her husband left her this winter and is living in sin with another woman who is now pregnant.  I do not even know what to say to that…..      Our church has risen to the occasion and have given her jobs to help support her, financial support and her two children are with families from the church every day that she works.   We are caring for her as she has been abandoned.

Yesterday we had her son for the day while she works a ten hour shift.  She had stopped in Ellison Bay on her way north to get Atlee her son.  She had opened the back of her van to to give something to someone and then without closing the hatch had  backed into a tree with the door up, it crumpled.  She called me in tears asking me to bring her son to Ellison Bay since she would need to be there for awhile. I knew my husband was at the ball field she was at and watching a young man from church play ball and so I called him and told him what had happened.  I gathered Atlee and we arrived at the baseball field and there was my Knight, the man anyone can count on to assist when needs arise.  He had helped calm Jennifer down and was cleaning up the glass and trying to bend her frame down in the back to assess the damage.   My heart swelled with pride as I saw him working to help this young lady and as he worked to clean up the mess on the ground and secure her van so it would be safe to drive.  Another couple from church arrived and helped as well as Jennifer’s sister.  Jennifer cried as I hugged her but then I commented to her that it is good to be part of the family of God and part of a community, especially where there are still Knights in red trucks who come and rescue, willing to put their plans on hold to care for the needs of another.  That’s MY Knight!

Other happenings:

Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.  I have our home torn apart as I go through every area de-cluttering and organizing.  My sewing is together for the first time in five years!  The suburban back is full of bags of things for Goodwill and I am feeling a little more on top of this house.  Rick is pleased as well  🙂  I love organization as it keeps life less stressful.

WE are gearing up for our 4th of July picnic here at our home with friends from Chicago and the County and our children and their friends.  The house should be done today and I will start mowing the yards and getting gardens looking good.  Life is good and I am so thankful for the energy and joy for the work at hand.  God is good!

Funny —   Yesterday I had Atlee – 5, and Sammy  – 6 here as well as Mia.  At lunch they boys were sitting at the table and eating their lunch and I had gone in to the laundry room nearby.  I heard Atlee ask Sammy, “WHY are you here on Mondays?” ( said with much distain)  Sammy replied, ” Because Joyce asked me to come!).  Then Sammy asked Atlee ” And what brings YOU here on Mondays?”  Atlee sounded sheepish but said,  “My mom works so I get to come here ALL day!”  Sammy is only here for 7 hours, Atlee for 10!   I laughed at their trying to one-up each other.   Oh how quickly in life the affect of testosterone shows up!  They compete for my attention ALL day!  Precious precious young men.

Time to go knock some things off my work list.



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This is not from my garden, you may have already guessed that!

These are my mother’s lilies, from her beautiful garden.

I will have lilies soon and will post a picture of them when they bloom.

Our week has been crazy, hard to believe right?  When I arrived home from Tenn., we had to get the cottage cleaned for summer renters and we got that done.  Unfortunately the folks who were in there for the previous two months left a little problem, as in fleas.  I spent Monday trying to get that “situation” cleaned up!

Tuesday I cleaned at one of our caretaking sites as well as on Wed. and Friday.  On on Friday I also bit the bullet and went in for groceries.  The people I live with had been rumbling for three days about the lack of food they  were finding in the kitchen.  I would suggest my yoghurt, granola, fresh veggies, homemade bread, hard boiled eggs……  you get the picture.  By Friday I was the one grumbling so I decided to go in to Sister Bay.   I waited in line to check out for over 10 minutes, thus the reason I avoid shopping until Fall!

We had a sleep over, Annie spent evenings with friends…. too many her Dad says!  I had my dear Cassidy here for breakfast yesterday and she brought me sour-dough starter.  Her’s was named Alfred and mine is named AL.   I am hoping I can make her proud and keep it alive.  She took some grains from my kefir and has done well with that.  It is so much fun to share information and see her, and Jeni bringing out their “inner-hippy”.   It is good to know how to cook well and eat healthy foods.  It is time consuming to live well…. but so worth it.

I also had to replant carrots and beets as some critter ate them down.  I also got my pole beans in the ground and staked.  That evening it poured hard and I had to go out and re-cover the seeds as many were exposed.  We have had so much rain and it is affecting my garden.  The updside of it is that all my new perennial are being kept moist and are doing well.  My three climbing roses are all showing sprouting off of the main stems.  The weeds are thriving well so I know I will have to get them under control tomorrow.   I did spend time one morning with Kari, praying and visiting, a sweet time that we both look forward to each week.  I also started on the list of  areas in our home that need to be dealt with.  I got our bedroom and closet done, angel room is just about done and my sewing is also now organized in a sewing cabinet that Jeni was getting rid of.  I am so happy with the organization that is coming together in our house.  Hopefully this week we will knock off a few more places on the list.  🙂

Summer groove is happening….  we are getting in the swing of it and it looks like this:

Daily we weed and water gardens, deal with kefir and sour-dough, make a chore list, do cleaning here at home and spend a couple hours working on one of our businesses, baking bread and doing crafts.  We also have to put lunches together for the workers who are gone for the day; Rick, Kristi, Annie.

Weekly we spend a day caring for children, fertilize gardens, mow the lawns, go for one or two swims in the evenings, have friends for fellowship,  have someone over for dinner, get the music done for church, take walks and spend one or two days cleaning on one of our job sites.

It is a busy time but also a time of seeing friends that only show up a few times of the year.  It is sweet to see how God has worked in all of our lives and to encourage one another in the walk.   Full days, full weeks, but so precious!



Monday Ministry!   Leave a comment

This is the first Monday Ministry of the summer and in about 2 hours we will have around 5 extra children here for the day.

Our friend Jennifer is going through as divorce and needs to work and therefor needs childcare.  We volunteered for Monday, and then Sammy needs summer care, and Mia and another friend and all of the sudden it turned into being Monday Ministry for any mother who needs help with their children for the day.

Being that I am  a stay busy kind of a parent, Melody and I made a schedule last night and put it on our chore board.  We wrote down the games and crafts and out door and indoor activities so that we have a focus for the day.  I know that children do better with organization and enjoy knowing we have planned for them to have a special time while they are here!   It will be a full day but we are glad to be able to give a safe place to these children where they will know they are loved.

It will be busy, but I will be blessed,


Posted June 21, 2010 by joyfulhouse in Door County Life, Family

Fun at the Races!   Leave a comment

We had another first on Saturday night!    Mandy took Kristi and Annie into the pits at the race for the first time, and they had SO much fun!  The rules are that you have to be 18 to be in the pits unless you have signed permission from your parents.  Rick signed them in, but I do not think he thought it totally through before he did.   Rick has always said that it is hard to have his beautiful blonde daughters  in the pit because:

#1  It distracts the guys in his pit crew

#2 It distracts the guys in ALL the pit crews in the their row

#3  It distracts Rick as he has to deal with guarding his daughters from all the other distracted guys in the pit area who start to circle our space!

Despite all that,  I think he enjoyed having them there.  They got to hang out with their Uncle Randy who was manning the pit for the night so that was a bonus.

Rick and his lovely blondes at the track!

Even in black and white, these girls have stunning eyes!

When the girls were younger I would sew for them matching dresses and they loved it.  For the last 10 years matching clothing has become a NO-NO and they are mortified if they are even wearing the same colors when they get dressed in the morning, and especially if they are heading into public!   Well, that all changes when their Dad’s race team is the design and THEN they wear their matching outfits with great pride!

Annie, our future race-car driver, making sure the helmet and the attitude fits!   I think she could do just fine!  Notice that she balances the muddy helmet with big BLING on her finger, she is a girly-girl to her core, that’s how we like them in the Johnson household!   🙂

Rick, girls and Danny R. ( Rick’s good friend from Frog Station) who could not pass up a chance to get into a photo with Rick and his girls.

Here is what happened involving Danny that night; In the final race of the night Danny, who is a very good racer, was in 3rd place when Lemioux another hot shot racer bumped into him causing Danny to fall way behind and finish way out of his normal rank.  The girls said that when Danny got into the pits he jumped out of his car and Danny and his brother Scott went after Lemioux and it started a brawl.  Mandy told her sisters to stay put as all these pit spots are pretty close together, and to NOT make eye contact with anyone, in other words try and blend with the race-cars???   The girls said that their Dad pulled into his pit and came flying out of his car to defend Danny but the owner of the track had shown up and the two pit crews had started to separate.

Personally, I have always thought that there is just way to much testosterone in that pit area!  On the other hand, maybe it is good for adult men to get that teenage testosterone driven macho-man feeling now and then.  Maybe it gives these great guys the sense that life is not so mundane and calm as they would like to believe it is!    Good fun, no one hurt, and the real vengeance will be found next week on the track where the action is supposed to take place  🙂

Blessed to have girls who love and support their Dad, and a husband who is loyal to his core and will defend his friends in an instant!


Posted June 21, 2010 by joyfulhouse in Door County Life, Family, Racing Life

There’s a new thing going on around here…….   Leave a comment

Annie, 16 has been so patient waiting for work as a job has just not worked out for her the previous two summers.  Rick and I have very strong feelings about where our girls work as we have seen the job environment negatively affect many teens we know.  God has always provided for our children and the one place that has blessed us the most is Charlie’s Smokehouse.  Annie is our third daughter to work there, and so far is doing just great.

Here she is running the cash register.  Her job involves selling fish and packaging it, Door County gift items, ice-cream cones,  snack foods and keeping the place clean including the outdoor deck area.  She works for two wonderful folks from our church and their son and wife.  It is a win-win situation.  🙂

The other fun part of the job is that Annie gets to work with Kristi on Thursdays so that Bonnie, their boss can have a day off.

I went there to visit on Thursday and took some pictures of them working together.  They had a good day, Annie handled Kristi being the boss just fine  🙂

They look so cute together and some folks thought they were twins!  Annie loves to throw out the fact that Kristi is four years older!  Gotta keep it real!

Sisters behind the counter, did I fail to mention that we had Mia that day and so she was a constant distraction for the girls.  I was glad that there were no customers until we were leaving!

The fish they sell, Whitefish is always the best seller because it is the “local catch”.  It would be hard to beat buying local caught fish from a local Commercial Fisherman’s daughter, but at Charlie’s you can have that experience!  🙂  That should be a commercial for their store!

Here they are working……  looking pretty while they do!

Baby break with Mia, teaching her to stand on the fish wrapping counter.  Mia is the grand-daughter of a Commercial Fisherman so she is right at home among fish!

Their favorite place, the ice-cream counter!  I am sure they have sampled all the flavors so that they can tell the customers which ones are best!

Here they are walking home together at the end of the day.  I think that is so precious.  How many sisters get to enjoy a full day together at work?  I am so thankful for all the experiences that God gives our children.

Annie just got home from work.  A man yelled at her for picking the wrong fish, Kristi gave her the wrong price on an ice-cream cone and the towel dispenser attacked her!   These are exciting days for our home  🙂



Friday nights….. and how our week went!   Leave a comment

My volunteer Tiger Lilies.

I am sitting at my table, the girls and friends have all left from our meal of home-made pizza to take a swim up the road.  Alyssa will be spending the night and this will cool and wear down everyone for a good nights sleep.   It was warm today but the winds have picked up and there is a wonderful breeze coming through the windows.  I have to remind myself to open the living room windows after 21 years of NOT having windows that opened it doesn’t cross my mind!

We returned from Tennessee and hit the ground with our feet running!   Annie and Melody were in need of Tetanus shots so we ran to Sturgeon Bay and took care of them as well as getting Annie two work permits.   Of course we never go to Sturgeon Bay without  hitting the grocery stores and I was in search of a few herb plants and a hoe.  Yes, a hoe.  I bought two hoes 28 years ago and over the last few years I have not been able to find either…. I know that might make you wonder how I took care of my gardens the last few years but there is a reason you have not seen lots of vegetable garden pictures 🙂

I thought I could go and buy a hoe at Walmart, at Ace Hardware, at the Plant Nursery,  no!   Not a hoe to be found.  I could not believe it.   Rick told Neil Teskie about my problem and he said I could borrow his as long as I warmed it up on his garden first,   always a joker!

That was Wednesday.

Thursday I gave up on the hoe situation as I am ok for weeding at this time, but give a week or so….. anyway.  I turned to the next issue at hand, getting the cottage deep cleaned for the rental season which starts tomorrow.  Melly, Annie and I have put many hours into cleaning, laundry, moving furniture and setting up the cottage for rentals.  I still have some things to take care of  in the morning and am at a loss for what to plant along the house where it is a hot and sunny exposure with very little watering ability.  I say that because I do not want to be up near the house when there are renters there, they have paid for the property for the week and so I donot want to infringe on their privacy.

I also planted three climbing rose bushes.  My pastor’s wife, Twila, bought these bushes for me and I am so excited about them.  I put one out by the mailbox and one at the corner of the house by a beautiful birch tree and the last one by the edge of my back flower garden.

Of course tomorrow is Saturday and so I just made the list of chores that MUST be done tomorrow or no swimming or going to the races!   We will see how that works out.  🙂

At supper tonight Annie cracked me up when she commented about Jeni having  a headache today and how it could be a sign that she is pregnant according to GOOGLE!   I told her that she is not to bug Jeni and Jason about having a baby even though one of Annie’s dear friends just became and Aunt and Annie is a little envious.   Annie replied, ” Well, I am just saying that I would like to see them have a baby before I get so old I will have to roll myself in the room to see the baby!”   She is a hoot.

Beautiful week,


Our time in Tennessee   Leave a comment

Our trip to Tennessee started on last Thursday with meeting Jason and Jeni after they got home from work.  I had brought them the planters with flowers and herbs and veggies which we unloaded and watered well.  We loaded their things and took off.  Rick and I had thought that it would be good to get through Chicago at night to avoid a traffic delay in the morning……….. but, Chicago being Chicago, we hit a delay going into the city even though it was later.  We were not affected too much by this as we all liked each other in the car!   It did take much longer than planned but we made it to the Red Roof Inn in Merriville In. before 9.

We talked awhile in our room and laughed lots before heading to bed.  We all slept well.

We were up and on the road before 8 and headed to Mcdonalds for breakfast.  Unfortunately this Mcdonalds did not have outdoor seating and so we ended up at a Culvers near by to have our breakfast.  Traveling with dogs in heat makes one have to work around things.

It was a long day of traveling amidst periods of downpours.  We talked and listened to CDs or Ipods etc..   Lots of good conversation.

We arrived around 5 or so and got settled over in the guest house before going to Mom and Dad’s house.   We were so glad to get there and they were sitting out on their beautiful front porch, more like an extended living room, when we arrived.  We sat our there for quite awhile later that evening and the children ended up making up a game where one says a catchy sentence and the next person has to say another sentence with the last word rhyming with the last word of the previous sentence.  They laughed and laughed.   Zachy and Lacey spent time catching fireflies and filled a clear container with over 20!  They were so enchanting to watch as I have not seen them in Wisconsin since my child-hood in Trade Lake.   I was determined to bring some back with us to try and start them here in Door County but forgot,  😦

Saturday was spent visiting with Dad and Mom and then I went up to Angela’s and watched her children who were napping as she ran one son to a birthday party.  Our girls went with her and had fun shopping.  I enjoyed taking pictures of Angela’s beautiful flowers and sitting areas.  I am always inspired in many ways as I sit on her front porch under her beautiful flowering vines of which I know not the name.  I am not my mother when it comes to plants.

We had pizza out on the back patio and told stories after Bill and Laurel arrived.  Good time!

My family wanted to go to church and so we made it for the worship service and were glad that we went.  We made it home and had a wonderful Sunday dinner together although we had to eat inside due to the heat.

Dad, Mom and I sat at the table and went through the memorabilia from their wedding.  Mom had all the names and gifts given from her 5 different showers.  Because Dad and Mom started out in their first home here in Door County while Dad pastored our church, Bethel, I knew many of the names on the gift list.  The prize of the afternoon was seeing a typed, and some hand written journal which my paternal grandmother had written of the events surrounding my parents marriage.   You see, my parents took my father’s parents along with them on their three week honeymoon to the west coast and back…..  I know, WHAT was my Dad thinking!!!!

I did not have time to read through the journal but as I looked briefly at this book I again felt an incredible attachment to this Grandmother that I never knew due to her passing away of breast cancer when I was around two years of age.   I am musical, free-spirited, adventurous, ever-learning, love humor,  and now a journal writer as she was.   How I enjoy the beautiful generational gifts handed down from one generation to another!

Mom also pulled out the container of bridesmaid gowns and her wedding gown and my girls did a fashion show of each dress.  The best of show was my mothers wedding dress.  It still looked beautiful and Annie put it on and modeled it for us.   We had much fun looking at the styles of these dresses and my girls were mortified with the bow-on-the-bum styles that were the rave for years.

We had fun each day and two nights I say out on the front porch with Jason and Jeni talking until late.  THe stillness of the night air and the beauty of the fireflies sparking in the meadow in front of us was calming and serene.

Monday the 14th was the day of celebration and we all headed into town to get the last items needed to make the house beautiful and the meal rememberable.  Laurel had bought filet mignon and I bought decorated cakes and sparkling juice along with lots of gold bows and decorations for the chandelier above the dining room table.

We ate in the early afternoon and then sat around visiting and telling stories again.  I may try and get a link to some of the activities set up on YouTube at some point!   Dad and Mom also had a serious moment with all of us as they spoke to us of their plans for end of life.  This was good as we as Christians can discuss this with joy knowing that death and leaving this earth is momentary sadness for those left behind BUT victory for those who go first!

After cake and icecream later in the afternoon.  We then had Dad and Mom open gifts that we gave to them and they read aloud our cards.  When writing our family’s card I found myself overwhelmed with all that my parents have given to me and I knew that greatest gift I could give them was the promise that Rick and I will follow them in longevity of our marriage, staying faithful to each other and God.  What a special time to honor Dad and Mom.

Then, we went into an impromptu time of singing the hymns and some songs the Penrods knew from their vocal training.  With all of our family being lovers of worship and talented at hearing the parts, it was quite beautiful.  What really mattered was that our parents were blessed with hearing their family blessing the Lord.  You see, my Dad and Mom often would turn to us while driving down the road, or while we did dishes and ask we three girls, Billy was too little, to sing in three part harmony.  We never had a lesson or were shown what parts looked like on a score of music, we just had to hear it and sing it.   What a blessing and gift our parents gave us in this simple exercise of singing but making it pretty!    Thank you Dad and Mom.

It was hard to say goodbye.  Partly because Dad is frail, more frail than I have ever seen him, shockingly so.  I do not know if I will see him again on earth.  He reminded me as we hugged goodbye that he is the only father that I will ever have and that I need to make sure I and those with me make it to the other side, to heaven.   This is the most important conviction of my Father’s heart, that his family knows the Gospel and lives it!  We left and I went to pack and the teens all headed up for one last late-night get together up at the Penrods.

We got up early and were out the door by shortly after 6:30.  We met Mom and Billy on the driveway and so I jumped out for one last hug.  Can one, no matter how old, ever have enough hugs from their mother?  I do not think so…..

We made it home safely despite 16 hours of driving thanks to Chicago  ((((((smile))))) and terrible rains from north of Milwaukee to Sister Bay….   Jason survived riding with 5 Johnson females and even told me he had no concern when I was driving  HA!!!!   What a guy!

Quick trip but priceless memories were made.  Jason got to meet my parents, a Golden Anniversary was celebrated and the Clark family had another great time together.  I also know that the Lord was blessed, after all, it is always about Him at the core!

Blessed, so very blessed


Posted June 18, 2010 by joyfulhouse in Family