Archive for July 2011

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Here we are at Mandy’s job site in her office space —  Her screen saver is of her dad and her together — tricking a familiar facial expression.  We met her co-workers and enjoyed seeing her place of work.  She has an important job as she recruits folks to donate blood for the sake of saving the lives of others.  We are proud of her work and pray for her to be a blessing to all whom she comes in contact with every day.

I am catching up today on our lives.  It has been a wonderful couple of weeks, busy but good, stressful but accomplishing, wearying but peaceful at times…. isn’t that just how life is?   The mystery of days filled with a gamut of emotions and experiences all combining together to make up our days and ultimately our lives..

Jason and the girls, having dinner together in Milwaukee before seeing Hillsong United in concert.

Sometimes life is more overwhelming than other times, or maybe sometimes the work load wears us down and we get too tired to handle the daily stresses, we feel to sad to handle the pressures of everything that consumes our days.  That is when our faith becomes more real to us as we call on the name of the Lord for strength and joy and peace and patience.  We ask for wisdom, we cry out for His presence and His balm for our souls.  Our faith takes on new qualities as we experience anew His daily meeting of our needs, all of them!   Rejoicing and thankfulness is mingled together as we receive His grace and mercy for each hour and it causes us to worship, pure worship, raw and open and honest, welling out of the moment.


This is the secret to keeping our lives in order — the BOARD!

On this board we write phone messages, the chores for the day, appointments, etc..  I have to admit that it rarely gets completely accomplished and most days there is an item or two on the list that is rolled over onto the next days agenda.  I am still  glad to cross thing off the list and see work being accomplished.



Here is our Sammy, Rick’s race-car fan!  He was more than happy to have his picture taken with the race- car as he proudly supports Uncle Rick and recently came over just to get Uncle Rick’s autograph for his notebook.   


Big sister — little brother,  It is good for Sammy to be with us for the day, to experience being part of a family with a big sister to do things with and to interact with.  His father says that he enjoys his days here and I am glad that he can be with us.  It is a “little” bit like having his mother here, even though I know she is in heaven with her Lord, and I miss her so.





Sammy and Melody rescued this robin which had been outed of the nest but either had a birth defect with it’s legs or injured them in the fall.

Annie our resident animal rescuer and animal protector studied about the care of birds and went to great lengths to feed and help this little bird.  Despite her best efforts, the bird did not make it and after three days died.  It was sad, but at the same time rewarding to know that although we did our best to care for it and it fell asleep to die peacefully.   Life is fragile, for people and animals… 



Nick and Garrett Voight, friends of ours who we enjoy caring for now and then.  They remind me of our son Matthew with their tow-heads.



Melody and Lidia balancing cards–  a feat that I have never been able to accomplish at all.  Melody was struggling, hence the hidden face.  



The truth about Sammy — Sammy loves our family, every one in our family.  But, the truth is, he likes it best when he gets ALL of my attention.  His siblings are all much older as he was the surprise baby when his mother was 46!  With Donna’s death when he was 11 months old, it left him with only his father at home.  Being raised with just his father, in an adult world, he is an old soul in many ways.  He also has expressed to his father that he would like it if I went and lived at their house and was his mama.  His dad has explained to him that Uncle Rick would get really mad if that happened.  Sammy is just expressing his heart, which wants a mama, wants something of normalcy that others have but he does not.   So, this was his anniversary card to me on our 30th.  Notice that it is not to Uncle Rick, just me!  The picture is of he and I together, no mention of Rick!  Rick and I laughed when we saw this, so precious and a reminder that in the body of Christ we are family to others and that means for me mothering Sammy and giving him a sense of normal for the day — letting him know he is loved and cherished here.


Garden picture One

Annie made a delicious meal of Haitian food — 

Living and learning each beautiful day.   Our days are filled with work and chores to maintain our home, people coming and going, stopping in for visits and meals, Bible study and teaching — getting to the heart of the matter in all of our lives.  Times of prayer are beautiful whether out under the tree or at our table.  We replaced a chair in the cottage and the comfy chair was brought down to our house and place next to the couch, in front of the the woodstove.  This would never work come fall and the start of woodburning, but for now it is perfect as we gather in these chairs to visit and share lives, to relax for the moment before the work of life calls us to the next chore.  I do love gathering spots within my home!

This day —

We will have breakfast with a dear friend from Brazil and her children.  She wants to watch Jeni and Jason’s wedding DVD, what fun.  Annie and Kristi work at nine and Melody and I have work here in the gardens and house before we head out this afternoon to a cleaning job.  Full day — wonderful day!

Blessed in it all —





Our 30th Wedding Anniversary! Celebration of Love!   Leave a comment

Thirty-one years ago I was visiting the little village of Gills Rock while on vacation with my family.  At church on Sunday I met a local commercial fisherman name Rick Johnson.  He was fishing in Sheboygan at the time, 2.5 hours away.  Every night that week he would get off the boat in Sheboygan and drive north to take me out for ice-cream or miniature golfing, then drive the 2.5 hours back to Sheboygan to get on the boat and head out fishing once again only to repeat it again and again for the whole week.  I was a little naive to all of this going on behind the scenes…. I did not know where Sheboygan was after all!

My parents left for Ohio after the week was done, but I stayed in Gills Rock and started working as a waitress at a local place.  Rick and I saw each other every day and after ten weeks he told me he wanted to marry me.  I was young, just out of high school, so my answer was that I believed this to be God’s will but only with my parents complete approval.  In a way we started this courtship with the goal and intent of marriage and in Dec. my father did give his whole-hearted approval and we married five months later.

I was living with a local family who took me in and have been such a blessing in our lives all these years.  We also had a godly pastor who’s wife led me and taught me so although I was away from my parents I had godly influences in my life.

Now, 30 years later, we can see God’s hand in it all…. it is beautiful and thrilling to see how He orchestrated our lives together to help each other become the people God designed us to be and to give God glory in our lives and family.  It has not always been joyful, and there have been times where it has been very hard, but our love for God made the difference.

Our wedding announcement said:

Psalm 118 —

The Lord has done this and it is wonderful in our eyes!

Amen and Amen and Amen

Mandy designed this cake and it was beautiful, a before and 30 years later set of pictures.  Loved It!

Here we are, the family that God designed.  He blessed us so much, six children, when we were told I would be lucky to have any!   How precious are the gifts that God gives.  Unfortunately, Jason took this picture so he is not in it, and the one that he was in, well….  most of the back row were missing half their heads…  but he is part of our family in every way and we believe marriage makes him permanently one of ours which is why I am sad that there was not a good picture with him in it.  We are nine strong…….. so far!

Decorating the church

Memory table

I just loved it that they used clotheslines for the memory pictures.  i use clotheslines all the time so it fit well.

What a hoot to go down memory lane and see our lives in pictures.

I think the boys are commiserating  here about living with Johnson women….  I am sure they were worn out from doing the bidding of the five sisters in preparing for our party.  They did a beautiful job and it turned out so lovely.  Thanks guys..   Oh, and Annie was making sure she looked lovely as well….. and she did!

Day before preparations…. bake, bake, bake.  Our other daughter Ally joined the team of bakers and helped as well.

It was exhausting work for her — 🙂

The kitchen crew —

Our children worked so hard and it was a wonderful night of celebrating our lives and really our family.  They did a slide show which was precious beyond words and a little skit about our family. We laughed and we cried.  Most of all we rejoiced in God’s grace and mercy on Rick and I as we have chosen joy, chosen to obey God and chosen to trust God for over 30 years, in the good and hard, the better and the worse times.  Glorious life because of a glorious God!

He gets all the praise!

Blessed —


Work with Team Johnson!   Leave a comment

Our family has been called Team Johnson when we have shown up do work together, and it has nothing to do with racing!   While the cousins were here we had an opportunity to bless a family and do a job for them that needed to get done.  They needed their dock put together, so Rick took the crew over, Team Johnson PLUS….  and they did a great job heaping out and working together.   Annie was evidently in charge of holding the panels….

Here the strong guys are picking up the panels and hauling them to Annie

Sometimes Annie had to hold up two panels….. and tell the guys what to do…. that was probably her favorite part!

Here they are getting to the end of the dock…..  Annie is ready with the last panel.  They did a great job, but they forgot to throw Uncle Rick in the lake!!!

This was another day’s job.  Our cottage has needed to get painted for years and I was determined to get it done before the season started… so….. we recruited the guys to help the girls and the work began…. and the fun too!

They were so cute working together, what a team!




Annie and Tyler tackled some harder places and worked together well….  the wit was just rolling off the tongues!


Grandma came to check on the young adult workers, Annie looks as cute as ever!

Team Marchetti was there in full force!   Working hard and also providing entertainment   🙂

This was the crew —  notice the paint on the face?   They worked very hard and accomplished a huge task which saved Rick and I hours of work.  They did a great job for never having painted a whole house before.  We are thankful for all their help… and just for the record….  I painted as well!    🙂

Here is the end result —  our cottage looks beautiful and is headed back to it’s Scandinavian looks.

I am thrilled to have our little Summer House looking so lovely and I am sure this season’s vacationers will be happy with it as well.

Blessed by these hardworking young people.





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Oh those fighting cousins — they really look angry don’t they?

Fun around the fire, Matteo really worked to win Lacey’s attention and sugar won her heart as he helped her roast her marshmallow..

The older boys found Matthew’s old bow and decided to make their own arrows, so out came the pocket knives and the whittling and hardening with fire began.  Alex was very impressive with his efforts.

Apparently it was a cool night as Melody had on her Arctic Cat hat which is usually reserved for winter wear…

It is obvious that a certain Italian did not find it too cool for showing off some of his brawn while  practicing his archery skills.  I am not sure how the trike fits into the macho image   🙂

Matteo and Kristi

Matteo, Kristi and Tyler — the three buds as they were all born within 15 months —  that was a busy year for my mom as she traveled to Wisconsin, Italy and then Tenn. to attend the births of these precious gifts from the Lord

8:30 Bible time —   Is there anything more beautiful than 14 Bibles being opened up and the Word of the Lord being read by all ages and then discussed?   Love it!

My friend Kari helped us make memory stones for Mom’s garden in Tenn..   The children all created their own designs and words and they were truly beautiful.

Levi with his stone

Matteo has made a tradition of cooking for us when he visits.   We enjoy Italian food so much and there is just nothing better than it being made by an authentic handsome Italian!   His tomato/basil sauce is so delicious and we enjoyed it so much.  This is what meal time looked like every night —  a table full of wonderful people who I love very much and some of the dearest children to my heart.

After supper nerf-gun war

Pitty the fool who dares to turn his nerf-gun on his beloved aunt! –   I actually did get shot by another young man — his name starts with J and has three letters —-,  he paid dearly and was tickled profusely until he said uncle — he should have said auntie, but I let him go anyway   🙂

Another game of Spider at the park right next to our home

The guys were clinging to the equipment because in this game they cannot touch the ground or the person who is it can yell spider and if they are on the ground they are immediately it.  Levi, in yellow, is it and he has to tag someone by moving around the equipment with his eyes closed — not easy

Go-carting on our last night together

My mother and her precious Italians

What wonderful memories


Posted July 5, 2011 by joyfulhouse in Around the house, Door County Life, Family

June Days   Leave a comment



Togetherness under the tree —


Myself, Aunt Marge, my sister Laurel, cousins Ellie and Julie

My sweet cousin Mike, who wanted to visit some of the places dear to his heart from his childhood visits to Door County.

Because of him we went and visited Europe Bay, Europe Lake and the beach by Northport –what a sweet time!

Julie, Mike and Aunt Marge

Fun on the playground playing spider —-


The littlest Clark grand-daughter

Cruising with the cousins

Alex, Logan and Melody preparing for Bible —  they look a little sleepy  🙂

Breakfast at the Brandts.  My precious friend Kari made breakfast for us, all of us, here is the “chow” line.

After breakfast we toured her gardens as my mother is an avid gardener.  Here we are by Kari’s pond where the bubbling sound was so peaceful.

Here is Kari with my mother—  two beautiful women

Celebrating Matteo’s birthday —  American style, with pizza and laughter



This was the gang, the beautiful group that shared lives together for eight days — what a blessed family we are

My mother and Matteo at the beach

One of the beautiful sunsets that we witnessed that week.  A daily reminder at the close of the day that life is beautiful because God is beautiful —  sunsets always bring my thoughts to how great God is.












Posted July 5, 2011 by joyfulhouse in Door County Life, Family