Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

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The above pictures represent a big part of our life with children which goes beyond the children we have given birth to.  In the upper picture is a picture of Miss S and Mr A,  Miss S trying to love both him and her doll as her nurturing spirit runs deep and overflows daily.  Precious, precious children.  The second picture is one of our favorites and one that our Social Workers would love to use as a poster for Foster Care.  Our family fondly calls it “The Princess and the Fisherman”.   That little Miss S, who loves to be either a princess, a ballerina, or recently a doctor but ALWAYS a mommy has wound her way into that fisherman’s heart, and it is a beautiful site to behold!  She was a princess on the day that picture was taken.   🙂

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Another reason that I took off the last year from blogging would be that we had another daughter become engaged and married.  This is Thanksgiving night at our home, where the house is filled with lots of people, family or friends.  Was we prepared to pray we all were in a circle taking turns saying what we were thankful for.  When it was Justin’s turn he spoke about Mandy and then dropped to his knee and proposed.  I was stunned but the Fisherman knew what  was coming and wanted me to be surprised.  This engagement was the response to lots of prayers and a testimony to God working in both of their lives.  We are thankful.  The wedding plans began immediately as they set the date for April.  our family is not one to have long engagements as we feel if you feel led to get married…. then GET married!

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This is a picture of Jeni a few months later — you can kind of see that she is pregnant!

Thanksgiving weekend we had a family dinner and at the end Jeni said that she needed to share something with the family.  After a couple of years of desiring a baby and knowing it had been a rough fall I listened with a  heavy heart — she started by saying that they were going in for an ultrasound but they would be trying something different ( as opposed to the other ultrasounds that they had been doing )  because they were pregnant!!  My heart burst with joy and I sobbed as I heard the news that I had been praying so hard for.  What a delight to know that God had shown His love once again upon our family and honored us with a new life.  Please know that our family believes in the complete sovereignty of God and if there had been no baby we would rejoice in life as God has willed and would also choose to look into adoption.  These years were a time spent in me re-learning my doctrine on God’s sovereignty and find that He is beautiful and good in it all.

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Wedding fun —  I hope sometime to have some wedding pictures but for now I do not have any on my computer —

It was a glorious weekend celebrating the marriage of Justin and Mandy and adding Justin and his son Tanner to our family.

March and April were busy with wedding plans and parties and celebrating — It took us a week to recover from it all!

God is good, and He is kind and we are thankful,

Joyce

 

 

Posted September 6, 2014 by joyfulhouse in Family

I Am Returning —- slowly!   Leave a comment

After much time away for various reasons, all of which I will write about in the near future, I am slowly making my way back to blogging again.  It seems there are some folks whom I love dearly who really do read and follow our lives here at Joyfulhouse……. sweet things!   I also am using this blog to document our life so in light of that and the fact that I would not want it to seem we all disappeared for a year, we are foster parents and that could raise questions, I will resume —  🙂

Coming back to this blog will also have to be a slow re-entry as WordPress has changes in the last year.  How unfair to me that they would change everything in such a short matter of time.  I will learn what all these new and fancy buttons are for over time and hopefully not delete with a push of a button all of my work — been known to happen —

2013 — August —

Let’s just sum up the summer of 2013 as fun, and lots of hard work.  I live in Door County remember and although we live in a tourist area, we work so that the tourists can enjoy their stay, and then we squeeze in some fun when we are able.

As foster parents we are always ready for THAT CALL, the one that says we are needed to take in another child, it is a phone call that we await as our hearts are drawn to this ministry of caring for children as the Lord brings them.  Sometimes they are the unexpected, as was the one that we received last August.  We knew there was a baby soon to be born in the fall but because we still had our Miss S we were sure we would not get the call for that baby as well.  But, we did.  We prayed and knew it was a yes to take this little guy, Mr. A, born 6 weeks early with some special needs.  He was 2.5 hours away in a NICU by himself so we drove as often as we could to see him and bond with him the first few days.  Soon we realized  that he was being given some very strong meds and the nurses explains that  he would need to be on them for 30 days for sure which was protocol for these babies.  That was too much for my heart to bare as I held this little 4 lb. bundle who was suffering physically and sequestered away in a private dark room for many reasons.  I prayed for healing, I asked my family to pray  for him, I asked friends and our church to pray and literally 2 days later as I called to check on him, the nurses said, in a surprised tone, that his numbers were coming down and that they had never seen this before.  Oh do I love when God works quickly!  Remember, at this time we had been told that he would not be coming home to our home until October, maybe the first 2 weeks.  This was Sept. 2, he was a week old and it was Monday.  I went to see him and the nurses taught me to tube feed him and start on the bottle feeding and they again mentioned how surprised they were that he was doing so well — I was blessed with the opportunity to tell another nurse about God and how He answers prayers –.  On Wednesday they called and said he was coming off the strong meds because he didn’t need them anymore!  They had been slowly removing him from the meds as he quickly healed but it was progressing so fast that at this point the NICU doctor was astounded — and I got to tell her about prayer!  On that Thursday they also told us to be ready to take him on Saturday!  The problem was that we had been praying but not acting as in getting ready!  Thank the Lord for daughters who helped me transform our bedroom nook into a nursery, buy a crib and all the items necessary for a baby, and a tiny baby at that!  On Sunday Rick and I drove down to pick up our Mr. A.  He was so tiny that the little car seat seemed huge compared to his little body.  I remember The Fisherman and I looking at each other and I started to laugh — what was God doing?  Did He not know we are in our 50’s?  As we drove out we prayed, and felt the complete assurance from God that this was indeed what we were to be doing, and that yes, it would be hard in many ways but that our Big God would supply all of our needs.

He did! — He gave me the ability to feed Mr. A every 3 hours around the clock — 2 oz. at a time for the first 3 weeks.  It would take him about 30-40 minutes to do the 2 oz. I would get back to sleep for 2 hours then need to get back up and feed him again.  But such a joy!  It became my delight, on most nights —  to pray over him and bless him with God’s Words for his life.  God met every need for us as a family to take care of this little man and boy did we fall in love, and Miss S did as well!

Mr. A is one of the reasons that I did not blog for a while — my life became very consumed with the needs of getting a tiny baby healthy and caring for him, Miss S and our family —   And it was all good!.  God is so awesome and this journey is so exciting and real — Oh how I love what He brings and how He takes us through the good and the very hard things, and it has been a year of culmination in my life — all for good as I will share.

That was last fall —

It is that time of year again but we do not have Mr. A anymore.  He is in a very good place with family which is a true blessing and another answer to prayers.  We miss him.  It was last April when we said our goodbyes as we met with the family member, a beautiful kind woman, and passed him to her along with all of his belongings and special gifts from us.  As we sat in the hotel room, Mi-mi, A, The Fisherman and myself, we gathered around him to lay hands on him and pray.  We knew there was a good chance that we would never see him again on this earth.  We prayed over his life, lifting him before the throne of God.  As my big fisherman husband prayed he choked back sobs, joining the tears of our two beautiful daughters which broke my heart, his love and their love for this little boy pouring out in words over his life.  We hugged him and said our goodbyes.  As we were heading out of the hotel room I asked Mimi and A if this was too much for them, too hard to give up the foster children, even if it was to a very good place.  I will never forget A turning to me with more than a little fire in her eyes and saying “Oh sure mom, make it easier on us and leave children without a good safe home to go to??”  I knew then that even though we were all a wreck it would be ok eventually, God does heal hearts, He would help us through missing this precious little life in which we had seen miracles and experienced such joy.

He did help us, because He is faithful and He is kind.

Foster care is a wild ride — wouldn’t want life to be boring!

Thankful for the opportunity to love a little man, bless his life, teach him about Jesus and pray over him, change his diapers and spend time in the night with him showing him what love looks like!

 

 

Blessed as always because of Jesus

Joyce

Posted September 3, 2014 by joyfulhouse in Around the house, Door County Life, Family, Foster Care

These Days!   1 comment

Yesterday was Melody’s birthday and we celebrated all day long —  We actually started the celebration on Tuesday with a trip to Green Bay and dinner with Uncle Randy.  We Johnsons love to celebrate and birthdays celebrations are often a week or more — seems kind of Biblical as God like to celebrate in weeks to!

Turning 15 is a big deal in our home and my husband allows the girls to wear make-up starting on this birthday.  So…. off to Appleton we went to go to the Clinique counter and have a make-up stylist do her make-up and purchase her skin-care routine.  Then, off to Sephora and Ulta to buy mascara and eyeshadows and some lip glosses.  Those stores blow my mind with all the different kinds of makeups and brands and assortment of fixes for all of our “facial problems”.  It was a bit overwhelming to see it all and I was heavily aware that the message being sent to us as women is that we are indeed not “perfect” and that we don’t need to worry, “they” have something to fix everything.

My problem with that message is that my husband and I see our girls as beautiful, delightfully so, completely so.  That is one of the reasons Rick does not want his girls wearing make-up until they are fifteen.  He wants them to be sure and confident of their beauty without make-up before they start the make-up routine.  Even when they start using cosmetics he wants them to remain natural looking and not heavily made-up —  easier said then done sometimes.  As we gift Melody we want to make sure that she understands once again that her real beauty is in how God created her and her allowing Him to give her beauty from the inside out.  Beautiful Spirit filled heart = beautiful joyful countenance.   Every growing, maturing, changing as God does His work in her, in each one of us!

I remember when our first daughter was about 10 and she was sitting at the table for mealtime when the sun crossed her face and I could see that she was wearing my foundation.  Being just a child it was streaked across her cheek and down her chin and I stood amazed that she had tried to apply make-up on at such a young age.  She was innocently exploring what she saw me do when I was going to town or church and wanted to see how that would look on her.  My amazement, unfortunately turned to anger and I told her to get a towel and wipe it all off of her face.  I was upset because my daughter, thinking she was adding to her beauty as she had seen me do, was to me marring her precious face, a face which to me did not need anything to  be more perfect.  Her long blond hair and big blue eyes, creamy white complexion and her sweet innocence did not need one bit of help to be more beautiful to my eyes and that is what stirred up such strong emotion in my heart.  I wish I would have handled it better but I reacted and did not take the time to use this experience to teach the deep lesson of beauty to one so tender.  She was my first experience with a daughter and God graciously allowed us four more!  These beautiful daughters amaze their father and I, over and over again, as they go through the teen years and into full womanhood and their beauty grows each year.  What a joy!

Make-up is fun and they all enjoy wearing it — but their natural beauty is most precious as it comes from their hearts!

So here we are with our baby — wearing make-up, and pre-paring to start drivers ed next — fifteen and fabulous!

Blessed to be a mother of daughters

Blessed to be married to a strong man who is a good father to his five daughters!

Joyce

 

 

 

Posted April 27, 2013 by joyfulhouse in Door County Life, Family

Fifteen!   Leave a comment

DSC00654 DSC00639 DSC00568This is our beautiful 15 year old.

How time flies when you are having fun and she has been a fun and wonderful daughter.

This has been a great year for Melody as she has excelled in school, her friendships, helping with foster children, working for our rental business, her violin and most importantly her walk with God.

We love her laugh and her humor, her way of thinking and often taking things to a deeper level in school and other daily discussions.  She is a young lady and growing in all of her beauty and we are delighted that God gave her to us!

Posted April 27, 2013 by joyfulhouse in Around the house, Family, Uncategorized

Happy Birthday Mom!   1 comment

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We decided to celebrate my mother’s birthday on Thursday before we had to leave for home.  We made it a girls only time — for various reasons!   My mom loves to antique with us but unfortunately the place we wanted to go to together was closed and not opening until the following week — so, we headed up into Spring Hill to a fun store where we found lots of neat things after digging well.  When we were leaving a squad car came wheeling into the parking lot with window rolling down and the officer started to question my mother!   I jumped out of the car to see what was up but he sped away before I got to the car.  Mom said that she was asked if she had been outside the store and around the premises observing anything unusual going on..  evidently they were searching for someone!.  The proprietor of the store told my sister that things are stolen all the time.  Spring Hill is evidently not as classy as we would like to believe.

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After thrifting for a while we headed out to lunch with mom at Olive Garden.  The boys felt a little excluded from this and it did not help that Kristi kept texting pictures of the dinners to Tyler and this is his favorite place to eat.

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Making memories with Grandma Clark.  This was her 75th birthday and she looked lovely as always.

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No trip to Spring Hill is complete without a trip to sweet Ci-Ci’s.   What a fun place!  We all enjoyed a treat and I had a moment to take some beautiful pictures of these lovely women.

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“I do love me some fro-yo!  And the flavor burst from those little nuggets of fruit juice just thrills my taste-buds!”

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“Hey boys!  Guess what you are missing now!”

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My mom — what can I say?  There are not enough words to describe the beauty of this godly woman.  She has modeled Christ before me all my life and has showed sacrificial love and devotion in her marriage to my dad until his dying day.  She is forever optimistic to a fault  🙂  .   A few weeks ago my husband and I were arguing and his retort to me was ” yeah… well you are just like your mom — saying everything is going to be just fine, it will all work out-blah blah blah!”  That is my mom’s spirit, and she helps us all to see the brighter side of every situation.  We are blessed to have our mother and all she stands for in her life.  Thank you Lord for my mother!

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Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at time to come.  She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue — Her children rise up and call her blessed —   Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.  Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised!  Proverbs 31  

You mom are that woman and we praise you!  

Blesses, so blessed,

and may the generations of women who come from this women also fear the Lord and be worthy of praise!  

Joyce

Posted March 18, 2013 by joyfulhouse in Family

TN Photos   Leave a comment

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As always, there was some serious game time!

 

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My Beautiful sister Angela in her schoolhouse.  This is where she teaches her children academics, the Bible, music and life lessons — it is one of my favorite places in TN.

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Mandy with her Aunt Angela.

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Mandy has a long way to go if she plans on catching up to her younger cousin in height!

 

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This was one of the most precious memories of the trip.  Here, Chelsea shared her testimony with Mandy of how she came to know the Lord and then Angela shared hers as well.  Sweet, sweet fellowship among sisters in the Lord.

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Cookout fun — swinging, sitting by the fire, playing Ninja, and a picture of the whole gang minus most adults — I must add that this was one awesome group of Christian young adults.  Beautiful women and men who are passionate about life with God and it showed.   So encouraging for my heart and it gave me hope for our church that we will have  this evident in our church as well.

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Angela sharing a great story by the fire.

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My mother and I by the fire —

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More game time — but before the game time this sweet nephew of mine, Joe, was lovingly captured between our tow daughters Annie and Melody and they had a talk about life plans and goals.  I do love it that we can have lots of fun together and at the same time grab moments to talk about what is really important in life and encourage one another on in life…   that is Christian love!

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Sometimes we Clark girls have a hard time keeping our mouths shut!   HA HA!   Kristi looks like she can’t believe a thing she is hearing!  This was during a game time as well.

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Mandy in the game time!

Thankful for the good memories from TN.

Joyce

 

 

Posted March 18, 2013 by joyfulhouse in Family

Vacation???   Leave a comment

We left Wednesday in the early morning…. suburban full, but not to the brim as when we traveled with six children.  This time we have our two youngest daughters and the car seat with Miss S.  and baby paraphernalia filling the seat beside her car seat.  We made it off at a decent time for our annual trip to visit family in TN.  It was a few hours into the trip that Miss S coughed in a way that triggered concern to me right away.  She had been healthy for a couple of weeks, much to my delight… and I was hoping for good health for this trip so that my nights would not be consumed with being up with her more than our normal one or two middle of the night get-togethers.

We arrived on Wed. night late and took Miss S to the pediatrician on Thurs. morning.  Things did not improve as we had prayed and hoped and last night we spent hours praying over her as her fever rose higher and higher even with the tylenol.  As I sat rocking her in the night I was pursued by the thoughts of dismay that she had to get so sick, that this is our only vacation and here I am spending it with a very sick little girl and with very little rest or sleep.  I prayed and asked God to explain how this was His best for me this week.  I wish I could say that I received beautiful words of prose from my Heavenly Father, but that did not happen.  I did receive peace that He is with me and that rocking this little girl, praying over her immediate needs and for her future life were indeed His best plans for my life the last few nights.  In fact, that I was able to hear His voice in my tired mind at 1:00 in the morning was in itself a beautiful blessing.  This is not my way or desire of how to spend my vacation but God has a plan.  I may miss church tomorrow and I so love attending other churches, especially this one here in TN, but I will worship Jesus tomorrow here at the gram’s house with a sick little one wiping her little nose and telling her how much God loves her and has plans for her life as well.  It does not seem much like vacation at this time but God knows.

The words of this hymn have blessed me tonight —

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

On vacation — being blessed!

Joyce