Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

Mentoring and the Cross   Leave a comment


This is the beautiful cross from the Chapel at the Fort Wayne hospital where Cassidy works.  The Chapel was so peaceful and lovely and this cross was stunning.  The colors spoke to my heart from the peacefulness and the tranquility of the blues, the joy of the yellows and reminder of royalty in the purples to the fiery power of the reds…. all emotions that are evoked in me when I see the cross.   Had there been time I would have loved to sit there in the calmness of that room to meditate on God’s Word and speak to Him.

Matthew 10:38  “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

I Cor. 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

The cross— looking at a beautiful cross whether made of wood or stained glass, (neither of which represent well  the cross of Calvary anymore than the sapphire  and diamond cross hanging from my neck as a true representation would be marred from nails and blood if we are to be at all honest) reminds me, deep in my soul, that this is the symbol that speaks of what christianity is all about — love- promises kept, power and forgiveness and sacrifice– lots of sacrifice…..

The verses above from Matthew and 1 Cor. have always encouraged me in the mentoring part of my life because mentoring takes sacrifice which may seem hard at first and while in the midst of some seasons but, when looking back it it pure glory to God. What may seem foolish to the world, and those I mentor, is still POWER to me oh praise the Lord.

Some times of mentoring leave me wondering why I am investing in these folks who do not respond to this power or respond with little sparks which are blown out quickly by the world and satan, over and over again.   But then I am reminded that it is not by me or through me, it is simply the cross—-  and then I relish in days like yesterday as my sweet young friend came for prayer and Bible study, who, after years of mentoring is in a crisis that has brought her to the cross in such a way that it is literally changing her every week when we join together, this cross is not foolish this time and she is not  embracing it half-heartedly keeping the world’s views right beside the Word of God.   She is experiencing the power as it sheds her heart of her own sin and tenderizes her heart to embrace the beautiful ways of God and as we cry and laugh and share what this mysterious power is doing in our lives and ….. we embrace the cross.  Actually, I think we cling to the cross recognizing that it alone and the God who orchestrated the cross and our Salvation is our highest need.   Laying down our sins and choosing to follow and obey God, we experience the hope of the cross and it fills us with the knowledge that we are royalty as daughters of the King of kings and we rest in peace, and we have joy overwhelming our hearts and we rise up as women with power — women of VALOR as Prov. 31 speaks.  Women of the cross!

Mentoring is much about “we”.

— when I started mentoring I perceived mentoring to be  where I was always “above”, the more knowledgable one and wiser.  In some ways this is  true to some degree — but so many more times I have found that mentoring is like being yoked with someone where we walk together in life but because I have walked with God longer it is I who knows the road and helps to keep the other on track and moving forward.  Being close to someone in mentoring brings (more often than not) times where God  speaks to my heart and challenges me and I learn alongside and grow equally as much because I must know what I believe and be strong to stand against the enemy as he hates mentoring that is done for God’s glory and centered on the cross.  Mentoring, although sacrificial  ALWAYS produces good in my life and it will in yours as well.  It is not so much about “me”….. but about “we”.

Blessed by the cross today,

That changed me and continues to change me

That I am loved by God so that

I can love others…..



Posted June 6, 2012 by joyfulhouse in Door County Life, Photos, Spiritual Life

Starting the Birthday weeks!   Leave a comment

In normal life most people like to celebrate their birthDAY, special dinner, presents and maybe some friends over.  Not in the Johnson house!  Our girls like to celebrate big and so they have birthWEEKS!   ONe day is just not enough of a party for our girls.  This started with Jeni, our oldest daughter and has carried on down through the sisters.  Annie would prefer a birthMONTH but my sweet husband has put his foot down on that much celebration!  Life is worth celebrating but the budget does not allow for it!

Last weekend Jeni and Jason came up for three nights and so the celebration began.

We had such a lovely time with them and did some fun shopping at the second hand stores and visiting around the woodstove in the morning with coffee….   just being a family together.

On one of our hikes we took Sammy along.  He loved playing leader and protector of the women!   His imagination and vocabulary never cease to amaze me.

Our two lovely ladies.  I love this picture as it shows them so natural with their smile and happy faces.

Jeni and Sammy joined the two!

The men as they sat watching the present opening time.  It is obvious that the school table never got cleared for the weekend.  Sometimes that happens!

Eating dessert in the living room, only Jason would look up, my Scandinavians are still a little camera shy after all these years!

We said goodbye on Monday morning after homemade cinnamon rolls and watching an Elephant Room dvd and then sitting around discussing our thoughts.

We are so thankful that Jeni married such a wonderful man and that he fits in so well with our family!

Blessed by Family


Posted April 28, 2012 by joyfulhouse in Door County Life, Family, Photos

Youth convention 2011   Leave a comment

Youth Convention 2011

God works in mysterious ways—

In August one of the youth at church was talking about the Assembly of God youth convention that I had taken the youth to for a number of years, we had not gone for two years so I thought that those conventions were done for our group.  We had started attending the EV Free conventions in Green Bay and they were ok and a lot closer than La Crosse.

Then  felt a little voice tell me that I should take the youth again.  I told the voice I did not want to drive that far.

The voice spoke to me again… you know how He does that!   Ok, I thought, I will try and get the information at least as I had not received any info in the mail which was usually sent in August. Searched the interned, even other churches websites for any info about the convention, found nothing.  Told voice that I had done my best but “oh well” couldn’t get any info.

The voice spoke to me again, I reminded voice I had done all I could do.

A week later, now mid- September, I received the whole packet about the convention with registration form in the mail.  That was when I knew that I was indeed going to that youth convention again!  Prayed about who to take and who to ask to chaperone the boys and within a couple days had our suburban full and all plans were made.

Since God told me to do His bidding, I went to Him for every detail and reminded Him a couple of times that I needed double the worth of every (few) hours of sleep I got, and walked in confidence the whole weekend that since God had asked me to do this then He would take care of the details, and strength and the clear mind that I would need.  God gave abundantly all of that to me and more.  We heard great teaching, heard God speak to all of us worshipped with 2000 other believers, and had FUN!  God is so good.

The speaker was Reggie Dabbs and that black brother can preach and he does not sugar coat the Gospel or the Christian walk.  He brought a coffin on stage each time he spoke and really addressed sin and hell and the Christian walk.  Our three jr. high boys who were along listened up well to this powerful man and the messages he gave.  What a blessing the whole weekend was to all of us.

Our Gang

Doing the Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews look!

Melody headed to the girls area and Jakob headed to the boys area–  cuz thats that way we like it!

Convention worship with the band Skyhook, they did a great job

That is Reggie in the striped shirt, teaching the boys to bring a little soul into the worship!  Love it, makes me anxious for heaven when we will worship with the beauty of all nations there!

An artist who painted while we worshipped drew that picture of Jesus and challenged the youth to re-paint Jesus to everyone they meet, meaning change the perception that the lost have of Jesus.  He then asked them to commit to witnessing to their lost friends and to put the name of at least one unsaved friend on the picture to remind them of their commitment.  It was beautiful to see the line of youth going up to the picture to write their friend’s name.

I was put on the boys team, my name was Jmony  which sounds kind of like a Chicago gangster kind of a name!  🙂

This was the girls team, Melody was Uni and Annie was Beam — love the names!

The girls team!  Good thing that they are so beautiful even when they strike these ‘tough-guy” poses!

Gretel is such a good sport as she really doesn’t like bowling but goes along and has fun and really was doing well on this day!

She looks a little dubious as to the instructions they were giving her —

I could say that Annie instructed Alyssa and so she is high-fiving Alyssa’s good score…… but that girl can bowl and does not need any instruction at all!  Sorry Annie

Since we were the only ones bowling toward the end of the afternoon, we loaded up the juke box with good songs and did a little line dancing on the bowling alley.  The older gentlemen who ran the place really enjoyed our group as we had so much fun and yet cleaned up after ourselves and did not act rude with what we said or did.  These youth shined-bright!

Jakob — one cool kid!  🙂

Playing a word game while waiting for pizza

It is clearly evident to Annie who had most of the covers all night!!!   Good thing she loves Gretel!

I do not know why Annie would accuse me of such a thing as stealing the covers — really!

The ride home —

You would think they would be tired — fall asleep, like other groups in other years of going to the convention —

Not this group!  There was not a dull moment as we drove the six hours homes.  Just lots of laughter, joking around, mid-seat wrestling and lots of music.

Great trip there and a great trip home.  God is SO good and most worthy of our praise!


Posted November 2, 2011 by joyfulhouse in Door County Life, Family, Photos, Spiritual Life

Beautiful August morning   Leave a comment

I am loving these beautiful, cool mornings, with  breezes blowing through the windows.  The sky is so very dark at five in the morning and as Rick and I sat together this morning we saw the ominous pink in the sunrise that usually means we will see some sort of strong weather today.  They are predicting thunder storms and the rain would be a blessing.

We are missing Kristi, there is a noticeable difference in our home without her beyond setting the table for only four.  We talk to her every day and she is doing well, praise the Lord.  She has skyped with her siblings and I saw pictures of her room yesterday, that Mandy showed me.  Her classes are going well and she is busy.  She was in her bunk when the earth quake hit VA and she felt her bunk and dorm shake!  Another child going through earthquake tremors.  Today or tomorrow she will experience the bands from the tornado Irene which should bring rain and winds across the state from what I understand, not terrible, but the affects of that storm.  All this makes us feel that Door County is indeed a safe place!

Our days are busy too, I have cleaning to be catching  up on and have started that process.  I will finish the laundry at one of the houses today, and get the pressing and beds all made up again.  I also put together the music for Sunday which always takes longer than I think it should!  We practiced on Wed. night and it was sweet worship.  Yesterday Annie and Melody and I went to Appleton to be with Mandy and get some shopping done.  There were many great sales and the girls were able to get some much needed clothing.  I bought one shirt in a beautiful blue.  I had another shirt in the basket but the sale price was still over $20 dollars and I really do stick to a rule of never paying over $20 for any item of clothing unless for a special occasion.  And $10 is more my limit for a shirt, even a nice one.  I then left the girls shopping and went second-hand shopping and was able to find a cute skirt and some dresses and skirts for the girls.  So, we are doing well in being ready for fall as far as clothes.

Our first stop for shopping was Fleet Farm, same as Tactor supply stores in the south.  The girls insisted that they did not need to go in to that store…  I told them the reasons that I did not want them to be sitting out in a parking lot while I was inside, regardless of having a cell-phone.  They finally got out of the car and headed in.  I knew that they were trying to avoid a habit I have of pointing out the nice gentlemanly farm boys that are there as well as working the check-outs!  They just die when I choose a checkout where a farmboy is working!!!   Isn’t parenting just a blast?  🙂   Since they had argued with me about coming in I told them they had to find coyote pee for the garden, did I mention I am having an outrageous problem with deer and that they have eaten a good portion of my garden despite the fact that I left lots and lots of weeds in the garden as a decoy?   Although I have never read an article on weed decoys I thought I would give it a try this year, as time for weeding has been limited.  So, back to the story.  I went about getting jeans for Rick and then into the canning supplies and never catching a sight of my girls.  I was wondering where they were when they rounded the corner and came my way, minus coyote pee.  I asked where it was and they said they could not find it and when I asked about there getting help from a store clerk, they said they didn’t ask, in other words, they did not want to say coyote pee to a clerk.  If I could have remembered Liquid Fencing I would have, but that would not have been as much fun as saying coyote pee!   So, I bought boxes and boxes of canning lids for half the price of what they are up north in our neck of the woods, Yeah!  We went to the gardening aisle and found the Liquid fencing.  I also bought a bag of those Pepto Bismal pink wintergreen mints, because I remember having those on my grandparents farm.  We left the store without seeing one farmboy, much to the girls relief!

Time with Mandy was wonderful and we laughed and even teared up as I told her of saying goodbye to Kristi.  She loves her family deeply and we miss seeing Mandy as her job keeps her so busy.  She is also fun for the girls to shop with because I am not a shopper, especially with malls.  I took the time while they were browsing to call my mother and visit with her and then to just sit and think and people watch, enjoying all the beautiful people that God has created.

Today will be catch up day.  I am about to fill the board with the list of jobs we need to accomplish then I will get to it.  It will be a full day.  We will have marinated pork chops and fresh corn on the cob for supper, easy meal and quick since the Packers play this evening.  We will also have two young men over for supper and the evening so their parents can have a date night.  The younger guy is a visitor to the family and just getting to know all of us so I am glad for the opportunity to play games with him and get to know this young man.

This is what I read in Daniel 6 this morning:

He is the living God and He is steadfast forever and His kingdom is the one that will not be destroyed.  He delivers and rescues and works signs and wonders in heaven and earth!

Love it,  that is the God I want overseeing my life today, that is the God that I can believe in and I am so thankful that I can be a part of His Kingdom.

Choosing joy today


Posted August 26, 2011 by joyfulhouse in Door County Life, Family, Photos

August means change for our family—   Leave a comment

This is what I found on Kristi’s day off, I thought she was packing, instead she was having some last moment bonding.

Acts 17:26-28

And He made form one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God in the hope that they will make their way toward Him and find Him.  Yet, He is actually not far from each one of us for “In Him we live and move and have our being.”

LOVE this verse.  As I sit in Lynchburg VA, preparing to leave our beloved daughter here, this verse gives me such peace.  God knows her life, and although this turn of her leaving our home and going over 1000 miles away to attend Liberty U has caused struggles in her father’s and my heart we are at peace with this.  She is seeking God and following Him where she hears Him leading.   He even knows how long she needs to be in VA and where in VA she will go.  I can rest in my beloved Lord.

Hugging her brother goodbye!

It was last Sunday we left for this new adventure in our family’s history.  Kristi had worked all week at Charlies beside packing and getting herself ready for the trip.  It was a busy week.  I kept busy with cleaning jobs, preparing our house for my leaving, going over menu plans with Annie and Melody who were staying and caring for their dad and the house.  On top of all that, I was dealing with the emotions of being away from family, being away from Rick which always throws me for a loop emotionally and knowing Kristi would not be coming back with us.  As we stood in our family circle for prayer which we do whenever we are leaving each other, Rick prayed and I cried.  Kristi teared up at leaving the family, her home and her Jazmin.  But we gathered ourselves together and headed out on the road while the rest of the family headed to church.  Our first stop was in Milwaukee where Jeni and Jason made us a delicious lunch of veggies and salads and grilled chicken.  It was wonderful to visit with them and be blessed by their love, then off we went again.  Our first hotel was in Merriville Ind. where we stayed at the Red Roof Inn, a familiar stop for our family.  We had a list for Wal Mart of things she needed as we do not live very close to any stores, so off we went.  It was obvious that it was back to school shopping for school starting the next morning and panicked parents and fussing children surrounded us.  We were able to purchase most of what she needed but knew that some things would need to wait until Lynchburg.  After a good night sleep we headed for our next destination of Charleston West VA.  It was a long day but the sites were beautiful.  I have not been east since I was a young child and being the adventure lover that I am, I enjoyed seeing all the wonderful sites and scenery.  Another Red Roof Inn for sleep and then we really headed more mountains.  I really can not express enough the beauty of West Va and Va.  Seeing mountains instead of Lake Michigan was a beautiful change of God’s creation.  Kristi and I could not stop from saying “wow!” as we came over every mountain or around the curves looking into valleys.  What fun.  It was a wonderful trip, traveling with my beautiful daughter, listening to great teaching, watching Pastor James DVDs at night, worshipping and singing together as the miles passed and talking, listening to Kristi’s thoughts and ideas.  Loved every minute.


I wanted to title this picture  “Things that make a mother cry”  but my heart was so big with love for this beautiful young woman that I think it would better be titled ” Things that make a mother proud!”

Here we are together — celebrating!

As we started the final 30 miles Kristi put in the Kutless worship cd and we sang harmonies together but I could not stop a tear from falling now and then as the pull of togetherness was being stretched to separateness and every cell in my body could feel it.  My mind was flooded with memories of other times just like this, when her three older siblings left home to follow their hearts, I remember all the feelings I felt then and also the remembrance that God has taken me through this before, met my heart where it was at, held me tight and walked me through it in His own sweet gentleness.  Doesn’t make it any easier, but gives me great hope.  We drove to the hotel and settled in before heading over to start the checking in process.  It was fun to see all the students and to see her dorm, her future home for the next nine months.  We met her RAs and talked with them.  We went for supper and then back to the hotel.  Kristi shared some verses from the Psalms with me that had blessed her recently and we talked while she check our last minute decisions that needed to be decided.  It was sweet.

We had a picnic in the stadium and these guys were the welcoming committee, even parents were welcomed this way!

Kristi’s room mate is in the marching band and we enjoyed watching her perform

Wednesday morning we had breakfast here and then packed up to head over to the college.  I love the fact that she was in no great hurry and was calm about heading out.  We both knew without saying that this was it and the time was precious.  We started the day standing in lines, and standing, and standing….  It was after lunch when we finally got her things to the dorm where she started un packing as I went back to dealing with book issues.  We met her roommates and visited and then headed out for  bite to eat before she went back to the dorms.  She shared her concerns and her feelings, always articulate and honest which I love about her.  I encouraged her and then dropped her off for the evening.

I would love to say that I shed a few tears and then was fine, but it was an evening of quite a few much needed to be let out tears, and prayer, and tears.  It was good and I now two days later am so thankful for that evening.  The worst of the emotions is dealt with, I talked it out with God and let Him know my mother’s heart, as if He did not know already!  🙂   I went to sleep able to rest in whatever happens — in God’s holy sovereignty.   Praise the Lord for tears —

Kristi and her father outside of DeMoss–

Where it all began — Jerry Falwell

So the week has gone by with Kristi learning her way around campus, attending mandatory classes and sessions, runs to Wal mart to get more needed items and my watching this beautiful daughter adapt, pray and deal with situations that are less than perfect because it is college and things are the way they are.   She has made me so proud of her with choosing to love when it would be easier to ignore and being the one to go and greet others and introduce herself.  She shines so bright.  My sister reminded me that she comes by that genetically because all of my family have no problem meeting new people and enjoying the process.  This is true!

I wish I could have remembered what he said, he had us cracking up with his dry sense of humor

I begged Rick to sit in one of these seats so I could take a picture and he was not having it…  you see, we have a longstanding joke in our family about who has the most drama and recently the head of our home has been given that honor as he is funny!   I thought a picture of him in the theater seats would be a classic picture.  He said that he never went to drama class in school and I replied saying that he didn’t have to, he created a drama class with his six children!

Kristi leading her daddy down her dorm hall

Rick arrived last evening and I am enjoying driving him all around.  It was so good to see him.  We hugged and kissed at the airport and then when he pumped gas I got out and just hugged him again and again, he didn’t mind at all!  🙂  We do so much better together than apart!   We connected with Kristi and took her out for ice-cream where she sat and told us everything that had been happening which was so much fun.

Bringing her Packer spirit with her

Kristi’s bed,bright and colorful and God’s Word used as decoration — Love It!

Today we toured the campus with Rick and Kristi took us all over, showing her daddy everything about the place.  He was a little tense at first as this is really hard for him.  Then, after a bit, he started to crack jokes and laugh with her and ask her lots of questions so I knew he was feeling better about everything.  I know my man well, and although there are many very nice and probably many godly young men here, he was giving so many of them a good looking over and I think he was thinking they are probably all punks — that is a protective Daddy’s assessment covering up the fact that he knows there are young men here who might catch his daughter’s eye, if the Lord wills.  It was so fun to be together showing him what will be his daughter’s new home.  He was a delight.

We are now waiting for Kristi to finish a test and then Rick wants to take her out for dinner.  We will say our goodbyes in the morning and then head out for the long drive home.  Tears will fall but all will be balanced with the peace of knowing that God loves our daughter more than we can ever imagine, He knows where she is and He will take care of her.

Blessed with peace, choosing joy


Posted August 21, 2011 by joyfulhouse in Family, Photos, Spiritual Life

  Leave a comment




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 —