Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Today Aaron and I are celebrating a whole two years of marriage! I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but I feel as though we have been married many, many more. I feel like I know Aaron so well, and yet I am always learning new things about him. I realize more and more that I will always be "studying" my husband, because for as long as we live, there will always be more to learn!

My homework for this week in Creative Counterpart came at the perfect time! I was asked to write down all the positive things I could think of about my husband. Now this is no easy task, because I feel like the list could go on and on forever! I am everyday amazed at the Lord's work in my husband's life! I feel he is the sweetest, most sacrificial, servant-hearted husband one could ever have! (And he is married to me!) And what is most precious is the fact that he is all that he is to me because of the Lord's work in His life. All the good I see in Him is like a reflection of Christ to me. What a special gift to have the greatest example of Christ to me living in my home!

No...he isn't perfect and he has his faults...we all most certainly do, but the grace of God shines ever brighter through those! "But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." To be honest, I feel like I struggle with my own faults more than my husbands. I feel like I let him down in so many ways and I often let the burden of my sin weigh me down...but this is NOT what God wants for me! Grace has already reigned and is still reigning! He has paid for my sins, and it is His righteousness that clothes me!
That was a little detour...sorry. To sum things up, I think the most beautiful part of marriage (and there are many!) is the amazing picture of the gospel it is...and I see the beauty of this picture more and more...the more I'm forgiven by Aaron and the more I forgive him; the more he strives to love me unconditionally and the more I do the same; the more he leads me and the more I submit; the more he gives up his own "rights" and desires and the more I give up mine (well, I should anyway) ....and those are just some of the ways I see the gospel!

"Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband." ~Ephesians 5:22-33~

Thank you my Love...for two wonderful years of marriage and for loving me the way you do...I love you!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tucson Christmas

After our Grand Canyon Adventures we headed on down to Tucson to spend Christmas with Aaron's family (now my family too :))...about a six hour car ride. Linnea actually did quite well during the 8 hour car ride to Tusayan, and she lasted most of the trip down to Tucson, but she decided she was through about 40 minutes before we reached our destination. She cried and screamed and cried, poor thing! But alas, we did make it!

And we had a wonderful time!! I got to experience the Johnson traditions for the first time...starting with opening one present on Christmas Eve...now they actually changed that tradition this year thanks to my brother-in-law, Zach. He put out there the idea to do a white elephant gift exchange, so instead of picking one gift to open from under the tree, we picked a gag gift from our collected pile, or stole one from someone else. My husband was the meen guy, and stole from his own mother what looks like a mechanic's suit (she was going to use it to cover up when painting...sorry Liz!). I picked my own gift and got stuck with it...it's a pajama type outfit that people used to where way back in the day (I think)...I can just picture an old man wearing it out in a log cabin somewhere. It even has a hole in the back for going to the bathroom. We got some good laughs out of it!
We may have even started a new Christmas Eve tradition thanks to my mother-in-law! The majority of us bundled up and went Christmas caroling in the neighborhood...sad to say only two neighbors were home, but we sang to the empty houses, too, just in case they were rather slow in getting to the door :) lol! We even recruited another family who was just going for a walk--it was a family who was meeting up for Christmas from all over the states, and the parents of the family live about an hour from where I grew up in NY...it is a small world.

And the traditions continued on Christmas day...Cheesy egg casserole, which was very nummy. Choreg....a yummy braided pastry/bread thing :) that was SO delicious!! Grandpa reading parts of the Christmas story and the different names for Jesus in the Bible. Opening stockings...one of which contained lots of dark chocolate (that would be mine...thank you Sweety!!), and then on to the gift giving. Then a beautiful walk outside, a yummy turkey dinner, and a birthday cake for Jesus. It was such a blessing to be with my other half's family on Christmas for the first time! Thank you Doug, Liz, Zach, and Grace for being so gracious in giving up your personal space to a bunch of wild people :) ...for feeding us, giving us a place to sleep, serving us, and for loving us!
And of course, it was Linnea's first Christmas...something which was exciting for us, but she had no clue...prayerfully someday Christmas will be a very special day for her...not because of presents under the tree, but because Christ came down from heaven, came as a man, came to live perfectly, came to be ridiculed, came to be persecuted, came to die, came to give us life eternal...prayerfully that is why Christmas will excite her.

My father-in-law got stuck with my gift :), who he named Rafaela....lol, the lady at Goodwill even wrapped it seperate for me because she said it looked like a very special piece :)

Linnea with Uncle Zach!

Bath time at Grammy and Grampy's...we tried to be modest :)
Pictures from our day-after-Christmas hike to come!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

From Tusayan to Tucson

Happy 2010!! What a busy, crazy, but blessed time the holidays have been! I thought it might be difficult to get back into "real life", but it's actually feels kind of refreshing to get back into the swing of things. Christmas was wonderful, but I don't want it to stop. I am so overwhelmed with thankfulness for my Savior and all that He did! I don't want the miracle of his birth, the example of His life, and the redeeming power of His work on the cross to ever "wear off". To be honest, the realization of all that He did and my thankfulness for it has been building probably more so after the holidays. I am so ashamed and grieved to admit that it happened to me...the business of all that comes with Christmas swallowed much of my time meditating on His Word and praying to my Savior. No matter how much I was reminded by others and God's Word of the importance of keeping Him first, and of remembering exactely who we celebrate, I failed and got distracted.

Praise God for His forgiveness! Sometimes that sounds too easy...I feel like I should be punished for my lack of worship and love...I feel like I'm supposed to feel guilty for a long time for messing up...but WOW! That's NOT what God wants for us! He has died for all my sins, and wants me to accept His forgiveness! He wants me to come to the foot of the cross in repentance, and then LEAVE it all there! He loves me just the same, even when I leave Him for other pursuits! THAT is why I am overwhelmed with thankfulness...once I saw my ugly sin for what it was, I saw the beauty of what He has done for me....Even when I leave my first love, he never lets me go...and will never! The power of the cross is FAR greater than any sin I could ever commit!

Ok....on to the beginning of our wonderful time away. On the 21st of December, Aaron, Linnea and I headed to Tusayan, Arizona...a town near the south rim of the Grand Canyon. I had never been before, so we thought it would be a wonderful place to spend some time together just the three of us...and it was breathtaking. I stood there feeling so tiny at the edge of the Grand Canyon, and yet I realize that the God who created the Grand Canyon, is SO much bigger than it...and that same God who is SO big and powerfull sent His son in the form of a tiny, helpless baby to die on a cross...to save me...a vapor. He has saved me from hell and given me citizenship in heaven! What AMAZING love!!

Beautiful things like the Grand Canyon are a testimony of the great power of God and of his desire for us to enjoy his creation. To think that some things may have been created simply for us to see and enjoy God's creative beauty is incredible, and a wonderful gift I don't want to take advantage of!

AND...God could have just let us enjoy the Grand Canyon, but he decided to put a huge cherry on top...or shall I say lots of snow? It snowed...and snowed...and snowed. And it was BEAUTIFUL...We had an early white Christmas and I was praising the Lord for it. We actually couldn't even see the Grand Canyon the first day because of the snow, but thankfully it cleared up the last morning we were there.

We will have to bring her back someday when she knows what she was looking at :)
And on to Tucson we went....we'll save that for later....