Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hi-ho! Hi-ho! It's off to Kansas we go!

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD."
~Isaiah 55:8~

This picture says a thousand words...really. This is a picture of Aaron and I singing at Mission Road Bible Church in Kansas. Yes, I did say Kansas. Most of you know this, but it is about time I finally share with the blogger world that the Johnsons are moving! Yup! That's right. And to a place we like to joke is "the middle of nowhere." :) a.k.a...Kansas!

I never in my wildest, or not so wild, dreams, would have seen this one coming. In fact, I have always informed the Lord that I never want to live in the Midwest because it is equidistant from both oceans, which to me once again means, "the middle of nowhere." I laugh at myself. Apparently the Lord knows better than me when it comes to my human desires. But you know what else...He CHANGES human desires.

Ok...let's rewind a bit.

Aaron and I found out early on in the summer that due to budgetary reasons (mainly), he was probably going to be let go from Placerita Baptist Church. This was then confirmed in August. I won't go into all the details, but our world was turned upside down for a while. We were quite surprised, and lets just say that the sponge (our lives) was being squeezed, and the water that came out wasn't always so pretty. But to sum it all up, we are so thankful for that squeeze. The Lord showed us sin, mainly pride, that we didn't know was there. He showed us that although we thought we were loving people, that love was not exactly Christ-like, which remains unchanging through ALL circumstances!

I can say that this summer until now has been precious, because our relationship with our heavenly Father has been so much more intimate. During the time of wondering where we would go from here and what job the Lord would provide, our need for dependance on the Lord was made so real. I wish I could say that this dependance is always there, even when the practical blessing abound, but it's so easy to get caught up in self-dependance. One of my prayers through this is that we would ALWAYS see that we need Christ for everything, and that we are nothing without Him. Not only is He the ultimate provider of our monetary needs, but more importantly, He is the essential provider of our spiritual needs. And we are certainly spiritually needy people! ALWAYS!

So that is just the tip of the iceberg in lessons we are learning, but since I do not have time to write a book, let me share with you how events have unfolded since this summer. As soon as it was announced to the church body about Aaron being let go, He posted on facebook that he was looking for a new job, preferably in church ministry. Not even 24 hours later and he was on the phone with Rick Holland, who is the senior pastor at MRBC in Kansas City, Kansas. After many phone calls, a visit by the associate pastor from MRBC to PBC, and a trip that we made to visit MRBC, the Lord made it so very clear that this is where he wants us to go. We are absolutely amazed at God's grace....ABSOLUTELY!

There were fears about looking at churches, because in the beginning, Aaron was applying at churches we knew nothing about. So I started praying in the summer, "Lord, please provide a church through connections, so that we can somewhat feel like we would know the senior pastor through reputation." I NEVER in my wildest dreams thought that the Lord would have Aaron work alongside a man we have heard preach quite a few times, and have always grown and been inspired from those times we were able to sit under his teaching (at Grace Community and Resolved conference). Haha...I even remember listening to Rick and Kim's (his wife) tape series on dating when I was about 16.

About my desires...well, to be honest, when I first found out where MRBC was located, I cried. But seeing Aaron's excitement and how the Lord answered my prayer above and beyond, I haven't once looked back. And the picture above reminds me of the wonderful time we had getting to know just a portion of the people at MRBC. I can honestly say that I am completely excited to move to the middle of nowhere! :) Don't get me wrong...just the past couple of days, as Aaron is about to head into his last official week of work at PBC, the realization of all the goodbyes that will be coming in the days ahead causes my lips to quiver and my eyes to water. The goodbyes are going to be hard. Very hard. But I know the Lord will give us grace for that as well. He promises that His grace will always be sufficient, and therefore we have nothing to fear.

Aaron will be done working soon, but we are taken care of financially through the end of January, and then he will begin in Kansas the first week of February. We do not have a set date yet for moving, but we know it will be towards the end of January. If you could pray with us as we have a bit to do in order to prepare our current home to be rented out and that the Lord would provide good renters for our place. If you know of anyone who may be interested, be sure to let us know! :)

Now I just need to find me some red shoes and hit the ol' yellow brick road!

Monday, November 21, 2011

My girls...

Sending you all a little bit of happiness from the Johnson home!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Best Friends...

Can you tell they are cousins with that same precious smile? :)

Great Grammy and Grandpa Time!

We had a wonderful, short visit with my grandparents last Friday. Grammy enjoyed lots of Natalie time, and we are so thankful Grammy got to meet her!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Yeah for my Itouch!

I just want to "pop in" and say that I am so very excited to discover that blogger has an app for itouch (a bday present from my wonderful hubby!)
which makes it super easy to upload pics to my blogs. I hope to get back into writing more, but for now you can at least expect pictures on a more regular basis! :)

Here is Linnea decked out in her accessories...a normal daily entertainment for me. And Natalie is wearing one of her favorite onesies, which is from Aunt Kristin...can't you tell? :) (You have to click on the picture to see the full view)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Our Family Grew By Two Feet

On August 15th at 10:22pm (that's 22:22 military time) we welcomed into the world our precious daughter, Natalie Ann, weighing 6lbs. 13.5oz, and measuring 19in. long. She apparently did not want to share my birthday with me (the 16th), seeing as she was born after just 3 1/2 hours of hard but fast labor!Aaron and I weren't quite sure how we could love another child as much as we love Linnea, but let me tell you, the love has come all too easily. She is so precious and a treasured gift from God...yes, we are SO in love! And Linnea hasn't once looked back; she LOVES her little sister to pieces....always giving her hugs and kisses, asking to hold her, and asking were she is when she is not in direct eyesight (well actually, if I'm being honest, she asks where she is even if she is staring right at her...not sure why :)).

I'm finally starting to feel pretty well recovered and "normal", other than being tired all the time. But hey, this just comes with the territory. It is marvelously, wonderfully, magnificently fantastic to say that I finally have my appetite back!!!! Yeah!!!! One downside, though... I forgot what it was like to struggle with self control, because my body apparently wants to make up for all the ice cream it didn't eat over the last 9 months...uh-oh!

One blessing of these past couple weeks has been having precious time in the Word. I would think this would be one thing to easily let "slide" in the new adjustment to life, but when the doctor tells you not to do any kind of work for the first few weeks, it kind of forces me to rest, giving me extra time with the Lord. So if there is one prime reason to be thankful for a somewhat painful recovery, it would definitely be that! Through some difficult circumstances this summer and an exhausting past couple of weeks, the Lord has really revealed something to me: the times that life is the hardest are the times when I am most dependent on the Lord and my relationship with Him is the most precious and beautiful thing. So I honestly can say that I am so very thankful for the trials He gives, because they cause me to strongly thirst for Him! I wish I could say I always thirst fervently for Him, but it is harder to do this in times of ease...when life is going pretty smoothly, it's harder to see our need for Him (there is no excuse, though!).

Here are LOTS of pictures from the first 24 hrs. of Natalie's life!

Linnea going to meet her little sister and bring flowers to Mommy. The flowers weighed a ton...can't you tell? :)
Holding Natalie for the first time.

Once she saw there was snack to be had, she was done with the baby. :)

Not too happy about the car seat!

So thankful...

Monday, August 8, 2011

39 weeks!!

Sorry for the lack of computer has been with the geek squad for the past couple of weeks (still is), so I have not been doing too much on the computer! Hopefully I will have it back up and running soon. :)

Here is the lovely photos of me 39 weeks pregnant! I thought I would give you both angels ;) ( dress sort of blends with the background). I have four more days until my due date! Yipee!! It truly is an amazing and wonderful to see that the Lord REALLY has brought us through these last 8 months and that the end is actually here! Praise God!! There were times when I didn't know if I would make it. Praying the Lord brings her sooner rather than later, but also praying for trust in His perfect plan, even if that means waiting a few more days...which may feel like weeks :)! We are very eager to meet the precious girl the Lord has been forming in my womb!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Johnson Family Vacation

I want to start by apologizing for much of the writing, which appears to be a giant "link". I don't know what went wrong, but am frustrated with my new computer, as it doesn't let me copy and paste pictures where I want them instead of dragging each one individually (which takes forever!). Also, every time I download new pictures, new gaps are created...I fix the gaps and save it, but when I publish the post, the gaps are still there. So I tried to cut and paste the pictures using the Html, which did not work, and also somehow changed my writing to "links". So this is what you get, as I have already spent too long on this one post dragging the pics! :) Some of you probably have no clue what I am talking about, but if you do and have a solution, I would greatly appreciate some imput. thanks! :)

Well, it feels like a lifetime ago that we took our trip to AZ and the East Coast, and that's probably because it was!! Linnea still has strong memories from the trip and talks about her relatives often (out of the blue!).

We first stopped in AZ for Aaron's "little" brother's graduation from highschool, which was a sweet occasion to be around for! We were so proud of Zach, and it was fun to cheer loudly for him as he received a Christian Character award given to one boy and one girl. I think I almost cried. ;) Seriously, though! What matters more than glorifying the Lord in your daily life?!? We also had fun swimming, thrift store shopping, and just catching up with family. I will admit though, I was a much less energetic person than normal...I think really starting to feel LARGE and tired! And sadly, I was not on top of the whole camera thing during our time there, so there really are not any pictures! Hopefully Liz did better than I did!
Grampy being silly at graduation!
We then headed on out to Buffalo, NY, which was a long day of travel, but Linnea did fantastic on the plain! We were SO thankful, because the Lord made it quite clear through some other children that it could have been a MUCH harder experience! From Buffalo we drove down to visit my grandarents, Aunt, Uncle, and cousins. We havn't seen my grandparents since I was pregnant with Linnea, so it was an ABSOLUTE blessing to spend some time with them and allow for them to get to know Linnea! And we hadn't seen my Aunt and Uncle since the wedding, and even then, we didn't really spend much time with them, as it usually goes with weddings! It was so fun to reconnect with them. We arrived on Memorial Day, and they treated us to a yummy BBQ, a super exciting boat ride (I hadn't been on a boat in SO many years!), and more fun in their back yard. Linnea LOVED her older cousins, Michael and Joey!

Uncle Jimmy looking good drivin' the boat! :)

Linnea enjoyed scticking her feet in!

Michael had a track meet while we were there, which was SO fun to see him run! He did a great job!
It's the day after Memorial Day where the trip started to get a little hard. I came down with the stomach flu, which lasted for three days. I am so grateful that my grandparents and family were so understanding and willing to take care of me, and for my sweet, sacrificial husband, who became a single parent! Talk about trusting in God's sovereignty, as this is not what we envisioned for the majority of our time with my grandparents and family! I would have loved to have more conversation and make more memories, but the Lord had other plans! And because of this, I did not got any pics with my grandparents, but I know my Aunt has some good ones, so hopefully I can get a hold of those! ;)

The third day of my stomach flu, we drove over to the east side of NY to end our trip with Aaron's brother's family. We made a pit stop in the town I grew up in, and even got to drive by my old house, which looks exactely the same! :) We were able to spend a little over an hour catching up with my best childhood friend, which was so fun, despite me feeling so ill. And let me tell was a beautiful GREEN drive...another special treat to see God's creation!

This ones for the fam ;) It really looks the SAME!

Laura and I! :)

We then arrived in West Point, NY, which is beautiful! We had a wonderful time catching up with more of the Johnson clan, and Linnea just adored her cousins! She still talks about Ben and baby Andrew! Aaron came down with a cold the first day we were there, and I was just starting to eat again, so they were so sweet and sacrifical in taking care of us and nurturing us back to health. Thank you Corry and Dan! My human self just felt so bad that we were not the best company, and couldn't have more "fun" with them, but the slogan kind of became "It is what it is," and we wanted to make the best of it! And we truly did enjoy just catching up and spending time with one another. Westpoint Military Academy is magnificent! We thouroughly enjoyed all the architecture and beauty of the campus, and had fun exploring a little around the area. We had fun walking on a bridge overlooking the Hudson

Daddy and Linnea watching a train come in...

Bena and Linnea doing what they did most of the time...having a great time playing together! Ben let Linnea where his fireman hat! :)

My sweet "little" nephew, Andrew!

Taking a tour of Westpoint!

The "gang"...yes Andrew looks as big as Linnea...and that's because he almost is! :)

Linnea enjoying being a "baby" while she still can!

Up......and Down

Aaron's parents actually flew in the last night we were there, as they were coming for a visit to NY right after us! It was fun to be together as a whole family (well, we missed the two youngest Johnson siblings), and I think "Grammy and Grampy" had a good time being with ALL of their grandchildren. :)
The trip home seemed really long...poor Aaron wasn't feeling well, and Linnea was a bit whiny, but again, it really was a smooth trip and we made it safely home! I think once we got home, we were really able to rest up and "recover" from our sicknesses! :) Even though the trip wasn't quite what we expected, we are still very thankful we got to spend time with our precious family, which doesn't happen as often as our families expand! God is SO good!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Our VERY Happy 4th!

For the 4th of July, we headed up to Northern CA about 4 hours to visit some friends who moved away last summer, and also some more friends who we havn't seen since their wedding in January! I can't tell you what a blessing it was to see our wonderful friends, John and Whitney and their new, adorable little guy, Jackson! It was wonderful to catch up and have encouraging fellowship. It was just precious to get a glimpse of what it will be like for Linnea to have a little sister. She was enamored with baby Jack and constantly asked to hold him. I figured she would get bored of holding him after a while, but we almost always had to tell her it was time to be all done, and she wasn't always quite happy with that. She also wanted to constantly "boop" (poke) him in the nose...really cute, but not such a good idea! :) We also had a great time with the Toland's in Gilroy, but will have to wait for any pics, as I havn't downloaded them yet!