Tuesday, December 22, 2009


...back, looking, and looking forward. (Randomly speaking)

There is a fine balance between looking back at the past, dwelling in the present and having hope and anticipation for the future. Many of us, at one given moment, may be stuck in one of these spaces in time. All of us has a past. Anyone reading this obviously has a present. And, most reading have a future. But none of us knows the number of our days. Literally. None of us. God is the only One who knows the number of our days. For all of us, this should be not only relieving, but very refreshing. For many, though, fear and anxiety set in at the thought of the unknown.

When I worked at the college, as a staff we took many personality, behavioral and strength analyses to see how we all fit together as a team. One particular "test" revealed "Past" as one of my strengths. I remember not really loving this "test" because of the top 5 strengths I had difficulty embracing that they were actually strengths and not weaknesses. I thought, "Oh great! Now my colleagues are going to think that I'm a backward thinker, that I dwell, or am stuck, in the past, or that I'm so old-fashioned." However, the more we worked with this particular analysis, the more I realized that "Past" meant that I revere and honor and am thankful for the past as a means by which to learn for today...for tomorrow...for what is to come. In plain terms, just because I went to college and am almost 38 does not make me smarter than my 92 year old Grandpa. To sit and hear his stories and learn from those who have gone before us, that is what “past” means to me.

Past is a part of who we are, whether profoundly beautiful or particularly painful. Our pasts are not meant to define us, but rather mold us and shape us into the people we are today and those we will be tomorrow. The past is necessary for the present and future. The point being, though, that there is a present and can be a future. How that plays out, though, necessitates trust…trust that the Beautiful, Good, Awesome, Creative God of the Universe knows what the heck He is doing and that even if we don’t understand it, no matter our circumstances, He has promised us hope and a future.

"Past" is necessary for the present. It also shapes the future. Past is not a place in which we were designed to dwell. Living in the past is an oxymoron and only hurts those around us. It causes stagnation and certain death to those who choose it. It is the fine balance on the teeter totter of learning and living, reflecting and having hope. Living can only happen in the present and hope is a part of that equation. Hope can happen today, but it insinuates a future. There is no living in the past.

As a new year approaches many of us think of the change that will occur on that day in January. "Next year I am going to:" you fill in the blank. New beginnings, fresh starts, new opportunities. Some people boycott January 1st because they don't want a calendar or silly tradition of man to dictate their lives. No matter what time of year it is, our lives, all of them, could benefit from some good old change.

In order to move forward, we must look back and reflect. In the book of Isaiah in the Bible, chapter 43, verses 18 and 19 is says:

“Forget the former things;
Do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.”

Many people in Christendom like to read the Bible as if they were in a candy shop. They like to pick and choose which Scriptures they’ll read and skim over the ones that don’t sound pleasant. If you read these particular verses in context and go back to why this is even a statement of provision and promise, you undeniably find that God reminds His people from where they had come. Slavery. Bondage. Loss and Suffering. Wandering. Discipline. All of it was a component of their past.

How can we be thankful or purposeful if we don’t know from where we have come?

As the New Year approaches, there are some things to keep in mind. One, life is circumstantial. Two, life is always changing. Three, the past is the past and is an ingredient in our present life recipe. Four, if we are surrounded by people, which unless we are hermits, we are…we still exist for a purpose! Five, “purpose” indicates hope and a future. Six, the past is important and not lost on us just because we presently live. Seven, moving forward today does not disrespect the past. It gives life to the past and honors it.

We must start living today!

Those are my random Tuesday morning thoughts.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gingerbread fun

Em, Jason's sister Tonja, our friend Gina and I made this gingerbread jewelry box last weekend. It was fun and took a lot less time than last year when we tackled Noah's Ark.
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Thanks for giving me my blog back. I promise from my heart I did not look at it while it was hi-jacked! I was a good little girl...And, I blogged in my head a bit, so I'll be here with some random thoughts shortly...stay tuned.

Giving Adrienne her blog back :)

The top secret post has been deleted so that Adrienne can have her blog back.
If you have any questions about what was posted last week please email me at ginamjohnson@gmail.com

Sunday, December 06, 2009

So much for that idea...

No, really. I don't know how some bloggers write Every. Single. Day. Sometimes even multiple times in one day.

When Noah was in the hospital I had plenty of down time to be able to sit and blog my heart and thoughts. I'm not sitting around at a hospital trying to save my kid's life. No. His life has been saved. Now I don't have time to sit unless it's intentional sitting...sitting that entails reading or listening or playing dolls or making crafts or baking cookies...But I do run. I don't run races and try not to run in circles, unless someones chasing me or I'm chasing my kid. I do lay around. Guilty as charged...but it's not eating bon bons and watching soaps. It's laying around that entails snuggling, tickling, story telling, prayers and lots of dreaming and listening.

I think of paid writers, journalists, who are expected to come up with a new piece of fresh work each and every day. Someone could pay me to come up with stuff every day but I'm not so sure it would be from the heart. I'm not saying others who write publicly every day aren't writing from the heart...I just know how I'm wired. It might be good, maybe even noteworthy, but I'm of the conviction that when I'm moved to write or speak publicly, that it be from the heart. No blowing sunshine. No fluff just to fill air time. So, that is why my experiment of writing every day for a month flopped. Failed. Tanked. Went down like the Titanic.

However, here are some EXTREMELY RANDOM thoughts that have come in and out of my head during the last month that I will share with you...and they are in no specific order:

  • There will never be a convenient time or season for a change in schedule, unexpected sickness, job loss, tragedy or general disappointment to strike. January is filled with new beginnings, starting new things. February is a time to focus on loved ones. March usually includes a Spring break. April brings Easter celebrations. May, Mother's day, Memorial Day, wrapping up school. June, Father's Day and the first days of summer. July reminds us of our Independence. August we are trying to fit everything into the summer that we didn't do the previous two months. September we have Labor Day and are back into the full swing of school again. October is Fall break and harvest time. November we practice Thankfulness. And, December ushers in all sorts of celebrations...and then we start all over again. So, what we do with change, how we react to it, and how we decide to move forward in it is up to us.

  • The left lane is for passing. The middle or right lane is for traveling. The right lane is for schlow moes. If we all just tap into our Driver's Education memories a bit, we'll all be in a better place. Also, texting while driving is sheer stupidity.

  • I've been reading first and second Peter a lot lately. Seriously, some good stuff there. When I get a chance I'll blog some thoughts on 1 Peter 4 and suffering in our bodies. Read it when you get a chance.

  • A friend of mine has been praying for patience for the last several months. We were chatting about it recently and I was profoundly struck by the irony of the fine line I walk balancing patience with hope and anticipation. Not anxiousness, mind you, but anticipation. However, upon thinking on it further, I wonder if anticipation is impatience...

  • Mothers of toddlers: LOAD YOUR SILVERWARE POINTING DOWN IN THE DISHWASHER! I learned this from my big sister and every time I load the dishwasher am grateful she took the time to teach me this trick because whenever Em would toddle up to "help" me with the dishes, I never worried that she'd stab herself with something.

  • Finally, here is a quote everyone should read: "In the practical use of our intellect, forgetting is as important a function as remembering. If we remembered everything, we should on most occasions be as ill off as if we remembered nothing." - William James, psychologist and philosopher

That's all I've got for now.

I've been asked by my friend if she can "hi-jack" my blog for one week. I honestly and truthfully don't have a clue what she's up to, but the truth is, I trust that she would never do anything to hurt Noah's blog (or I'd kick her arse...), and, let's face it, reality is, with the week I have ahead I'm not going to be able to be on here, anyway. Maybe I'll Tweet which shows up on the side of my blog...anyway, it'll be weird booting up my computer and not having the blog as my homepage. I guess I'll be over at Facebook or something...oh yeah, I'll also be disabling comments for a week because she asked me to, so if you would still like to email me you can reach me at adexoxox@gmail.com .

Hey, one last thing...head over to Sarah Markley's website where this week she'll be giving away a bebe&boo necklace to one lucky winner. Spend some time reading there, people, because she has not only a gift for writing, but a beautiful story of healing and forgiveness. She'll be our guest on The Well Radio Show on New Year's Eve.