Summer Here We Come!

Summer Here We Come

Good morning!

Time, routine, schedules.  All words that have been floating around in the mind of every mother whose child/children are about to be out of school for the summer.  The “normal” routine of life is about to drastically change gears as school comes to an end and summer begins.

What do some of your summer schedules/routines look like?

We have thought a lot about this lately as our boys are set to head into their first fall of full time school.  What do we want the next three months to look like?

We know one thing for sure… We want to spend the summer pouring life into them.  So a few things on our list are:

  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Swimming Pools
  • T-Ball
  • Hikes
  • Bible Camp

But life isn’t always about fun and games is it?  We also want to pour into our boys a work ethic.  A drive to grow into the kind of men this world needs.  So with that comes responsibilities, chores, helping around the house and the barn, as well as tending the garden and all the flowers they wanted to plant.

It’s never too early to teach them about the responsibilities that they will one day have.

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.  Proverbs 22:6

 Let’s start off the summer full of fun, but also let’s instill in them the values that will help them reap a harvest later down the road.

Blessings,

The Johnston’s

Real Genuine True Rest

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Good morning!

Submission.  That can be such a scary word.  It is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as the condition of being submissive (submitting to others), humble, or compliant.  When I think of submission I think of letting something go.

  • Letting go of control
  • Letting go of anxiety
  • Letting go of sadness
  • Letting go of anxiousness
  • Letting go of anger
  • Letting go of always trying to fix things (relationships, family, children, etc)

We tend to want to hold some back…some of our anger, some of our forgiveness, some of our control.  But all that partial release brings is stress.  Or, we let it go only to pick it up again.

I am learning that we only find true rest in total submission… When we lay everything down at the feet of Jesus and submit all to Him we will find true rest.  Easier said than done…but anyone else in need of some real, genuine, true rest?  Let’s work at it together!

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Finding Joy in the Little Things

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Good morning!

Finding joy in the little things…When I look at the smile on this boys face as he sips full strength juice it makes my heart smile.  As I sat on my bench watching him I began to think about all the things we already have, all that Jesus has already done, to bring a smile to our faces.

It seems that most of the time we tend to focus on the things we don’t have.  We plan, we strive, we set goals, and we work hard.  All good things!  It keeps us moving forward, but it also keeps our focus on things we don’t have yet.  And if we aren’t careful we become dissatisfied with where we are.

Let’s not forget to remember all the things He has already done for us.  It is so good to stop and look and think and smile.  Smile at the gifts He has given us.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

When Life Runs Crazy

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You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.  Psalm 139:5 NIV

Good morning!

Sometimes our days can run out of control.  We catch ourselves coming and going and backtracking and unsure of how we are going to get to where we are headed.  Let’s be honest, sometimes we can even lose track of exactly where it was that we were headed in the first place.

I love how the scriptures talk over and over about Jesus going before us and being behind us but I especially love here in Psalms 139 where it says You hem me in...it’s personal.  It shows us that His love surrounds us all the time, and that He cares deeply enough for each one of us to hem us in when we need it.

Let’s pause and take a few deep breaths today and let Him hem us in.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

Fullness of Joy

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Good morning!

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  Psalm 16:11

So often we chase after joy.  We chase “things” we believe will make us happy and bring us joy.  But as King David so wisely penned…in His presence, there is where we will find fullness of joy.  It isn’t something we have to chase after, it is Someone we lean into.

As we start our week out let’s stop seeking the things of this world to fill us with joy.  Let’s lean into Him and praise him because only He can make us whole.

Blessings!

The Johnstons

 

Rest Assured

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Good morning!

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  Psalm 139:16

It is so easy to become anxious on our journey… to want so badly to run ahead of where we are.  We want to

  • Run further from our pain
  • Run into a better job or promotion
  • Run towards children that sleep all night
  • Run to a time different from now

But from our experience God is never early, but he hasn’t ever been late either.  He uses each day, each experience to grow us closer into who He made us to be.

Let’s let go of the things we can’t control and trust Him with our days.  We can walk confidently in our path when we trust the One we know is paving the way.

Blessings!

The Johnston’s

 

3 Keys to Start the Week Off Right!

Good morning!

Sometimes when Monday morning rolls back around and we restart the week it can make us feel overwhelmed OR we can choose to make it a great one.  I want to share with you 3 key things to starting your week (and each day) off right!

  1. Do not dwell on the past.  Whether that means last week, last month or last year.  It is important to wake up ready for the fullness of this day and this week.  Isaiah 43:18-19 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.” Believe that God is making a way for you today.
  2. Look upward toward heaven.  When we look up we are reminded of who He is and all that He has created.  It opens our eyes to see beyond ourselves.  Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?  He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name.  Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.  Isaiah 40:26  He created the heavens and the earth.  He created you and me…and we are here on purpose for a purpose.
  3. Give thanks.  Start each day by writing down at least 5 things that you are thankful for.  When we slow down long enough to acknowledge all that the Father has already done for us, and we list them out line by line, it opens our hearts wide open to see Him at work in our lives every single day.  Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.  Psalm 106:1

Let’s start this week off right!!

Blessings,

The Johnston’s

 

A Time of Reflection

Good afternoon!

I wrote this post a year ago…and this Colorado morning feels much like that morning did.  Cold, foggy, snow covering most everything still and I remember sitting by the window, coffee in hand, reflecting.  This was such a good reminder for me…that slow progress is lasting progress and all progress is worthy of praise.

Hope this blesses you today as much as it did us,

The Johnston’s

Brrrrr it is cold  here with beautiful frost all over the trees, the flowing brown ornamental grass, the fences and even the horses.  It gets thicker and thicker as the morning goes on.  It is a piece of art that continues to progress… little at a time.  If I sit here and stare at it continually, it doesn’t seem to change.  But when I leave the window for a while; fill up my coffee cup, make a magnet tower with the boys, have a great visit with my mom, and come back I can see the changes.  The frost is thicker, more defined, more prominent.

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The frost and the progress of the masterpiece outside my window feels like my soul journey lately… slow and quiet, but ever evolving.  We live in a culture of fast, hectic, and busy.  Crazy busy.  And that brings a sense of wanting instantaneous satisfaction.  We want everything now:  Success now.  Thousands of followers on social media now.  A home that is organized and clean and full now.  A bank account that is overflowing now.  Children that will self-entertain now.  But as I watch out my window this morning God reminds me that the precious things, the things that matter, take time.  They are a work of art that continues to progress little by little.

Jesus told the disciples in Mark chapter 6 to “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a little while” .  At this time there were many people who were coming and going and it was a time of what we would call crazy busy.  Sometimes we have to press the pause button and “come away and rest for a little while”.  When life gets crazy and all-consuming it is good to take some time.  Day in and day out can feel like a struggle sometimes, like we aren’t going anywhere but in a circle.  But as I sit this morning watching the frost grow thicker and thicker on those bushes I pause, rest, reflect.  And I can see the progress… little bits over time.

Maybe you need to pause, rest, find a secluded place, and reflect on where you  are and how far you have progressed.  I found so much comfort this morning in my time of reflection and I praise Him for the progress.  Instead of feeling anxious, stuck and frustrated, I am grateful that I have paused long enough to recognize the growth and to thank Him for exactly where I am on this journey.

Blessings,

Tana

 

A Confidence That Lasts

As I was on my way to work this morning I was thinking about confidence… a confidence that lasts.  It is so easy to have confidence when things are good, when they are going our way and all seems well.  But how do we get the confidence that lasts… the kind that is there when darkness grips us or when the unexpected comes.

Then a worship song came on the radio in my car that took me to a place of udder surrender and praise. (King of My Heart – Kutless)  To listen click here.   And all of sudden the Holy Spirit was speaking to me that when we open our hearts and praise the LORD for who He is and declare over and over that HE IS GOOD, “this is where you get confidence that lasts”.  From total and under surrendering worship.

You know that shepherd boy…David, that had so much confidence that he could take down the giant?  The one that believed His God was with him everywhere that he went?  That same boy sang songs and played his harp in complete and udder surrender to the LORD his God.

Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – Psalm 103:1-2

David knew where his confidence came from.  He knew it didn’t come from the Israelite people, it didn’t come from his family (his older brothers doubted him), it didn’t even come from within himself after he killed Goliath.  It came solely from the LORD his God…and he kept that confidence by worshipping and opening his heart to praise God for who He is and what He has already done and continues to do.

This is how we get confidence that lasts…by believing and declaring that God is good.  By knowing that He is working all things together for good.  (Romans 8:28)  And by surrendering all we have to Him, His plan and His purpose.

Blessings,

The Johnston’s

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