Showing posts with label Marriage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marriage. Show all posts

Excitement

On: Friday, August 12, 2011

We reached our first fundraising goal!! Over the last two weeks God provided exactly what we needed (to the dollar--so cool) to pay the initial fee to our agency so we can officially begin this process. I could hardly contain my excitement when we received a check a few days ago that was the exact amount we were needing. Thank you, Lord! This is of You and totally blows my mind.

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This picture represents how we looked after carefully reading through the nine page adoption contract:
Julie: tired   It was a lot to take in.
Ian: visionary.   This is really happening.

Thank you again to all who have contributed to help bring our child home. God is so good.

Our next step is the homestudy. China recently changed its requirements and the homestudy agency now has to be Hague accredited (I know that means nothing to many of you). There are only three agencies in our surrounding area who meet that requirement, and I have spent hours researching and trying to connect with the right people at each agency in order to make the wisest choice (they vary a lot in cost). I believe the cost will be about $1500 . . . so that is our next big goal. Can't wait to see how God provides!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.
Eph 3:20

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 We look funny with smashed noses, huh?
These pictures were actually taken very, very late on August 7th, our 7th wedding anniversary. 

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 His whiskers really tickle. Ask Ori or Calla if you don't believe me.
We had money set aside to go away overnight, but stuck it in the adoption fund. Instead, we spent the evening at home enjoying each others company. (Don't worry, a real date will happen soon. Date nights are important to us.)

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What do I know after 7 years of marriage? That I absolutely adore this man. And I think he likes me too--even if it doesn't look like it. :)

Ian, I have loved the depth of our conversations recently as we plan to expand our family through adoption. I love your passion for what truly matters in life and your desire for our family to obey God's call even when it is pretty hard. Looking forward to year 8 with you!

Date Night

On: Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ian and I took a much needed date night last Saturday.
It was so fun.
I wanted to go out for Thai because that's what we do.
Ian said, "No. We need to do something more memorable."
We ate sushi instead.
It was pretty good; I had to get used to eating such large bites.
I also picked off some of the raw fish on one of the dishes; but, I'm glad we tried it and I'm surprised at how often I have thought of sushi since (positively).

After dinner we sat in the car and took pictures (cool, huh?).
Ian set up his tripod on the hood of the car to get this shot.
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People looked at us funny, so we looked at them funny.

We got ice cream, hit the book store, and just talked.
We discussed our biggest dreams and biggest concerns.
I love hearing my husband's heart and sharing mine.
What a special night.
Thanks, honey, for planning it and making me try new things.

Companionship

On: Monday, February 21, 2011

As Ian and I stayed up late talking in bed last night (a rare treat!), I realized that we had not prioritized each other this weekend. With three family gatherings, work for Ian, and a baby shower to attend, time together just kind of slipped away (until 10pm on Sunday night).

Companionship is one of the best parts of marriage. However, this weekend served as a gentle reminder that time together has to be prioritized. It doesn't just happen. As we looked at the calendar for the coming week and weekend, we quickly realized that we have to learn to say no to good things so that we can actually have a few evenings together at home.

It is worth it (and this is coming from a person who hates to miss things!).
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I love this man. Sometimes I demand too much from him. I have an entire list in my head of things I want him to do for me around the house.

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But that might cause some tension. After all, Proverbs 21:19 says, "Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife."

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This week I want to refocus on loving my husband.

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I want to choose to be predictably happy and content.

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Maybe even a little more affectionate. (Not my strong point! I am a super stiff hugger.)

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I want to study my husband.

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See him with new eyes.

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And not lose focus.

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I want to show genuine interest in his work and hobbies.

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I hope to encourage his dreams instead of smash them.

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I want to be a good listener . . . and not just pretend to pay attention while my mind wonders off to the next days plans.

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I want to make sure my kids know all the things I love about their daddy.

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I plan to choose to spend time with him over spending time with others. We could play a game, go on a walk, eat a bowl of ice cream, read, work on a project together, etc.

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I want to remember to greet him with a smile at the door . . . even if dinner is late and the kids are crying.

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I want to look at him willingly and ask what I can do for him each day.

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Ian, I am so glad God chose you for me. I love that you are my best friend.

What love is

On: Monday, February 14, 2011

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First, two things about the above picture:
  1. This picture was taken almost exactly a year ago. Calla was still in the hospital and we were TIRED, but going out on a much needed date for Ian's birthday.
  2. I cannot wear that sweater anymore (or several other sweaters from last winter) because it reminds me of the hospital too much. Isn't that weird? It is a perfectly good sweater, but the memories attached are not so good. I cringe every time I see it.
I love my husband and am thankful for how we have grown in the past year. Having a child in the hospital is really hard on a relationship. Stress levels are high, we had little quality time together, we were trying to juggle being at the hospital as much as possible along with going to work and taking care of Ori.

We fought. We cried. We asked for forgiveness often and with God's help, we came through it stronger than ever. Now, we value our precious moments of time together, and we do not take our children for granted.

I am so thankful God blessed me with Ian. My prayer is that our love for each other and the people in our lives will grow continually. I want to learn and practice what love really is.

Love is . . .
patient
kind
rejoicing with the truth
protective (people's reputations included)
trusting
full of hope
persevering

Love is NOT . . .
envious
boastful
proud
rude
self-seeking
easily angered
keeping a record of wrongs
delighting in evil
(from 1 Cor. 13)

Happy Valentines Day! I'm so thankful God's Word tells us exactly what love does and doesn't look like.

Messy

On: Thursday, October 21, 2010

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Calla is so messy.

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And happy about it too.

I have been messy and happy my entire life as well.
She comes by it naturally.
Just last week I had some friends over for dinner, got out the salt (which I had just used to salt the mashed potatoes), and didn't even realize there were mashed potatoes all over the salt container until my dear friend picked it up and laughed at me.
Oops.

A few weeks ago, I asked Ian what I could do to bless him.
Do you know what he said?
He told me to work on not being so messy when I cook, and that he is bothered by the sticky spots on the floor from my spills and the chocolate fingerprints on the cabinets after I bake.

I was quite surprised by his response.
And I chose to disregard it.
He doesn't understand what it is like to cook and bake with two small kids and a gazillion interruptions.
I basically have to work at super-high-speed to accomplish what I need to. You can't clean up spills at that speed.

Guess what our Bible study was about today?
Serving your husband.
Guess what one of the keys to a miserable marriage was?
Be apathetic about his concerns.

Oops.
Sorry, Ian.
I want to be an excellent wife.
That means focusing on changing me so that I wake up sweeter and holier every day.
It isn't about my needs, but his needs.
I was challenged to spend my day thinking about how I can fill my husband and meet his needs.
And if that means keeping things a little less sticky in the kitchen, then I will work on it.

Here's what I did this afternoon.
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It was BAD. This was the stickiest, ickiest cabinet. My cookie-dough fingers had touched all those containers one too many times.
Even my three year old niece told me it was dirty when we baked cupcakes together.

I am very proud of my work.
Ian loved it.
This is only Day One.
Pretty sure I can't do this one on my own (because I have so many other things to work on too), but it's a start.

Escape

On: Sunday, August 1, 2010

This is my best friend.
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Did you know that it has been three years since we went on a trip just the two of us? That is way too long and we are bound and determined to not let that much time pass before we do it again.

Last weekend we sneaked away to Kansas City for three whole days to celebrate our anniversary (early). Of course, we didn't really "sneak" away since there were childcare arrangements to be made and all. I thought Calla needed to come with us. She is kind of special to me, and I just wasn't sure I could leave her yet. What if she didn't consume all the calories she needed? What if she didn't sleep well?

Ian put his foot down, and Calla stayed with the grandmas too. I'm glad she did.

I can't even describe how amazing this trip was. It refreshed our marriage and gave us time to focus on each other. We had time to sip coffee, float on the lazy river at Oceans of Fun and discuss the most rewarding and the most difficult times of our 6th year of marriage, devour the most delicious Thai food (among other meals), and laugh. No nap-times to hustle back for, no snacks and bottles to pack. It felt so carefree.

The first afternoon we arrived in Kansas City, we explored downtown. This area reminded me of being overseas. I loved it--the smells, the people, everything.
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We found a fun coffee shop (it had a cool spiral staircase inside) and Ian gave me some photography lessons. Maybe some day you will not be able to tell who took which pictures on the blog. But I have a LONG ways to go.

Here is Ian's shot of me followed by mine of him.
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After that we headed to the art museum. Growing up on a farm, art was pretty foreign to me. Ian, on the other hand, grew up immersed in it. I actually enjoyed the museum more than I thought I would. But the company was pretty good too.
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It was funny to me how everything reminded me of the kids. This porta potty outside the art museum enlightened me as to what my son's name really means.
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Poor Ori.

The rest of our trip wasn't documented very well with the camera, but we seriously enjoyed every minute of it. We needed this time to just be a couple and to have fun together.

Thank you to our wonderful mothers who watched Ori and Calla! We are truly grateful.

Refreshing?

On: Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Yesterday was a good day at the Johnson household. We managed a trip to the grocery store without any problems (such as breaking a glass bottle of Worcestershire sauce all over Aisle 5 like last week). Ori and Calla were perfect. Poor Ori has entered a shy, clingy, whiny stage that about does me in some days, but yesterday he just made me laugh. Calla sported a new dress from Daddy and looked darling. I drank an iced coffee, talked to a good friend on the phone, got tons of laundry done from our weekend getaway, and made a nice dinner.

When Ian came home, he said something about how refreshing it was to come home to us all being so happy. In fact, he called us "fun." Dinner was under control, Calla was finishing her third nap of the day, and Ori was sitting at the kitchen table immersed in a Wacky Race Tray I made him (see below). It made me wonder what it was like some days for Ian. He works all day, deals with a lot of stress, and comes home to a wife who is frantically trying to finish dinner and manage two small children. I don't want my home to be defined by the word "frantic".

I am reading Song of Solomon this week. I don't understand all of the metaphors, etc., but one thing I do understand was that Solomon's bride was as refreshing to him as a fountain (Ch. 4, vs. 15). I desire to be refreshing to my husband too. Not a wife who complains, worries, or brings up problems at the worst possible times.

I made a list of ways that I can refresh my husband. Little things that would make his day--like a note tucked away in his lunch box or getting up and making him pancakes before work. We'll see how it goes. It's definitely something I cannot do on my own strength (today has been a hard one with Ori and I just want to curl up and escape rather than think about serving others or doing something sweet for my husband).
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The Wacky Races
Here is the activity I put together for Ori yesterday. I think that after nap-time and before dinner is a hard time. I am always in the kitchen working and Ori wanders around, pulls at my legs, and wants attention. This was the perfect solution. Even if he didn't play with it the way I thought he should (or the way the book described), he LOVED it.

During Ori's nap I put this little road together using different textures. I used coffee grounds, egg shells, crumpled foil, buttons (I have an entire box of buttons that belonged to my grandma--so special!), dirt, and popcorn kernels. I set up the road, added some buildings, dinosaurs, and people, and gathered some cars and trucks.


The book this activity is from (pictured above) said the child would enjoy driving the cars down the road and over all the different textures. I even modeled how to drive the truck down the road. However, Ori immediately just started touching all the parts of the road and dumping handfuls of materials over the trucks.

And he LOVED, LOVED, LOVED all the buttons. He had fun, and I got over the fact that he "ruined" the road I made.

I did find out that using a pan kept the activity contained. This was really not messy at all, as Ori knew that everything stayed in the pan. Now I need to think of other activities like this Ori could do using the pan as a tray . . .