VBS 2012 – Amazing Wonders Aviation

This year’s VBS theme was Amazing Wonders Aviation.  We did a lot of “flying” to various natural wonders like the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef while we learned about missionaries in Madagascar and the Amazon Jungle.  I helped out with the older 4 yr old class (so most of them were actually 5 but hadn’t started Kindergarten yet).  It was definitely a trying week – I’m glad that Raymond and I will never have 20 4-yr olds at one time :).  But we had a great time teaching these little ones that God loves them and that Jesus died for their sins (and I was reminded that 4-yr olds are definitely sinners…).

Here are some pictures from our adventures:

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Christmas 2011

This Christmas season we stayed in Louisville, KY for two reasons: 1) Meghan has about 7 weeks until she gives birth to our second daughter, Charlotte, so traveling ten hours to either Alabama or Mississippi was undesirable for her tired body and 2) to allow me more availability to work for my managers who are so graciously flexible during the school semester with my work schedule.

So on Christmas Eve, I worked at Mitchell’s while Meghan and Abigail attended our church’s Christmas Eve service and spent some time with some of our friends from church who were also in town for Christmas this year.  Christmas day was very full of good things since it fell on a Sunday this year!  We woke up and opened a few presents before going to church where we were able to celebrate the birth of Jesus with our church family.  Afterwards we ate a Christmas lunch with Mrs. Millie and spent a few hours with her.  All of her family is connected with a minister of a church in some way so she celebrated with her family on Friday and invited us over for lunch on Sunday :) We returned home in time for a nap and then we finished opening our presents and had a very relaxing evening spending time together as a family!

While this is technically Abigail’s 2nd Christmas, this year she was definitely more aware of what was happening and it was a lot more fun for us to watch her open presents and play with her new toys!  We look forward to the next few years as her understanding grows and her memory improves and we’re able to teach her more about why we celebrate Christmas rather than just laugh at her playing in the wrapping paper (which is a lot of fun too!).

Here are A LOT of pictures from Christmas day and a couple of videos for you to enjoy :)

Abigail opens her first Christmas present (Meghan opened all of them for her last year…)

And this is how Abigail ended her day:

A Progressive Dinner

Recently, our Bible Fellowship Group (AKA Sunday School class) participated in a Progressive Dinner to fellowship together during the Christmas season. About half of the couples were able to attend and we all had a great time eating, talking, and laughing.  Our Progressive Dinner included 3 stops (appetizers, dinner, and dessert) plus a game of Dirty Santa (of course).  Raymond was unable to attend because he had the flu that week (I think he’ll be getting the flu shot from now on…) but I was able to go and I’m pretty sure we contributed the best Dirty Santa gift ;)

Here are a few pictures from the evening:

Dinner, Christmas Candy, & Discipleship

Roll Tide Ray, Dr. Elieff, Jacob and Humphrey

On Monday, December 12, 2012 Meghan, Abigail, and I traveled across town to the home of my pastor and dear friend and mentor – Dr. Jeff Elieff.  We were there for the second annual Johnson-Elieff dinner and Christmas candy-making event.  We talked, laughed, ate, and made some delicious candy (the white chocolate covered pretzels are all that matter to me).

Highlights of the evening were:

1) Dr. Elieff firing off his aresol rifle, which is also his Christmas present, in the house

2) Humphrey, the dog, being scared by the loud rifle shot to the point that he would not forgive Dr. Elieff until there was food on the table

3) Jacob and Emily, the Elieff children, chastising their father for playing with his Christmas present before Christmas as well as for firing a gun in the home even though it wasn’t loaded

4) Emily checking her body to make sure that she had not been shot after she heard the rifle go off

5) Dr. Elieff saying, and I quote, “I’m gonna put so much vanilla in this fudge that I won’t be able to drive after I eat it”…he quickly replied that he was just kidding.

All jokes aside, it was a wonderful evening. No man has invested in my life so comprehensively as Jeff Elieff; few men have invested even a portion of the time he has. He recognizes that discipleship doesn’t happen in a one-hour long meeting once a week.  Rather, discipleship is teaching someone how to make their way through life, how to walk in the way of Christ wisely.  Sure, we talk ministry and do churchy things like preaching, teaching, worship, etc.  But, we also talk about family, college sports, how to manage money, politics, music, academics, insurance, our health and much more over food or some other place we’re hanging at that day.  As a result, we have become friends who help one another with home improvement projects, who pray for one another, who war against a satanic enemy together.

Dinner and making Christmas candy makes memories and provides an opportunity to hangout, but it is much more than another event — it is discipleship.  This holiday season I am thankful for Dr. Jeff Elieff.  He is a father in the ministry to me, a man I can look up to, and a man I can call if I’ve had a bad day.  I love my church.

Thanksgiving Part 2 and Christmas Pics

Caleb, Rebekah, Derek, Colton, Amy, Meghan (and Charlotte in the womb), Raymond, and Abigail #NAOBC4Life

On Thanksgiving day 2012 we ate with two families that we are exceptionally close with at our church, NAOBCthe Browns and the Drahoshes.  Gigi, Meghan’s mom, was there too.  We had a wonderful day together for the second year in a row.  We talked, ate, played with Colton and Abigail on the floor, ate, played Ticket to Ride, and ate (and after it all Meghan and I watched Psych!). You know that’s right!

Other highlights of the day: the guys tossed the football and reminisced on the fun of our respective high school football days,  Raymond and Derek pulled the kiddos around in a wagon, and the ladies did something but I wasn’t there to observe it so I don’t know what they said or did :)

Below are two Christmas pictures from our family photographer, Caleb Drahosh.  They are their usual awesome with Caleb-esque quality.  Though it looks like he took them at a studio, he did them in our living room.  Thanks bro!

The Johnson family

Exalting the Savior by Building Community

Dinner with the Adult Singles from NAOBC

Death will not be there, and neither will life.  No leaves will be there, but there will be trees.  Thankfully, there will be food, but, oddly, there will be no money to buy food.

Those were just a few of the phrases made while playing a game with the several men and women from our church.  Last night Meghan and I had the privilege of hosting a horde of the men and women in Pastor Philip Brown’s singles ministry at NAOBC.  We ate baked spaghetti made by my hospitable bride, conversed, and played both Mad Gab and Green Glass Room (if you don’t know the rules then you should play; if you do know the rules then you know that Philp is not invited but Drs. Cook and Elieff are invited).  Before playing games, Meghan and I each had the opportunity to share how we became followers of Jesus Christ as well as how we became the Johnson four: me, Meghan, Abigail, and Charlotte.

Mad Gab

It was a wonderful night!  We hosted these men in women in our small apartment as a means of being faithful to practically fulfill the vision that Pastor Bill Cook has for our congregation.  In November of 2011 he charged our congregation to be intentional about building community, but not just any type of community–he doesn’t want a small group of friends to isolate themselves from everyone and hang out only with each other all the time.  Rather, he desires for us, as fellow members of the One body in Christ, to cultivate cross-generational fellowship with a multitude of Believers in various life situations throughout our congregation.  Surprisingly, it is amazingly simple.  All you have to do is eat and talk.

So, soon and very soon, open your home, take the opportunity to befriend a person/group of people in a totally different life situation, a person with different likes and dislikes.  May God be honored in your intentionality.

Gigi’s Visit and Thanksgiving Part 1 with Mrs. Millie

On Saturday, November 19th the USM Golden Eagles lost to UAB and Gigi left her humble abode for the Ice Praires of Louisville, KY to visit her only born granddaughter (until late January/early February 2012).  Gigi was in the Cardinal city (Louisville Cardinals) here for a week.  We watched Psych, ate, watched Psych, shopped, laughed while watching Psych, and other lazy holiday week things (I tried to do this as much as PhD studies would allow me – I was cramped in an office most of the time writing a paper).  Needless to say, we had a blast! Abigail loved playing with Gigi’s keys, wearing/dragging Gigi’s purse around the house and eating Nutella for breakfast from Gigi’s hand. #Luckykid

On Wednesday, November 23rd we traveled all of 1/2 mile to Mrs. Millie’s home for the first of our two Thanksgiving celebrations! (Mrs. Millie is a NAOBC-er with us; she has basically adopted Meghan and me as grandchildren and Abigail as a great grandchild…I’m not upset about it either because she can cook reeeeeaaaaaalllllllyyyyyy good).  It was exquisite–homemade food, pumpkin pie, laughing, and assembling a Christmas tree for Mrs. Millie.

Once we receive the pictures from Thanksgiving Part 2 with the Drahoshes and the Browns, we’ll post those pictures as well!

Below are some of the pictures of this wonderful week with family.