Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

"For unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given,
and the government shall be upon his shoulders.
And his name shall be called
the Mighty God,
the Everlasting Father,
the Prince of Peace."
~Isaiah 9:6

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Leaving On a Jet Plane...

I'm about to close up shop here at work & hop on a plane for Cali! I can't quite believe it's already the 23rd of December. This month has been absolutely nuts for us - I've kind of felt like I was in college again with the non-stop craziness. But somehow it's the 23rd, and somehow I got everything (I hope) packed last night, and somehow even made it in to work (relatively) on time this morning. Now if we can just make it through our lay-over in Denver without getting stuck...

Anyway, I may not be blogging much (or at all) until we get back after the New Year. So if you don't hear from me before then, I wish you all a wonderful & RESTFUL Christmas & a very happy New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2008


There's something about Christmastime that makes one a bit nostalgic. And I love to be nostalgic. As the "Days to Christmas" clock winds down - and rather quickly I might add - I am reminded of many Christmas's past.

20 years ago...I was 4, and I'm sure soaking in every bit of Christmas. That might have been the year we got a brand new toy kitchen - complete with a "working" coffee maker (okay, so it just "made" water, but I loved it). Or it might have been the year we got some really cool sweat bands (it was 1988 after all...), and Kelsey & I proceeded to do laps around the house as we "worked out" - with cookies in hand, of course. Whatever the gifts, I do know that I was with my whole family in our cozy home in Maysville, celebrating the story spelled out in the nativity scene we had setting on top of the television. And Kelsey put baby Jesus on the roof.

10 years ago...I was 14 and a freshman in high school. By this time I had grown to love many of our family traditions - celebrating Mom's birthday on Christmas Eve, then going to church for the candle-light service. Mom was usually disappointed at the end because we hadn't sang Silent Night - and you're just supposed to sing Silent Night on Christmas Eve at the candle-light service, okay? Then we'd head over to some friends to celebrate Mom & Christmas Eve - and I was possibly dating one of the "friends" that came over (that should say probably...or just take that word out...). Kelsey & I had a long-standing tradition by this point of sleeping together on Christmas Eve so we'd be sure to wake each other up bright and early to gather around the tree, read the Christmas story together from Dad's KJV Bible, and then share the morning together opening gifts, eating Mom's famous Christmas brunch, and enjoying whatever gifts we received that year.

5 years ago...I was 19 and a sophomore in college. By this time I had met a guy named Dan, but I'm quite sure he didn't know my name yet :-) I spent another lovely Christmas at home with my family, this time in our new home out in the country (we'd lived there for a few years already). Still soaking in the traditions, including an all-day Christmas at Grandpa & Grandma's with the best food in the world and my dear cousins & aunts & uncles gathered together for a short time.
3 years ago...I was 21 and engaged to the man of my dreams. We were less than 3 months away from our wedding and spent our last Christmas apart - he in California, and I in Missouri. It would be the last Christmas with just the 4 of us, Mom, Dad, Kelsey & me. I distinctly remember sitting around the breakfast table that morning after opening our gifts and realizing that this would never be quite the same again.

2 years ago...I spent my first Christmas away from home with Dan's family out in California. While there were certainly moments of homesickness, it was also a sweet time as I spent my first Christmas with my husband and was able to experience new traditions as I stepped into the Johnston family. My mother-in-law was especially gracious as she made extra efforts to incorporate some of my traditions into their Christmas as well - including Christmas brunch and cereal potatoes. I also experienced my first WARM Christmas, decorated palm trees, and laying out at the beach on Christmas Eve...certainly not all bad :-)

1 year ago...Dan & I traveled home to Missouri and were thrilled to see lots and lots of snow. It was Dan's first Christmas away from home and his first time to experience the Carroll family traditions - which include a slightly (translate: incredibly) slower pace than Johnstons are accustomed to. We revelled in the rest, drinking lots of coffee while chatting away with Mom & Dad and watching the peaceful snow. Kelsey's fiance joined us as well, and for the first time, we really had the "whole" family together.

And this year we are just a few days away from hopping on a plane to head to sunny California once again. I'll miss my family dearly, but I'll learn more about being a Johnston as I spend some much needed time with Dan's family. I'm so thankful for the wonderful man I am able to call my husband, and though Christmas will never be quite the same as it used to be, I am thankful that I'm always able to bring "home" with me as Dan & I spend Christmas together.

There is one thing, though, that never changes - Christmas itself is ALWAYS about God wrapping himself in swaddling clothes in the tiny form of baby Jesus. I am so thankful that some things never change.

Note: Mom or Dad, if you have any pictures from the earlier years, feel free to send them :-)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Busy Busy Busy

Man oh man has it been a busy couple of weeks! I really don't have much time at the moment, but just thought I'd throw up a couple pics my office staff took this morning:
And now with jazz hands! glad I work in a fun place :-) I sure do spend a lot of time with these folks.
That's all I've got for now, friends. Hopefully I'll have time for a real update soon!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Why am I always COLD?!?

Seriously...I'm in my office right now with my space heater blasting, and I'm still freezing! Why must I always dress for the arctic? Why must I always be uncomfortable cold no matter where I go?

Now, if I'm going to be outside during the winter months, I expect this. I bundle up, dress in layers, throw on a muff...whatever. I'm okay with that. But must I wear long underwear to work? Should I really have to bring a wool blanket to church with me? Is it really necessary to sit through a movie with mittens on?

I think I have my mother's curse. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go find a cup of hot chocolate and try to unthaw.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Grandpa's Handiwork

Back in September when Dan & I first made the decision on our townhome, we mentioned to my Grandpa that we would have a cute little front porch. Dan hinted that we would love some rocking chairs to fill that spot, and Grandpa said he'd never built a rocking chair before. We were at their house on a quick trip home, and before long Grandpa quietly got up from the supper table and headed back to his shop. He came back with a wood-working layout for some beautiful adorondeck chairs like the ones he had recently made for their new patio. "Those would be wonderful!" we said enthusiastically, though we added they might be a little big - we'd have to check. So he said he'd see what he could do.

Last week when we were home, Grandpa took us out back to his shop to see these:

Petite adorondeck ROCKING chairs! He smiled quietly while we admired his handiwork, quick to point out a few little flaws he saw (I didn't see any) and said he hoped they'd work.

Hoped they'd work? They're beautiful! And they fit our little front porch perfectly. Grandpa, I'm not sure if I believe you when you say you've never made a rocking chair before. Maybe my old rocking horse was all the practice you needed :-)

My favorite part is that there is a stamp underneath that says:

Not everything comes from China! Grandma didn't work on these particular chairs, but we have enough of her handiwork around the house that she can claim whatever she wants to. Plus, I have some pillows for my couch on order from her. I can't wait to see how those turn out!

Are we blessed or what? Thanks again, Grandpa AJ, for the beautiful gift!

Monday, December 1, 2008


Ahhh....home. Dan & I were able to spend some much-needed time at home with my family in Missouri over Thanksgiving. It sort of felt like indulging in a package of double-stuffed oreos after having given them up for Lent (not that I've ever done that...). It was beautiful.

This time we drove and were able to pick up my sister Kelsey & her husband Brent on the way. We arrived home at 3:30 AM...not a typo...on Wednesday morning, but it was wonderful to wake-up at HOME that morning. There's something about waking up in your childhood room with mom & dad puttering around downstairs that just can't be beat. It kind of makes me long for the days when I would toss my clothes into a hamper and they would magically re-appear...clean, folded, and sometimes even back in their proper drawer. Those were the days.

Anyway...I digress. Our trip was filled with much rest, even more food, and wonderful time with family. We spent Thanksgiving Day at my Grandparents with my extended family, feasting on Grandma's delicious cooking (and Mom's rolls) and catching up. I even got to sit at the grown-up table this year...although Grandpa ended up at the kid's table, so I guess I'm really not sure how this works after all. We took a few pictures, but I'm going to have to wait on my Dad to send them as we misplaced our camera until the end of the trip. Bummer.
We also spent some wonderful time with Paige & Torri, playing Wii, raking leaves, poking at a snake (eek!), and even riding around town...with Paige driving! How did that happen? Man I miss those girls.

We also spent a couple nights partaking in one of my Dad's birthday gifts - Centennial. It's a mini-series based on a crazy-long book by James Michener, but it's also one of my Dad's favorite things in life. I mean really - we grew up on this stuff. When Dad turns on the French accent like Pasquinel, we know we've lost him. Anyway, it really is a classic, and if you're looking for a nice romantic trek through our nation's history, I'd highly recommend it. Maybe I should devote a whole post to this - I'm getting a little carried away.

As always, the time went way to quickly. Knowing I won't be home for Christmas made leaving that much more difficult, but it also made me savor the time. How thankful I am for a family like mine.

I left a lot out here, but perhaps that will encourage me to post a bit more this week. I have high expectations for the month of December :-)