Faith and a Haircut

Hi!

Here’s a fun, true story that has happened in our world this week.

My mom was brushing Maddy’s hair a few days ago and asked her if Mommy took her for a haircut.  She said no.

A few days went by, and a few more people commented – her hair was still able to be pulled up easily and it looked even, yes there were some areas that looked like there had been some breakage, but it had been a while since her last haircut.

Finally, Maddy went to stay the night with Grandma.  Before bedtime Grandma asked her if she had cut her hair herself and this is what she said:  “Well, I wanted shorter hair so I decided to cut it.  So while Grammy was downstairs doing laundry with Caleb I took the scissors and cut my hair and threw it away in the kitchen trash.  I knew after I did it that it  was wrong and I should not have done it so I prayed to God, because He was the only one who saw me do it, and I know He forgave me so everything was okay and I didn’t need to worry about it.”

…needless to say my mother called me immediately and retold the story, and I made a mental note that we were going to Best Cuts as soon as she got home the next day…we’ll come back to this later…

More important to me was how she responded to my mom.  Maddy knew that it was wrong to cut her hair so she prayed and asked forgiveness.  I’m so glad that she understands the true nature of God’s forgiveness and freedom from guilt at an early age!  In the last few weeks we have been talking a great deal about forgiveness at church.  In fact, you can watch one of the most recent teachings about forgiveness here.

We love our church and we love how much our family is growing into a deeper relationship with Jesus.  We transitioned here as a family in January and it was a big decision to leave where we were very involved, but over the past months God has show us in so many ways that we are in the right place.  I have gone from seeing Jesus in black and white to high definition, and it appears that our little ones are being fed in the same way we are!  Hallelujah!

So back to the haircut.  I took Maddy to Best Cuts to “fix” the haircut.  The stylist took about five minutes to fix her style and informed me that for a self haircut it was extremely even.  In fact it was the best self haircut she had ever seen.

…we’re not sharing that tidbit with Maddy.  She now understands that she need a license to cut hair!

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Family Night: Easter Edition

Hi All!

Fridays in the Johnston house are reserved for family night.  I’m looking forward to sharing some of the interesting things that we do.  I am committing to do more creative things as a family.  Pizza and the Magical World of Disney Junior are okay, but not every week.

With Easter approaching I wanted to do something fun and themed for Maddy, so we had an Easter party! We decorated the dining room for our egg coloring festivities.  We did the traditional egg coloring and then to keep the fun going a while longer I purchased paper eggs and a paint set.  She will spend days painting eggs.  Everything fits on a cookie sheet so the mess is contained and transportable from the dining room to our art space.

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After the eggs were done, we made “Resurrection Buns.”  I have seen the recipes for resurrection cookies where you mix up dough and bake it overnight, but that just freaks me out because if it doesn’t work you waited all night for nothing.  I found a recipe for a different bun version here and since it was easy, fun, and worked I wanted to share it!

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For this project you need:

1 Package of Ready-Bake Biscuits

Marshmallows

Cinnamon & Sugar

Butter

Preheat the oven per the biscuit package instructions.  Take out the biscuits and flatten them out to about five inches across.  Brush or spread the butter on the biscuits and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Place a marshmallow in the middle of each biscuit and fold over the biscuit pinching it tightly.  The marshmallow represents Jesus in the tomb!  Place the biscuit folded side down on the tray (or on its side like a crescent) and spread butter and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top.  Bake according to the instructions and then remove to cool.  Once they are cool you can tear into them and see that the marshmallow has disappeared and the “tomb” is empty!

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My one tip to making sure you have an empty tomb is to make sure the biscuits are folded and pinched very tightly.  If they open up the marshmallow expands, but does not fully disappear so you may find yourself in the kitchen secretly scooping out the marshmallows…two worked perfectly and two were not.

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Before we let Maddy enjoy hers Michael took some time to read the Easter story to her.  The book we use for family devotions is Jesus Calling.  You can find it here.

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Happy Easter!  If you get a chance to try this recipe please leave me a comment!  If you have any fun Easter projects or traditions you use in your family, please feel free to post them here too!

Until next time…

Must Read Book: Jesus Is _________.

Hi Friends!

I like to read, but I’m going to keep it real.  I don’t read a lot of books…blogs yes…books no.

But this book I had to read…

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I’m not sure if it was the massive amount of buzz it had in my twitter feed, the mod cover, the snappy title, or what that made me have a burning desire to hunt this book down.

Actually, I know it was God pressing in my heart that I needed to learn something…

But this chick does not venture through more than one store, dragging her husband along the way, to find many things…especially a book, but I did!  And even more surprising – I read it!  And wrote notes in it!  This is serious.

I don’t even know where to start about how simple a read it was.  If you are new to the whole “Jesus thing” or if you are a “seasoned saint” there is so much to learn here.

As I grow older…look at me acting like I’ve wisdom beyond my years…I’m realizing that the box I put Jesus in through my life was beyond ridiculous.  I judge…a lot.  Sometimes I still do…hey! no one is perfect.  But God used parts of this book to help me see how amazing the love is that Jesus has for each of us.

One of my favorite parts of the book talked about reaching others.  Jesus’ message is simple: God loves you and wants a relationship with you.  People: we complicate it!  We throw up all of these restrictions and weird rules in order to reach Him and to reach others for Him.

We say that Jesus wants everyone to come to Him, but then when someone shows up at our church that may not fit our happy church mold we don’t welcome them.  We assume the position: God wants you; just not at my church.  If you want Jesus you are going to have to shape up before you go forward and accept Him – I know your Facebook profile, I follow your Twitter feed, and there is no way you can say you want Jesus and really be serious about it!

Seriously!?!?!  Now if there was ever a moment for us to as Christians say WTF (what the faith?  yes I used it…judge me) then this is it! Jesus hung out with the lowest of low; why?  because they need Him!  We all need Him!  But who understands sin better than a sinner who isn’t pretending to be a saint?

Judah Smith, simply reasserts what Jesus told us so long ago.  In order to be an effective witness and reach people we need to follow this order for being witnesses to others:

1. Belong     2.  Believe     3.  Behave

I admit that I have often switched up the order when I’m trying to reach others!  Sadly, I’ve missed opportunities because of that…

So I’m not going to summarize the entire book for you.  Just know that it is an easy read, and it is a read that anyone who has been a Christian for a while needs to read. So often we get wrapped up in our little bubble and forget that Jesus told us to be witnesses…and that does not mean stay in your Christian circle and ignore everyone else around you.

If you want to learn more about the book you can do so here.  If you want to order the book you can do so here.

If you’ve read it, what did you think?

Back from the black…

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Hello…again!

It’s time to get back to blogging.  Where have I been?  In case anyone is still following me from before…and there’s probably five of you left…there’s a simple answer for that.  I wasn’t feeling it.

No really!  If you’re local family or friends you may understand that last year was hard with having a new baby and losing my grandpa, but honestly it was so much more than that.

I wasn’t happy.  Not the I’m having a bummer day that my clothes don’t look right or I’m having a bad hair day unhappy.  I mean that I’m not sure where I fit in and I don’t know what exactly is going on with my life not happy.  There comes a point in life where you just stop “faking it” and just walk away…from a lot.  For the majority of last year I was not present in a lot of things: family…work…marriage…everything.  I was just in a bad place, and when you’re in a bad place…if you’ve ever been in one…you just don’t want to do anything.  It cripples you; whether you realize it or not.

In the past when I haven’t been happy with things I’ve been able to push through and keep the happy facade.  And there were times last year that I thought I was doing pretty good keeping everyone in the dark, keeping up appearances, pretending, but I wasn’t doing so well with it…I think everyone knew that something was going on whether or not they could put their finger on it.

I was angry.

I was sad.

I disengaged from a lot.

So what changed my outlook?

It is so simple: Jesus.

I started praying again…REALLY praying.  I renewed my relationship and reconnected with my God and He delivered me from the darkness.  I’m changing and growing everyday and I look forward to spending time with Him each day.

Some days are better than others.  And I still have a lot to learn, but I’m back on track.  God has done a lot of healing in my life, my marriage, my outlook, and I can honestly say that my connection with God is stronger and more true than it has ever been.  Because of that connection, the relationships in my life are growing and blossoming in ways that I never imagined.  I’m finding true happiness.

God just didn’t deliver me; He gave me greater!

As time goes on I hope to share more about my faith and my journey with you.  There is so much that God wants me to share, but for now I’m saying I’m back…and this time I really am. I’m not going to be serious all the time…after all, so much of life (especially mine) laughs even at the hard stuff.  To quote Carl Lentz, “I will come out of my shell because I have a story to tell.”

Recently during my SOAPing (more on this in a later post) I read Proverbs 20:24…

“The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?”  Prov. 20:24 NLT

For the ultimate control freak, that’s me, this is becoming more of a life verse than I could have ever imagined!  Looking back over the last year I am amazed at the healing, deliverance, and joy that has come from it all!

So what can you expect from the blog?  I’m not exactly sure yet…

There will be crafting…

…and family fun…

…and faith…

If you have some ideas or suggestions, feel free to post a comment.  I’m looking forward to where God takes me.

This is the beginning!

Reflections of Easter

Hi All!  Easter is one of my favorite holidays.  Since today is Good Friday I thought it would be good to share the Easter Story with my blog readers…

 11 Now Jesus stood before the governor. “Are You the King of the Jews?” the governor asked Him.

Jesus answered, “You have said it.” 12 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He didn’t answer.

13 Then Pilate said to Him, “Don’t You hear how much they are testifying against You?” 14 But He didn’t answer him on even one charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

15 At the festival the governor’s custom was to release to the crowd a prisoner they wanted. 16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.  17 So when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Who is it you want me to release for you—Barabbas, [f] or Jesus who is called Messiah?”  18 For he knew they had handed Him over because of envy.

19 While he was sitting on the judge’s bench, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for today I’ve suffered terribly in a dream because of Him!”

20 The chief priests and the elders, however, persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to execute Jesus. 21 The governor asked them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?”

“Barabbas!” they answered.

22 Pilate asked them, “What should I do then with Jesus, who is called Messiah?”

They all answered, “Crucify Him!”

23 Then he said, “Why? What has He done wrong?”

But they kept shouting, “Crucify Him!” all the more.

24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that a riot was starting instead, he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. See to it yourselves!”

25 All the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But after having Jesus flogged, he handed Him over to be crucified.

27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into headquarters and gathered the whole company around Him.  28 They stripped Him and dressed Him in a scarlet robe. 29 They twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and placed a reed in His right hand. And they knelt down before Him and mocked Him: “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 Then they spit at Him, took the reed, and kept hitting Him on the head. 31 When they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the robe, put His clothes on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.

32 As they were going out, they found a Cyrenian man named Simon. They forced this man to carry His cross. 33 When they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Skull Place), 34 they gave Him wine  mixed with gall to drink. But when He tasted it, He would not drink it. 35 After crucifying Him they divided His clothes by casting lots.  36 Then they sat down and were guarding Him there. 37 Above His head they put up the charge against Him in writing:

THIS IS JESUS
THE KING OF THE JEWS

38 Then two criminals were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 Those who passed by were yelling insults at  Him, shaking their heads  40 and saying, “The One who would demolish the sanctuary and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross!”  41 In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders,  mocked Him and said, 42 “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! He is the King of Israel!  Let Him  come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. 43 He has put His trust in God; let God rescue Him now—if He wants Him!  For He said, ‘I am God’s Son.’ ” 44 In the same way even the criminals who were crucified with Him kept taunting Him.

45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over the whole land.  46 At about three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni? ” that is, ” My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? ”

47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling for Elijah!”

48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, fixed it on a reed, and offered Him a drink. 49 But the rest said, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to save Him!”

50 Jesus shouted again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit. 51 Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened and many bodies of the saints who had gone to their rest  were raised. 53 And they came out of the tombs after His resurrection, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.

54 When the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they were terrified and said, “This man really was God’s Son!”

55 Many women who had followed Jesus from Galilee and ministered to Him were there, looking on from a distance.  56Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

57 When it was evening, a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph came, who himself had also become a disciple  of Jesus. 58 He approached Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Then Pilate ordered that it be released. 59 So Joseph took the body, wrapped it in clean, fine linen, 60 and placed it in his new tomb, which he had cut into the rock. He left after rolling a great stone against the entrance of the tomb.  61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were seated there, facing the tomb.

62 The next day, which followed the preparation day, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate  63 and said, “Sir, we remember that while this deceiver was still alive, He said, ‘After three days I will rise again.  ‘ 64 Therefore give orders that the tomb be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may come, steal Him, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead.’ Then the last deception will be worse than the first.”

65 “You have a guard [of soldiers],” Pilate told them. “Go and make it as secure as you know how.” 66 Then they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting the guard.

1 After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to view the tomb. 2 Suddenly there was a violent earthquake, because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached [the tomb]. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his robe was as white as snow. 4 The guards were so shaken from fear of him that they became like dead men.

5 But the angel told the women, “Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here! For He has been resurrected, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.  7 Then go quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead. In fact, He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there.’ Listen, I have told you.”

8 So, departing quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, they ran to tell His disciples the news. 9 Just then Jesus met them and said, “Good morning!” They came up, took hold of His feet, and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus told them,”Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see Me there.”