Thursday, August 28, 2008

Daring Pet Rescue

When Eric should have been relaxing and enjoying his birthday dinner, he found himself conducting a Search-and-Rescue mission for our cat Stormie-too.

In the music room / office, a mountain of my music books have remained stacked in boxes against the wall next to some corner bookcases. They are the perfect launching pad to a highly desirable perch - from this height the cats can gaze out the window to the woods behind our house.

This perch has one major drawback. There is a large empty space at the corner where the book cases meet. To a cat this is both an inviting challenge and a deep, dark chasm. To Stormie-too, this was a temptation too hard to resist.

From the kitchen during dinner, we saw our kitty make her usual leap to the top. But rather than sitting down to gaze at the woodland creatures, she drifted ever so casually towards the black hole. Before we knew it, we heard a "meowEeeeeeeeeeeeee---- thunk!"

We pounded on the wall, got a bewildered"mrrreow!" and were relieved that Stormie was okay. Eric, our man of amazing wit and stunning resourcefulness, got out his trusty power drill, took apart the book shelves and saved the day!


Guess what?!? It took less than a minute and a half to upload all 5 photos! In the old days, this same project took me all evening. I LOVE you, High Speed Internet! Sigh. :)

To the Birthday Boy...


May your day be filled with joy as you remember who Christ made you to be, a beautiful reflection of Him. Noelle and I love you with all our hearts. We are so proud to be called your daughter and wife!


Psst...Did you know Eric has a twin sister?


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Too Tired To Write

I'm sorry I've been neglecting the blog lately. I'm just sooooooooooo tiiiiiiiiiired.

I know. It's not a great excuse, but it's the one I'm using.

By the time we get Noelle to bed, the last thing I seem to have energy for is composing something for the blog.

I still have every intention to write the second half post of our move and the early days here in Chattanooga (plus pictures). I'm just not sure when.

Do please know that we are okay. We are getting unpacked and are getting to know our new church family. We're settling in. We even went to a B-Day party today. God is taking care of us. Noelle is still struggling as she has been for over a week now - we think the reality of the move finally hit her. Eric is recovering from Mono, though it will be another 6 weeks or so before he has full strength/energy back, according to his doctor. I am also struggling on the energy front. I'm not sleeping well and this whole move, while still a new mother, is rough on me at times. Please pray for our family. We believe this move was what God had intended for us, but we are definitely aware of the fight against us in the spiritual realm. God means this move for good; Satan would like to mess it all up. Someday maybe I will share more on this front, just not tonight.

Also, please pray for the sale of our house. Our realtor held an open house today with 6 separate potential buyers in attendance. She said only 1 seemed like they were truly interested, but hopes the others will talk up our house to any friends they know looking to buy. We desire to live according to God's financial principals and want to wipe out our debt. We just really need to sell the house.

Thank you for all your prayers, emails, cards, and comments to the blog. Your love and interest in how we are doing is very helpful as we acclimate to our new life here in Tennessee.

And please hang in there to the blog. I'll get back into the swing of it soon, and with even more pictures than ever before (ya know, High Speed Internet). As a matter of' fact, you might wish I still had dial-up. How many pictures of Noelle can you people really look at anyway???


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's Official. We've joined the 21st Century. I LOVE MY HIGH SPEED INTERNET!!!!!!

I am, for the very first time in my own home, sitting before a computer with HIGH SPEED INTERNET!!! Wooeee!!! I think I am in love... Sigh. :)

For those of you new to the blog here, I won't bore you with all the details. Let's just say that for a variety of reasons we had been unable to switch over from Dial-Up. Needless to say, it made my Internet research (which I do a lot of), my e-mail correspondence, posting pictures on the blog (Awful! Better set aside your whole evening!), watching videos (Not!), and many other tasks people tend to take for granted, slow and quite often very frustrating.

This evening, I'll admit I'm a tad giddy. I hardly know what I'll do with all that extra time (you know, when I'm not staring at the computer screen waiting for the next page to load or banging my head on the desk chanting "come on, come on, come on").

One thing I do know - when I get the opportunity to organize the photos I've taken these past 3-4 weeks - I will take great pleasure in posting them to the blog. I think I'll even get Eric's stop watch out to compare the time difference with previous uploading sessions. And then, to celebrate, I'll eat a lot of ice cream.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Eric caught a BAD bug this time

Please pray for my poor hubby. He's been feeling pretty lousy for several days, went to see the doc here in Chattanooga a couple times, and discovered yesterday that he has a pretty bad case of...MONO!!!

This is NO fun at all, if you know anything at all about the disease. He's still in the contagious phase and was told firmly to avoid close contact with other people for the next 5 days and rest, rest, rest for the next 2-3 weeks. He still plans to preach his first sermon Sunday morning, but will be hiding out in the prayer room before service and leave quickly after. He wants to spread the love, not the Mono germs.

These instructions are very difficult for my on-the-move man. He proclaimed this evening, after 1 day of mostly lying on the couch working on his laptop, "Jen, I'm bored!" Later when I was feeding Noelle her dinner, I caught him moving boxes into the attic. Hello!?! Is this resting?!?

As Noelle and I are headed out Sunday afternoon to my folks for a couple days (to avoid his "cooties"), I've got some spies enlisted to keep an eye on him and to make sure he's a good patient. If anyone sees him engaging in unrestful activities while I'm away, please contact me immediately. :-)

p.s. we still don't have internet at home...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Internet Problems

I'm not sure when my next post will be, or where it will be posted from.

Today I am writing from the church office. You see, we were supposed to have High Speed (finally - woohoo!!!) Internet, Cable and home phone service yesterday, but due to another "miscommunication" with our Provider-To-Be, we have to wait another week. Needless to say, I am not a happy camper. We tried to find another company who could serve us, but the Provider-To-Be has a corner on the market for what we need, so we're a bit stuck.

I will try to post "A Really Long Post, Part 2" as soon as I can.

I miss you all!

The Johnson’s Have Landed in the Eastern Time Zone (a.k.a. “A Really Long Post, Part 1”)

Well friends, we made it!

What an intense week! Or should I say, weeks? It’s been about 5 weeks of preparing our house for sale, packing up all our belongings, holding a moving sale, attending farewell parties and our final service at Richmond church, traveling to Chattanooga, beginning the challenging process of unpacking, and attending our first service and welcome potluck at Chatt First. Whew!

Before I catch everyone up on the happenings of the last week or so, let me first thank everyone for your prayers. Eric and I could most definitely feel the Lord’s presence surrounding us, especially in the final days of moving and traveling. God’s ear is tuned in to the voices of his children, and your (and our) petitions were answered. Praise His name!

So, backing up to Monday Aug 4th-- Eric put Noelle and I on a plane Monday morning. We were both in good spirits and I was impressed how well she handled this newest adventure. She didn’t even cry once - on the flight to Charlotte, during the 2 ½ hour layover, or the flight to Chattanooga. She had a 2 or 3 brief “toddler moments”, but with mom passing out a steady stream of special treats, stickers, magnetic books, musical toys and other goodies I had been saving up specifically for this trip, any potential temper tantrums were headed off. She charmed folks wherever we went with her “Hi!” and “Bye-bye!” and many people exclaimed over her cuteness wearing the puppy dog backpack / safety harness (Hello! Can we say “Life Saver!”?). We arrived at our destination around 5:30pm and were met at the airport by my parents, who had come to help care for Noelle and assist with moving in to the parsonage. All in all, a very good day.

One cute story from our journey-- The layover was a fun time to explore the airport and ride the moving sidewalks. The latter were a special delight to Noelle and we rode most every one in sight. She happily ignored the grouchy looks of the pushy people we slowed down. There was one problem with riding the sidewalks, however. Noelle wanted to hold the handrails like Mommy and couldn’t understand why I kept insisting she needed to hold my hand. She finally “got it” when I let her try it once. She put her hands up to the rail, but unable to hold on comfortably due to her short stature, she firmly pressed both hands to the non-moving glass wall. Well, you can guess what happened next. Her feet kept moving and so did her hands and upper body… just in opposite directions. It was like watching the unfolding of an America’s Funniest People video. The wipeout was dramatic. I’d definitely give it a 9.5, maybe higher. With poorly concealed laughter, I scooped Noelle up and brushed her off. She then marched on her merry way, unfazed by her brush with death, or at least, with a human conveyer belt.

Eric, on the other hand, did not have quite so pleasant a journey. His plan had been to leave with the U-Haul first thing Tuesday morning and arrive later that night for the guys from church to unload our belongings. Instead, the final packing, loading up the truck, and cleaning the house for potential buyers, took until late Tuesday night. It had all been much more difficult and time consuming than he had imagined. I felt awful when I found out I had left him in a lurch after Noelle and I flew to Tennessee. My poor hubby! He was tired and stressed to the max. But praise the Lord for Godly friends! Eric had several folks come help in those final 2 days – neighbors, church folks, and friends in the community. Somehow, they got it all done. What dear, wonderful people!!!

We found out the hard way that a week and a half is not enough time to pack up and move a two-story house and garage. To our credit, though, we weren’t able to get started on the real packing until after our realtor had come and taken the “furnished house” digital photos for the Internet virtual tour.

Well, when everything was finished at approximately 10:30pm Tuesday night, Eric took a short nap. He got up at 1:00am to get a head start on the long journey and was on the road with our 3 crying cats by 1:30am. An hour later, he had a tire blow out on the car trailer. After calling for a tow, he sat on the side of the road for 3 hours! On the plus side, it did give him another opportunity to nap and the cats were even able to wander the inside of the cab then settled down to sleep. So much for avoiding St. Louis morning rush hour!

5 bottles of soda, sore shoulders, and a pounding headache later, Eric safely pulled up to the parsonage. Boy, were Noelle and I ever glad to see that man! We couldn’t hug him enough, and thanksgiving for his safe journey flowed form my lips. After the greetings were over, the first thing out of his mouth was, “Well, Jen, we fit about 99% of our belongings on the truck…” I’m still trying to discover what is in that other 1%.

And for those of you concerned about the felines in this story - Shadow, Stormie-too, and Rainie did very well on the journey. The little ones cried for the first couple hours then settled down quite nicely. They were quite relieved, however, to be freed from their carriers.

Okay, this post has gotten waaaaaaaaaay long. I’m gonna quit here and finish the rest in Part 2. There is much more to tell – like the fun surprises left in the parsonage for our arrival , the amazing number of people who showed up to help unload the truck, the amazing growth Noelle has shown in spite of having her world turned upside down (again), the many ways God is blessing us – but I’ll save that for another day.

Bye for now!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Johnsons' Update

Jen, Eric and sweet Noelle arrived safely to Chattanooga last week! They are exhausted, stressed and very excited all at once. They will have Internet tomorrow (Tuesday) and Jen will get caught up on emails and perhaps blog a bit then. Please continue to keep them in your prayers as they embark on this new adventure with God.

I don't know how many of you know me but if you do, you know I'm exceedingly selfish and wanted nothing to do with Jen moving across the country. However, even I have to admit this move sounds like a dream come true for them (insert sigh of resignation) and I can't help but anticipate the Good Work that will be done in them and through them. And anyway, true friendship is not based on the miles in between people but the way good friends' hearts seem to beat in time no matter where they are or how long it's been since they've been together. Jen is that kind of friend to me and my prayer is that our girls will have that connection as they grow up, too.

Before I just get beyond sappy, I'll get back to my assignment: The Johnsons have arrived, they're safe, their kitties are safe and they'll be in touch soon. Hooray!


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Last Night in Richmond

Well folks, it's been an emotional and eventful few days.

We have said our goodbyes - the farewell Open House Thursday evening and the church service / potluck today were very special. God has truly blessed our family with many special friends who have loved and cared for us over the years.

Most of our belongings are tucked away safely in the U-Haul, which sits in our driveway. The rest is in boxes (or about to be in boxes) stacked up against the walls of our empty rooms. Eric will take Noelle and me to the airport first thing tomorrow morning, and our flight is scheduled to arrive in Chattanooga around 5:30pm. Then Eric will load up the rest of our things into the truck with a couple buddies. We also have some friends coming over in the afternoon to help with the final cleaning so our home is in "showable" condition. (Nope, we didn't get it sold by-owner, but know that God has a plan. We are praying our realtor can sell it very quickly in spite of the current market.)

We are headed off to bed now. Our little angel is sleeping soundly thus far and hopefully Eric and I will do the same. We have both shed tears tonight and I wouldn't be surprised if more fall in the coming days. We are sad to close this chapter of our life in Richmond - 10 years of memories - but look with anticipation to the surprises God has for us in Chattanooga.

The next time you hear from me, it will be from a more southerly zone. And good news, people! I'm gonna have high speed Internet! Woohoo! You know what that means? More pictures!!!

So check back in a few days. When we get settled and get our computer hooked up, I plan on filling you in on our farewell parties and share some photos. I'll also let you know how our respective journeys went and share any other interesting tidbits that occurred along the way.

One last thing-- Do please pray for Noelle and me as we fly, my parents as they travel from Knoxville to Chattanooga (with a U-Haul - they're gonna give us a few pieces of furniture), but most especially my hubby as he drives a 26 foot truck with a trailer behind for our car AND 3 cats in the front seat (that could be interesting - maybe he will have some "fun" stories to share to the blog-esphere...) Thanks!

Please forgive my rambling. Signing off from here in Richmond. Love to you all--