First These, and Then a New Year


I'm getting better and better at floundering, or is it worse and worse?  Whatever it is, during this season of life when so much and so many could use my limited attention and weak-willed work, blogging tends to fall through the cracks in favor of better things.  Too many snapshots are heaped in all the corners, though, so here's a thorough sweeping out to freshen things up.

Throw open the windows and fill your lungs.  It's a new year!

In & Out

The Good Life

Life is very good. 

And, sometimes, it looks like this around the edges.

Mopsy, the Birthday Princess

I first started calling this lady Mopsy (and Popsy became Popsy, wihout a Cottontail) in high school or college, and it stuck, so that's what faithful readers from this blog's beginning know her as, too. 
Well, despite her girlish appearance and remarkable vigor (racing our van on foot the other day, for instance, and building at least one snowman in her yard each winter), Mopsy just turned 70 years old.

We love her, we admire her, and we cherish her, so the Johnson children in the lower 48 planned a surprise party in her honor.  Debbie and Rundy kept her (and themselves!) busy at her house while the children and I got everything ready at ours, and then I drove down to a local church's parking lot to ferry everybody else, sans their cars, to the house before Mom arrived. 

Just try to guess what her favorite color is.  Go ahead, guess!

I don't know HOW it happened, but something went terribly wrong, and the food and house were ready for the party a full hour and a half ahead of time.  Instead of rushing around at the last minute, like usual, I had to  put on cartoons so that no one could ruin things.  Cleanliness is such a ephemeral thing around these parts.

NO!  Don't touch the cakes!  Go turn your brains to mush on cartoons!

 It was so much fun.  Even though we were sorely missing a few people we wished were there, the house was still packed, so while everyone jostled about, I went to the basement and called Mopsy with a sewing emergency.  Either an injury to a child or a sewing machine emergency would get her up the hill lickety-split, and I figured that the sewing machine story was kinder.

Aunt Carol had been visiting Mom that morning, so she decided to "come up and see Abby's baby," which didn't raise suspicions one bit, based on Mopsy's face as she bustled through our deliberately messy sunroom and opened the door to the kitchen, on the ready to rescue my sewing machine.


We had food and cake and candles and singing,

with a 'poof' and a wish thrown in at the end.

Most of us crowded into the living room to give her gifts,

 and it wasn't long before she was surrounded by appreciative throngs.

Everyone's gifts were thoughtful and reflected their love for Mom.  Here she is opening a particularly special gift that my sister Becky secretly made for her.

Becky borrowed Popsy's collection of ties, in order to perhaps make a few things, but Mom never guessed that she was making her a beautiful pillow from some of them.

It was a perfectly fitting gift-- a little bit of Dad there with Mom as we gathered around her.

We chipped in together to buy her a Kindle Paperwhite, too, knowing both her avid love of books and her thrifty nature (ebooks are just the ticket!).  Now all we have to do is teach her to use and appreciate its benefits. :)

I love this picture, even though it's badly-lit.  We're all trying to convince her of how great kindles are and that she'll eventually love it, plus Pete's stance is something to behold.  I am grateful for the four sons Mom has who love, protect, and honor her. 

A few hours later, I left the conversation in the living room to discover this little 70-year old elf doing my dirty dishes as fast as she could to escape being found out.  "GET AWAY FROM MY SINK!" I shouted, "OH! AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY!"

 This mother-- Mopsy, Mother Johnson, Mom Johnson, Marmee Dear, or just plain Mom-- is our gift, and we are thankful for these years we've had with her, and, Lord willing, more to come.