On January 31st Rachel and I welcomed our second son into the world, Oliver Bruce Johnson. Bringing a child into the world is beautiful, miraculous, joyous, and mysterious. But newborns are challenging and we’ve experienced more than we bargained for. Rachel had some complications during the delivery, which I won’t go into now, but it’s left us experiencing an array of contrasts over the past week or so. There has been profound joy side by side with suffering. Pain, frustration, exhaustion, anger, longing, sadness, anxiety have all been swirling around in our hearts and minds. We’ve had bad days, yesterday was particularly challenging and yet despite all that, God has been faithful and held our spirits aloft. We’ve been trying to take each day one at a time and there are so many reminders of God’s love; sun shinning into apartment, Rachel’s mom helping out, friends and family visiting, friends bring meals, good food, good coffee, the Olympics, frangipane, laughter, music… all miracles. And the greatest of miracles: our children. Archie our first and Oliver our newborn certainly test our patience at times, though never cease to bring us joy, lighting up even the darkest of moments. God is good, in the midst of suffering, God is good.
It’s been just over three months since our last post. I’ve been meaning to post an update, but just haven’t had the time. It’s a slow day at work today, so I figured I might as well get something down, even though it’s not on my time… shhhhh… don’t tell. Here’s what’s been going on with us the past few months, in list form, because who doesn’t like lists, right?
-Rachel is pregnant! 🙂
-It’s been a tough pregnancy, especially August and September 😦
-Our Volvo started to die, so we bought a minivan.
-At the end of August our renters moved out of our house after one year.
-With the help of Rachel’s family and our friends we spent nearly 10 days getting our house ready to sell.
-We put our house up for sale.
-We found an apartment in St. Louis Park and signed a one year lease!
-We found out we’re having another boy!
-At the end of September we drove out to Montana.
-In Montana we visited my Grandma and Aunts and Uncles out at the The Farm.
-Archie drove a tractor and pretty much loved everything about the farm.
-Once in western Montana we stayed in a really nice, but cheap condo on Big Montana in Whitefish.
-Spent a lot of time with my sister Stephanie and her new baby boy, Wyatt. Archie was very cute with Wyatt… he’s going to be a great big brother! Sadly, cousin Mark was away in California.
-Spent time with my parents.
-Spent time with our good friends Tom and Sharon.
-Went to many of our favorite spots: Tupelo (a great restaurant), Apgar, and Polebridge.
-We drank a lot of coffee and drove a lot.
-Once back in Minnesota we started moving into our apartment after nearly a year living with Rachel’s parents.
-Living with Rachel’s parents ended up working out really well, but it’s sure been nice having our own space again. It’s been a good transition for all of us, including Archie!
-Being pregnant has still been tough for Rachel, but she’s doing a lot better than she was at the end of the summer. Praise God!
-Our house didn’t sell, but we found some great renters!
-Letterpress… well, we haven’t done much letterpress lately and probably won’t be doing much for awhile with the new baby coming. However, that doesn’t mean the dream is dead. We’re just taking a step back for the time being until we have more time to commit to it. In the mean time we plan to do some projects here a there when time allows. In fact we are currently working some business cards! More to come on that.
So, we have a little reader on our hands.
I’ll often be getting ready in the morning, and I will peek over into our living area and see a scene like this: Archie immersed in one of his favorite books. Since he was pretty little, we have intentionally tried to foster a love of reading. The library has become part of our weekly or every other week routine. We read to him often and he is always requesting different books. I definitely think this is something you need to foster, maybe kids can love reading on their own without much parental involvement, but in this day in age, with screens so prevalent, I think it really falls on the parents to open kids’ minds to the love of reading.
So, since he loves “reading” or looking at books, I decided to make him some alphabet flashcards to teach him the individual letters. I’m sure you can buy something like this, but I thought they would be fun to make, especially since I’ve been into watercolors lately.
So, I bought some blank flashcards and then just painted one letter on each card in different colors. Once they were dry, I outlined the letters with a black sharpie. Easy peasy. I bought little ring enclosures at Target to bind them together.
As some of you may know, I work for a here in Minneapolis and one of the motivations for us starting a letterpress business, is for me to be able to quite my job. For one, I don’t really enjoy my field of work and am not a big fan of the corporate environment. Also, I want to be able to spend more time with my family. The more and more we’ve talked about doing letterpress the more I’ve started to drag my feet at my job and be annoyed by it. Both Rachel and I keep hoping I can quite my job sooner than later. However, my attitude about my job has recently changed after listening to the audio book version of Quitter by Jon Acuff.
The book explores transitioning from you day job to your dream job, but in way I wasn’t expecting. The core message was actually hard for me to hear, but exactly what I needed. Acuff talks about the pitfalls of quitting your day job when your not ready for your dream job. He discusses how keeping you day job while pursuing your dream job can give you a lot of flexibility, especially financially. The book also made me look at how I approach my job. I’m constantly complaining about it and not doing it to the best of my ability, but in reality I’m incredibly blessed by my job. It allows me to support my family, so much so that Rachel doesn’t have to work. It gives us the financial flexibility to test the waters with our business. I like the people I work with, and honestly, it has a lot of great perks. Here are a few other things I learned from Quitter:
-Your day job can provide opportunities to learn, that will be valuable to you in your dream job.
-Performing poorly and having a bad attitude at your day job will carry through to your dream job. Likewise, performing well and having a positive attitude will have positive effects on your dream job.
-Learn to fall in like with a job you don’t love.
-In terms of time management while working a full time job, pursuing a dream and having a family: do less of the things you like and do more of the things you love.
-Once you’ve put in the work, have prepared financially, are organized, and have made peace with your day job, then you’re ready to quit your day job.
If you’re in a similar situation of trying to get out of your day job in order to pursue your dream job, I would highly recommend this book! As for me, I’m going to take what I’ve learned and put it into action.
Our son, Archie, who is 2, is at such a fun age. His vocabulary is increasing by the day and he is constantly cracking us up. We thought we’d share some of the crazy, cute things that daily come out of his mouth!
He can say a few things that contain a string of 4-5 words…like:
“Where did that come from?” ….which sounds like….”wherethatcafrum”
or ” what happened to the cave?” (he’s really into caves, tunnels, bridges and forts lately) …which is more like…”whathappenthecave?” again all meshed into one word…
• He calls any and all cereal “oboes”, we think it originated from him trying to say cheerios, but he is constantly asking for “oboes”. And when he wants water he asks for “Abba”…but he’s starting to say water the correct way which makes us a little sad.
• Whenever he asks for something, we usually say “Do you want X?” and instead of saying yes, he always says “okay”. He says “okay” to everything. And if he’s kind of panicked, he’ll start a string of okays….okay, okay, OKAY!
• He loves being outside. Whenever we walk out the door, he raises his hands in delight and says “Ahside!!” It’s pure joy for him to be outside. You would think he’s never been out of the house.
• When he’s really having fun doing something, like running or getting wet by a sprinkler, he’ll exclaims over and over “FUN!”…
• Or when he doesn’t like something, he’ll say, “Ike it, Ike it!” in a mad tone! Or sometimes he says “No Ike it!”
• When he wakes up in the morning, he usually comes into bed with me to snuggle, which he calls “Nuggies.”
• Whenever he sees a coffee cup he wrinkles up his nose and makes a sniffing noise. It’s so funny and cute. He must think that coffee has a strong smell.
I hope we can remember these precious little Archie-isms. He is our joy and we are so thankful for the gift that he is in our life (even if he is a lot of work sometimes).
In the past nine months we’ve been in a perpetual state of transition with no clear vision of what the future will hold due to many unknowns. Last week was particularly difficult. Both Rachel and I were feeling overwhelmed with everything. We’re in the middle of some legal issues with our house, which we are renting. We’ve been trying to figure out what to do with our house once our renters move out, then figure out where to live. Speaking of where to live, we’re really itching to move out of Rachel’s parents house, not because it’s bad, but because we miss having our own space. On top of all that, it’s been challenging being involved in church, as we currently live much farther away, and our faith has suffered as a result. Oh, and we’re trying to figure out how to start a business. I was actually suppose to take a letterpress class this week, but it got canceled. I don’t say all this to be a downer or to make anyone feel sorry for us, but mainly to be honest and because all these things are part of life. And though things have been tough of late, there has been some good.
We celebrated Rachel’s 30th birthday last week which was a lot of fun and we celebrated fathers day this past weekend. I took today off of work and we were able to get a lot done and have some fun time together as a family. Some really good news we have is that we had a realtor do an evaluation of our house and as it turns out, he thought we’d be able to sell it within a price range that would work for us. There’s a lot of work to be done after our renters move out, but it finally feels like there’s some light at the end of the tunnel with this house (it’s been a long road).
Finally I just wanted to say, for me personally I’ve had a really hard time trusting in God with all that’s been going on. Last week when things felt really hard I finally gave in spending a lot of time in prayer and I definitely felt a bit of the burden lift. It’s so easy to get caught up in ourselves, even in difficult things and feel like we have to figure it all out, but that really doesn’t get us anywhere. I was reminded of a song called “Consider the Ravens” by Dustin Kensrue. It’s about God’s provision and it was really comforting to me last week.