Tuesday, July 17, 2007

For parents...

In case you're worried about what's going to become of the younger generation, it's going to grow up and start worrying about the younger generation.
- Roger Allen

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Briefs: Key points of sabbatical trip conversations

Prairie Lake Church executive pastor, Chris Rygh: Growth will require unity of staff and leadership and mobilizing volunteers. With out volunteer leadership, a church cannot afford to support growth.

Latigo Ranch owner and former missionary to Waordoni tribe in Ecuador, Jim Yost: Children today are laking purpose. They are impatient to have all the stuff and experience of the older generation, but haven't an understanding of what they want to achieve. Alway do what you are called to do, and love doing it. Reward will come as a secondary consequence in it on time and is better if not the objective of one's activity.

Don and Heather Stone, former senior pastor and wife at Sonrise Baptist Church in West Valley City, Utah: The real test of a parent's success is how children (adult children) respond to adversity. If they can maintain joy in extreme suffering they will succeed.

Denver Seminary professor, Larry Lindquist: In staff changes to be to rushed or too locked into a particular structure. Serve the church with honest vigilance, but the current change isn't forever and may open new doors to the Lord's leading.

Mission Hills Church executive pastor, Byron Johns: The relationship between the senior and executive pastors are the key to their working relationship. Build trust in all things. The role of the x-pastor is to ask the who, what, when, and why questions every step of planning.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Memory of the past

While hanging with the family, we rediscovered this poem that my brother wrote in high school.

Ode to a Smushed Frog on the Highway
By Mike Johnson

Oh little frog hit by a truck
Went hopping one day, and forgot to duck
The truck's bumper hit his head
He suffers no more because now he is dead.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

One wild ride, one joyful child

What's the difference between a fairy tale and a rancher's story? One starts off "Once upon a time" the other "I swear this is true." -Jim Yost

I swear this is true. My daughters and I headed out on a all day ride with 3 wranglers and 3 other riders. About 40 minutes into the ride as we passed Red Dirt Reservoir, the lead wrangler jumped us up to a lope, when we heard some yelling from the back of the line. Stopping my horse I turned around to hear Moriah ask, "who is it, Dad? Who is it? Is it Elie?"

My heart dropped when I realized it was Elie. Worse yet, I realized that fact at the moment that I saw her tumbled to the ground and lied in a heap. I turned my horse and broke the line to get down to her. It took a while as Alonso wasn't exactly the kind of horse that one would take to a fire, but I made it and dismounted reaching Elie a few seconds after the trailing wrangler reached her. Konnie was already checking Elie out and to my joy she was alert and able to move her body parts. Her complaint was that her wrists hurt. She also had an obvious scrape on the face as she had obviously landed on her head as well.

After checking her over real well we realized that Elie wasn't going to have the strength to hold the reins to return to the ranch, much less complete the remaining 5 hours of riding, so the wranglers radioed the ranch for a truck to pick her up. They could make the pick up about 1/4 mile from our location we would only have to walk her to that point. Though woozy, Elie was able to make the walk and her head seemed to clear a little along the way.

Needless to say, I cut my ride short and returned to ranch. There I found Elie patched up, and doing well, but beat up, with tow sore wrists and extremely sleepy. She and I made the 20 drive down the Kremmling to visit the 4 bed emergency room. X-rays confirmed two slightly fractured wrists and the doctor acknowledged a minor concussion. No major treatment would be necessary, but Elie's riding for the week would be over.

Ironically, we choose the ranch vacation because Elie loves horses so much. So it would seem that this would be the end of our vacation fun. However, I am often amazed at how God works in a child and how mature my daughters are becoming. Instead of complaining, Elie put her injuries aside and found ways to enjoy the ranch in other ways. Yes, she was sad to miss out on the rides, but she found her way into the hearts of the ranch staff. She spent one day working in the ranch kitchen while the rest of us learned to round up cattle. Some might think, "how can KP be a positive experience?", still Elie made it really special. When I asked her later was her favorite part of the ranch experience was, she proclaimed the day in the kitchen.

Every good thing requires risk. The experience of riding a horse in the mountain certainly has risk. By it's very nature, risk means something can go wrong. When that happens, people can react in different ways: swear never to face the risk again, complain and wonder why it happened to them, or pick up what they have and make the best of the situation. This may be a minor event compared to other things that may have happened, but, still, I'm pleased that Elie took the highest road possible.

Ranchers for a week

The Johnson family is about as suburban as we would like to admit, but that is why dude ranches exist. Last week we spent about the best week of vacation anyone could have while suffering two broken bones and a concussion.

The ranch, www.latigotrails.com, is an incredible ranch with great scenery, wonderful staff and enjoyable horses. Prior to our week, Elie and Moriah were the most experience riders in the family having both taken riding lessons for a period of time. I have participated on on overnight men's trip, but didn't know much about riding a horse. Stef hadn't had much experience on a horse, but, all in all, we found that our lack of experience didn't keep the Johnsons from enjoying the ranch experience. The wranglers where great teachers and the other activities and food made the week a wonderfully restful vacation for all of us.

Beyond the typical rides, learning to throw a lasso and crack a whip, and the extremely tasty food, my favorite part of Latigo Ranch was the people. I was alway cheered by the kitchen staff and their smiling faces. I enjoyed chatting with the cowboy type wranglers who led the trail rides. But the most memorable individuals where the owners, Jim and Kathie Yost and Randy and Lisa George. Particularly, I spent a good amount of time talking with Jim Yost, who, with Kathie, lived 10 years as a missionary in Ecuador. Jim Yost was the first man to spend a night in a Waorani tribe village. The Waorani Indian were a violent tribe that were made known to Americans through the story of Jim and Elizabeth Elliot and the movie The End of the Spear.

Jim, now a full-time rancher and part-time anthropologist, looks every bit the part of a cowboy. He told stories like a cowboy, with a straight face and dry humor. His understanding of people was amazing and I'm hoping to use much of a conversation that he had with Stef and I in development of my Successful Parenting seminars that I'm working on.

While Jim is a cowboy, he's also a very loving and sensitive man. This was evident as we experienced some of the harder events that a dude ranch may produce. I'll write more about the experience in my next entry, but, briefly, I'll say that Elie was thrown from her horse and suffered two broken arms and a minor concussion. Elie is in good shape now, and recovering, but the event disturbed Jim visibly. Elie's fall was scary, but the reaction of Jim and the response of his staff helped our family to continue to enjoy the week, even calling it the best vacation of our lives.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

two thirds of a road trip, part 1 PA to IA

The Johnson family has been on a road trip through the mid-west and west for about 21 days. This is the first chance that I've had to sit and type up something about the trip so I'll give a quick run down of everything that we've experienced.

First, two long non-eventful days of travel from home to Stef home town of Waterloo IA have taught us two things. First, our girls now that they are 12 and 14 are much better travelers than they used to be and Little House on the Prairie First Season DVDs can be good entertainment for the car ride. The second thing we learned was, when in Ohio, $20 extra dollars spent on a hotel room, just might have been a better deal than staying the the Fleebag Inn. When we invested the extra $'s in a Nebraska hotel, we discovered the difference.

Our stay in Waterloo brought great opportunities to chance to catch up with Stef's father and brother. We enjoyed our time, but the girls had few opportunities to hang out with anyone their age. But I had a great time helping my father-in-law work on his 1949 Olds.