Thursday, October 28, 2010

Our Life Changing Weekend...

On Saturday, October 23rd, Andrew and I headed out to meet his siblings for the hike that they do each year for Andrew's birthday. We arrived earlier than the others, so he and I headed down to take pictures by the waterfall.

After Andrew took this picture of me, and while I walked back through the water to meet him, he was preparing to give me the most beautiful and precious gift I have and ever will receive...

The gifts started with this memory box which he had made.

A letter which will always be dear to my heart.

The contents of the box opened up a future of love and life.

The most precious gift of all- the blessed honor of being chosen to be the wife of Andrew Darbyshire!

It is a high honor for a woman to be chosen from among all womankind to be the wife of a good and true man. She is lifted up to be a crowned queen. Her husband’s manly love laid at her feet exalts her to the throne of his life. Great power is placed in her hands. Sacred destinies are reposed in her keeping... She holds in her hands on her wedding day—precious interests, sacred destinies, and holy responsibilities, which, if disclosed to her sight at once, might well appall the bravest heart. Her opportunity is one which the loftiest angel might covet. Not the happiness only of a manly life—but its whole future of character, of influence, of growth, rests with her."

J.R. Miller, Home-Making

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

I'm blessed to be marrying into a God-fearing and love filled family! My soon to be mother-in-law, Miss Kathy.

This is my beloved and this is my friend!

My Dearest Andrew,

I never dreamed it possible to be this happy! I am so humbled that you have chosen me to be your queen. My heart swells at every remembrance of you, and I'm thrilled to spend my life by your side. I will follow you to the ends of the earth- you alone have won the deepest admirations of my heart, and it is completely yours.

I love you!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Happy Birthday, Andrew!

Today is an exceptionally special day to celebrate the birth of someone remarkable.

I'm sure there is the possibility of my readers shrugging off this testimony shared over who this man is, as I am being courted by him. But let me assure you that it is not my biased opinion that speaks his praises- they are spoken in sincerity from a sister in Christ whose admiration for Andrew runs so very deep. I'm afraid that even if I possessed the greatest eloquence of speech- I would not do justice in describing the man he is. His life is a reflection of Jesus Christ!

Here are several reasons that I thank the Lord for and think the world of Andrew...

He is humble. This is evident to see in his pursuit for instruction and desire to heed it.
He is respectful; to everyone, but especially his parents.

He is truthful. I was amazed at his transparency in our conversations the first night of our courtship out by the fire.

He is diligent. The tomato field has been a witness of his diligence and faithfulness. Even when there was no hope of breaking even- he was faithfully out in his field picking and doing the next thing.

He is a leader. Whether by example of active instruction, he does not neglect the duty of leading.

He demonstrates charity. His entire family is amazingly charitable! I've learned so much in these weeks I've gotten to know them a little better. Their home is full of joy and love- which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
He is a soldier of Christ. His heart is first and foremost passionate about Jesus Christ. His dedication to having a quiet time each morning and actively seeking the Lord are evidences that His heart is focused on knowing the Lord better.

He is a servant; always looking for ways to serve someone around him. I can't seem to be able to keep up with him- by the time I think of serving his drink, he's already gotten mine. An unjust example, but reoccurring theme all the same!

He is gracious/forgiving. I don't have time to go into detail about this; but it will be, yet another, future post. Just trust that I've never known anyone to exemplify Christ to me as effectively as Andrew has

I am so thankful for you! I'm not only thankful for my friend and companion- but for the servant and example you are to the world of who Christ is and what He has done.
I am learning more about my Savior each time I'm with you, and for that I am eternally grateful!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oh where, oh where has Stephanie been...

The short answer is "on cloud nine!"

As befits my usual "routine" of blogging- I am behind on posting. But this time includes more negligence than other posts, because this time I've neglected to share with my readers the most exciting news I've experienced since the Lord's work of salvation in my life many years ago.

In the last two and a half months since my last post, the Lord's plans for my life have unfolded in a miraculous and unexpected way. As I write I am amazed at His gracious hand of mercy and fulfillment of so many promises. His mercy endureth forever!

I will now momentarily come back down to earth to share with you my wonderful news...

My dear readers, I want to introduce to you the most incredible man, Andrew Darbyshire!
We have officially been courting since September 4th, and it has been the most amazing and peace filled experience thus far. I cannot praise my Lord enough for His grace. I am both humbled and thrilled to have been chosen and pursued by Andrew. Wow!

Not alone...

On the same weekend that Andrew and I started courting, one of my dear friends from church began courting another young man in our church.

Meet Daniel and Bethany

Ten days after Bethany and Daniel, and Andrew and I started courting, dad got a phone call from yet another young man in our church...

Meet Clay

Clay and Hannah's courtship officially started on September 14th. Praise God for His mercy! It has been absolutely amazing going through this process with two of my dearest friends! It's been awesome having Hannah to sympathize with the lack of memory and inability to focus. Our poor family is getting a double dose of twitterpation. They've been amazing!

Apparently there's something goin' around our church...and I'm so glad I caught it!

There is so much to share, as it's been a full month of memories and growing friendships, so I will do my best to get you all up-to-date! I'm working on a more detailed post of all the ways the Lord worked and the process leading up to our courtship. That post will come, hopefully soon; but I was anxious to get the news out. For those who love the detailed scoop- it is yet to come.

Until then, may God bless you all! Thank you for your prayers and investments into both Hannah's and my life.

"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen"

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sunday With the Roberts Family

Sunday night our sweet friends, the Roberts, were so kind to invite us over after church. We had a great time of fellowship, laughter, wonderful food, singing, and games.

Thank you so much, Roberts, for being godly examples of hospitality and love for the body of Christ! It's always such a blessing to be with your dear family.

Me, Sarah, Hannah, and Kristin

What's he doing?!

Enjoying a game of Seekio

A budding photographer

The picture's only missing a bow-tie. Sigh! :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Berry Picking

Monday morning, we all (excepting dad) paraded out to gather blueberries at a local farm. It was relaxing to be hidden amongst rows and rows of shaded berries- providing quiet to pray and enjoy our Creator's beautiful handiwork!

We ended up with around fifty pounds of berries and we've been spending time this week freezing, canning, and drying (and, of course, consuming them!).

So nice to have these tall guys who can get the yummiest berries!

The fruit of our labor

I am daily experiencing the Lord's wisdom in His design for the family and its function in sanctifying individuals. Hannah and I were talking today about how much sanctification we feel the Lord working in our lives through the struggles and blessings of being a sister. As a result of being fallen sinful humans, learning to love each other can be a moment by moment battle against the flesh. My younger siblings are a wonderful confrontation of my pride and selfishness; one which I'm not always appreciative of until after the fact.

We are also learning the vital importance and power of prayer! Being a sister can many times leave you in a, seemingly, frustrated and powerless position. It is in these moments that we are required to walk in obedience and faith; graciously loving and patiently praying with fervency.

Praise the Lord for His goodness and wisdom towards us! I am humbled to reflect on the grace He has shown me- and I am bewildered by the love He continually shows.

His mercy endureth forever!

Lake fun with the Darbyshires

Several weeks ago, our family went to the lake for a few days to rejuvenate and savor the warm weather. One of those days the Darbyshires graciously blessed us with their presence. We had so much fun with their dear family and were thankful that they went along with our last minute plans, (hmmm...that phrase seems to come up a lot with us Johnsons).

Hannah and Avie

Mr. Darbyshire put on an impressive presentation of slaloming

Esther and Avala were fun to watch; their expressions were hilarious!

And, of course, Josiah and Aaron refrained from screaming and showed us how tubing is done

Congratulations, Aaron: the tubing champion

Yes, she was as experienced as she appears to be

Andrew and Alan

Thanks, Darbyshires, for a fun day of fellowship!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Random Summer Memories

Here is a random assortment of pictures from this summer. There were so many memories made- but here's just a glimpse...

One of the highlights of this summer was having our Uncle Doug in town. At the beginning of the summer he had just concluded a job in California, and was making preparations to leave for a year overseas; so, of course, we tried to make many memories (which I plan to share later) and enjoy the summer together

Noah and Philip just love their Uncle Matt

"I'll help you wash the dishes, Aunt Stephie"

Reminiscing over old pictures

Deedra, Me and Hannah taking a break from cleaning

(many thanks to the faithful counter top- for making these memories possible)

One of the things we did this summer was help our grandparents move in with Aunt Kim and Uncle Ben.

A priceless family moment

Pops and Noah

One of Essie, Josiah, and David's summer projects: Acrophobia

Tuesday Nights

One of the highlights of each week is spending time with mom's side of the family. We enjoy a meal together and cover a new stream of topics each week- usually with a wonderful side dish of laughter!

Sweet father-daughter moment (Karissa and Uncle Ben)

Mema and Papa

Observing Eli's new wheels

...and the guys observing the engine

Making Salves
Heather took some time this summer to teach us how to make salves. We were so glad Sarah was able to join us!

EHE Graduation

The Easley Home Educator's Class of 2010
Congratulations, Carrie!

Robert Carter, with Creation Ministries, came and spoke to our church fellowship

And, as promised, Esther's ducks!

God bless, and goodnight!

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