The Rest of the Story

IMG_5448

Hmmm… where was I? Oh yes….

After the Clifton’s told us for sure they were coming again, it was time to celebrate! (and get the house ready again.) Jordon was given the task of painting the downstairs a brighter hue (because we needed a cheery color to replace the hunter green, that really was too dark for a basement anyway.) The Clifton’s also told  us they had purchased a out of state license so we knew they weren’t backing out on this one. 😉
A couple of days before we were to expect the Clifton’s, my throat started to hurt. I thought it was the cornbread that we had eaten for breakfast that had irritated it but, I didn’t know. Nobody at the F.E.W had a sore throat that I knew of, and I didn’t think it would show up so late afterwards. Had I asked around I would have found out that I wasn’t the only one. I started gurgling with salt water, but wasn’t faithful enough, so it gradually got worse.
(Yes, this is where everybody starts to say,  Oh no! and realizes what’s going to happen.) 🙂
Wednesday around 4:00 the Clifton’s showed up, and Daddy took them outside right away to show them the places they would be hunting tomorrow morning. Esther and us girls retreated to the downstairs, and Aunt Anita and Mama talked in the kitchen. Downstairs I gave her a necklace I had made (Which Esther promptly put on.) and we had a rather interesting conversation, (which if you know anything about woman, they tend to jump from one subject to the next, which is what we did!) 🙂

Finally after a awhile of that we decided that the guys upstairs were probably wondering where we were and what was going on, so we took ourselves upstairs to where they were trying to figure out what to have for dinner, and sneaking Aunt Anita’s cookies out of the bin. Esther then gave Jeremy a much needed haircut, and it was after that time that we got hungry. IMG_5194 It finally was decided that the ladies needed to go out and purchase needed items, ( involving a toothbrush for Noah who had forgot his.) (Mmm-hmm, Noah.) 🙂 and that the guys would go get pizza from someplace while we were out. That is basically what happened too, Aunt Anita, Esther, Corissa, Hope and I went out to Walmart, and choice menfolk got the pizza.
After pizza Uncle Tim gave the devotion, from Deuteronomy.
We stayed up pretty late that night, (although we kept telling each other that we needed to get to bed.) And I don’t know who started it because I walked in on the middle of it, but someone made up a game that if someone threw a couch pillow at you, you had to name something you liked and throw it to someone else. That went on for awhile and then Aunt Anita got us to go to bed saying that the guys had to get up early tomorrow to hunt. Thus ended the first day.

 

IMG_5424
The next morning was Thanksgiving and I heard the guys all get up, so I got up too because I knew Mama would need help with the cooking for the meal later, knowing that she always gets up extra early on Thanksgiving. After the guys all left I started to get going on the roll dough for later, when Aunt Anita and Uncle Tim got up. Aunt Anita asked if Mama was up and I said she was, and that she is probably doing her devotion, and then she wanted to know if we needed any help. I told her I was just going to make the dough for my rolls and put it in the fridge and that Mama was probably going to need help later. That’s when Uncle Tim got up asking if the guys had left yet, and then upon finding out what I was doing, set out to entertain me until I was done. 🙂 After awhile I told him it was going to take me some time to make the dough so he went back to bed, while Aunt Anita stayed around and told me a story about Seth putting her car keys in a light socket at church when he was just a youngster.  I responded to her story  with one about my Daddy, and told her that Seth sounded a lot like our Jonathan. After awhile she went back to her room and Mama came out and we really started cooking. 🙂
(I just realized if I keep giving all my readers a minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day account of the time with the Clifton’s that I’ll never be able to fit Thanksgiving and the trip up their into one post!!! Maybe I need to start writing shorthand!! )

 

IMG_5377
After devotion, (Daddy did it in the morning, Uncle Tim in the evening.) Uncle Tim took us to Dicks Sporting Goods,( which claimed on the internet to be open, but wasn’t-) and we had a hillarouis scene infront of the store as Uncle Tim went up to the doors and after placing his hands on the closed glass, groaned very loudly, “OH NO!!!!” Esther told Jordon, Noah and I to just ignore him and while we were pretending to not know him, he ran to the car and drove away. 🙂 After he circled back around and stopped at the curb, we all climbed in, but not before I saw several people in the Martin’s parking lot looking at us strangely!
  We ended up going to Walmart to get what he needed ( Some air bake pans were on the list, so that Aunt Anita could show me how to make her cookies.) and at the cash register he tried to talk to the lady about Jesus but she wasn’t very responsive and asked if Uncle Tim had had his meds yet today. Looking back on that I wish we had spoken up for him instead of being uncomfortably silent and just laughing it off.  Jesus means the world to me, and I should want the world to know it, instead of being uncertain and silent. You can’t always just be a silent witness, you sometimes have to come out and share. I thank God that Uncle Tim had the courage to say something, even though he was laughed at.

 

IMG_5207IMG_5212IMG_5214
The rest of the day progressed like this; We had Grandma over and ate our Thanksgiving dinner……played games….had devotion…….Uncle Tim sang to us…. and I finally said something to Mama about my throat which resulted in almost everybody looking down my throat and everybody else’s (who now came out saying that their throat had been hurting them too.) As a result we looked up what would cause white spots in your throat and swollen tonsils and found that the best thing to do is just gurgle. So everybody started gurgling!!!

IMG_5236
IMG_5237Friday was shopping day and all us ladies went out to thrift stores!!! The Clifton’s were able to get some nice clothes as well as all the Johnson ladies. We also had some choice items needed at Wegman’s and Walmart so it was dark before we were able to get home. Seth and Jordon pitched together to make the meal which was simple enough, ( Just leftover casserole made of mashed potatoes, turkey, stuffing and gravy) but it certainly didn’t sound simple when they called us on the phone for directions. Seth was Jordon, and Jordon was Seth (according to them) and Esther and I couldn’t distinguish their voices  over the phone. (In fact I think I still am confused!!) I got a little irritated with them, but they sure got a kick out of it, so I’m glad we gave them the pleasure, I suppose!! 🙂 
The evening ended as we all gurgled and then went to bed, even though everytime Esther and us girls went to bed, Esther and I never really did go to sleep right away, the girls would usually fall asleep while I talked and Esther listened, or Esther talked and I listened. Either way we still stayed up into the wee hours of the morning!!!
Saturday we had all decided to match since we had gotten white and blue striped shirts at the thrift store the day before. So after I washed a shirt for Corissa, we all wore stripes!! (Which Jordon, Noah and Seth now claim is our prison picture.)IMG_5263

This was also the day that Aunt Anita showed me how to make her chocolate chip cookies, so that took up a good portion of the day. The kitchen was pretty crowded with everyone trying to eat the cookie dough. Uncle Tim also insisted on showing me how to make a nicely rounded cookie, so he came in and took two of the cookie scoops off, and then proceeded to drop the biggest scoop of cookie dough I’ve ever seen onto the air bake pan. I clasped on the floor and he retreated saying that he had to go to Walmart, he had just wanted to show me that. I felt like I burst internal organs and Esther proceeded to fix his cookie dough “mess”. (No, Uncle Tim you didn’t think I’d remember that, did you?) 🙂
Our throats now felt a lot better now because of the salt water gurgling, so that night we joked about doing a duet at church the next morning featuring us gurgling with salt water at different tones because we sounded like a choral in the kitchen while we were all gurgling. This made Esther laugh so hard that she almost choked. Then we told the guys that we had hid the oreo cookies somewhere last night, and Seth and Jordon demanded to have them. I replied no, while Esther was still gurgling so they proceeded to tell us just what they thought of us, and that was when I told them to prostrate. Esther had no clue what was going on, while I ran downstairs to get my camera and take a picture. (So folks here’s your picture of what prostrating in the Johnson and Clifton family looks like.) Don’t they look humble!!!??

 

IMG_5238IMG_5240

Sunday we had planned to go to church, and even some of us were dressed and ready when we got the text, (sent the night before, but Daddy had turned off his phone.) saying that the Wilkes had the flu in their house, and there would be no church.  Uncle Tim then wanted to leave right then, but we insisted that we give them breakfast first, and said that we planned on french toast so they couldn’t leave yet. He told “Uncle Scott”( Daddy) to get out the door quick with Seth and get the ingredients needed because french toast was his favorite, so we got to keep them for a little longer! 🙂IMG_5231
Once they got back and we had breakfast, the Clifton’s taught us a game over the breakfast table (that the Staddon’s had taught them) called Black Widow. I can’t tell you the game because it would ruin it, so you’ll just have to request it one time when you visit the Johnson’s dwelling! ( I’ll also know how many of you visit our site!! 🙂 ) Then came the sad time again when they had to depart. After a quick couple of sets of pictures, we said “so long ” and “farewell” once again, and sent them on their way.IMG_5251

And now Uncle Tim !!!!
IMG_5360(Uncle Tim, just say the word and it will be removed)

what have we been doing

 

 What have we been doing ??

 

IMG_4890

 

 

I’ll try to sum up the time from the F.E.W Conference, to last week in just one sentence. Okay? Here go’s. We met the CLIFTON’S!!!

Satisfied? No? (I didn’t think you would be.)

The relationship between us and the Clifton’s started last year in November during the F.E.W Conference when our family sat across from theirs during the Saturday lunch period, although Daddy doesn’t remember much of this time because his neck was hurting him. (As a result to it getting broken twenty some years ago.) Hence he was not one of the fortunate people to met the Clifton’s last year, though he may remember sitting behind them and having Mr. Clifton (Who we now affectionately call Uncle Tim.) comment on Hope’s big blue eyes and bigger smile. Smile

It was our misfortune to not meet Seth last year, who didn’t attend, but I distinctly remember Uncle Tim placing a cookie under my plate for “a science experiment”, Aunt Anita sharing about Abigail Fleshman’s dying testimony, being impressed and desiring a closer relationship with sweet Esther, and laughing privately at Noah’s bright yellow shoes. (Yes, Noah I put that in for you.)

This year on the other hand though, I met Mr. and Mrs. Clifton at the front registry and Aunt Anita remembered me, and for Uncle Tim all I had to do was tell him about his cookie experiment. Smile Then I asked where Esther was and Uncle Tim said she was socializing in the other room and that they had brought Seth with them,  “the one who ran away.” (You’ll have to ask Seth for the whole amazing story!!) That was the first that we had heard of Seth, although the family had heard the e-mail Uncle Tim sent out when Seth went missing, and we all remember praying for that young man.

I found Esther talking to Jessica Neely and I want to say I probably effectively interrupted that conversation!!! (I’m sorry!!) I had to ask if my letter had gotten through to her, (because I had misplaced her address and then found it again) and she replied that she had but that it came around the same time that their family had the flood. “So you probably thought we had died, because, I thought you mentioned the flood in your letter.” I replied that I had, but I didn’t believe them to be dead, just trying to get things back together again.

We ended up sitting behind the Clifton’s again, (Just like last year!) and I remember asking my sisters if they remembered what Uncle Tim said last year during Mr. Neely’s message when he said ‘I’m going to tell all you young people something that may startle you, Your parents aren’t perfect. “ He had leaned over to Esther and Noah and told them not to listen. (That was just our first taste of how humorous Uncle Tim can be.)

We hadn’t been able to host anyone last year because we had hosted people for Derrick and Jennifer’s wedding, and the house had too much work to be done, plus we had taken apart the rec house in which we had all the bunk beds set up in, so we weren’t able to get everything together for hosting people fast enough. This year though we gave the heads up to Mr. Wilkes that we could host this year and he gave us “Uncle Sledge” and “Auntie Lulu” as our guests. He also said that “ Uncle Sledge would have the whole family in stitches the entire time.” So we were really looking forward to hosting them.

Unfortunately a couple days into preparing for them, we received a gracious e-mail from them explaining that they weren’t going to be able to make it and apologizing for any inconvenience. We were disappointed of course, but such is life. IMG_4874

Sitting behind the Clifton’s again this year afforded us a closer look into their lives, and also a closer relationship with them. It came about in a lot more then I have time to write about, but long story short they canceled their hotel reservations for Saturday night and Esther went home with us on Friday night. That night I shared a very personal story with her and as a result of that we stayed up very late that night. Looking back on that night and how nervous I was in sharing that story, it is a wonder to me that the Lord knitted our hearts together. Esther could have easily said she was tired and didn’t want to listen, but instead she blessed me with her open ears and soft replies. We are so blessed that God had chosen to cross our families paths!

Saturday night was our first family to family one on one and sharing our similarities in very funny and laughable ways. We all claim in jest IMG_4875that it was Aunt Anita’s ringtone that broke the ice, but I really think it was the Clifton’s transparity that stole the show. We could be ourselves with them, and they with us, and that’s rare even in christian circles.

IMG_4877IMG_4870Sunday we weren’t planning on going to church because we were going to be selling dogs and also because we knew the Wilkes were going to be overwhelmed with all the overflow at their house. The Clifton’s were having trouble with their brakes on the van, so Daddy sent Jordon and I to church in the Tahoe while Seth stayed behind to fix the van. We all felt bad for Seth, because we knew how badly he wanted to go, and we couldn’t help noting his face when we drove away. I do beleive he had a good spirit about it though, and we were proud of the way he acted.IMG_4880.

Esther will remember this day as probably the first time she ever saw me cry, and it shows how very close their family had come in the last couple of hours since we had met them. (For those of you wondering, I was crying because my favorite puppy had sold while I was at church.) Winking smile

Daddy got to talk to Seth during the drives to and from the auto shop and he was very impressed with him. Seth shared his story with Daddy and he told us later about it (so we heard it second hand,) but nonetheless we were impressed.

After those of us who went to church got back and the van got fixed, came the time we all were dreading, saying so long. (In our family you never say goodbye.) We took a quick picture, and then sent them on their way. It was during that sad fair-well that we realized we needed to get them back here again!!

It took some convincing but we were successful in getting them back down here for Thanksgiving. Later Uncle Tim said all Daddy had to say was “possibly hunting” and that “sealed the deal.”

The time with them was so refreshing and all of us came away with newly placed stitches, but that was okay because we were with the Clifton’s again!!

I have to place a special thanks though, right here for Aunt Anita because she brought us the most tastiest, mouth watering, chewy, chocolatey cookies that I have not been able to have since our previous pastor’s wife’s cookies. Let me say though that Aunt Anita’s beats her’s by a looooooooooooong shot!!!  (She taught me her recipe guys!!!!)

Well That’s it for now …….  Part two to come soon

Smile