Monday, December 2, 2013

A Week Without Parental Supervision

This Sunday when we walked into church without our parents, the greeter asked, "Who's crazy enough to babysit eleven kids [for six days]?"

Kyla laughed, "We are!"

Yep. Daddy pulled off an amazing surprise for our parents 20th anniversary and flew Mama (and him, obviously) to Hawaii without her knowing it. I mean, she figured it out. Eventually. Anyways, that left eleven of us home! (the term "home alone" does not apply for obvious reasons).
All dressed and curled for church. Ky and Kels are regretfully absent due to Kelsey helping lead worship. 

What a bonding experience this past week has been! Not only was this our longest time alone together, but it was the first time one of us girls was out of the home a lot. You see, Ky got a job working at Grinders, an awesome coffee shop. During her days at work I realized just how much she does when she's home!

During our week, Ky planned a hilarious and creative treasure hunt for us all!

Baylor: "We made some sweet bow and arrows that shoot about forty yards. Katie wouldn't let us shoot them inside the house which was kind of lame. But she let us drill each other outside if we wore paintball masks."

Before the afore mentioned weapons were exiled to the outer regions. 
Overall, our time went smoothly and we had a blast! However, there were "those moments." And, as usual, God used "those moments" to teach me and bring me face to face with my inadequacy and dependence on Him.

As I corrected math, listened to reading and gave out spelling, I realized how responsible parents are for making sure their children are equipped to succeed in the "real world."

As I washed loads and loads of laundry (a little boy managed to wet 12 blankets/comforters and 2 pillows in one joke), cleaned the house, and made sure chores got done, I realized how responsible parents are for for creating an environment that is cared for and inviting.

As I cooked dinner (yes, I did cook and did not burn anything...which shouldn't be that surprising but it is), worked-out and made sure the kiddos played outside, it dawned on me that parents are, in part, responsible for the health of their children.

As I solved squabbles, tried to fill "love tanks" and meted out punishments and rewards, I realized how responsible parents are for the emotional stability of their children.

As I drove to music lessons, practiced singing with the youngers, and watched the baby during "art class" I realized how responsible parents are for the overall development of their children.

On the 5th day, it hit me. The weight of responsibility crashed down like a wave.

I can't do this LORD! There is so much to do, so much I am responsible for, so many needs to be met. How can I make sure everyone feels loved? I am not patient enough for this. I cannot fill Mother's shoes for one has she done it for 18 years?

"You're right, Katie. You can't do it. You are too impatient--too impulsive. You could never ensure that any child will do well in business. You can never guarantee any child vibrant health. Even with all your effort, you could never fill a child's emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs.

But I can.

Just be a vessel I can use. Follow where I lead. These children are mine and I am responsible for their souls."


Like every other aspect in life, ALL we have to give is never enough. But Jesus Christ is more than enough! All we have to do is be attentive to His voice. He will shoulder the responsibility of the rest.
Circus time! The show WILL go on!!!

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Ke Akua pu a hui hou!

Kathryn Joy

**This post was written about two weeks ago.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Think you're healthy? You're NOT!

How does a family go from eating whole wheat flour and doing Insanity to eating egg whites and doing Pilates?

I'm not certain, but two things I am sure of. #1: It happens fast. #2: It's happened to us.

Now, I have always been told I am an extremist, but where food's concerned, I consider myself pretty straight up. I like things whole--natural. You know, whole raw milk, whole wheat, raw honey, lots of fresh food, a high-protein diet.

In fact, I even went so far as to think we were a "healthy" family. My motto was "eat a lot, work out a lot." With a steady rejection of sodas, limited processed sugar, and our regular work-out regime I thought we were safe from the kaleidoscope of health crazes hitting North America. After all, what needed to change?

Turns out, no one is SAFE!!! (even way out in Dufur)

Kyla and Kelsey got their hands on a book that I think is awesome if you want to be a trim, healthy, Mama. However, the thing is, twelve of us in this family are NOT Mamas. That seems to make no difference, so here we are eating like we have 50lbs to lose and allergies to every good thing God created. They say you don't have to be a Mom to eat so you feel better and have more energy but...

Whole, raw cow milk? I know that is good....but for some reason Almonds seem to have something on Klarabelle's sweet cream.

Whole wheat? (I mean, it's NOT white, and none of us are glucose intolerant) Nope. We must grind our own oat and almond flour. (I never did like almonds, but now they are taking over my diet!)

Okay, so honey is a great alternative to processed sugar, with a TON of health benefits. I HAVE BOOKS THAT SAY SO!!! However, while I pull my hair out over their purism, Ky and Kels continue to Stevia, Xylitol, and otherwise sweeten their food. Shaking their heads at my "spiking insulin levels."

We eat only egg whites in our pancakes. And only egg yolks in our muffins. Am I going crazy here, or is that the equivalent to a whole egg if I eat one muffin and one pancake?

Of course, I cannot complain (here, I am simply stating the facts). When you hardly cook, you have very little weight to throw around. I am very thankful to have sisters who have not yet found a substitute for our home grown ground beef, or a cure for my vinegar craving. I am sure, given enough time, they will soon find all those hidden faults of what I once thought was "good" for me, but until then, I shall munch on bananas...oh wait, I forgot...according to a San Francisco health company's info-graphic, banana's are just as bad for you as a cookie or french fries.

On second thought, I'll have some french fries.

For all you likeminded, health enthused individuals, it goes without saying that I have done very little research on this subject. I merely look up the unique food products being brought into our home to see what the side effects are...aside from an empty wallet. Surely, if it has no carbs, no fats, no proteins, your blood stream has no reaction, and you don't even know you ate it, something has to be wrong!

I realize that my whole foods model is flawed and although I am still unable to see the benefit in eating my jam separate from my bread (apparently to avoid "fermentation in the gut"), I'll hand it to you guys. I love your passion. I love your dedication. And I appreciate the endless hours you spend in the kitchen to grind your own almond flour, make your own almond butter, strain your own almond milk, and create almond flavored, flourless, gluten free, dairy free, carb free, fiber dense, egg-white-only, stevia-sweetened, skinny-minny, Mama cookies. You deserve every benefit this lifestyle has to offer. Seriously.

For me...I will pat myself on the back that for once I'm NOT the extremist. And I'll eat my oatmeal-honey cookies with whole eggs.


Kathryn Joy

**P.S. Take this post with a pinch of salt (unless you've already had your 6g allotment for the day).

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What do YOU have time for?

"Hey girls," Baylor called to Ky, Kels and I as we jumped out of the van. "Do you want to play volleyball?"

"Volleyball!" I laughed, "We just came home from practice...the couch and food sounds nice. Besides, it's raining!"

Baylor shrugged. "We never play stuff anymore. I'm kinda lonely." (apparently it is possible to be lonely when 3 of your siblings are gone leaving only 7 remaining at home)

It was true. With volleyball, a full school load, music practice, lessons, canning and teaching school to the little guys even slack lining wasn't high on the priority list. Playing with my younger siblings? Who even had time to play? But at that moment an alarm went off in my head.

Your brother is growing up, Katie. You are growing up. The time to invest in his life is NOW.

However true that thought was, there was no way I was playing any more volleyball than I was committed to. Just too much of a good thing, you know? Then it hit me...

What about playing a sport I wanted to learn, Baylor loved to play, Baylor wanted to teach and Barrington would enjoy getting better at? I didn't think it was even possible to kill that many birds with one stone! (Turns out, you can't. However, you can do that many awesome things at once.)

Enter Golf.

Pretty much, it was awesome!

It was the first time in my life I spent that much quality time with just my brothers! We ended up driving to a beautiful resort, in the pouring rain, that had a special $5 fee "for those crazies" the manger told us. I am now a firm believer in poor weather golfing. When you are as good as me, with my yearly income and my kind of ball control, $5 days are amazing.

Lo and behold, the rain dried up two holes into the game and we had perfect weather from there on out!    Praise the Lord!

In three hours, I learned so much about how sweet and studly my little brothers are. Barrington is Mr. Precision. He took every swing seriously and I only wish I could be as chill as he is when he swings!

Baylor is rapidly growing to be my "big" brother. He was such a good teacher, so patient, supportive and encouraging (and good). It was weird to have him telling me what to do! =) Then there was the boys' humor. I was constantly cracking up! Why hadn't I noticed all these things before?

"These were good memories," Barrington grinned on the way home.

Indeed they were.

But a pang of regret accompanied the warm satisfaction. Why had I waited so long? I had been in such a all-fired rush to "live life" that I was missing out on the lives around me!

Of course, I knew my brothers. I mean, we talk and stuff. We're friends. But they were rarely the sole object of my attention. Unconsiously, I had lumped my younger siblings together, and hadn't taken the time and effort it takes to get to know them in quality, meaningful ways. It's easy to do when you're busy. It's easy when there's ten younger siblings vying for your attention. But it's AMAZING when you take the time to build into their lives. I thought I was going to give, but instead I was supremely blessed! In the end, RELATIONSHIPS ARE ALL THAT MATTER!

Bay and Bear, thanks for being the coolest brothers out there! I feel like such a lady around you manly guys--so protected and cared for. I am so thankful to be your older sister! (and totally jazzed that you spent your time coaching me!)

I love you!

Katie Joy

***I wrote this post three weeks ago. Since that fun-filled day, I have developed richer, sweeter relationships with each of my siblings than I ever thought possible. I guess where you spend your time truly shows where your priorities are. What better place to spend time, than with the people you love?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

To Blossom You Must Grow

Little did I know that as I flipped my Calendar to a new month, I was simultaneously turning a new page in the book of life. This month was to be a new adventure, an epic journey. Of course every week has it's ups and downs, its challenges and victorious moments. But September was going to be different. It was going to be hard. The small clue to this discovery sat in the top corner of my calendar--daring me to take on the challenge.

It read: "To blossom, you must grow." 

When I looked at that small quote on my calendar it hit me like a blast of icy air. If I was to blossom into the young woman God wants me to be, the older sister I desire to be, the daughter I pray I will become, and the friend a friend would want to have, I needed to grow. That was a tough realization because, you see, any experience I have had with growth has been hard.

At the age of fourteen, my arms and legs finally began to stretch out. The little, petite Katie I had always been began to grow at the rate of four inches a year. I still remember my legs aching and not being able to sleep yet feeling exhausted all the time. I thought I was dying, but in reality pain was occurring for growth to happen. 

Of course growth transpires in each of us in a variety of different ways. I want to learn and grow. I mean, unless you have reached perfection (and I feel I can safely assume that none of us reading this have), why stay the same? However, let's just say that this September I wasn’t quite prepared for the mental, physical, spiritual, and relational growth Jesus composed for me. 

To date, Pain has accompanied each area. So has TRUST. 

Why is it that just when I felt I was wholly trusting God He threw a big morph ball of confusion at me? Was I fooling myself by thinking I was trusting when I wasn't? Not necessarily. Now that I could trust Him with the little things it was time for a bigger test. This must be phase two. 

You see, Jesus wants to draw us closer to Him; closer and closer and closer until we see Him face to face. I should never stop seeking or learning more about Him. After all, Christ is infinite and we could never be able to grasp His endless love or boundless grace if we made it our one mission in this life. God does not want me to be content knowing Him a little bit. He wants to continue drawing me radically closer to Him. For this purpose, my Lord chose to show me I need Him desperately in very real ways.

The past few weeks I have felt like I keep getting pushed underwater and every time I surface to gasp for fresh air, I get shoved down again. First (it's kind of embarrassing) position on the volleyball team.

"Will you trust me, Katie, to decide your position?If your knee gets injured again? If you don't reach your goals?"

Then it's school.

"Katie, it's my plan that your degree has been lengthened. You're frustrated, but it's for a purpose."

My relationship with Daddy.

"So, you trust your Daddy with the little things. What about when he makes a decision you don't agree with? What about when I call you to wholly submit to a decision you see as 'astronomically large' you still believe I am leading and guiding him?" 

Lack of sleep.

"Are you still going to share MY love and be filled with MY Spirit when you are exhausted? Or are you going to give in to the flesh when the going gets tough?"

Relationships with my siblings.

Time-management pressures.

Stress. Because I’m stressed and I don’t want to be, which is so stressful!

Yeah, it's been a struggle, but here's the cool part. Jesus is revealing Himself to me in ways like never before, He is giving me opportunities that I have prayed for, He is strengthening my love for my family and opening my eyes to my shortcomings. After the storm of each trial there is peace, and Jesus ministers to my soul. Once I perceived God was allowing this difficult time because of His mercy, not His judgment, I could embrace the heat with open arms.    

My God, is truly and AWESOME God! He is drawing me to Himself and I am growing! Through the pain my life is stretching, molding, and as a person I am blossoming. Life with fire is powerful. It forces you to see what's really important and to cling to what really matters. True, I have enjoyed the sweet times when the sea is calm and my biggest worry is what I'll make for lunch. But there is so much passion, love, and bittersweet tears in the fire I can honestly say that I wouldn't trade the past few weeks. Jesus is there for each of us in the storms of our lives and He has a purpose. He does everything for a reason.

Are you trusting Him with your life? Have you submitted everything that you desire to control? It's scary. It's nerve-wracking. But it is powerful. God has chosen this moment to grow you into the person he wants you to become. Growth always comes with pain...

...but if you want to blossom, you must grow.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Go, Fight, Win!

Volleyball season has hit with all the force of *Taylor cramming a ball onto my **platform. In other words, Kyla, Kelsey and I are busy practicing, playing, and riding the bus. When I say "riding a bus" I don't mean sitting thirty minutes in traffic for a game ten miles away. I mean spending 2-5 hours on our small, yellow beast driving to far off corners of the earth that I didn't know existed. Truth is, sometimes they barely do. = ) This is cool however, because we have lots of time to speak with our teammates about things that really matter.

Daddy has always stressed the importance of doing things as a family. We thought volleyball might be an exception but...

While we play, Daddy is busy buying uniforms, supporting the school, coaching us, and wearing out his voice being "head cheer leader." With contagious enthusiasm, Daddy wields his massive orange traffic cone (which actually got confiscated at one point because it was distracting the officials) and leads all Dufur fans in loud, thundering cheers. I love hearing the crowd's united voice, knowing Daddy is once again banding together and inspiring the masses.

Mother delights in hosting team dinners and giving us creative and time consuming "team" ideas. She's always ready to run to the store for craft supplies and is a massive fan of "team bonding" and team spirit. Pretty much every new piece of clothing Mother brings home for the little kids is red, black, or white (including hats, jackets, and toys).

"We can wear them at your games," she beams.

One example of Mother's team spirit ideas: A short ditty we wrote last minute for a team dinner  along with some elementary yet cheerful banging we called "accompaniment." The "Ooohs" were when the whole team sang along. 

Last but not least, all the younger kids are cheerfully riding our own "Ranger Fan Van," proudly sporting excessive amounts of window paint, to attend games in their spirit outfits. They make up a strong force of the Lady Ranger's biggest, yet smallest, fans.

It's no wonder we our are all worn out by the end of the season. It's a family affair.
Varsity. Ghetto locker room in the basement. Pumped for our first game of the Season!

Thanks for all the support you guys! 

*Taylor (#1 and a powerful outside hitter on our team) 
** Platform (when you put your arms together to pass it's called a "platform")

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

21 Things You Learn on a 3100 Mile Road Trip... 7 days, with 13 people, in a 15 passenger van

1. 13 people will fit in the front two seats of a van...if the conversation is good enough.

2. You can wait to use the restroom hours longer than you think (or probably should).

3. Pistachio shells, should be dropped in a designated dropping area vs. being scattered on every surface to provide in-car massages.

4. When you're in the middle seat, your only scenery will be your two bookend seat mates (definitely something to consider if you will be sitting in the middle for very long).

    In order to preserve family unity we will not mention any names. ; )

6. When choosing lunch stops, majority rules.

7. In n' Out is in Utah! If given the slightest opportunity, go!

8. Sling shots and footballs should NOT be allowed in the van.

9. Expect to be burrowing under the seats for 15 minutes prior to all stops digging for shoes. If you're lucky, you might find a pair (Kloe may or may not have been seen going into Taco Bell with one size ten high heel, and one white, right, flop on her left foot).

10. Mad Libs, Boggle, and Louis 'Lamor on tape are awesome!

11. If verging on boredom, repeat the phrase "Johnson's are never bored" 20x or--my preferred method--begin eating snacks.

12. The speed limit in Wyoming, and Utah (and pretty much everywhere but Oregon) rules!

13. Do NOT put Chipoltle leftovers under Daddy's seat without telling anyone for 48 hours. The results are somewhere along the lines of a bean/diaper scented air freshener.

14. The rule "You must drink the WHOLE water bottle doesn't seem to work." Halfies are now reserved for 12 and under.

15. The Van gets smaller each year...

16. Don't bring a ukulele in the van when you only know 2's out of tune, and you forgot the string names.

17. Joel Rosenberg (More specifically "The Damascus Countdown") + Road trips are like ice cold Ginger Ale on a hot day--a welcome break, refreshing, engaging, and finished all too soon.

18. Who brushes their teeth in the morning and who should...

19. Highlights of the road trip include: Choking on the numerous tear jerkers as Daddy reads Ralph L. Moody's "Man of the Family."

20. You CAN still fit on the floor to sleep...anything is possible. Cons? Wiggle room is prohibited. Pros? No one will fight you for your spot.

21. It's amazing that I can be cramped next to a person for hours, know all their weaknesses, realize that they know all mine, fight over ridiculous things (of course making-up afterward), and say exactly what I want with out having to worry "what will they think?" They put their feet in my face, see me when I need to "change the oil in my hair," tell me when I'm a crab, and WAY worse yet we still love each other...a lot! That's family for you. No one but family. What a beautiful unit God planned.
This doesn't look as crowded as it feels...oh yeah, Bentley, Daddy, and Mother are not pictured; neither are the mountains of "cannot-part-with" stuff on the floor. 

 Full of gratitude for the good times...even happier that we are home!
                     ~Me...with the unlimited help and approval of all the faces in this picture. I love you guys!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Snapshots of the Simple Things

What can I write about? As I look back over the majority of this summer, I see a bunch of good times, fun memories, and a crazy schedule. Recently however, there have been no big trips, startling realizations, or dramatic adventures to blog about. Yet life has been so full--so meaningful. Each simple day holds so much joy.

Delight in the everyday stuff!

I have discovered that if I am not joyful today, there is nothing in tomorrow that will bring me joy. I can't think "I will be happy if I get, or if I do, or if I become..."and be joyful right now. Happiness is a choice, and I can be cheerful exactly where I am, every minute of the day! Praise God!

In an attempt to capture a bit of our spring & summer, I posted some "everyday" pictures. However simple they may be, these photos speak volumes to God's faithfulness.

His blessings are all around us in the everyday moments...sometimes we just have to stop and soak them up.

My poor photo subjects were suffering from the cold in early spring...I caught them huddling for warmth when they thought I was busy shooting Kloe's pics. Kimmy is such a sweet big sister! There's a lot I can learn from her.

Looking out the window early in the morning I saw Bay learning from some awesome mentors (and probably enjoying some "man time"). Sure, there are only three brothers in our family, but they are man enough for all eight of us girls!

Daddy, giving Uncle Wade and Aunt Joscelyn a "blossom blessing." =) Spontaneous and random is the way we roll.

Kare-bear takes "follow-the-leader" to a whole new level. Glancing outside I saw her turning yard work into an awesome game!

Best buds playing house. Way too cute for words.

Smiling because it's over...we can be friends again. ; )

Capturing my beautiful Mother and slightly perplexed-looking sister at a friends home.

I can't tell you how many times someone says... "can you imagine if we didn't have Kordi?" Groans follow. What would life be without this chubby ball of cheerfulness?
This used to be Kyla, Kelsey and I! Our whole family is constantly entertained with these three girl's shows.

Getting ready to serve late night snacks at The Achademy. I love these girls! We have way too much fun together (if that is possible).

Achademy Squad #9

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Kyla rocked this ride and she was willing to document Dog River Trail. 

Watch out! Modern-day Robin Hood is teaching my Mama to shoot!
Bentley puts so much energy into everything he does.

So, I'll admit I look a bit too excited about my avocado facial. Then again, we are delighting in the little things right? 

All in all it has been a splendid spring/summer! Jesus gives so much joy in the simple pleasures of life. Over the past couple months I have found that the greatest riches are often hidden in the smallest things. I am so blessed to have so much to smile about!

With much joy,

                         Kathryn Joy 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Going up in a plane...and jumping out the window!

Wow! What an experience. After an awesome weekend at my Grandpa Burnell's camp, Camp Dwight, a bunch of us drove to Mulalla, Oregon. There, I fulfilled a "as-long-as-I-can-remember" dream of mine and went skydiving with my Daddy--and a bunch of great friends.

Skydive Oregon was a super professional place and I felt so safe the whole time (okay, so aside from when I was diving toward earth at 200 miles an hour...but I got over that in a few seconds). I know I can always trust Jesus with my life, but being buckled snuggly to my burly, experienced, instructor satisfied the doubting Thomas in me. I guess it was comforting too, knowing that if I was going to plummet head long into this planet I was not alone. =)

I can hardly explain how it felt--I guess you will just have to experience the ride yourself--it was so unlike anything I have ever done. Basically, my brain couldn't catch up to what my body was doing. It's probably a good thing though. I mean, if it registered that I was willing subjecting myself to being thrown out of a plane's giant window self-preservation might have kicked in. As it was, I just did what I was told and reminded myself that either I was going home, or going home. At both places I had family, and a Daddy who loves place is just quite a bit more permanent.

Thanks everybody who made this day the "exclamation mark" at the end of a wonderful weekend! I feel so blessed to have shared this experience with each of you!

You are awesome, Daddy! Thanks for pushing me when I've needed it

..and allowing me to push myself! =)
Getting ready to leave the ground--I felt so secure in my retro, rugby-looking helmet.

The first group back on the ground...PUMPED!

Thank you, Jesus, for allowing us to feel your laws of gravity in a safe, exhilarating way! It is such a comfort knowing that you are with me wherever I go. So blessed, that you are the ride of my life! No thrill compares to following you!