Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Remembering Joey - A Fun Post :)

I took the following post from Facebook's Remember Joseph Johnsons Group - it's written by Josh Spencer. I just want to mention that both Josh and Joey are very dear to us (we were kidless at that time and they were our kids, sort of ) and it was at this time that we were very close to them, when they were the "young men". Kelly Kepler is also very dear to us - these post brought back a lot of great memories :) I cracked up when I first read this post - I am sure you're find it hilarious as well. This will bring a smile to Karen and Joe's faces :)

Okay, I'm finally on Facebook (sorta), so I can post to this blog. Ever since Joey left, I've been wanting to write some grand essay on him for Rachel and the Johnsons' reading pleasure, but that's just my perfectionist procrastination. I've gotta let that go and just get my memories of Joe down before I forget them. Memory, definitely one of the first things to go. Anyway, here we go:

Before I ever met Joey I wanted to beat him up. I was 19 and spending my first summer on Maui, and my new girlfriend at the time - Kelly Kepler - was at a retreat in CA. Somehow I heard about this great guy that everybody loved there, especially Kelly, and that he was moving to Maui. I was insecure back in those days, and my insecurity took form through jealousy. I was ready to take him down as soon as he stepped foot on the island.

Our first actual meeting was at Bradley's house across the driveway from the Johnsons' new house, which which just across the gully from my family's house. I felt like such an idiot when I met him. He was just a 15 yr. old kid, skinny and obviously nervous. How could I beat up a kid barely into puberty? We talked about heavy metal and he tried to bluff that he knew all about the bands I was into. He didn't. I saw right through him, that he was a great bull-shitter in the making (something I wasn't), and I knew we'd be great friends.

To his credit, he waited two years for Kelly and me to break up, before he put the moves on her again.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Importance of Vacation According to Joey (An E-mail to JR Thompson)

Always the sales man ... here's an email from Joe

It is my supreme belief that man is not completed by mere work alone. And while we love our respective livelihoods, its important for each of us to take some time away from neutering dogs, selling fast food franchises, drawing on computers, picketing in front of CBS, working for the man (ahem Rach & JR), and doing....well, whatever it is that I'm doing these days...to grow intellectually, spiritually, and as friends. That is why it is time for all of us to take a vacation.

For those of you that just got tense at the thought of trying to squeeze one more thing into your schedule, consider yourself my friend no more. In fact Beth and Theo are already on probation for missing the Costa Rica trip last year. I am confident there are none of you out there. But for those on the edge of their seats waiting to hear about what amazing plans we have in store, I will delay no more.

Have you ever heard of a little place called Grand Targhee Ski Resort? Thats right you haven't. Because while all the capitalist jokers swarm Jackson Hole for a chance to try and squeeze into bad cowboy attire, Targhee remains a virtually virgin winter wonderland. (see attached photo of my last visit). Just think: dry powder, delicious elk/moose/venison chili, the voluptuous Grand Teton range at sunset, and many Moose Drool Ales in a hot tub surrounded with snow. No, I havent gone into selling timeshares. Im selling share-time with dear friends (wow that was atrocious).

So now I wanna know how you all feel about sneaking away for about a week sometime in March for this idyllic retreat from reality. There is still plenty of snow at that time.

For all of you that are of a more begintermediate ski level, fear not. Targhee has a great balance of terrain for all levels. There is a fun town nearby with Jackson, and most importantly, if we get a group together this could be a rather affordable Spring Break in the snow...without the Girls Gone Wild. JR has crunched some numbers...

Flights - $280 - $400 (LAX to JAC)
House - $700 - $900/week (this is for a whole house, so it would be rather affordable with a group)
Car - $400/week (also not bad with a group split)
Lift Tickets - $59/day
Food - same as in LA or Seattle

I will be eagerly awaiting your reply.

- JJ

* Post was taken from "Remembering Joseph Johnson" group at Facebook. It was posted by JR on "vacation".

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Belief - Words and Music by J Johnson

Words and Music by J Johnson

See you move, see you slide my possessions cross the floor
I see you smile and I beg for you to stay a little more
The words come without effort, full of meaning its so right
We end up drinking conversation through the middle of the night

When your finally gone, my thoughts lay rest on you
My body aches for wine but my heart it aches for you

I find it hard to believe that youd leave without a trace
Cause Im in deep dark discussion with the meaning of your face
I want it all even the pleasure with the pain and the plight
I see our future before I know a bit about your life

Building part


* Posted by JR Thompson on Facebook

Friday, September 26, 2008

Praise You In The Storm

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rachel On Our Mind ...

Rachel leaves Maui tomorrow and the Maui Johnsons are sad. Please pray for Rachel as she returns to the mainland and rebuilds her life. Karen also requested me to post this:

Rachel was such a beautiful counterpart to Joey. They were well-matched in their curiosity, intelligence, and spirit of adventure. Their tastes in music, food and art seemed to be parallel. They both loved to surf, snowboard, and play Scrabble. They had so much fun together and they shared their faith, their friends, and their love for family. They were a great couple and we all loved being with Rachel. The grandkids already considered her their aunty, and still do. She is just a superb human being and we all adore her.

Rachel's unknowing gift to us all was her beautiful eye for photography. She chronicled Joey's last three years with hundreds of exquisite photos and gave us a treasure that will last a lifetime.

Thank you Rachel, for loving Joey and loving our family, and giving so much to each of us. You are the beautiful silver lining in our cloud.

The Johnsons

Joe and Rachel on Keaneae

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Jesus said, "Let not your heart be troubled;
you believe in God, believe also in Me.
In My Father's house are many mansions, if it were not so,
I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again and receive you to Myself;
that where I am, there you may be also"


Go to Greg Laurie's Blog to read more about heaven. Click here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

How Are Joe and Karen Doing?

Instead of me trying to explain how they are doing... I thought I would re-post here something that Greg Laurie wrote on his blog about "how are they doing" as they grieve for the lost of their son. Read below, and for more, please go to Greg Laurie's Blog.


One thing often asked of someone when they have had someone close to them die is “How are you doing?” Please know that is the hardest question to answer.

Can I just answer for all people who are grieving a recent loss right now? Not very well.

Please don’t hold that against us. It’s just that we are missing that person badly. We are very, very sad.

We have moments of peace, even joy, but more moments of sadness. We are suffering, yet learning. Grieving, yet rejoicing. Mourning and occasionally laughing. But a good part of the time, we are sad.

It hits us really hard when we are not expecting it. Little landmines we step on, filled with memories.

So, if you happen to catch us at such a moment and ask, “How are you doing?,” you may not like what you see and hear.

God is with us

But know this–God is with us. There is even a blessedness in mourning.

Jesus said, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” But it is mourning, which includes deep sadness, tears, and pain.

Somewhere, we have gotten the idea that sadness and mourning are to be immediately replaced by happiness and celebration. I think in time they will be, but there will always be a hole in the life of a person who has lost a loved one.

The Bible says there is “A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:4,7 NLT). After Stephen was martyred, “Some godly people came and buried Stephen with loud weeping” (Acts 8:2 NLT emphasis mine).

We won’t “get over it”

There is a lot of weeping when a loved one has died, especially if it was unexpected. They simply will not “get over it.”

When a person has been a part of your life, like our son Christopher was for us for 33 years, you don’t just “edit” them out of the script. You notice that empty chair at the table. They are still so much a part of you, yet they are just gone.

That is very hard to comprehend.

A better thing to say

So, instead of asking “How are you doing?,” maybe you’re better off just saying, “I am sorry for your loss,and I am praying for you!” Or smile and say, “Love you!”

The person may want to talk about it, and if they do, listen, don’t talk. Job’s counselors had that right. It’s when they started talking that the problems began.

You see, when you are mourning, you are vulnerable. The armor is down, and you are sensitive to the right and wrong things being said. You can be easily hurt and, at the same time, helped by what people say and do.

So only speak if you are sure you have the right words from the Lord to give to someone who is grieving. The Bible says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11 NKJV).

But do say something!

Having said that you should not say the wrong thing, do say something! The only thing more painful than having said the wrong thing is saying nothing.

I know you might be afraid the person will cry if you mention their loved one. But they might resent it if you don’t.

Crying is not necessarily a bad thing anyway. There can be tears of joy.

You need to know that when people are grieving, they are “not themselves.” You don’t know how you will react to things, and thus people do not know what to say.

If someone tells me a story about my son, or shares a memory, I like to hear that. I have been getting a crash course in this, so it’s all very fresh to me. I have lost my grandparents and my mom, and as hard as those were, nothing is like this.

So please be patient with mourning people. Give them time. Don’t forget to keep praying for them. Store these thoughts up in your mind, like a squirrel would store up nuts for the winter. Because someday you may need to know them for yourself.

by Greg Laurie

Sunday, September 21, 2008

One Of The Many Things About Joey ... He Loves His Big Sisters

Joey loved his big sisters....they were present shortly after he was born, peering at him with wonder and curiosity, which later became poking at him and provoking him, which eventually became pride and adoration. They each would travel miles just to be together, their bond unbreakable, and he thoroughly enjoyed the company of his sisters. They shared 50% of the same DNA, they laughed at the same jokes, and remembered the same childhood stories. They spent 28 years together, processing life, and advising each other, and cheering each other on. We have so many photos of the three of them together, Joey often in the middle between the two of them, sheltered by their love and hugging back. When he was an adult he towered over them both, and would wrap his arms around them--a huddle of strength and familiarity. His sisters enriched his life and were key to some pivotal moments:

Jaime, by turning off the pool pump when Joey was drowning at age 8, saved his life. Her quick-thinking act in a frightening and chaotic moment, gave us another 20 precious years with Joey.

JoAnne, by cramming to graduate in May 08, when she should have sensibly waited another semester, unwittingly created a grand family reunion, with both of Joey's families...us and the Cox/Placke Clan. She created the moment for our final farewell with Joey--a week filled with precious memories, tender moments, and some of our most cherished photos. He went home to Heaven unexpectedly 4 days later.

His sisters stand as sentinels over his life...protecting and guarding him, honoring the beauty and vitality of their beloved brother. His name is permanently tattooed on their arms. Their lives will never be the same again, emptier without the brother who made life so much fun, but in Heaven they will have eternity to hug and hold and laugh together again.

* posted by Karen at Facebook.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Karen Missing Joey ...

I am missing... sitting with him chatting mindlessly while he focused intently on his blackberry--"multitasking"---just being with him while he worked hard.

I am missing...watching him swing my grandkids around in the grass, and chase them, and tell them hilarious stories as they sat around him, enraptured by his imagination and firing up theirs.

I am missing....eating breakfast and dinner together on the lanai and his enthusiasm for gourmet food and new tastes...i.e.. avocado toast

I am missing....watching him walk down to the Cove, surfboard under his arm, carried by his long swaying stride --- pleasure and peace on his face.

I am missing...him patiently teaching me how to use itunes and ipods and google picasa, and other techno-stuff. He nudged me into new things.

I am missing...the melodious plunk, plunk, plunk of his ukulele in my home.

I am missing...stirring and challenging discussions of politics, and then a smile!

I am missing...shiny auburn hair, chocolate drop eyes, long, strong legs, sensitive fingers, and one crooked tooth in an otherwise radiant smile.

I am missing...spoiling him with love and fun on his birthday.

I am missing....the feeling he gave me that I was such a wonderful mother.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Joey In Worship

If I were to ask you what Joey's favorite worship songs are, what would you say? I was just wondering what songs he is playing in heaven right now ...


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Bliss


*Taken from Remembering Joseph Johnson (at Facebook)
Thanks Rachel for the Photo

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dreams ...

*Remembering Joey group at Facebook has a section called "Dreams". I got this post of Karen from there. This was posted on August 25, 2008:

I finally had my first dream about Joey, early yesterday morning. I dreamed he was in our house and he was hugging me by the entry table. Joe and his two sisters were there, too, just busy around the house. I could hear him talking while he was hugging me and feel his voice resonating in his chest. I told him, "I am trying to memorize the sound of your voice and your laugh, so I have it when you leave". He just smiled at that and chuckled a bit.

I woke up so happy...like I had just actually been with him. I hope I have another dream about him soon.

- Karen

This post reminds me of another dream story called "Footprints In The Sand". There's a video created inspired by it and I am posting it here for Karen and Joe:


One night I had a dream--
I dreamed I was walking
along the beach with the Lord
and across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints,
one belonged to me and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life.
This really bothered me and
I questioned the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you would walk with me all the way,
but I have noticed that during
the most troublesome times in my life
there is only one set of footprints.
"I don't understand why in times
when I needed you most,
you should leave me."
The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child,
I love you and I would never, never leave you
during your times of trial and suffering.
"When you saw only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."

...Mary Stevenson

Sunday, September 14, 2008

They Will Never Forget ...

Not that they needed a tattoo to "never forget Joey", but these tattoos are a symbol of love. Not only will Joseph's memory live in their hearts, it is now forever engraved in their flesh. Shaun and JoAnne, Joey is smiling at you :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sunday Morning Quote

"In the end everything will be all right, nothing can harm you permanently; no loss is lasting, no defeat more than transitory, no disappointment is conclusive. Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement and death will be part of your journey, but the kingdom of God will conquer all of these horrors. No evil can resist grace forever."

-Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel


"And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."

Revelation 21:3-4

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Unkie JJ (Part 3) - He Loves His Nieces - Claire, Bailey and Izzy

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Unkie JJ (Part 2) - Like JJ like Aidan

There's no doubt about it - Aidan's got Uncle JJ's charm! Aidan is just one of the cutest kids I've met! I can just imagine Joey when he was a little boy that he's like Aidan :) This little boy's got a dynamic personality!

It made me a little sad to think that Aidan's time with his Unkie JJ was short. But I am sure he would hear a lot of stories about Unkie JJ as he grows up. And thank God to whoever invented photography, Aidan will be able to look at photos of him and his Unkie JJ together and he would know that his Unkie JJ loved him.

Exploring with Uncle JJ

There's Uncle JJ swinging Aidan!

Unkie JJ loves Aidan!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Unkie JJ (Part 1) - written by Chase Evangelista

Unkie JJ and Chase hnaging out at Papa and Nana's condo on Maui

* The following is an excerpt from a school work that Chase wrote about his family. In one section of that homework he was asked to write who is the most interesting person in his family and he said it's Uncle JJ:

Now the most interesting person in my family is my Uncle J.J (that’s Joe Johnson to you). He is the most interesting person because he is an excellent guitar player. He does concerts at one of the largest churches in Maui, Hawaii. He and his girlfriend like to enjoy life by doing things like going on 12 month road trips in a $3000 van. He has been all the way from the Panama Canal to Northern Alaska. He and his girlfriend have been West Coast and East Coast, and back again.

Many things make him the most interesting person in my family because he is the only long haired redhead in the family, and he invests large portions of his money in the stock market. Guess what? He is also the guy that thinks of the Red Bull commercials. Red Bull pays $15,000 a month him to sit around and think of advertising ideas and commercials. He gets to work with people like Shaun White, the Olympic gold medalist snowboarder, at the Winter X Games for him to support the consumption of Red Bull. He gets cool jobs like this because he got a marketing degree at USC. On his off time our families get together and go to a huge ski resort or go surfing in Maui.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go

by George Matheson, 1882

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
that in thine ocean depths its flow
may richer, fuller be.

O Light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
my heart restores its borrowed ray,
that in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
may brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
and feel the promise is not vain,
that morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
and from the ground there blossoms red
life that shall endless be.

For a Youtube Video of this song, click HERE.