by Tim Johnson

I grew up in a large old house in a small village called Triumph, Illinois. Triumph is nestled in the cornfields on the plains of central Illinois.  Our home was built for the village Doctor around the 1880’s.  It had 16 rooms (8 of which where used as bedrooms.) My dad was always working on it.  I don’t think it even had air conditioning until it was 100 years old. But... it was home. To me, a home is the picture frame in which most of our life his lived.

My favorite memories of home are from when the home was filled with people. I can remember one Christmas when my parents, both sets of grandparents, 8 foster kids, and 6 of us “real” kids where home.  If 20 was not enough... my parents had also invited Mr. Bruner... an elderly widower neighbor of ours. I’ve always loved a full house. Those where the good ole days.

A couple of years later, I was talking with Mr. Bruner when he brought up the Christmas that he had spent with our family.  I found out that my parents had actually bought him some clothes and given them to him as a present. I saw the impact my parents had on him, through the joy in his eyes years later.  What a beautiful painting within the frame of my home that my parent’s had painted.

The Johnsons.jpg

Over the last 20 years, my wife and I have had many people step within the walls of our picture frames. We’ve had 4 picture frames. Three years ago, I invited all of my family to join us for Christmas.  My Dad, 5 of us siblings, 3 of our foster siblings (who are all family), and their families. My brother-in-law brought his mother and her friend from Brazil.  27 of us crammed cozily into my picture frame. To me, it is a wonderful memory for my boy’s to remember.

I believe that the present is the good ole days of the future.  So often we spend too much time starring into the paintings of the past rather than working on the painting of our present. This year, I challenge you, rather than making this just another holiday, work this year on painting a picture within your picture frame.