a treat for us this Christmas

My sisters found a reel to reel tape in our Drayton Valley, AB home labeled “Grandma Singing”. One of them had the tape transcribed to a CD and I turned the file into mp3s. Here is my dear Irish Grandma singing Irish ballads from memory. I remember helping to record these, it had to be somewhere around 1969/1970 when Grandma was in her late 70s.

I haven’t heard my dear grandma’s voice in nearly 40 years. What a blessing, thanks Maureen for taking the initiative on this.

Alice Doggart

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  • The Dear Little Girl

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  • The Little Irish Colleen with Her Old Plaid Shawl

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  • Impudent Barney O’Hay


coming of age

Over at Religious Affections, Jason Parker recommends reading books to children, especially books like Winnie the Pooh. I couldn’t agree more, and have a lot of affection for the fluff-stuffed bear. (The original Winnie was a bear from Canada, by the way – my Canadian insecurities compel me to get that info into the story.)

When we came to the last story of Pooh, where Christopher Robin is growing up and Pooh is destined for the toyshelf, I couldn’t make it through the story. I still am moved emotionally as I recall the experience. My wife asked what was wrong as I struggled to proceed. “It’s a coming of age story,” I replied. She offered to read it herself. As she read and thought of what I said, she, too, was strongly moved. So that reading became a tag-team affair. We each took turns reading as we were overcome by the emotion of the story and our crowd of little ones gathered around us. They, too, were growing up (and are now fully grown, alas!). They looked on at us in amazement.

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Precious in the sight of the Lord

John E. Ashbrook is with the Lord. Long-time pastor of Bible Community Church in Mentor, OH, he slipped beyond earth and into heaven early this morning.

I was acquainted with him through his son-in-law (one of my best and closest friends) and daughter. His son-in-law planted the church my brother now pastors just a few hours north of us. Through this connection I got to know Dr. Ashbrook a little bit. I got to know him better through his writings. What a blessing to have known him. What glory for him to now be in the presence of our Saviour!

The obituary is here.

An article by another young man he influenced is here.

His publication ministry is here. I am not sure what will happen to this ministry, but perhaps you can still obtain some of his books through them.


here she is!

To quote that noted theologian, Sissy Seagull, I’m a “grandfeather”!


Our grand-daughter arrived last night, about a month early. Some circumstances made the docs concerned that the baby needed to come early, so here she is. From what we can tell, everything is fine!

And we’re kind of tickled!

Of course, Grandma jumped on the first plane she could, leaving me and Susan to finish packing for our move on Friday.

Not that I am complaining though – just wish I could have gone with her and left the whole job to Susan!!! (heh, heh)


one year


We miss him. Mom talks about him all the time. I think about him every day.

For him, though, things are better than they ever were among us.

One day we, too, will know what he now knows.


just a dog

Today we lost our dog after a long life for his breed… normal life expectancy about 9, he made it to 14. The last few months he turned very frail, eating sporadically, the last day or so not at all. Last night and today he was so weak he could barely stand – and he struggled to stand because he had to cough, fighting against fluid building up in his longs. It was obvious to us all that things would not get better so today we made a visit to the vet – the little guy’s final visit.


We know that a dog is just a dog, but we can’t help but think this end is not the way God intended things to be.

NAU  Romans 8:20-22 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

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a little family news

I’m pleased to be able to tell you all that my son and his wife are expecting their first child sometime in November. I have been ‘in the know’ for several weeks now… and biting my tongue to keep it all in until they were ready to tell the world.

Duncan and Meg are shortly on the move from Greenville, SC to Edmonton, AB, the place of my birth (and, really, the place of choice if I could live anywhere in the world!! Who needs the ocean and the mountains and the trees when you could have all that sky! And those fields! But I digress…)

So big changes are coming in our family, and especially for Duncan and Meg. We are looking forward to an eventful year.


Headline: wife finds use for ‘blog’

I was once at a meeting with Dr. Bob III where I introduced myself this way:

“My name is Don…

“I am a blogger…”

This was due to Dr. Bob’s noted antipathy for blogs.

My wife has typically shared his view and can’t imagine what I find so compelling about my blog. Until today! She found a use for ‘blog’…

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update: funeral sermon

For those interested, I have posted the audio for my dad’s funeral sermon at our church site. My brother, Paul Johnson, pastor of the Grace Baptist Church of the Comox Valley preached an excellent gospel message from Ps 34.6:

This Poor Man Cried

We have also posted my eulogy, a spoken version of my earlier post about my dad:

Poor Boy off the Farm

May these files be used to edify saints and perhaps even bring a soul to Christ.


this poor man cried

I thought I would just give a brief synopsis of my dad’s funeral. Unfortunately there was no recording of it, I would have loved to share the preaching with you. [Read more…]