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2009 Conversations

2008 Conversations

2007 Conversations

2006 Conversations

Gavin MacLeod: Captain relinquishes ship to original navigator

Randy Singer: Christmas: An American conundrum

Ray Gannon: Sharing Christ's love

Max Latham: No home for the holidays

Ronald J. Sider: An age of hunger

Dennis Swanberg: 'Nip sin in the bud'

Steven Daugherty: Partners in healing

Hope Egan: Does God care about what we eat?

Ginny Owens: Fingerprints of God's love

Wayne Warner: Preserving our heritage

Clay and Renee Crosse: Broken by pornography

John Schneider: God is up to something

Stanley M. Horton: Jesus will return

Hal Donaldson: Lessons from America's dark corners

Dave Ramsey: Entrepreneurship equals evangelism?

Barbara Johnson: Still laughing

Dan Hudson: Bringing Christ's presence

Brad Lewis: Ministry in combat

Bob Reccord: 'Launching your kids for life'

Frank Peretti: The Gospel as page-turner

Jeremy Camp: Restored

Mark Lowry: 'God is crazy about you!'

Zollie Smith: The power of Pentecost

Evelyn Husband: High Calling

Mark Earley: Aftercare is the key

Jessie Daniels: Living proof

Stephen Baldwin:
Livin' it


Josh McDowell: Jesus can change your life (3/27/05)

Thomas E. Trask: Discovering Jesus (3/20/05)

Roger Powell Jr.: Hungry and humble (3/13/05)

Ellie Kay: Recovering from the pitfalls of debt (2/27/05)

Dennis Rainey: Romance to last a lifetime (2/20/05)

Fred and Brenda Stoeker: Sexual sin doesn’t need to end a marriage (2/13/05)

Kurt Warner: Up or down (1/30/05)

Mayor Alan Autry: Acting on God's leading (1/23/05)

Actress Jennifer O'Neill: Life after Hollywood, forgiveness after abortion (1/16/05)

Dr. James Dobson: Still focusing on the family (1/9/05)

2004 Conversations

2003 Conversations

2002 Conversations

2001 Conversations

Still laughing

Some have dubbed her the Erma Bombeck of the evangelical world. Barbara Johnson is a best-selling author of numerous books, including Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy and Living Somewhere Between Estrogen and Death. Her writing is laced with wit and personal tragedy. Her first book, Where Does a Mother Go To Resign?, was written 25 years ago after the tragic loss of two sons, a serious automobile accident involving her husband, and a third sonÕs announcement that he was gay. Recent books have chronicled JohnsonÕs battle with cancer.

Johnson is a former Women of Faith conference speaker and the founder of Spatula Ministries, an organization dedicated to helping Christian parents of gay children. She spoke with Staff Writer Christina Quick about her life and faith — and what keeps her laughing.

PE: Were there ever times when you felt like giving up?

JOHNSON: Many times I was ready to throw in the sponge, but I didnÕt know where to throw it. When our son told us he was gay and then disappeared from our lives, that was about the lowest IÕve ever felt. But I knew that God would bring him back. After 11 years he came home and asked us to forgive him.

Four years ago I had brain cancer and they had to operate. Last year my husband died within five weeks of being diagnosed with cancer. Last week they said my cancer is growing again and I have to have more chemotherapy. IÕve been at the bottom so many times, but God has always given me the resilience to stand back and say, ÒGodÕs going to get me through this.Ó

PE: Where do you get your humor?

JOHNSON: You need a sense of humor to get through life. If you donÕt have one, youÕd better borrow, beg or steal one. IÕve been blessed to find humor in many things that most people wouldnÕt, and it has made such a difference in getting me through. People tell me the humor in my books has saved their lives.

PE: How did you get started writing?

JOHNSON: I never wrote a word until I was 50 and we found out our son was homosexual. That book flowed out of my pain. Nobody really changed it. It has been out for 25 years and has sold more than half a million copies. The other day I got a platinum thing for having sold a million copies of Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy. WhatÕs funny about that one is the publisher said, ÒNobodyÕs going to buy a book about a geranium. ThatÕs a dumb title.Ó But I insisted on it, they did it, and it worked.

PE: Have you been surprised by the success of your books?

JOHNSON: It has been amazing because I donÕt know anything about writing or English. My readers are ordinary people who arenÕt necessarily looking for intellectual material. TheyÕre just mothers like me who have problems. They write me, and I read every letter. I still get about 30 phone calls a day and 20 letters a day.

PE: What advice do you give hurting people?

JOHNSON: I encourage them to hang in there. You canÕt resign from life. When you reach the end of your rope, you tie a knot and climb back up.

PE: Will you ever write another book?

JOHNSON: I think so. I donÕt have a title yet, but I think it will be about prodigals who come home.

PE: How would you like to be remembered?

JOHNSON: As someone who found happiness in unhappy situations — a person who brought cheer to cheerless people and some laughter to lives that donÕt have any laughs.

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