More from and about
Barbara Johnson
(biographical info at bottom of page)


To be in your children's memories tomorrow,
You have to be in their lives today.


Teaching literature is teaching how to read. How to notice things in a text that a speed-reading culture is trained to disregard, overcome, edit out, or explain away; how to read what the language is doing, not guess what the author was thinking; how to take evidence from a page, not seek a reality to substitute for it.
Love is what makes two people sit in the middle of a bench when there is plenty of room at both ends.

Forgiveness enables you to bury your grudge in the icy earth and put the past behind you. You flush resentment away by being the first to forgive. Forgiveness fashions your future. It is a brave and brash thing to do. The gutsiest decision you can make. As you forgive others, winter will soon make way for springtime as fresh joy pushes up through the soil of your heart.
   Forgiveness is a stunning principal, your ticket out of hate and fear and chaos. I know what regret feels like; I’ve earned my credentials.  But I also know what forgiveness feels like, because God has so graciously forgiven me. Forgiveness frees you of the past so you can make good choices today.
Remember, a small trouble is like a pebble. Hold it too close to your eye and it puts everything out of focus. Hold it at proper viewing distance and it can be examined and classified. Throw it at your feet and see it in its true setting--just one more tiny bump on the pathway.

Once a reporter stood in front of a fire as it consumed a house and then he turned to see the homeowners and their little son watching it burn. The reporter, fishing for a human interest angle, said to the boy, "Son, it looks like you don't have a home anymore."  The little boy promptly answered, "Oh, yes, we have a home. We just don't have a house to put it in."


Never let a problem to be solved become more important than the person to be loved.


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God can heal your heart. God can rescue you from despair and give you
something to rejoice about again. It won't happen overnight, but it will happen.
All you have to do is be willing to give every piece of your broken heart to God.


When we have hope, we are showing that we trust God to work
out the situation.  Trust is the only way we're going to make it
through and be a part of God's marvelous plan for His child.


We can choose to gather to our hearts the thorns
of disappointment, failure, loneliness, and dismay
in our present situation. Or we can gather the flowers
of God's grace, boundless love, abiding presence,
and unmatched joy. I choose to gather the flowers.


Not many would expect that Barbara Johnson (1927-2007) would find much to be happy about after losing one son in Vietnam and a second to a drunk driver.  Her third son disowned her. Instead of succumbing to the grief and depression one would certainly expect, Barbara Johnson founded Spatula Ministries, a joy-infused ministry to hurting parents.  Known for her signature geranium and clever book titles, Barbara Johnson is a frequent speaker at the Woman of Faith Conferences.

Barbara Johnson has guided millions of hurting women through the tunnel of despair with her best-selling books, including Plant a Geranium in Your Cranium, Living Somewhere Between Estrogen and Death, and Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy.  Her books have sold more than 5 million units to date.  Founder of the nonprofit Spatula Ministries, she delivered her comforting, humor-filled message of love across the country as a featured speaker on the Women of Faith tour for six years.  She is now speaker emeritus and continues encouraging from her home.

Barbara died July 2, 2007, of cancer (Central Nervous System Lymphoma) after a six-year fight against the disease. During her illness, she added four more books to her long list of published works, including one that takes humorous pokes at her life with cancer. Affectionately called the “Geranium Lady,” a title taken from her bestselling book, Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy, her homespun humor and hope in God in the midst of tragedy, ministered to millions.


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Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.


Other people: 

Alan Watts
- Albert Einstein - Albert Schweitzer - Andy Rooney - Anne Frank
Anne Morrow Lindbergh - Anne Wilson Schaef - Annie Dillard - Anthony Robbins
Ari Kiev - Artur Rubenstein - Barbara Johnson - Benjamin Disraeli - Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Hoff - Bernie Siegel - Bertrand Russell - Betty Eadie - Booker T. Washington
Charlotte Davis Kasl
- Cheryl Richardson - Cristina Feldman - C.S. Lewis - the Dalai Lama
Dale Carnegie - Deepak Chopra - Don Miguel Ruiz - Earl Nightingale - Elaine St. James
Eleanor Roosevelt - Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross - Ralph Waldo Emerson - Emmet Fox
Frederick Buechner
- George Bernard Shaw - George Santayana
George Washington Carver - Gerald Jampolsky - Harold Kushner
Harry Emerson Fosdick - Helen Keller - Henry David Thoreau - Henry James
Henry Van Dyke - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Henry Ward Beecher - Hugh Prather
Immanuel Kant
- Iyanla Vanzant - Jack Canfield - James Allen - Jennifer James - Jim Rohn
Joan Borysenko
- Joan Chittister - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - John Izzo John Ruskin
Joni Eareckson Tada
- Joseph M. Marshall III - Julia Cameron - Kent Nerburn
Khalil Gibran Leo Buscaglia - Leonard Jacobson - Leslie Levine - Lucinda Bassett
Lydia Maria Child - Lynn Grabhorn - Marcus Aurelius - Marianne Williamson
Martin Luther King, Jr. - Maya Angelou - Melody Beattie - Michael Goddart - Mitch Albom
Mohandas Gandhi
- Morrie Schwartz - Mother Teresa - M. Scott Peck - Nathaniel Branden
Nikos Kazantzakis
- Norman Cousins - Norman Vincent Peale - Og Mandino - Oprah Winfrey
- Orison Swett Marden - Pau Casals - Peace Pilgrim - Phillips Brooks
Rabindranath Tagore
- Rachel Carson - Rachel Naomi Remen - Rainer Maria Rilke
Ralph Waldo Trine - Richard Bach - Richard Carlson - Robert Frost - Robert Fulghum
Robert Louis Stevenson
- Russell Baker - Sarah Ban Breathnach - Shakti Gawain
Soren Kierkegaard - Stephen Covey - Stephen C. Paul - Sue Patton Thoele - Susan L. Taylor
Sylvia Boorstein - Thich Nhat Hanh - Thomas Carlyle - Thomas Kinkade - Thomas Merton
Tom Walsh
- Victor Cherbuliez - Wayne Dyer - Wilferd A. Peterson - Willa Cather
William James - William Wordsworth - Zig Ziglar - Rhonda Byrne - Neale Donald Walsch
Carl Jung
- Desmond Tutu - Paulo Coelho - Jon Kabat-Zinn - Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Walt Whitman