GNO: April Johnson’s Favorite Things


I’m a Michigander by birth, and am still one at heart and in my pronunciation of certain vowel sounds, but for the past few years St. Louis has become a home for me thanks to some wonderful people, many of which I’ve met through my church/workplace, Central Presbyterian. That almost makes up for the humidity and lack of lakefront acreage. Almost.

I spend quite a bit of time laughing at my own jokes, being jealous of people with dogs, and wanting to hug my mom. If you ever want to talk about books, the brain, or an interesting podcast you listened to recently, I’m your girl.

A photo by Tom Butler.

My Favorite Quote:  I have a lot of favorite quotes, but one I find myself thinking about a lot is the last line of an untitled poem by Wendell Berry: “When what was made has been unmade, the Maker comes to His work.”  I keep a picture of this poem in my phone so I can read it whenever I feel the need.

I love it because it reminds me that wherever there is brokenness, I can be confident that God is there too.  He doesn’t leave us to our own devices, but instead is constantly coming back to His creation in order to make things right again.  I need to remember that we are not without hope, but that God is always at work restoring and redeeming the things that have been “unmade.”

“When what was made has been unmade, the Maker comes to His work.” – Wendell Berry


My Favorite Picture I’ve Ever Seen/Taken:  My favorite picture (above) is one of my siblings and me from a family vacation about 8 years ago.  I think we were in West Virginia – it was the last trip we took as a family before my oldest sister got a job and moved away after graduating from college.

There have certainly been times over the years when we haven’t been at our best with one another, but overall I think we’re a pretty good team.  I absolutely treasure the bond I have with them and the memories we share together, and this picture reminds me of that.

31007559_1300x1733My Favorite Holiday Tradition:  Every year for as long as I can remember, my family has had a picnic in our family room and watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas on Christmas Eve.  While he was alive, my great uncle would send us a box of snacks including summer sausage, cheese spreads, little candies, and some cute, colorful petit fours, which were my favorite part.

The menu has since changed, but we still put out a blanket, set out our various treats (making sure the dog can’t get to them), and press play!  My mom and I can recite almost the whole thing at this point – Dr. Suess is just so quotable!  I look forward to this tradition almost as much as I look forward to Christmas day itself.


My Favorite TV Show/Series:  I very recently decided that Parks and Recreation is my favorite TV show.  For a long time I wasn’t interested in watching it because I thought a show about a parks department in Indiana sounded boring, but I could not have been more wrong.  It’s hilarious!  Several times I’ve had to pause it to laugh at something that’s just happened, but there’s something else about it that makes it my favorite.

Leslie Knope, the main character, is extremely dedicated to her work as a public servant, but it’s her dedication to her friends that really gets me.  During my most recent re-watching, I actually cried several times at her thoughtful and caring displays of friendship.  She doesn’t just co-exist with the people around her, she is constantly coming up with ways to encourage them and show them she loves them.  I aspire to be more like her in that respect.

The show is hysterical, yes, but it’s also one that is extraordinarily affirming of the importance of friendship and community, and that’s really why I think it’s worth watching.


My Favorite Thing About My Job/Calling:  I’m using this as an opportunity to sneak in another one of my favorite quotes, because it has shaped how I do my job.  Simone Weil once said that “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”  One of my favorite things about God (I have a lot, but this is just one), is His generosity toward us, and I’m privileged try to follow that example in my job.

In my work with middle and high school students, I think that one of the best things I have to offer them is my full, undivided attention.  It’s a gift I’ve been given before, and in a world where so many things compete for our attention, I consider it a genuine honor and pleasure to bestow mine on young people who are looking for someone to notice and take delight in them.  I’ve seen the dividends in my own life, and I get so excited, and sometimes a little weepy, knowing that I get to do that for my students – and get paid for it!!

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” – Simone Weil


Your friend,

Click HERE to return to the landing page for GNO: Our Favorite Things 

bridge photo credit / Parks and Rec photo source

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s