Week three of my Joy Project.
January 13, 2014 – Family Home Evening
Every Monday night, we always hold family night. It is relatively formal: we meet together, we have a lesson, sing a song, have prayers, and, most importantly, a treat. There is an agenda, and we do what we can to keep it consistent. Just because this meeting in our family is formal, doesn’t mean we can’t have fun! We are goofy, the lessons vary in length (depending on who is teaching them), and mostly we look forward to spending this time together.
This week, Tiger was in charge of teaching FHE.
She chose “Saints” as the subject for FHE.
So, here’s one of secrets I’ve discovered regarding FHE. When you let your kids teach, you can have great one-on-one discussions about the gospel. I have better gospel-centered conversations with my children while they are preparing to teach FHE than any other time. This Monday was no exception. Tiger and I discussed the qualities of a saint. She and I studied the scripture: Mosiah 3:19 which states:
“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” – Mosiah 3:19
Okay…I’ve talked too much about FHE and not enough about joy.
Joy is having gospel-centered discussions with your children – no matter their ages. They can be three or nearly thirteen. Joy is knowing that my daughter, who is nearly a teenager, wants to study the gospel and has a budding testimony. Joy is knowing that because I’ve made sacrifices in my life to teach my children, they have accepted the gospel and want to cultivate their own testimonies.
January 14, 2014 – Writing
I’ve been working on writing daily. Sometimes I do well with this challenge. Other times, not so much. I’m using prompts that I downloaded from wordpress. One prompt was especially difficult for me at first, but I tried it, and I was so happy with the results!
(Click here if you want to read it).
I’ll admit that the story I wrote wasn’t all that happy, but I’m intrigued by it, and I think that I want to flesh it out into a real short story. This year, my goal is to submit writing to be published.
Joy is being creative. For me, joy is writing. Writing is especially joyful when it seems impossible at first, but then the experience is both intriguing and cathartic.
January 15, 2014 – Beautiful Food
Food is pretty. That’s all there is to it. In food, you find a culmination of miracles. Food sustains life. You can find mathematical functions. (Isn’t this picture of celery pretty much a fractal?) In food, your biological curiosities can be quenched. Not only that, food is yummy and beautiful.
Joy is food. Not only food, but prep work. I love cutting up celery, onions, carrots, garlic. I love slicing, dicing, and even shredding. Joy is experiencing food with all of your senses – not only taste.
January 16, 2014 – The Phoenix Temple
We are excited because the Phoenix temple is nearly finished. Soon enough it will be open, and we’ll be a hop, skip, and a jump away from the temple.
I love the temple. If you want to know more about temples, then check this out.
I love temples because when I attend the temple, I feel peace – not only during my time in the temple, but peace and joy infuses my entire life. I’m reminded of the love that Heavenly Father has for me, and I’m renewed with a sense of purpose. I feel comforted and invigorated when I attend the temple.
Joy is the temple, and knowing that soon I’ll be only a few miles from one.
January 17, 2014 – Waking in the Night
I’ll admit, three weeks ago, I never would have said this. But looking for joy in everything is changing how I see my life–including inconveniences.
Last night, the T-Rex woke up five times during the night. I got no more than 2 hours of continuous sleep. I felt so sleepy. Every 45 minutes or so, I’d hear him cry, “Mommy…I need covered!”
Thanks to my determination to find joy, I decided to be happy about the late-night request. Instead of complaining internally, I just went to his room, and covered him up. I gave him a kiss, and relished the moment. This choice helped me to see a new perspective. I remembered that this time will pass by quickly. Already the T-Rex is so big. Gone are the days when he’d snuggle on my lap for a nap. So, if I have to take a snatch of his snuggles and love at 2:27 AM, then that’s fine with me. He’ll be grown soon…And, not to be morbid, but I was reminded of my brother’s early death, of the death of Emily Parker, and so many other children. And I thought that I would snuggle my child happily for all of the moms that can’t snuggle their little ones anymore.
The neat part is this: when I’m sweet, my kids are sweet back to me. I snuggled the T-Rex back into bed, and gently warmed him up. Instead of being frustrated by the situation, I simply soaked it in. Because of this choice, the T-Rex wasn’t frustrated by my frustration. My choice to see joy calmed him, too. And he whispered, “Mom, I love to go on adventures with you.”
Joy is sharing a snuggle with your little ones – on their time, which sometimes happen to be repeatedly in the middle of the night.
January 18, 2014 – Excitement for New Moms
I went to a shower today, and I was beside myself with excitement for this new mom. I wish I would have brought my camera!!!
This is her first child, and she radiates love and excitement. As I watched my friend open her presents and rejoice in each toy, onsie, pack of diapers, and blankie, I thought back on when I was pregnant with Tiger – thirteen years ago! I thought back on the amazing journey motherhood has been. I had no idea what to expect then. There have been many surprises, many blessings, many disappointments. But in all, being a mother has brought me more joy than anything else I could have imagined.
Truly, children are an heritage of the Lord. (See Psalms 127:3.) And I am so grateful that Heavenly Father has blessed me with four of them.
Joy is motherhood. Joy is having children. Joy is sharing the joy of motherhood with the only ones who understand it–other mothers.
January 19, 2014 – The Sabbath
No picture for this one.
Today, I went to church and felt the Spirit so strongly throughout. Sacrament was a wonderful experience, and we had two really great speakers. After sacrament, I saw a friend and was able to share her happy news. I felt so much joy for her, and was reminded of how I’ve experienced this joy in my life, too.
On my way out of sacrament, the missionaries found me, and I was able to take a young girl to her class. I was happy to know that there are people who are hearing the gospel for the first time, and expressing the courage it takes to come to church.
Last year, I struggled so much – mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. In some ways, I was tempted to give up on God, feeling like He had given up on me. But I can see that He was, in His mysterious way, teaching me the exact lesson I wanted to learn. I learned about love, His Atonement, and discipleship. And I’m so grateful to feel His Spirit consume my life once again.
Joy is worshipping God, and feeling His Spirit.
What was joy to you this week?