Joy Project – Week 4 of 52

Week four of my joy project…also I’ll be posting other stuff soon. I know that it has been a lot of this lately. Sorry. I’ve got to get back on a good schedule. Life has been life lately.

January 20, 2014 – A Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Little T-Rex!
Happy Birthday Little T-Rex!

Today we celebrated the T-Rex’s birthday. The girls had the day off of school, and Homey had work off, so we were able to hang out together as a family. We had so much fun doing all sorts of activities chosen by T-Rex. We went to the dog park, the duck pond, and the Phoenix Temple. We got haircuts, ate cake and played wii. I love this little boy.

The T-Rex was so cute at the duck pond and the dog park. While at the duck pond, he cheered and jumped up and down, so excited to see the ducks. I handed him a piece of bread, and he was too excited to think and break it into pieces. Instead, he chucked that entire slice into the water and laughed as a horde of ducks fought over it. We all laughed as we saw the entire slice sailing through the air.

Joy is having a little boy in our house full of girls. Joy is an active, happy, curious, playful son. Joy is my T-Rex. He’s always full-throttle, no matter what he’s doing. Joy is seeing a child happily experience this world in his own distinct way.

January 21, 2014 – Flowers and Temples

I don't know the name of this flower, but it is pretty.
I don’t know the name of this flower, but it is pretty.

The Phoenix Temple from the trail.
The Phoenix Temple from the trail.

I know, nearly every entry is either kids or running. That’s a lot of what I do. Well, I actually do a lot more than those two things, but both kids and running are such consistent forms of joy in my life.

Interestingly enough, both kids and trail running are really hard. Perhaps why they can also offer so much joy.

I love seeing unexpected things on my run. Today, I saw some pretty purple flowers. Winter time is a lively time in the desert. Flowers are blooming and bees are buzzing. It was nice to look down, and see these tiny purple flowers.

They can teach us something, don’t you think? They inhabit such a desolate, harsh world. The Sonoran Desert isn’t really the easiest place to thrive. Yet these flowers were prolific among the rocks. They don’t long for a “better” place to live. They simply bloom where they are planted and make the world a better place in the little way they know how.

I can do the same. We can all do the same. Imagine what this world would be like if we were all happier to bloom where we are planted, if we were happy to be little purple desert flowers, instead of all competing to be giant American Beauty roses. Peace on earth won’t be achieved through meetings by talking heads and world leaders. It won’t be achieved through war, sanctions, or regulations. Equality isn’t going to come simply as a result of laws and executive orders. If we want lasting peace and unity, we simply need to beautify the little corners of the world we live in.

This little purple flower isn’t much to look at on its own. The profound effect comes from hundreds, thousands of little purple flowers blooming and spreading across the desert floor.

Joy is going on a trail run, breathing hard, feeling my legs burn, and then finding that place where I can let God and nature teach me that it’s okay if I’m not famous or important. Joy is knowing that a nameless, purple desert flower is beautiful and makes a difference in her world.

January 22, 2014 – Varicose Veins

I’ll spare you a picture.

It sounds like a strange thing to find joy in. And, admittedly, I usually complain about my varicose veins. They are unsightly. They hurt.

But I’m convinced that joy and pain are opposing forces – which means that even though they are different, they are connected. So…if I believe this, then it is possible to find joy even in pain; gladness even in misery.

Which brings me to my varicose vein.

After long runs, my veins tend to throb. Because I have been training for a marathon, my varicose vein has been especially sensitive. I woke up feeling them throb, and wanted to complain. But then I wondered, where’s the joy in my painful, ugly, throbbing varicose vein?

Of course, I could say, I’m grateful for my varicose veins because at least I have legs. At least my varicose veins aren’t worse, etc. But I wanted to find more than that.

And I realized, my varicose veins are physical proof–of my motherhood. They were a result of my first pregnancy and have gotten worse with each repeated pregnancy. Of course, in the past, I’ve been prone to say, “Dang kids, they ruined my body!” And, it’s true, my body is forever changed because of child bearing.

However, instead of being frustrated by my transformation, I’ll find joy. My varicose vain is a battle wound that I’ll wear with valor. When it throbs and aches, I’ll think of the children that I bore. It is physical evidence of both the temporal and spiritual transformation I have undergone through motherhood. Just as my veins are a little more worn and tender, my heart is more worn and tender. The sacrifice is more than worth it.

Oh…and not only that…but my varicose veins are reminders. They are reminders of my miraculous body, good health, a functioning nervous and cardiovascular system.

Joy is knowing that even the annoyances I face in life can be blessings. They might be symbols or reminders of sacrifices I’ve made. They might be blessings, in and of themselves. Joy is knowing that I have an able body that has been able to withstand the trauma and miracle of childbirth.

January 23, 2014 – Adventures

The flower shop.
The flower shop.

I’ve started a new tradition with the little ones…adventures. (Mom tip: when you call mundane activities and outings adventures they seem awesome.)

We decided to go to the flower shop for today’s adventure. There is a little flower shop near my house. Sasquatch, T-Rex and I visited it. Sasquatch was so cute and excited. We looked at the many varieties of flowers, the displays, the balloons, and decor. We walked into the refrigerated section where Sasquatch and T-Rex each found a flower to buy. T-Rex chose a red gerber daisy because it was the same color as Mario. (He’s obsessed with nintendo…). Sasquatch chose a yellow rose.

The woman at the flower shop was so nice. She talked to the kids like they were adults. She carefully wrapped each flower. She asked Sasquatch questions, and my heart burned to see Sasquatch communicate with the florist like a little adult.

Joy is adventures with your little kids. It is finding the wonder in life – which we so often pass by.

January 24, 2014 – Date Night


Usually Tiger babysits for our date night, but she had a party, so we had a “date night in”. Actually, it was just what the doctor ordered.

We picked up some Rubio’s and a Redbox. I sat and crocheted as Homey fell asleep during the movie. Perfection, if you ask me.

Joy is a date night with Homey. While I love going out (I really do), there is an inexplicable joy about a quiet night at home–where you don’t have to talk, you don’t have to think, you can just be. This kind of joy really only comes as you age with your spouse. Homey and I have only been together for 6.5 years. We have a long way to go, but I am so grateful for his companionship.

January 25, 2014 – Correction

Chollas on a trail run.
Chollas on a trail run.

Another lesson from a trail run.

As I embarked on my run, I heard a woman screaming, cursing, and threatening her children. I was embarrassed and angry. Everything in my soul wanted to walk up to the woman and ask her what her problem was. Homey and the family were with me.
“I’m going to say something to her. This is out of control.” I said to Homey.
“Just leave her alone.” He warned.
I listened to him. I didn’t want to cause a scene. I didn’t want to make it worse for her children.

But I couldn’t get them out of my mind. As I ran up the trail, I thought of what I should have said. I thought of my brother, who was taken from this world at the age of 18. If she knew that the little ones she was cursing out with the vilest of profanity would only live to the age of 18, is that what she’d choose to say to them?

I prayed and asked for forgiveness, sorry that I didn’t stand up for those little ones.

I wondered what would Jesus have done?

In my mind, I felt like He wouldn’t have confronted the woman. However, He wouldn’t have ignored her, either. Instead, He would have served her.

Next time, if I overhear a woman, frustrated, at her wit’s end, cursing her children, instead of passing judgment and professing on how I think she ought to conduct her life, I’ll just ask, Is everything okay? Is there anything I can do to help you? (or something along those lines). I will extend her true, Christ-like love and serve her.

I was frustrated with myself for ignoring the situation. I prayed that the children would be protected; that the mother would calm down. I prayed that they would all be able to be happy. And I asked Heavenly Father to forgive me for passing judgment. Because I passed judgment, I also passed up a chance to serve.

Joy is knowing that Heavenly Father will correct you, if you will let Him.

January 26, 2014

Today, Tiger gave a talk in church. I meant to get a picture, but the day was crazy. I ended up spraining my ankle after my trail run on Saturday. I had three sick children. I went to sacrament to hear Tiger’s talk and then left.

This was Tiger’s first talk.

Tiger spoke on gratitude. She gave an organized, interesting talk. She cited the scriptures and applied lessons. She inspired everyone to be more grateful and to live up to the blessings that come to a grateful heart. It was pretty awesome.

Joy is watching your children bloom into these people. Joy is seeing your child become an individual who thinks and acts on her own accord. Joy is seeing that this individual that you are raising is choosing the right. Joy is listening to and learning from your offspring.

What has brought you joy this week?


One thought on “Joy Project – Week 4 of 52

  1. cknutti

    One time a good friend of mine was at the mall and saw a mother yelling at her child. My friend went up to her and said, “I can see you need to take a break for a minute. I’ll stay here with your child, and you come back when you’re ready.” I think she even let her take her purse. The woman did take a walk, and she thanked her. I’ve never forgotten that good example, and I hope I can be brave enough to do the same for someone else. We all have bad days and need breaks sometimes.

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