Joy is Quilting, Singing, and AZ in Feb

Oh, I know. I’ve been horrible with keeping up these posts. I’m trying to figure out what I want to do. Part of me feels obligated to try to finish something that I’ve started. Another part of me thinks, who cares. And still, another part of me says, This world – this Internet – needs a little bit more joy.

So – here’s the thing. I’m going to post random “Joy is…” posts. I want to do them often, but I’m not going to stick to a specific goal. I think I’ll shoot for monthly. But please don’t hold me to it. (I know you won’t. You probably don’t really care. I’m writing this for me.)

Joy is…

Are you happy???
Are you happy???
My favorite block
My favorite block
  • Joy is working on my quilt. I finished quilting it yesterday. I still have to bind it. I love these fabrics. I love the idea of making a quilt – planning, math, measuring, cutting, and sewing. Then, taking layers – the backing, batting, and beautifully pieced top – quilted together. And bound. I don’t know. The process of it is just really – I want to say relaxing, but it is more than that.

    I’m sure that there are some people reading this that might think I’m crazy, but to them I would say – try quilting.

    I’m not a seamstress. I don’t particularly like sewing (clothes, bags, etc.) But, quilting is just sewing a straight line. It is an instant gratification kind of a craft. (Kind of…). You can see the progress you make. It starts with a single block. You put your heart into it, and then you finish with this blanket – that comforts, warms, and unites people.

    Who doesn’t love sitting under a quilt?

    A handmade quilt means something, you know? I have all of this junk in my house, and so much of it is meaningless, but these quilts I make – for my family and my children – they are functional, and they mean something.

    Quilting brings me a little bit of joy. The colors of this blanket bring me joy.

    And I bought some rose oil so that I can spray it whenever I’m using the rose quilt. That will bring me an immense amount of joy.

  • Joy is singing time in primary. I wish that I had a picture for this, but I don’t. You just have to take my word for it. If you’ve never had the chance to be a chorister for the primary children, then pray for it. Seriously – best calling ever. (Primary pianist comes in a close second. Well, it might be a tie.)

    I have been on Prednisone the last few days. It is not particularly joyful. It makes me irritable, and it gives me insomnia. However, I walk into primary, I start to sing songs with these cute children, and I can’t help it: I’m consumed with joy. Their laugh. Their purity. I defy you to jump and sing “Do as I’m doing,” without feeling overwhelmed with joy.

    What I love about the joy that children feel is that it is completely…pure. They aren’t joyful because they have accomplished something. They aren’t joyful because someone did something for them. They are feeling joy because that is just the emotion they feel at that moment. And they aren’t afraid to feel it, either. They simply smile, giggle, and jump out of their seats with joy.

    I have served as the primary chorister five times so far in my life. I think that I could serve five more times and still learn so much about the simplicity of sublime joy from the children.

  • Joy is Arizona in February.
    Most of my family lives in the Northeast. Every winter, I feel sorry for them. In November is really when it starts. I think about how they are bundled up, while I’m outside grilling my Turkey.

    December is a little chilly here in AZ, but it’s not cold.

    Sometimes it’s easy to get sentimental about winter – especially around the Holidays. Everyone thinks they want a white Christmas.

    Then, Christmas is over, and winter is actually just beginning. January ushers in the winter blues. They only get worse in February. Oh, February. It was always such a hard month in PA.

    But in Arizona, February is glorious.

    Blooming Acacia
    Blooming Acacia

    The sun is shining. The weather is in the seventies. The flowers are blooming. I really can’t get enough of it. There is no explanation. I go outside, and I’m happy.

    ***
    What has brought you joy recently?

Joy Is…Week 1/52

Well, I posted about my joy project last week, and I’ve made the decision that I will post one highlight from the week on the blog. I’m not doing it daily because it takes too long.

I am keeping my daily experiences in my special joy journal, but I’m only blogging this weekly.

So – for this week, I think that I’ll have to share the experience I had today.

T-Rex and Sasquatch in Primary
T-Rex and Sasquatch in Primary

In general, I find a lot of joy each week in primary. I really love my calling. However, today was extra-special. It was the T-Rex’s first day in Primary. He is my fourth and youngest child, so I must admit that it was bittersweet to see him growing up like that.

But, the T-Rex is so sweet. He’s so vibrant, active, and funny. He’s particular. He’s outnumbered in a home full of girls. I wasn’t exactly sure how he’d like sitting in Primary.

It turns out, he loves it!

In primary today, he insisted on sitting next to his sister. (I let him, no big deal to me). I couldn’t help it – I had to snap a photo! While I was teaching the singing time, I asked “What kinds of things make you cry?”
T-Rex raised his hand (!) and responded, “I cry when I can’t have hot chocolate.”
(for some context, we were talking about the experience that Christ has in the Americas when He visits the people shortly after his resurrection, blesses the children, and wept. We talked about how usually we cry when we’re sad, but Jesus was crying when He was happy.)

(Oh, and another note – I was so surprised that T-Rex raised his hand. He’s kind of shy. I was delighted that he wanted to contribute to my lesson. And, yes, it’s true – he definitely cries when he can’t have hot chocolate…don’t we all?!)

I could really relate to the concept of Christ weeping for joy because throughout the day, I felt like my heart was brimming with love and joy, and I wanted to cry or jump or something.

Seeing my little ones in primary brings me joy. 🙂 🙂 🙂

***
What brought you joy this week?

Joy Project – Week 7 of 52

Time for a little catch up…

Week seven of the Joy Project

February 10, 2014 – Priesthood Blessings

Homey and Little Homey at the Gilbert Temple Open House.
Homey and Little Homey at the Gilbert Temple Open House.

This isn’t about the Gilbert Temple Open House. Instead it is about Homey. I chose this picture of the temple because it is through temple covenants and the Priesthood that Homey has become the man he is today. He takes his covenants seriously and serves our family.

Today, I went to the doctor because I’ve been having earaches. The doctor gave me advice, and I was feeling a little bit unsure. I decided to ask Homey to give me a Priesthood blessing.

One thing I’m really grateful for is the fact that any man in the church, as long as he is found worthy, can officiate in the priesthood. This service isn’t relegated only to those who go to seminaries. It is available to all men starting at the age of 12. The Priesthood teaches men to serve God and honor the commitments and covenants they have made with Him. When men magnify their priesthood, they also magnify womanhood. They show more love and compassion. They serve others. I really think that the priesthood is what makes a man. Instead of being married to some “guy” or some “boy,” Homey is a loving, strong, and capable man. This is because of the Priesthood that he bears.

I asked him for a a blessing, and I was filled with joy as I felt the words that Heavenly Father had for me.

*If you are not Mormon, but want to understand what a Priesthood blessing is, you can either email me or read more here.

As Homey began the blessing, I was verbally reminded of how much Heavenly Father loves me. As Homey uttered the words, I realized that every blessing I’ve received or witnessed has started in a similar way. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love each of us, and they want us to know this, too.

Joy is being married to a man who honorably holds the Priesthood and uses this power to serve our family. Joy is receiving a blessing and being reminded of God’s love for me, specifically. Joy is knowing that I’m on track, I can stay the course, and that I can be confident.

February 11, 2014 – Tiger

T-Rex and Tiger
T-Rex and Tiger

There are times (a lot of them) when the kids cry, tease, and are just mean to one another. I don’t really understand it. Well, I suppose I do. They are tired. They are dealing with changes in their own lives. They are human.

My oldest two (Tiger and Panda) are really good to one another, but every once in a while, they can be – well – jerks. They have their own little power-plays, and the contention drives me up the wall.

Yesterday, after an altercation, I made Tiger and Panda apologize and then take a time out in their rooms. While in their rooms, they had to write an entry in their journal – about how to be better to each other. I didn’t make them read what they wrote, I simply told them to do it.

Today, I had another experience during a quiet time of the day. It brought me a lot of joy. I was reminded of what a good girl Tiger is. She wants to do what is right. She doesn’t want to fight with her sister, but they disagree at times. Her life is changing. She is in the Young Women’s now. She is in Junior High. Her world is shifting, and sometimes that is difficult to negotiate, but she wants to choose the right. She has a testimony. And, even when I giver her punishments, she loves me.

Joy is a daughter who wants to do what is right.

February 12, 2014 – Art Closet

Today, I started on a big project.

Big Time Clean-Up Job
Big Time Clean-Up Job

I have an art closet. It is supposed to be a linen closet, but I have to admit, I’d rather stuff my linens under the sinks and above the toilets so I can have space for all of my craft supplies.

If you think this is a lot, you should know 1)This isn’t even half of the closet. 2)I have downsized from a craft room to a craft closet, and that was a big deal.

Like anything in life, you can go along, ignoring your art closet (or anything else, for that matter) until the point comes when you can’t open the door for fear of being crushed by your junk. That’s when you need to clean it out!

So I did. It took a little while, but it was fun. I was able to find some things that I had been looking for. I also found things I didn’t even know I had…like this gem:

Hahahahaaaaa!
Hahahahaaaaa!

Joy is cleaning your closets. I forget this all the time. Whenever I need to clean a closet, I put it off telling myself how much I loathe cleaning and organizing. In this procrastination, the mess usually gets so bad that it reaches a fever pitch where I finally give in and clean. And then, every time I do, I’m so happy that I did it! Joy is finding old stuff and being reminded of projects that need completing. Joy is finding an organizing book in the back of your horribly crazy craft closet.

February 13 – A Sleeping Boy

I know that a lot of these posts are about my kids. But really, nothing brings me more joy than something like this:

I don't have enough kisses for him.
I don’t have enough kisses for him.

Our little T-Rex is always full-throttle. He is “all boy.” He loves to run, jump, play, and do anything that is life-threatening.

He is happy, happy, happy, but is also a little on the aggressive side. (I don’t mean that he is mean-aggressive, I just mean that everything he done is rougher and tougher. When he plays, he is playing aggressively. When he hugs and kisses, he squeezes and slobbers. Everything is more intense with the T-Rex.

I love it.

Yet, it gets a little tiring, and I have to admit that one of my favorite things in the world is when he is peacefully sleeping after a long day of playing.

Joy is a little boy that is all boy. Joy is having a fourth kid that is still teaching you so much about everything. Joy is seeing that active little boy rest.

February 14, 2014 – Valentine’s Day

My feelings about Valentine’s Day have changed throughout the years.

Valentine's Flowers
Valentine’s Flowers

There were times when I was against it (the principle of it, of course). When I was in high school, I thought of myself as smart and not bound by convention. In fact, I loved to buck against convention. All of my friends were skateboarders and had dyed hair. (I never did that – and not because of convention – it was out of being even more unconventional. I didn’t want to follow the group of kids who were doing something just because everyone else wasn’t. I just wanted to do what I wanted to do. I’m sure a psychiatrist has something to say about this). Anyway – during those years, I hated the idea of Valentine’s day because it seemed so contrived and fake. We should just love one another.

When I got married (to Rusty), I was originally feeling like Valentine’s Day was a load of phooey. I would tell him that I didn’t need any jewelry or card. I didn’t want a teddy bear. Whatevs. I worked at a Hallmark store, and there was more than one man who rushed in 10 minutes before close and asked me, “Do you think that you can find me a Valentine’s card that my wife would like?” (uhhhhh)…

My feelings about Valentine’s day began to shift while I was married to Rusty, however. Our marriage was *lacking* to say the least. We rarely dated. I rarely felt like Rusty knew I existed. Valentine’s Day became a day that I felt, “Surely he’ll do something for me today. Surely he’ll care about me today. He has to.” I was originally grateful that there was a day where we were forced to remember our loved ones.

Then, Things fell apart between Rusty and I (Were they ever not?). This happened only a few days before Valentine’s Day. I spent Valentine’s Day 2005 feeling sorry for myself and every other person on the earth. (Whether or not they were in a relationship, I was sorry for them. It was a cynical time in my life).

While I was single, Valentine’s Day got a little better. One year, a man I dated got me roses and chocolate. It was cheesy and cliche. It was conventional and normal. It was everything I was against (when I was younger), but I was grateful for the attention. This man’s romanticism (and machismo, I dare say), was exactly what I needed after nearly 7 years with Rusty).

After this experience, though, I kind of went back to my original feelings about love/Valentine’s Day – cheesy and kind of stupid.

Then, I met Homey (online)… Even though we were 2,000 miles apart, I had my best Valentine’s Day ever. It was simple and honest, and that is when I started to like it.

Valentine’s Day isn’t about chocolate, jewelry, teddy bears and cards. It’s about honesty and love. Being with Homey has taught me this. Valentine’s day is a day we can celebrate our relationships. One legend tells that back in the day, Christians couldn’t get married, and St. Valentine would marry them in secret. Pretty rad. Another one says that Claudius II (I believe) felt that unmarried men made better soldiers, so marriage was outlawed in Rome. Valentine would marry these men in secret. (Also rad). I believe in marriage, and it seems like every legend of St. Valentine centers on marriage and love.

And now that I’m married to Homey, I feel love in my marriage all the time. Valentine’s Day came, and I wasn’t even looking forward to it – not because I hate it, but because it doesn’t matter that much to me anymore. I don’t need it to exist so that Homey will recognize me, pay attention to me, or express love to me. I know he loves me. Valentine’s day is a nice date night, where Homey buys me some flowers and maybe a little gift. But he really doesn’t need to because his real gift to me is his willingness to make me feel secure and loved in our marriage every single day.

I will say, though, Valentine’s day has the cutest decor. 🙂

Joy is a holiday dedicated to love and marriage. Joy is knowing that you have a spouse who cares about you, prays for you, cheers for you, listens to you. Joy is having evidence of this 365 days a year, not only when he is forced to by Hallmark.

February 15, 2014 – Gardens

We took a family adventure to the Desert Botanical Gardens. It is beautiful.

Chihuly in the Garden
Chihuly in the Garden

This Saguaro is dying, you can see its "skeleton"
This Saguaro is dying, you can see its “skeleton”
Butterly
Butterly
Deedle's Dirty Toes
Deedle’s Dirty Toes
Hummingbird in the garden
Hummingbird in the garden
More Dirty Toes.
More Dirty Toes.
Blooming Cactus
Blooming Cactus
Severed Cactus Limb...pretty
Severed Cactus Limb…pretty
Touch me
Touch me
BZZZ
BZZZ
Blooming Cactus
Blooming Cactus
:)
🙂
So much love.
So much love.

It was a nice day, the kids ran and played. T-Rex got too close to cactus and would say, “ooohhhh! Yucky Cactus!” (He has learned that cactus are painful through sad experience). I loved spending time with the family.

Joy is taking a ride to public(?) professional (?) gardens. Joy is taking time with family on a Saturday afternoon. Joy is a bunch of cute kids and dirty toes.

February 16, 2014 – Happy Birthday!

My old man is 60 years young.

Senior Portrait
Senior Portrait

I’m grateful for my dad. He adopted me when I was four, and I’ve known him since I was two. He raised me and cared for me. He taught me to read, enjoy baseball, bake cookies, and have a sense of humor about everything. I’m grateful for him, and I love him.

Joy is having family. Joy can be laced with melancholy knowing that your dad is thousands of miles away. Joy is looking forward to visiting him. Joy is having a good example of how to be a parent. Joy is having a dad – no matter how he came into that role in my life.

***
What has brought you joy this week? (Don’t worry, I’ll be updating more later today/tomorrow!)

Joy Project – Week 6 of 52

Week Six of the Joy Project

February 3, 2014 – Homey and Little Homey

:)
🙂

Lately, Homey has been researching the world of iPhone Apps. (He writes about it here.) The kids are actually loving this because it means that someone in this house is finally using their phones for games.

The T-Rex is the happiest about this. He is just as obsessed as anyone with the little games like Flappy Bird and Sheep Happens. I think those are the names of the games. I have not downloaded any game apps to my phone. I have no idea.

While I’m not really much of a supporter of iPhone game apps (I waste enough time as it is), I don’t mind that Homey is doing this to research his newest ideas, and, most of all, that he lets his children be a part of the process.

I was sitting on the couch, crocheting, when I looked over at these two. Aren’t they cute. The T-Rex is a spitting image of Homey, so I sometimes call him “Little Homey.” Especially when they’re hanging out together like this (which is pretty much anytime that Homey is home.)

Joy is having a son. I love my daughters, too. I have written about them and will write about them more. But I’m so glad that I was finally able to have a little boy. Joy is seeing him follow in his father’s footsteps. I can’t think of a better example of manhood than Homey. Joy is witnessing cute little quiet moments like these – while I quietly sit on the periphery. Joy is my “homies”.

February 4, 2014 – A Finished Project

Youth 2014 Scripture Study Series
Youth 2014 Scripture Study Series

On Tuesday, I finally finished my most recent scripture study series – Come Unto Christ based on the 2014 LDS Youth Theme.

I love working on these. They are actually a lot of hard work. Hours go into creating a study guide with questions that will help the user learn more about the scriptures. I create these for free, and I really hope that people use them and benefit from them.

I create these little study guides for two main reasons 1) I love learning more about the scriptures. 2)I know that I have been blessed to study the scriptures, and I want to share that talent with others. 2a) I don’t want to just share this talent with others by saying “look at what I know…”, but I want to help them to have their own experiences. I feel that with the right questions, they will be able to learn to ponder the scriptures for themselves. No one needs my commentary.

So…I finished this one, and put it on my blog. I sent it to Melanie at Sugardoodle, and I was pleased to see that she posted it on her Facebook. The post got a lot of hits and downloads. I’m hoping that people will be able to enjoy this scripture study guide, and that there aren’t too many typos!!!

Joy is working hard. Joy is starting a new project. I always have a ton of energy when I start something new. Joy is also muddling through the less exciting period of a project. Usually, I lose steam, then slow waaaayyyy down, but joy is making it through this process, remembering that even though the initial novelty has worn off, I’m still making progress. Joy is finally finishing and seeing that the work you have done is pretty good. Joy is finishing a project!

February 5, 2014 – The Gilbert Temple

Today, the kids had the day off. We cleaned the house, then went down to Gilbert for the Temple Open House.

Amazing
Amazing

It was absolutely amazing. The experience began with us meeting in the church building next to the temple. We listened to Mo-tab and then watched a short film about temples.

Afterward, we were escorted to the temple.

It was so cool to go to the temple with my children. Typically, temples are closed to the general public. In order to enter into a temple, a person needs to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he or she will go to the Bishop to have a worthiness interview. Then, upon recommendation, the individual may enter into the temple. One of the requirements is that the person who wishes to attend the temple must be at least 12 years of age. Even then, a 12-year old cannot experience every aspect of the temple.

It isn’t until you are an adult that you can go to the rest of the temple.

People are mystified by Mormon Temples, and I can see why. They are beautiful, and they are sacred. We live in a culture that doesn’t put much importance to sacredness, and I think that this is the reason people get so upset that we aren’t more “open” to what happens in the temple. I will say, however, that the temple is a sacred house of God; it is a house of prayer, fasting, faith, learning, and glory.

Sisters!
Sisters!

Before a temple is dedicated, it is open to the general public. We went through the temple. We saw the baptistry, rooms for instruction, and the room where a husband and wife are married and sealed to one another for time and all eternity. Sasquatch especially loved the chandelier in the marriage room. The crystals were so sparkly and beautiful.

Cute!
Cute!

Joy is the house of God. Joy is the temple. Joy is going to the temple with your family, and being reminded that this is what it’s all about. Joy is being able to envision a day when I’m at the temple with my children because they have also chosen to live worthy of the temple and to make and keep sacred covenants there.

February 6, 2014 – A Good Book

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

We are reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan for book club. I just started reading it, and I love it. I love that it is about women, women’s relationships, and even a secret woman’s language.

I wish that our world would appreciate women more. And I don’t mean to say that we should be trumpeting the message that women can do anything…they can do men’s things, too. (That’s fine with me, but it’s not the issue I have). I wish that our world would love and treasure those things which have traditionally been considered womanly.

For example, I’m working on a crocheting project (that I’ll share with you soon), and I just love the intricacy of crochet. It is functional and beautiful. It is something that has traditionally belonged to women. Crocheting, quilting, knitting, gardening, cleaning, baking – being “domestic” shouldn’t be things we eschew, but should be championed. I’m not very eloquent right now. I just want to say that I love being a woman. I’m even grateful for traditional women’s roles and responsibilities although they aren’t really openly valued. Motherhood is a divine role.

Reading this book made me think about what has made me who I am–especially as a mother. It also made me soooo grateful that I wasn’t a woman during this oppressive time that the book is set in.

Joy is a good book.

February 7, 2014 – Scaring the Birds

Last year, we over-seeded our lawn. A day or two after Homey finished overseeding, we noticed flocks of birds picking in our grass–eating the seeds we had just thrown down.

Homey was frustrated. The birds were trying to ruin our lawn, so he created the perfect chore for the T-Rex

He takes it very seriously.

Joy is a little boy who will randomly bust out with a loud shout, “RAAAAWWWWR!” Joy is a son who will follow his father’s instructions. 🙂

February 8, 2014 – Chocolate

A fair dedicated to chocolate.
A fair dedicated to chocolate.
Sampling the Fudge
Sampling the Fudge
Sasquatch approves.
Sasquatch approves.
Homey likes it, too.
Homey likes it, too.
Panda loves the chocolate.
Panda loves the chocolate.

This boy is as sweet as his chocolate.
This boy is as sweet as his chocolate.

Glendale, AZ has a chocolate fair every year. You read that right. An entire fair dedicated to chocolate. Naturally, we went. We walked around, sampled chocolates, then settled on this fudge.

I bought three hunks(? not sure the technical name of a hunk of fudge) of fudge. I thought that it would last us a week or longer.

It was all gone by Sunday night…

Joy is chocolate. Joy is this bitter-sweet treat. Joy is living in a family full of chocoholics, fighting over every last piece of fudge.

February 9, 2014 – Children

No picture for this one. But maybe a video.

I am the primary chorister in my ward. It is my fifth time with this calling. I have never loved a calling as much as I love this one right now.

I get to teach children to sing. Not only that, but the songs we sing are doctrinally rich.

One of the best parts of my day is going into the nursery (ages 18 months-3 years). They are antsy and don’t really sing much. We sing several “wiggle” songs. I love seeing them wiggle their toes and noses. They take wiggling very seriously.

Every week, I end with the song I am a Child of God. I’m not sure the reason, but every single child sang this song so earnestly on Sunday. They sat in their chairs, arms folded, singing as hard a they could.

I was overcome. I couldn’t even sing! I felt their spirits so strongly, and I wanted to shout, “Always remember this: You ARE a child of God. The world around you will try to make you forget, but you must always know that you are children of God.”

Joy is knowing that we are children of God. Joy is being reminded that I am a child of God. So often, I forget or even doubt my true divine nature. Joy is seeing a group of children confident in the fact that they are children of God. Joy is learning a lesson from a group of toddlers that brings a tear to my eye even as I write it down right now.

***
What has brought you joy this week??? Please share!

Joy Project–Week 5 of 52

Week five of the Joy Project

January 27, 2014 – Good Health

Unfortunately, it seems like it takes bad health to help us appreciate good health. I mean, I really try to appreciate my health. I eat fruits and veggies, I floss my teeth every day, I drink water, and I run. But I still get sick or injured, and when I do, I realize how wonderful good health is.

It’s even worse when our little ones get sick.

Today, T-Rex and I were doing some grocery shopping, and suddenly he started crying. Like really crying. I mean, I haven’t heard him cry this way since he was teething.

Fortunately, he is old enough to tell me what is wrong. He clutched his ear and started shouting, My ear!!! It really hurts mommy! I wanna go home. Unfortunately, for him, he’s the youngest of four, we needed groceries, and I was halfway done. I gave him a muffin to distract him for a few more minutes. When he lost patience, I went over to the medicinal section of the store, found a box of eardrops, ripped them open, dropped four drops in his ear, then, for good measure, I let him play with my phone. (This is huge. My kids don’t get to touch my phone, ever.) He seemed okay, so I finished my shopping.

By the time we were leaving, he was clutching his ear again. I felt a little horrible at this point (only because I was talking to the cashier and had to be accountable for my stalling). I explained to her that we had a doctor’s appointment that afternoon (his well check-up! Perfectly timed!), and I tried to convince her that I really do care about my children.

We got home, I gave him Acetaminophin, and let him watch a movie. He settled down, and later was proscribed an antiobiotic for an ear infection. (This is the first ever ear infection for any of our children!)

Where’s the joy in this?
Joy is good health. It is a body that functions. And joy can even be bad health because it is knowledge that we are here, on this earth, enjoying this world in any way possible. Joy is experiencing a sick day – making the nice, healthy days even more dazzling.

January 28, 2014 – An Adventure and Hope

We went on an adventure today–to the thrift shop.

I forgot to take a picture, but I’ll be better in the future, I promise!!!

In my quest to be a better, more exciting but also wiser mother, I’ve decided to kind of “package” our chores and errands a little differently. I needed to take a load of clothes and stuff to Goodwill, so I announced that this weeks’s adventure would be to the thrift shop!

Apparently, I’m better at sales than I previously imagined, as the kids were excited.

Usually, I do adventures during the school day with the younger two. My older kids are reasonably jealous, but for now, that’s just how it is going. I can’t do adventures after school, and we already have enough going on over the weekends. So, Panda was delighted to hear that this adventure would be happening while she was sick at home.

Panda, Sasquatch, the T-Rex, and I loaded up our goods, got a few dollars, and headed to the local Goodwill. I don’t think that I’ve ever taken my kids to the thrift shop. We sifted through books and trinkets. I didn’t let them look through the toys. (We probably donated half of them! Our house is overrun with toys that the kids don’t play with anymore!) We found a few treasures and took them to the register.

It was another successful adventure…for the most part. I kept feeling a mixture of sadness due to Tiger’s absence and hope. I’ve been thinking about homeschooling lately. In some ways, the idea seems insane to me. But I also have many other reasons why I’ll be doing it. As we took our little adventure to the thrift store, everything about my life felt so natural and meaningful. It was a confirmation to me that homeschooling next year is the right thing for our family.

Joy is a little adventure. It is family. Joy is receiving small, simple whisperings that you are on the right track–even though the right track can be so unconventional and crazy.

January 29, 2014 – The Perfect Morning

I've got a great life.
I’ve got a great life.

I really can’t complain. I get to study my scriptures, at my table, with this little helper every morning.

Joy is a playful puppy who will take a break to rest his shaggy little head in your lap while you read scriptures.

January 30, 2014 – An Active Three-Year Old Boy

Setting up
Setting up
The throw
The throw
strike!
strike!

These days, my house often sounds like a bowling alley. The T-Rex loves these cheap bowling pins we got from an unnamed box-store years ago. The T-Rex is picky. He must get a strike. If he doesn’t get a strike, it is likely there will be a mild melt-down. However, when he gets a strike, he jumps, he dances, he does the splits. I love his little celebrations.

Joy is having a three-year old boy in the home. Sure, life can a little wild, competitive, and emotional, but it is joyful nonetheless.

January 31, 2014 – Subbing

Wow.
Wow.

Today, I had the chance to sub for Sasquatch’s preschool. It was a lot of fun. It was a lot of work. I came away with the realization that we don’t pay our teacher enough! 😉

Joy is hanging out with a bunch of eager four and five year olds. Joy is seeing them learn. Joy is reading with them and teaching them about Punxatawny Phil. Joy is also knowing that I was subbing, and that Mrs. G. will be back on Monday!

February 1, 2014 – Righteousness

wild times
wild times

Homey, his brother, my sister-in-law, my nephew, and I went to the Phoenix Open. It was a lot of fun. I’ve never been to a PGA event before. I have to admit, I’m not all that into golf.

Homey, however, loves golf. You have to realize that saying Homey loves golf is the understatement of the century. I’m sure that many of you can relate.

It was fun to go to a PGA event – to see truly great golfers and to see Homey so excited.

The Phoenix Open, however, isn’t like most Golf Tournaments. It is rowdy. People drink a lot. There is a lot of swearing and girls dressed very immodestly. The tone is “party.” It isn’t too different than a football or hockey game. Actually, I think that most of the football and hockey games I’ve been to have been a little more family friendly.

Even though we had a lot of fun, there was a general sense of disappointment(?) when we left. I’m not sure if disappointment is the right word. Discomfort, for sure. My sister-in-law said, “I feel like I need to take a shower to rid me of the spiritual filth.” I understood what she meant.

While we had fun, I came home with a greater appreciation for the gospel. The gospel teaches me to love my body, my temple. The gospel teaches men to appreciate and love women–rather than objectify them. The gospel teaches us that wickedness never was happiness and why this is true.

Joy is righteous living. Joy may not seem as exciting – in a worldly perspective – but that worldly perspective is skewed and just plain wrong. Joy is control over my body and emotions. Joy is consciously experiencing the world around me. Joy is appreciating the talents of others in an uplifting way.

February 2, 2014 – Serving Others

I don’t have a picture for this, and I don’t have details, but I have my little “Joy is” statement.

Joy is serving others. Joy is praying to God that you can help someone. Joy is receiving an inspiration that you don’t even understand. Joy is following that prompting, quietly and anonymously serving someone, and then finding out later that she was in true need of the service provided. Joy is knowing that Heavenly Father is mindful of all of us, and if we let Him, we can be instruments in His hands to bring happiness and comfort to others.

***
What has brought you joy this week?

12 Days of Joy – Running and Pasta

So, here’s a two-fer, but it is actually a three-fer because I posted earlier today (for Friday)…

Running

One thing I like about running.
One thing I like about running.

So…yesterday I felt joy in my life during my run.

This is easier said than done, I have to admit. I’ve been running for a while–off and on (off while pregnant/nursing, then I try to get back “on”). I like feeling the runner’s high, and I like the accomplishment that accompanies a good run. I also love listening to music and being outside. Running covers all of these things for me.

Recently, I decided to sign up for the Phoenix Marathon. It was mostly out of stubbornness, and it might be one of the stupider things I’ve done to be difficult. I’ve run a marathon before, and it is so long. I’m not sure if my body is up to it.

But I signed up, and now my brother signed up, so I’ll be running a marathon in March- which means I’m training for a marathon now.

Even though the runs are hard, they bring me joy. I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I run. It is really hard. I look forward when my runs are only an hour or so long, but for now, these longer runs are good–just look at the view. 🙂

Pasta and Friends

Homemade Pasta with old friends.
Homemade Pasta with old friends.

So, here’s a picture of my pasta roller. Tonight, I had an old friend- Noell – over for dinner (she was my roommate in college!). I meant to take a picture of her, but, alas, I forgot!!!

So, it was another great day of good food and great company. Tonight when Noell came over, I felt like Alma when he saw Ammon and the other sons of Mosiah – she is still my sister in the Lord. (See Alma 17:2.)

We caught up, laughed, and made pasta. I’ve never made pasta before, so I’m glad that she was patient as I tried out something totally new. I really should have planned better because I get so sidetracked when I’m trying to simultaneously cook and entertain. I can’t multi-task! Luckily nothing caught on fire.

Bonus

I’ve been feeling more joy as a mother lately. I’m so grateful for this gift. I’ll let you in on a secret – if you are a mother, then you are surrounded by joy, but you have to choose to see it.

The T-Rex is smiling and sleeping. I love this little boy.
The T-Rex is smiling and sleeping. I love this little boy.

The T-Rex is a two year old boy (he’ll be three in a few weeks), and he’s into everything. He is also the youngest of four, and my only boy. He might be on the spoiled side. It is a temptation to be frustrated by him. He has mood swings, he is active, and he loves to destroy so many things.

Yesterday, he was using a long toy as a weapon to smash one of his other smaller toys (a motorcycle). As he was doing this, it seemed like his motorcycle would break. Not only that, but the noise created by all of his smashing was quite grating.

At first impulse, I wanted to yell for him to stop doing what he was doing. I could have done that, and it would have gone something like this:

“Please stop hitting your motorcycle.” (He would have looked at me, then very deliberately start hitting the motorcycle again, while I was still looking.
“Please stop hitting your motorcyle,” I’d probably plead. And he’d go back to hitting.
“T-REX! You need to listen to me, and you need to stop.” I’d be yelling by now. He’d go back to his game of crushing the motorcycle, and I might either give up, or start reading him a book, or force him to play outside with the dog.

But it didn’t go this way. When he started to smash his motorcycles, and I looked over at him annoyed, something softened in me. I saw a huge grin on his face, and I watched him as he hit the motorcyles. He wasn’t trying to break them or be destructive, he was watching them flip in the air. He smiled as he watched physics in action.

I decided to smile, too.

And I’m glad I did, I felt a moment of intense joy as he played. I was also reminded, once again, that these experiences won’t last much longer, and I should simply enjoy everything about my little ones–even when they’re doing something that I find so annoying. 🙂

***
So, that’s it. I’m caught up. What brings you joy?

I Pray in Faith – Craft for Kids

Well…my newest calling is Sunbeam teacher. While I won’t bore you with all of the things we did yesterday (actually, yesterday’s class was mildly entertaining), I thought that I would share activities or crafts that we do from time to time.

Five Parts of a Prayer Craft for Kids
Five Parts of a Prayer Craft for Kids

This craft will help a child remember the five parts of a prayer.

Materials Needed

  • White Paper (Even though it isn’t in this picture, I ended up writing “I Pray in Faith” at the top of the paper – horizontally
  • Stamping ink
  • Word strips with the following:
    • Say “Dear Heavenly Father”
    • Thank Him for Blessings
    • Humbly ask for blessings
    • In the name of Jesus Christ
    • Amen
  • Glue

Instructions for making this Craft
This craft is pretty much self-explanatory, but here are a few things to remember while making it.

  1. Give each child a paper. Show the one that you have made in advance – and introduce the craft. This will remind us of the five main parts of a prayer.
  2. Ink the children’s hands and stamp onto the paper. I stamped the kids hands one at a time. In order to keep interest, they got to choose color, and we oohed and aahed after each hand had been stamped.
  3. Immediately wipe the ink from the child’s hands.
  4. Glue each word strip on. But explain the word strip. Have them repeat what each word strip says. I made these word strips in advance – and I just used little scraps of paper that I already had. I put glue on the back of the word strip, then let the child affix it on the paper. I also asked them specific questions: What they were grateful for, and what kinds of blessings that they asked for, etc.
  5. Wrap up the craft and discussion by singing I Pray in Faith – especially the second verse.

This craft would be great as part of a prayer-themed FHE. It also fits perfectly into the Fourth Sunbeam Lesson – I can Pray to Heavenly Father