Monday, September 30, 2013

Day 15: Decompression

The kids had the day off of school.

Which meant that we had to take a break from the routine and do something extra fun.  Which meant some time at the local kids' play place.

And then meeting up at the park for lunch and play with friends.

This little girl loves to swing.  And it's Joyful Moments watching her.  And watching all of my kids run around and play with their friends.

And then I came home and talked to my mom for over 3 hours.

I should probably call her more often.

But, there was an exceptional amount of craziness to talk to this time.

And it was really good to share it with my mom.

And it probably gave me the clarity and strength of mind I needed to deal with the crazy way our evening went down.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Day 14: Cherish

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately.  A LOT.

About family.  About what it really means to be a good parent.  About how priceless children are.  About what every child really deserves.

And I've gained an added appreciation for the priceless gift I have in my children.  So, today I was that much more in tune with their silly, imaginative conversations.  More patient with their tantrums and struggling.  And more affectionate in our interactions.  And I truly found Joyful Moments in just being with them and feeling the blessing of being their mom.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Day 13: Check

Have I mentioned that I belong to the largest women's organization in the world?  It's a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it's called the Relief Society.  Once a year we get to hear from the leaders of our church, speaking directly to us as members of this organization.

I look forward to it immensely.

Tonight was that night.

First, I enjoyed dinner at Panera with my friends, which was interesting, but fun.

And then we went to the church to listen to the broadcast from Salt Lake City, Utah.

I'll be honest, even though I look forward to it every year, sometimes I walk away feeling a little bit guilty because we've been admonished to do more and work harder.

This year, the theme of the meeting was keeping our covenants with the Lord, mainly by serving others.  And I sat there with a clear conscience.  I've been doing a lot more service in general, ever since I set a goal for it back in May.  But, the past two weeks, I've pretty much devoted more time, energy, and effort than I really possessed to serving.

And that was a good feeling.  A Joyful Moment.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Day 12: Repeat Already

Like last Friday, snuggling on the couch while watching a movie with HH was today's Joyful Moment.  I'd been looking forward to it all day.

All week, really.  I knew if I could just make it through everything until then, we'd all be okay.

And we are.

Also, I had a nice walk with friends this morning.  Friends who understand and accept me.  All my craziness included.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Day 11: A Princess

Being able to be a part of this obviously Joyful Moment was one of the highlights in my day.  These kids have completely won my heart in the two weeks I've known them.

And HH making a triumphant return to church basketball tonight was a huge Joyful Moment, as well.  It's been a long road back since his shoulder surgery.  There were times he wasn't sure he'd ever get back into the game.  So, sending him out the door was a great moment for me.

As was his return home.  Injury free.  Big sigh of relief.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Day 10: Children Are Worth It

Joyful Moments today began early with being able to offer love and affection to children who are in great need in that area.  And seeing their beautiful resulting smiles.

And then causing some smiles on my own children's faces.  Because they've been a little neglected the past few days.  HH and the kids biked to the park and I brought ice cream cones.  I'm getting a little sick, so riding my bike sounded awful.  Doing pretty much anything sounded awful.  But, it was worth the sacrifice to be together with my family, to watch their tricks on the playground, and to catch Darling A at the bottom of the slide about 5,000 times.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Day 9: Poured Out

I've been trying to stick more to the basic Joyful Moments this time around.  And not so much on all of the rest of life.

And honestly, I wouldn't even know where to begin if I tried to explain what has been going on around here of late.

But, amidst it all, I've been having some serious self-doubts.  And today, I think Heavenly Father decided it was time to put those to rest.

I have never been the recipient of such an outpouring of love.  I tried explaining it to HH at least three different times tonight.  But, I can't adequately convey what happened today.  I interacted with so many people today--some I know well, and some I've barely met.  And it was mostly to discuss some very serious things going on with our neighbors.  But somehow, everyone I spoke to had a similar message for me.  One that overwhelmed me to the point of tears every single time.  But, the basic gist was love and appreciation and support.

Most of it was expressed verbally.  But, there was also this from a couple different friends.  That stack of cookies might have been considerably taller when it was dropped off.

So, now, I need to take sometime to process everything.

Today was really awful in between all of that, so I don't ever want to go through it again.  But, I'm so grateful for the people and friends in my path today who shared what they did.  Because today, it made all the difference.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Day 8: The Break

Little M's morning masterpiece!

Today was insane.

But, for a couple hours in the middle, we took a time out from the insanity and went to the zoo with some friends.  It was really good for Baby B to play with one of the people he refers to as his "favorite little friends".  And it was really good for me to hang out and chat with one of the people he refers to as my "favorite little friends".

Breaks can be Joyful Moments.  So can listening to the gibbons and being grateful they don't live in my home.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Day 7: Children's Voices, Oh, How Sweet

Today was the "Primary Program" at church.  Which means that the children aged 4-12 gave the program today.  With a lot of help from some wonderful leaders.

Listening to my children sing and give their brief lines (perfectly) was a sweet (and sometimes funny) Joyful Moment.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Day 6: Remembering Whose I Am

I was able to attend a baptism today.  For a man from the Congo.

I also conducted the music.  A typical baptism program only has two songs--an opening and a closing hymn.

But, for this one, we sang several hymns in the middle, while waiting for him to get ready again after being baptized.

I still struggle to keep time, so this was a little nerve racking for me when I opened the program and saw the list of hymns.  But, after the first 3 or 4, I kind of settled in and felt confident enough to immerse myself more in the spirit of the hymns.  I think it was not a coincidence that this was the hymn we were singing:

This is a song that is often thought of as a "children's song", but really, it's message is for all of us.  And today, it was precisely the message I needed and my Joyful Moment.  I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who finds a way to let me feel His love even when I don't know how.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Day 5: Staying In

Somewhere along the lines over the past four or five months HH started taking me out on dates.

Not that we never went out before that.  Just not all that often.  Probably less than once a month at the most.  And not that it's always his responsibility.

It's just that, suddenly, he made it his responsibility and somewhere along the lines I realized we were going out every week or two.

And it has been super fun.

Who wouldn't love hanging out with this man?  In fact, she tends to get a little jealous when he pays attention to anyone but her.

She may or may not get that from me.

But, tonight, we stayed home.  We snuggled up on the couch and watched a movie.  Jack The Giant Slayer.  Interesting.  I liked the lead character a billion times more in Warm Bodies.

But, Ewan McGregor's hair was seriously amazing.

You can ask HH how many times I commented on it.

Any other man would have lost count.  But, he's an accountant, so I'm pretty sure he kept track.  He does things like that.

Anyway, the point is, even when the movie is kind of silly, hanging out with my best friend was a Joyful Moment.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Day 4: A Girl's Gotta Do

Today was one for the books.

And as I was writing down all that had gone on and I had learned in the course of the day, (in the middle of the afternoon because I've learned that I just have to do things when I have even half of an opportunity, or else they never happen) I realized that I really needed some girlfriend time.

Thanks to an awesome and supportive (dare I say, even a little bit forceful?) HH, I sent out a very last minute invite via my good friend "facebook" and managed to get a few friends on board for a frozen yogurt date.

What can I say?  We girls will go to great lengths for our sweets.

Having a brother willing to share his Butterfinger is a Joyful Moment for any chubby baby.

Having friends who will come at a last moment's notice to offer support is a Joyful Moment of inestimable value.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Day 3: Big Heart

The music studio where the kids take violin lessons has a fun little rewards program to help with motivation to practice.  They earn points (usually about 5 per week) for different effort and achievements.  Then they can cash these points in for prizes.  The higher the points, the bigger the prize.  Sweet P is a saver; Little M is a spender.  But, he actually managed to accrue over 30 points, as of tonight.  When he realized this, he quickly told me he wanted to get a prize.

He came back a while later with this.  It's difficult to see, sorry.  It's a clear heart.  I think it's supposed to look like it's a diamond.  He used 20 of his 33 points to get it and he walked in and told me it was for me.  To put on my purse.  My own heart melted in that sweet Joyful Moment.

I've never been more enthusiastic to add a little bling bling to my purse.

This boy can sometimes make me crazy.

But, he can also totally melt my heart with his sweet thoughtfulness.  He is a rare gem in the world of little boys and I am head over heels in love with my sweet Little M and the nonchalant way he'll still reach out to hold my hand when we're walking together.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Day 2: A Reason For Everything

Parent Teacher Conferences.

Little M has been struggling a bit this year.  Not with his school work, but with his behavior.  So, I was a little nervous about tonight's meeting with his teacher, but it went really well.  Hearing her say, "I love Little M!", was a Joyful Moment to my heart's ears.

Did that make sense?  It was the best way to describe how that felt.  And if hearts really did have ears, that message would have gone straight to them.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I totally cleared that one up for you.

Also, and totally as expected, more Joyful Moments were to be had when I met with Sweet P's teacher. We pretty much just both gushed about how wonderfully sweet she is.  And I about broke down (I think this is the third time since school started a month ago, and every time I've seen her teacher) while telling her teacher just how grateful I am for whatever she is doing that has made all the difference for Sweet P.  Her stress level is pretty much non-existent, whereas I was feeling certain she was going to develop stomach ulcers the way she was stressing all summer!  She loves school and is a happy learner again.

And when her teacher told me that she is a frequent commenter in class, my heart's ears were happy all over again.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 1: Re-Starting Over

Yeah, you read that right.

Time to begin again.

I've been feeling that I needed to start this up again for a few weeks now.  But, I was afraid of the commitment.  Shocking for someone as in love with commitment as I am, I know.

But, the feeling isn't going away.

So, here goes.  Another 1,000 Days of Joy.

While watching Darling A stuff her face with noodles was really fun and entertaining, it's not the Joyful Moment I'm choosing to share for today.

Today's Joyful Moment was found in becoming friends with a couple of the neighbor children as I drove them to and from school today.  They moved in a couple weeks ago, and unfortunately, their mom's car broke down, leaving them stranded and unable to get to school.

I won't say that this demand didn't add some stress.  But, in the actual moment of service, it was nice to help them out.  And, as I said, become friends.  And they are good kids and did a good job of expressing gratitude which always makes doing someone a favor that much sweeter.