Day 36: 100 Moments of Joy (Iowa Muffins)

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My mom made the above muffins to celebrate Iowa’s win yesterday. Seeing the muffins not only made me smile, but made me grateful for my mom and her ability to make others feel special. She brings so much joy to my life and is an example to me of the kind of service-oriented and thoughtful woman I want to be.

Days 34 and 35: 100 Moments of Joy (Black Friday and a Saturday at the Temple)

The day after Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year. It’s the first official day of the Christmas season, my favorite time of the year, and it’s Black Friday. My mom, sister, and I have the tradition of going to the outlets near my parents home at 8 p.m. to shop for Christmas gifts. By 8 p.m. most of the shopping crowds have died down, the stores are calm, and the good deals are still available.

The day after Thanksgiving this year was especially fun as it was Iowa’s final football game of the season. The game was at 3:30 p.m. We headed to my parents’ house and watched the game with them. The Hawkeyes won! Making for an undefeated season.

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Big smiles after the final game of the undefeated season.

Before the game, John and I pulled out Christmas decorations from the storage closet. By the time we left for my parents’ house, our living room looked like a Christmas store exploded. Friday was a day of joy filled with family, fun traditions, and memories.

On Saturday, John and I went to the Temple in the morning. I love the Temple, and I am so grateful how close we live to an LDS Temple. I felt joy being in the Temple and refocusing on what is most important in life, God and our families.

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The Temple on Saturday morning.

The afternoon was spent cleaning, running errands, and preparing dinner for the missionaries who serve in our church congregation. My favorite part of the day was relaxing in the evening in front of the Christmas tree. I love turning off all the lights except for the Christmas lights. I haven’t taken a picture of the tree yet, but will do so before the season is over.

Day 33: 100 Moments of Joy (Laughter)

After Thanksgiving dinner last night, we played Telestrations, a very fun game that’s bound to make you laugh. I laughed and laughed during the game, and it felt so good. Laughter seems to have a healing power that just makes you feel good. It was a joyful evening full of family, friends, food, and laughter.

In other news, I held a dog last night. This is a big deal because I’m kind of scared of dogs. I had to document this occasion. Hence the picture below 🙂 Meet Watson.

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The Boys at Starbucks Think Mormons are the Nicest

Tonight John and I went on a date to Reston Town Center. We headed to his favorite burger restaurant, The Counter. The host said there would be a 30 minute wait. We decided to walk around outside, but it was cold. So, we stopped in Starbucks to get some caramel apple cider. As the baristas were preparing our drinks, they were talking (quite loudly) about which religion is the nicest. Mind you, the baristas are like high school age boys. They all came to the conclusion that Mormons are the nicest because they “turn the other cheek…” Their words, not mine. John and I just looked at each other and smiled. It was so funny.

Day 32: 100 Moments of Joy (Infant Holy, Infant Lowly)

Today I had joy as I listened to Christmas music  while working. One song in particular really touched my heart. It was an arrangement of “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly” by BYU’s Vocal Point. The words of this song are so powerful. Take a listen…

p.s. This song came on the Pentatonix Christmas Pandora Station. I highly recommend it!

Day 31: 100 Moments of Joy (Married One Month)

Today marks one month from the day John and I got married. To celebrate I smashed his toe with a chair. Okay…it wasn’t to celebrate…it was an accident. Oh life!

Today had been a really great day. I had a good day at work. I fit in some exercise time in the evening. Iowa was ranked number four in college football. We had grand plans to deliver goodies to a few friends whom we are grateful for. And then as we sat down for dinner, I scooted my chair closer to the table and smashed his toe. Oh boy. He’s been sitting with ice on it for about the last hour and a half.

I am grateful for life and the joy it brings, smashed toes and all 🙂

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John and I with my parents one month ago.

Days 24-30: 100 Moments of Joy

I have not done the best job with my “100 Moments of Joy” project this past week.  While I haven’t been good at recording moments of joy, I have definitely recognized joy more in my life. I am grateful for the prompting I had to record moments of joy for 100 days, because while I am not perfect at it, I have felt an internal shift in my outlook on life.

One experience of joy has remained with me for a few days. It was a simple experience, but filled my heart with joy. John went out of town for one day this week. I took him to the airport on my way to work in the morning, and I picked him up that night. His flight was delayed coming home, which gave me more time to myself. I decided to take that time and read in the scriptures. As I read, my heart was filled with joy and a great appreciation for the blessings in my life.

It’s so easy for me to get frustrated by the little things that go wrong in the week (e.g. a miscommunication with the company who was supposed to repair the crack in our car windshield or a mix-up with a prescription at the local pharmacy that took an hour to resolve.) Not only do I get frustrated by these things, but then I get frustrated with myself for getting frustrated because I logically realize these are not “big deal” issues.

I am grateful for the joy that filled my heart while I was reading the scriptures on a quiet night this past week.  My perspective shifted as I read and joy filled my soul and impressed upon me the need to cultivate a more grateful heart.

Day 23: 100 Moments of Joy (Phillipians 4:13)

Today as I was sitting in church thinking about the accountabilities that come with seeking to be a true follower of Jesus Christ, a good wife, a good friend, a good daughter, a good sister, etc., I felt momentarily overwhelmed. I thought about how fast time goes by and how life has felt a bit like a marathon recently. And I was wondering if it will always feel this way. As I was thinking, a scripture popped in my mind: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phillipians 4:13)

It hit me in that moment that I need not worry about the future stressors of life. I need to focus on finding strength and peace in Christ. Because through Him, we will all be able to carry the loads that are ours.

I have much to be thankful for in life that brings joy. At the top of that gratitude list is the Savior Jesus Christ.

This is one of my most favorite paintings by Greg Olsen. It's called the Gentle Healer.
This is one of my most favorite paintings by Greg Olsen. It’s called the Gentle Healer.

Days 21 and 22: 100 Moments of Joy (Forever Friends and the Temple)

On Friday, I joined John’s extended family’s photo stream. On there were pictures from our wedding. I came across a picture of me and three girls I served my LDS church mission with in Nauvoo, Illinois. Seeing this picture made me so grateful for eternal friendships and for the opportunity I had to serve a mission and to serve in Nauvoo. The girls I served with there will forever be some of my truest and closest friends.

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Today I experienced joy as I went to the LDS Temple in Washington DC. When I take the time to go to the Temple and sit quietly and ponder, I feel my insecurities (which are many) slowly disappear as I remember that I am daughter of God. When I truly remember that, my fears and insecurities disappear. It’s so, so easy to be fearful, especially after what happened last night in Paris. My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this tragedy, as well as with the world leaders as they make decisions about how best move forward. I am grateful for Christ’s gentle reminder: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Day 20: 100 Moments of Joy (Song on the Radio)

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This morning I felt joy while listening to a random song on the radio. For some reason, the lyrics triggered something inside of me, and I just felt so happy. I am in awe of the power of music and its ability to stir up emotions. I don’t even remember what the song was, but the feeling it triggered was similar to the feeling of joy I had two weeks ago as I walked out of the Temple with John.