February Fun :)

It’s time for a quick update on life. I am working hard to make life less of a checklist and more about making memories and enjoying each day.

One of the fun memories over the past few weeks is a game night with friends from the church congregation where John and I met, as well as a friend from when I was younger and her husband. It was so fun to have all these friends over to our home to play games. We mainly played Telestrations, which is such a hilarious game, and I love it. My parents actually stopped by our apartment and brought treats for all of us. When they knocked on the door, we had no idea who it could be. Seeing them and receiving goodies was a fun surprise!

Game Night

John was concentrating hard during the last game. One of our friends snapped this photo and sent it to me.
John concentrated hard during the last game. One of our friends snapped this photo and sent it to me.

John and I took a detour from our normal weekend routine to visit a thrift store/antique shop in Aldie, VA. Saldy, I didn’t take any pictures on this excursion. We didn’t end up purchasing anything, but I kind of regret not purchasing a beautiful tea candle stained glass lamp. My sister and my mom are stopping by this shop, and I may have them pick up the lamp for me. John loved the antique radios and record players in the store.

John and I went to a Wizards game on Friday night. We invited one of John’s college roommates and his wife to come along. They recently moved into the area. It was fun to get to know them and fun to watch a professional basketball game. After the game, John and I walked through the city for a little bit. We both commented on how beautiful the architecture is in DC and how fun it is to live so close to the city.

Wizards game

On Saturday, my sister and I had a girls afternoon and went to the Red Door Spa for manicures to celebrate Melissa’s birthday (it’s on Tuesday). That evening we went out with a group of friends to dinner at Vapiano. On Sunday, we continued the birthday celebration with a birthday dinner at my parents’ house. Unfortunately, we forgot to put the candles in the brownies until after we had already eaten a few brownies. But we stuck candles in our partially eaten brownies so we could sing “Happy Birthday” and so Melissa could blow out her candles. It was a really fun evening, with LOTS of great food 🙂

Mel Bday

A couple weeks ago, John and I celebrated our first Valentine’s day. I surprised John with a gift he wasn’t expecting but really wanted. I feel like I am not always the best gift giver, so this made me really happy. John made me bacon wrapped chicken for dinner on Valentine’s day, and it was delicious. He may find himself cooking for us more often 😉 He also purchased this season of NCIS for me. This gift was very thoughtful for two reasons: (1) He knows I haven’t watched any episode from this season, even though I love NCIS. (2) My metro ride home is 50 minutes each day, and I often fall asleep by accident. He downloaded the NCIS episodes onto our iPad so I would have something to keep me awake on my commute home.

I gave my gift early to John. He came home from a work trip on Thursday (the 11th) and this was waiting for him.


100 Days of Looking for Joy

I originally posted this on The Faith Friends

JoyI recently spent 100 days recording “Moments of Joy” on my personal blog. Doing so helped me see more clearly the blessings of life.

I felt inclined to record daily experiences of joy after watching LDS General Conference last fall. I was a few weeks away from getting married, and my internal “bridezilla” was in full force. I felt myself stress over inconsequential matters all of the time.

So for 100 days I actively sought after joy. Joy came quickly and easily during experiences such as my Temple sealing (marriage) and date nights with my fiancé and now husband. But at other times, I felt weighed down by inadequacies, by the coldness and darkness of Winter, and by my own selfishness.

I learned to find joy in places I wouldn’t expect – like the refrigerator. For example, this past Saturday I went shopping for groceries like I always do. After coming home and putting the groceries away, I looked into the refrigerator and saw how full it was. Gratitude and joy filled my heart to the point that I felt guilt for often taking for granted the blessing of daily food to eat.

I am grateful for the prompting I had to record “Moments of Joy” for 100 days. While I still too often allow useless stress into my mind, I’ve learned joy can be found everyday in unanticipated ways if we look for it.



The Faith Friends Blog

Every other Wednesday, I post on a blog called The Faith Friends. The blog was started by my dear friend Sara Picard. My favorite part of being a bi-weekly contributor is it forces me to stop and reflect on experiences that have strengthened my faith in the prior two weeks. I want start including the posts I write on The Faith Friends here on this blog. You can go back here and see all the posts I’ve written.

Below is my most recent post from February 4, 2016:

God is in the Details We Do Not See 

 meme-monson-details-1256678-printI brought my laptop on the metro yesterday morning to write this post. Before opening my laptop, I decided to read through my husband’s scripture notes which he’ll often text me when he reads through the scriptures in the morning. I want to share a portion of what he wrote yesterday in response to reading Luke 19:41-42, which says, “And when he (referring to Jesus Christ) was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it. Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes.”

Here is my husband’s response:

“I am not sure what this scripture means or is referring too, however, I do have a thought about it. I think Christ is saying if we knew the amount of things that had to go right so that we could have peace in our lives, we would be incredibly grateful. However, then Christ makes the statement that these blessings are hid from our eyes. What a sad state of existence that is. Our test is to know that Christ and angels are working behind the scenes for our benefit, and yet we are blind to it. All things do work for our good, even when we do not see them. Having faith in Christ so that we can better understand and see His hand in our lives should ever be within our prayers.”

What a powerful perspective. Perhaps we are blind to many of the ways the Lord is working for good in our lives. And perhaps that is a part of the trial of our faith here on this earth while we are separated from God’s presence.

I believe pondering this possible interpretation of the scripture can elevate our perspective and gratitude for God. If we do, I think we’ll feel less forgotten by God and more grateful for the blessings we do have when things don’t go as we hoped.

One of my favorite songs is “Make Me Whole” from the “Lamb of God” by Rob Gardner. The lyrics of the song are written from the vantage point of a believer in Christ who doesn’t understand all things and wants an increase of faith and to be made whole through Christ. One line of the song in particular always stands out to me.  It states, “Oh touch my heart and bid it know that every breath I take is by Thy tender grace.”

I remember hearing these words about a year ago and feeling such gratitude for the ability to breath, an ability I nearly always take for granted. I love her plea to have her heart touched to remember God’s tender goodness.

I too don’t understand all things, but I believe that we can find peace and joy by believing that God is always working for good in our lives; in ways we cannot see, and in more ways than we can number.

Today marks 170 years since the Mormon pioneers began their exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois to Utah. I believe it was their faith that God was working behind the scenes in their lives to bring them peace that allowed them to cross the rocky mountain, face sickness, death, and despair without giving up their resolve to follow Christ. Just like the pioneers of old, we will have our own metaphorical rocky mountains to traverse in life. Likewise it will be our faith that God works behind the scenes in our lives that will allow us to persevere and stand strong in our resolve to follow Jesus Christ.



Days 94-100: 100 Moments of Joy

I can’t believe today is the last entry for my “100 Moments of Joy” project! It’s been a good and beneficial journey. Later this week, I hope to write a post on what I’ve learned during these last 100 days.

Day 94: Tuesday was another snow day, meaning no work for me. John had to go into the office (he only works five minutes from our home), so I was by myself for most of the day. I spent a good chunk of the day writing thank you notes for wedding gifts we received. It was a peaceful and calm day, and a nice (forced) slow down from the crazy pace of normal life. I had joy sitting in my living room writing thank you notes while the sun streamed natural light in through the blinds.

Day 95: The commute home on Wednesday was epic. I left my office at 4 p.m. because John and I were having dinner with a friend that evening. However, my commute took three hours. Two of those three hours were spent with John driving the typically 10-minute drive from the metro to our home. The roads were jam packed, so we cancelled dinner with my friend. While this was a frustrating commute, I was so grateful I left at 4 p.m. so I could still have some sort of an evening that night. This was a tender mercy that brought joy.

Day 96: My dad picked me up from the metro after work on Thursday because John could not. I appreciated being able to spend a few minutes with my dad. As I walked up to my apartment, my heart felt full of joy for family and the opportunity I have to live so close to mine.

Day 97: I had the day off from work and was able to go to the Temple, go to the DMV to have my name officially changed, get the oil changed in my car, and do some grocery shopping. Attending the Temple brought joy because of the peace I felt while I in that sacred place. Going to the DMV and getting my oil changed didn’t necessarily bring joy, but made me really happy because those two things have been hanging over my head for quite some time. That evening, friends of ours texted to see if we wanted to have a double date that night. They ended up coming over to our apartment, and we ordered dinner from The Counter, an amazing burger place. Spending time with these friends was definitely joyful. They are so positive and always make me laugh when we’re around them.

Day 98: On Saturday night, we had dinner with my friend from high school that we were supposed to have dinner with on Wednesday evening. John had never met this friend. We went to Cafe Rio, and then came back to our apartment and just talked and laughed. Reuniting with old friends brings me joy.

Day 99: I love Sundays! Sunday is the most peaceful and joyful day of the week for me. Yesterday was no exception. We slept in, ate cinnamon rolls, eggs, and fruit for breakfast, went to church, came home and ate dinner, visited with some members of our church congregation, and then relaxed by watching a couple episodes of a show we like.

Day 100: I can’t believe today is Day 100, and this project is officially complete! Today also marks 100 days since John and I got married. I started this project a couple weeks before we got married and then took some time off when we got married and went on our honeymoon. John brings joy into my life every day. He is patient, funny, gentle, and kind.

m and j 2