Posts Tagged With: joy

Beauty in EVERY Moment

My husband’s Grandma Jane made the BEST cinnamon rolls in the world. years ago on one particular visit I decided I was determined to learn her sticky bun magic. Pen and paper out, I jotted down everything, from the type of spoon she used to the number of times she stirred the dough. How she sprinkled on the sugar and cinnamon and the color of the pan she cooked them in. With my careful calculations and particular care I took in writing everything down I just knew I would be pulling out the most golden, soft, moist cinnamon rolls when we got home.

The batches that followed never quite measured up. Rock hard. Too crunchy, too doughy, not sweet enough. Even when following the directions I so carefully jotted down that day I have yet to master her perfect rolls.

Every spring I make a Little Shutterfly book for the previous year. Last July Grandma Jane passed away quickly and unexpectedly. While I looked through pictures to create our annual book and tried to decide what to say for the summer months, I thought about all that I wished I had learned from her before she left. If I could have watched her make those cinnamon rolls one more time I just might have discovered her magic. Just maybe.

IMG_0414But as amazing as her cinnamon rolls were, they dimmed in comparison to the other life lessons I wish I could have learned. In her funeral program is something she wrote.

“Every moment is beautiful and captures the attention.”

Right after our third son was born I remember feeling exhausted, exasperated, and at the end of my rope. Our then four-year-old and two-year-old had demanded one too many things and made far too many messes. I took the baby and locked myself in the bedroom. I could hear the two little criminal master minds contemplating how to break in as I sat with the baby in the rocking chair and cried. Whoever came up with the saying not to cry over spilled milk must have understood mother-dom well. That cup of spilled milk has reduced me to tears far more often than I would like to admit.

THAT moment was not my prettiest, nor what I would have called beautiful.

For months we fought a whitey tighty war against our middle son. Every time he woke up, every time he used the bathroom, every time he escaped my view I had to ask him, “M, are you wearing underwear?” and that was always, always followed by, “Please go get your underwear on.” Sometimes my response was anything but beautiful. Sometimes I was so tired of the constant questioning that it was downright mean. One day M came running down the stairs. “DAD! DAD! Guess what?? I remembered underwear! Wanna see?” With that he pulled down his pants, revealing a naked little bottom. His shocked face was priceless as he yanked up his pants and scampered back up the stairs.

As a mom I can’t say that I find every moment beautiful. Sure, it often captures the attention, but all-too-often in a “You spilled your milk AGAIN?!” sort of way. The scraped knees, the toddler tantrums, the cleaning up after every single messy meal. The legos that I always manage to step on and the beds that never get made. Frankly, motherhood often leaves me a grumpy old witch.

But Grandma Jane didn’t just write that every moment was beautiful. They were so much more than words. I have no doubt that she felt it. She really and truly believed it. Every moment DID seem beautiful to her and did capture her attention. She had an incredible way of finding the best in even the most rotten person or crummy situation. Grandma Jane left behind a legacy of finding beauty.

HPIM0657Some moments might not seem beautiful as a mom. Some moments are downright dirty. But I am sure that with effort we can, like Grandma Jane, find beauty in even the ugliest moment.

Maybe it will take a healthy dose of humor.
I’m sure we will have to seek for a good measure of forgiveness.
We occasionally will have to throw common sense to the wind, forget we’re adults and jump in the mud with the kids.
Sometimes it might mean taking a step back and just being thankful that it wasn’t worse than it was. We might have to be grateful for those that help us through those particularly hard days.

Beauty is there for the finding. We often just might have to look extra hard. And eventually I hope it will get easier and easier for the beauty to capture the attention instead of the mess.

Someday I will master her cinnamon roll recipe. It might take years to achieve the ooy-gooy Grandma Jane-y goodness, but someday I’m determined to serve up a plate of the best rolls you have ever tasted. And today, today I’m going to try to look on life with such Grandma Jane optimism, such happiness, such joy. And I will try to find beauty in every moment.

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Categories: Happiness, Life Lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

To All Those That Worry–Today I Choose Joy

I couldn’t tell how big the snake was. Maybe four feet. No doubt it had a rattle on the end. I had just glanced outside to check on our boys playing with the dog in the front when I spotted it, curled up on our porch. That’s when panic set in. I raced for the door just as N, our not-quite-two-year-old rounded the corner and caught a glance of that slithering monster. In two-year-old curious fashion, he took a few steps closer to get a better look. “No, stay back! Don’t come, N!” The snake coiled and began to hiss. I was hysterical. That rattle and the 4-foot long, scaly body sat between me and my son, and I felt helpless. N inched a little closer, my screams became more distressed as I could see the snake bare his fangs at that tiny boy.

I sat up straight in bed. I could hear crickets out the window and see the moon through our sliding glass door. No snakes. No children’s laughter. My heart was pounding. Just a dream, right? I jumped out of bed and ran to my boys’ room. Every inch of my body tingled with the aftershock of what I’d just imagined. My eyes strained to see N sleeping soundly through the darkness. Just a dream. A horrible, nasty One. Unfortunately it could very well have been real, but tonight it was just my mind conjuring up what I’ve dreaded so many times.

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Sometimes I wonder if worrying is something that automatically comes with motherhood. The baby, the worry, it’s a package deal. Usually it’s just a little nagging feeling on the back of your mind, other times it becomes so strong it overwhelms you. It probably wouldn’t be normal if we didn’t have a little concern, those moments before the nurse hands you that little miracle for the first time, waiting to know results for something questionable about their health, when you wonder if they will ever sleep through the night so you can become sane again. When they walk into their first day of kindergarden, crash their bike for the first time, or get their drivers license, go on their first date, go off to college states away, and become parents of their own. The uncertainty never ends!

Maybe I worry more than the normal mom, but I have a feeling I’m not alone. We love our kids and want the best for them, so naturally we are concerned for their well-being. But on the occasions when we feel overcome with this anxiety, when it is totally out of our control, faith is the only remedy. Faith, hope and love. I came across this quote a while back and have since put it up on our fridge to read every day.

 “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”
― Leo Buscaglia

A year ago a rather unpleasant turn of events left it so I was in constant uneasiness for an entire month. I couldn’t get the “what if’s” out of my mind. It involved my health, which has always been just great, but suddenly I wasn’t sure. Suddenly life seemed upside-down and I was running scenarios in my mind. What would my kids do if I were gone? Who would take care of them? Love them? Who would make my husband dinner every night or go on walks with him? It consumed me. I suddenly, for the first time in my life, felt so incredibly mortal. That worry sapped too many days of joy as we waited for answers.

My only comfort that month of waiting was my faith in a loving Heavenly Father. I knew whatever happened, he was in control. He was my anchor, and I realized he was the ONLY anchor that could hold us steady during turbulent times. I was so very thankful for that.

We later found that everything was fine and my worry had all been for naught. I had been robbed of the joy those days could have held.

That snake from my dreams lingers in the back of my mind like the poison it’s venom contained. I won’t allow such things out of my control to sap my days any more. Today I’ve decided to let faith win. Let hope be the deciding factor in how I will live. When we anchor our lives in the one thing that will hold, when we give our worry to the master of all, the fiercest of storms can try beat us down, but we will not sink. We will come out victorious.
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So today I choose joy. What about you?

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If I could figure out how it insert this movie in, I definitely would. It’s wonderful. It’s 5 minutes and worth the watch. But, with my pathetic technical skill, I don’t know how, so here’s the link:

Mountains to Climb

And an article that has helped me:

“I Will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake Thee”

 

Categories: Motherhood, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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