Birthday Joy

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We are taught that Heaven is much like earth, only perfect; that in the Celestial Kingdom (see Doctrine and Covenants 88) we will be among our families and we won’t lose our association with them.

So, I wonder if tonight you are celebrating, Junior. Do you have mylar balloons and perfectly-iced cakes? Do you play games and music and do you dance, or do you just hang out and enjoy the company of all the family you didn’t know here? I know Aunt Margie and Uncle John are there. You remember them. Aunt Margie took this picture! And your brother is there with you, just like in the picture, by your side. You’re certainly not alone!

young james and junior

I’m sure that, whatever you’re doing, you’re the life of the party! You always were. With those chocolate-brown, almost black eyes, and those long eyelashes, you were always a hit with the ladies! And you were quite the charmer, too! You could sweet-talk your way out of almost any situation you got yourself into, and that was a lot! But you weren’t a troublemaker, you were just restless and so curious.

I wonder what you would look like at 38. You weren’t even 15 when you died. The world is a much different place now than it was then. You would have embraced it all, with all the latest tech. It would have kept that ADHD brain of yours quite occupied. Perhaps you would have even done something in the technology industry.

I do know a few things. You don’t have your mother’s cake…the chocolate one that didn’t even require eggs, that you were so disappointed I didn’t make for you the one year I finally had enough money to buy you one. I know that I no longer have to worry about what this world can do to you, that you are beyond harm. And I know that you are the joy of this mother’s heart.

Keeping my Joy

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We rise by lifting others.   — Robert Ingersoll

Do you ever find yourself waking up wondering what happened to your joy? You go through your day going through the motions, but you’ve somehow lost heart. Do you struggle to find meaning in what once gave you much purpose? I don’t believe you are alone, else why would there be so many self-help and finding-yourself books on the market? And why are there so many self-marketing gurus out there?

I can’t pretend to be an expert. All I have is my own life experience, but it has been diverse and I have been through some rather harrowing moments. I can only tell you what has helped me climb out of my doldrums and find some of the joy that I now live daily.

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me;for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.  Ether 12:27

First, I make a practice of reading my scriptures and praying to my Heavenly Father. I feel that all things go better for me each day if I begin my day by turning it over to Him, and meditating on His word.

Second, I read. I remember reading Dr. Seuss The Cat in the Hat and Red Fish, Blue Fish, and how it made me want to read. I think it also helped that I was the youngest of 6, and I was always trying to keep up. We were all encouraged to read and to learn, and my sisters taught me well. I have always maintained my love of a good book.

Third, I try to learn something new. This is tricky, because this is where the proverbial “shiny, new object” can take out an entire afternoon when I spend too much time on social media sites! But I really love to learn, and I am currently learning about all things herbal as well as essential oils, and I love to learn about canning and I follow a lot of food and traditional homestead bloggers.

Fourth, I try to eat well. I want to make sure that I eat as nutrient-dense whole foods as I can to nourish my body. I want to be as healthy as I can possibly be for as long as the Lord allows.

Fifth, I need to get as much sleep as I can. I fail miserably at this one, but I’m still working on it! I do know that if you have sleep issues, see your doctor. S/he can help you to sort things out. I have incredible insomnia, as well as sleep apnea, and I am working with my doc to try and find some equilibrium and put an end to this problem.

Sixth, I write. Of course I write. I’m a writer. But you don’t have to be a writer to write. Keep a journal. Take notes of your mood, your health stats, your running times, your babysitting schedule, whatever. Just write it down. It’s an incredible stress reducer. Try it and see.

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune

Without the words

And never stops at all

Emily Dickinson

These are only a few of my tips on what helps me to keep my joy. What are some things that have helped you?