Joy Cometh in the Morning

I am not a morning person.  I admit it.  I love my warm, cozy covers and dozing in and out of dreamland. When I do arise,  I need quiet, pensive, grounding time before I can be active.  My husband on the other hand, wakes up with vigor and can be quite chatty!  It's been a balancing act for both of us (probably more give on his part than on mine) for the past seventeen years!

Recently I read this title of a talk by Elder Russel M. Nelson, "Joy Cometh in the Morning."  Though this talk is really on the aspects of repentance and forgiveness, just the title struck me in a new light.  "Joy Cometh in the Morning."  Huh.  That is a beautiful phrase!

In stake conference last weekend our stake president said, "Every morning I wake up and I have a choice.  What kind of day will it be today?  Will I do what is expected of me?"

I wondered about my own mornings and reflected on a similar post I'd written awhile back  (guess I'm not a very quick learner).  Pondering on this talk title, I asked myself, " Do I find joy in the morning?"

I love bedtime!  I sink down into my bed at night, exhausted from the day's activities, so grateful for the opportunity to finally rest!  When I wake up am I already thinking about going back to bed?  Why would I hang on to the exhaustion rather than allow myself to be rejuvenated by the rest I was so grateful to receive?

The Lord gives us days to live.  Days.  24 hours.  Each morning we have the opportunity to find joy.  Each morning is a fresh start to become whoever we want and need to become.  Do I find joy in the morning?  Do you?

It's just a question I'm pondering today.


What We're Drinking at our House this Winter

image from http://www.caputosdeli.com/brands/Crio-Bru.html

Oh. My. Goodness.

I'm addicted!

My husband's been drinking this for awhile.  I've been a bit less eager. But with the cold coming upon us I have been all about keeping warm.  Hot chocolate is just a little too rich and sugary anymore for me.  So, I figured out how to make this stuff work for me.

First of all, you need a way to brew it.  A lot of people use a French Press. My husband found a cheap coffee maker for brewing and it works great!

If I were to be honest, I must say brewed cocoa by itself tastes a lot like dirty water.  Warm, dirty water.  There's a lot you can add to the cocoa to make it taste just a little bit better.

My husband adds a packet of stevia and some almond milk.   I prefer honey and almond milk in mine.

A friend of ours simply adds flavored creamer.

We've also tried adding Torani's flavorings with cream.   Most of these flavors are still  a little too sweet for me...and some flavors make the cocoa taste like medicine.  Blech! So, you just need to choose flavors carefully  (i.e. hazelnut is really yummy!).

So, have a different, healthier treat this year to warm up your body this winter!


Sweet Sixteen!!

See that handsome face?!

My little boy, John, is 16 years old!

Which means...I'm getting old!  (But that's a whole different topic for some other date).

This is my very favorite picture of him as a little boy.  He was only 4 years old in this shot. It's hard to imagine that when he was born his tiny, 4-pound body could fit in my husband's hand.  Being two months early we were a bit concerned about his health.  Yet, there was also so much peace surrounding this little boy, we knew he would be just fine...even better than fine.

I have to say, raising John has been more of a Parenting 101 course  (Heavenly Father saved the Parenting 505 course for last).  As I said, John has just had a peace about him that is both endearing and contagious.  As the oldest he has been a great example for his younger siblings, a tough load to carry.  He is kind and courteous of others.  He's not a man of many words, but most of the time he onl speaks kindness.  His heart is just inherently good.

I'm trying to imagine three years from now with him blessing our home with his presence no longer.  I'm hoping that the days will be long so that we can enjoy every last moment (though, at sixteen, I think we're all  a little ready for his independence!).

My prayer for him is that he will continue to be kind and to know who he is.  I pray he will do great things that uplift him as well as others.  I pray he will always have a prayer in his heart, to be guided by the only one who knows where he needs to go and be.  I pray that my heart will be strong as he grows into adulthood and strives for success.  But ultimately, I pray he can be strong - -  in body, mind and spirit - - to withstand the greater pressures that inevitably come with aging and life.

Here's to Sweet Sixteen!! 


'Tis the Season

Dashing through the snow
In a one-horse open sleigh.
O'er the hills we go
Laughing all the way.

I've been listening to a lot of this song lately as two of my children are practicing for their upcoming piano recital.

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,
Jingle all the way!
Oh what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh

Usually this song is just one of those silly Christmas songs we need to sing while caroling or something.  But as I've listened to it over and over this season, and think more about the words, I can't help but feel happy!  Of all the hustle and bustle that comes upon us this time of year, are we truly joyful?  We talk about celebrating, but do we honestly celebrate in our hearts the joys of this season?

I have such fond memories of Christmas growing up.  Our home just felt extra warm while Mom baked yummy goodies in the kitchen and Dad kept a fire going in the wood stove.  There was music constantly playing in the background.  I'm sure my parents felt a little bit of the pressure - - getting just the right gifts and not spending too much money - - but all I remember was feeling safe, happy and warm.

My parents never divulged the secret of Santa Clause.  I'm sure they just imagined we'd find out on our own  (which I did in a very starkly). Mom, especially, seemed to want the magic of Christmas to dwell in our hearts as long as it possibly could.

The anticipation of Christmas morning on Christmas Eve was a magical time.  My siblings and I would all crowd into one bedroom, singing and laughing and fighting until we each slowly drifted off to sleep;  though just for a few hours as Christmas morning came oh so early!  We'd then commence giggling again as we waiting for Mom and Dad to wake up.  Dad would go into the living room to "make sure Santa came" and then we'd all run in to see what wonderful gifts awaited us under the tree!

There is nothing like that week leading up to Christmas morning.  Now, looking on as a parent, I wonder when I grew up!  These days it seems we want to make sure our children know the reason for the season so much that we sometimes dash the childlike dreams of our children all too soon.  I think we can hyper focus on purpose so much that we forget the pleasure of just being.  I think the joy of believing in something magical is just as much part of the season as remembering the spiritual side of the holiday.

We are children for only a short time,  not even a quarter of our lives.  Childhood is a time of innocence, complete trust, dependency, and simplicity.  This is why I love Christmas.  My mind reflects on being a child yet again, not being so harrowed up by adult worries and stresses.  I can be young again through the eyes of my own children.  Several times my husband and I have stayed up to set up (a.k.a. play with) the gifts our children will receive the next morning.  It's one of my favorite moments!  For that brief minute we are kids again, believing in something magical!

Yes, it is so important for our youth to understand the precious Gift that was born so many years ago, giving light to the world.  But we adults can also learn from our little ones and  remember what it's like to be young again, filled with pure light!

Bells on bobtail ring,
Making spirits bright.
What fun it is to ride and sing
A sleighing song tonight:

Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells! 
Jingle all the way!
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh!
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