Is lasting joy really possible in this crazy world?

When I start writing a new blog post, if it’s something I think I might have touched on in a previous blog, I will search my other blogs to see if I’ve used the title before, or how many times what I want to write about has been used in other blogs. Today I searched joy. I am still going to talk about it, but wow, I have a lot of blog posts that mention joy. I wonder if it’s something I need to work on, or something I have a lot of. It’s probably a combination of both, because I do feel a lot of joy regularly.

Today in Church we talked about joy, so I thought I would share some of my thoughts about joy, and some of what I learned about it. So, if you look up the word joy on the internet, the definitions you might find would be things like great pleasure, happiness, well-being, success, good fortune, delight. I think those things all describe something similar to a feeling of joy, but I don’t think it’s quite the definition.

I think the definition of joy, the root of joy, is much deeper than simply an emotion that we can or cannot feel depending on what we are experiencing at that current moment. So I turned to my Church’s doctrine, I turned to what we call the Guide to the Scriptures. Here it defines Joy as, “a condition of great happiness coming from righteous living. The purpose of mortal life is for all people to have joy. A full joy will come only through Jesus Christ.”

Joy, to me, is something much deeper than a single experience. When I do something fun, or I get to watch my kids do fun things, it makes me happy. I enjoy many things in life, my family, hiking, good music and books, beautiful sunshine, warm weather (especially this time of year in Alaska!), pets, all sorts of things. But the happiness I feel with a lot of them comes only when I am experiencing that particular thing, or as I look back on memories. Hiking makes me happy, and while I am doing it, I feel happy, exhilarated, and grateful to be out in nature. But when I am done, I go back to my regular mundane life, and the happiness fades. The memories still bring happiness, but it’s not a constant. But joy can be constant.

Joy is a much deeper emotion. Joy comes from living a life as close to Jesus Christ as we possibly can. We all make mistakes, but fortunately, Jesus Christ is the master healer, and can help us correct any mistake we make. Joy often comes along with peace. Peace comes through Jesus Christ, not just when we believe in Him, but trust Him when He says He will help us, when He says He will heal us, when He says come, even with your burdens and baggage, because He will help us carry that load.

Joy is something that can be felt in the most difficult situations we might find ourselves in as well. That might sound weird, who wants to experience joy during hard times? Well, I know I do. But we have to remember that joy isn’t just about what’s happening to us right now. It’s deep in long lasting. Joy can sustain us through hard times. Trusting in the Lord when difficulties arise, and turning things over to God, knowing and trusting in His ability to help us, relieves us many of the burdens that come with trials and challenges so that we can better see the Lord’s hand in our lives, and when we can see His hand in our lives, we can see that He is helping, that He really is there, that He really does care, and our burdens become lighter, and we can have joy knowing He is there, even when it’s hard.

Lastly, joy comes from maintaining an eternal perspective. We are eternal beings, which means we existed before we came here and we will continue to exist when we leave this life. We have a Heavenly Father who loves us dearly, and we have the potential to become like Him. But we have to make the choices consistent with that opportunity. Making those choices, and working on becoming a better person, even if it’s in baby steps, brings joy. Joy ultimately comes from God and knowledge of His love for each one of us, and His joy in our baby steps all along the way. This is what brings a long lasting, deep inside of us kind of joy. The kind that can’t be diminished by temporary circumstances or experiences. This is the kind of joy we should each be reaching for, because it is possible in all of our lives, on a daily basis.


Sometimes service is not what we expect, and sometimes it’s hard, especially when we have a bad attitude.

This morning when I got home from Seminary I was super tired. I didn’t sleep really well so I laid down and took a nap for 45 minutes. When I woke up my husband asked me if I wanted to go to town with him and how long it would take me to get ready if I wanted to go. We are preparing to either turn his mom’s house into an Airbnb or sell it, so there are a few things that need to be fixed. He was going to look at a new shower surround for the bathroom as well as other bathroom fixtures and flooring, and wanted my input.

I told him it would be about 45 minutes and he said that would work. I went into the kitchen to make a sourdough focaccia and to then eat breakfast. I was trying to hurry because I knew he wanted to leave sooner than later. Just as I was almost done putting the ingredients in the bowl, a neighbor, who tends to need a fair amount of help, came to the door. I am the one who ends up helping all the time, even though my husband is capable, and sometimes more equipped to help than I am. This morning was no exception as the person came into the kitchen to wait for me rather than talk to my husband. I then felt like I needed to hurry even faster.

As I was finishing up the ingredients in the sourdough, I reached across the bowl and knocked it off the scale and tipped it over. Nothing was mixed together yet and the water in the bottom sloshed all the ingredients out onto the counter, down the front of the cabinet and all over the floor. I stood there momentarily and decided to just leave it and help the neighbor. It took about 20 minutes to help the neighbor and then I proceeded to clean the kitchen. My husband walked in as I was cleaning the kitchen and asked me if I was about ready to go. I am grateful to say that I did not bite his head off at that point in time even though I kind of really wanted to. However I did inform him that now I had to clean the kitchen and I still had to eat breakfast and get dressed.

I told him if he wanted to head out that was fine with me, at that point in time I was slightly frustrated with him because he did not help with the neighbor and he did not help me clean up the mess. But I guess he really wanted my input, so he waited until I was ready to go. After I finish cleaning up the mess and threw out my sourdough, I sat down to eat my breakfast. I started to say my prayers and expressed my frustration to my Heavenly Father. I asked him why I was the one that had to help the neighbor all the time. At that point in time the answer that came was not what I had expected. He helped me realize that this was my opportunity to serve somebody besides my family for a while. I don’t mind doing service, in fact I really enjoy it, but I hadn’t yet viewed what I was doing for this neighbor as service.

This week in the New Testament we have been studying about how we serve and our motivation for serving. I realized that often times I find it easy to serve when it’s something I want to do to serve. Dealing with the neighbor on an almost daily basis was not something I wanted to do most of the time, it was always at an inconvenient time, and often the problems that needed to be dealt with persisted over the course of days or weeks. But that person needs help, and for the most part, even if it takes time, it is in small manageable pieces of time. I was reminded that service often requires a sacrifice of time and energy, and that my attitude and irritations made it harder for me to help.

I saw this person a little bit differently, and decided I needed to change my attitude as well as my perspective on this subject. I have found myself recently, especially as we have been reading the Sermon on the Mount, reflecting on how I can try to do better and serve others. I hadn’t even looked at current situations, but was looking for an “easy” service project, possibly something that might even come with a thank you or appreciation in some way from someone. I don’t normally like to be in the spotlight, or even be noticed, so this realization came as a bit of a shock to me. This morning was frustrating to say the least, but I have learned some things about myself that need to be changed, and I learned to see someone else just a little bit differently. I hope I can remember what I learned today (that’s one of the reasons I’m sharing it here, then I can look back and remember), and that I can go forward with new eyes to see and a heart more willing and able to help everyone, not just the easy convenient ones.


I love my new business tool!

This is going to be somewhat of a catchup on what has been happening recently. But, to start with. I acquired a new tool for my business, a Cricut! I am so excited to have this new addition, and a new way to use not only my finished artwork, but my line drawings I used to make my art. I have saved them over the years not really knowing what I was going to do with them, but hoping to find a way to use them at some point, and now I have.

I made a bunch of t-shirts for my most recent event and had a great response. I love that it is my own work all the way through from concept to many different finished products. My husband is also excited that I can make shirts for his business as that’s something we have talked about over the years, but have never made the effort to go have someone else print them.

The other thing I love about this Cricut, and the other main reason I purchased this particular one, is because of all the other things it does. The one that was the biggest draw was that it cuts thicker materials like mat board and chip board. I have been trying to find a cheaper way to make puzzles for the holidays and have finally found a way to cut my own. I am super excited for this options. It also cuts cards, like greeting cards and note cards. I have my own note cards I sell, but am excited for a larger variety of options, not just cuts, but it also does a nice scoring for bending that looks more professional.

There are a lot of other features I will at some point explore, but not the selling features of the two mentioned above. It does engraving on soft metals as well as foil transfers and vinyl lettering, both permanent and removeable. The vinyl lettering is exciting for signs and things for our businesses. It also cuts fabric, which is another big draw for me as I love sewing, and being able to cut intricate designs in fabric will be something fun to experiment with as I go along. Here’s a couple of pictures of some things I experimented with as I was learning how to use the machine.

The other thing to talk about is the painting I just recently finished. I wanted to paint something springy recently, I am so ready for spring even though there is still 3 feet of snow on the ground. One of my favorite first flowers that show up in the spring are daffodils. I have painted several daffodils, and each time they seem to get better, but I really like how this latest on turned out. Today the sun is shining, it’s been a while since we last saw the sun as it’s been cloudy and snowy for almost a month. But today is beautiful and warm. I am excited for what the future holds and look forward to all the new horizons.


Should books be banned?

I am a member of a wonderful library board in my little home town. We have the opportunity to work with the librarian in promoting and providing community programs for people of all ages and I really enjoy the people I get to work with. They are wonderful people

We do not always agree. We come from a variety of backgrounds and political standpoints. We have had many different opportunities throughout our lives that have shaped our opinions and thoughts. But when it comes to the library and the programs, we all work together, striving to make our community a better place. I have learned so much and enjoy seeing things and learning things from other people’s perspectives. We have many lively discussions that open my mind to new ideas and possibilities and teach me so much.

We recently had the opportunity to discuss a book that, in our state, has garnered a lot of discussion from both sides of the aisle. I hadn’t been privy to much of the discussion prior to our meeting, I had only seen a couple of comments and a short video from the person who was opposed to the book and where it had been placed in the libraries. I have not personally read the book or even seen anything more than the few photos the person on the video shared. Based upon the subject matter, it is not a book I would go check out at the library or seek out to read at any point in time.

So I thought I would share my thoughts on banning books because that is what the person in the video would like to have done. There are a lot of books out there on the market that I would never read for a variety of reasons, mainly I don’t want some of that stuff in my head. I like to keep my thoughts clean and free from a lot of the worlds filth that seems to be so prevalent today (I cannot say that is what this particular book is full of, I’m talking generally). There are a lot of books out there that I would discourage my children from reading for many of the same reasons. I do not agree with the content, nor do I think it is appropriate or needful for my children to read. I feel like expanding our minds and horizons is a great endeavor, but I also want to keep the garden of my mind tidy and clean, and there is information in some books as well as other formats like movies, video games, and music, that I don’t feel like is necessary to know or understand, likewise, I don’t want it cluttering my mind or that of my children.

But as far as banning books, I don’t think we should remove people’s right to speak their mind. If they want to do that in book form then have at it. Do I think certain topics should not be placed in certain areas? Yes. I don’t think the children’s section of a library should contain books about sex or have pornographic material in them. I don’t feel like that is appropriate. I also believe that parents should be talking to and teaching their children about that kind of thing from an early age so that they can make proper decisions. That doesn’t always happen in homes. It has in our home, my children have had many an awkward discussion about their physical bodies, what is appropriate in their behavior, and concerning other’s physical bodies. We have also discussed the pitfalls and addictions of things like pornography, and that pornography isn’t just about pictures, but can be portrayed in videos as well as written words. Does that mean my kids are perfect? Not at all. Sometimes I forget to review what they are reading or watching, and then we have to revisit all those uncomfortable subjects again. I can’t control their choices when they are adults either, and they may decide that’s exactly what they want to read, but it will be an informed decision and they will have to deal with the consequences at that point.

It used to be that we could count on the basic fabric of society understanding what is good and what is not. However, we have drifted far from that now, and only seem to be getting farther away than ever before. So many people in this world ascribe to the philosophy that there are no moral absolutes. That would be incorrect. The only place that values and morals is being taught anymore is in the home, which means there is a large percentage of children now, growing up without morals and values. The home is the safeguard, or it should be, yet the home and the family is under attack more and more everyday. Values and morals are being attacked or completely dismissed. Right and wrong have become subjective rather than absolutes. And yet, right is still right and wrong is still wrong.

I do not agree with banning books. I believe in the right to speak out and say what’s on our minds. But I also do not believe that I need to support those things that I disagree with. In this case, I will never read this particular book we discussed. It is my choices that keep my mind focused on good things. I cannot control too many other people’s choices, and really, all I can do is teach the ones who are under my care and hope they are learning the lessons my husband and I are trying to teach them before they leave home. Everyone has the right to be who they are and to believe what they believe, and to do what they want to do as long as it doesn’t affect anyone around them negatively. No one has a right to infringe on my right (or anyone else’s) to do the same.


This week I revamped my website. I will be making more changes in the near future, but I feel like I have had my website long enough to have a good idea of what it is and is not doing for me. I originally set it up to be a blog, which I have loved to write. I then added a store to sell my art. The blog was very inexpensive, it may have even been through the WordPress free version, however the e-commerce part of the website added a number of additional expenses. I have enjoyed learning about websites, about monetizing a website, how to create and maintain a website, but the expense has never been outweighed by the sales, and so I made a change. I am not totally sure what this new website will have or what it will evolve into being, right now it’s just my blog posts and a couple of other informational pages.

I have spent the last approximately 5 years trying to sell my art online through my website. I have sold a few pieces, but not even enough to pay for the website for 1 year. I have found other avenues such as social media to be more productive selling points, as well as local opportunities such as gift shops, markets, and things of that nature. Because of those avenues I decided it wasn’t worth my time or money to continue to try and maintain and update a website every time I had a new painting or product to sell.

I have had a number of people ask where to find my new art. I will continue to post what I paint on Facebook and Instagram. I will probably at some point add a tab here on this website with pictures and possible descriptions of my art that can be purchased through direct contact with me rather than through the website. I also have an Etsy shop now where you can go and find my most current art, however I am not planning on maintaining a huge variety of art there either, just my most recent artwork in the forms I sell the most. I have looked into getting a Twitter account but have not as yet done so. Mostly because I haven’t had the time to get it done yet.

The other thing I have decided I probably should do is make a business plan. I have done that a few times in the past but have never really stuck to it. Consequently a lot of what I have done over the years has just been for fun, to try something new, or a shot in the dark. I have learned so much, and I continue to learn as I try new things. But not everything is going to work, and some things really are just fads that come and go. If you’re aware of the market and can jump in real quick in the beginning of a fad it pays off, but you also have to know when the fad is ending so you can pivot to the next fad coming.

So those are my thoughts and my direction for now. I may share my business plan here when I get it done, see if anyone can give me any guidance on refining it as I go along. I also purchased a new tool that I will introduce when I get it up and running that I am super excited to share as well! That might be as soon as Wednesday, but shipping to Alaska isn’t always as quick as they say it is, so we’ll see when my stuff shows up. If you have any suggestions as to what you would like to see on my website, please let me know and I’ll take it into consideration.