"Enjoy the moments, large and small. There is joy in everything."
That note from a dear, inspired friend, BJ Warnick, arrived in my mailbox about a year ago with the most darling blanket for our new baby girl. If ever there was an inspired message for a specific time it was this one.
I first met BJ in 2005. She was traveling to Zambia as a volunteer for the first time, and I was her team leader. BJ is many things: insightful and intuitive, smart, generous, and a whole lot of fun. All of those traits and so many more are perfectly surrounded with immense love. I felt it in Africa, and oh my, did those kids in Zambia know it.
It's been a long time, too long, since I've seen BJ. But something inspired her last January to fill my mailbox with exactly what I needed. Nate's busiest busy season was in full swing, and he was in the middle of being out of town for five weeks. I was a mix (or mess maybe) of emotions. My five and three year old wanted more time with their mom than they were getting. I wanted that too, and I really wanted more quality time with them. Our sweet new baby wanted to eat all day and all night long, and it seemed like I was wading through crumbs and dust as the house just continually didn't get clean. Oh, and I was exhausted. Fractured, insufficient sleep is a beast of its own, and I was losing that battle.
I haven't been shy about saying 2016 was rough, quite possibly the most challenging year I've had, and definitely the most exhausting. But let it be said that challenging and miserable are not synonymous! It was a wonderful, fun year! I love looking back at the blog entries from 2016 and really remembering how magical it was.
So back to that note. It was the most perfect message at the perfect time for this mama:
"Enjoy the moments large and small. There is joy in everything."
I determined before Leah was even born that I'd appreciate and hold on to the many sweet, but fleeting moments with her. It was my last go at a newborn. This precious time needed to be cherished and remembered. BJ's note was the constant reminder I needed to keep perspective, stay positive, and just carry on in joy.
I can't begin to count how many times I recited those words. In the middle of the night there most definitely was joy rocking and snuggling my otherwise perfect screaming baby. As the boys argued about a toy they both had to have at the exact same time, there was joy in teaching them to solve problems with words and love, and joy that we actually have fun toys to play with. And there was most definitely joy in Nate being gone so much (well, maybe). He was working to provide, so that I could live this life and dream of being a mom to Noah, Luke and Leah. And, he wasn't around to see the crazy newborn life that was sometimes swallowing me up!
So much joy.
A year later that note is still on my fridge, and I have no plans to take it down. So thanks BJ. Thanks for giving me a theme for 2016: there is joy in everything. It helped carry me through my first year as a mom of three, and it's still giving me great perspective as a new version of crazy unfolds each day.
Life is so good. Our blessings overfloweth. And joy is everywhere.