If I’d Only Known…

18 Years Old

When I was just a young girl,

in my teens, I would day dream about being married and having a family,


I wanted so much to be loved by a wonderful man, and to be the mama to some darling children.

I really wasn’t sure it would ever happen.

I had a lot of self esteem issues.

I didn’t think anyone would ever want to be married to me. I thought I wasn’t pretty enough; skinny enough, fun enough, lovable enough for someone to want to be with me.  And if there was never someone who wanted to be with me, then I would never get to be a mama. I always felt, and still feel, that the best place to raise children is with a mom and a dad married. These are my beliefs and feelings, based on how I was raised. So if no one ever loved me, I would never marry, and never be a mom.

I know this sounds a little dramatic, but I was a teenager thinking like a teenager.

I just wish I could have had my grandma self come visit for a bit, with my teenager self. It would have helped me to be able to relax and not worry so much.

I would tell my teenage self,

“You are beautiful and very lovable!” 

I would tell myself how wonderfully blessed your husband will feel to have you in his life.

That your children will admire the way you keep going even when you are overwhelmed and sad. I would tell my younger self that it might take a little time,

but it will happen,

and it will be wonderful!

You will be older than you thought you’d like to be married, but you will have good experiences that will add to your knowledge of life and how to live and love people.

Experiences that you would never trade.

23 Years Old


Then after some time you will have what you dream of, and it will be worth the wait, and oh, so, precious.

The best part of all of it?



Why are we so hard on ourselves?

Why do we not just trust our Father in Heaven has blessings, wonderful blessings coming our way? If I’d only known then, what I know now, I think I would not have been so hard on myself, I would have enjoyed the process of going through life, a little more.

Maybe there is something to that.

Maybe we need to trust, have faith that Heavenly Father wants us to be happy and even though sometimes we have to go through hard things to get to the happiness, we can do our best to enjoy the process. Have “Joy” in the journey! It all worked out and I worried so much.

Happily Married for 32 Years!

One thing is for sure, I’m so happy to be where I am now. So thankful for a sweet Darlin, the opportunity to be a mom, mother-in-law, and grandma! Life is a blessing!

Our Third Home.

While I was about 6-7 years old, we lived in our second home while my dad built our third home.

This was a busy time for my dad. He would work all day long and then  come home and work on the house until it was dark, sometimes he would work until after dark. I have no idea how he did it. How he came up with the drive to go and go like that, but he did. He did the majority of the work by himself. In his personal history, my dad said that he had help from the Elders Quorum (church group) putting up the huge 30 foot beams, no cranes were available to help lift them into place.

I remember missing my dad while he built this home, because it felt like he was always gone. Our second home was just down the hill from where my dad was building, and I remember before I went to bed looking up the hill and seeing the light on, knowing that he was still working so hard. My mama was always holding down the fort. She was the one who was always there, and supporting my dad and his dream of building a home himself. I have wonderful parents then, and now.

Finally, we were able to move in. It was such a nice home. It had beautiful fireplaces made with used bricks. Some of the walls were made with old barn wood. It was very beautiful and unique. It was a solid, well built home that had so much of my dads time and love in it.

The most fond memory I have from living in that house was that there was a creek across the street. No other homes nearby. I would spend hours there, playing by the creek. I was alone a lot, there were only a few friends, and they were not close by. I don’t mind being by myself for periods of time even now, and I’m thankful for my time alone there.

Another fun memory I have of living in this house is having my mom make me a picnic lunch and riding in my little red wagon down to the bottom of the hill. I would sit in the wagon and eat my lunch, then pull it back up the hill.

I will always look back on my time in our third home with happy memories and a love and respect for my parents who sacrificed so much for our family.

Keep Talking

For some reason I just keep talking.

In elementary school my teachers would say, “Stop talking!” My parents would come to parent teacher conferences and the teachers would say, “She talks a lot. She might get more work done, if she didn’t talk so much.”

I remember having the hardest time doing my work, and not talking. I didn’t do it very well.

I didn’t do it very well for many years, like 13 years.

I’ve learned that talking is a gift I have been given. I’m glad I decided to keep talking. I don’t think my teachers in school would mind me talking now.

When I meet new people, I talk to them and it is so fun! I believe it helps them to feel comfortable.

When I am with my family and friends, I talk to them and ask them how they are doing. I tell them I love them, and that they are so important to me. 

When I see people at the store, on the street, or anywhere, I talk to them. I love people. I love to hear about their lives, their jobs, their families, and more.

I am so grateful that I have a gift for talking, and that I never stopped talking. I will

keep talking

for the rest of my life. I will try to bless others by helping them feel comfortable around me, and by showing an interest in their lives.  


My Mama’s Hands!


Today is my birthday!

I don’t really need to talk about me today.

It’s just another year, and I’m getting old. 

What I want to do is talk about this amazing woman that I met 55 years ago!

She is my Mama!  

I love her so much. Her life has always been something to admire. She is a wonderful person, and has blessed my life everyday. 

These are my mama’s hands. Imagine the work they have done, the meals they have prepared, the bandaging of ouches, the writing of talks and lessons, the holding, the all around blessing of others that they have done for 84+ years!

I love her hands!!! I love all of her!!! 

Thank you Mama, for bringing me into this world. Thank you for loving this accident prone-barefoot little girl, for trips to the hospital for stitches, for putting up with me telling on “mean” brothers, and sharing a hug to make it all better. Thank you for hours of listening at the foot of my bed, while I work through the current challenge in my life.

You are my hero! You have blessed so many, but today I’m especially grateful that you have blessed me! 

I love you Mama!

My First Memory! (I think)

I was born the 4th child in our family, after 3 older brothers. I think all of us were born in about 5 years. My mom was very overwhelmed to say the least. She was a wonderful mom to us.

We lived in a cute little house my dad helped to build. I loved that house.

The first memory I have is standing and twirling in a circle in the kitchen of that house. Spinning, and spinning, until I was dizzy. Then I would fall to the floor and just lay there watching the ceiling spin in circles. Then I would get up and do it again.

I think I was about 3 years old.

I watched Emily spin our grandson around on my office chair. The look on his face must have been something like the look on my face all those years ago. The look of pure enjoyment and playfulness.




Natasha having fun twirling!!!

What a fun memory! 

Birthday Celebrations!

How do you celebrate?

How do you celebrate your birthday?


My darlin said to me, “It’s your birthday Tuesday, what do you want to do?”

I answered, “What do I really want to do?”

He told me it really only matters what I want to do on my birthday.

I agreed!

“I want to clean the basement,” I announced.

He couldn’t believe it, “What?”

“We’ll do some work, take a load to the thrift store, then have dinner with family!”

Sounds like a perfect day to me.

We spend the first 5 hours of the day cleaning the basement. It hasn’t been organized since we moved into our new (old) home in March. When we moved, we downsized a bunch! We, as well as those helping us move just put items here and there. There was no rhyme or reason to the rooms. We had food storage with seasonal decor, sewing supplies near cleaners. It was very full, with just a pathway leading to the far corner of the room.

I don’t know how you feel about that kind of situation, but to me that is very overwhelming and frustrating. I learned from reading a book written by an organizer named Daryl Hoole, that you need a place for everything and to keep everything in it’s place, like put it right away once you use it.  We didn’t even have a place for everything yet, how could we keep everything in it’s place? This drives me crazy, so to me this was a great way to spend my birthday, and then have the peace that comes from keeping it clean, and organized.

It went very well. We got a lot done. We took a load to the DI (thrift store) and met the family at the restaurant. It was so fun to see them.

FullSizeRender (1)

We have a tradition in our family on birthdays. We go around the table and say something that we love about the person whose birthday it is. We usually go around a few times. I love it! It was the perfect finish on a wonderful day. I got to love on this sweet little grandbaby! My daughter-in-law Janet gave me the cutest thing from my grandbaby. She traced his cute tiny hands on paper, and cut it out, and attached a accordion piece of paper from one cut out hand to the other. On the one hand was written, “Happy Birthday” and on the other, “Grandma, I love you this much!”  Oh my stars!!!! I love it!

It really was a great day!

Birthdays are fun when they’re spent doing what you want, with who you want to be with!

“Hamilton” The Velveteen Bear!

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit. ‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’ ‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’ ‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” 
― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
Meet my velveteen friend, Hamilton!
photo (15)When I was just 5 years old my maternal grandparents gave me Hamilton.
He didn’t have a name then.
He was very large and furry. He had two black eyes, and a realistic nose. His red tongue, made of felt, hung out of his mouth like he was ready to lick some honey.
I was in love!!!
We played for hours and hours.
He was my friend when I felt like no one else was. He loved me no matter what.
I’ve kept him all these years
-48 to be exact-
I didn’t know I was making him “Real” by loving him so much.
Recently we have been cleaning out closets and rooms. Throwing things away and sending things to the thrift store. I came across Hamilton in the back of my closet. I thought maybe its time. I said to my darlin, should I get rid of him? He told me it was up to me and suggested that I take a picture of him. I took the picture above, and then
burst into tears. I cried so hard. I called my momma for advice. She told me, “You don’t have to get rid of him. Get rid of something that isn’t so sentimental.”
I agreed. I can’t do it, I’m not ready. I may never be ready.
And now I feel much better.
Maybe someday I can tell my grandkids about Hamilton and how “Real” he is to me.

My Most Lovin!

Happy Anniversary!

We’ve spent 29 years together!


Why has it worked? We aren’t a perfect couple, but we have learned some things.

First of all, we began our relationship as friends. We were friends for years before we went on a date. In fact, when he asked me out the first time, I wasn’t sure if it was a date or if we were going out as friends. I decided if he opened the door for me, it was a date. Guess what? He opened the door for me!

Second, we understand that neither one of us is perfect. We will bug each other from time to time. We do our best to treat each other with love, respect, and kindness. I feel so blessed to have this kind of marriage.

Third, we include God in our relationship. He is the most important. If we are both doing our best to live the kind of life we know that our Father in Heaven would be pleased with, we will be treating each other right, and we will have love in our marriage.

It is hard work, but very much worth it. I wouldn’t trade him for anything, and I am thankful everyday for my life with my darlin.

Angels Among Us!

DSC05542If you visit ourjoyfulnest very often you will know that life has been extra busy.

In the month of May, my oldest son got married, and my youngest daughter left on a LDS mission. Both of these events can, and usually do, require a lot of time for planning and money to make them happen. I am a firm believer that we are truly blessed, and we will continue to be blessed with the things we need (Key word: need).  We are always blessed by a loving Heavenly Father. We live in a wonderful neighborhood, and have amazing friends. We have had so much help from others. Our friends and neighbors and family have been amazing.

So during all of this planning and spending, getting ready for the wedding and preparing our daughter to leave for a year and a half, the thought crossed my mind a few times, “Are we going to have enough money?” Then I would push that thought out and think, “Of course we will, we have to!”

One day while busily going about my day, an envelope showed up on the back porch. One of the kids said that it was just sitting there. I opened it not knowing what to think. As I got to the card I could see cash peeking through from inside the card. The card says, “Just thinking thoughts of you”. On the inside of the card written by hand it said, “You’ve prayed me here, now what will you do with me.” My eyes filled with tears as I counted the money, lots of money.

An angel or angels came to our home and blessed us. Straight from Heaven. I cried and cried thinking about how thoughtful people are. It was truly a miracle in our lives. I hope to someday be able to thank those angels who blessed our family. I don’t know if it will happen, but I will most definitely pay it forward. I love you angels!


Our First Home

Brian, Brad, Joy, and Keith

When I was born, my parents lived in a cute little starter home. We lived in a cul de sac with 5 other families. We had the best yard in the neighborhood. You know, the one that all the neighborhood kids like to hang out at. On any given day all of the kids in the neighborhood were at our house. The reason why our yard was so amazing, is that our dad was so creative. Our yard had:

1-A teeter totter made by putting two wagon wheels together, on an axel. And on the axel, was the teeter totter. It could be rolled anywhere in the yard.

2-We had an old nozzle from a bomb, that my dad turned into a dog house. He just cut out a door way for the dog and turned it over. It kind of looked like an igloo. The funnest thing was to turn it over and sit inside it. We would take turns spinning each other around.

3-My dad built a castle out of cinder blocks. I don’t know for sure how big it was, I was only five. But I could walk in it. It even had turrets.

4-We had a sand box. I remember my big brother Keith eating sand, and my mom trying to get it our of his mouth. He’s only a year and a half older than me.

5-An amazing rock garden, that you could climb on, like a little mountain.

6-In the very back of the yard there was a fire pit. I remember roasting hot dogs and marshmallows.

7-A wishing well. So cute.

8-My dad made a little play house for me. It was very simple and creative. He took plywood and made four walls with a door and windows, and painted it real cute. Hinges were on the corners so it could stand up and I vaguely remember a doorbell of some type.

9-We had an awesome garden. I remember eating pear tomatoes straight from the vine. Yummy!

We didn’t live there very long. My dad wanted to build a bigger home, and I think my mom was OK with moving from the house where all the neighbor kids played. She must have felt like a tender.

It was such a great yard.

When we lived in this home, I had my own room upstairs, across the hall from mom and dad’s. I remember feeling like the room was huge. Years later when I had the opportunity to visit my first home, a class mate had moved into my old home. It was amazing to me how small the house was, and especially my old room. Either that, or I got bigger. Hmm. I think I know which one happened.

We had a great first home. Thanks to mom and dad for making it such a wonderful place!