- Being with my family
- Real laughter
- When my students really get it, when they learn, and when they help each other
- Watching my loved ones improve
- Spending time focusing on holiness
- Rainy Saturdays when I don't have to go anywhere
- Doing something that pushes me out of my comfort zone or helps me accomplish a goal
- Reading a well-written book
Today at church someone asked, "What brings you true joy?" I've been thinking about that question this afternoon and revising my list. Here are some things I came up with that bring me true, lasting joy - not just temporary happiness:
2015 has been a year of family time, a year of road trips, a year of actually getting together with friends instead of just saying we will "someday." It has been a year of selfies, of pedicures, of movies, of trying new foods and of planning church activities. It's been a year of stretching, growing, learning, and being brave, but most of all, it has been a year of becoming more of the person I want to be. Thank goodness for 2015, and here's looking forward to a great year in 2016!
Here are some of my favorite pictures from 2015. Happy New Year!
Yesterday I saw the new Cinderella movie. First off, let me say: it was beautiful! I loved everything about it. So if you haven't already made plans to see it, make them now. It's worth it.
Among the many things I loved about the movie was this line, repeated over and over throughout the story: "Have courage and be kind." I have been thinking about it since I saw the movie. What a wonderful life motto! I don't know that we can go very wrong in life if we remember those two things, because they encompass so much that is good.
So my goal this week is to do just that: have courage to do the right thing, to do things that are hard for me, to live to my potential. And to be kind while I'm at it.
Today I went to the funeral for a good man. Even though I know he is now free from the physical limitations and sicknesses he faced, it was still a pretty sad day, and he will be very missed. But instead of focusing on the sad parts of today, I wanted to remember some of the things I learned from Jason.
Someone today called Jason a "great example of manhood." I feel like these characteristics - laughter, perseverance, ability to change, and love - are some of the characteristics of a true man, and really just an all-around good person. I'm excited for the day when I can see Jason again, and I hope in the meantime I can use what he taught me to be a better woman.
Thanks, buddy. See you soon.
There's just something about the road.
My sister and I have pretty different communication styles. When I have a problem, I have to talk it out - with everyone I know. I talk, and cry, and talk some more. And then I (eventually) come to a solution, which I have to tell everyone about again. Melissa, on the other hand, keeps many of her thoughts to herself. We talk, yes, but often she thinks and makes decisions and then tells me about it.
Put us in the car for an hour, though, and all she wants to do is talk. And I love it! We talk about everything. Today we laughed, we cried, we sang along with the radio, and we talked. Those are my favorite times with my little sis/best friend - and for some reason, it happens most when we're in the car.
Each year, I choose one word that represents my goals and what I want to accomplish that year. (I learned about this from Ali Edwards' website - check it out!) In 2014, my word was love. My goal was to love more, to love better, and to do more of the things I loved. In the spirit of my year of love, here are some things to love from the year 2014.
Things I'd looked forward to that finally happened: I graduated from college, started a book club, bought a car, and started the book I've been planning on writing (check out the prologue here).
Books I Loved: Night (Elie Wiesel), Between Shades of Gray (Ruta Sepetys), Together Tea (Marjan Kamali)
Favorite Movies: Maleficent, Big Hero 6, The Giver, and The Hundred Foot Journey
Things that scared me: Signing up for eHarmony - I cancelled my membership after 3 months of no success, but it was a good experience anyway; going on California Screamin', which was fun after I realized I wasn't actually going to die; and presenting at the UCTE annual conference (once I got talking, I really enjoyed sharing what I'd prepared).
New responsibilities at work: I now teach both seventh and eighth grade English, and I co-advise the Student Council. I've also started helping to direct the school musical (we're doing "High School Musical" and it is going to rock!).
Music I jammed to: Lots of country, sparked by the Hunter Hayes concert I went to, but lots of sappy love songs and teen pop, too (I teach middle school, you know). I also listened to a lot more TED talks. Check out my "Soundtrack of 2014" playlist on Spotify, or watch this incredible TED talk that changed the way I think about goals - or do both!
Hard things about 2014 that I'm trying to love: Frustration with dating, or the lack thereof; feeling pressure to help my students have high standardized test scores while at the same time wanting to help them connect their learning to real-life situations and be good people; and feeling like I'm juggling so many things that I don't have time to stay in touch with my friends or get better at photography the way I want to.
Favorite moments of 2014: Kayaking in the ocean, drinking pina coladas, and star gazing on a cruise with Heather and Kelly. Spirit weeks (and my favorite student quote, on socks and sandals day: "Miss Brown, what are you wearing?"). The Hunter Hayes concert. Seeing my mom recover incredibly well from her knee surgery. My best friend Kari's wedding. Watching my students give their own TED talks in class. Disneyland - three times! Performing sacred ordinances for my ancestors in the temple. New York City with Grandma and Grandpa Jacobsen. BYU football games - we were on ESPN! Helping my aunt Marie get ready for her wedding in the Mt. Timpanogos temple. Road tripping to St. George, Beaver, and Logan to cheer on my dad in his bike races. Stumbling on a random, free, outdoor Train concert after the Days of '47 rodeo. Performing as Sybil (an incredibly ditzy fairy) in a summer production of "Sleeping Beauty." Watching my dad enter the world of social media - and enduring his newfound love of selfies. Organizing and delivering Sub for Santa gifts. Hanging out with family and friends.
As you can see, it was a pretty good year. Lots to love. But I think one of the things I'm most grateful for is the fact that my love for the Lord grew a lot in 2014. I had to rely on Him quite a bit, and as a result, I learned to trust Him and His promises even more. I truly do believe that He knows and wants what is best for us, and He is willing to help us reach our goals and achieve our righteous desires.
Thanks for being part of my 2014. It was lovely, wasn't it? Leave a comment and tell me about your favorite parts of 2014!
I'm a daughter, sister, friend, and book lover turned English teacher. This blog is all about the things I'm learning as I go through my many adventures. For more info about me, check out the About Me page.