Niamh is a 'go big or go home' kind of person.
She likes life vibrant and exciting and fun.
She is all girl.  She is passionate.  
She will need a romantic guy someday.
Someone who will shower her with roses and jewelry.  
She is sweet. And loves deeply.  
And she has a heart that seeks Jesus.  

She is pretty wonderful, basically:).

We've been talking a lot lately about joy
Because as sweet and lovely as she is, she got this awesome gene from her mom, 
where she wakes up 
Like, the kind that would make Grumpy Dwarf look like an easy going, lovable kinda guy.  

It has been as much a lesson for her as myself. 
Because as a mom, it isn't fair that I say 'do this' but actually live differently myself.  
So, Grumpy and Grumpy, Jr. are getting their lessons in joy lately:).

I still dress both kids in the mornings. That might seem weird to some people. 
But they are serious zombies until 8am... so they try their best to stay asleep while I try my best to pull and nudge and squeeze them into their uniforms.  Philly is pretty good at snoozing through the whole thing.  Niamh, not so much.

She wakes up one eye.  
And maybe complains about her skirt.  
Because that skirt is tight.
Or the sweater.
It has big armpits. (Yes, she has complained about armpit size before.)
And oh my goodness--
The worst thing in the world is a turtleneck.  
Turtlenecks can completely nuke our whole morning.  

My grumpiness tends to be the quiet, leave me alone for a while type. 
Niamh's is all up-in-the-koolaid-don't-even-know-the-flava type. 
So, we have basically covered the gamut of grumpy.

I love good mornings.  
And believe me, we usually start our days off well.
The kids will laugh and fool around.
And I'll pack everything into their book bags.
Get breakfast out. 
And sometimes stick something goofy in their lunch boxes. 

But those days when the turtleneck bomb has gone off...they really bother me. 
There are not many things in life I like less than a bad start to my day.
Because I like the feeling of walking out of school, having hugged and kissed them, knowing that our short time together that morning was good. That they will feel happy and joyful going into their day.  That is important to me as a mom. 

So, if a morning started to go down hill, I started trying to fix it.
I'd try the 'rise above it' phrase.  
Try to coach her out of it. 
But she isn't coachable at 730am and I'm kinda like Bobby Knight at that point myself...so. That failed.

I tried to ignore it.
But that doesn't solve anything.
It is like putting the dirty dishes in the oven right before someone visits. 
Which I would know nothing about, of course.

I tried guilting her out of it.
Telling her stories of others who are less fortunate but grateful for their turtlenecks.  
But I don't think guilt is a reliable tool.  It forces good behavior from a bad place.  

Recently, after a little string of these glorious mornings in a row, I was thinking 
how in the world can I fix this for her.  and me.
How do you get the grumpy to go away? 
The answer I heard in my heart (Jesus is good like that) was JOY.
Finding that refreshing feeling in my soul that will not give place to negative, grumpy tendencies.

Passing that nugget of info onto Niamh requires two things.

One, that I keep my own heart joyful. 
(Which some mornings is only by the grace of God:) 
It is taking a second to look at Philly curled up in the covers before I wake him.
Looking at Niamh's long eyelashes and messy bed hair that still somehow looks gorgeous.
Seeing their little drooly pillows. 
And their breathing shoulders move up and down.
Be joyful that those two goofballs are mine.
Be joyful we have another day to spend together. 
Be joyful that God trusted me to love them deeply...all of them, even the grumpy parts:).

The other part of teaching joy is finding it in the little parts of the day.
I think real joy starts in the little things.
Talking about sunshine on the way to school.
Praying together in the truck before we walk in.
Saying something funny about dad.
Giggling at a fart in the backseat 
(because they never, ever happen in the front seat, cross my heart.)
Yeah.  Farts can be joyous. I'm not even joking.

Joy doesn't need an occasion or a reason. 
It is just flowing from the heart.
It just happens.
And it is really good at pushing the grumpy away.

And the very best part-- it is contagious:).


Grumpiness is easy.
And it ruins good mornings. 
And it resides in little corners of the day-- like in a turtleneck or an itchy pair of tights.

Joy is free-flowing and beautiful. 
It fills up the whole heart, so there is no room for Grumpy to come in anyways.
It is also in the little parts of the day...
But it is exponentially more wonderful to a heart than indulging for a second in grumpiness.  
And how wonderful.humbling.gracious for God to give us children that are just like us in so many ways.  My Father reaches my heart as I teach my children.  That is some good stuff right there. 

What are the little parts of your day that give you joy?
I'd love to share in your thoughts... 
because, after all, it is a pretty contagious thing, that JOY!

[Linking here today.
Because she makes me reflect on Mondays
about being a mom.
And that is cool of her:).]


  1. Fabulous post Krista...I love all the little insights you give to your world and family.

    That Smash page is great and I just love that photo of your little miss.

    Toni xx

  2. OMG this is exactly what i needed!!! Thank you.... My son is a little grumpy in the morning and i am the kind that is like leave me alone for a little while and those two don't go very well together...i love the mornings when all things go well and easy, but always feel very quilty when the morning isn't such a good start and try to do the same things you say...now i know i'm not the only one! Trying the joy thing in the morning....(by the grace of God ofcourse) :-)

  3. I <3 this entry *
    Thank You ... just, thank you *

  4. Ohhh my heart just hopped a beat when I saw your pretty face 'linked in'! Then.. THIS.. maybe it's because the grump factor rings true to my heart too, and the struggle to invite that 'expulsive-power' of JOY resonates so well with me... maybe it's just because you rock my socks.
    Either way - you're still one of my favourites - (soooo glad those dreads and silly face drew me to your blog so long ago now it seems).
    LOVE having you in the mama circle.
    Bless your pea-pickin' heart!!
    needle and nest design

  5. I just love your heart Krista. I definitely needed to read this today. I am not a morning person either, but Ive learned if I want any alone/quiet time I need to make mornings my friend. So I wake up early before the rest of my family (between 6-6:30 am). Even still with the extra time to myself, there are mornings when Im just not finding the joy. And when out day starts off bad, I just feel awful as Im dropping the kids off at the bus stop. I always hate that, and want it to be better. I love this bible verse you shared. Im gonna have to stick that up somewhere (or a few somewheres) around the house as a good reminder. ♥

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Thanks for this post- very true. I could tell almost immediately that my second child was exactly like me and I was Terrified!! Now he's 2 and it ain't easy. Raising children is kind of like a refining fire- what better way to show us our sin than to show us our own children's sin, aye? Here's hoping for more joy in our mornings as well.
    Cristina (icoulddothatdesign)

  7. Awesome Scripture. I shall have to add it to the quote book I am making and add it to the small space I have next to my bathroom mirror and next to my front door along with one of your digis so that I can see it every day. Your heart is awesome. Thanks for sharing it and your artistic gifts.

  8. WAUW what a gorgeous page, you´ve made here Krista, and thanks sooo much for all your thoughts about these grumpy mornings.
    I also had a daughter, who was exactly the same way, when she was a kid, and I found out back then, thatif I was just very relaxed and leed her steps the first minutes and didn´t talk too much, then it all went much easier, so I began to get up myself ½ hour earlier and finished all my doings before calling her up, so I could give her my full attention, and sit down nice and calm with her, while she had her brdeeakfast, we both got a nice and slow start on the day, and the whole day then got much much better for both of us, and we could both get out of the house in a calm way and no stress at all, and then we were suddenly able to see all these small positive joy things too and noone even needed to draw any attention to them anymore, and after that it just got better and better as the time went on, and now she´s telling me, about how she does the same to her daughter now, because she remember, how much better our mornings went after that.

  9. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Krista. hugs! Mojca

  10. I've had a brilliant thought on life today but am too tired to write it now. Will try and get it down tomorrow! Thanks for a lovely post. xxxx

  11. i adored this post. something about hearing how Jesus works in the lives of other families around the world really just touches my passionate heart... so grateful to have read this and gotten the insight you gave.

  12. Thanks for sharing. I love the walk to school with my son each morning and try and find something good / beautiful / unusual to comment on. It sets the day up well for us and banishes the rushed grumpiness which tries to take over if we're not careful.

  13. Food for thought for sure. I agree, we have to model it to expect it from them. :) (As hard as that can be some mornings!) The best trick up my sleeve, both for me and for both my boys, is to teach them (and remind myself) of the value of a truly good night's sleep. In our house the grumpies show up mostly when some or all of us are lacking in the sleep department. This is something that we have to remind ourselves every now and again to make sure that all of us (Mom included) gets enough rest. It is so difficult though since I adore those late hours when everyone is settling for the night and sleeping peacefully - time to unwind and relax and maybe create!

    Anyhow, a beautiful post and a gorgeous page and quote. JOY truly is a beautiful thing, let's celebrate!
    Shanna :)

    p.s. One of the things that I am joyful about everyday on my way to work is the amazing landscape and my view as I get drive - my view is of the Sleeping Giant on Lake Superior in Thunder Bay, ON and to see the sun rising about the "Giant" is absolutely breathtaking! When it comes to my boys - I cherish their laughter most I think, especially when it is the two of them laughing together. Thanks for prompting me to think of these things!

  14. I have learned with my own battle with a son who is not a morning person (and I being the morning mom who had a song to wake them all for each day of the week.... yep THAT mom!!!) - God created these precious children as individuals. they may not peak in the morning, but they do have their special moments and it is set by God's perfect timing for THEM. God ever so gently smacked me upside the head with that one when my sons were all young, and of course He had to keep reminding me of it as they grew to adulthood! grins!

    I learned that it was best to just let my non-morning son just quietly go about his own procedures to get ready, knowing that the smiles and sunshine would later emerge. to try to talk to him, especially first thing in the morning, or reason with him if an argument did occur, would just aggravate the both of us. once he had fully awaken and later into the day, he was in a better frame of mind to discuss things if there were troubles. now he knows to not schedule college classes prior to 9 or 10 am, because he just doesn't function as well any earlier.

    Your children are both precious and created just as God intended. you are doing a wonderful job with them! :)

  15. I have only been following your blog for a short time, and I love reading your posts, but I think this one is by far my favorite (so far!). I loved it....such beautiful poetry. Thanks for sharing it.

  16. Boy did I need to hear something like this! We lost a member of our family recently, and I have been praying for "something" to make that heavy heart go away, only I didn't know it was "Joy". I literally felt a leap while reading your post.

    Thank you for being such a blessing!


  17. I always found that from the time my kiddies were little they always saved up their meltdowns and grumpiness for good ole mom. The way they have expressed it over the years has changed but they still like to unload on me. I would say that my son is more even tempered but my daughter from day one shows and expresses the dramatics to good ole mom. She moved home after college and after about 8 months landed a nursing job in a hospital working 12 hour night shifts. What a bumpy adjustment for both of us. I would tip toe around her grumpy behavior when so got home tired, tip toeing around not to wake her until I finally realized I was doing neither of us justice. She needed to learn to navigate night work and not impact this family and I needed to tell her that she was impacting my life. I don't think she was aware how badly she was behaving because ignoring wasn't teaching her anything. If this is her career and she wants to marry and have kids one day she will need to learn to self monitor her behavior when tired.

    My joy is seeing my kids all grown, working and living their lives. Knowing that I miss having them as babies to tuck in every night but know that they were never mine to keep. Raising successful kids it letting them go when they need to go and not micro manage them even though I need to bite my tongue all the time.

    Daily joys are unloading the school bus every morning at school and trying to smile and say good morning as I help them down the steps to start their day on a positive note.

    Joy...catching snow on my tongue with the kids at school when they got off the bus last week and it was snowing.

    Joy that I have been teaching for 35 years and I still LOVE to go to work every day!!!

  18. Oh Krista - loved what you wrote here. My 'word for the year' is joy and you page made me realise yet another 'joy' scripture that I can memorise, and yet again that true joy is never affected by circumstances!!

  19. Thank you Krista for this beaut reminder - day 1 of a new school year here in Australia. My amazingly insightful 10 year old son will often say to his grumpy Mum - "Mum why are you choosing to be grumpy? Choose happy instead." And his best advice - "It's really easy to be happy Mum - just stretch your face into a smile". (This is so true - try it - whack on a big cheesy grin and the rest of your face and mind just follow). So often with my kids I find myself wondering who is parenting who.
    I gave up on turtlenecks - my son is super sensitive to lots of textures (and noises) and there is no point trying to make him wear certain clothes that to him feel like sandpaper or worse.

  20. Dear Ones: You are so blessed to have each other and I am so blessed to have found you "online" to express in such beautiful prose the words and feelings I have each day. Although my babies are adults/parents now, the "Joy" is contagious...multiplying as our family grows. This is a beautiful piece and the gift you have to describe the 'grumps' is almost as cute as your characters. Take care of each other and enjoy all the moments you have during this precious time in your lives. May God bless!

  21. I so enjoy reading your... what I call, Inspirational Posts by Krista, in the mornings when I get to work. Sitting here with a lovely cuppa coffee, FULL of the frikkin' hay-fever. Lots of sneezing, itchy eyes and blocked nose. Your thoughts brought a smile to my face... Not being a grumpy morning person myself, it has given me a great insight into our different personalities and what makes up absolutely unique in God's eyes. Getting that turtleneck over Niamh's head must be mighty challenging in the mornings... Had a good giggle when I read that. Wishing you a blessed day, hugs from afar, Sharon xx

  22. krista hunny I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post, and it is so amptly timed too! Mo actually woke up kinda grouchy today because he doesn't in his words.. "want to do the whole school thing today" !! so to cheer him up I put my bedroom tv on and made him breakfast in bed, now he's all cheery though still skirting the school issue! lol!!
    I love the verse too. Have an awesome day my lovely
    Huge hugs Lou xxx

  23. Today reading your post gave me joy, Krista! Truly. I am lucky my 16 year old is usually pretty good in the morning...give her till after school. But this was my grumpy morning...having to work on my day off when I have so much planned...then reading this made me stop and look for my joy. My husband just smiling at me cause he loves me, my daughter giving me a hug for NO REASON, knowing my dogs will be there at 5:30 to wiggle and be happy I'm home. So thank you for helping me with finding my joy. HUGS

  24. Lovely post :) I know I DEFINITELY struggle in the mornings. When you asked "how do you get the grumpy to go away?" my first thought was, of course, "Coffee". That is how my grumpy goes away after having to wake up. Turns 'zombie face' to 'happy face' in about one and a half cups, lol. And then I was like "oh yeah, probably shouldn't give kids coffee, that would be baddddd." I'm sure your kids' teachers really, really appreciate you taking a better approach to mornings other than giving coffee to your kids :P Take care!

  25. Krista, reading this wonderful post has given me joy and you are so right. There are mornings when I am so frustrated at trying to get my boys organised and I cannot abide the mess in their rooms. I am going to follow your lead and let joy in instead . Absolutely love the page as well. Other things that give me joy are your images, colouring, baking, creating, being a mum....and Wednesdays because that is my day off work :-)

  26. This is such a Fabulous post...Love it!! I love to see sunshine in the mornings and to watch my daughter sleeping....those are the small things that bring me joy. Thanks soo much for sharing. Have a great day!

  27. Wonderful, wonderful post. Although I'm not a grumpy bug necessarily in the morning, I get "angry hungry" when I pass a certain point without food -- and woe to anyone who crosses me! (And by that I mean breathes in my general vicinity.) That is my automatic reaction to strong hunger ... but it's something I CAN and SHOULD control, I just haven't. I've mentally used the excuse that it is just "how I am." But I can change how I "am," and joy is the way to do it. Thank you!

  28. That's a cute page. I love what you wrote too.

  29. Thank you Krista. Your post really touched my heart today x

  30. Joy is being a mom and knowing you give it your all.... like you do. Joy is knowing that you're not alone as being a mom... even in the bad, grumpy times. Joy is knowing that even if we get it wrong, we can always try again. Happy mom, happy joy, happy day!!! *HUGS*

  31. Krista my friend, I love your stories about the kids and your life I love to read them cause it makes me seem that little bit normal as I do the same things, lol, and grumpy is me in the morning, I hate 'early' mornings, which would probably account for me working night shifts as a nurse for 9 years, meaning I was at the end of a shift and home to get my kiddos off to school and so was in a good mood, but woe betide me being 'woke' up on an early morning I am so like that moreso now than ever as you know my sleep pattern is all over the place, so I hate being shocked out of my sleep or woke up by an alarm that insists on getting me up 5 mins early because it's malfunctioned on the very day I 'needed' that 5 mins!!! I used to sing in my heart when I needed Joy and then sang it out loud for the kids if they were grumpy, on our walk to school........."Give me love in my heart keep me praying.......give me joy in my heart I pray, give me joy in my heart keep me praying keep me praying to the end of day!!.............."and all the verses....'keep me singing' and by the time we were at school, our song had uplifted us all, and the walk became non existent as we hadn't noticed it at all!! Have a good early morning when you awake lovely lady with your gorgeous kids and sing till your heart is full!!! Hugs my darling, Vick xxxx
    P.S After 35 years of washing up as a kid and then a mum, I got a dishwasher to hid my dishes LOL ....xx

  32. Oh and plenty of COFFEE.........as you know we both drink it like it's going out of fashion, I am not human, until i'm on at least my 3rd cup, ....ok 4th!!.....lol I wouldn't mind John bought me so a tub of coffee and amaretto biscuit icecream last week, and I even fell in love with that!!! LOL
    V x

  33. Krista, I love your words of wisdom. And the sweetness about it. It makes me look at the positive and the good side of life when I read your blog.e. Thanks for the inspiration and sharing your lovely stories. Your outpouring of genuiness is just so beautiful! What a lovely family and I love reading your stories.

  34. This is a wonderful post. It's truly heartwarming! I can't wait up grumpy...how can you feel grumpy when a beagle puppy is sniffing your face and leaves wet nose prints over any part of you not under the covers? No matter how early it is, I wake up with a smile because of my Lucy. Hugs, Gail

  35. Kirsta ,joy is a gift from the Holy spirit and i am blessed to be able to access it daily .I loved your story and know when children are small ,teens and youg adults it can be joyful and it can be stressful.
    I have a lot wrong with me health wise but its all ok becaus emy Beautiful Lord has healed my mind to cope and has given my a spirit of joy .Im often just sat in my craft room (not actually crafting you understand) but singing my heart out to our Father, my fave fav at the mo is IN CHRIST ALONE MY HOPE IS FOUND do you know it ?

    Sometimes when im singing i get this overwhelming peace and joy fill my soul .Joy that unexplained feeling of such peace and happiness is for all of us ,whoever you are wherever you are it can be yours just ask and you will recieve the Blessing.My husband and i are never grumpy in the mornings but we never have been ,whats the point its a choice you make as an adult ,and i think its unfair to whoever you live with.

    I will tell you a story ,in the village i grew up in people called me smiler even then i loved the Lord .Well my elder sister worked at the same place as i did and she said to me dont talk to me, look at me ,smile at me or anything in the morning .We went to work i smiled at everyone i passed they said morning smiler ,no one spoke to her ,Well an amazing thing happened eventually she started to talk a little ,smile a little look a lot .Christ is for all days and He is interested in the smallest things going on in our life ,even the grumps lol May Joy be your partner as you go through your days (just ask dont forget )xx

  36. WOW. beautifully written. just found your blog. she sounds just like my daughter and i know i gave my parents the same grief. it is a constant struggle to choose joy and not perfection and to be sweet. Your heart is in the right place, i know you will only have blessings..

  37. Thank you for this Krista. My 5 year old and I have similar mornings, so I can totally relate to how the wrong size armpits can mean the end of the world. :) It's nice to read how you and your daughter are working through this, and yes, JOY is a perfect thing to focus on.



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