Make Magic Moments

An excerpt from my latest book, Learning to S.M.I.L.E. Again: 5 Simple Steps Toward Joy. For more specific examples of how to apply this mental high method, scroll down and enjoy the Make Magic Moments photo gallery!

What is a Magic Moment? It’s when your worries are distant and light illuminates all the shadows in your mind. It’s a moment when your pain is lifted and faraway, like a cloud in the sky. The pain doesn’t necessarily disappear, but it’s momentarily out of reach. It’s when you’re filled with warmth and love, and you’re astounded by the bounty of your own blessings, even in the midst of your challenges. A Magic Moment is not fantasy. It’s reality. It’s when your blessings stand out clearly and you feel wonder and amazement for the life you have, regardless of your challenges.

(…)

From that day forward I became more determined to help my children enjoy each day. I wanted them to feel loved, truly LOVED. I wanted to see their smiles more, just like I had through my camera lens. My depression had put me in a place where most days I was just surviving. I wasn’t thriving and neither was my family. However, when I deliberately tried to do a simple activity where I could see my kids smiling, and maybe even capture that moment with my camera, I felt my purpose in life rekindled. I didn’t have to wait for a birthday to create that joy. I could find simple ways every day to share love and experience Magic Moments.

Sometimes the Magic Moments were natural and organic. I would snap pictures of my kids’ smiles as they felt the rush of the wind when I pushed them on a swing. Or when we fed the ducks or threw pebbles in the pond. Sometimes Magic Moments happened when I was a good listener and validated their feelings. Or when I followed a prompting to give them a hug. Or when my child asked me to read them a story and I did it without putting it off. When I overheard laughter or caught someone else enjoying their own Magic Moment, it also cheered me up. These beautiful experiences weren’t forced. They just appeared, and I was grateful when they did. They were tender mercies. They reminded me that life was good.

Other days, Magic Moments took a little more encouragement. It meant getting out the sidewalk chalk or soccer ball, even when I wasn’t in the best mood. It meant scheduling a date so I had a Magic Moment to look forward to. We can’t always experience this magic alone, so we need to make sure we aren’t alone. Sometimes being alone wasn’t the problem. As a stay at-home mom, I was rarely alone. However, I still needed the occasional change of scenery. I had great moments with my kids, but it was also important I scheduled time with my husband and friends. Magic Moments could happen with anyone I loved, so there was no need to limit them to my kids. I allowed for a great variety, even if they were last minute or low-key.

Making a Magic Moment doesn’t require high costs or exotic destinations. It could be at a park, on a hike, on a couch, or a porch swing. Magic Moments just mean quality time with people you love and who love you too. Being physically together isn’t enough, though. Quality time requires mental and emotional togetherness too. There have been days I’ve spent every hour with my kids but didn’t necessarily make many Magic Moments with them because I was distracted. Life is busy and it’s easy to forget to be present, and then we wonder why we’re so burned out. We need to slow down and remember to look into the eyes of our loved ones and let them know they are our loved ones, that they are the reason we do everything we do. Sometimes just doing that brings the magic and we find our emotional batteries are recharged. 

(…)

I believe life has Magic Moments it wants to give us. They’re there, ready for the enjoying. We just need to allow them and receive them.

(…)

Magic Moments can be simple and usually are. Isn’t that wonderful? It means we can find them and make them each day! This world, this life, can be hard, but we can choose to do something about it. When we share Magic Moments with others, joy happens regardless of our circumstances. 

(…)

It’s my wish that you will live a life that’s emotionally elevated. Don’t stay down in the dumps. Rise higher. Create and embrace your own Magic Moments. Cling to them on the heavier days, when it’s harder to rise up. Let the good days you’ve had and the loving people you’ve known inspire you to create more good memories. Go ahead. Make some magic.

(To read more order Learning to S.M.I.L.E. Again: 5 Simple Steps Toward Joy by clicking here.)

Make Magic Moments Photo Gallery

A few weeks ago the kids wanted to go to the park and I wanted try a quick jog, but there were other things that needed to get done so I told the kids we would go the next day. But just to be safe, I checked the weather forecast. It was supposed to snow the next day. We put on our shoes and headed out knowing we couldn’t let the gorgeous day pass by. I jogged around the park and enjoyed the beautiful views as my kids played. The Ogden River. My boys having a light saber battle. My girl drawing. All of them swinging so high that eventually I joined too. Those pretty leaves that look like hearts. There were a lot of stresses that day (because that’s just how life is), but we had some peace within it. And it wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t seen that it was supposed to snow the next day. It makes me wonder, what would I do today if I knew I couldn’t do it tomorrow? Would I sing more? Write more? Just dance with my kids? We can’t really lookup a forecast for our lives like we can the weather, but I think I’m going to be a little more aware of that question. ❤️ I’m curious, what would you do? 
The 2 BEST moments (by FAR!!!) in the past month were when I asked the kids if they would be willing to give some money to a needy stranger and they each brought every dollar and penny they had and then when that cash was miraculously delivered. We don’t have a lot compared to some (and all we do have has been by the generousity if others and God’s mercy) and my kids are old enough to be aware of that when they see others with things they don’t have, but there was no hesitation to serve this evening and give the money they’d been saving. I was humbled to tears to see them pull out change they’d earned and birthday bills. It was like a present-day widow’s mite, and I am not bragging (because I’m the first to see my kids’ inadequacies) but I want to share testimony that the giving Spirit of Christmas is REAL and God’s love softens hearts. ❤️We bundled up and headed out to find a man we had seen earlier that day who we felt needed to be the recipient. I had given him some money as I left a parking lot and without even looking at the amount he had eagerly called out, “God bless! Thank you! God bless you!” I felt impressed that he could use the cash and would use it well. But he was no longer standing at the corner. We kept the envelope in the car but days passed by and we still didn’t see him again. Finally it was the last day of the #lighttheworld focus on the community so we headed out once last time to the same corner. But again he wasn’t there. We drove through the parking complex and decided to give the envelope to the next person we saw. Someone stood on a corner in the distance, too bundled to recognize (it was so cold!) and so we drove up. I rolled down my window to give them the envelope and to my SHOCK and surprise heard a familiar voice. “God bless! Thank you! God bless you!” I loved hearing all the kids behind me in the van say, “It’s him! It’s him!” I know miracles still happen. I know we can witness them when we try to serve, even in the smallest ways. We are all needy, but we all have a lot to give too.
The first snowball fight of the season with “the perfect snowball.”
I will always remember today as the afternoon the whole family was singing, “There is no place I know to compare with pure imagination!” in the living room. It was MAGICAL and truly unforgettable. No matter what nerves came up during auditions, I have never been more proud of my brave kids. ❤️🎵 “Living there, you’ll be free if you truly wish to be!”
Sometimes life is stressful or fast paced and we tell ourselves, “Once I finish this or fix that, I’ll relax. Then I’ll do something for myself.” The truth is life doesn’t slow down unless we choose to put on the brakes. Busy or burdensome seasons are when we need self-care, snuggles, love and family the most! I’m so grateful for my kids and how they’ve helped me through this really hard start of 2019. I deal with depression and anxiety, and that’s just it – I deal with it! I usually deal with it best by engaging with my kiddos. They help me think less about myself and to take the time to relax, slow down, and smile. YAY for slow mornings and read-alouds!
“It’s like an obstacle course!” I love the wonder kids find in everyday life. ❤️ 
Laundry is everywhere, chips are the late night snack, and my pant leg is rolled up because of my mosquito bite.😂 I wanted to whine (because sometimes I do!) that she should have eaten more of the dinner I actually remembered to cook or insist that they help with laundry or put away their toys instead of watch a movie tonight (and sometimes I do), but after a week of camping and swimming with family and friends sometimes you just have to bag what’s “responsible” and let kids be kids and let Mom be mom. That’s why I said yes to Sam’s “read me a story” plea. Not because the house was clean, because we had time (it’s like 2 hours past bedtime here), or because I had the energy (honestly, I’m fighting a summer bug) but because if you don’t seize the moment even when it’s inconvenient, sometimes magic moments won’t happen at all. ❤And as exciting as the swimming and camping has been, there’s nothing like reading a book to all your kids.📖