As we go through our day-to-day lives, we complain about work, kids, finances, etc. But what we keep forgetting to do is find joy every day.

Not every day is a good day. Sometimes it seems like there is too much going on in life that you won’t be able to get it all done. This makes me crabby. I hate my house being a mess, and yes, it makes me a bear;  just ask my husband. Poor guy, generally gets the brunt of it, but there are times during the week that cleaning the house just doesn’t seem fit into the schedule.

Even as a stay-at-home mom, it seems my life has gotten busier than it has EVER been. Keep in mind I was married with two kids finishing up my BS degree in education, while still working part-time. And that was cake compared to life keeping up a with a 2- and a 4-year-old.

One day we went to church, shortly after a young local girl had passed away in a tragic car accident. I believe it was Mother’s Day. Our pastor was talking about finding joy in all circumstances, not “happiness”, but “joy”, and what it meant to be “joyful”.

This sermon comes to my mind daily. As I picture Justin in Heaven, (every day), I have mixed emotions. I am heartbroken that he is not here with us, that I don’t get to snuggle him everyday, smell his hair, see his smile, or watch him grow up, and I am not “happy” that he is not here with me,

I am, however, “joyful” that I know where he is, I am “joyful” that he gets to spend eternity with his maker, I am “joyful” that he never has to feel pain or heartache, I am “joyful” that I will see him again, I am “joyful” that we have a perfect little angel watching over our family.

So when I think about how my husband Ryan has to work 6-7 days a week, I have to keep in mind, God gave us his job so that I can be home with Riley and Jake do, even when they’re naughty, and that I get to teach them, and grow right along with them. I am “joyful” that he has this job, and that I have a job that allows me to stay at home while still contributing to our monthly income.

And while my kids can, and do, drive me nuts at times — like when my vacuum breaks due to a million mini chocolate chips that were dumped out on my $250 rug — I am still joyful that I get this time, these stories, that I am able to tell their children. I am joyful for everything, good or bad, because God gave all this to me, and I have nothing else in this life I need. Thank you Lord, even for the things that I complain about.

Mary Swick 2012

Mary Swick

My name is Mary Swick. I live in a sleepy little town in North Central Iowa. I received my elementary education degree from Wayne State College, in Wayne, Nebraska, but I am now a stay at home mom, and love more than anything spending time with my family. I am assistant photo editor for Stolzman Photography out of Conrad, IA, and recently have taken on a few part time daycare kids. I feel so blessed to be able to contribute to the family income while still being able to stay at home with my children. I would not trade the time I have to spend with them for the world. My oldest son, Riley, is a very energetic four-year-old who just started preschool this past year. He loves school, playing outside, and watching football with his daddy. Jacob is two and a half years old and he cannot wait to go to school like Riley. He loves playing catch, tractors, playing with other kids, and snuggling with his mommy and daddy. My husband and I have another child who lives in Heaven. Our son, Justin Ryker Swick, was born May 14, 2011 and became and angel on August 11, 2011. Through Justin's passing we have learned so much about life and the importance of our faith in God, family, and community. My family and I have become stronger through this tragedy, and while I miss Justin every day; and long for the day I am able to hold him again; I am so thankful for the days I was able to have him with us. I am so proud of him, his life, and his legacy. I am thankful that Jesus sings him lullabies, and that he will never feel the pain of this world.

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