Choose Joy for the Journey

As Moms, it's important that we CHOOSE JOY on a daily basis

As Moms, it’s important that we CHOOSE JOY on a daily basis

This week my friend Molly Milroy, who blogs at, asked me to write a post about choosing joy. While writing, I thought how important it is for us moms to embrace joy as we strive to grow our saints. With that in mind, here is what I wrote …

Life is full of choices: What am I going to wear today? Which Mass should I attend this weekend? What should I have for breakfast? What am I supposed to do with my life?

Yet, there is one choice we can make every day … and it’s a choice that will have an incredible impact on every other decision we make.

That choice: deciding to have JOY FOR THE JOURNEY.

Here are five tips on choosing joy for the journey of the amazing life God has given you:

1. Have an attitude of gratitude. Thank God for all He has given you! Write these blessings down. There are so many things we all take for granted everyday. Think how wonderful it is to have heat when it is cold outside and that we are able to see in our homes at night because of electricity. Consider the blessing we have to be able to communicate so easily via computers and other technologies. Then there are our family members and friends that we are blessed to have in our lives. How rich we are in blessings! If you can concentrate on your blessings, it is easier to find joy in the the challenges and drudgery we sometime experience in everyday life!

2. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Find humor in your daily situations. I think people who laugh a lot live longer. Laugh at yourself! There are no perfect people. We all make mistakes. It is perfectly OK! When my son was two years old we were in a bookstore. An employee was helping me when all of a sudden my son launched a major two-year-old tantrum … he threw himself down on the floor and began pounding his feet and fists on the ground and began to scream so loud that I’m sure he could be heard outside. This poor lady helping me was shocked! I didn’t know what to do, but finally said, “Oh, look … he is being developmentally appropriate.” The employee and I both immediately started laughing and my son stopped screaming and pounding because he was so surprised by our reactions. Humor can diffuse so many situations and make everyone involved feel better!

3. Think happy and uplifting thoughts. Sometimes we can start down a negative thought process in our head and it turns into a downward spiral. Instead, choose to think positive thoughts. Ask yourself: “What is the good that can come out of this situation?” Don’t say, “I had a bad day.” Instead say, “I had a character-building day!” Ask questions like: What new thing did I learn today? How was my character built today? Truly, this makes a big difference! There is good that comes out of even the most challenging situations. Sometime we have to look for it, but it is there. So, in your head, instead of seeing the glass as half empty, see it as half full. It will change the way you think, and in turn, the way you act!

4. Surround yourself with Christ-centered people who also choose joy for the journey. Jesus spent time with lots of people — curing them, talking with them, eating with them — but he still had an inner circle of 12 apostles with whom he spent the most time. I think there is a lesson there. We need to be salt and light in the world, just like Christ. But we also need to have an inner circle of friends who share our attitude of joy and gratitude and who share our faith. We need these friends who can lift us up in our character-building moments, and in turn we will lift them up as well. I call these people my “kindred spirits.” Who are your kindred spirits who, like you, have decided to have joy throughout this journey called life? Find them and cherish them. Spend time with them and thank God for their friendship!

5. Pray. Ask God to help you be joyful everyday no matter what is going on in your life. He is all-powerful and all-mighty. God is listening to you. He loves you! Ask Him to guide your ways. He is with you every step of the way on this awesome journey, so enjoy it!

There are many other ways to choose joy for the journey, but no matter what you do, enjoy life and live it to the fullest! God wants us to be joyful! May God bless you as you decide to choose joy for this great journey called life!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” –Romans 15:13


  1. Thank you so much for this, Margaret! I Newas having a character-building day today and not doing a good job at choosing joy. I really needed this! I may have to print & post this list.

  2. Beautifully written! Thank you for sharing your words with us!

  3. Love the post, Margaret! I would also add:

    1. “Be Attentive”…the Holy Spirit is always speaking to us in the quiet as well as in the beautiful “music” (or “noise”…however you choose to name the audible in your daily life!).
    2. Listen to good music (real music). We love listening to, singing along with, and DANCING to Christian tunes in our house. This is not the only genre of music blasting through our speakers…but it’s one of our most frequent!

    Keep the great posts coming, friend!

  4. I absolutely LOVE this! Margaret, you are amazing! And the Holy Spirit shines through you and your Vocation! I am so thrilled to read this & to be your dear friend 😉 Hugs to your whole family from ours!

  5. really what I needed to read today, Margaret. So joyful, nice to have something so nice to read!

  6. beautiful words, and so true! we pray at night that the hard things will have helped us to love better, and it has changed . . . at least me, which of course changes the kids. thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  7. Danya Ivory says:

    I love #2 up there! Choices like that can make ervyones day brighter! Thank you for sharing, Margaret!

  8. Such great wisdom! Kennedy & I are on a quest to see if we can “choose joy” the Lenten Season! You words are so timely & seem so easy if we only try!

  9. This post is really great. I really enjoyed it. Choosing joy was a big lesson that I learnt from National Evangelisation Teams in Canada. I highlighted this post to a couple of friends and Kara, my fiancee mentioned how much she liked this post, too. Many people fail to realise that joy is a choice that we make. I have now subscribed and look forward to reading many more excellent posts! From Robert in England.

  10. Stephanie says:

    Awesome Margaret!! Life and how we live it is a choice!!! My favorite and most helpful is surrounding yourself with like-minded friends that will honestly and lovingly hold you accountable!! Glad that you are among that group for me 🙂 Love you friend and sorry that I missed you this weekend. Hope you are feeling better too!!!

  11. I’m so glad that David shared your link on Facebook, Margaret. This was such a nice, happy thing to read—the world definitely needs more of that! I’m stealing your ‘developmentally appropriate’ line next time one of my little ones has a meltdown—-but can I use it if I’m the one having a meltdown? 🙂 What’s developmentally appropriate for a forty-year-old?

  12. Brittany says:

    Margaret, Joey and I were literally just talking about how much I miss you and your family this morning on the way home from mass. We love you all so much! And thanks for this post, I certainly needed the reminder not to take myself too seriously…. Life should be filled with the joy of Christ, not the gray of the world.

    Good bless, and tell David we hope to see him this week.

  13. Hi Margaret, one of my regrets after our recent trip to D.C. was crossing your path through David but never officially meeting you. I’m the gal from North Dakota who came up and sat next to your family and Lauren during the Students for Life conference, and went crazy when our group won the high school group of the year award. 🙂 I choose word every year to define my year, and my word for 2013 was/is JOY. So I’m definitely intentionally choosing joy this year. Finally, welcome to the blogging world!

  14. Hi Margaret, I love the reflection on character building, that is beautiful. We have just been talking about this as our eldest prepares for First Holy Communion and he’s working on a daily prayer journal. Each night he asks me “Mommy, what did I do that was wrong today?” And I have to remind him to re-frame that question into looking for the opportunity to build character. I am really enjoying your blog and I’m very blessed by your positive enthusiasm!
    Love from Aggieland,
    Julia Motekaitis

  15. Great article on joy from one of the most joyful people I know! I love the idea of the gratitude was one of my Lenten sacrifices and my heart has grown because of it…we all have so much to be thankful for sometimes we just need a reminder to recognize all of the gifts God blesses us with. Thanks my friend!

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