Life is made up of different types of seasons, and regardless of my general feelings about the current season I'm in, I'm here, living in the midst of it. At any given point, I can look at my life and think, "Why is nothing happening?" when in reality, so many little (wondrous) things are happening every day. I'm reading again, which feels like getting back into the routine of talking with a good friend more often after falling out of touch for awhile.
I'm savoring my way through one book, in particular. And I love this excerpt from it, Jan Karon's These High, Green Hills:
Cynthia came in quietly and set a cup of tea before him. He kissed her hand, inexpressibly grateful, and she went back to the kitchen. When we view the little things with thanksgiving, he thought, even they become big things.
In a season of small things, I want to see the significance of the little things. There will be seasons in the future (I'm sure) where I'll wish for a day to just enjoy the little stuff, for space in my mind to notice the way the light hits the kitchen table, and the way Nicholas always comes up behind me, to hug me when I'm brushing my teeth. And here, where I am today, in a season of little things, I want to make an effort to savor it. When I take a moment (or several) to do so, the little things can cause thanksgiving to spring up in my heart, and a thankful heart is not a small thing at all.
Here are my "little things"
- sorting puzzle pieces by shape
- making homemade fruit snacks/"jello jigglers" as we called them when we were kids (I added 2-3 T honey after the gelatin dissolved, because my 100% cranberry juice was so tart)
- making homemade lotion for Nicholas (see my pinned stories on instagram for the recipe)
- starting a batch of sauerkraut
- knitting on scrappy socks and my green sweater, but mostly on fingerless mitts for my mom's birthday
- enjoying tea and oatmeal, as a nighttime treat
- reading my book, tidbit or chapter at a time, and laughing out loud at the way Jan Karon describes her characters. It feels so good to be reading again.
- curling my hair for the first time since last January
- finishing puzzles
- listening to a sermon together
- talking on the phone with my mom today, on her birthday (happy birthday, mom! <3)
And yesterday, we spent an entire day together. With our morning coffee, we started piecing together an "extra difficult" wooden puzzle with reindeer pieces. We had smoothies for lunch, and I talked to my brother on the phone for over an hour, while Nicholas played games with some friends. In the afternoon, we went to his barbershop for his haircut (& some knitting time for me). And then we went to The Backspace, to order our "usual" and to sit at the bar, close to the the brick oven fire where they cook the pizza. It was like sitting near a fireplace on a chilly night, and you can watch the staff prepare your food, which is our favorite. We ordered the exact same meal we always do, plus an americano to share. We were home by 7pm and watched The Office together and cozied up under the quilt we reach for about 50 times a day this time of year.
It does my heart good to write these little things out, because if I don't notice them, I miss out on the opportunity to notice all the little things God provides every day* while we're waiting on Him to provide the big ones. Noticing the presence of little joys helps keep the heart from dwelling on the absence of things you want, but don't yet have. This, I think, is the first and biggest lesson of the new year so far.
What are your "little things"?
*See also, my post about January manna.
Fall feels like a number of transitions, one right after the other. We are now bridging into late fall, with lots of frost in the mornings, first sightings of bare trees, and darker, cozier evenings at home. Of course, there is talk of Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon too, along with early preparations for those. I do tend to be swept by the momentum of this season, if I'm not careful. I'll admit that Christmas music accompanies us throughout the day sometimes, and I've already done most of our shopping, but I do want to be intentional to savor the almost-but-not-yet. To not wish away November and it's baring of trees in favor of the glow of Thanksgiving and Christmastime. There is great beauty and contentment in this month, as well. I don't want to miss it.
We've taken to a regular "cozy hike," as we've termed it. A nearly wooded path, my favorite spot for fall color, a wagon, an eager toddler, a cozy blanket, and snacks. I look for the bright red leaves, since those are a favorite for both of us. And we also look for acorns and pinecones, treasures on the ground.
I'm typically in a rush to wish away the hot days of summer, to exchange them for cozy days, sweater season, cool mornings. I'm an optimist, and that optimism frequently couples itself with being future minded. Constantly looking forward with hope, but also sometimes looking forward with misplaced longing that can inhibit me from being present. But this past weekend, the events of both days were lovely, and being present felt easy and good.