Our friend Jamila and her 16-month old daughter, U'ilani, were over at our house yesterday. As Baby (what we fondly call her) was toddling around the house, refusing to stand still for an instant, she wandered into the office where I was working on some school. Wrapped deep in thought, I was busy with my English, or SAT prep, or Spanish, or whatever it was. Chances are I wasn't in a particularly wonderful mood as I'd been most likely sitting and working on these various projects for hours and had spent the day so far concentrating on SAT scores, homework grades, and more (and probably not drinking enough water, mom would like to add).
I glanced down at U'ilani as she tottered up next to me. She grabbed the end of an article about "college application essays" that was sticking out of a stack of books next to my desk. It crinkled. She smiled. She crunched it again in her little hand. This time she giggled and looked up at me, the look in her big brown eyes saying, "Isn't that wonderful?!" Crunch. Laugh. Crinkle. Laugh. And I scooped her up in a huge, tickle-filled hug.
Moments like that remind me to take joy in the little things around me. The sun shining in the window. The photo of a friend stuck on my computer monitor. The purple gel pen I use for English. The rhythmic clickety-clack of the keyboard. The nectarine mom cut up for me. The "baa" of the sheep outside. The colorful post-it notes on my desk. The lemonade Macaela brought into the office. The Bible verse on someone's gmail status. Countless more.
U'ilani squirmed to the ground and waddled out of the office and into the bathroom. I followed her now, intrigued by her overflowing happiness. She spent the next few minutes discovering the wonder of the knobs in the bath tub, and then wandered into the living room to laugh at the wag of my dog's tail. She was so happy about everything, grateful for every little thing that came her way.
A few weeks ago, I started a list of 1,000 things I'm grateful for. Everything from cheese to rope swings to good communication to my Dad. So far I'm to 327. An it's all just making me stop and think about every little thing around me. Every gift that I sometimes don't even notice. Every blessing I take for granted. Things like color. God gave us color! How amazing is that? Or something like rain. A bunch of tiny drops of water falling from the clouds! It's crazy!
I stop and think about just a few of those little gifts that have been given to me for no reason other than because God loves me. Focusing on all these little things actually helps me to see the big picture. To realize once again that my God is a God of love, a God who knows me, a God who has plans to prosper me and not to harm me. And it makes me once again want to know that God more and more.
I challenge you to look around you right now and find ten little things that maybe you took for granted. Take on the mindset of U'ilani, finding happiness in something so simple. Take the blessings God has given you right now and use them to spread joy. Because the little things matter.
It really is the little things
That mean the most of all...
The "let me help you with that" things
That may seem very small
The "I'll be glad to do it" things
That make your cares much lighter,
The "laugh with me, it's funny" things
That make your outlook brighter...
The "never mind the trouble" things,
The "yes, I understand,"
The interest and encouragement
In everything you've planned
It really is the little things,
The friendly word or smile,
That add such happiness to life
And make it more worth while. ~Mary Dawson Hughes