We are back from our 10 year anniversary trip to Mexico and I’m feeling so grateful for all of it. I want to take a moment to type it out, because my personality-type is one that likes to move on to the next best thing. I like the buzz of movement because it makes me feel alive and purposeful and when I’m busy it seems easier to avoid discomfort and complexity.
This seems like a win/win, ha! But in reality, where I think busyness is helping, it’s actually numbing me to my own life and depriving my soul of what it really needs. And what my soul needs is for me to lean into my life and pay attention.
And that’s what happened in Mexico. We stopped moving and slowly my soul caught up with my busy body. We did a lot of nothing. A lot of sitting. A lot of hanging out. A lot of reading and thinking and talking. And I loved it. By hanging out in the present moment with my hubby, I discovered I felt content and joyful in those small, quiet moments. I was able to notice the life right in front of me. I found more contentment in the stillness than I do rushing from one thing to the next.
Now that I’m home, I want to remember what it feels like to be present and attentive to the ordinary moments of my life.
But how do I do that amid the chaos of being a mom, a wife, and a friend with all the responsibilities, duties and needs that come with those roles?
I don’t think the answer is waiting for the next extraordinary vacation where I give myself permission to stop, and notice my life, and it’s goodness. Instead, I want to see my life as I’m moving through it. So what do I do?
Thanks to some beach-chair reading, Brené Brown gave me a simple solution. There is power in stopping to say thank you.
“Our ordinary small lives are enough. For joy comes in the ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.” (Daring Greatly)
So here I am, making a conscious decision to say thank you for the ordinary moments of my life. In noticing what’s right in front of me, I’m trusting contentment will begin to bubble up out of the ordinary.
One of my favorite authors, Emily P Freeman, commits to finishing this sentence every day: These are the days of….
For the past week, I’ve tried it on and in noticing the ordinary, I’ve felt small joys filling my heart in big ways right here at home.
Here’s my top 10 from the past week. I wanted to share my list so you can see just how ordinary these moments really are.
Through the practice of writing them down, I’ve come to recognize that what appears ordinary today will be what sparkles like a treasure years from now.
My days won’t always look like this, and noticing has become the gift. Perhaps it’s a gift you can give yourself, too.
These are the days of…..
- My daughter wrapping her arms around my neck and falling asleep. (After she told me she didn’t want any snuggles, and thinking if she snuggled with her eyes closed, I wouldn’t notice. I love her feisty spirit!)
- Early morning coffee by the fireplace where I read and journal. And Marcrina Wiederkehr’s words, “The fire of Christ burns on in me, yet I so often forget to sit by the fireplace.”
- Ending the day on my couch with LJ, Modern Family and chips with salsa.
- Seven loads of laundry that give me the time and excuse to listen to Jennie Allen’s podcast.
- Starbucks from a friend as she makes sandwiches in my kitchen and I hold her newborn baby.
- Tuesday mornings when we eat our breakfast in pjs. And my son saying, “You can come sit by me mom.” As he points to the open space next to him, with no chair. And I do it. I go stand there, forgoing a chair, because I know one day his teenage-self will want me nowhere near him as he eats twice his weight in food.
- Crisp, sunny, Fall walks around my neighborhood.
- Screaming, crying tantrums followed by a prayer of forgiveness for my impatience and my child’s choice not to listen. Then hearing us both say, “I’m sorry and I forgive you.”
- Daddy doing the “foot-vater” (His feet serving as an elevator) up the stairs with two squeeling, squirmy, giggling kids.
- Long days, lots of messes and watching my kids choose curiosity, forgiveness and love over and over again. Realizing that though they are little, they serve as my biggest teachers.
I’d love for you to join me in adopting this practice of gratitude for the days leading up to Thanksgiving. You can either jot it down or record it to your phone using Siri. And what I would really love, is if you would share some here, in the comments section or share with your spouse, a friend or a mentor. I’ve discovered that bearing witness to each other’s stories is one of the greatest gifts we can give to each other for joy is doubled when it is shared.