Don't Take the Little Things in Life for Granted | Engaged Marriage

Don’t Take the Little Things in Life for Granted

By Dustin | Spirituality

The Simple ThingsDo you ever take the time to reflect on all of the blessings in your life?

I think many of us would say that we probably do, at least from time-to-time.  Whenever I think about my own blessings and even take the opportunity to thank God for them through prayer, my focus is pretty predictable.

I have been blessed with a strong faith, an incredible wife, great kids, good health, a productive career, close friends and a fulfilling ministry of sorts here at Engaged Marriage.

These are all very important and valuable blessings, and I certainly have much to be thankful for.  However, only recently did I realize that the items on this list have something in common: it’s the Big Stuff of life.

What About the Little Things?

I have often observed that kids really enjoy and appreciate the little things in life.  After his nightly prayers, my son will often add-on something he wants to thank God for giving him.  A few evenings back he said, “And thank you for Daddy hitting me in the head with a stuffed animal when I was hiding under my covers.”  He has actually thanked God for that moment numerous times since then.  He hasn’t lost his appreciation of the little things.

This idea really hit home during a recent homily at Church.  Our priest (a huge Colts fan) was telling us that his sad week following the Super Bowl was turned around by an incredible blessing that made it one of his favorite weeks in recent memory.  Wow, I thought, this is going to be big news!

He went on to share that he had recently been invited to dinner at a parishioner’s home, but the real magic came after the meal.  When the family’s young daughter was getting ready for bed, she had approached him and asked if he would read her a bedtime story.  And he did.

And THIS was the huge blessing that had turned his week around!  He explained that this was first time in his 41 years of life that he had been asked to read a bedtime story.  It was obvious that this meant a great deal to him, and he thought it was just so cool that he had been given the opportunity to share a book with that little girl.

His homily went on to talk about some deeper issues related to the beatitudes and our choices to feel woe vs. blessings when we encounter things in our lives.  However, I had taken away the message I needed to hear with that simple introductory story.

Think of All We Take for Granted

The story shared by the priest could have just as easily come from an infertile couple or a mother who had lost their child.  Or even an empty-nest couple reflecting on how much they miss having their children at home.

I have the opportunity to read to my own kids most nights before they go to bed.  I don’t give it a second thought.  In fact, I sometimes get annoyed when they want an extra story and I think of all I need to do after we get them to bed.  Talk about taking them and their youth for granted!

When it’s put in this context, I can think of so many “little things” that I take for granted every day.  In my marriage alone, there are  many daily “minor” moments that I would miss deeply if they were taken from me, yet I have become complacent in my appreciation for them:

  • Kissing my wife when we head to work each morning
  • Saying and hearing “I love you” at the end of our phone conversations
  • An email from her wishing me good luck before a big meeting
  • Little “brush by” touches when we squeeze by each other in our small kitchen
  • Exchanging a smile when one of the kids does something sweet
  • Snuggling up in bed on a cold evening

And of course this list could go on and on.  It’s truly the little things that make our relationships and our lives so special!

So, what “little things” do you take for granted every day?  Have you had any experiences that raised your appreciation of these moments?

Photo by meddygarnet
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About the Author

Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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(17) comments

Hmmm. Thought provoking post, Dustin. Really made me stop and think.

The first thing I realized is how blessed I am to have a wife who really appreciates the little things. She finds joy in things that would have blown right past me, and in doing so helps me pause to apprectiate them. I easily get preoccupied with the big stuff, and have a particular tendency to focus on what remains to be done instead of taking satisfaction in what has already been accomplished. She reminds me to do that.

The second thing I realized is how quickly our children, as they have grown, have lost their sense of wonder at little things. I suppose it’s an inevitable part of growing up, but sad nonetheless. How long ago was it that they enjoyed the box the gift came in just as much as the gift itself? Too long. I am reminded to teach this back into them, even now.

So thanks for this little reminder to relish all the little stuff we tend to take for granted. As for me, my little things include:
– the way my wife’s eyes sparkle when she looks at me. Wow!
– the hugs my daughters give me when I arrive home from work, as if I’ve been gone a week
– the delight I feel when I hear a new song that grabs my heart from the first hearing
– the electricity I feel at even a glancing touch of my wife’s skin on mine

And of course so much more.
.-= Scott´s last blog ..The Many Faces of Love =-.

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    Wow, Scott, you have some awesome thoughts in this comment. I read it before I left work, and it made me appreciate it a bit more when my kids hugged me tight when I walked in the door. Thanks! 🙂

    Reply

Great point, Dustin. Some of the little things I appreciate are the frequent silliness and craziness in my family–how we will crack each other up, from my husband to my six year old. It makes staying mad for long pretty difficult. I love how my daughter gives me (and no one else) eskimo kisses and butterfly kisses every night. Truly the little things are what can turn a tough day into one in which we feel really blessed. I loved your bedtime story example, sweet.
Lori

http://www.LifeGems4Marriage.com
.-= Lori Lowe´s last blog ..Money Help: Just in time for Valentine’s Day =-.

Reply

    Thanks, Lori! Your family sounds a lot like ours…silliness rules most of the time. And that’s the way we like it!

    Reply
Jaycie

Something I thought about just today, are the times that my husband really does make me laugh!! Really laugh, just because he really was funny… Something I often do brush aside.

Reply

    Hey Jaycie! I’m really happy to see you comment (it’s been a while). Your husband really makes me laugh too…and so do you when you brush his attempts to be funny aside. 🙂

    Reply
Bethany

I never leave comments (I get to comment to you in person), but I really enjoyed this post! I too often take the little things for granted. Your list is similar to mine, but here are a few more “little things” that make my days happier:

-watching our daughter play dress up
-hearing our son procrastinate at bed time (which usually leads to funny comments by him to get us talking – his mission accomplished)
-sharing affirmations of things we have done on purpose (or not) that make each other’s day

Great post…keep up the good work!

Reply

    YES! I’m seriously thrilled to have the comments section graced by the presence of my dear wife. Our son had plenty of opportunities to make you happy with his procrastination tonight. 🙂

    Thanks for checking in, babe! You made my day!

    Reply

i do this alot, but i’ve been getting better lately. in fact, when my youngest (1) takes a morning nap, my 2.5 year old gets to watch 2 cartoons. this is the hour i get to check emails, blog or do anything that would require little distraction. but i used to do this for 2 HOURS while the little guy napped. last week, i started going to one hour…. that way my daughter only watches 1 hour of TV and we get 1 hour to do stuff together!!! and it was fun. i still had my laptop open and did a few things, but i could still play with her, do play-do, color or anything else.

i love listening to my daughter…. she is so funny and the things she says are GREAT!!!
i love how she is starting to interact with my son. i love listening to them giggle at each other.
i love when my husband holds me when i get home from work.
i am really starting to take the time to enjoy the little things. thank you for this.

Oh, and my Love Challenge is still going on!!! please jump in!!
.-= julia´s last blog ..Love Challenge: Week 2 =-.

Reply

    Thanks for the great comment, Julia! I also love watching our kids interact. At 5 and 2 1/2 years old, they are quite entertaining!

    Reply

Hi Dustin!

You know how they say that life is what happens while you’re making other plans? That’s how I see the little moments. They ARE life. They are the moments that we remember. They are the experiences that make life meaningful. And they are the part of life that most people miss every day.

I try to be quiet as often as I can. It is in the quiet that the beauty of the simple things shines brightest. It is then that I see my children for who they truly are. And then that my love for them glows!

Fantastic post! Thanks!

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    Thanks so much, Hugh! This is a beautiful comment and one that hits home with me.

    Reply
Kate

Good post! I always appreciate the little things in life and that’s why I’m always in such a good mood all the time. You can find so many things to be happy about every single day!

Another one of my favorite philosophies is to celebrate the small victories.
–Delicious dinner- Way to go!!
–Got the kid to bed- Nice job!!
It gives you a sense of accomplishment.

Reply

    Thanks, Kate! You gotta give love to the small victories in life!

    Reply
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Once there was a little boy named Robby who had three matchbox cars. He loved playing with them, and made up elaborate games along the stripes of the carpet in his room.

His aunt enjoyed watching these games, and because she adored him she bought Robby twenty more cars just like them. She was excited to wrap them in a colorful box, and gave them to him one evening when she came for dinner. He squealed in delight, and hugged his favorite aunt around the waist. She felt wonderful.

The next week she came for dinner as usual but she noticed that her nephew was playing with two stuffed penguins, not the new fleet of cars. She was curious, but decided not to say anything. Yet the following week he was not playing with them either. Finally she could not keep silent.

“Robby, I am wondering why you do not play with your new cars. Do you like them?” she asked.

Robby shifted, and wrinkled his eyebrows.

“Thank you so much for getting them for me! They are great. But there are too many to love at once.”

I notice that I am vulnerable to the idea that more is always better. A brief review of my fabric collection would suggest that moderation has not been a signature quality for me over the years. When I was collecting Brown Bag Cookie molds, I accrued over a hundred. As a finale to our family, we splurged and had twins.

But I am beginning to suspect that I actually have more fabric than I will be able to use in the next twenty years. I realize that when I make paper castings with my molds, I cannot possibly fill them all. Fortunately, I have two arms and can hug both girls at once.

Sometimes I wonder whether my relationship with John is actually expanding, or whether I am learning to savor it more. We certainly spend less time planning elaborate dates than we did when we were falling in love. Yet we have… enough.

There is enough time to sit in the same room with him, while we each work at a computer. There is enough skin to snuggle up against. (I should admit that we both have more of that than we did thirty years ago) There are enough smiles to toss across the table when our children say something cute or naughty. There are enough ordinary dusks to sit on the deck and watch the fireflies.

Do I really need more of any of these things? Robby taught me that a few can be plenty.

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