It’s The Little Things – September

In this day and age, most of us are too busy to recognize the small things in life that bring us the most happiness. We are too quick to see the negative side of things as opposed to the positive.

This section is dedicated to bringing these otherwise insignificant daily happenings to the forefront with the intentions of encouraging humankind to stop and smell the roses. These little things should not be, but often are taken for granted. Sometimes it’s ok to see the world through slightly rose-tinted glasses. We’d probably all be a lot happier if we did.

1. Every morning my husband has the coffee set and ready to go. I always get up earlier than him, but it is always waiting for me. It’s nice to have every single day. I never get tired of the gesture or fail to appreciate it. -Diana

2. It absolutely is the little things in life. I am a published cookbook author, podcast host and former guest on The Food Network. I am very grateful for the big things that have happened in my life, but the small things are what I find move me the most and keep me working towards bigger and better things. When I receive an email from a customer that says, "The note you signed in the cookbook I bought touched a wonderful lady I love and made our Mother's Day even more special." Or when someone says, "I lost my mother a few years ago and couldn't recreate one of her recipes until you worked through it with me. For the first time in ages, I felt like I was with my mother again." The big things that happen in life are always a fabulous bonus. But, I believe that it's an attitude of gratitude and the little things that will nourish your soul and inspire you to creating even more inspiring things down the road. – Angela

3. The little things ARE the most important. My husband and I are both full time in the wine industry, which is often viewed as a glamorous, easy career. We travel extensively, entertain often, and tire ourselves out with day-to-day non-glamorous items such as compliance and paperwork. Last year was particularly grueling for me; I was on the road a lot, had an abnormal amount of management to do, and dealt with some major economic hurtles in the small business I run. I decided to take some time for the little things.

4. For me, the little things are the ones that bring you the most happiness with the least amount of effort, like my husband and two bulldogs, the loves of my life. Some of these have developed into hobbies. I took up cheese making as a stress free "fun" activity, and it's turned into a really fun little thing that brings me so much happiness. Beekeeping is another. Gardening (which I'm learning). But the important lesson is to take the time to pay attention to and evolve your "little things" so that they're constantly bringing you the most enjoyment.

5. This might sound kind of random, but they're little ways of getting in touch with the world around me while it's spinning pretty quickly. – Laura

6. It sounds very weird, but I love it when there is NO traffic on a stretch of highway that ALWAYS has traffic. I am constantly battling the metro area traffic to be on time for my work as a wedding officiant, and getting someplace really early is a rare treat. I love having JUST enough quarters for the parking meter; getting real mail (not email) and finishing the milk just as it's going to expire… set your bars low! – Celia

7. The little things in life that I enjoy are sitting in front of the fireplace with a nice book and a fresh tea or coffee on a rainy day. We complain about the weather, which is silly when you consider there isn't much that can be done about it. So…find something to do indoors that you enjoy. I enjoy playing games at the table with my husband and kids (who are all now adults) and laughing at silly things that we've done over the years. I love being outdoors – particularly in the warm sunshine. Every now and then, I just put life 'on hold' and enjoy wasting a day. Watching my grandson playing with his toys; or holding him to read a story before bedtime; and when he holds my hand, I just melt (He's almost 2 years old). The older I get, the more I find I enjoy the little things. – Kellie

8. We were staying at a hotel with my 5 year old granddaughter. We did not have any of her books to read. So as she snuggled in bed, I read to her from a book about the Hershey font-family – Wendy

9. When I retired from the field of pet grooming, I was forced to seek other means of making a living. Being a pet groomer for almost 15 years, my options were limited, so I called on my love of writing to become a freelance writer. At first, I was depressed and missed getting up and going out into the world everyday. Starting out in a new profession from scratch after having been an expert in my prior field was not easy. However, my repetitive motion injuries making this a permanent state of being, I knew that I would have to come to terms with my situation. Soon, I began to work on my long neglected garden, and I not only reconnected with my love of nature, but with myself. Sometimes, as I pulled the weeds, I would cry. Other times I would just sit outside and listen to the birds sing. Something about the feel of the dirt in my hands, the breeze in my hair, and the smell of fresh air just made my spirit come alive. One morning, I awoke at dawn before everyone else in the house, and stood outside and just listened. The doves were singing their mournful song while the crickets were chirping, and there was stillness in the air…and somehow, I knew that I had come home. – Heather

10. It's the little things that make having a 10+ year best friend so much fun: calling to share that they just heard "your song" on the radio, understanding that phone calls aren't ignored- you're just busy, letting you vent over a tub of ice cream w/o letting you know it's probably not good for you, bringing you extra tissue because there's no one else you can cry your heart out to over a breakup. – Julia

11. It's the little things that others take for granted that mean the world to me. I have severe Rheumatoid arthritis plus four other forms that are all extremely painful .The mere act of getting a hug from my children can sometimes bring severe discomfort, chatting on the phone and being able to hold it, walking with a friend and chatting, preparing a meal or just sitting through a movie are all a challenge. So when I am having good days I cherish each and every moment. I live my life in that moment as if I will never see another. I focus on the smell of the air, the color of the sky, the animal sounds as they scamper about, the smell of beautiful flowers but more importantly those moments I spend with my family and friends. Those wonderful hugs, laughs and hours of idol chatter. In the end that is what life is about family and friends. Everyday painful or not is a blessing from God. -Mel

12. I enjoy driving in the car with my kids with all electronics off. Just an errand to the cleaners yields some really great discussions. I cherish this time with my kids because we really get to know each other as people and getting beyond the standard mom/child conversations. – Jann

13. A teaspoon of crushed ice I had had multiple injuries from a ski accident and had been in intensive care on a respirator for the better part of a week. Being on a respirator means that your mouth is continually open and your lips and mouth are always dry — at least when you are conscious enough to be aware of it. No food by mouth, of course. When the nurse took me off the respirator, she said I must resume eating slowly and offered me a teaspoon full of crushed ice. I want to always remember that as the best "meal" I ever had. By the way, I have completely recovered. – Jo

14. Unspoken actions of kindness are one of the little things in life that have made me a happier person. I strive to complete one good deed each day. It allows me to wake up each morning and instead of focusing on the negativity, I try to focus on what I can do for someone else that can brighten their day. Try it for just a week and I guarantee it will create more happiness in your life than you realize! – Molly

15. Having just returned from several years of international travel, and after spending 2003-2004 on a motorcycle traveling through mostly third-world and developing nations, I am in much more in awe of the "little things" in life. Here are my Little Things:

Hanging out with my kids, just chatting – now that they are grown and have their own lives this is a bit challenging, but much more doable than when they were here and I was in another country, for sure!

Efficient processes in businesses – spend just one day navigating the bureaucracy of Chile's businesses (like banks or retail operations where no less than three people handle your transaction) and you'll know why this was on my list! lol

High-speed internet (heck, just an internet connection at home is wonderful!)

Running, clean water – turn on the tap and there it is (we so take this for granted here in the US)

Product choices – ok, the number of choices we have available to us can also be overwhelming, but it's wonderful having more than one brand or style to choose from

Just hanging out – as a former Type A, must-be-going-and-doing all the time kind of gal, I learned to "just be" as a result of my travels and limited activities in some remote places

16. My girlfriends – although I have some "online friends" and had occasional access to email, there's just nothing like hanging out with your girls, the ones who "get you."
– Stephanie

17. The most recent story (paragraph) to share is: The university (UNCC) in my area had recently built new construction.  I was curious about the new addition to the area, but never took the time to go take a peek.  My husband had joined his job's flag football team.  One day he came home from practice, which was at the university's soccer field.  I thought it was the old soccer field, until he mentioned that it was the new one.  Where? In that newly built construction!  So one day while driving around in the sunshine and running errands, I told my husband that I wanted to head over to where he practiced.  He was with it and so were our girls.  I was so excited to see a typical, grassy soccer field.  My daughter asked, "Mommy why are you so excited?"  I told her, "It's the little things."  I explained that it isn't so much the soccer field as it is being interested in what her father does.  I also explained that one must enjoy the little things, because the big things are bonuses in life; if the big things are only anticipated, life is passing by. – Itiel

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