Little Things

The sound of the tea kettle’s whisper warming up to a whistle, steam rising against my knuckles as I fill my favorite mug, an empty dish drainer, hubby’s lunch already packed, and my girls tucked in—as we often say, it’s the little things.  We all have them—little things—that make us grin or groan.  A cup of coffee before anyone else is awake (the only cup you get to drink hot without zapping it in the microwave a few times) is what pulls you from your pillow each morning.  Leftovers for lunch (or not having to eat leftovers for lunch), fresh undershirts in your drawer, snow on the driveway, or dinner cooked by someone else—the little things.

 I am convinced that it is little things that change days, weeks, lives, and legacies.  I don’t simply mean to remind of the well-known adage to stop and smell the roses.  Yes, there are certainly blessings, which might seem little, around us at any given moment ready and ripe enjoyment.  Perhaps this is most easily seen as the mother of little ones.  If I don’t relish in the little things—a successful night without a pull-up for Big Girl A, Baby C eating three spoonfuls of peas rather than flinging them at me, little arms wrapped around my neck, Big Girl following me around the house just to be with me—I may wait awhile for something big and seemingly worthy of gratitude.  However, these little things aren’t the only day-changers.

 Every day I have to make a little choice, or sometimes a series of little choices, to get up early enough to have my Bible study time before getting dressed for the day and waking up the girls.  Each morning at 6:30 a.m. my Iphone starts the marimba, and I choose to either slide the alarm off and open my eyes or tap the incredibly convenient red snooze button in the middle of the screen.  Little things.  When I choose snooze (and believe me, some days I choose it more than once), I drift off for another nine minutes until another marimba-jolt.  Those nine minutes (or sometimes 18…) almost always seem to be taken from my Bible study time, not my hair-straightening, bed-making, getting dressed time.  Since my time with the Lord usually starts with reading the Word, those nine minutes translate into skipping people or requests on my prayer list for that day, or fewer scriptures prayed over the girls, or no quick note of encouragement to Mark with my prayers for his day.  Little things, right?

 Except, when I don’t pray for those dear friends or family members on my list, I miss joining my faith with theirs and watching for God’s answer.  When I skip those prayers for my girls, I can forget that children are a blessing (toddlers and preschoolers have ways of challenging this notion), a heritage from the Lord, a treasure, lives with which I’m entrusted for a short time.  Little things.  I serve a God of little things—mustard seed faith, an infant in a manger.  He knows the power of the little things, the little choices; I’m still learning.

Hungry Girl

It’s one of those deceiving sunny January days in Michigan.  The sun is glinting off the snow on our driveway (but not off any of our retired neighbors’ who shovel or snow blow within hours of snow falling).  Though our driveway sparkles now, it is the least clean driveway in the neighborhood whether it’s winter, spring, summer, or fall.  But, I like to comfort myself with the thought that their driveways were likely not so tidy when their little ones were riding their bikes up and down the cul-de-sac, or smooshing ant hills in the sidewalk cracks, or helping them rake leaves.

Nevertheless, our driveway sparkles today in the sun, the wind is cheek-chapping, and the air smells heavy with winter and her snow.  So, it is a lovely day to be tucked in my home, sitting next to a pile of sheets that need to be folded and working on lesson plans.  In the afternoon both our girls are tucked away for nap and quiet time.  Baby C naps for several hours in the afternoon, and Big Girl A, though four now, still has quiet time during which she either plays quietly in her room with quiet-time boxes I’ve made or down in our basement play room.  So, the afternoon is my laundry-folding, house-cleaning, writing, lesson-planning, meal-cooking, running-around-doing-everything-I-can time.  Today, as the window panes rattled with winter whirly winds, my fingers clickety-clacked away on the laptop getting plans reading for class next week.  Until, from the basement, I heard a whimper.  Sometimes Big Girl A gets quite involved in her imaginary play, so I imagined one of her babies was crying or a stuffed puppy was whining.  After hearing the noise again, I glanced down the stairs to see my sweet blondie curled up on the bottom step holding her stomach.

Of course, I rushed downstairs to find out what was wrong, and discovered, through her big tears, that Big Girl’s tummy was really hurting, and no, she did not need to go potty.  Our plans for the week quickly flashed before my eyes as I imagined trading them in for Lysol, pretzels, and Pedialyte (record number of flu cases around us).  Well, upon further reflection, I realized she was simply having hunger pains as she hadn’t eaten since breakfast.  At lunch, she was too much of a princess to eat dinner- leftovers, though they were good enough for seconds last night, so, she went hungry.  And now, her stomach was aching from hunger—a feeling she hadn’t yet experienced in her four years of life.  I got her a “healthy snack” and her tummy was tip-top in a few minutes.

Her little legs hung from the couch, and toes tapped against the side while she crunched her rice cakes, and I had to push back a rising lump in my throat.  What about the mothers who hear their daughters’ cries, daughters who are familiar with hunger pains, and can do nothing?  We shop bargains, discounts, use coupons, mix milk with water when we’re running low, sometimes eat black bean soup towards the end of the month, but anytime we desire to fill our stomachs, or our daughters’, we can.  Perspective.  Blessed–full snack-cupboard.  Toddler bowls I can fill.