As I look back over the past year and ponder the many gifts it has brought my family and me, I find myself feeling most grateful for some of the simplest ones. I thought I would share a few of those with you--and invite you to come up with a list of your own, and to share it with those you love.
Memories of Simple Pleasures from 2011:
- Watching my two daughters play for hours in the creek bed--building castles, wading, catching crawdads, and pretending to be fish swimming in the Nile
- Looking up to see Carolina Blue skies during a lazy summer-afternoon stroll
- Taking in the smell of alfalfa and pine chips when I open the barn door in the morning
- Successfully(!) rigging up the hammock in the wooded grove between our yard and the lower pasture, and then watching the girls enjoy endless hours swinging in it
- Sitting quietly in the pasture with the chickens, watching them forage and listening to them sing and chat
- Realizing in the middle of a hard day that there is a book I can't wait to keep reading waiting for me on my bedside table
- Mixing and kneading bread with the girls--and walking in the door a couple of hours later after a quick trip to the barn to the smell the loaves baking in the oven
- Satisfying the bleats of baby goats with the milk that will help them grow strong
- Feeling one of those goats fall asleep in my arms just after she has finished her bottle
- Feeling her a few minutes later hopping onto my back and nibbling at my hair
- Walking in from finishing the chores on a cold winter morning and smelling the coffee my husband has just brewed
- Feeling the warm cheeks and wet lips of my daughters as they reach up from their beds to kiss me goodnight
- Biting into an apple that was seconds ago still part of a living tree
- Enjoying the company of new friends
- Finding our farm's first egg
- Learning together with my girls about countless new topics
- Watching them slowly figure out how to read and solve math problems on their own
- Hearing the crunch of fall leaves underneath our feet as the girls and I hike through the woods near our house
- Sitting down to watch a movie with my husband on the comfy couch in the den on Friday evening, knowing that tomorrow we have nothing in particular on our schedule
- Planning the garden we will plant in the spring.
For all these things and for so many more I am grateful--not only for the ways they have already blessed my life, but also for the hope they give me--hope that no matter what happens in this new year, no matter what difficulties arise, life will continue to brim over with everyday sweetnesses.
Let us resolve take the time to see, hear and feel the simple pleasures of 2012.
"Earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God. But only he who sees takes off his shoes . . ." --Elizabeth Barrett Browning