Thankful for the Little Things

Posted on November 24, 2016 by Dr. Lynda

How often do we stop to appreciate the little things? Are the little things actually the big things?

sugar and little girlToday is a holiday called “Thanksgiving” in the United States – our EWC visitors are 70% global – where many Americans spend the day having a feast that celebrates the things we have to be thankful for.

It’s a great time to pause and consider the simple things that inspire gratitude across many cultures. Many of them would remind us of our shared humanity.

Can you name some of those little, BIG things? Today we’ll share with you a little project we did to jog our memories.

Several years ago we put a sign up in our dental office. It said simply,

“I am thankful for…”

Image: Girl with Huge piece of cakeAfter two weeks we had quite a remarkable list.

Surprisingly, nothing expensive or intrinsically valuable made the list.

And the best thing about it?

Well, we were all surprised at what we had in common, and half the fun was being reminded of little things we didn’t think to put on the list ourselves. Almost every day more than a few people would exclaim, “Oh! I love that too!” and then several would share a story surrounding a single item. What a joy.

Have a look at the list we came up with here in Vermont:

We Are Thankful For…

And here are some of the things that made the list 1

  1. Hot, really good coffee
  2. Crisp early fall ApplesImage: kindness dog and little girl
  3. Really, really, clean porta-potties
  4. Fresh produce stands in the summer run by local families
  5. 99-cent patterns at JoAnn Fabrics
  6. Warm, soft, no pill fleece blankets
  7. The unconditional love of a good ol’ dog
  8. The smell of a wood stove
  9. Coming home to a funny husband after a hard day at work
  10. Seeing awesome sunrises and sunsets
  11. Homegrown tomatoes
  12. Flip flops
  13. Long walks on a warm, beautiful fall day
  14. Dark, dark purple, sweet smelling concord grapes… still warm, right off the vine
  15. A family that will do laundry and fix meals when you’re sick
  16. Lemony things
  17. Childhood friendsImage: best friends
  18. Flannel sheets
  19. The smell of the first cut grass in the spring
  20. Playing with kids and piles of leaves
  21. Family close by
  22. Pumpkins with deep grooves and dark green stems
  23. Fond memories at a grandmother’s kitchen table
  24. A really, really cold beer after a long, hard project is completed
  25. The smell and taste of fresh baked bread
  26. Election season is over!
  27. The smell of Downy on clean sheets when you crawl into bed
  28. Homemade gingersnap cookies, still warm, with melted frosting
  29. Elastic waist bands
  30. Kids that will happily try any kind of new food
  31. Fun people
  32. The smell of steaks on the grillImage: Homemade Chocolate chip cookies
  33. Sledding at the age of 50, on a hill so high and so long that you can barely walk back up
  34. The juice of a fresh watermelon dripping down your face on a hot summer day
  35. Having too much bacon to eat with your breakfast
  36. Homemade chocolate chip cookies, still hot out of the oven
  37. Hot water on demand from a shower with great water pressure
  38. Pulling on your favorite, thick socks
  39. Finding a crumpled $20 bill in a rarely worn coat pocket
  40. Hearing a song from your best, carefree teen years
  41. Unexpectedly discovering the smell of your mother’s perfume on a scarf

What if we started all conversations about our differences, by sharing what we can all be thankful for?

Something to ponder:

Here’s a wonderful concept to consider, and perhaps remind yourself of, as you go through the next month, when there’s a little more stress, more family complexities, and perhaps some grief from losses.

Think on this:

Maybe we should not be striving for happiness, because happiness is so dependent upon our situation.

What if we focused on gratitude instead?

Because in every situation we can find something to be grateful for.

I suspect we would be happy more often, if we were first grateful.

– Dr. Lynda

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~ Dr. Lynda Ulrich,

EWC Founder, Global Traveler, Dentist, Mother, Artist, Prodigious Optimist