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

sugar and little girl

Source: Dr. Lynda

There are holidays in almost every culture that celebrate what we have to be grateful for. Often people are celebrating a great harvest or giving thanks for a “big picture” item. But that’s also a great time to pause and consider the simple things, as 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 an easy project we did to jog our memories.

Several years ago we put a sign up in our dental office for staff and patients to write on. (You may know I’m a dentist.) It said simply,

“I am thankful for…”

Image: Girl with Huge piece of cake

Source: Dr. Lynda

After 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

  • Hot, really good coffee
  • Crisp early fall Apples

    Image: kindness dog and little girl

    Source: Dr. Lynda

  • Really, really, clean porta-potties
  • Fresh produce stands in the summer run by local families
  • 99-cent patterns at JoAnn Fabrics
  • Warm, soft, no pill fleece blankets
  • The unconditional love of a good ol’ dog
  • The smell of a wood stove
  • Coming home to a funny husband after a hard day at work
  • Seeing awesome sunrises and sunsets
  • Homegrown tomatoes
  • Flip flops
  • Long walks on a warm, beautiful fall day
  • Dark, dark purple, sweet smelling concord grapes… still warm, right off the vine
  • A family that will do laundry and fix meals when you’re sick
  • Lemony things
  • Childhood friends

    Image: best friends

    Source: Dr. Lynda

  • Flannel sheets
  • The smell of the first cut grass in the spring
  • Playing with kids and piles of leaves
  • Family close by
  • Pumpkins with deep grooves and dark green stems
  • Fond memories at a grandmother’s kitchen table
  • A really, really cold beer after a long, hard project is completed
  • The smell and taste of fresh baked bread
  • Election season is over!
  • The smell of Downy on clean sheets when you crawl into bed
  • Homemade gingersnap cookies, still warm, with melted frosting
  • Elastic waist bands
  • Kids that will happily try any kind of new food
  • Fun people
  • The smell of steaks on the grill

    Image: Homemade Chocolate chip cookies

    Source: Dr. Lynda

  • Sledding at the age of 50, on a hill so high and so long that you can barely walk back up
  • The juice of a fresh watermelon dripping down your face on a hot summer day
  • Having too much bacon to eat with your breakfast
  • Homemade chocolate chip cookies, still hot out of the oven
  • Hot water on demand from a shower with great water pressure
  • Pulling on your favorite, thick socks
  • Finding a crumpled $20 bill in a rarely worn coat pocket
  • Hearing a song from your best, carefree teen years
  • Unexpectedly discovering the smell of your mother’s perfume on a scarf

What if we started all the 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.”

Stay open, curious and hopeful.

~ Dr. Lynda

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  1. Staff, We Are Thankful For.”, November 2008.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world. Hear her latest conversations with thought leaders on the Conspiracy of Goodness Podcast--new episodes every Wednesday!