Gratitude Day 14: Small and Simple Things

I was visiting with a friend last night and we were talking about an adorable little girl that we know from our church family. We shared our respective experiences on how this child had touched our lives, not by anything major, but simply because she was who she was. I thought back to the countless smiles and cute remarks that had melted my heart, how much this little girl resembles her mother, and how I could see the impact of a loving family and nurturing home environment in this child's demeanor. In short, the cumulative effect of a lot of little things brought out the best in this child of God. She is beautiful in every way.

Children are good at noticing little things. It doesn't take much to please a child. Simple things are often the best things to a little child. As adults we tend to focus of the big things. In our busy lives we fail to take time to notice little things, let alone be grateful for them. One of my favorite scripture verses from "The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ" reminds me that small things are important:

"But behold I say unto you, that by small and and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise." Alma 37:6

As a wildflower enthusiast and photographer I have a whole new appreciation for looking for the small and simple things in nature. I marvel at the intricacy of tiny flowers. I'm amazed at the sometimes inhospitable locations these beautiful flowers thrive. The Grass-of-Parnassas is one such flower. It grows at high elevation, generally above 5,000 feet, in September and October and prefers wet, rocky cliffs. It is best found on Mt. LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Since I'm not capable of hiking LeConte I'm grateful this little gem can be found in an easier-to-access location on the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville, NC. Since it is a small flower it is easily overlooked. I'll bet 99% of the people passing this location on the Parkway never see this flower. I'm grateful a friend told me where to look or I would be among the 99% too.

I worked as a neonatal nurse for many years, specializing in the care of extremely premature infants born weighing less than 2.5 pounds at birth. I learned to look for and appreciate tiny things. Small improvements were not small for these infants and their families. The families were grateful for every gram of weight gain, every incremental decrease in ventilator support, and every milliliter of breast milk ingested. Though I no longer call the NICU my home, I continue to look for little things -- little blessings in my daily life. Sure, big events are wonderful, but for me joy comes in the small and simple things. I'm grateful for all those little blessings.

Kidneyleaf Grass-of-Parnassas (Parnassia asarifolia)
Blue Ridge Parkway
Copyright 2012 Kristina Plaas, All Rights Reserved

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