Seeing Small: Embracing the Ordinary Moments {#WholeMama}

We just got back from a quick road trip to New York. We were camping, visiting family, and experiencing the Adirondack Mountains. It was breathtakingly beautiful. And as I stood at the center of the vast forest, at the base of these towering mountains, at the shore of the seemingly endless lake I could not help but feel small. Beautifully small. I felt this same sort of relief when I was in Greece, walking along ancient stone walls as I hiked a monstrous gorge.


It almost doesn’t make sense. When I think of small, I usually want to run. I don’t want to be thought of as small, insignificant, or unimportant. I want to be making a difference in this world, in the lives of those I am around. I want to live life fully. How can I do that if I am small?

Honestly friends, I think it’s easier than we think.


We need to change the way we view small. Small is the everyday. Small can be found in those ordinary moments; you know, the ones we quickly and easily brush over. Small are the moments that don’t make it into a photo album or even onto our thankfulness lists. Small is: washing the dishes, cleaning the house, buying school supplies, making dinner, reading the Bible, snuggling, conversations with friends…and the list goes on. It is in those ordinary, everyday, small moments that life is lived. These small moments show love. The ordinary tasks dole out blessing. The grand adventures and vacations are beautiful and will certainly be remembered. But those small moments are life shaping. The moments that run together have the power to change lives. 


Just as the water droplets coming together, creating a mighty river, have the ability to change this rock face. Ordinary changes lives.

And just like that, I have to pause. I have to remind myself of this truth. The washing the dishes, the kissing boo-boos, the never ending letter practice. It is all life changing. 

This act of remembering and embracing the smallness, the ordinary is life giving. It is so easy to get lost in the everyday. I get stuck in the cycles and the schedules of life. I add the word “just” into my day, into my life.

“I just did laundry.”

“We just had time to play outside.”

“I’m just a mom.”

But that word is a lie. I am not just a mom. I did not just do laundry. We did not just play outside. Each moment was part of something bigger. Each moment tied together and influenced lives. Each moment, though small and seemingly unimportant created an extraordinary picture. Each load of laundry shows my children a love that gives, even especially in the small. Every moment of play reminds me of the joy I have, the blessings surrounding me. This motherhood is influencing more than my children. It is changing me. These small, ordinary moments of motherhood, of my every day life are changing my life. 

And sometimes I forget. Sometimes I want to run from this smallness. I want to hide from the constant dishes, the constant arguing, the constant mess. I want to hide on my phone away from the intrusions of this ordinary life. Sometimes, like today, I forget that these small moments are more. Sometimes, I forget just how important the every day is. And as I filled out our school calendar, prepping myself for the coming months, my heart began to race. How was summer coming to a close. This summer filled with big and small moments. The beautiful big moments that I savored, and the many small moments that I rushed right through. The small moments that I tried to hide from. The ordinary moments that I certainly was not embracing.


This work of embracing the small. This work in the ordinary is hard. It is difficult to remember that these ordinary moments will grow. That they will weave together. These beautiful yet ordinary moments will grow the people in our lives. They will grow us. These small moments, they will change our lives.

And there, right there, I find grace. Because though today I may not have embraced the pretend food my toddler handed me, though today I may not have embraced the rehearsal of what a letter ‘C’ looks like, though today I made mistakes – there is tomorrow. And there was yesterday, and the day before. There were and will be more ordinary, everyday, small moments. So tonight, I will embrace my small voice here, I will embrace the smallness of life now, and I will choose to embrace the small moments tomorrow. Tonight I will remember that the ordinary moments are shaping lives: the lives of my children, the lives of my friends, my husband’s life, and my own life. Tonight I will remember the the small moments are where life is lived.

How can you embrace the ordinary in your own life? Do you need to remember the beauty in the small? 


Today I am joining Esther Emery for the #WholeMama link up. I am excited to be in a community of mama bloggers that are willing to be real, vulnerable and honest. But most of all, that can show the amazing beauty and grace through it all. Each week we will be discussing one word and what it means to each of us. I would love if you joined in too! You can find more information on the original #WholeMama post, here.

Love this link up as much as I do? Here are my other #WholeMama posts:

Power to Flourish

Intentional Quiet

Embracing the Mess of Me

Musings From the Sky: Thoughts on Prayer

Finding the Balance: Space & Community

49 thoughts on “Seeing Small: Embracing the Ordinary Moments {#WholeMama}

  1. I love this. This weekend I was up in the mountains as well and had many experiences of being, as you say, beautifully small. This was just what I needed to read this morning, so thank you.


  2. Ashley I love your words. This post is such a beautiful reminder of something that is way too easy to forget. I’ve been convicted of this lately- I think especially as moms it’s easy to get lost in the messy everyday, unglamorous tasks. Remembering that those tasks are what build and change lives makes it all so much more worthwhile and inspiring. Thank you! And I’ll be checking out the link up…it looks awesome!



    • Thank you, Liv! You should definitely check out the link up! It is weekly and just for the summer, but so thought provoking. And I agree. Remembering that each task, no matter how (seemingly) menial is changing lives, showing love, doing something is so hard! But oh so important! Thank you!


  3. Beautiful! I love this encouragement that the things that feel insignificant and the places we feel small are sometimes the places we can most clearly see and know God. Beautiful, wise words!


  4. I love standing near very old sites, like the mounds at Cahokia. I think there’s this beauty to feeling the full weight of history and seeing that you’re so very small in it, but that each and every person who built the mounds or the Parthenon or the ruins of the native american southwest… each of them was small, too. And yet. Look at what they -did-.

    And it was just small to them. A few bricks, some stone, handfuls of dirt. Day in and day out, and days they hated what they were doing and days they loved it.

    And yet.

    Look at what they -did-!

    Love this post! I feel this way a lot, I try to remind myself that there is tomorrow and the day after and maybe today i can’t handle hearing the ridiculous songs the stuffed dog sings when you squeeze his paw but maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to sing along.


  5. This post was super inspiring to me and I really enjoyed reading it! So true- sometimes, the smallest moments in life are the best. I love to embrace the ordinary- I love routine, and the simplistic, little things in life.


  6. I am starting to take note of the small things. My fiance and I are getting married in November and I have really been appreciating the small things he does, the small little dates we go on..sure the big and over the top dates are nice but I love our cheap little sandwich shop dates we go on the weekends!


  7. Gorgeous! I would love to take a hike on mountains.. I am from Florida and haven’t really ever left so it is a HUGE goal of mine to explore mountains. I am a firm believer in “it’s the small things.” Great post, thanks for sharing!


  8. It must have been the weekend for mountain trips! Thank you for putting all of it into words. I love the reminder to embrace the small things but especially the reminder that there is a tomorrow and that is a grace.


  9. This post is perfect! I agree wholeheartedly! There is something about the visual aspect of the Awesome world that we live in that makes it clear that there is so much MORE! I hear you, parenting is one of those things that consumes you, you find yourself thinking way too hard about how clean your baseboards are… and experiences and journeys like yours serve as great reminders of the vast and magical world that we live in!


    • Thank you, Asheli! It’s amazing what we can learn from the beauty and majesty of creation. And yes, can I just say yes, I focus way too much on things that really don’t matter and forget to treasure the silly, normal moments (like hand puppets at dinner). Thank you for stopping by!


  10. These are some beautiful words. It is important to embrace the smallness because the small steps are the ones that lead us to the big accomplishments. Thanks for such a lovely reminder.

    Gema from


  11. I love this post and the quote “small moments are life shaping. The moments that run together have the power to change lives.” When we think of our lives we don’t think of the small things that made a difference we try to think of the big things. But each small thing makes a difference. Great post!


    • Thank you, Jessica! I agree, I think we first think of some of the bigger moments, but then we remember the every day – the smells, the moments of sitting together. And those moments are the ones that build into us and in the end, are the ones we truly treasure because they remind us of relationships and who we are.


  12. What a great post! We are all rushing and running from one thing to the next and it seems small ordinary things are thought of as mediocre and a chore. But you are so right it is the small ordinary things that make up our life and make us who we are! We would all be happier with this mind frame!


    • Thank you! I agree, we are too hurried and need to remember the art of rest and remembering. We are taught to care about the extravagant that we lose the importance of the small, everyday. But to this day, when I smell basil, I think of my Yia-Yia; not because of some big thing, but because she always had a basil leaf in her hair. The small moments weave in and out of our memories, in and out of who we are and who we are becoming.


  13. I completely agree with you that the small moments are oftentimes the ones that shape our lives the most. Thank you for sharing both your post and your pictures, I enjoyed reading it and your writing style has such a genuine undertone to it.


  14. I consciously made the decision to stop saying “just” in front of “one” when I showed up to a restaurant by myself. I realized I was diminishing the worth of my time alone and ME as a person, and love that even if it means nothing to the host or hostess, it means everything to me.


    • YES! This past year, I have intentionally stopped saying “just a mom” or “I just stay home”… and though others may not notice, I do and it matters. And the last thing I want is for my children to think that what I do with them isn’t one of the most important things I do!


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