Finding magical moments in the everyday

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by RUTH O’NEIL

Little things—like a candlelit dinner, can produce good feelings and a glow that lasts long after. © Tetra Images

Caroline Ingalls, from Little House on the Prairie used to say, “Special dishes aren’t just for special times; they’re for special people.”

This is so true of everything in our lives. It seems today that people are constantly striving for the bigger and better, yet aren’t content with life. Sometimes we need to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, everyday moments of our life.

One day, when my girls were little, we planned a picnic at the park. However, the morning of the excursion, we woke up to thunderstorms. The weather report made no promises of the storms passing quickly and sunshine returning. The whole day looked to be a wash.

But then I thought, we could still have our picnic. I packed our lunch and put it in the basket. The girls were a little confused, but I encouraged them to not worry about the thunder or lightening. We were going on a picnic where the weather didn’t matter!

Once lunch was packed we walked to the family room. Now they were really confused, because they weren’t allowed to eat in the family room. I spread out the blanket on the floor. That rainy day we had a picnic in the family room. We talked, played games, and had more fun than ever. It has become tradition to have a picnic in the family room whenever it’s raining. It may just have been a picnic, but we found extraordinary in the ordinary.

Then there was the time I had looked forward to a date with my husband. We only go out maybe once or twice a year, so this was a big deal. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we both ended up working that evening. I was so disappointed. It was a horrible time for my co-worker to hurt her back and my husband’s co-worker to have a death in the family. I knew I shouldn’t be mad, but I was.

I was still mad as I drove home from work. The only upside I could see when I pulled into the driveway was the lack of lights in the house meant my husband had the kids in bed. At least I could have peace and quiet to fuss and fume. When I opened the door I was more than pleasantly surprised. My husband knew how I felt and had made arrangements for his mom to keep the kids over night (who usually babysat them). He had bought steaks, which he had cooked on the grill, baked potatoes, and salad. The menu he chose was probably what we would have ordered at the restaurant. He paid less than half of what we would have paid had we gone out.

He had not only purchased and cooked the food, but he had also rearranged the living room so there was a table in front of the fireplace, complete with fire. He had lit candles and made a completely romantic setting, including the costly china we received for a wedding present that we never used. I knew he bought prepared salad and had stood out in the cold to grill those steaks, since he can’t cook anything in the house, but that night was one of the best of our married life. It may just have been a date, but my husband helped me to see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

It has become tradition to have a picnic in the family room whenever it’s raining.

There are many little things we can do for other people that really make a person’s day. Sometimes, someone’s name comes to our hearts to make a phone call, bake some cookies, or send a card to someone in need of our affection. I have one friend that every once in a while sends me a card out of the blue just because she was thinking of me. The feeling I get when she does is beyond words. It may just be a simple card, but there is extraordinary in the ordinary.

Fixing lunch for friends is extraordinary. Anyone can call and offer to pay for lunch, but taking the time to fix a meal means so much more. One year for my friend’s birthday I invited her over under false pretenses, making no mention of her birthday. I fixed soup, salad, rolls, and cake for dessert. She appreciated the gesture so much, especially the cake, which she fell in love with and has requested on subsequent birthdays. It may have just been a cake, but there was extraordinary in the ordinary.

I am still learning to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. God gave us these little things in life. We need to appreciate and enjoy them to the fullest. Next time there is something that threatens your enjoyment of life, find the extraordinary in the ordinary. You will be blessed.

RUTH O’NEIL is a freelance writer from Virginia.

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