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Somewhere along the way, I got the message that what mattered were the big ways to show my love--big gifts, big vacations, big gestures.  I am slowly learning I was wrong.

Last week, my kids went back to school.  As a mom to four, it takes a great deal of organization to get our group out of the house on time.  We plan details the night before:  Lay out clothes.  Gather homework.  Pack snacks.  Find shoes.  In the morning, we are left with getting dressed, making lunches, eating breakfast.  It feels a little chaotic but usually, it all gets done.

Though my kids usually make their own lunches, I started the year by doing this myself.  But instead of throwing four PB&J sandwiches into paper bags, I took a minute to think through what would matter to them. 

  • One of my kids loves produce from the garden.  I added a tiny container of grape tomatoes.
  • One of my kids loves apples. I made some apple dip, sliced an apple and put that in his box.
  • One of my kids loves variety.  I found fresh grapes, his favorite snack bar and one piece of candy, too.
  • One of my kids has been HUNGRY and loves grilled foods.  I made extra hot dogs when we barbecued this weekend and added them to his lunch to be reheated at school.

Tiny gifts.  A lot of thought.  It did not take much time, but it did send a message.  To each of my children, without speaking a word, I said, “I know you. I love you. I want this to be a good day.”

And yes, it is easier to throw four matching sandwiches, four matching bags of chips, four matching desserts into four matching bags. But I am learning that little things mean a lot.  Small, intentional decisions are those actions that speak louder than words.  Spending a few minutes adding things to lunch bags offers me the opportunity to stop and focus on them one by one.

And, truth be told, it gives me time at the start of the day to pray for my children by name.  I tuck gifts into their lunches and speak their names to the One who loves them best.  In the blink of an eye, this ordinary task of preparing food for my kids becomes something sacred.  The kitchen in which I work becomes a holy and beautiful place.

Little things.  Grape tomatoes in a cup.  A hot dog to heat up.  A parent who knows them and cares. A whispered prayer for those who will soon eat.

Maybe it’s not a little thing after all.



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