motherhood wholehearted living

36 Things to Appreciate About Your Normal, Ordinary Day

Has something significant ever happened to you that made you think—

It’s so weird that just a few minutes ago, I had no idea this was coming. 

This happened to me once when I slipped in a puddle while carrying a toddler on my hip and a baby inside my belly. Thankfully, both of my babies were fine, but my knee cap was broken clean in two.

Or how about the first look you ever exchanged with your future spouse?

Or the last look you ever exchanged with a loved one?

How about the first time a pregnancy test read positive?

Or the contractions you felt at much too early of a date?

Life can change in an instant, sometimes in the best possible way… but sometimes in ways the weigh heavy on our hearts.

Knowing this makes me want to appreciate every moment I can, to savor the days I have with my kids while they’re still mine to raise, to treasure the friend who listens when I need to vent, to notice how my husband reaches for my hand when we’re walking outside, and to take in even the smallest changes as one season melts into another.

In the words of Mary Jean Irion:

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.

Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.

Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.

36 Things to Appreciate About Your Normal, Ordinary Day

1. Sunshine on your face.

2. A floor strewn with toys and dress-ups and yesterday’s snack (because this means you have healthy, happy kids).

3. A hand to hold.

4. The little faces you spy in the window when you come home after being away.

5. How warm the bed is in those moments after you first wake up, right before you have to get out of bed.

6. A partner who—often without trying (and sometimes when you wish he wouldn’t)—challenges you to be your best self.

7. The way your dog meets you at your door and twirls in excited circles until you pet her.

8. The way the air smells first thing in the morning when you leave the house.

Apple of Our Eye Photography

9. When you see the light still on in your child’s room, and even though it’s past bedtime, you smile because it means she’s reading.

10. A laugh exchanged with a sales clerk, toll collector, or parking attendant.

11. The pieces of clothing you love to wear.

12. The warmth your child’s teacher greets her students with every morning.

13. Music to suit any mood (and pull you into a better one, when needed!).

14. Knowing there’s someone in your life who’s proud of you.

15. Hilarious text conversations with friends.

16. Unexpectedly seeing someone you know around town and taking a minute to catch up.

17. Positive feedback from a co-worker, boss, friend, or mentor.

18. Reconnecting with a childhood friend through social media.

19. Netflix or a good book… A way to unwind at the end of the day.

20. The sunset.

“Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.”

21. The relief you feel when you (or your child) lose something and it appears as if out of thin air.

22. A smile from a barista or a stranger you pass on the street.

23. Your favorite food, eaten slowly and savored.

24. Your kids squabbling. It means they have someone to figure out life with. 😉

25. Spending time in the kitchen as a family. Music playing, the oven preheating, kids sneaking bites when you’re not looking…

26. The ability to keep learning and pursuing your interests—and for the way those things make you feel.

27. Your memory. Access to all the beautiful things that have happened to you in the past? That is precious. {Related: The Power of Story}

28. A body that gets you where you need to be.

29. A quiet moment to yourself, wherever you find it.

30. People who know way too many of your quirks and weaknesses but love you anyway.

31. The way it feels to climb back into your bed at the end of a productive day.

32. The comfort your faith is.

33. The way light comes in through your windows at different times of day, and at different times of the year.

34. A glance of understanding you share with another parent when… well, anytime kids are acting like kids!

35. Having someone to tell about your day.

36. A sense of purpose that threads together the things you do.

Credit for the beautiful images above goes to Apple of Our Eye Photography. Find Kim on Instagram right here


  • Reply
    Coralie Allison
    November 1, 2017 at 3:35 am

    My kids testing out their homework parachutes from the playground slide on the way to school, being so proud of their work. ( appreciating the walk to school instead of rushing and stressing)

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      November 1, 2017 at 10:43 am

      That sounds like a pretty darn great moment. And good for you for not rushing through it, especially on the way TO school! (I have a much easier time not rushing on the way HOME from school.) 😉

  • Reply
    November 1, 2017 at 5:59 am


    Sleeping in until 7:30 am (I struggle with sleeping past 3 am)… being wide awake in the evening and having good conversation and a few games of darts with my husband, a rare treat because I’m usually exhausted by early evening from waking up so early.

    Housework… I am intentional about holding myself in each present moment, and doing the daily round of housework frees me from my busy mind and lets me just be. Cleaning the kitchen or doing the laundry becomes a beautiful active meditation on caring for my family. The past is gone and the future has not arrived… the Present Moment is all we truly have; it’s where we live out our lives.

    I am a grandparent with no littles underfoot. The text from my daughter yesterday with a picture of my grandbabies in their Halloween costumes. 🙂 And the fact that my daughter texts me multiple times per day, every day. It sometimes feels like an interruption, but my baby girl wants her mom in her life and I am so grateful for that.

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      November 1, 2017 at 10:44 am

      All beautiful things, Missy. I’m inspired by your way of making housework an active meditation in caring for your family. I’m going to try to adopt that practice!

  • Reply
    Rachel Thueson
    November 1, 2017 at 6:27 am

    I have been thinking about this normal day quote SO MUCH lately. It’s just so beautiful and meaningful. I love these ideas–great ideas to keep me grounded and present. I’d love the normal day printable!

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      November 1, 2017 at 10:45 am

      I love that we both discovered this quote the same way and that it hit us both, separately, with so much force. It’s a gem and has given me renewed perspective lately. Love you!

  • Reply
    November 2, 2017 at 5:30 am

    The sound of my boys waking up in the morning downstairs as I read and prepare myself for the day ahead upstairs. And then the sweet morning snuggles on the couch together.

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      November 2, 2017 at 8:23 am

      Hi Heather! It sounds like you use your morning time so well and that it pays off, letting you savor those early moments with your boys. Beautiful!

  • Reply
    November 2, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    I like watching my children sleep knowing I need the rest and sleep too, yet not being able to take my eyes off of them and the peaceful look they have. Snuggling in bed with my girls❤️

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      November 3, 2017 at 11:27 am

      The absolute best, Angela. Thanks for adding that!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2017 at 2:18 am

    Absolutely loved this list ! Converted believer in celebrating the everyday !

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      November 3, 2017 at 11:27 am

      “Converted believer in celebrating the everyday.” LOVE that, Daisy! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post—All the best to you!

  • Reply
    Worth Reading — 11.8.17 | A Touch of Cass
    November 8, 2017 at 3:38 am

    […] Life on Purpose: 36 Things to Appreciate About Your Normal, Ordinary Day […]

  • Reply
    Ali Sutton
    December 11, 2017 at 10:23 am

    That word “ordinary” always gets me. I try to remind myself that nothing about being alive is ordinary. I’ve spent the last year trying to be active in a life of purpose. I have found that it is such a blessing to live this way, to all around me as well. I have been recently reading Mo Issa’s book The Shift, and it has changed my view so much. I recommend it if you want to lead a purpose driven life.

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      December 15, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      That sounds right up my alley! Thank you! Off to look up The Shift right now. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jean Thompson
    December 19, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Being the mom of adult children who struggle with addictions, my first go-to “ordinary” is my well-worn Bible… The feel of the worn leather cover, the crinkly sounds of the pages loaded with handwritten notes I’ve taken over the years as I turn the pages, the smell of the paper, and the comfort of familiarity, reading what I’ve read so many times that much of it is embedded in my memory – my Abba-Daddy’s Word.

    But posts like this one I love as well… Words wrapped in the beauty of simple and natural advice that makes so much sense that it has a calming affect on the hectic chaotic and complex world addiction brings not only on the chemically-dependent, but on their families who love them.

  • Reply
    December 23, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    I try to thank God every morning while still in bed for all of my senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling. Grateful for His many gifts, and as I age these gifts still work!

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      January 1, 2018 at 4:48 pm

      Inspiring, Ann! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Carly Sullivan
    December 24, 2017 at 9:50 am

    For a certain community, I am sure this was a lovely post. For those of us without a partner, without children, without pets, for whom physical pain limits daily activity, it is a taunting reminder of the empty places.

  • Reply
    Jessica Alexander
    January 4, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    Love this! Thank you so much for sharing. You’re posts are always balm to a frazzled mom’s heart 🙂

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      January 8, 2018 at 10:57 pm

      Well, thanks for making my night, Jessica! I’m so glad this struck a chord. It did with me too.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    I’m thankful for every single day God gives me. I was diagnosed with a Heart Aneurysm and Bicuspid Valve in February 2017. That diagnosis has changed my entire outlook. I now understand that every breath I take is a gift. I’m so much more aware of simple joys, like my husband reaching for my hand when we walk anywhere, living without fear and the unshakable knowledge that God really is in control. I try to pass on joy and happiness to everyone who crosses my path. My girls are grown with families of their own but you have still inspired me, Thank you.

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      January 30, 2018 at 9:13 am

      You are an inspiration, Tracy! Thank you for sharing a bit of your experience. Sincerely. All the best to you and your family!

    Leave a Reply

    [subscriber-chiclet listId="d64a69e5c5" color="blue" showlink="false" postfixtext=""]