The beach in the Fall is one of my favorite things. Sunshine and sweatshirts, sand and sea swells, snuggles and strong coffee … simplicity at the core of everything it is. And simple is how we keep it when Brandon, Ellie, Baker and I sneak away for a family trip to my grandparents’ beach house at the Jersey Shore. Recently I disconnected and I detoxed complexity as I dug my toes into the sand for warmth from the beach chill. I spectated as my two-year-old daughter Ellie building sand castles for hours with my husband while I held twelve-week-old Baker tightly to my chest. My beach chair felt like a throne. Before me the sunshine bounced off the foaming waves like diamonds, casting a dramatic backdrop to the stage I was most interested in soaking up – the shared giggles between Ellie and Brandon as they played. Simplicity is a beautiful thing. It is slow. It smooths out the rough edges of my inner anxiety. It reminds me that the little things are the big things.
As I watch the simple beauty splayed out before me my heart finds peace that is otherwise hard to find during the normal comings and goings of daily life. The simple act of watching the waves crash upon the sand while my family acts, well, like any other family would at the seashore, isn’t simple at all, quite the opposite, it is majestic. My heart is flooded with a taste of beauty that feels so tangible I pinch myself in order to remember just how this feels. The love overwhelms me, but in a way that commands my attention, inspiring me to be more than I ever have been before. I want to know how to love these people better. I want to know how to love the ocean better. I want to know savor the sweetness of life in a way in which I might never forget it. I want to know how to better serve the Lord who created and counts the gains of sand that surround me. I want grace, kindness, love, beauty, peace, encouragement, hope and joy to make their home in my heart permanently that I might embody the beauty I am witness to and take it everywhere I go with me. I think these things and I don’t move. I sit in my spot on the sand at the waters edge off of 9th Avenue in Seaside Park, New Jersey and I think about the women in my family before me who have perhaps contemplated life in the same way I am right now – I feel a wave of generational love well up inside and it fills me to the brim to the point that I can sit still no longer. I jump up and run through the sand with my family, adding my laughter to the giggles and gurgles. The emotions I feel escape my vocabulary so I must move my body to express the deep joy, but if I were have to put it to words, I would decide upon the following: I want my kids to know that the little things matter; that the little things in life are the big things in life.
Yes, that is it. I want my kids to know that little things are the big things.
I want them to love radically and generously.
I want them to take being good caretakers of the world seriously.
I want them to believe that each piece of trash they recycle is one step closer to preserving the Earth.
I want them to cut the plastic off the connected circle rings from a six-pack in order to save an innocent fish in the ocean.
I want them to be mindful of the waste we produce and to make an effort at minimizing their carbon footprint.
I want them to plant trees and grow gardens.
I want them to pay attention to flowers, bumble bees and butterflies.
I want them to always have time to slow down and chat with someone they pass on the sidewalk.
I want them to believe that kindness towards animals is kindness towards the world.
I want them to be a friend to the friendless; a warm heart to the outcast or dejected.
I want them to thank generously and spread compliments like confetti.
I want them to lead with love in all that they do, knowing that they are a reflection of God’s love to others.
I want them to shine optimism by being action-takers and world-changers.
I want them to hug others a little longer than necessary.
I want them to be proud of their footprint, physically in this world as well as emotionally in the lives and memories of others.
I want them to keep life simple and know that they are loved and that they matter.
I want them to be encouragers.
I want my kids to know that little things are the big things.
We live in a world that God has entrusted to us and in bodies that God has gifted to us. How we treat the world, how we treat ourselves and how we treat others matters, more than we might possibly even know. More than that, I do know is that the little decisions, the little acts of mindfulness, the little moments of love, and the little ways in which see the blessings we have before us are all big ways in which we honor God and express our gratitude towards Him for what He has given us.
That is why I choose safer products. They reduce my risk to environmentally aggravated health complications. They are better for the planet. They are better for me. They are better for my family. That is why I use and shop from Beautycounter (www.beautycounter.com/trishblackwell)
That is why I choose environmentally conscious products. They support businesses who are doing right by the Earth. They ensure that I am not contributing to unfair labor practices or the discrimination against the poor and underprivileged in third world countries. That is why I love organic bodysuits like the little Taxi onesie I have for Baker from Estella NYC (https://estella-nyc.com, use code Trish15 for 15% off!) .
That is why I choose to eat nutritionally rich foods. They nourish me in a sustainable way for optimal health. They fill me with natural strength and equip me with an immune system to protect me as I engage in life, fighting disease before it happens and filling me with goodness from the inside out.
That is why I choose to pay attention to the little thoughts. They make up my bigger thoughts, and my bigger thoughts determine how I lead my life. They are the foundation of my ability to be the best version of myself and to be in a continual state of growth and improvement. They are what empower me to do big things by paying attention to the little things.
I choose to cherish the little things as big things because they fill my soul with a sweet balm of peace. And, as for this Fall weekend at the edge of the ocean waters, I will cherish it fondly. I will remember it as Baker’s first time at the beach. I will be able to replay images of him blinking and squinting in response to the wind, his slight smile stretched from his little cheeks when turned to feel the ocean spray coming up at us, and his excessively cute baby stretches. I will remember Ellie running in circles, running the mote built around her sand castle like a race track and giggling with joy as she pretended to outrun the water that would occasionally rush up towards her. I will remember the way my Irish Terrier bounded through the sand chasing sandpipers and rolled joyously in the sand after digging spastically for sand crabs. I will remember Brandon and how engaged of a dad he is, running and sprinting to wear out our little ones, wearing a giant smile on his face the entire time. Most importantly, I will remember that it is the simple things that matters most in life – it is moments like these memories that make our hearts feel full. I want more of these moments. I want a world full of these moments. I want future generations to have these in the same way they have been passed down to me within my own family. And it is for that reason that I know the small things matter. I know that I do not want to continue to buy into the false belief that I need to do more, achieve more and juggle more. I know that I want to spend less time doing and more time being. I know that I want to be a walking manifestation of kindness – towards others, towards myself, towards the Earth. I know that I want to always see the beauty that surrounds me. I know I need to continue to slow down, to continue to detox my perfectionistic tendencies and to continue to pay attention to the small things, for the little things are the big things and that is a little thing that I never want to ever lose sight of – the quality of my life and the quality of my legacy depend upon it.
Come take your little things and celebrate them so that you reach the big things more fluidly and easily, come join me in my membership group, The College of Confidence (www.trishblackwell.com/college). In The College of Confidence I will be your personal coach and welcome you alongside a community of other go-getters who are committed to finding more confidence and courage in how they live life and in how they impact the world around them. You have goals and dreams, The College of Confidence will provide you with the mental strength and the accountability to reach and achieve them … and we will do that together, side-by-side, as we take “little” steps that add up to make “big” things happen!