I've wanted to write this post for a long time now. I remember scribbling the title at the top of my notes for church as early as last fall. But somehow it's never found its way to my screen. I'm really excited to write about it now -- it's one of my favorite concepts. One of my favorite things to do is to look for the little gems God scatters throughout my days. You know what I'm talking about -- the little things I love that bring a smile to my face and life to my spirit. This is a form of paying attention to the things that bring me joy, but it's a little different. I'm not only looking at the things that consistently make my heart sing; I'm also seeking to notice the little things that may not fall into those larger categories, if you will: a hug from a friend, a compliment, a beautiful shade of green on the trees. Those things shift from day to day (the tree probably won't be the same color tomorrow), and they're quite small, but they make my heart leap for joy, even if just a little.

My love language is words of affirmation, so I get incredibly excited about encouragement. Last week I performed in our weekly Voice Area Recital, and I received many beautifully kind compliments afterward. Any time someone says something to me that encourages me, I hold those words close to my heart like a treasure. I don't often forget them. I write them in my journal so that I can go back and read them whenever I want. It's like my own personal time capsule of beauty. Similarly, I have a wall of notes and letters people have written to me: words that have encouraged me, words that make me laugh, words from people I just love. Words of encouragement mean the entire world to me -- my heart naturally responds to them.

That's really what this means, both to pay attention to the big things and these little gems. What does your heart naturally respond to? What is your favorite way to receive encouragement? In addition to my thrill at encouraging words, I love hugs (LOVE THEM). I also love to admire the beauty of nature (by now we all know about my sky obsession, yes?).

I think it's incredibly important to look for these gems, because they're signs of the way God shows up in our days. When I receive encouragement, I rejoice in the Heavenly Father that has sent it my way. If we want to see Him show up in the big things, we have to watch for it in the little things. And when I started doing that, I saw Him show up in a million little ways, like the stars dusting the night sky.

May we look for the little gems God scatters throughout today. May we see Him in a million places we never thought to look.