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Food samples are always available at Costco’s and the other day I couldn’t pass up a taste of cheesecake. I would never buy a cheesecake — far too many calories and fat and weight. I savored that little bite. It was creamy, sweet, but with a dash of the sour that the cheese brings. The crust contrasted with the smooth texture of the filling. And the cream on top, even smoother than the cheesecake itself. I savored that bite, and spent several minutes letting every taste roll around my mouth before it was gone.

How many things in life do I savor, I wondered. Certainly every moment is special, and once it’s gone it’s gone. I cherished the moments I spent holding my babies, and prayed the I would be able to relive those intense feelings of happiness and contentment.  Only the fact that is was special remains, but I still like holding babies! Cradling that trust and innocence and even calming their discomforts is rewarding unlike anything else.

I try hard to imprint my mind with those things that are so special: the sea when it’s a bit angry, or the sun shining on the sand, the wave of dune grasses, the greenness of cultivated fields, varying with more shades of green than available on a palette. Only photos remind me of how beautiful those things are, but only occasionally do they elicit the happy feelings.

Slowing down in life is important to noticing the extraordinary in everyday life. You have to be aware to make the most of the special moments of life, and stop and appreciate them. I’ve noticed how often these are found in nature — perhaps the most perfect of God’s creation.

Even though they can be really demanding, one has to stop sometimes and just notice how very special each child is and the little steps of progress they are making, physically and mentally. My 14 month-old granddaughter is just about to walk, and we all stop when she stands, wondering if this will be that special moment we wouldn’t want to miss. Watching them think, wonder, and discover are priceless.

Being present for every moment is the key to experiencing and enjoying life to its fullest. One book is entitled “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.” How true. If we’re bothered constantly with the minutiae of our ordinary existence, we miss the small things that make the best memories to savor.

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