April Jeppson: Slow down and see how far you’ve come

Published 8:45 pm Friday, June 17, 2022

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

I am back in my hometown for the weekend to celebrate my mother’s birthday. Going through old photos and looking at how much everything has changed. Sometimes you don’t even notice the changes because you’re in it. However, when you step back, move away and look back through the photos, it becomes glaringly evident.

April Jeppson

The sunroom that we now spend so much time in, was just a deck when my sister-in-law first came home to visit. The yard, which I lovingly refer to as the Secret Garden, was nothing more than a few flowers and potted plants. My brother and I were just kids, and now we have children of our own running around.

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As we walked through the town this morning, we talked about how different everything looks from when we were children. I come home a few times a year, so I’m fairly used to most of the changes. Others who haven’t visited in a while pointed out things that were different that I’d forgotten about. The closer you are to something, the harder it is to see the subtle changes over time. You adjust and move on. So it’s kind of fun to pause and take a moment to reflect on everything that’s happened.

It’s easy to overlook all the small changes that happen in our own life. I read that when a rocket goes to space, the direction needs to be adjusted constantly. Even a .003% discrepancy can change the trajectory by 100s of miles over the course of the trip. So when we go through small changes, they may seem insignificant (because they are) but compounded over time, you see how big of an impact they can be.

My mother works hard in her garden. Every year she has to purchase plants and flowers to put in. The perennials need to be tended to and the vegetables need to be nurtured. One year they put in a stone patio. Another year they added an arbor for the grapevines. Slowly, year after year the yard has gone from a pleasant space to an area fit for a wedding. My mother would argue that it’s not that nice, but I know better. She lives it every day and possibly can’t see how amazing of a space she’s created over the years.

So now I’m here thinking about my own life. What are things that have changed that I take for granted because I “can’t see the forest for the trees.” The growth of my children. The improvements we’ve made in our home. The improvements I’ve made within myself. In our busy go-go-go culture, you almost have to force yourself to slow down and appreciate all the changes and growth. This town does that to me though. It helps me remember where I started, so I can better see how far I’ve come. 

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.