stopping to smell the roses

“Stop and smell the roses.” It’s a cliche phrase, I know… Or, is it?


I just found this journal entry I wrote a few months back:

Remember when you were a kid, and the world just seemed a little bit brighter. Everything was a little more exciting. The simplest of things. Like a popsicle on a hot summer day, or curling up in your mom’s lap while she tickled your back.

I want to get back that childlike faith, that childlike play, that childlike optimistic view if the world. Before the harsh realities of this world were made known to me. A time before memories of death and loss darkened my thoughts. A time before the deepest corners of my mind were corrupted with the burdens of responsibility, worry about the future, and just the rote feeling that every day life can bring.  

In a way I feel like we spend our whole childhood trying to be adults and then our whole adulthood trying to find our way back to childhood. 

I want to find immense joy in the simplest things in life. I want to see the astounding beauty in everything. I want to feel uninhibited love for those around me. I want to stay in my PJs till noon coloring without a care in the world. Too far? 

But that’s not real life, and we must grow up. And while we must leave certain “childish ways” behind, it is imperative that we hold onto that overflowing optimism/perspective/hope we once had. 


On a recent trip to Texas, I walked outside one morning with my youngest nephew. He stopped along the pathway as I hurried along. I turned back to see what he was looking at, what he was staring so intently at… and there were these beautiful tiny little flowers blooming.

I was in such a hurry (to get nowhere) that I passed right by.


I never would have even noticed these. But Mark did.

The other morning, back in LA, I woke up early. The sun was rising. I poured some hot coffee in a travel mug, threw on my tennis shoes, and went for a walk.

It was absolutely gorgeous, watching the sun rise, illuminating the earth an inch at a time.

And on my walk I began taking pictures of the beauty surrounding me. I began to slow down, noticing little details like the way the sun’s rays streamed from behind the branches of the palm trees.

And then when I was almost home, I saw something that stopped me in my tracks. Tiny little blooms of flowers… just like the ones Mark had been staring at in Texas. The most beautiful, tiny little blooms.

I stopped, admired, and pulled a random bloom off to take a picture. And as I did, I realized that this particular bloom happened to be… a cross.


I must have walked by these blooms dozens of times and never noticed. But this day, when I finally slowed down and took the time to see the beauty around me – I mean, to really see the glory of God’s creation – well, that’s when He reveals His beauty. That’s when He will show you His presence. That’s when He will remind you He’s there.

You just have to slow down. You just have to look around you. And if you don’t see any flowers… Well, keep walking. Don’t worry about finding them. They just might find you.

“Your grace finds me.” – Matt Redman

Next time you’re in a hurry (to get nowhere), I encourage you… Slow down, soak up God’s beauty and grace that surrounds, and remember there is always value in stopping to smell the roses.

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