Socks and hidden grace

“Another one!?” I exhale through my mouth and bend to look under the couch. Among the dust bunnies and lost Legos is a small red sock.

I grab it and add it to the pile already clutched in my hand. The setting sun’s light dances across the floor as I toss the sock into a basket of others gathered from all corners of the house.

“This is an exercise in futility,” I murmur into the empty room.

My children leave socks everywhere, you see.

Maybe their feet get hot. Maybe they want to wiggle their toes. Maybe they reject restrictive foot fabric on moral, religious, or philosophical grounds. Whatever the reason, my children shed socks like molting birds shed feathers. I find them in the car, on kitchen stools, in the dog’s crate, crumpled in the corners of the living room, and even under my pillow.

llogically, the wayward socks feel like a referendum on me. I can’t keep my house clean. I can’t keep socks on small feet. I can’t control the world (or the people in it).

I’ve been in a slump lately. When I shared this with a friend, she said, “I think the secret to getting out of a funk is to practice gratitude.” A line I read by John Milton seemed to agree: “Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.”

I started small. Every day for a week, I wrote a list of things I was thankful for in my journal. After a few days of intentional noticing, I started to feel the gentle flickers of awe within.

Simple things sparkled: warm eggs cooked with flecks of bacon, the sound of my children giggling in the dark, a boyish grin on my husband’s face when he said, “I like you in that sweater,” the very existence of breath in my lungs. Imagine my surprise when one day my hand—as if of its own accord—wrote “small socks scattered everywhere.”

Because this isn’t really a story about socks.

It’s about love for the people who wear them.

It’s about faithfulness.

It’s about seeing the world as bigger than I allow it to be.

And, above all, it’s about recognizing small flashes as what they really are: breadcrumbs leading me back to grace.

9 thoughts on “Socks and hidden grace

  1. Love this! March must be gratitude month. I’ve been practicing it, too. Yours, however, is much more enjoyable to read about!

  2. You write beautifully, with tremendously kind details about all that is good in our hearts as mothers.
    Your words brighten my world here in cold, stormy Canada.
    And you remind me to stop once in awhile and be grateful for what I do have; one sweet sock at a time.
    Please don’t stop writing.

  3. Dear Jessica,
    I started following you on blogspot when you were just announcing your first pregnancy. Loved your writing and your sweet openness. I am happy to see you’re still going strong and now you have THREE!! How wonderful! Once in awhile I get a notice of your posts, but just wanted to say hello and congrats on your city-to-farm conversion, lol! I grew up in California, a suburb of ‘Frisco, so when I moved to Montana as a first time pregnant mom, then moving to the country when my TWO were littles, I fell in love with country life! Nothin’ like fresh homemade bread with homemade butter AND jam to get the kids home from school. Listening to the irrigation sprinklers on a warm summer night…the smell of freshly mowed hay and alfalfa. Thanks for sharing!
    Janie from

  4. Ann Voskamp who is a farmer’s wife wrote a New York Times best seller that is titled One Thousand Gifts. It would be a good book for y’all to read.

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