Today I’m remembering small moments.

I remember being with her, us little enough to slide our little legs and Keds sneakers into the cavity under the basement stairs, our secret hiding place. Brown and mustard Tupperware spoons dipping into little Pyrex bowls of chocolate pudding.

I remember being with him, a man of few words: a quiet ride in the car, counting telephone poles (thirty-seven… thirty-eight… thirty-nine…) contented; the Roscoe Diner for lemon meringue pie.

I remember being with them, truest friends, giggling, wide-eyed: junior high sleepovers where conversation carried us til dawn. So many world problems solved, so many important conversations at age twelve; M&M’s and cool ranch Doritos.

I remember being with him, first date rolled into second date, all in the span of one evening. More to hear, more to say, more being near to be had; hot chai and an apple sliced with peanut butter on the side.

I remember being with her: staring into newborn eyes, all the world a blurry, tired background to the miracle in my arms; Meredith’s homemade chicken soup with thin sliced zucchini, an orange cake from Addie.

I remember being with her: holding her weathered, wrinkled hand, her skin paper-thin. The way she’d squeeze my hand at every crackly-voiced, off-key, childhood hymn I offered; plain black tea with Thick-It.

A thread runs through all these ordinary memories, moments held together by that word: with. The with-ness is what I remember most, seconded, of course, by the food that accompanied each moment.

I can still feel my knees crawling through the dusty basement hide-out, still smell the grease and sweetness of the cafe on the corner of Orangeburg and Dutch Hill Road. I don’t remember these places for the gourmet food, the earth-shattering conversation, or phenomenal decor. The places were not in and of themselves remarkable. The memories stand today because of the profound gift of two souls being simply and fully present in those moment. All in, all there, in the ordinary.

It’s firmly winter now, January sliding into February, weeks past Christmas. Around here that grey cold has settled into a deep freeze. Our ornaments are packed away and the tree is now mulch for the village park. This year I kept a bit of greenery, one strand of twinkle lights to brighten the bleak mid-winter.

I think about ordinary time. I think about all the years between Advent and the water-turned-to-wine: thirty years between Jesus’ birth and His ministry, death, resurrection. Who was walking with Jesus all those years?

Did he climb trees with his cousin John, wonder aloud at the stars with his brothers? Did he work with his hands, fitting furniture together, silent and content alongside Joseph?  Was he with the teachers of the law, listening? Was he with the tax-collectors and the prostitutes and the poor long before the gospels recorded it? Did he walk with friends, make small talk as a man in his twenties? Did he babble and chatter on while Mary made dinner?

Before the miracles, and giving of his life, Jesus spent thirty years with and in and alongside those he called into being, in the midst of creation that he, himself spoke into being.

Women  Having Coffee

Maybe “with” is the miracle I’ve been missing between the verses, between the tweets, between the meetings, between the hustle. The gift of Emmanuel at Christmas is God with us, and now, the gift of the Spirit indwelling us, always.

I linger over those moments I was with my sister, my father, my friends, my husband. Real presence permeated all the details. I remember how love filled the quiet, carried the tune, held together all the rambling words.

With. This is not another line for an unending to-do list, or a resolution of x amount of hours per day. This is an invitation, a posture, a presence, being with, alongside, present in the midst of the grit of real life.

Today, in the midst of the ordinary, we are invited to be present with Jesus like two happy kids hiding under the basement steps. In the small, everyday moments, we can listen with the intentionality of a first date, over chai and sliced apples. There are new opportunities to stare into the eyes, and hold a paper-skinned hand, and hear the babbling sounds of those we love, of those we meet today.  

Today is for small moments, for being with, being present.

Annie Barnett / Posts / Blog
Annie Barnett is an artist and child at heart who loves discovering beauty in ordinary places. When she's not making art, Annie can be found mothering three wildly fun little girls alongside her husband Ted; or perhaps writing; or experimenting with blueberries and goat cheese in the kitchen, preferably with friends gathered around. She writes sporadically at and shares her art at
  • Michele-Lyn Ault

    This slows my soul this morning. I absolutely love to read the words you write. You are a true artist. I love you, Annie Barnett. <3

    January 28th, 2015 13:21
    • Annie Barnett

      Much love to you, Michele-Lyn.

      January 28th, 2015 20:15
  • Bri McKoy

    This was such a beautiful reminder. Grateful for your words, Annie!

    January 28th, 2015 13:34
  • Meredith Bernard

    This is beautiful…thank you for taking me back to my own memories of being “with” my important people and the reminder it’s not too late to be “with” my people today. <3

    January 28th, 2015 13:49
    • Annie Barnett

      I need daily little reminders of this. Enjoy your time!

      January 28th, 2015 20:14
  • Joy B. Rudolph

    This is beautiful, Annie. And I love the perspective with which you reflected on Jesus’ life.

    January 28th, 2015 15:47
  • Ashlie

    Love this post so, SO much, Annie. I can relate and pieces of my own memories came to the surface as I read. Grateful for the way you see life and share with the world. <3

    January 28th, 2015 20:20
    • Annie Barnett

      I’m so glad, Ashlie. So good to revisit those memories!

      January 29th, 2015 15:31
  • Alia_Joy

    I adore you and this post and it holds so much simple truth and beauty here. I’m learning the with too. In all the things.

    January 28th, 2015 23:22
    • Annie Barnett

      You and me both, Alia. Love you!

      January 29th, 2015 15:31
  • Anna R.

    Beautiful, dear Annie. I love these thoughts penned and it brings my ‘with’ memories to the surface. Thanks for the chance to swim in my hearts remembrances.

    January 28th, 2015 23:32
  • Jacque Watkins

    Love you so. And these moving words of yours. Always a joy to read them from you. Wish I was WITH you more… xoxo

    January 29th, 2015 7:52
    • Annie Barnett

      Me too! Why does California have to be so far away?

      January 29th, 2015 15:32
  • Shelly Miller

    So lovely Annie. There is serendipity here for me as well. I wrote a piece on community at The High Calling today and shared about “with-ness” as well. All of the imagery you created gives such a beautiful illustration of what being with really means.

    January 29th, 2015 13:24
    • Annie Barnett

      Heading over to read it now, Shelly. I always love to read your writing. I think we’re cut from the same cloth.

      January 29th, 2015 15:32
  • Karrilee Aggett

    Oh how I love this Annie! “Food is memories” ~The Hundred Foot Journey
    Just so good and true!

    January 29th, 2015 17:25
    • Annie Barnett

      I loved that movie, and had forgotten that line. Thanks, Karrilee.

      January 31st, 2015 19:39
  • pastordt

    Goodness this is lovely, Annie! Thank you so much.

    January 30th, 2015 1:52
  • Traci Rhoades

    What lovely thoughts. Took me back down memory lane myself. And then the tie to Jesus. We just learned about people who “walked” with God and what that means in the original Greek language. It’s really more about “living” with one another. There it is again… “with.” Thanks!

    January 30th, 2015 16:49
    • Annie Barnett

      Thanks, Traci. I love that connection. Thanks for sharing!

      January 31st, 2015 19:38
  • Kamille Scellick

    reminds me how this is living the life worthy to call it ours. Today I was able to help in the girls classes and simply being “with” them and their peers. How most of us, that’s all we really want…for others to be with us.

    January 30th, 2015 23:19
    • Annie Barnett

      Agreed. I bet they loved having you in their classes.

      January 31st, 2015 19:37
  • Greer Oharah

    This was exactly what I needed to hear today, thank you!

    February 1st, 2015 5:10
  • Barbara Keegan

    Did you grow up in Orangeburg, NY, Annie? I live off of Dutch Hill Rd.! I love this post! I’m going to be thinking about “withness” going forward. Thank you.

    February 4th, 2015 0:05

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