Pause, Breathe, Notice

I’m standing at my coffee nook a sea of pots, pans, and mixing bowls at my feet. It’s a rainy July day, and I’m grateful for the reason to rest. Fighting a summer virus, I make myself a cup of tea. As the bag steeps in the water I watch the steam rise off the cup and take a deep breath. One of my favorite things in life is to watch the steam dance off the top of a hot beverage. 

Nearly ten years ago now I did a gratitude challenge, one where I wrote down one thousand things I was grateful for over the course of a year or so. It was that challenge where I first noticed hot steam dancing off the top of my coffee in the glow of the morning sun. That challenge taught me to notice the little things, and give thanks. 

I don’t get the chance to watch the dance very often in this current season of life. Each weekday morning my alarm goes off at 0630. I sit myself up in my bed and do a gentle yoga practice—entirely seated in my bed. I do a short intention-setting meditation, and finish off with my journal practice. 

Often by the time I do all this my son is awake and in need of me. Sometimes I’m able to head downstairs and start the coffee, sometimes the coffee waits until after we nurse. The days of sitting in silence relishing in my first hot cup of joe and watching the steam dance are few and far between. 

I know this is a season that will end. Someday I will miss the pitter-patter of little feet that fill my day. Someday I won’t nurse my son and watch him crawl down from my lap and pitter-patter off to explore a new day. Someday I’ll wake up and have a quiet, clean, organized house and I will miss these days. 

In the chaos of solo parenting, a sea of kitchen things at my feet, I remember to pause, breathe and notice. I notice the smile of my son. I feel his little arms as they wrap around my leg. I notice the smell of earl gray filling the kitchen. I watch the steam dance off the top of my mug on this rainy summer day. I breathe in this moment.

This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in the series “Ordinary Inspiration”.


  1. Thank you for this reminder to slow down. It’s not easy to do when the kids move at lightning pace. When quite literally their breath and heart beat faster than ours. It reminds me of how I bulk at being rushed, lingering just a few seconds too long in the car when everyone else has already jumped out. I love the idea of a gratitude journal, thank you Amber.

    1. Ahh yess gratitude journaling is so good for me! I know a lot of people like to use their phone or just make note in their head, but there’s something about writing it out that really makes it stick for me.

  2. “ I remember to pause, breathe and notice.” Why is it so easy to forget? 🙃 Thanks for this reminder, Amber!

  3. I’m a big fan of the steam dance too and this was just the reminder I needed to go find it again. Love this, Amber.

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