It is the simple things that make me happy. For many people, the end of a year presents an opportunity for self-evaluation, and for thinking about areas that need change or improvement, or even things that have to be eliminated from one’s life. Every year, I welcome this season and think about the course of the year, set new goals, and set aside some time to really look at what can be simplified.

I am a planner, love lists, and crave organization and structure – a character trait that serves me well but can become overwhelming at times. Such are the times when I tend to overanalyze, make more lists (on top of lists), and when I am hard on myself for not performing as expected (by me) despite giving more than 100 percent in effort. It is then when I need the simple things to help me refocus, and to bring me back to living the simple life – the life that happens in the now, does not follow lists so much, and focus on the beauty and good things/blessings that are present. One of those things is the Christmas season.

Last year, I adopted a little tree that I came across while at a farmer’s market, and I named it Little Tree. I even blogged about the unusual circumstances that surrounded that day. You can read the post here – The Little Tree That Could. Today, and a coincidence at the writing of this post, happens to be a year since I brought Little Tree home. It has grown a bit, and I want to share before and after pictures of it.

Little Tree before, last year.

Little Tree before, last year.

Little Tree this year.

Little Tree this year.

As you can see, it has grown a few inches, its branches have taken a darker hue and spread out. If it wasn’t for the 2012 picture, the changes and growth would have escaped my mind because its growth has been slow but steady. Maybe Little Tree has a message to share, after all.