I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of “progress” lately, as I see it in my own life and in the lives of those around me.

Sometimes, it feels like nothing is changing, and we feel discouraged.  We try many different approaches to the same challenge, but none seem to work.  We hope and long for any sign of forward movement.  This is a phase where we might be tempted to give up.  And yet, we know we can’t, because forward is the only way to go.  

But, sometimes when we least expect it, we get a nudge, a triumph, a step in the right direction.  It might be unimpressive to those around us, but we know what a big deal it is.  If we are wise, we celebrate it, and then build on it.  Even if we’re not sure tomorrow will be as successful, we have to hold that victory close to our hearts and let it fill us with confidence.

There are, of course, many examples I could use here to illustrate.  The one closest to my heart right now is Little A’s journey out of diapers.  To see her fearlessness in leaping into a pool, or her talent in drawing, or her eloquence and wit in speaking, one might be surprised to find her lack of interest in giving up diapers.  We have tried every reasonable and healthy incentive to help her progress.

She will be four this fall, and I’d say only in the past month have we seen noticeable steps forward in this area.  Today, I would consider a breakthrough day.  From the time she got dressed in the morning, until she put her pajamas on for bedtime, there was no diaper, no pull-up, and no accidents.  She held it when she needed to, and made it to the bathroom in time for three very successful visits.

Seeing one’s child beaming with happiness and pride after doing something that has been very challenging is one of life’s greatest joys.  I know we will all look back on this stage of her life and laugh about how much angst we felt, but we really needed a day like today.

Most of us aren’t dealing with potty training, but most of us are facing something ourselves or helping someone we love make progress in a challenging situation.  After a day like today for Little A and our family, I urge everyone to keep trying.  Be eager, but relax.  Success will come as long as there is persistent effort.  Love unconditionally.  Accidents and mistakes and setbacks will happen.  It’s OK, just get up and try again!  Celebrate progress, even if it feels goofy.  Not everyone will appreciate the importance of little victories, but that’s all right, too.  Find someone who will understand, and let that person know how you’re doing.  Progress can be messy (especially with potty training), but it’s so worth it.

I don’t know if A will be as eager to go diaper-less tomorrow.  I’m trying to brace myself for that possibility, but I’m hoping to remind her in the morning of her successes.  I saw a new level of confidence and maturity in her eyes today, and I want to do everything I can to encourage her.

Blessings to all who keep stepping forward amid inevitable steps back, and to all those who are walking alongside someone trying to make progress!



  1. How very wise and gracious of you to celebrate both the small and big successes. This wisdom can be applied for children of any age (and adults). One of my sons is needing us to celebrate the small steps as he tries to head towards some bigger moves. It encourages all of us to act/think this way.

    Blessings ~ Wendy

    1. I pray that your son’s present successes lead to even greater ones. Little A had another great day regarding the potty training. It’s as if something finally clicked and now she’s ready! We celebrated today with a new book, a new dress, and lunch at a favorite restaurant.

  2. This post is exactly what “progress” is all about to me. Celebrating the tiniest things can keep us going during those moments when we feel like we are standing still. I think it’s a great way to live life in general. There will always be ups and downs, we can’t avoid them. We can, however, take a moment to notice all of the beauty surrounding us.
    Lovely, lovely post Alison. I hope you have a wonderful day! ❤

    1. p.s. is there a way to follow your blog by email?

      1. never mind, figured it out! sorry for so many comments haha.

    2. Thank you! I figured a post on progress would resonate with you!

      My little girl and I celebrated her recent victories (another “dry”, successful day today) with a new book and a new $10 dress–happy girl!! She is very proud and excited to share her achievements with our family.

      Have a great night!

  3. What a wonderful description of progress. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and light with us, Alison.

    Greatness is created through baby steps. Brave baby steps. Growth is a process. We stumble, we learn, we try again. We need to find hope in our journey. Take a moment to look back and reflect upon our own progress. Believe in our own power to make changes. And, as you say, celebrate ourselves and our victories. To do so is more than okay. Just embrace the moment and allow yourself to feel joy without worrying about tomorrow.

    Love to you and your family.

    1. Thank you for visiting and for the comments. It feels good to encourage each other’s progress–no one was meant to face life totally alone!

      My daughter had another great day of potty progress…she is on cloud nine. I treated her to a $10 dress she saw at Target to celebrate. She is looking more grown up every day, it seems!

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