When you have some time to yourself and are doing mindless, repetitive work, it gives you the opportunity to do some thinking. Yesterday while spending nine hours painting our new master bathroom, I was able to ponder some of the important things in life.

I started the day listening to sports talk radio — a favorite pastime of mine — as three pundits debated and analyzed the rookies that the Chicago Bears had selected in this year’s NFL Draft. When they went off the air, I put my iTunes on shuffle and hummed — sometimes sang — along to some of my favorite music. Finally, sometime in the afternoon, I blocked out all audio and decided to let my mind wander.

After opening the window to let some air in — and let the paint fumes out — I couldn’t help but hear what was going on around the neighborhood. The first thing I noticed was the sound of kids playing in the distance. This warmed the heart not only by bringing back memories from my past, playing sports in the yard with my best friends on a warm, spring day, but it also let me know that despite the influx in technology that affords almost every young child a digital device in their hands, having a healthy, active social life is still alive and well.

I realize that there’s a growing problem with unhealthy living among kids these days. I think too often I catch kids playing on their iPods, cell phones or other gaming devices when they could be outside getting some fresh air and exercise. I once even caught a kid playing basketball on a phone and asked him, “Why don’t you just go outside and play that?” (He actually went out and kept playing basketball on his device, but at least he was outside).

The next thing I noticed while lying on the cold, hard tile on my side with a paintbrush in my hand was the smell of a grill somewhere in the nearby vicinity. With only some Dove chocolates and flavored peanuts in my stomach, I was salivating at the mouth.

I love barbecues. I enjoy the togetherness with friends and family, the yard games and swimming, and of course, the delicious burgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, potato salad, fruit, and other yummy food! Going to barbecues are one of my favorite summertime activities because it’s a good chance to connect with others and really relax and enjoy the life God has provided us.

The last thing I noticed while hunched over the toilet — no, I wasn’t sick; I was just trying to get a better angle at painting behind the toilet … don’t get me started on that difficult chore! — was a quiet conversation from our neighbors. Don’t worry, I didn’t eavesdrop, and I couldn’t make out what was being said, anyway. But when I stood up I could see out the window into the yard next door and saw them sitting around their patio table basking in the beautiful weather.

I’m a man who enjoys simple pleasures and I couldn’t be happier with the day I had on Saturday. Was it hard work painting? Oh yeah. It took me two hours to tape the trim and another nine hours to finish painting — this in addition to the eight hours I spent painting the other half of the room the previous weekend. I wound up sore from head to toe after contorting my body in all different shapes and angles.

But in a short period of time I was able to escape into momentary bliss, getting lost in the moment and enjoying the beauty of life. Sometimes we get lost in the middle of our busy lives, painting bathrooms or playing on our digital devices, and we don’t take a moment to enjoy and appreciate the natural gifts all around us.

Take the time to look around you and you just might find something pleasing to the senses.