Surprised by Small

“Less is more” architect Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe once stated when he described his minimalist yet profoundly beautiful design style.  His Barcelona chair remains an icon in the world of design though it debuted in 1929.  And a coveted item amongst those of us who wish we had the thousands of dollars to plunk down for of those chairs. Design Within Reach my ass.


I am often surprised by small. Small things that end up being profoundly huge in my life- teaching me about myself, my kids, God, my body, friendship and life.   Often I’m so distracted (more self-imposed than not) that I miss the small.  In find myself wanting to do LARGE complex educational crafts for my kids, have my upcoming book book read by HUGE amounts of people, to spend a LOT of money on a pair of boots for my husband who has been telling me about his latest GQ fixation for weeks. Seriously, how did I marry a man who is just as shoe obsessed as me?

But small can be snuggling with my kids and just sitting watching Curious George with them instead of multi-tasking and folding mountains of laundry or returning emails from my phone.  Small can be just listening to a friend and grieving with her over a miscarriage instead of using lots of words to console her. Small can be choosing to do yoga and read poetry instead of having a glass of wine and eating some chocolate at the end of a rough day. Small choices. Small actions. But amazingly, less ends up becoming more.


This post is connected to a tribe of people who blog for five minutes each friday to silence the inner-critic and get some words out there. This week’s word prompt was “small.”  Check out Lisa Jo Baker’s site to participate or read what others have written this week. 





Fatherly Encouragement

I sent my dad a thank you card recently. My mom is in Liberia for three weeks chaperoning a trip for Calvin College students. My dad is usually the one traveling around the world.  In part because I knew he would be a little lonely, in part because at InterVarsity’s recent national staff conference we were invited to write thank you’d. Thank you’s to people who have helped us to become a world changer.

I love and appreciate my dad but I realize how seldom I tell that to him. Somehow texts, emails and even words spoken don’t have the punch of seeing something scrawled in a familiar script on a little card. The excitement when you open your mailbox and see something other than a pre-printed bill that makes you think- “me? a note just for me?!”

My father has offered me a lot of encouragement through the years, both verbal and non-verbal. He’s more of a quiet introverted man, but he loves people really, really well.  His stories from traveling overseas doing NGO agricultural work always have to do with the most recent friendships he’s formed, the meals shared and the lives he’s become part of. Some people call that networking. To me, I just saw my dad encouraging others by sharing his life and making space for people to share theirs.

My dad is coming to spend the weekend here with our family in Cleveland. Though we will likely sit around and drink a lot of coffee, take some hikes in the metro parks and I plan to introduce him to the Sherlock mini-series after we put the kids to bed, we will all be encouraged simply because of who he is.


My dad with chunky little Ozzy when he was about 1 year old

This post is part of Five Minute Friday– a blog-link up from Lisa-Jo Baker where people write unedited, spur-of the moment posts using one word prompt each Friday. Check it out to read some other posts about encouragement, or add your own!