Make a Difference: It’s in the Little Things

Little Things Make a Difference.
Mother Teresa tells a story whereby a child was given a piece of bread but took nibbles because she was feearful it would all be gone soon. Photo: Susie Kellogg

There was a point in my life where I really truly thought the local Headline could soon read something like, “Missing Woman Found Dead Under Pile of Clothes”. I mean, being a young mom of tons of sweet, blessed babies, was hard enough, but keeping up with the laundry was impossible.  But I also knew these things weren’t of utmost importance, so laundry, cleaning and the like got done when they got done. The business of raising my kids, helping them Make a Difference, not missing any milestones, and being a wife to Dan were the important things.

To be a parent is to Make a Difference in the World.
Not missing a single milestone or skinned knee was of utmost importance to me. Photo: Susie Kellogg

It wasn’t that I sucked at keeping a clean house, because I didn’t. Our house may have had toys strewn around, but it was never ever dirty. I binge cleaned whenever kids slept. I’m slightly OCD about this sort of thing. The beds were never made, toys and dolls and books were in every room, but the house was clean, that was my hard line.

Now, I’ll tell you one thing … laundry was the bane of my existence. I was never caught up, in fact, there were always huge piles on the floor of our laundry room. I always thought the kids had “no clothes”.  This drove Dan crazy. In addition to the lack of good housekeeping skills, he had to deal with me constantly buying new clothes, cuz “the kids have no clothes.”

So much so that Dan & I have often joked about creating a line of disposable clothes.  It’s not that far-fetched, really. Disposable diapers changed the world and now just about everything can be purchased for a one-time use! So, why not fashion? … Shark Tank people hit me up, let’s get on this. {wink, wink}

Now, I will confess, it is impossible to keep up with the laundry for a family of 14 living conventional lives, unless you spend your days washing and folding, which I was never about to do. Or unless you have a cleaning lady, which I don’t.  

You see, there is just too much memory-making, as a wife and mom, to be done to waste my time with something so fruitless. I enjoy serving my family. I really do. As someone who hates work more than the average person, this is quite the contradiction. I hate cooking, but I love feeding my husband and kids. I hate cleaning, but I want a nice living environment for Dan, who works his butt off providing for us. And I don’t even want to make it sound like a sacrifice. Keep in mind, I never wanted to be anything but a wife and a mom. So, I’m not all oppressed, so let’s not go there.

But, laundry.

It got me to thinking how much easier life in an RV is. It’s easier to keep clean. It’s easier to keep organized. It’s easier to cook. And it’s easier to focus on the things that truly matter.  

Minimalism

Make a Difference by eliminating stress.
RVing makes life way less stressful and enables us to focus on the little things. Photo: Susie Kellogg

For obvious reasons, while traveling in the RV we bring wayyyy less clothing and, really,  way less of everything. Naturally, RV’s have a ton of storage, for the average family. But no RV manufacturer made enough storage for 14 people. Hence, whilst traveling we all leave behind all but essentials.

Dan and I bring clothes and our computers. The kids bring lego’s, dolls and RC cars. Then of course we have all our kayaking, hiking, camping and climbing gear. We have our school books, our cameras, our Vitamix and our Instant Pot. 

Minimalism is a way of life. It seriously reduces stress and wanton greed. Our kids have learned the value of the things they enjoy. And, while that might not sound like a big deal, it is a HUGE deal to me. In today’s society, everything, even people, are thrown away. Instant gratification (of which I’m a huge fan) and excess are staple in most American lives.

Complaining about politics, religion, and the general unfairness of life is as commonplace in real life as it is on Social Media. We can’t resist wallowing in self-pity or waxing philosophical about the unjust ways of the world.

I’m sorry, I just can’t help but feel anything other than pity for the people in this world who have nothing better to do than be social justice warriors on Facebook, Twitter or the like. Facebook activism does nothing, it is all smoke and mirrors. Sure, it makes you feel better about yourself, makes you feel as though you are speaking out, but no real action, no real sacrifice is being made.

We love to throw out ridiculous accusations at each other, like White Privilege, failing to understand that anyone born in the USA is privileged. Plain and Simple, y’all. I don’t give a care in the world where or how you grew up, if you did so in the US, you are privileged.

Case in point …we bemoan the fact that health care is costly, for decades we have been complaining, mind you, but we completely ignore the fact that for some in other countries, healthcare is unheard of. The belief exists that if you have access to food, shelter and clothing, you are privileged. 

We simply fail, via the ills of comparison, to realize how incredibly spoiled, blessed, and unaffected we truly are. if we compared ourselves to the “right people” I think we’d be unabashedly ashamed.

Traveling

Little Things Make a Difference.
Mother Teresa tells a story whereby a child was given a piece of bread but took nibbles because she was feearful it would all be gone soon. Photo: Susie Kellogg

I’ll be the first to admit that the kind of travel we do, does nothing to really expand our understanding of suffering. Sure, we volunteer in soup kitchens and buy homeless people meals and offer cash to anyone who asks (true story), but then we get in our RV with climate control, a fully stocked refrigerator and head on our way.  

Maybe we discuss the situation with our kids, maybe we talk about helping those less fortunate than ourselves and maybe we live and breathe by the mantra, “Walk the walk”, but really we have done nothing. We have done nothing at all to change the course of anyone’s lives. In three hours, that individual will be hungry again. The people who visit the soup kitchens will still be on the streets. And the money we gave, probably going to alcohol.

I think it will come as no shock to anyone that knows us, we are Pro-life. Staunchly Pro-life. I was adopted, I’m thankful I am here. I shouldn’t be here because my birth mother suffered unbearable beatings at the hand of her mother who insisted she abort. I shouldn’t be here because my birth mother did A LOT of drugs. The fact remains, that I am; and for that, I am thankful.

As pro-life activists, we have stood in front of Planned Parenthood with signs ready and willing to bring anyone into our home who needed a safe place. Ready and willing to counsel, love and to assist, financially, and otherwise anyone who asked. We endured endless ridicule and bad language and even had the police called … to no avail. Nothing happened. No-one asked.

Make a Difference

Hope helps Make a Difference.
Sometimes just sharing hope is a big gift. Photo: Susie Kellogg

I want desperately to Make a Difference in the lives of the people we encounter. I usually want this to be in as dramatic a way as possible, so that I don’t miss it. I have a tendency to miss these things.

And in my previous statements, know that I’m not for one second saying our life is easy. Hell no. I’m not presuming to assume that you, who are reading this, that your life is easy, hell no. We all have our crosses, our difficulties, our stress, our pain, sure. But we are all called to Make a Difference despite all these things.

And maybe our way isn’t dramatic. Maybe your way isn’t dramatic. Maybe all we can do is be true to ourselves and try to spread joy and happiness. To eradicate the negativity that is so prevalent. To educate our children, so they don’t repeat endless cycles of pain.

To treat the soup kitchen guests as people, with respect. To eradicate that one person’s hunger for the time being. To give the money, in the hopes that it’s going toward gas or food or baby food.

For us, we try to spread joy and inspiration. We try to show whoever will watch that life, that family, matters. But not only that they matter, that family is everything. It’s discouraging when family disintegrates, when they seemingly couldn’t care any less about the lives of their siblings, their children. I have lived that, it’s lonely.  

I have said time and time again that I want our kids and their families to benefit from all the mistakes we have made (there are so many I could fill an encyclopedia collection), so that I feel there was a purpose to our mistakes, our suffering.

Heck, to simply be the best parent you can be is to Make a Difference, a huge difference in the world. I mean, this is the future generation. Our soldiers, our leaders, our faithful … our future.

Or when we spread the message of hope, you have no idea who needs to hear that message.

As for us, we try to not live of this world, and find our own way. We encourage our kids, our friends, our family to follow their dreams, their passions. We encourage them to carve out a little path all of their own. 

Yet, it’s upon reflection that I realize that it really is the little things that Make a Difference in this world. For little thing piled upon little thing, our little things joined with your little things … that’s what makes the world go around. That’s what being human is. That’s what helps Make a Difference in a world that, while it appears is callous and uncaring, is truly filled with people who have a ton of love and compassion.  

The smile, the hug, the $5, the hotel room, the inspiration, the support it all helps Make a Difference.  

So much love for all of you!!  xoxoxoxox

Make a Difference

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