Announcing a New Blog Series: One Small Change

if you can't feed a hundred people, feed just oneI want to change the world, but I’m up to my eyeballs in shoulds in my own regular life. I’m overwhelmed, already, by my daily failures as a parent and a person.

Yesterday, I caught my kid chucking a toy mailbox at his friend. My two-year-old keeps collapsing in random places to have temper tantrums.

I’m tired. Some days, it feels like all I can do to get us all dressed and fed.

And then there’s the Internet, which is completely bananas. On Pinterest, y’all are making homemade bug spray and sunscreen bars, and it’s making me stress about my bottle of Neutrogena Beach Defense.

In the last month, I accidentally clicked on links that told me that my beloved Diet Coke is going to give me both cancer and the teeth of a lifetime meth addict, and now I’m stressed about that too.

I don’t exercise or eat enough green vegetables. I don’t volunteer. Sometimes, I don’t have the gumption to rinse out the empty peanut butter jar, so I throw it away instead of recycling it, and then I feel guilty for the rest of the night.

A factory falls, and I scroll through the pictures, sober and powerless. I feel so far away, so isolated from all of it. What can I even do?  I am a suburban mom from Minnesota. My problems are first world, to be sure, but still, they feel heavy to me. I feel like I’m already holding so much.

one small change series

Yesterday, I wrote about the choice I made to buy locally grown tomatoes. I know it’s not a perfect solution, and in the end maybe it doesn’t change anything for the tomato pickers that I’ve read about.

But I’m finding that it’s changing my heart.

It’s helping me to remember that this whole thing is bigger than just me. It’s bigger than the kids screaming in the cart, and it’s bigger than trying to figure out what’s for dinner tonight.

It’s reminding me that we are all connected.

These days, I’m finding that tomato kiosk at the “expensive” grocery store is holy ground for me, because I’m encountering God there.

It’s just one small thing. But it’s something that I can do.

And I want more of those moments in my life. One by one, I’d like to begin integrating small, doable changes, because I find that as I do, my heart is cracking open a little wider. When I figure out that I actually can do one small thing, I feel empowered to do other small things.

I need less guilt-inducing, overwhelming, big picture stuff. I need less should, more inspiration.

I need small, practical, sustainable ideas of how I can choose to be engaged with justice where I’m at now. In the burbs with my toddlers. In a state where there’s not locally grown food available all year round. In a life that already feels overcommitted to so many things.

So that’s what this series will be about. I’m assembling a group of guest bloggers to share the small things they’re doing to engage with justice, kindness and a larger world on a daily basis.

I’m hoping that we’ll all find some small thing that we can do. And then maybe another. And then maybe another.

How to Contribute to the One Small Change series:

I’ve already lined up a few amazing contributions to this series – writers I know and respect who have something distinct and helpful to add to the conversation.

But I want to hear from you too.

I’m looking for writers to give just one practical idea that anyone could do. One small way that you’ve reoriented your life toward justice. It could be a change you made in how you spend money, an app you use, an organization that you support or a way you get involved with local or international justice issues.

It could even be something as simple as a way that you make space in your daily life to recognize that there is a bigger story going on here…and to pray.

The series will run every Wednesday from now until…whenever we’re done. Post should be no more than 800 words and induce 0% guilt or shame. Only inspiration.

Please send them to me at addiezierman(at)gmail(dot)com. I can’t promise that I’ll be able to use everything – but I’m going to try to use as much as possible.

There’s such a great community here at this blog. I’d love to see how we could offer each other the challenging grace of one small change – and be changed for it ourselves.

53 thoughts on “Announcing a New Blog Series: One Small Change

  1. LOVE this post and the idea! It reminded me of one of my favorite quotes: “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.” ~Edmund Burke
    My life is a little crazy right now, but I’d love to guest post about my attempt at change. Check out my web site to see what I do:
    May God’s BEST always be your experience!

    1. Love the quote, and your website looks great! I’d love to see what you’d say for this series! Thanks Jackie.

  2. What a great idea! I loved the tomato post and look forward to the series. I’ve never looked at Pinterest because I have enough reasons already to feel lacking. 😉 This will be the Pinopposite. Hurray!

    1. Me too! So excited to learn from people who’ve already made their own small, great discoveries!

  3. EXCITED about this, Addie, what a great idea. My little hippie tree hugging heart is happy about the changes coming and excited to read what other people have done in their little corners.

  4. I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum, trying to do bigger things, such as provide educational needs for children in a third world country, building churches and schools. I don’t say that to brag or to somehow “guilt” people into doing bigger things. But what I see as I’m doing these “big” things is the need for so many smaller ones to help make my efforts successful. When someone asks how they can help me, the very first thing I suggest to them is that they pray — that they pray every day for safety, support, protection from evil, wisdom, health . . . the prayer needs are significant — the praying is essential. My point here is that you do NOT need to give up the comfort of your home in the suburbs in order to make a difference somewhere in the world. I support the idea that there are myriad opportunities to do “small” things that, when added to all of the small things that others are doing, results in something bigger than we can ever imagine. I look forward to reading what your guests have to say, as well as the comments of your readers. God bless.

    1. I love that. Giving people small, manageable ways that they can be part of the work of the people who have dedicated their lives to the BIG THINGS. So great. Thanks Scott.

  5. A friend sent this link to me. She said it reminded her if me and my blog. Wow, does she know me. This is so my heart right now and where it’s been growing. Now I need to get cracking on a post. I may email you later with a question or two. 😉
    Love your approach and humor. You can go crazy trying to change the world from the ‘burbs with little ones pulling at your shirttail. But tomatoes – totally doable!

    1. Love that! And I really like your blog, Amy. Love the tagline: “Caring, Creating and Consuming with Intention.” What a beautiful way to say it. Send me something!

  6. I resonate with your thoughts, Addie. My brain is already racing to identify what practical idea I can consider shaping into a possible 800 word post. Thanks for sparking the fire!

  7. I have two little ones and this is exactly how I feel daily. So much guilt and such an inability to do the big things or make the big changes. I was really frustrated the other day to the point of tears and prayed to God. I often feel like my prayers go unanswered but in this instance I felt in my heart like He said “just love one person, not everyone, just someone” and then add one person as you are able through my grace. I love Mother Theresa and find her inspiring as many people do. She just helped one and then another and when you look at the culmination of her life what she did was huge but I am sure as she saw the needs and did her one thing it felt small and insignificant. To the person who receives the “one small thing” I sure it feels bigger.
    Love your writing and love that it is a “safe” place to be honest and not guilt inducing. Thank-you!

    1. Thanks for sharing Naomi. I completely get this. That’s exactly where I am. Love what you said about how “To the person who receives the “one small thing” I sure it feels bigger.” YES. Thanks so much for the comment.

  8. I’m with you, great idea that we all can pitch in on. And the tired, oh, so tired, different phase of life than you, but still. One advantage of age-learned how to say no finally, and saying No to Pinterest is a gift to me. Will send an email when the chores are finally done for the night.
    It gives me a real lift every time I read your blog, and the thoughtful comments of your readers. I know I do not have the gift of writing like so many of you do, but boy, I sure am grateful for all of you out there. It makes me a little less tired.

    1. Thanks so much Judy. And yes, the Tired. It’s so overwhelming. So glad that this is a place of rest somehow. Love.

  9. This is so relevant and now. we are all tired of living with and tolerating our own self-induced consequences of lack of discipline in one area or another. We dont need another good idea or honorable issue to rally for a greater cause, we need real, simple and uniquely tailored strategies for our day to day, based on who we are, in order to start living a life of intention. This will be a great blog roll, cant wait to tune in

    1. Love this: “we need real, simple and uniquely tailored strategies for our day to day, based on who we are, in order to start living a life of intention.” That’s exactly it. Thanks Melinda.

  10. Addie, you always make me smile. I don’t have toddlers but i am mostly “stuck” at home with my dad who lives with us now after he broke his hip. He is becoming more and more forgetful, less able to process complicated things I can’t really leave him alone to even go out of the house unless he is resting in his bed with his rails up. He says he doesn’t want to stress me out, but forgets that NOT calling me is more stressful than “bothering” me by asking for help. And so while i thought I was retiring to pursue some put-off dreams, I find myself with more questions than answers. I find it takes more emotional energy than one would expect and like you, I get overwhelmed trying to save the world. So, I am not even sure what my One thing would be, but you inspire me to at least think about it. maybe it’s in continuing to find fun creative ways of loving my adopted grandson from Guatemala along with his brothers who live 750 miles from me. thanks again Addie. Love your blog and how you think. .

    1. Thanks so much Carol. I imagine that having your Dad living with you must be completely overwhelming. Although, in my opinion, you are doing ONE BIG THING by taking care of him during new, difficult phase of his life. I’m also totally intrigued about your adopted Guatemalan grandson! I want to hear more!

  11. No writer here, but if you ask me, this idea you came up with trumps homemade sunscreen bars any day–clapping my hands for you girl!!!

    1. Oh good, because homemade sunscreen seems totally overwhelming to me. Holy smokes. 🙂 Thanks Carol.

  12. I think this is a great idea, though I feel like getting your kids dressed and caring for them definitely counts in the changing-the-world-one-sock-at-a-time category. I buy the expensive eggs.

    1. “Changing the World…One Sock at a Time.” I LOVE it. I want this for my new mantra.

  13. This is a great idea! I’ll see if I can come up with a short blogpost for you. I love the idea of doing something small. It reminds me of that starfish poem. You can’t save them all, so it’s tempting to throw up your hands and say it doesn’t really matter. But, “It mattered to that one.”

  14. Awesome idea, Addie!

    There are a lot of Should’s flying around out there (and in my own head).

    I’ll definitely be reading these. Exciting stuff!

  15. Great idea, Addie. And along this line, I’m part of an early review team for an interesting new book called “Activist Faith,” co-written by a friend of mine, Dan King from This book takes 12 BIG issues and encourages us to think of small ways we can contribute to solutions for them all. They have a website, too, with lots of great resources in each of the 12 areas (which include: human trafficking, poverty, homelessness, environmental concerns, disaster relief. . . ) The book goes live on Monday the 15th and can be ordered through Amazon.

    1. Thanks so much for the recommendation. I love this idea and will have to check out the book!

  16. Julie Clawson’s book, “Everyday Justice”, has a some great background information on everything from coffee and chocolate to waste and debt. This will be a great series, Addie, and I am looking forward to your reflections on that first precious, delectable, guilt-free tomato harvested from your backyard.

  17. Addie, whose voice are you listening too? The one thing we can ALL do is pray. We may not be able to do anything else, but we can pray. WE can pray for those who are hurting, those who do the hurting, and for those who are out there on the front lines trying to help solve the problem. It cost nothing. It can be done from home. If can be done in the car. If can be done in the middle of the night or whenever we can.
    It works too. Once there was a strip bar and dance club on the edge of our community. I could not stop it and I was not in a position where I had time, money, or power to change anything. A dear friend who works on the front lines with trafficking told me to pray. So each day as I drove past that place I prayed. I prayed for the people who worked there. I prayed for the customers, some who I knew well. I prayed for the owners. I prayed God would CLOSE IT DOWN. Well it happened. It closed and was sold to someone who made it back into a local bar and eating establishment. The dancers and strippers are gone, along with the prostitution that went on behind the scenes.
    So dear. Please don’t feel guilty. That is not your loving Father. That is the father of lies. Do what you can. Love your family. Pray and support those who are in a position to make a difference, and yes, just do one small thing each day. Recycle, buy local produce, give to places like Nightlights.
    God Bless you my dear sister child.

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