Drops of Awesome

drops-of-awesome-010This post has been in my heart and on my mind for over a year now. I’ve talked about it. I’ve prayed about it. I’ve taught about it. I was waiting for the right time to post about it and now feels like that time. It’s a post about a tiny little moment that completely changed the way I see myself and others. As I think about it and act on what I learned, I find that I am changed in significant ways every single day.

It was a sunny school morning and I was walking Magoo to the bus stop. I don’t often walk him to the school bus. He’s in second grade and pretty independent and I’m usually busy getting myself and his sisters ready. I’m semi-nocturnal and I sleep later than I should most mornings.

When it’s time for school, he says goodbye and heads up the hill to the bus.

As we got half way to the bus, Magoo reached out and grabbed my hand in an uninhibited way that I knew wouldn’t happen many more times. He’s seven now but growing and how many 12-year-old boys do you see still swinging hands happily with their mommies?

I squeezed his hand, felt the rare Seattle sun on my face, and told him I loved him. I was nearly perfectly happy.

Nearly.

Just at that moment, the thought came into my mind, That’s awesome that you’re walking him to the bus stop and putting on this “mother of the year” act today. What about yesterday and the day before that? You hardly ever walk him to the bus. He’s probably holding your hand because he’s so desperate for the love and attention you haven’t been showing him.

My bubble had burst. I am a crap mom, I thought, as I looked down into his smiling face.

Then another thought came. Kathryn. What is wrong with you? You are being an awesome mom in this moment. Your child is happy. You are loving him and caring for him. He’s well fed and dressed. You’re walking to the bus stop in the early morning and you’re already wearing a bra for heck’s sake. Do not rob yourself of this moment’s joy because of what you failed to do yesterday or what you fear you might not do tomorrow.

This started me thinking of all the times I do something good while beating myself up for all the times I haven’t been perfect.

You’re worshiping in the temple? Woopty freakin do! How long has it been since you came here last? When are you likely to come again? You’re not good at this. This is a fluke.

Wow. So you cleaned the kitchen today. Want a cookie? That dirty rag has been on the counter for a week and those dishes you so righteously cleaned are from breakfast three days ago. You are embarrassing.

That was really nice of you to offer to watch your friend’s kids while she had surgery. Remember last week when you knew your neighbor was suffering from depression and you drove right by with a wave because you did not want to get sucked into the drama? You don’t really care about people. Not all the time.

How destructive are these kinds of thoughts?

As I said goodbye to Magoo and started to walk back home, my mind started to shift.

Drops of Awesome! I thought. Every time you do something good, something kind, something productive, it’s a drop in your Bucket of Awesome. You don’t lose drops for every misstep. You can only build. You can only fill.

I walked Magoo to the bus. Drop of Awesome!

I fed him fruit with breakfast. Drop of Awesome!

I told him I loved him. Drop of Awesome!

I wore a bra and brushed my teeth before schlepping it up that hill. Two Fat Drops of Awesome!

All day long I chanted these words in my head. I picked up that tootsie roll wrapper off the front porch instead of stepping over it for the eleventy hundredth time. Drop of Awesome! I unloaded one dish from the dishwasher when I walked through the kitchen on my way to the bathroom. Drop of Awesome! I texted my sad neighbor to say I was thinking about her. Drop of Awesome! I had a critical thought about one of my kids and I brushed it away and replaced it with love. Drop of Awesome!

When I started thinking about my life in terms of adding these little Drops of Awesome for every tiny act of good, I found that I was doing more and more of them because it’s a lot more fun to do good when you’re rewarded with joy, rather than being guilted about every failure in your past.

By the end of the day, I had realized something important. If I was spending time with my kids, really listening to them with attention in the moment, then I was a good listener, regardless of the 50 other times I’d brushed them off or multi-tasked while they were talking over the past week. If I was engaged in sincere prayer with my Heavenly Father, really communing with him and seeking his will, then I was a person who engages in sincere prayer, regardless of how my prayers were (or weren’t) yesterday and the day before that and the day before that.

As I added up these Drops of Awesome, I found that in those moments I actually became the person I had always wanted to be.

Have you ever said any of these things: “Well, I guess I don’t work out anymore,” because you missed one workout? Or, “I always fight with my brother. Our relationship is broken.” What about, “I’m kind of a nag to my spouse.” Or “I gossip and I always end up hurting people I love.” “I can’t stop spending money. We will never get out of debt.” “My house is always a disaster.”

These things are lies, depending on the next decision you make, the next Drop of Awesome you put in your bucket. You may have done these things or have a hard time with them but they don’t define you and you can change this very instant. You may not think you can change permanently but you can change the next choice you make. And as you change that one next tiny choice, you may think, I got this one Drop of Awesome but I may never be able to get another one again.

And that’s okay.

You made the right choice once. And in that moment you were the person you want to be and that is a triumph. For one night, you were a person who went to bed early. One morning you woke up and the first words out of your mouth were positive so you were a morning person in that moment. Bam! Drop of Awesome.

You do not need to wait three months to be who you want to be. Pick up ten things right now and say, “Drops of Awesome! I am someone who takes care of my house. That is who I am. I have proof.”

In the end, it’s really about allowing yourself to feel joy and allowing yourself to be proud of the small victories of life. This builds momentum and you want more drops in your bucket and when you don’t get as many, you pick yourself up and say, “What can I do next?”

Now, there are a whole lot of religious implications to this because, as a Christian, I believe that you are not the only one adding these Drops of Awesome to your bucket. Christ commanded us to be perfect, but through His atonement, He is with us every step of the way.

As an object lesson when I was teaching this to the teenage girls at church, I gave them each a small dropper and I put a 2-quart bowl on the table. I told them that throughout the lesson they would get the chance to put drops in the bucket for every Drop of Awesome they could think of that they’d done. I promised them that we would fill the bowl to overflowing by the end of the lesson.

With about 5 minutes to go, we had barely begun to fill the bowl and the girls were looking around at each other nervously. The promised overflow did not look likely. Were they not awesome enough?

At that point, I pulled out a large pitcher labeled ATONEMENT and poured water into the glass bowl until it was spilling out all over the table and the towel the bowl was resting on. The class went silent.

When we are in a relationship with Christ, striving as God’s sons and daughters to do His will, He pours more into our buckets than we can ever hope to imagine. He can fill us to overflowing with peace, with joy, with perfection, with Awesome. And then what do we do if our bucket is overflowing like that? Where does the Awesome go then?

I pulled out an identical bowl, twice the size of the original. Our capacity for joy and light increases. And we just keep working, one tiny drop at a time. And we don’t compare today’s drops to yesterday’s or tomorrow’s. And we live and we love and we repent when we do wrong and we allow ourselves to be glorious, beautiful, and dare I say perfect in Christ, children of God.

I believe in a God who loves us and roots for us and cheers for every Drop of Awesome we can manage. Our victories are His victories and He wants us to feel joy. Not later, when we no longer make mistakes, but right now.

I’m gonna close this uber long post out with a scripture from the Book of Mormon. I know many of you do not share my faith but I think you’ll find truth in these words:

“Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” (Alma 37:6)

Small and simple. Tiny drops. Go forth. Be Awesome.

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778 Responses to Drops of Awesome

  1. Beautiful post and exactly what every woman needs to hear! Satan will always make our mistakes and shortcomings so obvious to us that sometimes it’s difficult to see past them and remember all the good that we can do. Its this tactic that he uses to make us doubt ourselves, and forget about the awesome power of the Atonement: One drop at a time to perfection. Thank you for this!

  2. Shalece Fiack says:

    My amazing sister shared this with my amazing mom who shared it with me over the phone yesterday. I wept as she read it. I had stayed home from church and had failed to get a sub for our very busy nursery. I was moping around the house all day feeling guilty that I was a failure at my calling. After hearing this post, I realized that I had missed putting drops in my bucket of “awesome” for staying home and snuggling with my sweet 3-year-old who is sick. Silly. Why do we do this to ourselves? WE ARE AWESOME!!!!
    It also made me realize that sometimes I look at other people’s buckets and think, “Wow. That bucket is pretty dry…”. I don’t see every drop of awesome that others put in their buckets. I need to focus on the good! I need to worry more about filling my own bucket! :)

  3. Mar says:

    I enjoyed reading this… I tend to feel guilty much of the time about my shortcomings. All 4 of my children are raised. After reading this, I’m feeling guilty because I don’t remember a single time I walked any of my kids to the bus stop. I should have done it when I had the chance. : ( I probably thought I was “too busy”.

  4. CCGo says:

    Beautiful! This made my day. :)

  5. Dawn says:

    What an awesome visual lesson to your young women! I hope you don’t mind if I use it someday in a calling that I have.

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  8. Karie says:

    I love this! I was feeling all alone today, but had two calls from friends who put a drop in my bucket, and still kept on doing good things, instead of moping….so I put some more drops in my life bucket. I especially love your Atonement example. I am definitely going to share that! And to the mom in an earlier post who stayed home with her little one, instead of doing her Nursery calling; there are lots of ladies who are glad to help out; we understand more than you know! I’m so glad you stayed home with your sick child….being the Nursery leader, I love it when mom’s love their little one’s first! You are ALL a-okay, just for being mom’s!!!!

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  11. Jenn says:

    This resonated so deeply with me. I got Bell’s Palsy 5 months ago and it paralyzed half my face. I have been hounded by numerous negative voices so my motivation mantra has been “small victories!” Not only did this article come as a connecting piece to all of my thoughts but you included the phrase “small victories.” Thank you for following the Spirit and posting this honest article. I have passed it along. God bless you!

  12. Libby says:

    How did you know? Amazing! Thank you for showing me that even though I fall so short, I can be amazing, awesome, perfect in that single moment & feel @ peace & have joy.

    But really, how did you know so specifically my inner monologue… “what [I] failed to do yesterday or what [I] fear [I] might not do tomorrow”. I thought that was just me. Everyone else seems to have it together. I thought there must be something wrong with me. Why don’t we as women talk about these things? Why do we put on the ““mother of the year” act”? Why do we so often feel we will be criticized, judged, or shunned by our own friends if we appear less than? So thank you for sharing something so personal. I know it has helped me, I hope to share your words & help others. THANK YOU!

  13. The Venerable Yogi Konchog Jimpa Lama says:

    Thank you very much for sharing this drop of perfect awesomeness. This is a precious example of how we should all approach our religions in order to have more loving kindness and compassion for ourselves and others. I will be passing this on many times. Thank you for sharing your Drops of Awesome with the world.
    Many Blessings and Prayers,
    Jimpa Lama

  14. Shelley says:

    Thank you for your post! This is what I needed to hear today:)

  15. Regina says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. You have lifted so many with this inspired message, including myself. I plan on sharing this at our next Relief Society meeting and wanted to see if that was okay and ask if you have a printable copy of this that I could give out.

  16. Jana says:

    Loved this and definitely needed to hear it. I am excited to share this with my young women who need to learn right now that they are awesome so they don’t grow up counting their failures instead of their triumphs.
    I’m the mom who every night kneels down to pray feeling like I failed again to overcome my weaknesses and be a better mom. I do a lot of things right but the things I continually struggle with haunt me and I feel like I’ll never overcome them. I just need to take it a moment at a time. Not even a day at a time – a moment. Then maybe I will see progress instead of just grouping the whole day together as a failure. I’m sure I’ll need to read this again and again to remind me to count the awesome. Thanks for sharing!!

  17. Michele Eliason says:

    This was completely awesome! Thank you so much for sharing your stories and thoughts! :)

  18. alba luna says:

    I love it!!!

  19. Valarie says:

    AMAZING object lesson! I absolutely LOVE it!

  20. Callie says:

    My sister just shared this with me today….. I must give my gratitude to you. Thank you for acting on your thoughts and sharing them for me to grow from!!!! You were truly inspired by our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ. Thank you for the reminder of how awesome we all are. My inner dialogue is like 80% negative and reading this post completely lifted my spirit, thank you again :)

  21. Georgia says:

    Wonderful. Thank you so, so much.

  22. Nancy McNeal says:

    What a lift to my soul! Now I want to share this with everyone! Thank you!

  23. Lacey Abbott says:

    So thankful for this post:) Thank you!!

  24. Melissa says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. =) This post was inspired.

  25. Amy King says:

    I loved this. I just wanted you to know that I am putting a link to this post on my blog. Thanks!

  26. Sil says:

    This was very touching! I suppose we all think of ourselves as failures. Thank you for pointing out the things that we do each day to fill our buckets! We do more than we think we do. It’s amazing to think that the Savior is there for us to help us when we come up short! If we could see how much He loves us and if we loved ourselves even the tiniest bit we would be better people! Let’s seize the day and do good as often as possible, and on the days we don’t do as well then remember we are human and that we have the next moment, the next hour, the next day….to be awesome!!

  27. Shari says:

    This is beautiful. I can see why it is already being passed around on the internet. I broke down in tears at the part where you filled the girl’s bowl of water with water from the atonement. How true this is and how all too often do we forget how that great gift really works in our lives. I will be sharing your post with many friends. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  28. Rachel says:

    Thank you for this. I really needed this today. I’ve felt like a complete failure as a wife and a mother lately and have been really down. My kids have been sick and I don’t think I had changed out of my pjs for three days. My back hurts and I haven’t been able to do the chores like I normally do. Thus, my house is a disaster. I’ve been up with a sick baby the past 3 nights and I’m so sleep deprived. Then to top it all off, my husband came home from work yesterday and said he had been laid off. Just when I thought I couldn’t sink any lower… I really tried to be positive with him and encourage him and give him faith. But, I wasn’t fooling anyone. I was just even deeper in my discouragement. I was feeling so sorry for myself and feeling like a complete failure when I read your post. Thank you thank you thank you for posting this! I feel like I can now face the day! Now I’m going to go pick up 10 things and add 10 drops of awesomeness! And I’m going to be nice and not a crouch to my poor sick kids. And I’m going to be bright and cheerful and positive for my husband, because he deserves that at this hard time! Thanks again!

  29. Jennifer says:

    This is simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing your testimony. You have helped me today.

  30. CJ Jackson says:

    This is so well written, candid and inspirational! Thank you for sharing it with “US”. We are so hard on ourselves when we are really doing awesome things everyday! I have shared with others and all have been touched!
    Wishing you lakes and flowing rivers of drops of awesome!
    CJ

  31. CJ Jackson says:

    Should be submitted to LDS magazines if you haven’t already!

  32. Tammy says:

    this resonated so much in my heart today, just last night my sister and I were talking about how we felt so much failure and disappointment with ourselves. Suffering with depression and anxiety suck so much life and hope from you and you feel so hopeless and useless a lot of the time. So many days I feel like you mentioned in the post. I just had to post and say thank you for sharing this, for giving me a tiny bit of hope that I am not worthless. You have given a gift to any that read this and with tears in my eyes I shared it on my facebook, and specifically shared with my sister. Thank you for listening to the prompting of the spirit to share this and for brightening my day!

  33. Marne' says:

    Thank you so much for this beautiful entry. My older sister sent it to me and it made my day or week! I am better than I ever dare to think I am. Your words are powerful and the Atonement is easier to understand now.

  34. Heidi Hilton says:

    Wonderful post. Thanks for the beautiful words of encouragement.

  35. Carissa says:

    I don’t usually comment on strangers’ blogs, but a friend of mine mentioned this post, and I’m so glad I read it! This is such an amazing and true thought, and I cried when I read the part about Christ filling our bowl the rest of the way and more. I hope I can share this with my young women sometime–thank you for sharing such an inspiring message.

  36. Ashley Nelson says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I have been beating myself up over not going to church all the time, forgetting my prayers, not reading my scriptures that often, not keeping up with the house… The list goes on.
    I can’t even find the words to use that would properly express my gratitude. Thank you. You have answered many of my prayers with this post.

  37. Kathryn says:

    My sister sent me this. I think it’s fantastic! In fact, I copied and pasted the whole thing, with proper documentation, of course, in my journal. I want to be able to always remember your message. You have a fun way with words. I’m sure your YW adore you!

  38. Debbie says:

    Thank you!! You are truly inspired to share your thoughts on this subject. Sometimes I feel like I am the only mother that feels like this. It is so comforting to know that there are many out there that share the same feelings I do. I constantly feel like I am not a good enough mother, wife, or homemaker. I rarely allow myself to see the small simple things I might do well. I love the idea of drops of awesome. I don’t have to be good at everything all of the time, to still consider myself good at my job. I only have to be trying. Thank you so much for you testimony of the Saviors atonement. It was beautiful to read. I will continue to try to add drops to my bucket everyday, and focus on those drops!!

  39. Maxynne Marr says:

    Amen! Thank you for the blessing of this beautiful lesson!

  40. Jen says:

    This is so awesome! Thank you so much for sharing. I need to read this every day.

  41. all8garden says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Recently I have discovered how I had begun believing the lie, so much so, that it was my reality. Thank you. I posted a link to this post, on my blog and shared it on facebook. Gotta get the word out there. There’s also a link to another blog with a short video that I think really adds to your message here.

    Now off to add to my awesomeness and neglect the negative inner diatribe. Thanks again. Oh and as a Primary Pres., thank you for loving those little sunbeams. Children learn how to love and trust our Savior, Jesus Christ, by the love and example you and your husband give. You are one of his most visible examples in their young lives. Love conquers all. Thanks again, L……

  42. Danielle says:

    I blogged a poem and linked it to this post of yours. I think from somewhere within me it was inspired by this post, so I thought I would share it with you. It’s weird, but it’s what came out of me anyway. Thanks for being an inspiration.

  43. Melanie says:

    I just read this post again. I’ve been back here a time or two and shared it again and again. Can’t get enough. Love it. I needed this today.

  44. Kristine says:

    Thank you so much! I think we all hold ourselves to such a high standard that we constantly berate ourselves for the things we are not doing. I know that I consistently go to bed each night promising myself that I will “do better tomorrow”. I hope you are ok if I do a lesson for my activity day girls. Some have self-esteem issues and I want them to find their “awesomeness” everyday. Thanks again for the reminder that we are only perfect through Christ’s atonement.

  45. Denise says:

    I love this, but before I repost it, I keep wondering:

    Why is your 12 year old in second grade?

    Wondering which half of the facts is the typo.

  46. Karen says:

    Just keep swimming….. just keep swimming….:)

  47. Suelynn says:

    My step-mom just sent me this article and it was wonderful! This article for me reaffirmed all I’ve realized and learned in the past couple years. There is great peace when this lesson of the attonement is learned whether it has to do with our imperfections as mothers or as every day human beings. I have moments of “not awesome” when I fall back into old habits, but when I stop…breathe…and remind myself of all the truths I’ve realized and internalized I am amazed at how quickly that peace comes back and perspective and priorities fall right back into alignment. It’s definitely a journey and though it can be a narrow path, it’s straight in front of us if we just keep putting one foot in front of the other ;) Thank you for sharing your wonderful lesson!

  48. Denise says:

    oooooooOOOOOOOooooooooo, ok. I see you altered it a bit. I get it now. Sorry, I’m a doof, I wasn’t getting it before. :) Great post! Life altering!

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