Little Things Are Big Things


Though I’m not afraid to die, I am afraid to write it down, because it sounds like the beginning of a Louie Giglio or Francis Chan sermon. You know how it begins: “The day before the freak accident with the sugar beet truck, avid runner Keri Wellman said she wasn’t afraid to die.”

I don’t WANT to die, but if it does happen (as it eventually will when I’m 119 and have finished a marathon with my great-great-grandchildren) I’m not afraid, because I am absolutely certain of where I’m going; and no offense, but it’s a lot better than anything I can find down here.

You may say, “What about your kids? Your husband? Your fluffy white dog? Don’t they need you?” Well, dear reader, my husband and kids need only God. As for my dog…he’ll fall in love with the first person who feeds him bacon.

I am not trying to diminish the tragedy of death. I’ve had people who are dear to me die, and it is not easy for those of us left behind to cope. There are empty spaces in our lives, where our closest friends used to be–it’s not a simple thing to handle. And yet, death should be something we contemplate from time to time. Not in a morbid, melancholy sort of way, but in a way that motivates us to really LIVE while we have the chance, to appreciate every single thing we’ve been given and to strive to live a life pleasing to God.

When I first embarked on this adventure called ‘parenting,’ I learned a key concept: To children, the little things ARE the big things. So, when your kid wants you to take a picture of the Khazneh he made from a hundred small planks of wood, it is important not to roll your eyes, or to murmur “Uh-huh” while you write your blog.


To him, this is a big thing, and so it should be to me as well. Don’t get me wrong, the kids do NOT run this household, there ARE times they have to wait before I can give them my full attention, but as a parent, I try to place value on the things they value, and I try to steer them towards things that have eternal value. It is not about the block building, it is about the mutual respect that is built by simply taking a picture of it.

The little things have enormous worth. 

Something has changed in my life lately though. Things that used to be ‘big’ seem kind of small, and small things seem kind of big.

Little things that should seem big:

My Health

I’ve had these weird medical anomalies happening, the swelling in my joints, a strange lump on my neck, and so I went in to the clinic to have them do things I can’t do myself, namely, draw blood and take pictures of the inside of my body.

The really strange thing for me (a person who acquires rare diseases by merely reading WebMd symptom checker) is that I’m not worried. Not one little bit.

I’m more concerned about helping Libby with her long division than I am any worst case health scenarios.


My husband (the most amazing man ever), is taking us on a trip this winter–to the Middle East. 

I realize that rockets are being tossed around like basketballs over there right now, but strangely, I’m not apprehensive. We will travel smart and use good judgement (and enjoy the warm weather and sunshine), but I’m not fretting over the worst case scenarios. After all, a LOT of people, including women and children, go about their daily lives in these places.

As I see it, my children are in greater danger being in the car on the B roads of Germany than they are on camels in the Wadi Musa. I’m excited for them and for us as a family to be in a culture entirely different than the supposedly ‘safe’ one in which we currently find ourselves.

*Note: We are not ignorant, nor would we make unwise choices. You might say, “Isn’t visiting the Middle East an unwise choice?” No more than driving to piano lessons or to my kids’ sports class. Trust me, we’ve seen people die, right in front of us, on that main road to town–we know the risks. Staying at home does not make you immune to danger!

Big things that should seem little:

Crossfitin German!

I’ve decided to incorporate CrossFit into my marathon training. Not only will it require me to bravely enter a CrossFit box alone, but it also will require me to use my pre-school level German. Intimidating, yes! This is a big thing for me, as I am not one to boldly go where no wobbly-tricepted woman has gone before.

My goal is to run 2 marathons in 2013, possibly 3 (if everything works out).


I found kale last week, and I can hardly explain how excited I was. Sure, I can’t seem to locate any kale now, but last week I had kale juice, made kale stew, and threw kale into everything I could. The kids loved it! It was a BIG thing!


Because I’ve been getting up to write at 5am every day, I’ve been drinking an entire pot before anyone is awake. I decided to cut back by drinking hot tea instead. Shocker, I know, but this is a BIG deal to me.


This morning, I finished a 50,000 word novel, thereby completing the NaNoWriMo challenge. The novel isn’t completely finished yet, but I have an excellent rough draft. While this is a ‘little’ thing, it is huge to me. I think this will be my first fiction published.

On that note, my co-author, Jenn Miller, and I are putting the final touches on a print version of our book, “Bottles to Backpacks: The Gypsy Mama’s Guide to REAL Travel with Kids,” and though it is a self published deal, it came out very professionally and well done. It should be available on Lulu by the end of next week.

These are big things in my life–things that seem small to most people but mean a lot to me, like a favorite coffee mug that fits perfectly in my hands. (Am I the only one who buys a coffee mug based purely on its shape?)

I digress. Or do I?

What are the big things in your life that may seem little to others? Or are there little things in your life that most people think are big things? I’m curious to know. 


One response »

  1. Keri, I love all of your articles, I laugh, I cry and I pretend that I am in your running shoes finally crossing the finish line. This article is making me think..not that I don’t usually think…but think about the reality of death. I also am not afraid of death but dying can come in many different “flavors” so I am trying to take care of myself and hope that I have my mom’s genes.

    I am making a mental list of the small things that are really big things in my life. Ghanim makes coffee for me every morning while I make the bed. We sit, drink coffee and talk about whatever thoughts comes up. No TV, just the two of us, cups of coffee and talking and truly listening to each other. Falling in love again! Priceless time!

    As the boxes in my closet and under the beds can tell you, my children were and are the big deals in my life. I have their first drawings, ribbons won in races and first attempts at writing stories in those boxes.

    Watching the sun lowering itself below the horizon is another thing that I love. It is sad and sweet at the same time. I will have to write a paragraph or two about it someday and send it to you. It is mainly about my farther and childhood memories.

    Thank you for this posting, Keri. Now I am off to think about the big and small things in my life.

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