Friday, October 11, 2013

Small Things with Great Love: A Book Review and a Giveaway!

Few books have impacted me the way Small Things with Great Love: Adventures in Loving Your Neighbor has. It's like Margot Starbuck took up residence in my head when she wrote it.

Not to steal any thunder from the book, but since you could read this section in the look-inside feature with Amazon, I feel ok sharing this paragraph with you:
Too often, I have failed to engage with a world in need. I've done it quite sincerely, especially when I've cloaked someone like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Mother Teresa as a red-caped, neighbor-loving super hero. This convenient  posturing inoculates me against actually doing anything...This way I'm able to feel warm and fuzzy inside, admiring my heroes without the complication of actually joining them....
She goes on to share the quote from Mother Teresa that the book takes its name from: "We cannot do great things, only small things with great love."

"Small things happen when I learn the name of my daughter's bus driver. Small things happen when I listen to the dreams of a woman who lives in a group home on my block. Small things happen when I risk crossing a language barrier even though I look really stupid doing it. Small things, of course, put me back on the hook."

Starbuck teaches that it really is the small things that make the difference. I know I've been burdened by that "What does it matter anyway?" feeling, and maybe you have too. She has plenty of real life examples of things you can do in loving your neighbors, whoever and wherever they might be.

I've read a fair amount of books on service and reaching out, but this reads like an adventurous flow chart. She addresses whatever stage of life you are in and you skip through the chapters accordingly, unless of course you are captivated and just want to read every word. Starbuck covers moms with kids of all ages, young people to middle aged to old, suburbanite, city slicker, or rural dweller, employed outside the home or not, single, married, introvert, extrovert, man, woman...she leaves no group unturned.

And at the same time as she is removing your barriers to getting in the serving game, she is acknowledging the limitations you  might face and helping you to be ok with that. When I shared this book with my Mom Time audience last year, we talked about the fact that when you have kids under three you already are taking care of the least of these and to cut yourself some slack.

A key part of Margot Starbuck's message is the global stewardship we all share; she offers ways to make a difference with the way we spend our money and provides link to fair trade websites. She is an advocate of global justice and solidarity with the less fortunate.

Starbuck's sense of humor is what kept me turning the pages. She delivers what could be a dry preachy message with hilarious stories and self-deprecating wit. She disarms the reader by acknowledging that she struggles with this stuff too. This book is not written from a pulpit, but from the trenches.

Small Things with Great Love: Adventures in Loving Your Neighbor is one of those books I can't keep on my shelf because I keep giving my copies away. Lucky for you, though, Margot has offered to send an autographed copy to one of you!

Here's what you need to do:
Share the link to this post on your Facebook page and then leave me a comment telling me you did it. If you are not on FB but have a blog, share the link on your page and leave me a comment on my blog telling me you did it. I would also love to hear how you want to reach the world; where do your passions lie?

To be fair to everyone's crazy schedules, I won't draw a winner until Monday evening. I will post the winner's name at the beginning of Tuesday's post.

*Bonus thought: The book has a six week companion study in the back. If anyone is interested in doing something like that, let me know.


  1. I love reading your blog each day Debbie. I did as you asked...posted it to my f/b page and now letting you know.
    The 6 week study sounds interesting too!

  2. I shared on Facebook. I feel that one way to reach the world is to have a pilgrim heart and spirit. We first have remove the excess baggage from our lives, much like a pilgrim does to his backpack. Then we will be free to serve others.

    1. Ahhh..the baggage we carry. That's a great thought, Ginny. Thanks for checking in and sharing it with me!