Drops of Awesome

This 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.


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.


The Drops of Awesome: You’re-More-Awesome-Than-You-Think Journal is now available from Amazon. Collect your drops!



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778 Responses to Drops of Awesome

  1. Lindsay Allred says:

    I, too, am recovering from surgery and have been feeling like I’m not recovering fast enough and thinking, “Maybe it’s my fault?” I loved reading this blog and remembering that we can only put forth our best effort and then Christ makes up for the rest. And we all have “awesome” moments!

  2. Melissa says:

    I read this days ago, but it keeps popping up in my mind. Reminding me to give myself a break. Thank you for writing this!!

  3. Debbie Mason says:

    The news has been talking about a study done about LDS women, and the problem of “toxic perfection”. The concept that we have to do everything right, all the time. Impossible! Your post says it all. Move one. Do better each time. And if you slide a bit, get up and keep going! Our Savior is always there to supply what we cannot, and our Heavenly Father loves us, NO MATTER WHAT!

  4. Lynda Davis says:

    Thanks, I needed to read this.

  5. kacey hansen says:

    wow i felt really good when I read that.

  6. Wendy says:

    Thanks. I followed a link from 71toes blog. I’m crying right now. My house is a mess, I have four kids five and under, I homeschool, I struggle so hard just to keep up, and I feel like a failure. I felt like a failure. But I have drops of awesome too. Thank you so much. I can’t tell you enough, and I don’t even know you!

  7. Nonnie King says:

    Thank You.

  8. Liz Jones says:

    Thank You for this special post! I needed to feel my Savior’s love….and know that I don’t have to be perfect to be loved by my Father in Heaven. I will carry these thoughts with me throughout a very challenging time in my life. God Bless! Liz

  9. Emily Ellsworth says:

    I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this. It has been life changing. Why are we our worst bullies? This idea has given me permission to forgive myself of my daily imperfections and live in the moment. I celebrate those small little victories instead of punish myself for all that needs to be done that I am not doing. Thank you! I will read this often!

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  11. Leah says:

    You’re Awesome!


  12. Pingback: Little drops | Awenspire

  13. Sue says:

    Its already been said; Thank You. Thank you for writing this. Thank you for the reminder that my Heavenly Father Loves me. As Is. And That My Savior will do the rest. Thank You for putting into words exactly what I needed to hear. Exactly when i needed it.

  14. Missy says:

    One word: AWESOME! Thank you for sharing this, I really needed something like this today.

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  16. Roxanne Nelson says:

    May I use this for my R.S. lesson?

  17. Liz Granados says:

    Beautiful! Thank you. You should be a speaker at BYU’s womens conference, so many women could benefit from your message! You deserve a big fat drop of awesome for posting this. I share this with all my mommy friends!

  18. Liz says:

    Heard this referred to in a talk on Sunday, told my daughter about it and she searched and found your blog. Just finished reading your whole post. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  19. Paula says:

    I work in an at risk youth facility for young girls. This is wonderfully written and so true. I will be using your words for a lesson with them as well sometime soon. Thank you so much for sharing this. (I think you should add a drop of awesome for all those that this message helps. So for this comment alone, myself, staff and girls you can add another 28 drops)

  20. Martha says:

    What a blessing this post is for all who read it. It certainly lifted my spirits and helped me to see the bigger picture. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

  21. Even Great-Great Grandmothers (like Me) an take this to heart. Sometimes when I notice just how long it takes to do simple things that only took a moment, not so long ago,
    I have to stop and reflect . I have shared the Drops of Awesome from many overflowing bowls ,and added my drops to theirs. Have you seen the rainbows in single drops of dew?
    I look for rainbows.
    Thank you for sharing.

  22. Heather Lindsey says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post. We all need to be reminded from time to time that the small things count. This will help not only me, but also my 12 year old daughter who sometimes forgets just how special she really, truly is. Thank you!

  23. Keith Walker says:

    Here is my response to your “Drops of Awesome” blog post. I would love to hear your thoughts.

    • Keith,
      I read your post and I have to say, I am always encouraged when I meet other people of Faith, believing in Jesus Christ and giving their lives to following His word. Thank you for sharing such a thoughtful response to my post. I am Mormon and I am a blogger but don’t necessarily identify myself as a “Mormon Blogger” because my posts are so rarely aimed at specific doctrine. The goal of my blog is to find common ground in the basic experience of motherhood and life, to make people laugh and offer encouragement.

      This post was a departure for me and I was shocked by how it resonated with people from all walks of life, but particularly LDS women. The majority of my blog audience has not been LDS up to this point. I think that may have shifted now, though. It’s gone LDS viral. The post is not doctrinally perfect, nor was it meant to be an intense doctrinal exploration. My lesson at church went into more depth about the repentance process, which I do believe in, although I don’t interpret it the same way you do. But that’s okay.

      We’re both doing our best with the knowledge we have and I wish you the best in your efforts to seek truth and share it with others. I know you very much disagree with a lot of what I believe but I appreciate your respectful tone, despite our differences.

  24. Ashley says:

    Thank you for making this post a friend shared it with me and it is making a huge difference in my life. I love pratical solutions that work and are easy to incorporate.

  25. A M Hafen says:

    I’m in my 70’s with grown children and grandchildren. As I look back on my life, I realize how many awesome things I did. But, I didn’t acknowledge it at the time. I was too worried whether it was “good enough”. It’s such a shame to not see our daily efforts. We’re human! We have good and bad days. We have limitations (discouragement, sickness, a bad day, hurt feelings, disappointments or just tired!)…. In the pre-existance we accepted the limitations of mortality but most have forgotten. As I begin my day with prayer, I have learned to acknowledge my limitations, and I ask the Lord to gently guide me to achieve something. Little achievements added together make big achievements. For success begets success (those awesome drops of trying, really do count). The Lord acknowledges our every moment of “trying”…

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