Fire Building for Moms (An Analogy for the New Year)

By January 9, 2013General

In Texas, it’s rare that we can use the fireplace without needing to turn the air conditioning down. Way down.

But i’m happy to report that we have had several cozy fires this winter. A couple days ago, the power even went out. We were like the Ingalls family keeping the fire going just to keep the bone chilling 60 degree Texas weather at bay.

It was touch and go for awhile.

If you know much about fire building, it’s a testy process. You can’t just drop the big logs in, throw a match at them, grab a blankie, a good book and enjoy a roaring fire.


You actually have to w-o-r-k.

Start with itty bitty little good for nothing leaves, and then put on some pokey, messy twigs. Next you add bigger branches, and FINALLY you can add the big logs – once the fire is good and strong.

Seems silly to me…that we need leaves and twigs when their life span is .02 miliseconds and they don’t give off enough heat to warm a hamster. Seems like it would be simpler to grab a big old honkin’ log, throw it in and hold the lighter to it until it catches on fire.

But that’s not how it works. Part of the bark might catch fire, but the heat wouldn’t be strong enough to set the whole log aflame. And every false start would be discouraging. We’d likely give up all together.

There is something abut starting small. Something about watching the leaves immediately catch fire. Then the twigs, the branches and ever so slowly and steadily watching the fire burn warm and strong.

Friends, building our lives is no different than building a fire. I know that every New Year we set massive resolutions and want to throw matches at them and watch them burn, but it just doesn’t work like that. Waking up an hour early to study Leviticus, run 3 miles and plan our day to the minute might last for a moment, but it’s not the way to build a fire.

The Power Isn’t In The Action, It’s In The Commitment

It seems silly to start small, but while the action is small, the commitment isn’t. Action is exciting, but commitment is the thing that makes everything great. A committed marriage is beautiful. A committed athlete is inspiring. A committed mother soothes the barren and weary soul. A committed teacher transforms the lives of children.

Commitment is the Rosa Parks of our personal revolution.

MLK’s passion may have led the Civil Rights movement, but it was Rosa Parks’ small, fleeting action that set it on fire.

So, I dare you to sit in that seat. Come what may. Do whatever it takes to light the flame, however small an action, and keep building. Don’t give up.

  • 5 minutes of Bible study a day
  • 5 squats when you wake up each day
  • Pick just 5 tasks to do each day
  • Write 10 sentences a day

A river cuts through rock, not because of it’s power, but because of it’s persistence. – Jim Watkins

Pick something small, but commit to it every single day. Every single day. And when you miss a day. Commit to starting again. And again. And again.

Do this, and you’ll see something amazing happen. The fire finds it’s own fuel.

Those 5 minutes of Bible Study will grow into a few more minutes of prayer simply because you want to talk to God about what it all means. Those 5 squats will inspire you to think about your heath. You’ll skip that donut for breakfast and choose and omelette instead. Doing those 5 tasks will motivate you to tackle bigger projects.

If your future self is enemy #1, then overwhelming goals are enemy #2.

If you’re serious about igniting your personal revolution this year…dream big, start small and keep building.

Pick something. Start today. Are your New Year’s Resolutions too big, or just right? Do you need some smaller, simpler goals to set things on fire? Click here to comment.

Leave a Comment



  • Avatar Katie says:

    This is just what I needed to read today. Feeling so overwhelmed with so many changes coming up for our little family has led me to be distracted and feeling like the hurdles are too big to jump over. Thank you for the reminder to start small and be committed to what I know to be right!

  • Avatar Becky Daye says:

    Ah, dream big and start small! LOVE that. And isn’t that what God did when he sent Jesus as a baby?
    Needed this post today- thank you!

  • Avatar Victoria says:

    Thank you, thank you so much, this inspiration is just what I need to get and keep me going – to start small. God bless you

  • Avatar Hope Reed says:

    All I can say is thank you. Right in the middle of all this discouragement and frustration your words broke through the mess. Start small. Thank you and bless you.

  • Avatar Melodie says:

    great post – i was just listening to beth moore today who said she is convinced that 9/10 of excellence is just perseverance! starting with small goals is the way to go! just do the next thing…..and keep doing it πŸ™‚

    • Avatar Lisa says:

      One of my favorite authors, Elisabeth Elliott, always used to say, “Just do the next thing.” It has helped me tremendously, especially when my 4 kids were young, and I was feeling overwhelmed by everything. Now that they’re older, I STILL remember that, and it helps me put things in perspective, and stay focused.

  • Avatar Lisa says:

    Thank you, Kat, for giving me “permission” to start small. I didn’t know it until I read your post, but it felt like I needed someone to say, “You don’t have to do it all at once, and you don’t have to master it all at once” and it’s ok to have to start small, and to have to start over again. I feel like a weight’s been lifted – thank you again!!

    • Avatar Mel says:

      Yes, here too. I have three things I really want to do this year, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, everyday. Very freeing.

  • Avatar Myra says:

    “The Power Isn’t In The Action, It’s In The Commitment” Yes, yes, yes, Kat! I’m writing this one down on my goal sheet. I’ve been following the night owl transformation tips, and so need all the encouragement I can find to change my night owl ways. Thank you for this! I will focus on dreaming big and starting small.
    Does it ever get tiring being such an inspiration to so many, Kat? πŸ™‚
    Blessings to you!

  • Avatar Elizabeth says:

    Jamie’s month of goals helped me. So instead of saying I need to be more encouraging, cook more variety, keep an exercise log, bible study etc, I spaced them out each month, so instead of feeling bad this month I am making the same old stuff for dinner again I know that it will be addressed another month, this could get tricky about my ‘future self’ but I am focusing on a small goal for this month too!

  • Avatar Faith says:

    Oh, what great words of wisdom! My two resolutions this year are probably the two things I hate the most: getting up early and meal planning! This makes it so much easier to swallow! I actually started this week just getting up 5 minutes earlier each day….up to a whole 15 minutes! I’m amazed at how much just those 15 minutes have helped my mornings! Kat, are you sure your not a mind reader? πŸ™‚ You always seem to post just what I need to hear! Thanks you for your inspiration!

    • Avatar Paige says:

      Faith, you can take babysteps in menu planning, too.
      Here’s what finally worked for me
      1. I wrote a list of all my normal dinners. I can easily add meals to this if we find a new favorite.
      2. On a separate piece of paper, I jote Mon meal#1, Tues meal#2, W meal#3…
      I rotate thru my Meal List in the order it’s written. I only do three days at a time. If life happens, I can easily re-write my 3 days instead of re-doing a huge schedule.
      Works for me.

  • Avatar Sarah says:

    Kat, you said something along these lines last year, at the start of the January 2012 challenge, that I wrote down and have looked at on my desk since. “Start small. Be faithful. Rest in His grace.” Wow, what an impact that one small thing had on my life. I started waking earlier than my children to meet with God and WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!! God is faithful and I am grateful! Thanks so much for sharing this important step.

  • Avatar Sara R says:

    Oh, so many things to comment. First off, I actually giggled out loud about the bone chilling TX weather. The idea of a move to TX for us has been on the table for a few years. The idea always looks better in the winter when we don’t even want to open the door and we say, “Let’s move to Texas!”. Then in the summer we say, “Maybe here’s no so bad.” since one week of 100deg weather is about all we can take.
    Now on to the meat, or logs as it were. Reading this I realized that although I’ve been thinking I started out small I need to go smaller. One craft a week instead of one a day or small work out at home instead of getting to the gym, etc. Good encouragement, thanks!

  • Avatar Paige says:

    It’s 40Β° and feels like spring here. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the laugh.
    I have about 4 fires that I would like to see burning brightly in my life this year. But I can only start one at a time. It feels like I’m getting no where fast, but I know slow and steady is faster in the long run. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Avatar Becky says:

    I. Love. This. Post.

    I am printing it and keeping the copy in my journal so I can read it when I’m feeling overwhelmed and remind myself that by doing a little bit every day a lot can be accomplished. πŸ™‚

  • Avatar Anna says:

    I just wrote a blog post the touched on this-just getting up and doing over and over again. This whole post is so, so true. Love it, sharing it.

  • This post ties in wonderfully with our theme this month of Making Your House a Home. It is all about the baby steps, they eventually become big changes and accomplishments. Thank you for encouraging us, sharing with our readers.

  • Avatar Jen S says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post! LOVE the quotes in it! Soooo needed it! God bless you as you minister to so many!

  • […] to change but a year seems like so long, or the list of things you want change seems never ending. Fire Building for Moms is an article that encourages the small starts, the little changes and about the giant fires of […]

  • Avatar Sam Deatherage says:

    Great stuff to read! My family is planning on going through a difficult time in a few months, but we know that God-led persistance will see us through. I know we’re ready!