When I was younger I knew that I knew that I knew that one day…

…I was going to change the world.

I didn’t have specific change-the-world plans.

No direct line on world peace.

No hidden genome discovery that would cure the world of cancer.

No secret formula to save the planet from an asteroid.

I just wanted to make a difference.

I wanted to make this wonderful, amazing, incredible journey that we are all on a little brighter along the way.

And then?

Life happened and I got busy and got married and had four kids and those world-changing dreams seemed lost in the crowd.

This past week I spent running between cheerleading camp and drill team camp.  Both camps were the same week and each twin needed mascara and red lipstick and new shorts and hair ties and new shoes.

And a ride.

I was waiting in the car yesterday take Whitney to drill team camp.

We were running late.

(total story aside:  I want you to think that this is unusual.  But we never met an extra five minutes that we didn’t like.)

She came running out to the car with her hands full of lunch.  She didn’t have time to pack it, so it was all precariously balanced in her arms.

There was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an apple and a bottle of water and a granola bar and a small package of goldfish held tightly between her pinky and her middle finger and a brown paper sack waiting to hold the lunch.  She pushed open the door with her foot and climbed into the car.

I watched the entire process with a smile on my face.

“Are you ready?” I asked her.  “Are you carrying your lunch or is your lunch carrying you?”

(total story aside:  I crack myself up with my mom jokes.)

“Yes,” she giggled.  “I’m ready for camp.”

I put the car in reverse and started to back out of the driveway.

“Wait, Mom,” she said with her blue eyes open wide.  “Wait.  I have something I want to do.  I know we’re late, but can you hold on for one more minute?” And without a backward glance, she bounded out of the car and into the house.

She was only gone a minute and then suddenly the back door opened and there stood my tiny little blonde haired dancer with her arms doubly full of lunch.

Two sandwiches.  Two granola bars.  Two apples.  Two water bottles.  Two tiny packages of goldfish.

And two brown paper bags.

I looked at her with a confused look.

“Are you packing a lunch for tomorrow?” I asked her.

“No, mom,” she said.  “See my friend hasn’t been here all week and I’m worried about her and she might not know that we need a lunch and then she wouldn’t have anything to eat and she’d be sad and she’d be hungry.  So I thought I would just pack two.”


I thought about that lunch all the way to drill team camp and all the way home.

Such a simple gesture.

One that only took a minute.

And yet?  One that would make the biggest of differences in one person’s afternoon.

Maybe that’s what changing the world is all about.  Not the giant, loud, overblown gestures.  Not the moments of glory or the spotlight or the fanfare or going all Mount Everest and climbing to the top of the mountain and sticking a flag in it for all the world to see.

Maybe instead the world is changed in the simple moments.

The kind moments.

The thoughtful moments.

The smile at someone who’s having a bad day or the letting someone else go ahead of you in line or listening to someone else who needs to be heard or taking the time to think of someone else first.

I always thought I was going to change the world.

But instead?  I think my children are changing it for me…

…one lunch at a time.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for laura laura

    i feel the same way about my kids! their thoughtfulness always surprises me! not that they are thuoghtful but the way they are thoughtful....

  2. Image for Becky Becky

    It's the only way to change the world--one smile, one thoughtful gesture, one lunch at a time. Your daughter and others who live kindness will make it happen.

  3. Image for Kathleen H. Kathleen H.

    What a sweetheart! Being thoughtful and kind are wonderful qualities to have. You have done a great job, KariAnne!

  4. Image for Katie Heidinger Katie Heidinger

    That is so sweet. "There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving". Acts 20:35 Kind acts go a long way for the giver and receiver. (one goldfish at a time) You're doing a fine job, Mom.

  5. Image for Cristie A Morton Cristie A Morton

    Be still my heart! I love the song "Remember to be Humble and Kind".. And seeing it action is a Mother's Joy.

  6. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Oh yes...your daughter is definitely on the right track. My boys... they are really full grown men....constantly amaze me with their acts of kindness, civility, and generosity. Kudos to the younger generation....the world will be a much better place because of them! ;)

  7. Image for Jackie Chrisner Jackie Chrisner

    Delightful! I certainly enjoy the decorating aspect of your blog, but it is your stories that always enrich me.

    1. Image for Renee Renee

      I agree with Jackie. Love your decorating ideas, but your way of telling stories is engaging and interesting. They’re perfect examples of “small moment” stories for my writing students! And it must truly make your heart happy to see your kids being kind without reminding them to be:)

  8. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    Changed...one peanut butter sandwich at a time. So sweet. And ya dun good, Mom! ~ Oh, and in case you haven't read it yet, Goldfish crackers are on recall. https://www.pepperidgefarm.com/goldfishupdate/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI0YG8p8O_3AIVE7bICh1JTw52EAAYASAAEgLlyPD_BwE Thought I'd better pass that along.

  9. Image for Deborah L Pelton Deborah L Pelton

    Perfect! You are kind and wonderful and so, obviously, are your children! What did Jackie Kennedy say, something about our most important job is to raise wonderful children who become useful, kind, caring adults. I paraphrase here, but this is the general feel of her thought and you should proudly hold your head high. If you accomplish nothing else, and you've already accomp,usher more than most, know your time here on earth has been hugely successful. ❤🐝

  10. Image for Deedra Deedra

    What a beautiful post!! And what an impact you have made as a mama in the lives of your children. Not to mention into the lives of your readers. You are such a blessing!

  11. Image for Michelle Michelle

    How sweet of Whitney! Everybody needs friends like that. I know what you mean about wanting to change the world but then life happens. And then you wake up one day and realize what incredible world-changing champions you've raised. Even after all these years (my 'kids' are 40ish), they still amaze me and delight me beyond measure.

  12. Image for Elizabeth Elizabeth

    Ya done good as they say. You should be beaming from ear to ear that you raised such a kind, thoughtful, generous and loving daughter. This is bigger than your book, tile collaboration or anything else! Raising good people! I love you even more than I did before although I have to be honest I never imagined your kids to be any different than you are.

  13. Image for Joanna Joanna

    WOW! Brought tears to my eyes...what a beautiful story! Kudos to you - what a wonderful example you have been to your children - now they are carrying your kind and thoughtful gestures forward in their own lives!!! Great job!!!

  14. Image for Beth T. Beth T.

    I had one of those heartbreaking weeks that sometimes can't be avoided in life--our fifteen year old dog died. And in the midst of it, I was shown kindness, repeatedly, in individual ways by the grown children of my dearest friend. Each of them reached out, lifted my burden, shared my heartache, and was simply the epitome of lovingkindness. Those actions meant the world to me, and I know they are reflections of both the good people they are and the good home in which they were raised, and I'm so thankful. Your story shows you are doing it right. Your daughter is well on her way to making the world a gentler place--and oh, how we need that.

  15. Image for Kathy Smithi Kathy Smithi

    What a wonderful act of God's grace and love, from both of you. I love your patience with being late and trusting her with her extra needed time. (And I am with you on the extra 5 minutes you didn't like!)

  16. Image for Teresa G Teresa G

    Yess, Karianne! Of all your Amazing accomplishments, this is perhaps your greatest! Good people raising Good People. Congrats!

  17. Image for Ruth Ruth

    Yes! It is the simple acts of kindness. So sweet! And by the way, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. The twins are amazing!

  18. Image for Carrie Carrie

    beautiful. thoughtful. generous. Your (family tree) branches are still connected, but beginning to sprout on their own. Good job, Momma Rock Star!

  19. Image for Claudine Claudine

    Awwww!! You changed the world!!! Setting an example of kindness and generosity ☀️💕 My son does these kind of things, too, and I wonder: “how did he come out like that??!!” LOL It’s US!! They follow our example, Karianne!!! And good for you for not getting mad when she wanted to get out of the car! Mwah 💋

  20. Image for Vicki Obenhaus Vicki Obenhaus

    Ummm. You changed the world when you got married and had four kids, for sure. As evidenced by your lovely daughter and her thoughtfulness.

  21. Image for AmyG AmyG

    So Special and Sweet - our youngest son now 32 - his heart is so huge it makes this momma so proud. What is the biggest button buster like your girls - if it is mentioned it is in passing without wanting accolades because it is in their nature. Your kids - and the postings make me smile.

  22. Image for Linda Linda

    It all started in the cradle - raising them to be warmhearted and thoughtful. Appreciate young ones being raised with a thoughtful attitude towards others :-) Keep setting a good example for your babies so they can shine on!

  23. Image for Tori Tori

    Your children aren’t changing it FOR you; they’re changing it BECAUSE OF you! Way to go, Mom! And you change somebody’s world every day, with a smI’ll, funny story, new idea, creative inspiration. You are a rock star after all. 😉😀 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  24. Image for Leslie R Leslie R

    Karianne, I've met Whitney. She was the assistant coach of my granddaughter's basketball team. I found her to be a standout! Confident but not cocky, Warm and friendly but not too effusive. Serious about the business at hand (coaching), but always ready with a big smile. I'm not surprised to hear this story about her. Isn't Whitney the one who took a picture of the beautiful sky you were missing during one of your rare low moments? You are right. She is helping to change the world in the most important way. You are blessed.

  25. Image for Jennifer Jennifer

    Oh KariAnne you did change the world.! You raised children that are kind and caring. How wonderful this world would be if everyone was raised that way! ❤️

  26. Image for Carrie Cheecham Carrie Cheecham

    I just wanna know how you have that spotless White House with 4 kids? Seriously 😳 my house was covered in crayon lol

  27. Image for Michele (Finch Rest) Michele (Finch Rest)

    Awl....hug....ya done, lady. She is an amazing girl. Your family is so awesome and the love in your family shines. LOVE this post. ♥♥♥

  28. Image for Yvette Mace Yvette Mace

    I agree... it’s the little things that really are the big things and that’s what the world needs, all the little things to change it. I love what your daughter did. ♥️

  29. Image for Sharon Sharon

    There isn't a better way to change the world than teaching our children kindness and love. Looks like you've got it covered! Way to go!

  30. Image for laura laura

    I am less worried about our children when I read these stories. My son and I went to NYC for a mother/son trip last fall. We came back to our hotel after NYC pizza binge. We got back to our room, carrying the takeout box and my son said he wanted to run the pizza down to the homeless man and his dog who were just outside our hotel. We grabbed water bottles, the pizza and a package of tissues. And, I think I may have to share this story too. xo xo laura

  31. Image for Sherry Sherry

    And you, my dear, are changing the world by training your children to do so well for others. Mama’s make a difference by leading the way and setting the example as I am sure you have. Job well done!

  32. Image for Betty Betty

    What an amazing daughter you have. You and your husband have done an amazing job raising such wonderful people. They are our future leaders and will light the path for everyone else..

  33. Image for Marisa Franca Marisa Franca

    Awwwww!! That is so sweet! But you see, our children aren't born knowing what to do and how to take others into consideration. They learn that from their parents. You, my friend, are a fantastic example!! Sending huge hugs!! 🤗

  34. Image for Alberta Alberta

    This was the best you have ever written. The couches, the colors, the flowers, the rugs the photos and the decorating are fantastic but this is splendor. The true elements of beauty we need to decorate the world are right in your daughter. Good job mom.

  35. Image for Sue Sue

    Sounds like you have been a good role model and your daughter is just "paying it forward." If only there were more people like that.

  36. Image for Sandi Sandi

    Children do learn from their parents. You've done a wonderful job! My daughter just gave me a custom made frame for me (mother of the bride) that is engraved: " as I say I do, know that everything I am today is a reflection of you." It's still without a picture because I can't look at it without crying. Our children will move mountains!

  37. Image for Alice Hanson Alice Hanson

    Yes KariAnne, your children will change the world because of you and their dad! Very well done! Smiles, Alice

  38. Image for Delilah Delilah

    Crying over here! Love you KariAnne! I too have thoughtful and world-changing children! Thank you for sharing your sweet stories and always inspiring us to have beautiful homes and kind hearts!


    KariAnne, what a precious daughter you have. You have done a great job of parenting and showing your precious children by your wonderful example! How this world needs more people who are so thoughtful, caring, considerate, loving and generous to those they come in contact with! Blessings to you and yours for being so "special"!

  40. Image for Botanic Bleu Botanic Bleu

    KariAnne, A thousand thoughts, jumbled, unable to find the words to express all their meanings. One moment of clarity came to me. Whitney, and your other three children, learned (learning) their ways in this life from you and your husband, but best of all, you SEE and rejoice in their special gifts which encourages them to be even more thoughtful and loving to others. One day, one deed, one pat on the back ... at a time ... becomes a lifetime and a life well lived. Thank you for sharing your talents, your encouragement with the world, as well as with your children. Judith

  41. Image for Gina Gina

    Pretty with a BIG heart. Reminded me of Mother Teresa, "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love". You are a great mom! When I volunteer to go on field trips with my son's high school, they ask if anyone forgot their lunch. Then they ask if anyone has extra for them. It is always so nice to see them donate more lunch than the receivers can possibly eat. God bless the teenagers! They are our future. And God bless us moms who wait in cars and try to make it on time. Amen! Same going on here trying to get my son to train station for dual enrollment class. Pressure. But we are done today! Enjoy the rest of the summer.

  42. Image for Rebecca K Rebecca K

    Love! Love! Love that story! There are so many who need to hear of such kindness. I’m thinking she may have gotten it through her fabulous gene pool! Thank you for sharing with us and with your precious children!

  43. Image for Nancy Nancy

    I think your blog is my very favorite! No, I take that back...I KNOW it’s my favorite...you have a wonderful way of telling a story! I so look forward to opening your email every day! And I can’t get enough pictures of your home!! It’s absolutely stunning!!! Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  44. Image for june june

    Love this. You are an amazing role model for your children. This little apple did not fall far from the tree. I love how our children's actions warm our hearts.

  45. Image for Cindy Lyon Cindy Lyon

    Whenever I begin to feel like I haven't made a contribution to the world because I started my family at a young age instead of pursuing my dreams I just look at the awesome people I raised and the contributions they are making. 💗

  46. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    Another sweet tear-jerker. Isn't our God so wonderfully loving to give us moments when our children make our hearts burst with pride and love?! (The most godly-type-of-pride, btw!) Bursting for you here, sweet friend!

  47. Image for Jenny Jenny

    Wonderful story of kindness and thinking of others. Yes our children are the future & that's how we leave our mark. Love it! Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty

  48. Image for Peg Peg

    I think moms everywhere who model random acts of kindness and compassion are making a difference every day!! Way to go KariAnne and pretty, little mini-thistle!! xoxo

  49. Image for Kerry Kerry

    This is so sweet, but it's not just through your kids that you change the world; you do it too. I only spent a few days with you, but you give your energy and encouragement freely and lavishly and you created the gift of confidence in everyone I saw you meet. That changes the world and makes others more able to change the world with their gifts. I don't doubt that your kids watched you love others and learned to do it themselves. So you change the world and they are expanding that legacy with their own twists!

Comments are closed.