In one of her talks, Elisabeth Elliot once quoted a woman she admired—an active and helpful woman, one who was quick to serve without ever seeming over-stretched. Elliot noticed that this woman said yes to the things she could do but didn’t let the sense that she should do things bully her into committing to everything. When Elliot asked her how she could tell which things were which, the woman said, “I ask myself, can somebody else do this?”1
That is, can somebody else be my husband’s wife? No. Or my children’s mother? Of course not. Can somebody else bring a meal to this family or make that child’s costume for Roman Day at school? Well, that depends. In this particular season, when my inbox is full of four daughters’-worth of SignUp Geniuses and the opportunities to serve in our church abound and every potential writing or editing project looks like good, important work that I can’t bear to pass up, I’ve found this filter invaluable.
Can somebody else do it?
Almost always, the answer is yes. I want to think I’m an indispensable part of every project I take on, but honestly, most of the time, yes, somebody else could do it. (And if we’re being truly honest, somebody else could probably do it better.) The fact that somebody else could do a particular job doesn’t always mean I’m off the hook, of course: anybody in our home can scoop the litter box, but sometimes it just needs to be me.
But the point is, I am sometimes so eager to say yes—and not always for the right reasons—that this question gives me a moment to pause and to ponder if the thing before me is something the Lord is actually calling me to, or if my desire to do it (or keep doing it) is crowding someone else out of a space where they could serve. So that is what I’ve been doing for the last six months: I’ve been prayerfully pondering the question Could somebody else do what I’m trying to do here through this blog?
Of course, the answer is yes: in fact, a lot of people are doing this. When I started Little Book, Big Story, I was stepping into a path roughly bushwhacked by the amazing ladies of Aslan’s Library. I loved what they were doing, and I didn’t see anybody else doing it, so I thought I’d pick up my basket of beloved children’s books and start passing them out on the internet.
Now, ten years later, there’s a sea of incredible resources out there, many of which are linked in the footer of this blog. Social media is filled with excellent accounts dedicated to sharing good books for families. And the delightful books about books! So, yes, somebody else can (and is) doing this.
About three months into my six-month sabbatical, I thought that was the answer I needed.
But then, through a series of small somethings, I felt one of those holy nudges back toward this thing that, yes, other writers and mothers and lovers of good books could do, but that I in particular have been given to do. It is good work, this reading and sharing of children’s books, and I love it.
And so I’m grateful that I get to say: I’m back!
I’m effectively branching Little Book, Big Story into two publications, which I realize sounds like more work. But once it’s all up and running, it’ll be streamlined and easy to use—for both of us! So, here is the difference between the two:
Little Book, Big Story
Little Book, Big Story will continue on here as it has for so long—all book reviews, all the time! So you can continue to browse the library of reviews here and read new reviews every other week.
The Setting will be over on Substack, and it will replace my current email newsletter. When you subscribe, you will receive the every-other-weekly book reviews, as well as two other posts each month. I have fun plans for these, and I think you’ll like them! Short essays, book lists, creative nonfiction pieces—I’m looking forward to sharing some other works with you through The Setting. You can subscribe to that right here. (There’s not much up over there yet, but there will be. Oh yes, there will be.)
Please note that I am going to discontinue the current email newsletter, so if you would like to continue receiving posts directly in your inbox, you’ll want to head over to The Setting and subscribe.2
Okay! If you have questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below! Thank you so much for your continued, enduring, long-suffering readership. I am deeply grateful for each one of you. And I’m so glad to be back.
- Because I can’t remember which talk, I’m grossly paraphrasing here. What you’re reading is what I took away from a talk I listened to a few years ago on the Elisabeth Elliot podcast—hopefully the spirit of the message is correct, even if the exact wording is spotty. ↩︎
- Yes, Substack does allow writers to offer paid subscriptions, but I’m not doing that. My writing is (and will continue to be) available for free! ↩︎