Sue Miller is sharing an excerpt from her new book, NOT NORMAL, today. We truly can’t wait for this book to be in your hands and the hands of all your volunteers. It’s a life-changer for sure.


We heard this quote recently, “When you do the small things right, big things happen.”

So many of us want to engage in something bigger. To do that, we need to first understand that going the extra mile in the small things is the pathway to making the big, not normal results happen.

One Sunday, two year old Landon showed up with his most special midnight blue, soft and fuzzy blanket. His mom said he was recovering from an ear infection, and just wouldn’t go anywhere without it these days.

His small group leader, Miss Jan, noticed his blanket right away and even commented on how soft it was. Landon clutched his blanket all through activity time, large group and small group. He was happy and attentive sitting next to his good friend, Steven. All in all, a happy camper. Which, if you know anything about preschoolers, is unheard of for one getting over an ear infection. When he left the room, he left waving to everyone, his blanket in tow.

After all the children had been picked up, the volunteers were hanging out catching up. They were surprised to see Landon’s mom, Sarah, come bursting back through their door. Slightly panicked, she asked if anyone had seen Landon’s blanket. Seems he didn’t have it when she buckled him into his car seat and he was having a major meltdown.

Now technically, these volunteers were off the clock. But Jan and several others jumped to their feet, accepting the missing blanket mission. Jan told Sarah to take her kids home, and she would be in touch when they knew something.

Thirty minutes later, the midnight blue treasure was found. Jan called Sarah, then jumped into her little white car and whipped out of the parking lot. She was only 18 years old, but she knew you don’t mess around when it comes to preschool matters of the heart.

Landon was watching out the front window when Jan walked up the sidewalk waving his blanket so he could see it. That red, tear-streaked little face broke into a smile that could have lit up Chicago.

A grateful mom opened the front door and tried to thank her. But honestly, no one could hear anything over the exuberant two year old yelling, “My blankie! My blankie! “ while running full-force toward Jan.

Jan scooped him up and wrapped him in his blanket. They hung out for a few minutes, then it was time for Landon to go take a nap. Jan left admitting that she was going home to crash on her couch too.

No one is really sure who needed the rest more. Jan or the two-year-old.

Both had a pretty big morning.

Let’s unpack this for a moment…..

How big a deal was it for Jan to go beyond her normal serving responsibilities that day? She was thoughtful in the quirkiest ways doing things that she didn’t have to do. It would have been easy for her to walk out of the church on that given Sunday, get into her car, and not given this blanket a second thought. But she didn’t do that.

How big a deal is it that Sarah, Landon’s mom, decided to volunteer with that preschool team because she was so impressed by the way this situation was handled?

How big a deal is it to communicate to a two year old that you care about them?

How great do you think Jan felt when she put her head on the pillow to go to sleep that night?

That is exactly what we are talking about. Its not at all normal. It is a really big deal.

Small is big.


Excerpt from Not Normal: 7 Quirks of Incredible Volunteers by Sue Miller and Adam Duckworth.
Available mid-may in the Orange Store.