Small Things

I found the sweetest quote of Mother Teresa’s recently, “We can’t do big things, only small things, with an immense amount of love”. I think that is so true in life. I’ve never invented a drug to cure a disease, have not assisted with world peace, I haven’t saved a nation of people, I thought of going to Haiti to help out after the earthquake but I never got there, and I have often said that the work I’ve done with the homeless is like emptying the ocean with a thimble. The problems in our world are so huge, and only a few people are able to make a BIG difference…..but I think that it’s in the small things we do that we make a difference. And if we do them with enough love, it carries the day. I never will win the Nobel Prize, or find a cure for a disease, but if in handing out warm clothes, tools and supplies and food to homeless people, if I saved one life, warmed one heart, or gave one person hope, then my life is worthwhile and was well spent. I think so often we think the small things we do won’t matter, but I think they matter a lot. One sleeping bag given to one freezing cold man sleeping in a doorway may make a huge difference, and how hard is it to buy one sleeping bag and give it away on a cold night, or one warm jacket??? Or say a kind word, or reach out to someone you know is sad, or even in despair. It is the small gestures people have made toward me that I remember most, at hard times for me….that one call to see how I was….the one kind word by a stranger on the street….or even something silly like “I love your shoes” has brightened my day…..or a smile on the day I need it most. None of us know the burdens others are carrying, sometimes even the people we know, and surely not strangers, and I think one small, tiny, kind, loving gesture may make all the difference to someone. It has for me. And I think doing it with the ‘immense amount of love” Mother Teresa was referring to makes it really count. I think the small things with that immense amount of love are what really count.  Have a great day!!!

Love, Danielle

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8 Comments so far
  1. Gretchen Pruitt March 14, 2011 8:28 pm


    I am glad I found your website. We share so much in common and yet so many differences. I love your books, I have not read them all but I love them.

    You are a very strong woman who has made a difference even if they seem small to you, books can help someone in need too when they have a need to fall in love or justhave something to read in a airplane. My Mother told me once that every time one of your books came out, her husband would go buy her a hard cover book. He has recently passed away and I just bought her your latest one and she loved it. She had a huge collection of your books so see you have helped her and I know millions of others.

    I am enjoying your blogs and about your family. Thank you for being “real”. I hope to meet you one day.


  2. P.J. March 15, 2011 8:54 am

    Mahatma Ghandi said, “Almost anything that you do may be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”

  3. susie March 17, 2011 8:07 pm

    It is the small gestures and things we remember. At times it can be more meaningful to give someone a hug on a bad day than to just give money to a charity- though that is great too. It is the small things that we do for each other that have the most impact- this is what I have found to be true in my own life.

  4. Kimberly March 20, 2011 11:47 am

    Oh, your novels have saved many. I am sure of that. They are a wonderful haven, a true escape from the harsh realities of life. I am forever indebted to you! 🙂

  5. Sue March 23, 2011 4:51 am

    Dear Danielle, Oh my goodness I am holding back the tears because I have read so many of your books. Due to a company slow down 15 of my friends and myself were laid off. But thanks to you in the evening as I was going thru menopause and depression I would read your books and you would put my mind at ease.
    I love Mother Teresa to. She says “love begins at home” and you can go to You Tube and search Mother Teresa or they may have spelled it Mother Theresa and you can hear the love in her heart. I have a good friend Sister Franchesca and she is a Nun from Nigeria for 25 years and she goes with me to the Stockton Family Shelter and thanks to God, God fills my car with food and clothes and Campbells soup and things for their comfort and toys and books to. I remember one of my visits at the shelter 3 little girls asked me “do you have pajamas with feetsees?” That is all they wanted. Another little girl asked me for a coloring book and crayons. I was an alcholic for a few years and someone dared me to feed someone in need. I was drinking 2 bottles of wine a night I couldn’t quit, so I on Labor Day 2005 I gave one man a gyro and screamed scared to death as I got back in my car in Sacramento. Then I found another man in a park in front of the Crocker Art Museum and I asked if he was hungry? He said he was, so I ran to my car and I gave him a bag of food from home and he said “God bless you” to me and I got chills down my spine and later I found out that was the Holy Spirit. Two months later seeking out friends in need bringing hamburgers and scarves and gloves and socks and a few sleeping bags to, I came home that night and I told a friend about Sharon who I met on Alhambra Blvd. (note the water sign) and he told me “don’t ask me how I know this, but that was an angel” and I looked up at my bedroom ceiling and I asked God “why did you give me an angel?” Danielle in a wink of an eye, God gave me a miracle of sobriaty and I didn’t have to drink anymore!
    Danielle I love what you wrote about helping friends. I have been under bridges, next to the Sacramento river, at many tent cities, in front of the Union Gospal mission (not inside the mission but across the street) and on crack alley and we would make bologna sandwiches together. Friends found out what I did and I prayed to God for more help. And 6 Starbucks gave me their pastries they would throw out at the end of the day (you now have to go thru their corporate offices and if you have a 5013C which means you are a non profit you can get these pastries for free) I went to 6 starbucks, not everyday, and I would pick up clothes and donations and go to work and there would be donations on my chair waiting for me. I also would buy a lot of the cup of noodles at Costgo and I would take Thermos or borrow the thermos from Starbucks and they would fill the thermos with hot water for free and I would give our friends hot chocolate and I would bring styrofoam cups and forks for their soups. I remember this one sweet man said to me “Sue if I just have something warm in my tummy I can go sleep” And he ate his soup and he wrapped himself with his army blanket and he went to sleep on the sidewalk. A friend told me that our friends slept on church steps on L and 11th St at St John’s church and I had to go and see for myself and one cold Monday winter night there was a man named Michael and I asked him as he sat on the cold cement ground if he would like a cup of soup and he said “yes but he didn’t have any hot water” I ran to my car and thanks to God there was just enough hot water for the cup of soup for Michael. I was so amazed as he spoke so eloquently and I asked him what he did and he told me he was a High School English Teacher in Willow Glen (which is near San Jose where I grew up at) and he told me he lost his wife (she passed away) and he turned to drinking and drugs. He told me he missed fresh fruit and I went home that night amazed that I met and fed a High School English Teacher. I went home and on the kitchen counter was a basket full of fresh strawberries, I knew this was a gift from God for Michael. I went to see Michael on Tuesday night and he was so happy to receive the soup and hot water and the fresh strawberries. On Wed night he wasn’t there, and I met a lady named Sharon and I asked her what she needed and she told me she needed to learn how to spell because she wanted to get a job, as Sharon says this, who walks by?…yes Michael the High School English teacher and as I introduced Michael to Sharon, and Sharon to Michael and I told Michael what Sharon needed. As I got into my car I looked back and Michael had a notepad and he was teaching Sharon how to spell. I call this divine intervention. Michael has a gift of teaching, and Sharon received the hope of the help she needed. Another time I had a dear friend Frank that slept on the sidewalk and he wanted a ride to crack alley and Frank can hear the Lord, and because I knew how kind and religious Frank was, I gave Frank a ride to crack alley and believe me I told God before I would never go there. But when we got there I saw more of my friends and I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the trunk of my car and I looked up into the sky and I said “look at me God I’m at crack alley”. Our friends need socks, and coats, and thermals, and sweatshirts with hoods, and shoes and warm shirts and bras and underwears to. Oh one more thing God reminded me if you have a 5013C you can go to a Campbell soup company and they will give you 4 pallets of soup for free every 6 months and most of the soups have the pull off tops. And if you know someone that works at Campbell soup company they can give you a card and you can go to the Campbell store and buy a case of soup for $3.00 and some soups are $.25, $.67 I even bought Wolfgang Puck soup for $.67 and those fish crackers you can get for $.10 a bag!!!!
    I was on the streets in Sacramento in the beginning I was going 7 nights a week and then a friend and his wife invited me and some friends to visit the Stockton Family Shelter. I kept praying for help and churches and friends would help me and take one night of the week so I had help on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights with different church groups and friends to and even groups from Starbucks joined me to. I loved when I would take teenagers to tent city and I would ask the teenagers where is their bathroom? where is their tv? and their refrigerator and the teens would go home and tell their parents about their experience and I would ask the teens to thank God for what they have. Danielle I was on the streets for 4 1/2 years, and then God’s will was for me to stay home and read the Bible and learn to pray, it was not easy, but now I have peace. There is a book called “The Prescription” you may find it on Amazon or Ebay and it is about a cardiologist and he seeked out Mother Teresa and asked her how we will be judged and she opened the Bible to Matthew 25 God forgive me for not quoting this word for word but it says I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. Mother Teresa had the cardiologist bathe the sick and the dying and it humbled him. He filled an airplane with donations to Calcutta for Mother Teresa and her friends in need. There is another story I would love to share with you a man knocked on the door where Mother Teresa lived and he told her there was a family that was hungry and she grabbed a bag of rice and they went to the home in Calcutta and she saw the children there was 5 or 7 children and their eyes were shining and they had not eaten in a few days. The Mom took 1/2 the rice and put it in another bag and went away and when she returned Mother Teresa asked her where she went, she said went to her neighbor’s house they were Muslim, but that didn’t matter, what mattered was they were hungry to. Danielle I am praying for a new Shelter in Sacramento and I want it to be called “The Amazing Grace”, and I am praying for the Stockton Family Shelter to be torn down and a new shelter to be built if you go in the bathroom, there is no toilet paper, or toilet seat covers, and no soap and no paper towels and you have to go to the front desk to get a key to use the bathroom (this is a shelter not a gas station!). The rooms are 9 x 10 and Sister Franchesca and I met Hector and his wife Sylvia and their 3 small children and they all slept in that small room. They are fed Monday thru Friday, but they count on churches to feed them 1 or 2 breakfasts on the weekend and since the kids don’t eat much they save the left overs to eat later. They lock the refrigerators so people won’t steal food. Also I am praying to remodel St. John’s Shelter which is a family shelter in Sacramento, they only have 100 beds, and they turn away 250 people a night. I hear Eureka needs a new Shelter to and I pray for the Convent that the Sisters live in Sacramento will be remodeled their kitchen has the same oven my Ma had in our house in Yosemite in San Jose from the 1950’s and there are so many places like the Union Gospal Mission that needs to be remodeled, the Volunteers of America needs to be remodeled, Sister Libby she is a Nun and she runs Loaves and Fishes in Sacramento and they feed 700 to 1000 people breakfast and lunch 7 days a week and I know they need to be remodeled. And we have had two food banks burned down, River City food bank in Sacramento and Broderick Christian Food bank in West Sacramento. Our friends are blessed with breakfast and lunch but I need dinner to and so do my friends. I have a man that I call “Pops” and he calls me his big little one and he gives me a kiss and there is another man named Ernie and he was in WWII when my Dad was in the Army. I have had friends get off the streets and they say “hi Sue” and I don’t even recognize them because they are so clean! I had a Mom Julie and her 3 kids live in two tents for 6 months there is a school for children without homes in Sacramento called Mustard Seed School and that is run by Sister Libby to. Josh (Julie’s son) was so happy on the first day of school they gave him a brand new pair of tennis shoes. I would always feed Julie and her kids first and I would try and bring them a treat or a candy bar to give them something special. There is are more stories I want to share with you but before I do I want you to know if you have friends that are Priets or Nuns you can ask them for a message from Father God or the Lord. I can hear the Lord, it took a long time but he is so sweet and kind and he told me that he was with me everytime I was with our friends, so know the Lord is with you to when you are with your friends on the streets to. I lied I have 4 more things to tell you. We have a family down the street and they have a dry cleaners and if the customers don’t pick up their clothes in 6 months or a year, they donate all these clean clothes to me and they fill my car!!!, and let me tell you how happy our friends are to receive these clean clothes! You probably have heard about this man named Blake check out You Tube and type TOMS SHOES a few years ago he was an entrepraneur and he thought for every pair of shoes he sold he would give a pair of shoes to a child in need. In just a few years, he has sold and given away 1 million pairs of shoes to children in need in Argentina, Haiti and Africa and other countries and in the US to! Praise be to God! My Grandfather died when I was 8yrs old and 6 months later my Dad died he had an enlarged heart and God called him home. My Ma took an elderly man into our home so she could be home with us and have our dinner ready, and clean the house and taxi us around and wash and iron our clothes (I just have 1 brother and myself) and in her 60’s she found out she had ovarian cancer and all the money she saved, she never bought insurance because she was healthy but by the time she was diagnosed and had a hysterectomy and they removed part of her intestines from the chemo and radiation clogging her intestines she had enough money to pay for her casket and her plot and her headstone she is buried in Pomona, CA. The Lord told me they pray for us, and the Lord told me that my Ma asks about my brother and me all the time and they pray for us. Heaven is beautiful but know they miss us to. God is a God of love and when I am down he sends home a favorite food and I know that gift is from Father God and I am grateful. I am now 52 and I want to end my very long email to you with a special story my friend Joan calls it “God’s winks” but I call it God’s itervention. There was a girl named Casey and she worked at Starbucks and she asked me if I collected children’s clothes. I told her I did. As I had a friend at another Starbucks and her family had foster children I delivered the bags that Casey gave to me and I dropped them at the other Starbucks. And later on the girl told me that they needed school uniforms for the foster kids, and guess what was in the bag? Yes school uniforms from Father God and from Casey’s family! God Bless you Danielle for what you have done to help our friends and to honor your son he will be so proud. One night after being with our friends I asked the Lord to tell me about miracles that were not in the Bible. He said there was a girl named Irene and I asked her what she needed and she said she needed to hear and the Lord healed her….that was my Ma. And the Lord said there was a boy named Ray and I asked him what he needed and he said he needed to stop drinking…and the Lord healed him and I told the Lord that was my Ma and Dad and that was the night I knew it was the Lord. Goodness comes from God!
    God bless you and I love your books and I love what you have done for our friends in need.There is one more place I would like to go and I haven’t been there in years is Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco and to see and meet Reverend Cecil Williams. Funny my Ma is from Cecil, PA.
    And Father God in the Bible told Moses “I AM”
    which is at the end of the name WillIAMs. They help many people in need in San Francisco and praise be to God we reap what we sow!
    Your Sister in Christ
    Sue ps my Dad taught me to put dollars in Salvation Army buckets and my Ma gave clothes I grew out of to a friend in my class in elementary school, her name is Mercy…God’s name is Mercy to….Good night Danielle

  6. Peace Jackson March 24, 2011 2:10 am

    I have gone through your novels and I love them, the way u create the mindset of ur readers, the suspense, the grip, the fear, oh! the reality u portray. Your book is awesome, especially “THE LONG ROAD HOME” I felt it, I read with tears, it looked so real, it reminded me of my rough childhood, it was as though u studied me and wrote the piece out. It gave me hope that I can make it in the future. It gave hope to the lost and abused children out there, how 2 overcome the ghost behind their sad lives. Danielle, u’ve done a wonderful work and I’m looking forward to reading more of your books.

  7. Cristiano Falk April 24, 2011 8:29 pm

    Dani, I’M brazilian and I write novels juvenile. I thought it was incredible to see your site and your blog. I live in a world totally different from their own. But, through this space, I could understand its essence. You and above all, a great woman. The mother, the worker, the artist, the visionary, the human being beautiful and for the world, since I am his fan! Congratulations!

  8. michael stanfield May 12, 2011 10:38 am

    Really enjoyed your comments about everything
    that interests you. Would like to hear more from you.

    Michael Stanfield