Go make stuff this year … the world needs makers

A few years back, my husband and I started a tradition of making memories with one grandchild at a time for a full week. This past week was eleven-year-old Lydia’s turn.


Lydia and I drove south into California where we hugged a redwood tree, and marveled at the crashing Pacific waves, and spotted elk, and eventually landed on an organic beef ranch owned by extended family in a cute little Victorian village called Ferndale.


Um, excuse me … could you girls please move

Lydia’s favorite memories of that place? Petting horses. Naming chickens. Riding an all-terrain utility vehicle to “help” feed the cows. Making a gingerbread house. Sleeping in a tent in the living room with cousins. And stealing her great-uncle’s easy chair when he made the mistake of getting up.


Cousins upon cousins

Back in central Oregon, we visited the Porch Fairy, and had pancakes for dinner, and saw Little Women at the theater, and I taught her how to sew hair scrunchies—which, apparently you wear on your wrist and not actually in your hair (it’s a middle-school girl thing). Oh, and we sampled the merchandise at Ida’s Cupcake Cafe.


Ida’s Cupcakes. Of course.

At one point, Lydia asked, “Of all the things we did, what was your favorite?”

“Hmmm,” I pondered. “If I had to narrow it down, it would be our road trip conversations. And seeing you enjoy an activity I enjoy.”

Yep. Snow-shoeing.

We schlepped through powder and posed with snowmen and recorded video to send to her mom. And much laughter rang out across the snow.


Lydia’s first time on snowshoes
New friends

It was Nanea Hoffman who said:

Go make stuff today. Make coffee. Make a ruckus. Make a difference. Make a memory. Make time for someone or something you love. The world needs makers.

I made time for one-on-one fun with a granddaughter for a week.

We made some epic memories in northern California and central Oregon.

And I suspect this time together made a difference in her life — because I am one more adult who loves her and is partnering with her parents in nurturing her physically, mentally/emotionally, and spiritually.

What if?

What if we could make some cool stuff in 2020?

Make a new friend.

Make a place in our hearts for a foster or adoptive child.

Make dinner for the family that moved in down the street.

Make a plan to declutter closets and cupboards and garages—to give away our excess stuff to someone who needs it.

Make time for a friend who’s grieving: listen as she talks, pick her kids up after school for a play date with ours, offer to grocery shop or clean her house.

Make something of lasting value in a third world country — a school, a clinic, a better life.

Make amends. Because people are our most valuable assets. (After posting this piece, a wise reader sent this: “Sometimes we need to make amends.” And so I added it here … thank you, Martha!)

Make un-erasable memories with a loved one.

What if you could make something really great in 2020? You can. Some assembly may be required.


How do we know the best route to take?


Is there a dream-defender in your life?


  1. Lonnie

    There’s no doubt in my mind that you made a difference in her life that week, one she’ll carry with her the rest of her life. It was fun for you, it was life directing for her.

  2. Grace Lawson

    These events are definitely spectacular !! Great memory making !!

    • I imagine, Grace, that you’re doing some spectacular memory-making as you’ve moved closer–clear across the country–to family!

      • Grace Lawson

        Yes !! One of the fun things we have done is take them to the Zoo in Indianapolis and also other areas !!!

  3. Allison J McCormick


    You have inspired me to make something this year!

    I am hoping (praying) it is something that makes God smile, that it makes a difference in my small sphere of influence, and that others benefit.

    Thank you for the challenge and the inspiration.

  4. Wonderful post Marlys! I love the way you tell about your experiences, then open it up with a challenge for us to “make” something. Your list is open-ended, helping the reader to decide what it is they/I need or want to make in 2020. I love it! But I’m not sure I have enough year to do everything that comes to mind!

  5. Paulette Zimmerman

    Happy New Year Marlys. Your post just warmed my heart. The smile on Lydia’s face tells the story! What a memory she will treasure for a lifetime. As I await the arrival of my first grandchild early next month, your post also gave me a wonderful idea of how my husband and I can make the most of our times with future grandchildren. Thank you for inspiring me and many others with your words of wisdom.

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