Kindle Up

     When I was little I had this bright idea to go camping. I packed up supplies and some baby sisters and made the long trek to our side yard. We found a scenic spot beneath the arch of  a pine treed fox hole and commenced to roughing it. First things first, we’d need a small fire to keep warm through the balmy June night. I made a circle of small twigs and driveway gravel to contain the flames. I cannot remember what tools were used. Maybe lighters and liquids snatched from Dad’s big grille? Regardless, three blows and frantic fans later we’d built ourselves a mighty successful fire. This blaze was man, or more specifically, child made, and it was glorious. I gasped in awe as the tiny purple grew giant orange. Crackling sparks sprang high and higher! I was warmed through with admiration for myself. Starting smokes like a boss! I smiled and stared on as flames swirled and kissed the dry trees above. The trees. The trees? The trees!

Somewhere between spark and self-love, the elderly Mr. Anglea limp-ran from his home next door. My sisters pointed blaming fingers at me. Tossing water on the scorched earth, he mumbled questions like “What in the Sam Hill?”, but I didn’t know Sam Hill and really didn’t care to. I was  too busy looking at the shine my little hands started.

This is a story of brilliance, people. Also, maybe a bit of a cautionary tale about forest fires and unsupervised youth. But mostly brilliance.

Because that was the day I realized that fire was catching. Older now, I’ve ever so graciously abandoned plans of arson. Today I’m more interested in the the idea of fanning a good flame, sharing a special spark, hoping that if  bad things can run wild then, by god, the best stuff can spread fierce and mighty, too.

Over the last couple of months, you’ve read of this good burning brighter than bad every time you’ve tuned into the Tiny Spark Series. My little pyromaniac soul could’ve never imagined just how big and wide your sparks would spread, how many readers would take these stories of finding light in a dark place and feel compelled to add fuel to a worthy fire, keep the conversation going, say so openly how another person’s light helped you find yours. Mr. Anglea and Sam Hill would be horrified by the mammoth blaze these Tiny Sparks have started. But me? I’m still rejoicing that fire is catching. I’m amazed by your shine.


Today the Tiny Spark Series comes to a close. To those contributors who showed us that everything from a  picture or  perfect stranger, a sea shell  or Scripture can be just the unexpected spark that spurs change, thank you thank you thank you. To those readers who came bearing stories, stepped up and said “Hey. Me, too. Throw my log in this fire”, thank you thank you thank you.

Big Bright Beautiful Tiny Sparks 

Miranda’s “The 8th Time

Lisa’s “End of The Rainbow

Jamie’s “A Helping Heart

Vicki’s “The Dark Couch

Andra’s “She Sells Sea Shells

Kathy’s “A Beautiful Mind

Paige’s “Remembering A Renegade

Jenny’s “Beauty from Ashes

Amanda’s “Art of Being Wrong

Deb’s “Photographs of The Heart”

Katelyn’s “Growth In A Concrete Jungle

Amber’s “Fairy Tales & Plot Changes

Jackie’s “A Man Named Pearl

Paula’s “Life Verse

Kaela’s “The Father

Imi’s “Could We Just Not?

My “Mercy. Mercy.

“There is in every true woman’s [or man’s or kid’s or dog’s] heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.” – Washington Irving

Kindle up & keep those sparks flying.

match burning


48 thoughts on “Kindle Up

    1. So, so grateful that you gave us your words, Miss Thang. I found the picture of your daughter standing by your dad the other day. I cried and cried because I knew this was the “before”, but I hoped you re-read your own Tiny Spark, found some comfort even from your own words about him.

    1. I had a hard time writing this post. Got a little attached to the Tiny Sparks, I think. Onto the next series, though if my current eating habits are any indication, it might be 2 months of posts about my love of Milk Duds.

  1. “What in the sam hill”… i love old-people curses. I know that’s not what I’m supposed to take from this post, lol – and I have really enjoyed the tiny sparks series – but seriously – old people swears!

    1. Haha. (Probably COMPLETELY what I would’ve taken from the post) Old people are equal parts wise and ridiculously hilarious. I still can’t shake a comment from an angry elderly reader who kept referring to me as part of the “Twitter-farting youth of today”. My feelings weren’t even hurt. I was too busy being seriously impressed with his creative insults.

  2. ^^What they said. I’ve really enjoyed sharing, reading, and being inspired by others’ powerful testimonies. This series was nothing short of perfection. Thank you, Tori.

  3. It’s a shame it had to end, I loved reading about funding light in the world. Thanks for making the lovely series happen 🙂 looking forward to the next series (oh what will it be?!) Love Imi

    1. I did get a little sad writing this post. Part of me would like it to go on maybe forever, but onto the next series! Haven’t thought it up just yet, but I’ll be sure to ask you for a guest post when I do 🙂

    1. You’re sweet. I’m just really glad to know you good people. I had that little doubt and worry that I’d start the series and just kind of have to type every entry and bore everybody away from the blog. So grateful that those writers shared so much and that readers really got into the spirit, too!

  4. I’m applauding, right now. In the kitchen, amidst the piles of learning materials, stolen Baker’s chocolate, and drifts of coffee grounds and animal cracker crumbs. We need that fire so desperately. Thank you for passing it along!

  5. I loved this series not only for the stories themselves, but because of how honest and courageous everyone was in talking about their most difficult times. Positive energy has a way of spreading that amazes me and unlike a forest fire, where more damage happens, in this case more inspiration and support has risen out of this. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. 🙂

    1. I just love honest people. I’ve spent a lot of time worrying I’m bad at this, that, or the other thing because I’ve not been told that other people struggled or felt the same way. It is such a relief for people in similar situations as these Tiny Spark writers to see that someone else gets it, all the ugly bits we don’t normally fess up to, someone has thought or said or felt just the same way.

  6. I’ve so enjoyed this series. It’s been wonderful to read the stories and share a moment of understanding. It’s a good reminder that I may not know what the person across from me is going through, so if someone seems rude or pushy, maybe they might be dealing with some adversity, and I should try to be compassionate. (Especially in line at the grocery store!)

    Thanks again for featuring my story about Pearl! Keep the fires going!

    1. Aww, Pearl. That post is my go-to read to make my day a little brighter. My first reaction is to honk or fuss or roll my eyes at those rude and pushy strangers, but you’re right. They might be in the middle of one pretty awful day.

  7. Thank goodness you put the matches down and turned away from a life of arson 🙂 I’m sad to see this series close. I’ve enjoyed the theme of keeping a positive outlook, even when life deals you all the cards for misery.

  8. Hello! Just wanted to let you know I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger award. You can find more details at my blog, bipolarbetty2. Thanks for creating a great blog! (And sorry about the informal mass notification, you can delete this comment if you’d like.) Have a great day!

  9. Hello Tori! Stopping by from SITS to say ‘hi’! 🙂 I loved reading what you had to say and your words have a certain soothing quality. Keep writing.

  10. This was a wonderful idea, Tori…
    everything was so well-written…
    ENVY, I say! Envy all-around!
    (Er… I am envying everyone, I mean… this is why I shouldn’t play with words!)

Ramble on, little rambler...

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