Hinge Moments


“It has long been an axiom of mine
that the little things
are infinitely the most important.”
Arthur Conan Doyle, Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

“Let me tell you something big:
Give importance to little things.”
Mehmet Murat ildan

“Sometimes the little opportunities
that fly at us each day
can have the biggest impact.”
Danny Wallace,  Yes Man


My son, Connor, loves cars.  One of his favorite shows is Great Britain’s Top Gear (and we thoroughly enjoy the show along with him). Whenever I point out a car on the road, “Oh, that’s a pretty car,” Connor will chime in with the make/model/year, gas mileage, perks and quarks, and if a competitor’s version is better or worse.  He’s no expert, but if you hang around Connor long enough, you gain an appreciation for fine cars.  Maybe that’s why this car caught my eye.

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
In the early 2000s, McLaren Automotive (manufacturer of high performance Formula One cars) teamed with Mercedes-Benz (maker of luxury cars) and together produced the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.  While some cars are sleek or cool, this baby is a high performance masterpiece.

And it carries a hefty price too – half million dollars. So unless you are a CEO or media mogul of some kind, it’s a little unlikely the SLR will be on your shopping list.  To make certain this exclusive car would sell, Mercedes had to do two things:

1. Make production small (sold from 2003-2009).
2. Make it stand out from other sports cars. This super ride had to scream “high-performance.”

They spared no expense on every detail:
Sexy-sleek exterior. Hand-built engine. Carbon-ceramic brake discs. Doors that open up and out like wings. “Thoroughbred racing touch” interior of Alcantara upholstery and carbon trim.  And its speed – try 0-60 in 3.4 seconds, with a top speed of 206 mph.

But the piece de resistance from Mercedes/McLaren was actually something quite small.
They added a hinge.

All drivers know that the driving experience begins with ignition. And when you are asking a half mill for a vehicle, simply turning the key and hearing the car rumble just wont cut it. Push-button starters were novel until everyone else jumped on that band wagon, so they had to think of something more.

Mercedes needed to think out of the box, and what they came up with was briiiiilliant. They moved the ignition button from the dash to the gearstick (this put the button right in one’s hand). Then, they hooded the button with a hinged cover. To start the car, now, you flip the lid with your thumb, and press the ignition.

See what’s happening?  You are no longer starting a car, my friend.  You are launching a missile.

Changes the whole driving experience, doesn’t it!  This small detail maybe cost the manufacturer a couple hundred to engineer. And in light of the car’s opulence, it is miniscule – but wow – what a difference.

The smallest things can have the biggest impact.

It’s in the Details
I can’t help but compare this to life.  So often we look for big dramatic moments to justify our day.  We search exhaustingly for huge overtures to bring us joy.  We want king-size answers for our oversized problems – when really, like the SLR’s hinge, it’s those little details – the little moments that make a big difference.

What are your hinge moments?

Life Unhinged
While you think about that – can I just open up for a moment? I mean, you all are my friends (or you wouldn’t be sharing your valued time here on our humble little blog), so I can vent a little, right?

I’ve had a really tough month. Yeah, in some aspects, the last several weeks have been downright crappy (sometimes there’s just no other word). It’s the lupus, guys. Bad doctors. Immense pain.  Some days the pain has been so intense and so encompassing that the only parts of my body that have not hurt are my earlobes (hurray for healthy earlobes!). One day, I full-on passed out in the kitchen and was out for a few minutes before Ashley came to my rescue. Got a knot on my forehead the size of Rhode Island (it actually improved my profile! You think I’m kidding).

Question:  What does an uber-active, queen of multi-tasking, take-charge gal supposed to do when she’s trapped in weeks of health yo-yos, crippling pain, and a small list of other stressful and disappointing matters?

Answer: Don’t search for the huge and fantastic to rescue the day. Focus on the hinge moments.

Hinge Moments
Moments that turn everything around and propel ordinary days into something pretty extraordinary.  Here are just a few that I remember.

My son, Landon, calling me to the front door as he is leaving for school, “Mom, you’ve gotta see this beautiful sunrise!” We watch it together.

A morning kiss and “I love you” from my hubby.

Out-of-the-blue text from a good friend saying, “Thinking of you!”

Family offering late night help in setting up 15’x15′ canvas on a wall so I can sketch an Arc de Triumph (for a Paris-themed Prom I am decorating).

Ashley playing music while I sketch.

Landon telling jokes.

Connor texting from school, “Finished my art project. Take a look!” and sharing the picture.

Birds singing in my yard all day yesterday.

Helping a friend with a problem.

Cheering for my boys at their track meet.

Missionary daughter, Lauren, finding added courage.

Being able to vent to my hubby and receive comforting advise.

Laughing histerically in the middle of family prayer.

Singing Opera (soprano) contests in the car (Connor wins every time).

Completing 2 murals, 7 signs, and 9 awnings for the French Prom.

Family being so used to the house turned into an art studio that they don’t mention paper awnings over the front door and in the hallway. It’s just normal life around here.

Pink sunsets. Flowers growing through sidewalk cracks. Pancakes for dinner. Car with gas.

Hand-in-hand walks with my sweetheart.

Family dinner at the table, from loud and boisterously sharing our day to philosophical insights together.

A visit from my mom and brother.

A son saying, “Mom, you need a hug,” and nestling into open arms.

Late night movies.  Heart-to-heart talks.

My daughter, Ashley tucking me in and kissing me goodnight.

Praying and receiving an answer.

Hinge moments.  Life’s little details that change everything and ignite the day.  Instants that turn ho-hum into happy, frustration into fun, and pain into productivity and remind us that love is still the greatest possession and the future is nothing to fear.  You’ve had them.  We all have.

“You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.”
Andy Warhol

Campbell Soup Cans by Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art, New York

Campbell Soup Cans by Andy Warhol
Museum of Modern Art, New York

Art in the Ordinary
Sound advice from a guy who made millions painting Campbell Soup cans. Andy Warhol started out as a commercial illustrator, but when he began silkscreening, he focused on something from every day life – soup.  He created 32 separate Campbell Soup Cans on canvas and showed the work in his first one-man gallery exhibition as a fine artist in Los Angeles in 1962.

His vision of focusing on the ordinary was ground-breaking.  The Campbell Soup Can art pushed aside Abstract Expressionism to usher in the Pop Art Movement, and made Warhol the highest priced living American artist.  What a hinge moment!

Hinge moments: small decisions that altar your future, or simply giving value to the unadorned of life.  Such moments wont always pan out monetarily as in Warhol’s case, but the more you see wealth in the ordinary, the richer your day will be.

That is what I found these past few weeks.  SLR days.

I may have felt lousy, physically.  Emotionally, some things came as a blow.  Stress was not in short supply.  But when I changed my focus to the small details – my days took on a whole new energy.  Hinge moments remind you of the treasures surrounding you.  Your home.  Your peace of mind.  Your health (or what health you have left).  Don’t overlook them or under-appreciate them.  It’s the little moments that make life a big adventure.

“Find magic in the little things, and the big things you always expected will start to show up.”

They are starting to put ads on our blog. We do not approve these and are not getting any residuals whatsoever, so I apologize for the content. I’ll see what I can do about it.


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