As Good as it Gets - Work and Love (#SmallWonder Link-up)

Yesterday afternoon, the setting sun tinted the fog a rosy pink and the trees, darkened by the rain, stood out stark against a backdrop of cotton candy.  It looked like a scene straight out of a fairytale. 

Today great gusts of wind work to sweep away the clouds, huffing and puffing along like a janitor behind a giant push broom.  In the wake of winter, in the snow’s receding, a day, a week, a month of yard work emerges. 

Two huge leaf-piles, abandoned where they lay last fall. 

Bushes to be pruned, old growth to be broken and tossed aside. 

There are a lot of carcasses too.  Decapitated birds surface and the skins of squirrels, their vital organs consumed.  Who knew we had so many predators, so much death lurking around while we and the ground are sleeping our way through winter?

Everyone I talk to is eager for Spring, ready for this long, cold winter to be over.  It was a hard winter, they say, but all I know is that last winter was so. much. harder. for us – this winter was a cake-walk in comparison. 

To be honest, when I look at spring, I see work. 

I see the need to re-oufit the kids in new sizes and weights of clothing – out with the corduroy and in with the denim.  I see the need for more than one pair of shoes each, so the inevitably mud-caked pair can be left in the aptly named mud room to dry for days before being clacked together like chalk-board erasers over the sidewalk.

The chicken coop needs repair, the porch needs to be washed, and the wood pile should be moved.  Did I mention the grass, the garden, the unfinished home improvement project we meant to wrap-up in winter that still straggles along? 

I could make a list as long and wide as the wind-swept sky and there’d be nothing fairytale-like about it.  Unless, of course, it included a fairy Godmother with a sparkling magic wand to make it all just disappear - now THAT would be something.  

Instead, though, I think I’ll join Laura Brown over at her new space, Makes You Mom, in listing twenty things I love:  
1. A tiny, perfect pinecone.

2. The sherbert-y concoction of blues, pinks and oranges in the impossibly soft quilt that covers my bed.

3. The inquisitive tilt of the dog’s ears as she puzzles over our family life.

4. The way clarity after a period of indecision settles everything into place, like a safe door swinging open when the right combination is spun.

5. Getting a great deal on a little luxury.

6. Feeling the vibration and listening to the rattly engine of my kitten’s purr.

7. Seeing the hearth after it’s swept clean of wood chips and ash.

8. Mindless work that requires focus, done in a calm, quiet setting.

9. Tending plants, walking into the “little house” to see that my Great-great Grandmother’s Christmas Cactus in bloom.

10. Spying the first signs of spring – the green buds poking out beneath a barren shrub, two blue birds flocking by the Holly bush.

11. Napping on the bare floor by the wood stove.

12. Letting my husband handle Sunday meals.

13. The churring sounds our big cat, Blackie, makes when looking for his little friend, Perfect.

14. The feeling of coming home.

15. Carb-y snacks.

16. Fresh fruit.

17. Laughter, humor, and irony.

18. Reading.

19. Dancing with the kids at the end of an animated movie.

20. New beginnings, new ideas.       

My husband and I were talking in the kitchen the other day about the likelihood that one of us would one day get Cancer and the unsettling fact that Alzheimers is America's number six killer - you know, typical end-of-winter, rainy-gray-day chit-chat.  

"So I guess this really is as good as it gets," I said and he agreed.

That line's stuck with me ever since - this is as good as it gets. 

This moment, right here, right now, with the yard work waiting, the children growing like loud, lanky weeds.  These stolen moments typing under my sherbert-y quilt, the kitten at my side.  These hours with the wind howling, the chickens foraging in the leaf pile, the dog smelling all of the good dead smells there are to be found in a yard laid bare of one season, open and waiting for the next.  

This is as good as it gets and, looking at it that way, I can see how the work and the things I love mingle together, almost inseparable, two lists made one in a swirling fog - love, presence, and attention to what is turning this gray world an almost magical shade of pink. 

*   *   *   *

Welcome to the #SmallWonder link-up.

What if we chose to deliberately look for the small moments of wonder, the small sparks of presence, of delight or sorrow, of true humanity in which we meet God? 

That's my proposal - that we might gather here each week to share one moment of Wonder from each of our days. 

You're invited to link-up a brief post of about five hundred words or less about a small moment of wonder.  Don't worry if your post is too long, too short, or not just right - you're welcome to come as you are.  

While you're here, please do take a look around and encourage at least one other blogger with a comment.   


  1. Your words make me breathe the most fullsome sighs...the phrases and way you capture life take my breath away. The list-making is brilliant, but this line really got me, "love, presence, and attention to what is turning this gray world an almost magical shade of pink."
    My daughter and I were each lamenting our way-behind-schedule lack of gardening (as in vegetables) this year. And it/they may just not happen--hers and mine....but it's a different season. We are each pouring life out elsewhere, mostly in people. And those investments are life long, eh?

    1. I'm finding lists are so simple, so un-overwhelming, they make a great entry-point. Yes, each season is different and it sounds like you're continuing to learn surrender to what is able to be done. And I'm learning too!

  2. Thank you for hosting, have a great week and may spring keep poking its head above the snow. Blessings

  3. Kelly, this spoke deeply to my heart this morning. "This is as good as it gets.' May I remember to enjoy and embrace today, this now moment, for it is the only moment I am guaranteed. May I remember how precious each day is & how my life is truly brief. It is always good to be here & to embrace the small wonders before us!

    1. I know, in some ways I think that statement could sound cynical, but really I find it to be so affirming, so real. Thanks so much for your presence here each week!

    2. I know, in some ways I think that statement could sound cynical, but really I find it to be so affirming, so real. Thanks so much for your presence here each week!

  4. I love your list. Sometimes the stopping and seeing brings beauty back into our life. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Exactly! And lists are such a simple way to do it.

  5. Yard work is emerging quickly in my space too. Hand in hand with allergies. :) What a beautiful list of 20 things, Kelly. We learn a lot of sweet things about you from it.

    1. Oh my - allergies - I had tears streaming down my face yesterday from them and a dripping nose. Thanks for being here, Lisa.

  6. Kelly, I love coming to your blog, and that's because your writing is like a poem, yet it tells a real life story (not an abstract one). There is something so holy in embracing the moment that we're in, whether we're surrounded by work, play, barren ground, or a field of wild flowers!

    1. I'm so grateful for your encouragement, Laura. Thank you for being here.

  7. I feel the weightiness of these words, Kelly - "This is as good as it gets" - and the tension of all that remains unfinished and sometimes broken or painful, hard. There is a release in being able to recognize the sacred beauty in these moments, in these seasons, and in staying our hearts right there, instead of on nostalgia or on some elusive day in the future when all 'this' will be better. I love how elegantly you move through hard truths in your words and stories, not shying away from them, but letting them color your writing. This is a gift, friend.