Weekly Photo Challenge

The Perfect Day (Photo Challenge: Achievement)



When I woke up yesterday, I knew it was going to be perfect. For one, I’d just finished getting an entire eight hours of sleep after accumulating a little less than that the two previous nights. I slept like the dead despite the fact that we now have a German Shorthaired Pointer in our bed because he thinks it’s too cold to snooze outside.

Meet Cleve. He’s so shy…

So, when I woke refreshed, I had baking, cooking and writing on the brain. Just the notion of puttering around the house for an entire day put a huge smile on my face. The plan was to make two pots of soup, bake something pumpkin and then spend the rest of the afternoon at a desk finishing my 50K manuscript–only 12K to go!

By the time I’d chopped up an onion and roasted the baby Idaho blue and red potatoes, I was completely in heaven and humming happy tunes like Betty Crocker. The methodical motion of mincing, roasting home-grown veggies and tossing everything with olive oil and garlic makes me smiley and warm all over.

And hungry!


About mid-morning (and two recipes in), I knew plans were about to change. It was about that time that BD started hinting about cutting wood. It wasn’t a surprise as we’ve been discussing four trees that have needed to come down for quite a while.  And if you’ve read this blog for any period of time, you probably already know that I love my chainsaw and look for opportunities to use it.

It just wasn’t in my plans for the day. This day. MY day.

I was able to stall him for a bit (with food, duh!). But when his itinerary became a bit more concrete and vocal, I started to whine about all of the things I had planned for me, myself and I. My selfish tendencies were starting to rear their ugly heads like Medusa and it reeked of self-indulgence…and powdered sugar.

Fortunately, I’ve learned to listen to BD over the last twenty-seven years and it usually only takes a moment to right my ship.

He’s also very persuasive.


So, it wasn’t long after lunch that we were bundled up in Carhart brown, boots and ear muffs to continue with the age-old Terry family tradition he introduced to me when we were first dating. He invited his parents over and we made it a family event minus my girl away at college.

The way to my man’s heart is not always with food and hooker heels, but through manual labor, a good attitude and a pair of too-big overalls paired with a genuine smile.

He thinks my chainsaw is sexy.

The project took most of the afternoon as we cut and sawed and hauled wood and debris to the huge burn pile that had been accumulating all summer. My pyro-son was in charge of the bonfire and we fed the flames for a good four hours. The embers were still there this morning despite a dusting of snow late last night. The fire became our respite when our muscles got a little sore, needed a drink and when Tanna called for my chicken noodle recipe.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yesterday’s simple gift was so beautiful that when I wasn’t sawing or stacking or taking orders, my camera was out and snapping. Something about achy muscles, the scent of the outdoors and moving forward when it would have been easier to sit at a desk filled my soul with a sense of accomplishment and flooded my brain with the words I would use to write about it later.



Being outside with my family did more for my writing than sitting down with a thesaurus and looking out the window ever could have. Two surgeries in the last five months forced me away from a normally very active lifestyle and I was starting to get depressed. There’s only so much good you can do at the gym and it was curative to achieve something worthwhile with a huge pile of wood left to show for it.


Simple and quality time with people I love is a reminder of what’s important. Life is never just about me and thank goodness I have a family who still loves me even on the days that I think it is.




82 thoughts on “The Perfect Day (Photo Challenge: Achievement)

  1. Reblogged this on Ps and Qs: Photography, Poetry and Quiet and commented:

    Hey everyone!
    Just a quick note to let you know that my weekend photos are housed over on my main MamaMick site today (reblogged below). In fact, I decided (with Christy’s help) to phase out Ps an Qs and put everything all in one spot. As always, thank you for taking the time to stop and share my side of the camera lens. You are always welcome to come visit me at MamaMick. Michelle


  2. I remember having to gather the wood for the stoves every year and being told it was a boy’s job to go actually cut the trees down. That was not fun; I wanted to do the work from start to finish (I was nuts, I suppose).

    Looks like it was a perfect day for it. Great pictures and storytelling 🙂


    1. Not nuts at all! I teased the boys that the only reason they bring me along was to haul the wood. It was the very reason I asked for a chainsaw for Christmas last year 😉
      Thanks for stopping, Sheena…I’m so behind on my reading. Kudos to you folks that are keeping up with the daily posting!!


  3. i love this!
    i cannot express how completely foreign everything in this post was to me….the cooking, the chainsaws, cutting your own wood, the novel…LOL. It felt like I was in a book, a wonderful, sweet book full of grace.
    You definitely took me on a ride and I imagined it as i read…
    thanks for that


    1. Oh Michele,
      You always find a way to make my day.
      “It felt like I was in a book, a wonderful, sweet book full of grace.” Sigh…..thank you!

      You remind me a lot of my best friend who will often say, “I just don’t know how you and I are best friends.” She sent me a text message late yesterday after I told her what I’d been doing. She thinks I’m a foreigner, too 🙂
      Now…I’m off to get caught up on your daily posts!!


  4. So many things I love about the post.

    First, your picture at the top is dreamy! I think it might be your main blog page picture. .. I can’t tell because I’m on my phone but regardless. .. it’s magical!

    Second, the poses your sweet dog is in in both pictures really brought home your comment about him being shy 😉

    Third, I love seeing and reading that you had a gift filled day. Outdoor labor, soup, family, fire and something pumpkin sound heavenly! !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi MM!
      I loved what you extracted from the post 🙂
      That blue, rusty trailer has been in this family a LONG time. I can’t believe I hadn’t photographed it until yesterday. Cleve says thank you and I say thank you for always taking the time to stop and read my ramblings.
      *Sending virtual pumpkin toffee cupcakes your direction.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The scent of the outdoors, sawdust, the bonfire . . . these are things I dream of but have never experienced in my current landscape. Makes me pine for simple pleasures. Life seemed to have stood still for you yesterday. What a gift.
    Also, I can’t get the chevy pick-up truck out of my head. The colors in that photo are gorgeous!


    1. Hello friend!
      I was just thinking about you yesterday! I must get caught up reading over on your site.
      Thank you for the kind words and for seeing the same gift of stillness I saw. It truly was a gorgeous day 🙂


  6. That looks like a lot of hard work, Michelle, and so much fun! The pictures are so full of life they make me want to come live with you for a bit! 🙂
    Btw, chainsaws used to remind me of Dexter. But no more. I’m kinda liking them right now. And I love Cleve! He’s adorable! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Next time I’m hauling my ass out of bed and hauling some wood with ya!
        Photography is getting better. I have finally figured out the aperture and shutter speed. Need a lot more practice, though!


      2. Aperture and shutter speed?
        Girlie…you are way ahead of me! I try to read and learn and get easily flustered with the techy stuff. I’m truly someone who needs to be shown. Kudos to you for hanging in…perhaps I need a consultation 😉


  7. The stand out word in this post: the qualifying “always” in the sentence about hooker heels and food. I am imagining some marriage of all three (hooker heels, food, chainsaws) and belly laughing in the nail salon!

    What a marvelous, dare I say miraculous, day, and you have made my day better by sharing it! Next up: sharing the recipes 🙂


    1. Hooker heels, food and chainsaws…you may have just noted my husband’s holy trinity 😉
      So glad this helped lighten your day…I loved that you laughed in the nail salon. My work here is done.

      OMG..have I wished you a happy birthday yet? Crap! It just popped into my head! Happy Belated birthday Josie!!


  8. Those are amazing photos Mama. And what a sexy chainsaw you have there lady – whew! The pics so tell the story of Fall – it just feels like i’m standing there watching.

    Thanks for the great post Mama.


    1. Paul – I literally have 4-5 windows open on my computer with all your guest posts that I need to finish reading, commenting on and / or read from scratch. I can’t keep up…but promise to get to them!

      The other Paul


    1. 60s in AZ is divine! Your warm, fuzzy sweaters will get some use after all.
      Thank you for your kind words…the perfection of yesterday has spilled over into this one. You are so right! Best laid plans are often best way-laid 😉
      I hope you had a great weekend with your little sweeties! xo

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thank you, my friend!
      Your sister sounds fantastic! I’m still learning to rock that LBD–hopefully, I can still walk in heels by the time I figure it out 😉
      I hope you had a fantastic weekend.


  9. Chainsaw Cha Cha Recipe

    Put adrenal and endorphins together, mix well.
    Sift memories and gatherings until fine.
    Bring to a good sweat and feel the energy flow.
    Put into fire and when the heart rises and the feeling of accomplishment is felt, serve with a smile and a layer of love on top.
    Goes well with cute hunks flashing biceps on the side 😀

    Serving size: As much as you wish.
    Use by Date: Forever.


      1. Yes thank you Michelle, all spring and sunshine. (I bolded the ‘Chainsaw Cha Cha Recipe’ title bit but it all seems to have come up bold. Remove the tags if you wish, it’s feels a bit loud 🙂
        I’m going for a walk next to the lake, it’s a magic day outside. Have a great day too!


  10. Take time to sharpen the saw…
    So ironic that chainsawing (is that a word? well it is now.) allowed you to sharpen your writing jigsaw.
    Beautiful pix! Cleve ❤
    Only 12K to go?! Yay you!
    And yay you to merging. It's hard to separate the photog and writer when both are so integral to YOU. They feed each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey cutie!
      Thanks for stopping by…Cleve says hey! Or, he would, if he was able to lift his head off the couch 🙂
      Thank you for the suggestion/nudge to merge the two sites. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and just needed somebody I respected (and adored) to give me an opinion. Now…If only I would have asked your advice before renewing the domain for another year 😉
      I hope you had a great weekend, Christy. It’s almost WD time!


  11. Ha! I think my man is more impressed with me when I participate in manual labor with him. Weird thing is, I actually enjoy it. A few years ago, we had to cut up and haul away a tree in the front yard and I helped him do it. The neighbors all thought I was crazy and that he was mean for making me help. They didn’t understand, I wanted to! Glad to see there’s someone else like me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sheri,
      It’s fun to do something like that together, right? We have solved more arguments (or warded them off before they started) with some good old-fashioned manual labor. Great for winter’s cabin fever, too.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to stop and comment. You are welcome to stop by any time.


  12. I am SO impressed by you – in every way. 12K words to go? I just hit the half-way mark today (a day late). And you can handle a chain saw? DAMN!!

    P.S. What the hell happened to the front of that truck?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mary!
      Congrats on your half-way mark. I’m eager to hear about it. I’m starting to fizzle and hope for enough content to finish.
      I asked my husband about the chevy. He said his dad bought it that way years and years ago (was in the family before i showed up). He said the cab was removed and the frame bent to make it a trailer. All I know is that it’s hauled a lot of wood and made for a very photogenic subject.
      I always love hearing from you, Mary. Happy writing!!


  13. Josie and I are very much like twins and it showed up again when she honed in on the phrase I was going to mention – hooker heels and food…lol.

    anyway, I have my gushing machine in full tilt again over this and your attitude and life and your pics. You certainly do amaze me with your wide stance of love and acceptance and sponteniety. I really can’t imagine you stamping your feet in annoyance, although being human and all, you probably do. i just don’t see it lasting long, and you’d probably write a killer post about what you learned about it….on the way to a baseball game, after having made a gourmet dinner for 15, just before building a barn from scratch and documenting it in award-winning photo style.

    In other words, you rock my friend, and I too am in another world when i read your stuff. I am city through and through and all that fancy chopping you guys were doing seemed to be out of a groovy movie.

    Thank you for sharing this, as usual. Amazing.



  14. Those sidetracks that keep us from writing are sometimes just the thing our writing needs. It’s pouring rain – and I can’t wait to get in a round of disc golf. it’s the perfect remedy for two screens and thousands of words due in the coming days.

    I love your spirit in this, and soaking in the day as it presented itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This sounds like an absolutely wonderful day. But I do that too… I’ll get plans in my head… I won’t have told anyone about them… but when they begin to get changed by outside forces, depending on my mood, I can get grumpy about it. I’m so glad you embraced your chainsaw and made the most of the day though. AND took your camera. I love that blue truck bed! Happy winter!


    1. I’m so glad that I’m not the only who gets grumpy about it..it really only lasts for a little bit 🙂
      Thanks for your kind words and the comment on the Chevy–it was certainly a cooperative photo subject.
      I hope you are doing well, Marian. I always love hearing from you!


  16. I am so proud of Michelle & can happily say she is my daughter -law. Scott fell in love with a beautiful lady to join our family. We are blessed with Tanna & Dane . There isn’t enough good adjectives to describe her ,so I will just say “we love you Michelle”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marie,
      Your big heart and sweet words continue to bless me every day. I’m so lucky to have found you and your family when I did. I’ve felt like your daughter since Day 1.
      Love you!


  17. oh wow- your dog sleeping stretched out like that – well one of our lab sleeps like that too 🙂 – and we still crack up – all sprawled out. and I once saw on a blog where someone had a cat who slept like that and they called him “slutty kitty” – ha!

    anyhow, also really laughing at the food and hooker heels – and I have been meaning to drop by and visit all month = nice post to land on – that old truck – the wood slices – and you and your hubs in action – cool visuals.

    and whew – you must be really strong to use a chain saw like this – I have a small little ol’ one that i used for a few hedges and it is a workout – so I cannot imagine the muscle to hold and move that hearty one.
    ❤ ❤


    1. Ah yes, the “slutty kitty.” Taking the photo was challenging because I didn’t figure anyone wanted to see ALL of his man-parts. He obviously didn’t care!
      As for the chainsaw–I think it was made just for me. It’s lithium battery powered and therefore, lighter and not as dangerous as gas in that it shuts off the minute you do. My husband can wield them all with one hand. Like you, it’s workout enough with two hands. Three days later I see that the burn pile is still smoldering.
      As always, I love hearing from you Yvette. Hope you guys are doing well!


  18. Thanks for bringing us along on this perfect family day wake-up, Michelle. Your sweet, lyrical writing is as restorative to me as the cut-’em-up afternoon with your chain saw and loved one was to you.

    And there was food at the end? Hot diggety.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Mark!
      You are so sweet to stop by and provide the kind words. Yes..it was a great day and we are still eating the leftovers. Apparently, I thought an army was coming over for dinner 😉


  19. Thank you for the Truth of this, Michelle:

    “Life is never just about me and thank goodness I have a family who still loves me even on the days that I think it is.”

    And thank you for letting me know that I was held in heart as you cooked, nested and chopped.

    What a blessing to be there!!

    With heart & friendship,

    P.S. Truth wins!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dani,
      You (WE) need a t-shirt with “Truth Wins” in pretty curlicue. I certainly did hold you there as I always do.
      As always, I love seeing you over here and treasure the kind words you bless me with.


  20. This time of year I usually reflect on the 7:00 am wake up calls from my father on Saturday morning. Time to spend the first half the day getting firewood. I wasn’t always crazy about it at the time but I really miss it now. Nice post!


    1. Ah, yes…7 am. firewood runs. My dad didn’t chop wood (much), but he wasn’t afraid to ask for help digging snow and ice out of the cow troughs. Funny…I miss those days, too.
      As always, I appreciate that you read and comment, Scott. I hope that you and your family are doing well.


  21. I am so jealous of your piles, Michelle (wood piles). There truly is something theraputic and life affirming about the feeling of putting in a good day of physical labor — especially as a family. I’m so glad to see you are able to enjoy that process again.

    And yeah, your husband looks pretty persuasive… 😉


    1. Hi Ned!
      Always great to see you here. I will forever prefer wood piles to laundry piles (and dog piles). And yes, the husby has always been persuasive–he’s been talking me into things for twenty-seven years 🙂
      I hope you’re doing well–thank you again for letting me feature your story on here (Monday) while I try to grind out the last 10K of my manuscript. The last few chapters are killing me!!
      Have a great Friday…I will be heading over to your site later today for a much needed NWOW!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, wood piles will always win out over just about any other piles I can think of. Accept maybe for a pile of cash, but with my luck it would all be $1 bills. I’m so excited to hear you are closing in on your manuscript. I know the last chapters are a challenge. It’s like the last few meters in a marathon; you can see the finish but your legs feel like logs. Hey! There’s that wood reference again!

        Anyway, remember the distance you’ve already covered and how good it’s going to feel to cross the finish. Just try not to trip over a piece of firewood.

        Enjoy the day, Michelle, and the nice warm fire 😉


      2. I don’t even want to ask why your pile of cash would be $1 bils 😉

        Great analogy with the marathon and the loggy limbs. It’s been a great experience, but a person gets all wiggly-brained and goofy in that space. In all honesty, I was a bit horrified when I reread my wood post this morning. In letting go of perfectionism in the first draft of the manuscript, it look liked that carried over to my blog post as it could have used more editing for sure! It’s obvious that I didn’t read it out loud either (still one of the best pieces of advice you’ve given me).
        Oh well–just another lesson learned…thou shalt not hit publish while under the influence of NaNoWriMo!!

        Thank you again for taking the time to stop and read. Hope you are recovering and feeling well!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Do you really need to ask? And just to be clear, I received those $1 bills, they aren’t for use at a later date 😉

        And I thought your post was appropriately from the hip. It wasn’t polished silver and shouldn’t have been. It felt real and “in the moment.” Plus the photos were a lot of fun. Love your dog, too!

        Thanks for the pood wishes and you’re in my thoughts down your final stretch 😉


  22. Love this, Mickey. Good, gracious wife you are (need lessons from you). Lovely shots; I love how you brought out the beauty of such simple things like wood. My husband’s cut a tree with a team – spent all day. Your man’s a hunk-a-dunk-a (how could you say no to him??) LOL. I’m glad you prolly slept well that night, too!



    1. Mornin’ Diana!
      Love LOVE hearing from you! I’ve been a bad WordPress friend this week and am afraid that I’ve missed reading some of your stuff. You are always so kind and encouraging and funny–a much needed huge smile at the end of a long week.
      I do love photographing simple things–I think it’s a metaphor for my brain…simple 🙂
      Hope you and the family are doing well and I plan to get all caught up on reading next week.

      PS: I love that you think hubby is a hunk. I think he is, too 😉


      1. Omg PLEASE. Let us not add GUILT (tied to MY blog) to your plate, No obligation to “catch up” here. Just take care of your things.

        Look, I mean it.
        Here. Here’s a PASS. *slips paper in hand*


      2. No guilt whatsoever! I love reading you…it’s like my cup of tea on a cold day. AND, I’m in dire need for some tea (and Diana!).
        Thank you for the pass though–may I apply to laundry?


      1. ohhh

        so lemme git this straight: he calls you a ROOSTER????


        i am thinking of ALL kinds of double entendre not nice things to say about that!!!!!

        you should tell him that woke up the “momgoose” that kills snakes!!


    1. It’s Nadia! Hello, my love!
      I’m sipping on a pumpkin pie meal-replacer right now.
      (I know, it sounds better in theory).
      So great to hear from you, my friend. I still love that I have your story sitting on my site. xo

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome, Mike!
      What is it about dead trees? That said, I have hundreds of pictures of live ones, too!
      I popped over to your site and am completely intrigued. I’ll be back over to check you out, too. I’ve never been to Spain and would love to see it through a writer’s eyes. Thank you so much for stopping and following!


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