I just had lunch with a dear friend and lamented how many projects and loose ends taunt me as fall shifts into gear and winter is pressing on the gas. My internal perfectionism button bobs to High Danger levels when I run through my unfinished-from-summer list. The deck. The weeds. The next book. The garage. The landscape lights. The closets. The trees. The deck. The weeds. The next book. The garage. The landscape lights. The closets. The trees.

Arghhhhhh…as my friend Ray used to kid about rogue bugs, “Kill it before it reproduces.” Some days I need to kill my wildly colliding to-do lists and my penchant for project perfectionism. I find it hard to start a project if I know I can’t finish it with an A grade and on my ideal timetable. Stop. It’s time for a plain and simple lesson from my 4-year-old neighbor, Brently.

“Hey, Aryabelle, Ayrabelleeeeeeee!” Brently called to the pupster and I as we walked past Brently’s house the other day. I was focused on getting Ayrabelle to the park so she could do her business and I could get back to mine. But the sweet voice of Brently was too much to resist. Bellie and I paused and waited. Brently bolted out the front door and scurried across the lawn.

“Aryabelle, oh, Ayrabelleeeeeeee!” Brently chirped, opening her arms wide as she could to hug Bellie’s thick collar. Let the giggles begin. Put the world on hold.

Brently, who used to be so afraid of my gregarious, prancing puppy, was now in seventh heaven playing with my Divine Miss A. Hug. Kiss. Squeal. Brently in her swirling white play dress and Bellie in her fluffy collie coat. Brently confessed she had just eaten a few chicken nuggets and left the dinner table so she could wait and watch for Bellie and Beth. The girl gave up tender, deep-fried white meat just for us!

Ahhhh…talk about a reminder to let go of my adult-sized stressors for even just a few minutes. Giddy girl + happy hound = keeping life plain and simple.

Most days our lengthy list of to-dos needs to loosen up with some unplanned, unpolished moments to absorb simple moments with a childlike perspective. Hug. Kiss. Squeal.

Wanna join us for a walk past Brently’s?

“…a plain and simple life is a full life.” Proverbs 13:7, The Message