Whatever Is Worth Doing…

“In truth, whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.” —Lord Chesterfield

That quote is the first thing that popped into my mind when I happened upon this mud-encrusted truck. Covered from top to bottom, bumper to bumper, no square inch was left uncovered. Clearly the driver poured his or her heart into the task as they enjoyed an off-road adventure!


Big or small, commonplace or unusual, each new day presents us with the opportunity to do things: sing a lullaby, fix a squeaky door, write a book, wash windows, run for public office, pull weeds, save a life, bake bread, volunteer at the soup kitchen, grocery shop, or pump gas.


What was the last task you poured your heart into?

© lauriebuchanan.com

73 thoughts on “Whatever Is Worth Doing…

  1. A blog I just wrote! Laurie, I so agree with you. Whatever we’re doing, when we do it with our whole heart and soul, it just shines. Like this post you just wrote!

  2. I tried to get my ex boyfriend back, because it wasn’t our “fault” that we split. I poured my heart in it, and failed. But today, I don’t regret that I tried. I can look back and say, I really tried.
    Lovely post!!

  3. You really want to know, Laurie? Well, here goes. I fully acknowledged for 3 days the immense losses I have had, allowing the tears to pour forth without restraint. So much of our culture enforces the policy of not fully embracing the grieving process, but to get on with life. I just chucked my heritage I was given of “stiff upper lip” and cried until I could cry no more. And so this is what I did. And now my Heart is freer. Love, Amy

  4. Making a huge card with gift cards attached for a friend who was just diagnosed with breast cancer and started treatment. We wanted to get her gift cards from many places she could stop at on her way to and from treatment to pick up food for her family, buy a book, fill her gas tank etc. Was a bit of driving but was so happy with the result.

  5. That’s something I’m trying really hard to teach my 12 year old son right now! Think it’s going to be a looooong lesson, lol!

  6. My sisters and I are pouring our heart and soul into assigning another life to Mother’s possessions. We are trying to look at it as a labor of love though it is taxing both emotionally and physically.

    This past June when Mom was still alive, we took her car through the car wash twice because there was caked on winter dirt. Even then it didn’t come clean, and so I had to use a sponge and detergent to get it squeaky clean finally. Heart – soul – muscle – grit, it took everything!

  7. Amazing that the lights and windows are so shiny and clean while the rest of the truck is so uniformly mud-encrusted! Now that my power has come back on from the terrible storm we experienced during the early morning hours, I am ready to go and pour my heart into about 10 cut flower arrangements I have to do for an Event tomorrow. No drudgery here, just determination! Have yourself a Fine Day, Laurie!

  8. You’re right, Laurie. Even the smallest thing. Sometimes just smiling when you’re not feeling a hundred per cent can be a lot of effort but it’s worth doing and doing well…

  9. Pumpkin Soup. My example is simple today. I’ve never made pumpkin soup from scratch. Fall was in the air last week so I went to a local farm market and bought 2 small pie pumpkins. While I was there bought 2 pairs of handmade pot holders (made by Jean according to the pinned note in a neighboring town) in beautiful fall materials. Gifted one set.
    Pot holders no connection to the soup just like contributing in small ways to local economy.
    What was new to me was puree’g the pumpkin. So simple don’t know why I never did it before. Roasting the cut pieces of pumpkin; removing the skin blending the pumpkin and ta da puree!
    Then using organic ingredients proceeded to make the soup.
    Yield 2.5 pints of soup from one small $1.49 pumpkin.
    My next cooking project .. preparing Rosemary Vanilla Chicken with vanilla bean seeds and chicken thighs.

  10. I’ve never posted 2x before on one blog. And I was inspired by Marian Beaman’s post to add a note about a heart project our family has taken on. We are on a final journey with my mom and now with hospice at her home. We started with a normal fall cleaning. Then one sister (1of 12 sibs) decided we needed to clear and paint mom’s bedroom (to make it cheerful as well as create room for an eventual hospital bed) then new carpet was added. Several brothers worked together on the painting. It goes on and on. Creating extra sleeping space in a back room for coming over nights. Moving all mom’s paper items into a middle bedroom converted into an “office”; youngest sister painted that one. The house becomes the vehicle for the final trip and we are bringing time, treasure, and lots of heart to its preparation.
    It gifts us too with something to do when we have no control over the central matter.

    • Audrey — I love, absolutely love, what you’ve shared here. To know that each of you is contributing to “…the vehicle for the final trip…” What a blessing you and your siblings are to your mother.

  11. I pour myself into just about everything I do, Laurie. Except for the other day, I was doing something and noticed myself wanting to cut corners, move on, do something different. This vibe so didn’t register well in me, that it forced me to STOP, reevaluate and apply more Presence to the task at hand. . .I later realized from this observation how absent I’ve been much of my life.

  12. I’d like to think that I’m a conscience type of person . I wouldn’t say that I always get it right , in fact , I can beat myself up on a regular basis for getting it wrong but I always put my heart and soul into most things .
    At the moment I seem to be doing nothing but cleaning cars , vans, workshops , half houses , rented cottages and myself . So at the end of my day I am pouring myself well and truly into bed .

    • Cherry — It’s been said that we learn from our mistakes. If that’s the case, than you and I are both brilliant! 🙂

      You made me laugh when you said you are pouring yourself well and truly into bed. Rest well and recharge your personal battery.

  13. I wouldn’t like to have to wash that truck! I’ve just completed my Teaching IELTS course this morning. I spent about 4 hours on the last assignment, so I think I did pour my heart and soul into it!

  14. Thank you for this photo, Laurie. So many trucker drivers seem to be scared of getting their trucks dirty, these days. Clearly this one didn’t. And I’d pat them on the back if I knew them.

    What did I put my heart into, lately? (And by that I think you mean, going over and above my usual level of dedication.)
    Pruning my blackberry bush.
    After I was done, my husband told me that now it looks like we don’t have a blackberry bush. But I pointed out that “they” say you need to cut all the old wood off.
    So far, under my care, we’ve had harvest after harvest of blackberries. Fingers crossed that this continues. : )

  15. Hi Laurie,

    Like most here – I give my attention to whatever I am doing. 6:41am here, I just made a cup of coffee, and have checked the morning emails, and this is the first one I am responding to.

    Last evening I planted 18 raspberry plants that a friend dropped off Monday (some he cleared out of his raspberry patch). I put them all into one of my covered gardens, which last year was about 1/4 raspberry but this year is totally devoted to raspberries. Dug a little hole, mixed in some compost in the base of the hole, then planted and tamped in each one individually. Then watered the lot well. Had to weed the area first – so it took a couple of hours, and my back let me know it had been working.

    Last night I spent about 40 minutes talking to daughter Jewelia, who is having a really tough time at present dealing with depression and loneliness and homesickness and questioning values (her own, society’s). My chest aches at her distress, and my inability to be able to fix it for her.

    Monday was for me just about the opposite of “if its worth doing its worth doing well”. I put out an update to my main computer system, and each time I did it I made a mistake in some small detail, but enough of a mistake to have to redo it. That happened 4 times. Each time the mistake was of a completely different nature – look closely at one aspect and something else messes up.

    Yesterday I had discussions with people on fisheries management, on cancer survival, on gardening, on life generally, on social and economic structures, on ethical structures, as well as software and business issues.
    I spent an hour or so in conversation with a local plumber who was given 2 weeks to live with cancer 40 years ago, and did the high dose vitamin and fresh veges thing. Amazing that medical practice still considers this quackery – while they happily cut away masses of perfectly good tissue with surgery that they consider “normal”. Weird !!!

    So often in life it is hard to strike that balance that allows us to maintain both a sufficiently broad view so as to be able to see all the important aspects of the systems under consideration, and at the same time to see in sufficient detail so as to be able to make the low level changes required to achieve the high level outcomes.

    Sometimes my head hurts from trying to hold all the aspects I see as important simultaneously.
    I know that our economic system is both anti-human and anti environment, yet I have not yet found a stable way to transition away from it. Close, but no banana yet.

    This morning I woke from a nightmare at 3:10, where I was in a suburban garden when I saw a lion (obviously escaped from a zoo), and the lion suddenly decided I was going to be dinner. Trying to solve that problem was enough to bring me to full consciousness, where I have remained.

    Seems to be quite a few metaphorical lions roaming around these days.

    • Ted — My heart is breaking for Miss Jewelia. That’s a very tough row to hoe. I don’t know if it would be helpful, or not, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to talk with a stranger about the wrinkles in the fabric of our life. Please feel free to pass along my email address (Laurie Buchanan at me dot com) if she’d like to write to me on the other side of the globe.

      Your nightmare sounds crappy, and the technological issues are right there neck-and-neck. Like the raspberry plants newly relocated to your covered garden, I hope that everything gets back to an even keel soon.

  16. Last task: 14 books read and reviewed in 15 days so IT Girl could go on vacation to Vietnam…..I did the job well…and read them all

    Here’s a little quote I heard this week which leads to a discussion of doing the job well and trying to do it Perfectly?

    ” Perfectionism is just fear in fancier shoes” Elizabeth Gilbert (Author of Eat Pray Love and The Signature of All Things)

  17. For the last three years I poured myself into writing, revising, publishing, and speaking related to my memoir Blush. Total immersion feels good. Daddy quoted Lord Chesterfield often. Doing it right is always the goal. Doing it with heart is the only way that feels right to me.

    • Shirley — I love the wisdom in your words:

      “Doing it with heart is the only way that feels right to me.”

      As a reader — and fan — of your memoir, Blush, I can say with certainty that you wrote it with heart, to touch hearts.

  18. I am pouring my heart and soul into packing up our belongings with love. Travel and adventure await us soon, but in the meantime, everything we own is being wrapped with tenderness and delivered to a storage cocoon…

  19. I love how you have opened up pouring our heart into something! Its a beautiful and powerful mantra for everything we do.
    Let’s experiment with pouring our heart into living each moment 🙂

    This morning I will when …. Making coffee, walking the dogs, going through email, writing a post, driving to the studio, teaching my yoga peeps, going to the store, being grateful for the life I am living …

    Pouring our heart evolves into a gratitude journal for life ❤
    Val x

  20. I so believe in this approach! I have been working on drafting organizational policies and procedures Laurie for a local organization. It is a long way from my paintbrush and canvas work but still something I enjoy doing and something one must work at to get it just right for a specific non-profit society.

  21. Well Laurie, the most recent impassioned endeavor was a trip over the weekend to Baltimore. We got to see pennant fever up front, though the American League East Champion Orioles ultimately were upset in a sweep by the upstart Kansas City Royals. The task was a glorious one all things told, as we got to spend some quality family time, taking in many places of interest, many recorded for posterity. There is nothing quite to match doing something with passionate intent. 🙂

  22. Clearly you are a mind reader… and a terrific inspiration for me, and clearly many people. Thank you. I doubt I would ever have looked at a mud-coated truck with such eyes. This is exactly what makes you special! xxoo

  23. I want to know where that truck has been! I’ve never seen that much mud on a car. I hope it was fun. 🙂 I think that my wholehearted effort goes into a lot of things I do for fun. We recently spent some time in Central California and while enjoying tours of places like Hearst Castle and some of the local wine country we returned and I jumped into reading more and learning more about the context, past and present, of where we’d toured. It extends my enthusiasm for a place because I’m still learning about it long after we come home. And then I move on to someplace else and do it again. So I guess throwing myself into research is energizing and to me, well worth doing. 🙂

  24. Love that truck; it reminds me of the way I’d ride my four-wheeler when I was in middle school: right through EVERY puddle, until the Smurf blue of the Yamaha was transformed to tawny. Now my passion, heart & soul goes into the environment – whether it’s a saguaro rescue, bat feeding or caterpillar rescuing.

  25. I love how you saw that truck, and instead of thinking, “gosh, that truck is dirty,” you thought, “the truck owner has put his heart and soul into that vehicle and the adventures surrounding it.” What a lesson in thinking “outside the box” in a writerly, lovingly way. I hope to open my eyes and put EVERTHING into how I view the world, and the people/creatures surrounding it.

  26. I loved this! It motivates me to keep on going. Metaphorically I’m feeling a bit like that old truck. LOL. But you gave me hope! Isn’t it cool when you can take a truck or a piece of furniture or an old attic and create something wonderful?
    I am working on my book right now so I guess that would be my project that I would contribute to this blog’s question. I have shared a few excerpts and even created a whole other blog to share the outline. But have edited and rewritten so much that I am not sure how much mud I have removed from the so called pages. I never really understood that it was going to take months let alone years to get this one running! LOL.

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