About — Mostly Beautiful Things by Elizabeth Speth

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” — Fred Rogers

Life is an ugly mess. I mean, it can be. Everywhere you look, there is poverty, avarice, cruelty. Natural disaster. Sustained suffering. Loneliness. Children sometimes die before their parents. I don’t have everything I want. Maybe you don’t have anything you want. See what I mean? Don’t you feel terrible after reading this paragraph?

There is hope for us, though, in perspective. As Jose N. Harris said:

“Some people live in a bitter, angry, hate-filled world.
Some people live in a friendly, caring, love-filled world.
Same world…”

For me, the key to finding happiness in the maze of muck outlined above is gratitude. And for me, the key to gratitude is finding beauty. In everything.

For instance, I am a manure manager. Forget about my actual profession. What I actually spend the most time doing in my life is managing waste. I have four dogs, five horses, three cats, and three grown children whose bowel habits were once my daily concern. I know from poop.

But some of the most beautiful moments of my daily existence are in the transition hours of sunrise and sunset, when the horse manure scooping business is booming. Whether I like it or not, every day, I am out there watching Mother Nature’s creations stir and wake, or settle for slumber.   The birds are talking.  The flowers opening or closing, the hunters setting out to hunt.  The sun is either climbing or descending a horizon, playing all manner of wacky games with light and shadows… What a gift. Thanks, excrement!

Even in the worst disasters, the most wide-spread suffering and pain, you will always find people who are helping. Those are the beauty. This blog is my gratitude journal. A list of beautiful things in this mostly beautiful life. Horseback rides, wildflowers in the yard, beautiful meals, a strong, hot cup of tea, a thought-provoking book or quote, fabulous puns — everything is fair game. If we can keep our perspectives straight.

I hope it helps. I want to be one of the helpers.


Elizabeth Speth lives in northern California. By day she works as a physician recruiter to pay her hay bills. The rest of the time she is wandering the hillsides on hoof or on foot, seeking out wildflowers and other beautiful things. She is an avid cook, cyclist, gardener, reader, knitter, cocktail drinker and then invariably napper.

2 thoughts on “About — Mostly Beautiful Things by Elizabeth Speth

  1. E, you are the most beautiful writer. It is your gift and God’s chosen way of making you the helper you want to be. Our recent textual conversation excluded I have enjoyed everything you have ever written, it speaks to my soul. You have a visionary soul and I so appreciate the part you have played in my life although I wish it had been a longer engagement. Blessings to you and your family.


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