I hope you liked the pictures. I plan to take some more soon, especially of the way the flowers near the front porch turned out this year. I need to trim the hedges out front before taking a picture but we are in the midst of a few days of (much needed) rainfall.
Many thanks for the comments and e-mails about the latest homeschooling post. I will always be thankful we decided to homeschool Christopher after a couple of difficult public school years (and their unwillingness to do anything but drug him for the ADHD symptoms). It has been a great experience.
Not perfect, though...by any means. Into the homeschooling soup we had Christopher's severe ADHD symptoms, his dad's physical and emotional challenges, major financial reversals, multiple moves, and my own development of a chronic illness. Life happens in the midst of imperfections.
It would have been easier if we didn't have all the challenges but then again...I can't complain about the results. I think many of Christopher's good character points (and those of his older sister) have come about because they did have to go through pretty severe trials when young. They both have seen miraculous answers to prayer, as well as the benefits of never giving up when life becomes difficult.
As I look back, it is not in spite of the various trials that I care so much about living a life surrounded by beauty ...literature, music, art, great food, flowers, taking tea, etc. It is because of the trials. By choosing to surround myself with beauty, I was able to handle the circumstances that were out of my control a little better.
Life isn't perfect...far from it. This isn't Heaven, yet. However, we can choose to become depressed and bitter or we can choose...beauty. It doesn't have to cost much, for a life of simplicity can be quite freeing of those things which drag us down financially. As long as we stop to enjoy what we have and not always be thinking of our next purchase (which can be a challenge whether we shop at Macy's or Goodwill), then we have peace as we learn to find fulfillment with less. That doesn't mean the "less" can't be wonderful. Far from it, if we are going to have less in our homes then I would hope what we do choose is something of beauty and value...and not disposable. (Well, except my camera.)
UP's comment in another post, talking about his mom finding comfort from her mental illness by baking in her kitchen, reminded me of my sister's mother-in-law when I was growing up (remembering that most of my brothers and sisters are old enough to be my parents!). She had a small kitchen that overlooked her backyard and the forest area behind it. Every time my mom and I would visit her, we would find her with her apron on and making something wonderful in that small kitchen. She reminded me a lot of Aunt Bee on the old Andy Griffith show. I know her circumstances were not the best but her home was always filled with good smells, tasty treats, and a clutter free environment that was so peaceful.
We are creative because we are created in the image of God...who creates. I think He has to absolutely love to create. He didn't have to make food with flavors that not only taste good alone but become spectacular when mixed together. He didn't have to create flowers of all colors and designs. He didn't have to make puppies, or kittens, or horses, or the duck billed platypus (which I think is truly proof that God has a sense of humor). I'm glad he decided we would have sunrises and sunsets...for we didn't have to have colors like that. Not to mention the four different seasons for those of us who live in such environments.
No, beauty was His idea...in the midst of trials...in the midst of darkness...in the midst of a fallen world.