|Beauty is found when we are looking for it...|
I love viewing my home as a canvas on which to paint except the mediums used tend to be antiques and artwork and books and English china and fluffy pillows and rocking chairs and photos of those I love.
It wasn't always that way. In the earlier years of our marriage, we lived in rented houses or apartments. I always figured we would be moving soon so why invest time and money into a place. But as time progressed, I realized it was possible to decorate in such a way that when we did move, it could all come with us... so why let time pass without creating beauty in the home?
Now after decades of marriage, so much of what surrounds me each day has been carefully chosen to create an atmosphere that says home. While I enjoy visiting other places, whether a week at Colonial Williamsburg or a couple of hours at my favorite coffee shop... it is home that inspires and brings joy in an uncertain world.
It is that way because I decided to make it my canvas, a source of creativity and "art". I have learned to choose beauty, to look for it as one seeks a rare treasure. For in this world, beauty can be hard to find but it is there. Usually found in the simple... and the very young... at the shore or in the forest... on a night with the light of a full moon... or early on a misty morning such as the photo above.
My kitchen is warm and homey and colorful but part of the fun was (and still is) the hunt for the vintagey beauty on a budget. That yellow utility cart? It was purchased years ago for only a few dollars at Goodwill because it was so unsteady. But I knew how easy it would be to fix and after a few minutes of Hubby adding some new nuts and bolts, it was quite sturdy and lovely in all its' chippy vintage beauty.
In my home, beauty is to be found quite often in the work which is done in the kitchen. By learning to cook well and continuing to learn through the years, the foundation is there to become creative in cooking. But the same can be true of any of the home arts.
I have had friends who can whip up a cute outfit in not much more time than it takes me to make a gourmet meal. While others create the most breathtaking quilts and tapestries and paintings and scrapbook pages and other forms of art that take my breath away. But it may take someone willing to become skilled and always a person who desires beauty.
For instance, I garden and my deck and raised bed looks pretty good. There are some years my front porch looks lovely, when finances permit sprucing it up. However, when I moved in my next door neighbor at the time was a Master Gardener. She created... magic.
But that doesn't stop me from enjoying being good enough in many areas. For I believe we all have the ability to create beauty and magic (Narnia magic you know) somewhere in our lives. We can all be really good at something. For me it is cooking and "decorating by tweaking". However, we are finite so we cannot be masters of it all. I have learned that often good enough has to be... good enough... or I'd never try anything new.
I read a book once by a woman who never became a very good cook. Her meals were, as she said... adequate. But she was very good at creating beautiful tablescapes so each evening her adequate dinner was presented beautifully. Her family didn't mind that she was not a gourmet cook.
But if she had put herself down for her lack of skill in one area and never took advantage of her abilities in another, her family would not have that atmosphere of beauty at dinner. Creativity and critical self thinking find it difficult to reside in the same person.
Think of an area where you want to create beauty in your life and plan for it.
For instance, I want to look out my window and see flowers on the deck so when money is available, it is budgeted for blooms and soil in spring. Flower pots have been purchased through the years at garage sales and thrift stores and stored in the garden shed. So while the cost each year is now minimal and the work enjoyable... it does take choosing flowers as a priority when there is a gift of resources.
However, the same beauty can begin with one or two pretty plants in the room you use the most.
Sometimes what brings us joy can be very small, we wonder why we didn't do this years ago. Quite often the good stuff does not require all that much more than that which is... adequate... not some huge commitment of time and resources.
It takes making a habit of looking for that which is beautiful and you will be amazed at how easy finding it will become. And remember this... you were created to need beauty in your life! Don't ever let anyone tell you God wants you to dress in black, carry a black Bible, and go through life dull.
Beauty was his idea! We are created in the image of a Creative Person! He first planted the flowers and dug the canyons and seeded the rain forest and let man come up with the idea for making chocolate. He created garlic and onions and olives for oil and all the herbs of the field. He inspired Rembrandt and Handel and Italian love songs and Spanish guitars.
Ask that God give you eyes that see Beauty where others do not. Like in a chippy vintage yellow utility cart that is falling apart, or the droopy perennial on clearance, or the mutt of the litter at the animal shelter. He is, after all, in the business of restoration.
Is there any one area of making beauty you have always wanted to try? Could it be a God nudge, much like a mother bird nudges her little ones to fly when it is time? Is it time to fly... to create... to build... to try that bread recipe... to make your own jelly... to finally cut out that pattern... or take that class? Hmmm?