|Beauty in pretty scents and tiny plants|
This has been a long winter and not an easy one for many of us. I entered December with an eye that still couldn't see very well and I was just beginning to develop congestion with a cough that would last for months.
Things are a better now, the vision in my right eye is still fuzzy but I can read without a headache. A very good thing indeed. The cough and congestion are beginning to lose their grip and I no longer go through a large bag of Ricola cough drops and a few boxes of tissues each week.
When one is already dealing with a chronic illness and fatigue, it is (I hope) understandable why there would be a conversation with God that goes something like, "Really, are these additional challenges necessary?". His answer was to provide grace for the journey.
Perhaps the change I noticed the most this winter was the need to do some tweaking of my daily habits. The days were... blah. I was in a "beam me up Scotty" mood, asking Jesus if I could just go Home where all is perfect. He didn't change the circumstances but He did provide answers for my mood.
When one begins to concentrate on what they cannot do, that is an open door for the enemy of our souls to whisper untruths. He and his minions never miss an opportunity to make one feel discouraged and disappointed with circumstances for that is the perfect environment to insert a distrust of the work of God in our life.
Some of the changes were so simple, I didn't realize immediately that they were God inspired. For instance, I switched from my usual devotional with the smallish font and started using the Billy Graham devotional I reviewed. It has an easy-to-read font and I am enjoying each short message very much.
I had long ago stopped watching 24/7 news channels unless there was a big story that was worth watching for updates. However, I had not changed my online websites where I received information for years. I made the decision to remove all of them from Bookmarks and I'm pleased to say the world has gone on without me knowing every jot and tittle of the daily news.
I deleted podcasts that I haven't listened to in ages and I'm in the process of adding a few that I know will provide Beauty and Grace (and making time in my day for these podcasts). The two newer podcasts I have already added are with Joy Clarkson and Emily Freeman.
I absolutely must have quiet spaces and Beauty in my home to have peace and provide an atmosphere that brings God closer. It is not Him... it is me. The Study is easy to keep that way since I'm the only person who uses it but other areas of the house have had challenges.
One way this was accomplished was in a major Spring cleaning session that lasted weeks by helping my husband move boxes of papers he has had all over our Family Room (for two years!) as he worked on an important VA project. He had to set it aside for awhile but didn't have another place to store the boxes.
It first meant cleaning shelves in the garage that would be safe for important papers to reside and then moving boxes to that space. I can't believe how much better that room looks again and I can now walk in it without a serious twitch... or tripping.
He took on a couple cleaning and decluttering projects on our porch and in our driveway that only he could do. I will start cleaning the porch siding and windows a little at a time when it (finally) gets warm.
I have been adding plants here and there as funds permit since most of mine died when I brought them back inside last Fall. I've decided the newer plants will stay inside permanently from now on.
The first photo from the Kitchen is my teeny tiny $2.99 plant purchased at the grocery store recently. I already had the yellow ceramic planter and all I had to do was set the plant in it when I arrived home from the store. It resides next to the sink.
The second photo is a grouping of plants from the Family Room and the third photo is the Boston fern in the corner of the Dining Area. That corner has always looked best with a large fern. Plants add so much life to a home and I have read they help purify the air.
Next month I will once again purchase herbs and a few flowers for the deck and if there is enough of the budget left over, I will add some flowers to the front porch. I now give the deck budget priority since that is my view from the Family Room and it can be seen from the Kitchen window.
Beauty in our surroundings is important to our feeling of well being, we were formed in a garden and those Echoes of Eden dwell within us. I find various forms of Beauty help me to flourish, not unlike the sunshine on outdoor flowers.
Have you ever been in a run down neighborhood and how once in awhile, there will be a balcony or porch where one pot of flowers can be seen? Doesn't it speak about the person who lives there? A sign of Hope in the midst of distress?
Edith Schaeffer often wrote that if anyone showed Beauty in their surroundings, it should be Christians. I wholeheartedly agree and hope each day to find a way to bring more Beauty into my little corner of the world.
So far my tweakings and changes have helped my downcast mood. I am less Eeyore and more Pooh these days. I must admit, just having more sunshine each day is helping a lot and when Springtime warmth finally arrives, it will be very welcome.
As I continue this journey, you will be right beside me as I find ways to bring joy to my days.
Mentioned in this Blog Post
Joy Clarkson's podcast... here.
Emily Freeman's podcast... here.
My review of Billy Graham's revised devotional... here.