Two Pennies “If you have just two pennies, spend one for bread and one for hyacinths to feed your soul.” Beauty in Everyday Life
Why should we try to make beauty part of our everyday lives? Because God is the author of beauty, the first and most perfect artist. Because He has commanded us to worship Him and learn of Him through the things He has created. Because we were created with senses and a capacity to comprehend beauty. How can we scoop out a deeper place in our souls and those of our kids to contain more capacity and vocabulary for worship?
Romans 1:19-21 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen; He can be understood from what He has made, so that people are without excuse.
Little girl dreams. Remember back to your home environment when you were 7 or 8 years old. Was there anything beautiful in your home that was only used for special occasions? When that piece was used, it was a signal that something big was happening? Perhaps a special set of dishes or a cake plate? A special table cloth or candlesticks? A beautiful antique bowl that was your grandma’s or great-grandma’s?
What was something in your home that was out in plain sight that you thought was beautiful or something that inspired you or made you happy? A painting? or print? or photo? you especially loved. A book with lovely illustrations? A quilt or embroidery or some other home craft that was especially fascinating to you? Perhaps a neighbor’s garden or a favorite tree?
A favorite feeling? Or smell? A velvet dress? A satin binding on a blanket? A little piece of fur from a collar or coat? To your child’s eyes (or ears) what was the most beautiful thing you ever saw or heard when you were 8 years old or less?
What are your seasons? • Calendar seasons and church year seasons…why not make up your own! • First snowfall, first day of spring, leave-taking, half birthdays, family milestones—like the day you met your husband or the day you were reborn! • “Remembering days”—remember someone who is now in heaven or the anniversary of a significant family event. • Use these seasons as themes for your home and “excuses” to create an occasion.
Use your beautiful things everyday.. So what if they get broken or chipped—they are THINGS! Every mommy should have a mommy vase.
“Welcome to our home!” Create an entry that speaks to your guests of what is at the heart of your family. “As for me and my house…” can be a cliché. Use your favorite warm colors, images that speak of your passions: African children? Musical instruments? A cityscape? If there is room, a thick, soft rug and a bench to sit down and take off shoes. Something fragrant—even if it is just a vanilla candle.
Remember the everyday door your family uses. Does it say “warning: chaos ahead!” Does it encourage you as you head out the door to face the world? My favorite door slogan is “CHOOSE JOY”—but you should decide on one that speaks to you and post it near your door, along with a mirror to check your teeth before you go…and a place to keep chaos at bay, even if just a bank of hooks.
Simple centerpieces. • Grocery store bouquet. • What to do when a mitten is lost. • Mossy branches, lichens and ferns. • Smooth stones in a bowl of water. • See vegetables as art. • Odd numbers and the right shape.
A walk in the park. • Take time to be observant of details —stop and listen! Touch and enjoy textures. • Smell things. • Taste things if you dare! • Try to describe your experience using metaphors. The smell of the woods in the fall…thawing soil in the spring…the many shades of green in the summer….the many textures of snow.
Thy Word is like honey on my lips. Read God’s Word for its beauty and poetry; explore His expressions of truth that speak to the heart and stretch the mind. Take joy in words and collect family favorites: serendipity, mellifluous, gargantuan, odiferous, ebullient. Read and memorize hymns as poetry.
Sing. “Singing I Go” “I love you so much.” Learn “old time” hymns, spirituals and gospel songs and sing all the verses! Collect music and learn to identify classical pieces. Celebrate seasons with special music. Braham’s Requiem for Lent, Appalachian Spring or The Four Seasons on the first day of Spring, The Planets and The Messiah anytime!
Here is a simple starting place: In your home, focus on one thing at a time: One space, one daily habit, one sanctuary in the midst of chaos! Read something lovely once a day—even if only a hymn. Sing. Listen to good music, poetry or an audio book while you do mundane tasks. Get outside and really see.