Adding Beauty 2015: Fall Edition

November 24, 2015

I get to live life with the guy who wrote this. Read it! Even if the title scares you. (Really? Only pick a few things? You mean I can’t do it all?) Thankfully, he’s always reminding me of these very things, not because he’s got it all figured out, but because he’s a big fan of telling each other the truth and not listening to lies, the most destructive of which, often come from our own selves. All of this, before we even consider the culture of comparison we are all immersed in.

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 ”The corners of our eyes are a paradise of lies. Don’t believe them. Go forward and do the few things you do. If done right, no one can defend against them.” -S.D. Smith

Over the past couple of years, I’ve found myself trying to do less, and striving to do it well. Admirable goal, right? But letting go of some of my ridiculous expectations felt, at first, like resignation or failure. Slowly, slowy, I’m learning to use my imagination to see that the few, small things I do can have “a million unseen consequences.” This is extremely scary, and incredibly inspiring. So if you’ve noted some silence from me in this space, that isn’t new, and you aren’t imagining things.

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Our family has received many blessings and exciting opportunities this fall, so in the midst of exercising gratefulness for all of that, #AddingBeauty2015 has also looked a lot like fighting the frustrations of a busy schedule. In addition to meeting new friends from near and far, I’ve also been driving around in a dirty van, and washing muddy soccer uniforms. After all, that serves the people I’m called to care for best. In spite of being handed new art, and beautiful literature to explore, I’ve needed to set small reachable goals, like getting out the door on the way to a destination without snapping at any members of my family. Gentleness, when I accomplish it, is something truly valuable that I can bless my children with. I’ve feasted at some absolutely beautiful tables with delightful company, but the meals we’ve consumed at home have looked more like Little Caesar’s pizza than Smitten Kitchen. Filling hungry bellies in peace is always a gift, and it’s always beautiful. (This one is a particularly hard pill for me to swallow! I want a pretty table and slow roasted veggies! Every day.)

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#AddingBeauty2015 has meant forcing myself to stop and observe a sunset or the mountains ablaze in color this fall, when I just wanted to clean or do laundry, or anything, really, to restore order to our ever changing routines. It has looked like making time for prayer, when sleep is beckoning. It has meant setting a reminder on my phone that says “Hugs.” (No mother wants to admit that she has to remind herself to hug the precious people she lives with. Yet, here I am.)

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Thankfully, I have a great lot of encouragers in my life: people who are often in the same boat, or have been. They remind me who I am. They point me to excellent resources. They tell me to rest. They allow me to feel what I’m feeling without letting me stay in the place of pity for too long. They are the ones adding beauty to my existence. I’m embracing the fact that recognizing beauty resembles gratitude, if it’s not the same thing entirely. I guess that’s an appropriate assumption to make during the month of November. I reckon I’ll keep doing my small bit, and reaching for excellence in a few ways, rather than mediocrity in many.

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