Adding Beauty Always: 2017 and Beyond

January 1, 2017

Our family has experienced a ton of change over the last 3 years. We no longer have any babies in the house, the husband is realizing some of his dreams (which brings me so much joy!) while also providing for our family with 2 jobs, and I have gone from homeschooling two kids, to four. The extra travel, activities, and lack of routine that accompany this craziness create a juggling act that I don’t always perform with a whole lot of grace, if I’m being honest here. (And I’m trying to be. I know my heart. It’s not always gracious.) I haven’t figured out how to navigate the changing terrain just yet.

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If there is one thing I have learned (among many) over the last few years, it’s that life is constantly changing. I feel the most comfortable when I know The Plan. When I know what to expect, and how to accomplish what is required of me, I feel like I can thrive. But no matter how much I crave routine and reliable schedules, the pursuit of those things is like chasing the proverbial rainbow. So I’m often left with the false assumption that I’m failing. That’s where the concept of adding beauty comes in.

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I’m sure it’s an age-old philosophy. But for me, it was brought to life by Sara Groves in her 2005 album Add to the Beauty. This will always be my all-time favorite, because it sparked in my heart the reality that beauty matters, and it can be present in every little thing I do. At first, for me, the concept translated primarily into creating things in and around my home that were actually pretty to look at, which I absolutely love to do. But eventually, in addition to those things, I recognized that all the little mundane jobs I did from day to day to serve my family were also ways that I could add beauty to the world. So now, after years and years of practice, it’s not so hard to stop, look around, and see that even the smallest acts of love and care for those around me, dull as they may seem, are beautiful and important.

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There are a great many things I’d love to accomplish this year, many of which will take a back burner to the immediate needs of the hour or day. There may even be things we’d love to be able to give or do for our kids that we simply won’t have the time or resources for. It will be easy to focus on the things I have to say ‘no’ to, and feel like I’m failing, but that won’t be the truth. And now, because I’ve had years of practice, and because there are so many of you, my friends, who are finding and sharing with me and many others the beauty in your own lives, it is so much easier to remember that it all matters. “Like a single cup of water…”

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I was delighted and blessed by Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas greeting over the holiday season. Her gentleness provided a brief moment of calm for all who listened in the midst of this crazy, noisy time in which we live. And she reminded me, once again, of the importance and beauty of doing small things that make a big difference, as she quoted Mother Theresa’s encouragement to “do small things with great love.”

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I don’t know if there is much of a future for this little blog of mine. If the last couple of years is any indication, then the outlook is bleak. But I know that there are just a few of you who still read and follow, so I hesitate to shut it down, just in case I decide I have the time for it again.  If you’re still up for it, though, I’ll continue my Instagram Adding Beauty hashtag with #AddingBeautyAlways because there won’t be any constraints on time. How wonderful it will be to see a continuous stream of reminders that beauty is found and created in so many big and small ways. Happy New Year, friends!

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