The Grove: Beauty

Think about it. God. Created. Beauty. AND He created ways for us to appreciate and experience beauty. God connected beauty to joy and delight and take-your-breath-away awe.

He gave our eyes visual sensors connected to brain cells that comprehend the subtleties and intensity of color and depth and texture. Our ears perceive invisible sound waves carrying simple melodies and complex harmonies and baby coos and single drops of rain. Our fingertips have nerves that can feel the delicate smoothness of silk and the soothing warmth of a friend’s hand. He put receptors in our nose to experience smells that delight (and okay, sometimes disgust) us.

Even when our senses are unformed or destroyed, He compensates with heightened awareness and richness in another area. (Think Helen Keller.)

He created us with the ability to delight in a well turned phrase, to marvel at a blanket of snow laid across a mountain top, to drink in the fragrance of a delicate blossom. God loves to wow us with layers of beauty in His creation.

Our first years in this foreign land were grey. Grey buildings with grey walls on grey streets. Even clothing ended up muted by grey coal dust. In the midst of the cold and grey, we traveled to a tropical climate bursting with color and fragrances and sounds that I soaked in with delight. I went snorkeling for the first time and was overwhelmed with a whole new world of movement and intricate design hidden under the waves. I literally had to bring my head out of the water to gasp, “You are amazing, God!”

Maybe like me, you have been missing beauty and not even realize you’ve been hungering for it. Here are a few ways to add beauty to your life.

Bring beauty into your home

Our first apartment was populated with campus castaways and mismatched leftovers. My attempts to bring beauty to our home included almost passing out from paint fumes not designed for indoor use – but the bookshelf did turn out a lovely blue.

I was inspired by Holly who had just moved back to our city, stenciling ivy leaves on the borders of her walls in a living room displaying matching patterns and colors.

And Anne who found plant and flower markets and filled her lovely home with life and nature, replacing fluorescent lights with lamps that gave off a soft glow which highlighted curtains made in rich fabric that actually fit the windows.

I was invited into the home of resourceful Carmen who created the most beautiful vignettes with ordinary things from her local morning market. Her apartment was filled with fragrance and home baked goodies. Just being in these women’s homes filled a chasm in my soul. They understood that beauty ushered in a sense of welcoming rest.

Create beauty in your conversations

Some of us live in noisy places. Construction, traffic, conversations we don’t yet understand. Auditory overload is a part of daily life. And some of us live in deathly quiet places where we long for more stimulation. But most certainly, all of us are in need of the beauty of kind and gentle words of encouragement and hope.

Stop and smell the roses

Yes, it’s corny and reminds you of a faded poster hanging somewhere in the 80’s. But honestly, is there anything more nourishing than literally stopping in the middle of chaos and breathing in life with all your senses and appreciating God’s good and beautiful creation?

Look for the image of our beautiful Creator in others

I was having one of those moments… Just get me out of here and let me enjoy creation! With no easy access to the countryside and no transportation that didn’t involve an exorbitant amount of time or money, I felt trapped by all these people invading my space.

Then I heard a gentle whisper, “Patty, look around. You are surrounded by My best creation.” So, I began looking for His image in the people around me. And I saw His tenderness in a dad holding his toddler’s hand. His loyal commitment in two old women walking arm in arm. His kindness in a smile directed my way.   Notice God’s character reflected in your friends and neighbors and tell them how very beautiful they are.

In what ways do you bring beauty into your life?

This is what we call The Grove.  It’s where we all gather to share our thoughts, our words, and our art on our weekly prompt.  So join us in the comments.  Show us your art work by adding an image. And link up your own blog posts on this week’s prompt.  Click here for details and instructions.

Photo Credit : Unsplash

17 Comments

  1. M'Lynn October 23, 2014

    Good morning, beautiful! Thankful for a gorgeous fall walk and random mirror someone tossed out that gave me a fun photo opp.

    1. Patty Stallings October 24, 2014

      Hey M’Lynn – thanks for the beautiful photo.  You exude joy!

  2. Beth Everett October 23, 2014

    Patty, I so identify!  This week has been a particularly gray week in my corner of China. Earlier this week, as my 4-year old daughter and I were heading outside on my bike I said to her “Let’s look for beautiful things along the way.”  Immediately, as we turned out of our apartment complex we were assaulted with the noise of major road construction, the difficulty of riding safely along the road, and the definite lack of beauty on our route. I laughed out loud. My daughter seemed oblivious to the things that I saw, as she was looking for something beautiful.  She found it – “Mommy, look, there is a beautiful pink rose.” And so we stopped to take a picture to capture the moment.  As corny as ‘stopping and smelling the roses’ may be as an adult, it is fresh and new to this little one … and it became fresh and new to me again.  We continued on our way, not finding much else picture worthy.  And then, at the end of the day, my camera role revealed a picture of her and the friends whom we went to visit that morning. And I was reminded of the beauty of those friendships and the good conversations that day that lifted my spirits.

     

    1. Patty Stallings October 24, 2014

      Beth, thanks for sharing your gorgeous rose find with us.  Love what you are modeling for your daughter in focusing on beauty in your neighborhood and the people around you!

  3. Lisa Matejka October 23, 2014

    Patty, this is beautiful!  I love your list of ways to look for beauty.  We forget so quickly. 🙁  Thank you for the reminder!!

     

    1. Patty Stallings October 24, 2014

      Thank you, Lisa!  Yes, in the rush of our overfull days, it’s easy to forget the beauty of small moments and kind mercies.  Glad you stopped by Velvet Ashes today!

  4. Elizabeth October 24, 2014

    I love this, about looking for beauty all around you, including in PEOPLE. I love nature and beauty in nature. It makes me happy. I am much worse about making my home beautiful though! I’m decorating-impaired. LOL. But this idea of seeing the beauty in another soul, I just love that, and I love the words you use for that. It describes perfectly what I’ve been noticing in some of our youth group girls lately. Watching them grow up and become young ladies with hearts that beat strong in the faith. And it makes them even more beautiful on the outside, to hear them talk excitedly about their encounters with God. I love it, and I wish for more of it. The beauty is already there — I only miss it when I don’t pay attention. But seeing the beauty in other people’s lives makes me just as happy as the ocean, the sunsets, the fields and the trees that I so cherish in the Creation.

    1. Patty Stallings October 24, 2014

      Elizabeth, thank you for your investment in those beautiful souls!   Surely they are responding to your gentle care and encouragement like tender plants respond to sunlight and rain.

  5. Anisha October 26, 2014

    Patty this is so good! Beauty is truly everywhere. It’s a tremendous gift God has given us if we’d only open our eyes. The sky always gets me. Here in Papua we have the bluest of blue skies with silky clouds that seem to billow just out of reach. It all just feel so much bigger than anywhere else I’ve lived. In the dull and grey moments of life here I often look up and try to take it all in.

    1. Patty Stallings October 26, 2014

      Anisha,  wide open expanses of blue sky is one of my soul thirst-quenchers!  Rejoicing with you today that you have a beautiful sky to enjoy – and that you know what a gift they are from our Father.

    2. Elizabeth October 26, 2014

      Oh Anisha, I love the skies too! Sometimes I forget to look up, but when I do, I am never disappointed!

  6. Cecily Willard October 26, 2014

    I just wanted to say that I just watched “Winged Migration”.  Wow!  The beauty in the birds that God made.  Some of them are so bright and colorful that they don’t even look real.  And the dances they dance are so beautiful.

    The movie is a bit long, but I would highly recommend it–just watch it in a couple of sittings.

    1. Patty Stallings October 27, 2014

      Thank you, Cecily, for the recommendation.  I will check it out.

      God is so very creative, huh?

  7. Mary Raikes October 30, 2014

    This beautiful petal landed on my windshield today and made me smile.  It’s so unique – often these ones look like feathers or leaves.

    1. Patty Stallings October 30, 2014

      Lovely, Mary!  Thanks for sharing it with us.

  8. Shelly October 30, 2014

    I have been looking at beauty on all the flights I have taken in the last week from Michigan, across the plains to Texas and up to Colorado. I usually take an aisle seat on international flights because I need to move, but I have returned to window seats for these 2 hour or less flights. Every day I have flown it has been clear and I could literally see for miles. I loved seeing the shape of the Lake Michigan shoreline and recognizing familiar cities from thousands of feet in the air. In the plains I saw brown field squares interrupted by swirling patches of trees that fanned out like the curly Qs at the end of ornate calligraphy. (Sadly I didn’t take any pictures.)  Yesterday’s flight was especially telling. As I stared out of my window, rapt with the mountains and plains, I turned to see if others were taking in this beauty. Everyone else within view was reading or working on their electronic device. I was a little sad for them.

    Upon arrival, a friend of a friend beautifully expressed God’s care for me and his complete lack of hurry with me. (I’m the one with the hurry up problem!) The friend of a friend who picked me up at the airport was generous with her time, taking me to dinner, asking about my story, sharing some of hers, and then getting me to a grocery store to stock up for the next few days as I house sit a lovely home of a friend.

    This noticing beauty seems to go hand-in-hand with gratitude, which makes my heart lighter.

    1. Patty Stallings October 30, 2014

      Shelly, thank you for beautifully painting a word picture for us to enjoy!  I so agree that noticing beauty goes hand-in-hand with gratitude.  And I appreciate how you connected the generosity and care of others as beautiful expressions to savor and enjoy.

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.