Category Archives: beauty

beautiful: a temple, a body, a home

beauty –

defined by an 11 year old:  “feeling good about yourself; good looks”

Beauty is so much more than that!!!!

defined by Webster (contemporary):  "quality attributed to whatever pleases the senses of mind as by line, color, form, tone, behavior, etc."

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nature 28 lighthouse

defined by Webster (1828):  "an assemblage of graces, or an assemblage of properties in the form of the person or an other object, which pleases the eye... beauty consists in whatever pleases the eye of the beholder, whether in the human body, in a tree, in a landscape, of in any other object... beauty is intrinsic,... or relative,  a particular grace,... a particular excellence,... in person... in the arts,...joy and gladness, order, prosperity, peace, holiness."

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Q:  Who gets to decide what is beautiful?

A:  everyone.

A:  you.

A:  me.

A: and God.

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Your Temple, Your Home:  Your Beautiful Style

  • Modern,
  • French Country,
  • Old World,
  • Southern Coastal,
  • Western,
  • Rustic,…

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Your Temple, Your Body:  Your Physical Beauty

  • blonde hair, dark brown hair; curly, straight, widow’s peak
  • fair skin, rich chocolatey tan; freckled, beauty marks, cleft chins
  • tall, petite; willowy, lots of curves
The LORD’s Temple, Your Heart:  Your Unfading Beauty

Beautiful friend, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

You are.

God says you are beautiful.

He sees you; He beholds you and calls you “beautiful”.

He made you uniquely, with preferences, with favorites.  And, His expert, all-seeing, all-beholding, all-knowing word on “Beauty” carries more weight than any myopic human opinion.

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Beauty in My World

I’ve spent the last year focusing on the book of Hebrews as part of a group Bible study led by my husband, intensely studying the Tabernacle (and the Temples of Solomon, Zerubbabel, and Herod ) for a ladies’ study, and personally developing a thematic study related to running a race (on faithfulness, endurance, perseverance, discipline, freedom,…).  — In the most timely way, the LORD wove these studies together in to one deeper theme for me.

And, now, as I start a special year of “Beauty” with my maturing Little One, creatively pouring out these studies combined on my daughter, a fun “Girl-Time Study” for two, I’m hoping to go even deeper and more intentionally and practically apply all the knowledge I’ve accumulated about being the Temple of the Holy Spirit and discover more of what it looks like for me to be a beautiful and holy dwelling place for the LORD.

I am so looking forward to our Girl-Time!!!  Today, as worked on our outline for the year together, we read about  Esther and chose Esther 2:12 “…she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments…” for our cover verse (Tomorrow we will make our notebooks/journals.).

12 months of beauty treatments, sounds delightful!!!  If it was good for a future queen, it couldn’t hurt two Princesses, daughters of the King of Kings.

We are counting our unit-study of “Beauty” as a part of our homeschool education, which helps me take our activities to a whole new level by outlining a framework schedule of Bible Study, Scripture Memory, Cosmetology (a study of cosmetics, What pre-teen wouldn’t love that?!), career exposure (Fashion and Interior Design, Fashion/Beauty/Image Consulting, Spa Therapy, Massage, etc.), and more.

I do hope to share with you some of the tools I’ve accumulated and favorite insights from the year, but don’t wait for me to post (As you probably already know, this season of my life is primarily about my family, and less about internet and blogging.). So start seeking for yourself!

  • find a theme that interests you
  • start a notebook or folder (physical or virtual)
  • collect quotes, books, magazine clippings, lyrics, outlines, charts…
  • memorize a few key verses
  • do a chain reference or word study in the Scriptures
  • about pray over it!!!
    • ask the LORD to guide you in a seeking adventure, and He will!

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If you’re reading this,

I’m praying for you right now, that you will know deep in your soul who you are, how beautiful you are, and your great worth.  I ask the LORD to inspire you to be more creative and thrill in the wonder of who He made you to be with all your favorites, preferences, passions, and artistic interests.  May you find a unique way to seek the LORD for yourself and share what you find with someone special.

May you enjoy your journey as you keep seeking and finding, friend!

L.E.A.P. beautifully (29 pictures)

‘A thing of beauty if a joy forever’, especially if you take a photo.”    – John Keats  (and Mary Poppins) … and Me.

This month, consider taking 29 beautiful pictures of…

  • beautiful ideas
  • beautiful people in your life
  • beautiful creations
  • something of beauty in nature, in your home, etc…
  • ugly-beautiful things (if you’re familiar w/ A. Voskamp)
  • beautiful moments you want to keep as memories
  • even an old photo of a beautiful memory that makes you smile today

It doesn’t matter if others think it is “beautiful” as long as it is beautiful to you!

Remember the ancient Greek poetic and philosophical sentiment, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

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Day 1 – a clutter-free phone area, with ONE pen and note pad, a small Pfaltzgraff pitcher from the set my grandma had when I was little with leftover flowers from an arrangement made for me by my florist-friend  (Clutter-free is BEAUTIFUL!!!  A small reminder of my grandmother and a dear friend… BEAUTIFUL! And blue… aaaah, my favorite color, BEAUTIFUL!)

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Day 2 –  beautiful bookmarks, made by clipping the boarders off the sides of my calendar pages from previous weeks (I chose my kikki calendar because I loved the happy boarders that are different on every page.)   I think they’re adorable, and it is much easier to flip-over to this week’s two-page spread.  (I think I’ll trim these at the end of every month!)

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Day 3  – Chinese Take-out! (with surprise delivery) — a quiet evening at home alone, dinner and a movie, while working on a special project… beautiful?  — delicious!!!  (Handsome took everyone to their Friday-night-social events and then swung back by the house to drop off a yummy surprise before taking Little One out on a “Daddy/Daughter-date”.)   In my opinion this qualifies as a “beautiful” evening.  (Little One was especially beautiful, all dressed up for her night on the town.)

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Day 4  – our “bargain”, definite beauties in Handsome’s eyes, and a reminder of a beautiful date with my man (Handsome and I went to our first auction.  What an adventure for us novices!)

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Day 5  – a surprise snow –  a slow and quiet morning, bright sunshine, and miles of pure, trackless snow; the whole world laced in white… beautiful!!!

It's getting more and more difficult to choose just one photo each day.  I see beauty EVERYWHERE!  (The more I see beauty, the more potential I see for beauty, the more I want to add beauty!) -- Each day, as I come to add pictures, I find myself joyfully skim through the previously captured "things of beauty" and thanking God all over again for each.

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Day 6 – changing the quilt on my bed ( I remember choosing this fabric and making this one more than a decade and a half ago. )  It’s amazing how a different bedspread alters the entire feel of the room.   (As a little girl, my mother always said, “Make the bed first; nothing improves  a bedroom like making the bed.”  She’s the one that taught me the fun and “lazy” way to start making the bed before I even get out of it, straightening and pulling up the sheet and then sliding out the side.)

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Day 7 – bright early morning light reflecting off the snow, beautiful!!!  It’s so much easier to wake-up cheerfully as the Spring days get longer, and this unexpected snow makes the first morning rays even more radiant.

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Day 8 – looking over and adding to my multi-year “prayer collage” … too many to count “beautiful-to-me” pictures and words (Check out this link to a post with a more detailed description.)  Such a fun and visual way to pray.   As I remember the hours of conversations I’ve had with the LORD over magazine clippings and glue sticks, I’m inspired, convicted, and encouraged.

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Day 9 – I founding a beautiful way to make my prayer cubby more portable for the approaching seasons of travel and adventure   — I love my “Prayer Box”!!!!

This little prayer tool up-grade combines the back pages of my Pray 7 Days notebook, the “WarRoom” bulletin-board style washi-tape-wall-posts from my prayer cubby, and a prayer card idea that one of my dear prayer-partner has been using this winter… and all in one little box.   (The back pages of my Pray 7 Days notebook were starting to budge and rip; so now, that notebook just contains the pocket pages for the days of the week that I use first thing each morning to start my day with 15 minutes of intentionally focused prayer. 

I had so much fun finishing up this project yesterday on my prayer day.   If you don't have a Sabbath/prayer-day each week, YOU'VE GOTTA' GET ONE!!!!  It's my favorite day of the week, but I also enjoy anticipating it on the days before and remembering it on the days that follow.  Really, it will change your entire week. If you want a blessing, consider keeping the 4th Commandment.  A day of rest ... plan it, guard it, and keep it holy!

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Day 10 – pens, colored pens and pencils… They are beautiful to me!!!  I love office supplies:  post-its, paper clips, notebooks, tablets, note cards, stationary, tags, etc.  (Today, I’m tidying up by cozy-prayer-corner and also cleaning out and resupplying my every-ready-take-everywhere Bible study bag.   I’m adding beauty to my life in one of my favorite ways!)

Incase you're curious, my favorite pens for marking my Bible are Pigma Micron pens (and I use Crayola's roll up colored pencils as my highlighters).  For journaling, my favorite pens are Pilot G2 pens, and for general daily use, I really like Bic Cristal.  The Cristal pens come in so many colors and don't bleed through thin Bible pages either.)

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Day 11 – the sunset silhouettes of roof tops and chimneys, reminiscent of Mary Poppins; a welcome start to a beautiful weekend

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Day 12 – all my favorite colors found at one of my favorite places in the world… the beach, absolutely beautiful.

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Day 13 – a beach beautifully covered with shells  (I love low tide!)

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Day 14 –  icy mint lemonade – a beautiful friend made a drink for me that I haven’t had since visiting Israel years ago — What a treat, and what a beautiful memory!  (I had several “favorite” pictures this day.  I see beauty EVERYWHERE!  It’s getting more and more difficult to choose just one beautiful moment to share.)

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Day 15 – white chocolate raspberry cheesecake ice cream with whipped cream and fresh raspberries… in a tea cup that is just my style  (I have the sweetest friends who know me so well!!!!) 

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Day 16 – blue, blue, blue… beautiful French Country blue.   It reminds me of Holland.   It seems so simple and clean.   How dear of our Creator to make us with preferences for colors and style!

A friend brought a French Style magazine for us to take clippings from for our prayer collages, and I love the phrases that give the reader "permission" to be her own designer.  Here are a few lines that resonated with me:   

"Style is hard to define.  It is being your own brand... you know it when you see it.  It is made up of individuality... passion... enthusiasm... curiosity.  ... a combination of pieces, not falling prey to trends.  Put interior designers out of business by creating a home with a mix of elements that are all your own.  ... shape your design into your own personal genre.  The best style is authentic.   Create a home that reflects your personal style."

Words that are beautiful to me:  rustic elegance, coastal, southern charm, familiar, classic, timeless, heirlooms, refined and casual, inviting,

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Day 17 –  How beautiful is the body of Christ!  – What a precious fellowship to have communion with friends!  (I love how my florist friend placed everything, even adding grades and leaves… a perfect ending to a week of Seeking the LORD.)

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Day 18 –  a flowering tree –  I have never seen a tree like this before with blooms growing along the sides of the thickest branches!

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Day 19 – starting a beautiful new journal to record beautiful thoughts

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Day 20 – preparing for summer days… imagining a French Country tea at this table when shady leaves fill the trees and my roses bloom

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Day 21 –  beautiful, tidy cabinets that make me smile… blue and white bowls, vases, and pitchers, mason jars for cups… “these are a few of my favorite things”

(As the Jewish people prepare for Passover, cleaning their house and especially their kitchens to remove all leaven or chametz, I take on my own Spring cleaning.  —  On 10th day of the first month of the Biblical year, the people of God were told to chose their lamb and begin preparation for the Passover, which also was the start of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  I am using these days before the Passover to tell the LORD, “I choose JESUS as my Passover Lamb”.   As I remember the prophetic Feasts of the LORD from Leviticus 23, I am literally and symbolically purifying  my house and heart, confessing as I clean.  — I tried to picture what my kitchen would look like if I had glass cabinet doors and arranged them in such a way that I would think the kitchen to be orderly and appealing if they were all left open… beautiful inside and out.  — It was also a personal exercise in thankfulness and contentment, to make MYSELF as well as my home more beautiful.) 

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Day – 22 This morning I dusted my bedroom furniture and carefully replaced the intricate doilies my grandmothers crocheted for me.  They are BEAUTIFUL! — My bedroom, with old carpet and wallpaper I never would have chosen, is beautiful!  Contentment makes life BEAUTIFUL; it transforms things I wish I could change into something I genuinely enjoy and am thankful for!

Yesterday a young gal dropped by for a visit, and I invited her in to see my "not-so-tidy" bedroom, a place most often in need of a little added beauty.   I told her of my afternoon mission to set things to order; so she went home, texted me "before" pictures of her room and "after" pictures a couple hours later.  She and I both had a most productive and rewarding afternoon!!! --- Maybe you have a friend you with whom you could find mutual encouragement by exchanging "before" and "after" pics?  - Waking to a tidy room gave me such motivation to wash mirrors and windows and go that extra mile to use furniture polish... WOW!  I discovered beautiful furniture hidden under a layer of winter dust! 

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Day 23 – beautiful little gifts… I feel loved.

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Day 24  – While I am thrilled with how absolutely beautiful my bedroom “suite” has become and the amazing progress I’ve made in reclaiming the guestroom/prayer-room today… (CLUTTER-FREE is BEAUTIFUL!!!), I must post another dandelion pic!  These, and the Little One that gave them to me, are the most beautiful things to me today!!!  (I don’t know how many more springs my youngest will delight in bringing me these gorgeous flowers; so more than ever, I am treasuring every one!  These are sooooo beautiful!!!!  — Since all my small vases are filled with yellow bouquets , I had to make use of an old salt and pepper shaker.  They’re perfect.  I hope these little guys never return to their former purpose.)  

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Day 25 – Acres of yellow polka-dots on the fields of green.  Thank You, LORD!   (Little One replaced all the mini vases with fresh flowers!  What a beautiful blessing she is, and these so called “weeds” are!)   Thank You, God, for letting me live in the country!!!!  I love the simple things; they are the most beautiful!!!

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Day 26 – The trees are bursting with blooms!  Praise the LORD!  Driving to church this morning was all the more worshipful because of the beauty of Spring.  I want my life to bring You glory as nature does.  Each tree has its own way.

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Day 27 – Making beds this morning.   Beautiful.

What a beautiful honor to be working at home and to create beauty for my family, especially my Husband, to enjoy!  As handsome said about me the other day, “This room is beautiful because you’re in it.” — I feel the same way about You, LORD.  This house is beautiful because YOU’RE IN IT!!!!  — I love being a co-laborer with you.  The team of You and me makes everything a possibility.   To be the keeper of this home with You is a privilege I don’t take for granted.

  • Make my home beautiful.
  • Make my presence in the home beautiful.
  • Your presence in this home is BEAUTIFUL!!!!

(The intricate tatting on these pillowcases, a gift from a dearest friend, causes me to worship.  Tiny knot, what could be tangles, all working together to create something absolutely beautiful.  It reminds me of You, LORD.)

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BONUS PIC:  As I typed this morning’s entry, someone brought me breakfast and a pot of tea.  BEAUTIFUL!!!!  God, You are so good to me!   (My daughter’s L.E.A.P.  adventure has been such an encouragement to my “L.E.A.P.-ing”.  It’s so fun to do this together!)

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Day 28  – personal treasures:  little things… and the memories and lessons learned associated with them

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Day 29 – tea with my daughter:   making a beautiful memory as I remember a beautiful memory of making this Spice tea in the fall with my mother as a child  (We would sometimes make this as gifts for Thanksgiving or Christmas for friends.)

Spice Tea

2 c tang (orange powdered drink mix)

2 packages of Lemonade Mix

1/2 c dry instant tea mix

2 c sugar  (1 c if the Lemonade or tea mix is sweetened)

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

One last pic …

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Still Day 29 for me –

This beautiful moment… wrapping up a month of beauty.

  • a youtube playlist of instrumental worship
  • setting up a “tea station” in my bedroom (I LOVE HAVING THIS HERE!!!  This may be the best idea of the month!!! — Thank You, LORD, for saving the best for last.)
  • my old “hotshot” from college  (Praise the LORD for things that were made well and made to last!  — And, Thank You, God, for the bathroom sink here in my bedroom.)
  • a basket of favorite teas
  • a teacup and mini-teapot from my sweet “tea-ladies” prayer group

I wish you could share a cup of tea with me.   We could talk, and you would know that all is not “perfect” in anyone’s world, much less mine.  The only thing (or One) that is “perfect” is God, but I’m finding out again today, as I determined to seek Him in the middle of “living life” (with interruptions, frustrations, challenges to work through, and fears to surrender… Oh, for the time and words to be specific with out boring you; so that you’d know the sincerity in this statement!) that I can experience His perfection:  His perfect presence, His perfect peace, His perfect will for my life

He makes my imperfect world BEAUTIFUL with HIMSELF! 


 

Check out the 29 photos from last month – L.E.A.P. attentively (29 pictures)

Or the complete 1-1-1-1/L.E.A.P.  Challenge with monthly suggestions to help you LIVE, ENJOY, ADD, and PRAY this LEAP-year and especially to pray:

  • once a day, every day
  • once a week, every week
  • once a month, every month
  • once a year, every year

Preparing my heart for BEAUTY

I’m transitioning from one month to the next… preparing my heart to L.E.A.P. again.

I’m L.E.A.P.ing from being attentive to being beautiful.  What a natural step!  It’s as if the previous month trained me to really see and hear so I could appreciate beauty.

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Yesterday, the LORD began to reveal to me how I NEED BEAUTY.

Mostly out of habit from taking pictures this past month, I took a few minutes to step outside to “just breathe”.  I didn’t think I had time, but I’m so glad I did.

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Just Breathe

Have you heard that song yet?  “Just Breathe ” – Jonny Diaz

I heard it for the first time last night, or parts of it I should say, while winding in and out of radio signal, between hills pink with buds ready to burst.  I was pondering the phrase, “all scripture is God breathed”  (or, as the ESV puts is, “… breathed out by God”, 2 Timothy 3:16).  I took a deep breath, let it go, and prayed…

“LORD, You are as essential as the air I breathe.  Your Word, Your inspired breath, sustains my life.  I want to breathe it in and speak it out, breathe it in and speak it out, breathe it in and speak it out, until I am  completely filled with You  from the top of my head to the tips of my toes; every artery, vein, and capillary.  Breathe Your life into me.”

…when the static suddenly cleared and the chorus rang clear.

“Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at my feet
And be, just be…”

Oh, the beauty of fellowship with the LORD!  What timing!  It’s as if He said “Amen”  to my prayer.

Just Be.

Just LIVE.

Just L.E.A.P. by faith, into His presence, into Beauty.

LIVE, ENJOY, ADD, PRAY

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In and out.

Like the cold morning air filling my lungs… wakes me up and brings me to my senses.  I feel alive!

His Word, in and out.

Conversations, Meditations, all in His presence

Where is all this coming from?  Ramblings of breathing and beauty.

A few days ago an acquaintance shared with me a challenge she heard, to take 3 deep breaths a day:  intentionally inhaling fully and then slowly letting it all out.  She mentioned some of the benefits of using our full lung capacity and how few people do.  — The lecturer she heard recommended even posting a reminder if necessary to encourage the daily habit.

  • Seeking and abiding in His presence, breathing in the Word, how few people do it!  Oh the benefits!  I highly recommend posting a reminder if necessary.

Job 33:4 -6 says, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life… Behold, I belong to God… I too have been formed out of the clay.”  God is my life.  This Word, His breath.  I will take His words in fully and speak them out, meditating on them, letting them change me as I slow down the racing pace of my busy heart.

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As I take this next L.E.A.P., I’m taking a deep breath

To all the pressures, demands, disappointments, and manipulations that leave me divided, I sense the LORD saying,

  • “This is not your yoke to bear. ‘My burden is light.’ (Mt. 11:30) and ‘My grace is sufficient’ (2 Cor. 12:9) for what I call you to do.  The yoke you carry is heavy because it is something I never asked you to lift.
  • “In fact, if you want My best, My grace, My blessing, My peace, then you must choose to throw off this ugly burden you carry and step under my yoke and into the beauty of my Presence.  Experience My deep reviving beauty, that is only known through fellowship that comes with obedience.”

To know the beauty of the LORD is to return to the Garden of Eden, like stepping into a green house, full of life regardless of the season of year.

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Often it is a teeny tiny step from encouraged to discouraged and vice versa, and both ways, it usually involves people.  Yesterday, it was as if I was teetering on the brink and someone could have either coaxed me away from the edge or pushed me right over.

But today, I sense the Holy Spirit warning me with this question,

“Why live so close to that fatal line?”

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Why give anyone but God that power over my thoughts, my joy, my peace?  I’m not wrestling with flesh and blood.  This power-struggle is warfare for my soul, my effectiveness, my vision, my life, my attitude.  I am a servant of God and am under His authority and protection.   My merciful, kind, and faithful Master has generously given me everything I need for life and godliness, and His gifts are beautiful!  

I would be a fool to settle for ugly when His beautiful blessings are so abundant and free.  

Oh, how I am to be pitied when I miserably become weighed down by circumstances rather than remember and take advantage of (or simply notice and appreciate) the many benefits He offers.

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When I feel myself pulled in two directions, I have a choice.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  (Mt. 11:28-30)

And with every truly beautiful choice, I find my burden growing lighter and lighter until it is no burden at all; it actually becomes my delight.

So, I’m choosing to fill my life with BEAUTY!!!!

  • the most beautiful WORD of GOD
  • beautiful Music (especially songs of faith from my childhood)  This morning it was an old instrumental CD, violin played by Bill Murk. It started with a medley “He Has Made Me Glad / I Will Sing of the Mercies / What a Might God / Blessed Assurance” mixed with Aaron Copland’s famous “Hoedown” rodeo song.
  • the beauty of Nature (especially the early morning and twilight hours) — Today it was the sunrise with a frost.
  • the beauty of a Home at peace, in order, well tended
  • beautiful Friendships, prioritized and nurtured, but with space and room to grow
  • the beauty of Spirit-led Balance (waking, sleeping; time alone, time with others; eating just enough healthy and special treats; work-outs and rest days; ministry and private devotion; healthy lived-in comfort and company-clean; … “He has made everything beautiful its time.” (Eccl. 3:11)

He has given us every thing we need for life and godliness and to live beautifully today.

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One Final (“beautiful”) Thought and Challenge

I sense and underlying theme for this month, a phrase from a song,…

"beholding Your beauty is all that I long for"

“Lord Of Lords” – Hillsong United

Beholding Your beauty
Is all that I long for
To worship You Jesus
Is my sole desire
For this very heart
You have shaped for Your pleasure
Purposed to lift Your Name higher
Here in surrender
In pure adoration
I enter Your courts
With an offering of praise
I am Your servant
Come to bring You glory
As is fit for the work of Your hands…

This is my prayer and challenge for you today:

May every “ugly” thing cause you to seek and appreciate the grace of Jesus, our Beautiful Savior, and may every beautiful thing cause you to respond in worship and inspire you to do something beautiful for Him.  (see Mark 14:6 and Matthew 26:10)

L.E.A.P. – beautifully (March 29th)

Beauty…

God has put beauty all around us.

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And, the LORD especially wants to create beauty INSIDE us!!!

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Spring!  What an inviting month to L.E.A.P. beautifully!

  • Live beautifully!
  • Enjoy beauty!
  • Add beauty!
  • Pray for beauty!

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… a beautiful attitude, beautiful character, beautiful friendships.

… a beautiful home, a beautiful smile, a beautiful day!

… beautiful thoughts, beautiful sunrises, beautiful walks.

I am ready for BEAUTY!

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It’s Spring!!  I’m ready for color and life!  I have the much needed motivation to clean in-doors and an energetic desire to get out-doors and get moving.    What a perfect time to L.E.A.P. into a life of abundant BEAUTY!

If you're just joining in on this L.E.A.P. year challenge, check out the main page for more background and links.  You are welcome to start with BEAUTY, or last month's word (attentively), or choose another word that motivates you to LIVE, ENJOY, ADD, and PRAY in a new and creative way!

This month’s printable challenge has a four options.  You can choose just one, a couple, or do all four!   Then, mark the columns on your checklist throughout the coming month:

 LEAP march 29

 

leap beautifully

After printing the document on the link directly above, read these instructions to help you focus on L.E.A.P.ing with Beauty for 29 days in the coming month of April:

  1. Live in Beauty29 verbs are suggested to help you live in beauty  (You don’t need to do these in order.  Circle one that you’re “in the mood” to do each day.)For example:  “smile”.  Make your face beautiful by intentionally smiling throughout the day.    — (If you didn’t already make a L.E.A.P. reminder, consider tying a ribbon on your wrist or writing the word “smile” on the palm of your hand to help you Live in Beauty throughout the day.)   — All of the words are just FOR YOU; so if you are a little embarrassed about dancing, singing, drawing, etc, then dance in your bedroom, sing in the shower, doodle an illustration in your journal, etc.  — Some of the words may be more personal for you, like “forgive” or “worship”; but I hope you choose to apply these privately and in your heart especially since internal beauty makes us most attractive!
  2. Enjoy Beauty – write one or two words describing what or where you noticed beauty.  (This is an extension of last month’s “L.E.A.P.ing Attentively”.)  For example:  a flower, a sleeping child, a poetic phrase or line from a song,…)
    • If you enjoyed the bonus 29 day picture challenge from last month, you could continue with taking a picture of something you find to be beautiful.  Or, take a photo of how you “added beauty” in this next suggestion (or take a before and after photo)…
  3. Add Beauty – write one or two words to note how you added beauty during the day —  Need a suggestion?
    • make your bed, pick up the clutter in the livingroom, clear a table and put a center-piece on it, line up the shoes in the mudroom, sweep the porch and put out a welcome mat, rearrange furniture,…
    • paint your nails, take a shower, put on some make-up, get a hair cut, put on an outfit that you feel beautiful in,…
    • open the curtains and open a window, or wash a window, go for a walk, sit on the deck, weed a flower bed,…
    • buy flowers, set the dinner table in a special way,…
    • make a craft, sew, paint,…
    • Bonus Idea:   At our house, we try to use the last 30 minutes of the afternoon before Handsome comes home to tidy up the front of the house.  It’s just a quick once over to create a bit of beauty and make things more inviting for my hard working Man-of-the-House.
  4. Pray for Beauty – Each of these prompts relate to the verb listed for the day; so when you choose your word, use the corresponding suggestion to begin a pray asking the LORD to help you see beauty.  Then mark that column by circling the phrase.  Be expectantly watching for how the LORD beautifully answers your prayer.

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Now, just incase you’re thinking:

“I’m too busy.   I’ll enjoy beauty when I have more time.”

or

“I need to ‘order’ before I can ‘add beauty’.”

Consider this…

Beauty creates energy!

Beauty makes us more motivated and productive!

Beginning with beauty initiates momentum!

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For example, lighting a candle in the kitchen and putting on a kettle of water for tea changes my whole outlook on tidying up a sink full of dirty dishes, clearing a counter, or mopping a sticky floor.  I am encouraged by the immediate reward of a pleasant smell and the cozier change in the atmosphere of the room.  —  Also, I have the anticipation of an even better reward to look forward to when the task is done:  a relaxing cup of tea in a clean kitchen.  It’s as if I’m in a mini-race to see if I can finish before the water boils.

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(This same principle applies to other rooms of the house.  What is more motivating than lighting a candle and running water for a hot bath.  It’s so much more pleasant to soak in the tub without piles of dirty clothing on the floor, sloppy towels shoved over the rack, and hygiene odds and ends scattered all around the sink.)

When I look to create beauty, rather than clean and organize, I find the one inspires the other.  I start with the easiest and most obvious changes that will have the biggest impact.

So go ahead, look for beauty, enjoy beauty, add beauty; a little effort brings big rewards.  Pray for beauty and LIVE beautifully, making your mind a garden in full bloom.

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Come on!!! Let’s spend more time LIVING and ENJOYING beauty all around, enjoying the wide variety of beautiful people in our lives.   If nothing else, let’s linger in the presence of Beauty, the Creator of everything we see and enjoy; after all, He is what makes life truly beautiful!

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Many thanks to my Handsome Husband for the BEAUTIFUL corsages he gave to my daughter and me for Resurrection Sunday!  What a special way to start this month of beauty.

Smile or Frown?

It’s a matter of perspective.

“Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa, men have named you.”

If labels come from judgements of comparison,
a perception of a person or situation
from the vantage point of limited perspective,
what have men named you?

“You’re so like _________ ”
(“the lady with the mystic smile”).

Things are not always as they seem.
… Nor are they always as simple.

If we can’t trust even our own best judgement;
then why do we pay attention to the judgemental voices of others?
And, why do we judge other people at all?

Sometimes we’re too removed from a situation to know all the facts.
Sometimes we’re too close to be objective.

1 Corinthians 4:3-5 says,
I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed,
I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.”

These were a few of the verses I was memorizing at the time I was visiting Raleigh, NC where this reproduction of Mona Lisa made from 5184 spools of thread is on display in their local gallery.

Too often my emotions have transposed Paul’s word to sound more like this:

I care very much if I am judged by you; indeed, I even judge myself.
My conscience is not clear, but that does not make me guilty. After all, I am my own judge, except for when society judges me. Therefore I will judge everything on my present perception; not waiting until the Lord comes but rather listening to the latest popular poll that will keep hidden what is in the darkness and not expose the motives of my heart. Rather, it will bring to light any physical assets and superficial qualities while exposing and magnifying any external flaws and blemishes. Right now, I want my praise from men.”

When you look in the mirror,
do you smile or frown?
What image do you see?

If we’re impressed with ourselves because we’ve compaired ourselves with others and thought ourselves supperior, maybe we should turn that smile upside down.

If we feel inferior because of this globe’s convex distortion of success and beauty, it’s time to invert our thoughts to a more accurate view.

Looking into the mirror of God’s word, we can see ourselves for who we are. Then, if we come away, not forgetting what we look like, we will be able to confidently echo 1 Thessalonians 2, “We are not trying to please men, but God, who tests hearts. We (are) not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.”