“‘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.”
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!)
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!)
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.)
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!)
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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!
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.)
Day 11 – the sunset silhouettes of roof tops and chimneys, reminiscent of Mary Poppins; a welcome start to a beautiful weekend
Day 12 – all my favorite colors found at one of my favorite places in the world… the beach, absolutely beautiful.
Day 13 – a beach beautifully covered with shells (I love low tide!)
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.)
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!!!!)
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, …
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.)
Day 18 – a flowering tree – I have never seen a tree like this before with blooms growing along the sides of the thickest branches!
Day 19 – starting a beautiful new journal to record beautiful thoughts
Day 20 – preparing for summer days… imagining a French Country tea at this table when shady leaves fill the trees and my roses bloom
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.)
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!
Day 23 – beautiful little gifts… I feel loved.
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.)
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!!!
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.
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.)
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!)
Day 28 – personal treasures: little things… and the memories and lessons learned associated with them
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.)
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 …
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