Monday, September 10, 2012

Cultivating Beauty

As the final days of summer began to draw to a close, I found myself contemplating the last of our "summer list" and seeing what our family could enjoy one last time. Maybe it is my awareness of the seasons changing, my oldest daughter beginning to drive or my youngest losing her first tooth.  Whatever the catalyst, I felt an increasing awareness of the fleeting days, the mantle I wear as a mother to create special moments.  To cultivate beauty for my family.

On a day that no one had violin lessons, homeschool co-op speech class, laundry or grocery shopping. I decided to suprise my children with a picnic in the mountains.  We packed a tablecloth, dinner plates and simple, delicious food.   Off the the mountains we headed.  Windows rolled down, children singing, my heart dancing. 

This past Saturday morning, my daughters and I headed down to the "Old Town" part of where we live.  Lots of wonderful little shops and outdoor cafes.  Eclectic old buildings, art galleries and a bustling Farmer's Market. We walked down the old, uneven sidewalk and visited a French Bakery. Displayed under glass where elegant pastries; buttery crossiants, raspberry Beignets snow-dusted with powdered sugar , multi-colored macaroons. French words spilling out from behind enclosed kitchen. 

As I glanced over at each of my little (and not so little) daughters, powder-sugar and cream on their faces, I memorized this moment, their first encounter with the delicacies of France.  Aware that none of this would have been had I not cultivated the time, saved money & made the effort on this crisp, beautiful September morning.

Life and all that is required of us as wives and mothers can be draining at times.  I have found how easy it is just to be in survival mode, making sure the pantry & fridge are stocked, meals planned, clothes and children washed.  School work and  music lessons. The maintance of a family can be so overwhelming.  Saying, "Later" or "Not today" is incredibly easy. Yet, I want more than this for myself and my family. I want us to thrive. 

     Most days, I choose small things within our home to cultivate an atmosphere of beauty and celebrate the ordinary days.  I get up before my family, simmer cinnamon on the stove or light a scented candle.  I turn on beautiful music to play softly in the background,  stacking interesting books around the coffee table or side tables and lay cozy blankets within reach.  I try to hang interesting & beautiful artwork and display little vignettes of treasures found on nature walks.  Wholesome snacks and meals creatively designed.  Candlelight at mealtime. Fresh flowers from the garden in vases scatttered through the home.  Directing our eyes to the Creator of all beauty.

I recently read this and found it articulated my desire so well:
       "One of the roles God wants me to play in my children’s lives is a conductor of joy, happiness, and celebration. After all, God designed our need for these things into our very hearts. We were made to enjoy life and our Creator, and we were meant to choose to live in His beauty and provision.
This doesn’t mean I won’t have difficulties or times of depression. But I do have choices I can make as a mom that will determine the environment in my home.

When I choose to notice, every day, the beauty of my children instead of the duties my children bring my way, I am worshiping God.

When I choose to notice the gorgeous sunsets and the spring flowers in the midst of busy days, I am teaching my children to dance, so to speak, through their days.

When I choose to believe in the goodness of God and verbalize my love for Him, and make an effort to provide delightful food, thoughtful cards, and moments of fun, I am showing my children a God they will be willing to serve– a God who delights in filling their deep desires for intimacy, happiness, purpose, and beauty.”

                                                 ~ from The Mom Walk by Sally Clarkson

"The homeliest tasks get beautiful
if loving hands do them."
Louisa May Alcott
Embracing His Beauty,


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  2. Oh how this post echoes my sentiments and hearts desire. Thank you for the renewed inspiration! Such beautiful writing...

  3. What a beautiful post and such lovely reminders. Thank you, I have enjoyed stopping by today. :)

  4. Malinda,
    This is such a great post and I think all of us "moms" can relate to your story. Life is busy, there are so many things that can creep into our lives and distract us from the only really important things, our family and friends. I enjoyed reading about the special ways you've found to give your family great memories and happiness. Thank you for sharing.