Lifting hearts to God in thanks and praise.

Finding Beauty

Sounds like another movie title, doesn’t it? It’s a writing prompt: How are you finding beauty in everyday life?


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Everyday life, there’s the rub.

I live in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA. We moved here in 2008, did a lot of work that summer to move, unpack, set up, and enjoyed the beauty of nature, with high gratitude to God that we could live here.

Then in November, wildfires ranged through our neighborhood. We didn’t lose our house, thanks to the first responding team of firefighters. But my husband said it looked like a war zone. No beauty there. Just everyday life to live through. Yet, it was precisely in how it was not a war zone that I took comfort. People didn’t do this, and no one got killed.

My high gratitude to God for the beauty of nature, the excitement of a gem of our first owned, single family house, the words “I can’t believe we get to live here,” all got burnt up. Insead there was the aftershock and ash (which is good for the soil) and my roots sinking immediately deep. It would have taken longer to develop deep connections with neighbors. It would have been odd to praise God for weeds because “they’re green!” It is still odd to thank God for gophers because although they eat what you’ve planted for yourself, they are alive and they are helping the soil, tilling the earth. It might have taken just as long to unpack and reorganize our stuff! The last 10 or 20 percent is the hardest to finish, right?

So this summer we’ve hunkered down and worked on finishing, reorganizing, and finding beauty. The front yard has grown back: all the lush and fragrant honeysuckle (groundcover type), the bushy salvia that the hummingbirds love so, even a new plum tree that survived, is surviving, to replace the one that survived but died of shock from the fire, and drought afterward. Again I see beauty around me. I look to the hills and the firescape is vanishing with the regrowth. I look to the ocean and see a little glimpse either of fog or clear water and I know the weather for the day.

Within the house I have been finding and making touches of beauty. We have added a red leather couch that doubles the seating area.

I’ve been reorganizing rooms and unpacked our art (the last of the boxes never unpacked, and fortunately not damaged at all by the fire and clean-up) and with it beautiful memories. Now, where to hang it?

Today I completed a project of recovering dining room chairs that I’d bought when we moved here, those months before the fire.

I started learning about the importance of beauty with a book that taught 10 rules of decorating. The need for beauty isn’t to be ignored. After the fire, I started reading Ann Voskamp’s blog, and am following her example in listing One Thousand Gifts.

Now that I am pursuing beauty, and thanking God for it when I find it, I am cleaning to keep things beautiful! I am writing in joy. I am creating, making things for others. It’s a new perspective. I am given permission to “waste” time and money on joy and thanks and praise! Do you do that too?

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Comments on: "Finding Beauty" (2)

  1. Wonderful ways of seeing beauty! Green is beautiful – even when it is weeds.

    I love the red couch and the cushions on the chairs!

  2. The great thing about fire? It’s good for the wilderness. It makes everything richer, fertilized almost in that it grows back more beautiful, better, kind of like us after our own trials.

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