It soothes my soul.
And its everywhere.
This past weekend I planted flowers and “beautified” our deck with plants. There are hanging baskets on our front porch, pots on the deck, and impatiens and cosmos in the flowerbeds.
There are fewer impatiens and one less pot, because …puppy.
I am not known for my green thumb, and in previous years I haven’t been quite as obsessed with flower-beauty as I am this year.
I’ve gotten hanging baskets before, but always thinking, ok, all four alike, keep it matchy-matchy. This year, though? I picked four different baskets, loud and wild, pinks and blues and reds and whites and yellows and deep purples. I want all the variety and crazy combinations. I don’t care if pink and red clash. It’s just all beauty.
And I am enthralled.
Recently I’ve been aware not just of beauty itself, but how it soothes me. How it brings me back to truth. How it shows what reality really is – a kind and Good God who is orchestrating every detail of our lives, and showing us in all the showy ways just tiny glimpses of His own beauty.
This morning my youngest was up early, (6:30 these days..) and I wanted some quiet and time alone before I began parenting (amen?), and the thought skittered across my mind as I sent her to my bed to lay down….
“Cherish this time, don’t wish it away, she won’t be 3 and snuggly forever.”
And the words of my mother-in-law just this past Sunday evening rang in my mind, in reference to this time of our lives…”Just enjoy it,” she said.
So the coffee stayed in the coffee pot and I crawled back in bed with my delighted girl.. and this is what I heard:
“You take a nap with ME, Mommy?”
“Mommy… I love you too. I love you too.”
And she told me all about Aunt La-la coming last night while I was in town, and chattered and wrapped squishy arms ’round my neck and kissed my cheek and my arm, whispering her “I love you too’s”. My heart filled to overflowing for this treasure, this time, this sweet one. This beauty, with her loud stomping everywhere she goes (Bull. China shop.) and her penchant for sweets, her stubbornness, her long, long, hair with wild curls, and how dearly she loves.
We read a story and she surprised me by picking out the e’s on the page, and I melted into one last 10 minute sleep while she wallered (is that a word? I think it must be. It’s what she did.) and talked and attempted to hijack chapstick and my phone.
It’s a summer-slow morning. And everyone else trickled out of bed, enthralled with the new library books and always, always holding kittens.
That’s beautiful to me.
And the fresh, rain-soaked blueberries coming in last night from our patch by my dear second son, so excited with his find and asking if I want one. They tasted delicious, more so accompanied by the smile of the giver.
The rain-drops glistening on the bright green of lavendar and succulents on my deck this morning.
My whipping cream, pouring into a steaming cup just 10 minutes ago.
Fresh sheets, slipped on late at night with the help of the husband I love, and crawling in, the coolness and the weight of the quilts, and the knowledge that he is still loving me, almost 14 years since he started, and the beauty of love that stands through hard and harder. Sickness. Health. Vows that were hushed and quiet with all the strength of the love we shared then, and knowing that the love we share now is more beautiful than I ever could have dreamed. That even when we misunderstand each other and get frustrated, when we are tired and clueless about how in the world to parent or what we are supposed to do, that our love is rock solid. We know so much more about each other and so much less about parenting than we ever did before. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Then the way the carpet looks after the vacuum has worked its magic, and feeling like surely this time my room won’t get messy again.
Knowing that in just “one more sleep” my mom and dad will be here, and we will talk and laugh and drink coffee in the afternoon because why not? and hug and not think about saying goodbye again. We will enjoy the beauty of the moment.
The sound of the washer and dryer humming, cleaning the dirt and grime off the summer mountains of laundry.
The way my shampoo and conditioner smells, and the sense of luxury in having a new bottle and inhaling it’s unfamiliar and intoxicating scent.
Starting our new read aloud (so what if we don’t finish the others..) “Streams to the River, River to the Sea” by Scott O’Dell, about Sacajawea. And yesterday, going to the library, just my boys and I, and filling our bags with books for all. Then taking french fries and coke up behind that subdivision in our small town, all the way past the houses to the very end where we were way up high and we could look out and see the valley where we live, with the mountains capped in wispy white clouds. We parked there, enthralled by the view and pointing out Grandpa’s silo, and the weeds and tall grass framed the bottom with bright and sun-caught green. We sipped our drinks and I read aloud and we were all captivated by the story. The view. The sun. The taste of McDonald’s hot and salty fries.
And the kitten who traveled under our vehicle to the library and who pitifully meowed loudly as we were trying to order French fries. The rescue attempt commenced with great excitement and we hoped the people behind us understood while my boys ran wildly around the van looking. Soon the little yellow kitty was safe and sound and gifted with the first french fry for his bravery.
A bath with oatmeal and Epsom salts to (hopefully) soothe the poison oak that’s taken up residence on my leg.
A word, fitly spoken while on a last minute rendezvous with my dear friend last night.. sitting in the motel parking lot that should have had a sign that said “scenic overlook” on another mountain. This time looking at the twinkling lights below and the other mountains we know are there but couldn’t see, while rain drizzled on and off on the windshield. She spoke truth to me that I didn’t even know I needed, but keep coming back to over and over again since we talked. We spoke of grief and pain and when your mama goes to see Jesus and leaves you behind and what it looks like to step into a future that’s uncertain and maybe even thrilling at the same time. What faith looks like and how sometimes what you really need is just to make sure you get enough sleep so you can get up a bit more refreshed and not quite stretched so thin.
The fresh cucumbers found in the garden, and brought inside with great fanfare.
When you can pray and you don’t even know what you’re going to say, but Jesus brings the words and they flow and you know you wouldn’t have wanted to come up with words by yourself anyways.
And this verse the Lord led me to yesterday:
“I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.” Psalm 71:14. So much beauty when we praise more and more… it increases our hope. It magnifies our hope. And it’s the only way to continue in hope.
So much beauty. So much overflowing of a cup that isn’t half empty, and isn’t even half full. It spills and runs and drenches everything, and the more I praise Him the more I hope and the more beauty I see around me.