The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes. If you foolishly ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life. ~Frank Lloyd Wright

Cultivate (verb): to develop or improve by education or training; train; refine.

Not too long ago my husband and I were driving home from a date and discussing things we have recently learned about ourselves.  His discovery was along the lines of musical preferences while mine was steeped in education.  Trent identified a unique musical genre that transports and inspires him while I pinpointed a major player in the reason I enjoy homeschooling: I love learning new things each day. Both were tied to beauty.  Music holds beauty. Education holds beauty. I’ve been thinking about beauty a lot lately.  Most specifically, how easily it can be pushed aside, marginalized and minimized out of our day.  I’ve noticed that raw beauty often cannot be held.  Think sunsets, misty mornings, a moving sonata, children laughing, the smell of freshly baked bread.  I’ve been making mental beauty lists with the intent to keep the beauty around me from slipping through my fingers. I’ve pondered ways to plan, pursue, and practice beauty.  Turns out cultivating beauty isn’t always easy, natural or automatic.

Here is the start to my growing list:

  • nature.
  • prayer.
  • words.
  • actions.
  • art.
  • food.
Taken at face value, these words can seem a bit stale, but unpacking them reveals a deeper level of life waiting to be invested in.
Nature.  When was the last time you observed something in nature for more than 5 sustained minutes? Being surrounded by something can often lead us to take it for granted. My challenge is to notice and appreciate the things around me more fully.

Last week it was raining as we drove home from church.  I forced myself to watch the rain pelting my window and notice the way the circular orbs of moisture slowly slipped along the glass enveloping other earth-driven drops.  I’ll confess, I was ready to look away and check Instagram after the first few seconds. It was forced attention to remain attentive and alert to the showery splatters.  However, as I sustained my focus past the initial awkward moments, my mind made room for awe.  Why the orb shape?  Why drops of that particular circumference and size?  How far did they fall and at what speed?  The beauty of awe is that it always holds the opportunity to reroute us to praise.  For me this is true almost every time I stop to admire the sky.  It’s different every. single. day. Over half of our outdoor view is constantly changing.  How can we possibly not be left breathless at this metamorphic miracle? I’m decidedly determined to be breathless on a regular basis.  To achieve this, I must be willing to step outside, slow down, look up, crouch down, observe, ponder.
Need inspiration? Check out these magnified images of insect wings or snowflakes and let the awe bring your heart to praise.

The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all it contains, You have founded them.  Psalms 89:11

It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it I stretched out the heavens with My hands and I ordained all their host. Isaiah 45:12

He who made the Pleaiades and Orion and changes deep darkness into morning, who also darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth.  The LORD is His name. Amos 5:8

If your heart can handle more awestruck beauty, be breathless as you watch this YouTube video as Louie Giglio presents the sounds of the stars and whales singing God’s praise.

Stay with me as I unpack a few more areas of beauty in the coming posts.

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