Day 10 – There’s Beauty in Dirt

What kid isn’t drawn to dirt?  Little feet, blackened on the bottom, dirty fingernails and smudged faces are all signs that a child has been deveolping their creativiy in the presence of dirt.  Dirt that we adults want washed off and to which we don’t give much thought.

Nothing on earth is really new, everything is just recycled and renewed from old.  When we hold a handful of dirt, we are holding history.  It could be soil from a homestead where a farmer broke the sod in a field for the first time, or where a young soldier fell after giving his life in a battle to preserve his country.  We could be holding the decomposed remains of an ancient forest destroyed by fire or in our hands could be the soil trod upon by Moses, King David or Jesus.    

     “The poetry of the earth is never dead.”
~  John Keats

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty and never ending cycle of dirt.      

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Day 9 – The Beauty of Design

While working in my garden I can’t help but notice that I am surrounded by design.  I love how ferns come up from the ground and unfold – when they are in that rolled up stage, they look like some foreign creature.   I don’t know what kind of fern fills my backyard, but they do make a beautiful shade garden. 

A fun project for using fern leaves that we did when my older kids were little was to take a large fern leaf and lay it on top of a colored shirt.  Then, with a spray bottle filled with bleach water, spray the area.  Leave on for a few minutes – depending on how strong the bleach water is, rinse and then you have a neat fern design on the shirt.   

 Tulips are everywhere in the spring – but how often do we stop and really look at it inside.  How intricate and amazing its design is.  We are surrounded everywhere by design, if only we take the time to notice.  

 

             

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power:

for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure

they are and were created.” (KJV)

~Revelation 4:11

Thank you, Lord, for your inspiring design of our world.

Day 8 – The Beauty of the Scent of Spring

Early this morning I went for a walk and during much of it I found myself breathing in deeply to take in all the smells of spring.  Everything was quiet and still, which seemed to enhance the aroma of spring and not have it lost as the other senses focus on the surrounding activity that begins to come alive with the day. 

This time of spring, when lilacs, tulips and apple trees are in bloom, is so fleeting that it’s easy to miss.  I like to take the time to really appreciate the scent of spring because if I miss it, I have to wait another long year before the chance comes by again. 

We have been gifted with the sense of smell from a God who values pleasing aromas as well.  After Noah built an alter and placed a burnt offering on it we read:

The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.                 ~ Genesis 8:21

If our God finds pleasure in appealing scents, then I can be sure that the delightful aroma of spring is no accident, but part of creation that we are meant to enjoy. 

Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful scents of springtime.

Day 7 – The Beauty of Things That Make Us Go, “Ewwww!”

Ever since Satan disguised himself as a serpant, snakes have gotten a bad rap.  They don’t get the, “awww… how cute,” reaction like the furry, twitching nosed bunny, or the fuzzy, yellow, cheeping chick does.  They don’t get starring roles in hit movies like animals with grand reputations do.   The Lion King and The Black Stallion are classic favorites, but would a movie titled, The Great Garter Snake, attract crowds and make the classics list?  Whenever movies about snakes are made they are given a B movie rating and are about giant anacondas overtaking the world.  Poor guys – they just can’t break out of their stereotype and get some respect.     

Now I admit I’m a bit in the, “Ewww,” crowd when it comes to snakes, but when I went hiking with the kids this last week we came across this little snake near the trail – and I thought he was just a bit cute.  My son took pictures of him with his phone and he posed nicely for us – maybe hoping to improve the reputation of his kind with this photo op.   We admired him for a few moments, then we let him be on his way so he wouldn’t get stressed out. 

                                                                

His presence enhanced the beauty of the woods that day, giving us a glimpse of life that calls the forest home.   He was a beautiful little guy.  Now I’m not sure if I could say the same of giant anacondas. 

Thank you, Lord, for helping me to find beauty in something to which I would normally say, “ick.”

Day 6 – The Beauty of Childhood Innocence

The innocence of childhood is a fleeting time in our lives of which most of us have vague memories, but we can find beauty and joy through the innocent eyes of the children around us.  They are able to see the world with such wonderment and their laughter is contagious.  In fact, I had read that a preschool child laughs 300 times per day compared with the average adult who laughs 15 times – and I sadly know people who laugh less than that.    I think most of their joy comes from their innocence, before the stresses of life bear down on them and knowledge of the world steals their innocence away.   The following poem by Francis Duggan sums up childhood innocence beautifully.

When Children Lose Their Innocence

The innocence of childhood it is a marvellous thing
And all children are untainted in their life’s early Spring
But by the time they’ve reached their teens their innocence they’ve lost
And the experience that we gain from age always comes at a cost.

When children lose their innocence they lose their gift of joy
The joy that comes from innocence in every young girl and boy
Compared to us young children see life quite differently
Of the guilt of corruption they are completely free.

I have such happy memories of when I was a boy
My childhood years were happy years but time just seemed to fly
And the experience that I’ve gained from life it came at a great cost
For I lost something beautiful when innocence I lost.

 

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty of childhood innocence.

Day 5 – The Beauty of Music

Music is found in every known culture around the world.  It is used in praise and worship.  It enhances ceremonies such as weddings and funerals.  Music has been used to call warriors to battle and to lull a sleepy camp to rest at sunset.  Mothers from every corner of the globe sing their babies to sleep and children sing school yard chants that have been passed down throughout the generations.  Imagine watching a movie without music – would Jaws be the same without it?  Could we imagine Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion not singing, “We’re off to see the wizard…”  as they danced down the Yellow Brick Road?  Would an encounter with a UFO be as intriguing without the simple tune from Close Encounters of the Third Kind? 

The fact that music can move us to jump to our feet and dance with wild abandon or move us to tears in quiet reflection tells me that we were created to be touched deep within our souls by music.  We may not all be touched by the same kind of music, as each of us vary in our uniquness just as music does.  But when we find the kind of music that speaks to our hearts we are enriched. 

We were created by a God who loves to hear his people praise Him with music.  There are many verses in the Bible that tell of God’s people using music to praise Him, but I particularly like this verse where Moses says God is his song –

     The LORD is my strength and song, and he has become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”
Exodus 15:2 (KJV)


 Not everyone can look at written music and be able to decipher its language and make music come to life off of the page, but we all can understand that music moves us and brings us joy.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of music.

Day 4 – The Beauty of Food

We are a fast moving culture.  We want immediate gratification in our lives – fast food, fast internet, fast service which has lead to drive thru banks, pharmacies and coffee.  But in this need for speed have we lost appreciation for the simple things, like taking a moment to really look at and taste the food we eat?  Do we look at the texture and color?  Do we let the aroma fill the kitchen to welcome those coming home?  Do we really savor the taste? 

Eating, for many, has become something we have to squeeze into our day and grab what is quick.  If that becomes a regular pattern, then we are losing a major source of enjoyment in our daily lives. 

I took a moment to really look at this berry cobbler that my daughter made before she put it into the oven.  I loved how the sugar glistened on the cherries and how their red color was enhanced by the earthy brown oatmeal.   It was a beautiful treat.

Thank you, Lord, for food that not just nourishes our bodies, but adds beauty to our days.

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