Posted by: Sally | March 10, 2008

Celebrating Life in the midst of the mundane and ordinary days

Today I know that I could make many of you jealous! I am sitting by candlelight, sipping coffee listening to a melancholy instrumental cd while sharing a breakfast soufflé with my dearest best friend, Sarah! (and it is only 9 o’clock in the morning!) After conferences and travel and wearing ourselves out, and homeschooling all along the way, we always plan something fun in March. March is that middle of the spring season time which is neither spring or summer and not a holiday time—cold and snow still abound for us in Colorado—and usually the moms I know are a little bit weary of the school year and  “feeling” no inspiration ahead! That is exactly why I almost always take a break in March. I make up my own holiday time for just a few days—because my soul needs rest and refreshment. This is a long journey and if I am to make it to the end with resilience, I have to plan for refreshment along the way!

Once, a friend told Sarah that her love for beauty seemed a bit frivolous. However, I have always told my children that they are responsible to keep a light burning in their souls—whatever it takes. Creating beauty and joyful moments in the midst of a fallen, sad world is what gives light to others and nurtures light in our own soul. I am not ignoring the pain or difficulties, as the still abound in my life—but admitting that in order to keep going and giving endlessly for many years to come—I have to take responsibility for replenishing my soul and seeking to fill the spiritual, emotional and physical cup of my life with nourishment. Spending time with Sarah—my sweet daughter—or with one of my dearest friends who really knows me—always fills my soul. Filling my mind with encouragement and truth always gives me guidance. Resting and exercising (walking is my therapy!) gives my body a boost.  Clay and I had a lovely dinner all by our selves last week. Joy and I went shopping and I gave her a small budget for taking us to shops and for a treat—we had a blast talking. I took both the boys on dates alone to Panera’s for coffee and a treat of their choice. I used to take the kids when they were little on a drive to the mountains with a great book on tape in the car and hot chocolate at a little café—or breakfast out at a fun mountain eatery.

Going for long walks or hiking, reading a magazine or frivolous book, sleeping in, having a tea party or lunch in the middle of the week with kids and moms for no reason, creating a scavenger hunt in the house for kids, hiding wooden painted Polish eggs all over the house for my friend’s kids while the moms gather for gabbing, taking a long extended bubble bath with divine music and candlelight and not answering the phone or the door; going to a favorite café in the middle of the week in a downtown area—even if we all share meals or just get soup (which we are likely to do with our budget tight from 3 college age kids with cars and jobs and school costs!)  Whatever sounds good and within reason, I do because I know the principle of the Sabbath—God designed for us to have and to take rest because without it, we do not endure well or see Him clearly or have the strength to believe in order to get perspective.

This is the third year I have been able to get away with Sarah for a few days in Asheville, NC—one of our favorite cities in the world. Wonderful trails to walk, great cafes in which to have savory food or a sumptuous treat and time to breathe in the goodness of long quiet times and walks amongst old, beautiful Victorian houses. Clay graciously assented to our several day trip as we look for places in the south for a potential mom’s conference next year, as well as working on a new book 4-6 hours a day. Very sweet friends are hosting Joy for a week long of total pleasure and fun while we are sequestered away to write. But mostly, just investing rest and pleasure and goodness and beauty so that we can go back home to give and give and give again—but with a smile on our face! So, take time this week to do something unexpected that will indeed celebrate God’s goodness and that will bless everyone in your home! Give your body and soul and mind a rest and time to refuel!



  1. So, it IS N. C. where you and Sarah are having fun. As I mentioned on her blog, I honeymooned in Asheville. (We were there for a Walnut Convention in Hickory… honest… have I ever mentioned my husband has a Master’s in Wood Science?) 🙂

    I just checked Bloglines again after putting up a post on my blog. It was SO good to see you had written a post. Will be sending out an e-mail soon.

  2. Beauty frivilous? I should say not! Thank you for nurturing Sarah’s love of beauty and life, along with your own. Also, thank you for freely granting a peek behind the curtain of your life. Your thoughts always inspire me to keep fighting the innate (and truly bothersome) quest for “perfection” and just pause to drink in the beauty that IS right where it lays. Thank you sweet friend, you’ve brightened my day.

    Enjoy your time with Sarah. My daughter Elizabeth was just home from college for 1-1/2 weeks devoted to slow sipping of tea and lingering over candlelit dinners as a family. Real life is so good when we pause to enjoy it. : )

  3. Hi Sally! 🙂

    It’s nice to “see” you!

    Having just read about the tabernacle, I think that God would disagree that Sarah’s love and appreciation for beauty is frivolous. He didn’t direct the craftsmen to use gold threads in some of the fabric because He does things that are useless. The God who created flowers, Mallard ducks, sunrises, sunsets, clear blue skies, and German Shepherd Dogs does not think beauty is frivolous by any stretch of the imagination.

    I appreciate this:

    However, I have always told my children that they are responsible to keep a light burning in their souls—whatever it takes. Creating beauty and joyful moments in the midst of a fallen, sad world is what gives light to others and nurtures light in our own soul.

    You know, it should be obvious, but beauty is not something I think of in those terms, much less encouraging my kids to do it. My default mode has become more utilitarian, and, unless I have my camera in my hand or hanging from its strap around my neck. I really need to change that.

    Thanks for causing me to think. 🙂

  4. Oh Sally – your writing strikes such a deep chord in my heart. Thank you very much for all you share & being an inspiration with such depth and zeal. I am always encouraged and spurred on to continue nurturing a rich family life at home.
    I am jumping up & down (on the inside ) agreeing with you about cultivating the beauty in the everyday moments. there are so many little opportunities in our busy days to choose to make time for beautiful moments. Like quilting on the verandah, enjoying a cup of tea in a real teacup, listening to lovely music or picking fresh flowers from my garden; kissing the cuddly soft cheek of my toddler, reading a funny story or sitting cross legged on the floor, chatting with my big girls.
    Many blessings to you & Sarah – all the way from Toowoomba in Australia!

  5. Each bit of beauty in the world reflects some aspect of God and His glory – whether it be His creativity placed in an individual and seen in their art, His manifest glory in creation or just the sweet, precious heart of God evident in a little child. Beauty feeds our souls because it is a visible expression of the unsearchable mysteries of God. At least that’s how I look at it…

  6. Sally,

    Thanks so much for sharing this! You continue to inspire. I was encouraged by your thoughts on keeping a light burning in our souls. How I long to not pass by the beauty that the Lord surrounds me with each day! All too often I let those moments pass in the busy-ness. I pray the Lord helps me learn this and teach it to my children. That I will take time to create those moments of beauty for my family.

    I do so hope that you come to the south – I almost made it to your Texas conference this year, but the weekend conflicted and I wasn’t able to make the 12+ hour drive. I’d love to see you in the southeast! Ever done a conference in the Florida panhandle? We’d love to have you….

    Many blessings to you as you cherish your remaining moments in NC w/ Sarah.

    With much love in Christ…

  7. Thank you Sally. I myself have been made to feel silly or frivolous when I take the time to enjoy or create beauty. I throw a girl’s day in my home and I provide a beautiful table, tea, and crafts. I get the feeling that others think I have too much time on my hands – nonsense! I have to work this time into my already busy schedule. I find if I don’t then I feel dry, depressed and kind of like a robot….you know, where you go about your day from one chore to another with no emotions. It saddens me that I can’t find other like-minded women to enjoy these times with- people are too busy to stop and smell the roses.

  8. I love reading your blogposts Sally! It gives me vision and permissions to enjoy beauty and see it as a way to honor God and not as idleness.

    “hiding wooden painted Polish eggs all over the house for my friend’s kids ”

    It was fun to read about the eggs. We have the same tradition here in Belgium but with chocolat eggs, bunnies and bells or decorated cardbord eggs. We hide them in the garden and the children go out to seek them on easter morning and collect the in a little basket. A lot of fun!!! Certainly if you have secretly been following your dad hiding all the eggs in the early morning. Or if the one who hides the eggs, suddenly forgets where he has put them :-ç
    When I was for a year in Norway I did not find any chocolate eggs in the shops around Easter… So I was wandering if you have the same traditions in U.S. about hiding eggs.

  9. You said: “they are responsible to keep a light burning in their souls—whatever it takes. Creating beauty and joyful moments in the midst of a fallen, sad world is what gives light to others and nurtures light in our own soul. ” Loved that! Absolutely beautiful – blessings on the book you two are writing.

  10. Dear Sally,

    You are always such an encouragement to me ! Thank you.

    I have been invited, as the pastor’s wife, to speak at our church’s Mother’s Day banquet. This is the first time I have spoken publically about motherhood. We are the only homeschooling family in our church and I think they would like to know what I have to say about my choices.

    Anyway, would you give me permission to quote from this entry? I would like to use perhaps three to five sentences and I would cite your blog as the source.

    I wasn’t sure how copyrights and blogs work. And I wanted you to know that your entry was so encouraging that I would like to share it!

    Thanks so much!

    Jennifer Cobb

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