25 Years Together!
I've got to admit, I'm feeling pretty sentimental today. This Big Anniversary has me all giddy with excitement, and it's not just because we're going to spend a night at a swanky hotel like secret lovers. It's because I've been thinking about the life we've created together, and how grateful I am for the journey we've had.
We've had a few tough years, I'm not going to lie about it. There were the Starting Out years, in which my man regularly worked 80-100 hours a week while I was home with two babies. I didn't even admit to myself how lonely I was at times. There were the Verge of Nervous Breakdown years and the Post Nervous Breakdown years, in which the stress of running a business became too much and we had to make a complete job change. We lived with Tom's parents for a year while we worked our way out of that one, and I became pregnant with our third child while living in their spare room. We have impeccable timing.
There have been the Follow Our Dreams years, in which we've bootstrapped our way through starting a new creative business. And then there was the Year of Tears. That was when we lost our fourth child in pregnancy as a result of a car accident, and I couldn't stop crying for months.
But somehow, in the midst of everything, there's always been joy and there has always been Beauty.
There has been beauty in the hard times and even in the tears. Mostly there has been beauty in the joy of watching our children grow up and experience life. There has been beauty in living with my best friend, loving each other, making do on a pauper's salary, making memories and creating a Sanctuary for our little family.
When I think about it, "Sanctuary" has always been our theme, even when we didn't know it. We didn't realize that when we were trying to clean up children's messes, keep up with the laundry and pay the mortgage that it was all about Sanctuary, but it was. We've just wanted our home to be a place of refuge and somehow it became that. In those Hard Years, we needed to be able to close the door on a big, bad world outside and have peace inside. It wasn't always neat and tidy, but it was our safe harbor.
And it still is.
I've said that Sanctuary is a three legged stool. On this blog I spend most of my time writing about the Peace and Order "legs" of the stool because Beauty seems a little harder to come by in Small Things bites. Or maybe it's because it's tempting to think we need to purchase something or be really crafty in order to make something beautiful happen. But I will tell you that the years of living on a shoestring have taught me that Beauty can be found in simplicity. And there is Beauty in gratitude.
I'd love to have a new tablecloth and centerpiece for my table to create instant beauty for about $75.00 and two hours of shopping. But that has not been part of my economic lifestyle. If I'd had the money, I'd have gone through it all by now, only to find what I already have.
I've found that things which are well-worn but paid for are simply gorgeous. That a centerpiece of flowers which your child picked for you is stunning. That a refrigerator that fits your budget but not your family's size still holds magnets. That candlelight makes a simple supper seem like French cuisine. That cleverly placed pillows which hide an old slipcover can look stylish. That hospitality is an attitude, not an event.
Finding beauty is a gift, but few people have it naturally. It is something we can cultivate and give to our children and our loved ones simply by cherishing the things we already have. We can be brought to tears by a piece of classical music, relish the delicious feeling of a bubble bath, and breathe in the smell of a freshly powdered baby. We can gaze through a window at a bird on a branch and gulp down cold sweet tea on a hot day. Beauty is all around us and it's what makes our homes more than just a place to live.
It creates Sanctuary.
Today's Small Thing is to celebrate the beauty that you already have around you. Rearrange a collected display of some things you love. Put some fresh sheets on your bed and spritz something perfumy on them. Hang your child's artwork on the fridge. Or make a centerpiece of fruit. Listen to your favorite music or lie in the grass and look at clouds. Beauty is all about the senses, so just pick something you enjoy and focus on what it does for your Sanctuary.
POINTS: 40 for finding beauty today.
BONUS POINTS: 10 for letting us know where you found it!