Tag Archives: beauty

15 Days of Happiness :: Paint Something

 

With the change of every season, I often feel tempted to go shopping for pretty new home accessories.  Stores and catalogs are transformed by seasonal color and designs that make the coming season feel even more exciting and beautiful.   They plan it that way, and while I believe it’s fine to update things now and then, I also know that if we update our fashion at the rate the retailers hope we will, the result will bring pleasure at first, but will end up robbing us of happiness in the end.   There is nothing wrong with liking pretty things; the fault comes in buying too many of them.  Falling prey to retail therapy brings more stuff into our already cluttered homes, gives us more to store/maintain/care for, and usually ends up being a roadblock to our long term dreams by pinching us financially.

One of my strategies to benefit from the gorgeous advertising without sacrificing my goals is to paint something.  It’s usually the color that sucks me in, and I’m particularly vulnerable to the colors of spring when they hit the stores.  My favorite pictures this year came from the Wisteria catalog that arrived in my mailbox covered with every shade of blue – my favorite.

1652-blue-sky-living-room

Wanting something new, and wanting it to be blue, I decided to “shop my house.”  In the basement I remembered a votive candle holder that my sister gave me 3 (yes, three!) years ago.  The plan was to paint it all along, but I never got around to it.  I  used paint I had on hand from another project and got started.  My candle holder looked like this:

before

Pretty, but not me, especially with the metal inserts.  I decided to simply paint over all of it, and a few coats later I had this:

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I also decided to put it to use with flowers instead of candles.

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This project allowed me to be creative, to use something I already had, to display the flowers from my yard indoors, to save my money, and still feel like I had something new and exciting to enjoy.

flowers

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Isn’t it wonderful what a little paint can do!  Perhaps you’ve got something you can update, too.  Making home more beautiful – and doing it with self-discipline – is a happy thing!

Have a great day!

Jennifer

*This post is part of a short series on happiness.  You can find the complete list of posts in the series here.  To read the previous post, click here.  For the next post, click here.

15 Days of Happiness :: Enjoy the Flowers

ranonculus

In my flowerbeds I planted Ranonculus several years ago.  In my climate it’s supposed to be an annual, but apparently there’s a little micro-climate in my yard that they survive in.  I wondered when we had sub-zero temperatures for so long this winter if they would make it or not.  Imagine my happiness to see their leaves poking out of the ground a few weeks ago.

They’re small flowers, but are possibly my favorite flower ever.  They come and go quickly in my garden so I have to consciously stop when I notice them or they’ll fade by the time I remember to go back.

So many things in life are like this.  We think they’ll still be around for us to enjoy when we have time, but the world keeps spinning and many of life’s simple joys must be appreciated NOW.

I’m a big fan of enjoying the flowers in life.  Studies have shown repeatedly that fresh flowers boost our spirits and increase happiness.  So head out to the garden and enjoy yours.  Stop along the side of the road to look at some.  Pop into a flower shop and treat yourself to a bouquet, or if that’s too much, buy a single bloom and bring it home.   Maybe you could buy two and share one with a friend.  It doesn’t matter if you buy them yourself or if they’re given to you; they bring happiness just the same.

Study your flower.  Smell it.  Notice the layers of petals, the lines, the curve of the stem.  Notice how saturated with color they are.  Study them and remember that the God who created these masterpieces also created you.

I wish I had a field of flowers I could cut, bundle and send to everyone I know.

I think I need to head outside for another look!

Happy Living,
Jennifer

Beach Trip: Easter Sunday

Easterbags1

We began our trip to the beach with Easter Sunday.

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My younger children were a little concerned about celebrating Easter on vacation.  Would the Easter bunny find us?  What about an egg hunt?  I was more concerned with somehow having the holiday stand out as a sacred day in the midst of a vacation.  I did some brainstorming and it all worked out.  I couldn’t bear to pack our Easter baskets, or to buy new ones (although I considered buying sand pails but decided it was more money than I wanted to spend).  I settled on some 59 cent gift bags, found at Target, and which came in exactly 8 different patterns, three of which could pass for boys.  Lucky me!  They were small, compact, colorful, and perfect for our celebration.

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The children awoke to find candy filled eggs hidden all over the beach house, in their shoes, bags, beds, etc.  A small egg hunt took place and then we headed to the beach as a family for an early morning walk.

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The tide was very low and the girls were quickly absorbed in hunting for shells.  It makes me smile to see them do this, because I remember so well this treasure hunt from my childhood.

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On this Easter morning we found 5 unbroken sand dollars!  Small, but perfect (and rare at this beach), Easter morning gifts from the sea.

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Soon we found our way to the jeddy where starfish awaited us.

starfish

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My husband found a Dungeness crab which he carefully caught for everyone to inspect.  We admired it for a few minutes before returning it to its home.

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No one else was on the beach that morning and the children were full of delight and wonder at being where we were.  There was a feeling of happy reverence all around us and we enjoyed soaking in so many evidences of God’s love in an environment unlike what we usually have on Easter.  My sons began tracing Easter messages in the sand on the beach.

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Before we left I managed to bake a couple of batches of lavender shortbread in the shape of chicks, bunnies and eggs.  They were my humble contribution to the Easter dinner my mother-in-law so graciously hosted for all her children and their families.

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One of my favorite parts of the day was surprising our next door neighbor in Newport Beach, who we talk to every summer, with some of my cookies and an Easter morning hug.

Eastercookies

It’s funny how you can know people in such an impersonal way and yet grow to love them so much.  Shasten has lived next door to my Grandpa for as long as I can remember, and in the last 10 years or more I’ve enjoyed talking to her every year.  I admire her flowers; she is patient with our many children.  We’ve watched her son grow up in our annual snapshot-type friendship and she’s watched ours grow the same way.  I guess it’s a little like exchanging Christmas cards, but better, because you get to talk to someone kind and wonderful.  Sharing cookies with her was, perhaps, the most joyful moment of my day.

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And then we were off to the San Diego area to attend church and gather with my husband’s family.

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This lovely scene greeted us as we walked up the driveway, and we were wrapped in the heavenly scent of orange blossoms like you wrap up in a quilt on a cold night.

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I’ve never experienced anything like it.  I was amazed that the scent of two trees could fill the air of such a large space.  Later in the evening I ate dinner alone outside at that table just so I could savor the scent while reflecting briefly on the day.

orangetree

For a girl who’s lived all her life in places with four distinct seasons it was amazing to see a tree covered with both fruit and blossoms all at once.  Gorgeous.

pinkroom

My mother-in-law has a a room she’s painted pink.  She keeps all the toys in there, and the children spent the afternoon in imagination heaven, building castles, dressing up, and anything else they dreamed up.

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I contented myself with soaking in the beauty of her yard in the full splendor of spring.

Eastertree

Easterflower

lion

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By the time everyone else arrived I was busy in the kitchen, which was where I spent the rest of the day.  I don’t see my in-laws often and it felt good to serve by managing the kitchen so they could visit.  I enjoyed watching my husband from a distance as he so thoroughly enjoyed being around his brother and sisters, parents and aunt.  At the day’s end my feet ached but my heart was full of gratitude for all the gifts we’d enjoyed in just one day: hearts filled with the spirit, beauty, family, friends, service, good food, time together, the beach, and most especially the reminder that Christ has already won the victory for us.   A beautiful day.

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