This was originally a guest post on another blog (no longer published) back in August 2009. It was the beginning of my Living. Lovely. series.
Recently, after an emotionally rough few months this past year, I became inspired and empowered to change my outlook on life. It all began with this video by Amy Krouse Rosenthal: The Beckoning of Lovely. It spoke to me loud and clear.
Lovely became my theme word for the year, and doubtless it will stay with me, even when this year is long gone.
When I looked up the meaning of lovely in the dictionary, these two definitions jumped off the page:
2. delightful for beauty, harmony, or graceThe first definition spoke to me in two ways:
4. eliciting love by moral or ideal worth
1) I need to look around me and notice the beautiful things in my life. They are very rarely big things, such as a vacation to the Bahamas. But every day, all day long (even on the rough days) there are little beautiful things in my life, if I will only take the time to see and acknowledge them.
Sometimes lovely is so small, we have to stop what we are doing to notice it. Sometimes lovely is disguised in the quotidian, and we must step outside of our normal point of view to recognize it.
A sticky kiss from the 2 year old covered in maple syrup. A cherry tree, just beginning to bloom. A husband wrestling on the living room floor with his three sons. A phone call from a friend.
2) I can create lovely in my life. Amy’s list is a tremendous place to start.
Make a grand entrance. Make do with what you have. Make a splash! Make it up as you go. Make out. Make a friend. Kiss and make up. Make someone's day. Make something pretty. Make music. Make peace.The second definition was an overwhelming reminder that God has created each and every person in this world with moral and ideal worth. Do I treat my children, my husband, the grocery clerk, or the person who cut me off in traffic as if they possessed moral or ideal worth? Do I make them feel lovely? How can I project God’s love and grace to those I come in contact with throughout my day, or even in my thoughts as I go through life?
Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." ~Mathew 22:37-40With God’s help, we all have the power to live lovely in our own lives. It doesn't matter how old you are, your gender, your financial bracket, or your political party. You don't need to be artistic or have a green thumb. You don't need 10 extra hours in your day. It doesn't matter if you are a stay-at-home mom, have a thriving career, or feel down-and-out. It isn't about perfection. It doesn't matter if your home is 8,000 square feet or 800.
Every one of us can make something.
We can make the most of our time here.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable
—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.