Tag Archives: books

Beauty Observed on Instagram: 6/12/15

A few shots from Instagram this week:

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A few of the books I’m currently reading:

Prayer on Fire by Fred Hartley
Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo
The 21-Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo
The Bible

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This is a photo of stock.  It’s in a pot on my front porch.


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A meme from this blog.   I took this photo of a rhododendron bloom when I was in the mountains of Virginia.  Gorgeous!

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A few months back, a mourning dove visited my front porch.  This photo is not very good because it’s taken from my living room through my front window.  But, I love that she came back.  It made me so happy and I wanted to share that!

You can follow me on Instagram here: Beauty Observed.  Did you know that you can see what people post on instagram even if you don’t have a smart phone or an iPad.

Leave me a comment and let me know your Instagram name.

Have a beautiful day!

The Culture of Beauty in Our Home

My oldest daughter is a 10th grade English teacher in the Washington D.C. area.  Amy is spending some of her summer vacation here at home.  She graciously offered to guest post for me today.  I didn’t know what she was going to write about until it was finished, and of course, I cried. I hope you enjoy getting to know a little bit more about our family and the culture of beauty in our home.


The Culture of Beauty in Our Home


by Amy Nicholson

I’ve always thought of our home as the one described in Little Women:

December snow fell quietly without, and the fire crackled cheerfully within. It was a comfortable room, though the carpet was faded and the furniture very plain, for a good picture or two hung on the walls, books filled the recesses, chrysanthemums and Christmas roses bloomed in the windows, and a pleasant atmosphere of home peace pervaded it. ~Chapter 1, Louisa May Alcott

The Culture of Beauty in Our Home
Our home is well-worn and threadbare, but there is beauty hiding beneath each afghan, dust jacket, and jar.  This has always been important to my mother.  She takes great pride in her “scapes” as we call them–or tiny arrangements of mementos and objects in a pleasing pattern–preferably in small alcoves where one might stumble upon them with a smile.


The Culture of Beauty in Our Home

Just as in the March home, books invade every possible nook and cranny here.  One time, as a young girl, I was in charge of entertaining a friend of the family’s son for an hour or two.  He was in awe at the number of books we had in the house.  I was alarmed. This poor child has no books?! I immediately sat down and commenced reading to him for the remainder of his visit.  Later, the boy told his mother that we had read for an entire hour. She chuckled, saying, “We have the Bible of course, but reading is not a big deal in our house.” Mama graciously tried to conceal her sad eyes.

The Culture of Beauty in Our Home

My mother instilled in me a respect for art at a young age.  When I was six or seven, we were waiting in the checkout line at the library.  There was a large statue of two men wrestling carved in a Greek or Roman style.  I think every child had the urge to touch those smooth stone muscles or those wavy heads of marble hair. One didn’t see art like this every day in rural Ohio, after all. When I reached out and felt the cool statue, Mama exclaimed that I must never touch artwork, but only, “Look with your eyes.”  She wasn’t mad, only embarrassed that the librarians might see and think that we hadn’t the proper respect for art.  From that day forward, I would shake my head like a grandmother at any child I saw touching that statue. They didn’t know that it was ART and not there to be touched. Silly children. 

The Culture of Beauty in Our Home

I can’t count the times we stopped to look at wildflowers or a curious piece of architecture.  We were always on constant alert for something interesting to point out to each other. When driving, we would do this by tapping on the window 3 or 4 times. Mom and Dad even use their wedding rings to add urgency to the cause of an especially pretty sight.  “Click, click, click. Everyone look out my window.”

One day, we were riding along and Mama stopped the car abruptly and pulled over.  In hushed tones she directed my attention to a nearby field where a cow was in labor. We both stared in amazement as a hoof stuck out of the cow’s body in slimy wonderfulness. Soon, as Mama was telling me how incredible it was that we could see this, a slightly annoyed farmer told us that the cow was delivering the calf backwards, and he needed to take her to the barn. We mumbled apologies about “the wonder of the thing” and “that we had just wanted to watch.” Then we quickly got back in the car, and drove off.

The Culture of Beauty in Our Home

It’s interesting to think about the thousands of little moments that form a young mind’s opinion of the world.  As a girl, I was a careful observer of my mother’s reactions. I paid special attention to how she behaved when she was happy, embarrassed, or tired. I found that my mother always acts according to a certain code.  This set of rules is based on what will be the least invasive to whatever is lovely in a given situation.  One must keep Grandma’s bowl because she made the yummy cookies with it, not because of any practical use it might have.  One must smile at those around you because it will brighten their day.  One must never touch a statue because, if everyone did so, it might wear away.  Whenever I come home, Mama’s lovely set of rules brings that “pleasant atmosphere of home peace” to each comfy room.

Beauty is seen, but more importantly, it is treasured and appreciated.


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How Fun! Vol. 24


“How fun!” I find myself exclaiming this many times throughout the week. Here are just a few things that touched me or made me smile:


Happy Almost Mother’s Day Weekend!  Here is a wonderful post that Ed wrote about his mother.   There’s a little humor in it.  I am blessed to have such a wonderful mother-in-law.

My mom doesn’t own a computer, so she probably will never read this, but I just want to say that I am very blessed to have her!  She spent countless hours reading to my brother and I.  I know that she still prays for us like no one else!  My mom is a wonderful grandmother to my children.  I am glad that we will get to spend some time with her on Sunday.


I want to thank Joanne from Days and Thoughts.  She had a book giveaway for Rhinestone Jesus that I was blessed to have won.  I’m so excited to read it!  And, you really need to read Joanne’s blog.  It’s wonderful! <3


Did you see this great bundle of e-books about blogging from Blogelina?  I downloaded them.  It usually retails for $37 but she’s giving it away free until Mother’s Day!


LeeAnn Taylor shared this wonderful Tired Mother’s Creed from Lisa-Jo Baker who wrote Surprised by Motherhood.  LeeAnn’s post also contains a free download for you and a giveaway contest for the book!


My family has become totally enamored with the panda and her baby at the Smithsonian National Zoo.  You can watch their antics on the Panda Cam.  (Also, since my oldest daughter lives in the D.C. area, I feel closer to her because I can see what kind of weather they are having.  I’m a little odd like that.  lol )


What we are eating next week:

Baking this weekend: Tarts


We have a nice printable, high-resolution Mother’s Day card set for you this week! It might make a nice project for you to print out and make with your little ones. Grandmas need Mother’s Day cards from their grand babies! 🙂 There is a card, two gift tags, a liner for an A2 envelope, and even a template for a homemade A2 envelope if you don’t have a spare. All of these files will print out at 100% on an 8.5″x11″ sheet of paper. Trim and fold the card per the tick marks on the document. The 2″x3″ gift tags are the perfect thing to attach to a gift or a bouquet of flowers.  Cut out the envelope liner along the black line and glue it into an A2 envelope to “dress it up” a little. If you don’t have an A2 handy, print out the template on some nice paper, trim it out and fold it per the instruction sheet.  Click the links below to download each file.

Beauty Observed Mother's Day CardClick here for the Card.

Mother's Day Gift Tags and Envelope Insert by Beauty ObservedClick here for the Tags and Envelope Insert

A2 Envelope Template by Beauty ObservedClick here for the A2 Envelope Template

And click here for instructions for the A2 envelope

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Have a great weekend! Remember Philippians 4:8. “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.”

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