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Making Home a Haven: Part 1 - Beauty

"The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely." -Louisa May Alcott

In this beautiful month of November, I think a lot about my home and my family. I have always wanted my home to be a haven for my family. I want my home to be one of those places that has a spirit that you can feel just by entering it's door. When I think of the havens our Father has provided for us to escape the noise, business, and contention of the world, two kinds of places come to mind: temples and the outdoors. A countless number of the great spiritual experiences of my life have occurred in either the quiet stillness of a marble building or the freedom and openness of a mountain top or ocean beach.

Both of these kinds of places are havens because of their beauty, the peace we feel there, the strength we find there, and the happiness we experience while we are there. I strive to pattern my home after these havens in each of those four characteristics in not only the physical surroundings, but also in the atmosphere and spirit we create here.

This week I wanted to share with you my thoughts on BEAUTY. There is incredible beauty on this earth. In striving to be like Him, we also should seek to find and create beauty all around us. There are two things in particular that I notice about the natural beauty of the earth and the beautiful temples.

The first is their purpose. The beauty I find in these places doesn't just come from admiring the grand vistas or heavenly colors, but from the experiences I have there; the conversations I've had with Him while winding a dusty mountain road, the promises and covenants I've made in translucent golden rooms. His beautiful spaces are created to be places where we experience His love and build a relationship with Him. In the same way, our homes are the environments where our family share experiences, build relationships, and feel the strength and support of each others' love.

The second thing I notice about the nooks and crannies of the outdoor world is that they all remind me of Him. There are personal touches in every corner of the world like little signatures at the bottom of a painting. The beauties He creates are very personal I think.

I am a big believer in collecting things that you think are beautiful. It's easy enough to fill your home with pretty things, but if you fill your home with things you love, you'll soon have a home that is more than pretty. It will be beautiful and very you.

Here are some tips on how to create beauty in the physical surroundings of your home: 
  • It's a big job to beautify a whole house, so pick one room to start with or one spot to be the beauty focal point of the room. I particularly love my mantle, so it's the beauty focus of my living room. 
We collect vinyl records. I love the cover art.
  • Make it about you and your family. It's okay to say something is beautiful but not your style. You can collect other people's pretty things all day long in Pinterest, but if it comes into your house, it has to reflect you and your life and your family. 
  • If you don't know what your design style is, start collecting things you love and have a strong pull towards in one spot. Your design style will likely start to filter through as you collect and you'll be able to see what you not just like, but love. 
  • Simple is best. Pick a few key items to feature instead of your whole collection. Pick one powerful color and use it as an accent based in a pallet of neutrals to really let that color pop without being overpowering. 
flowers, real or not, are a simple way to add beauty to your home
  • Bring nature inside. Clip roses from the garden or pick wildflowers for the kitchen table. Hang seasonal silk floral arrangements or art pieces of your favorite outdoor places. 
  • Hang pictures of your family in every room. They are, after all, the most important and beautiful works of art. 
Here are some ways we can create beauty in the atmosphere and interactions in our home: 

  • Play beautiful music in your home. Music has an emotional force that can steer us through our day and change our mood to match it. I pick music to match the day, like upbeat country music for cleaning days, opera for sewing days, folksy singer/songwriter kind of music for most other days. Pandora is amazing for this. 
  • Have fun things you say that mean something special to you and your family. These things can end up being code words that can snap you out of a bad mood or quickly bring your attention back to the people at hand. I would tell you some of ours, but then they wouldn't be just ours anymore! 
  • Talk about beautiful things. Find something in your day that is exciting or miraculous or in any way wonderful and make it the first thing you tell your spouse when they/you return home for the day. 
  • Tell your family members how beautiful they are on a regular basis and extra specially on a special occasion as well. Each of God's creations is incredibly beautiful, including each of His children. 
  • Have places in your home that you do certain things, like family prayer around the ottoman in the living room, or Sunday breakfast on Mom and Dad's bed. That way, each time you return to those places the feelings you felt during those activities will return as well. 

Our physical environment is quite important, but it is the human experiences and interactions that really bring beauty to your life. In a stage play, the sets are important to give context and meaning to the play, but the actors and their interactions on stage are what really tells the story. The same is true for our homes. The way we cultivate our homes and our interactions in them will guide the beauty of the relationships that find their home in our hearts.

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Monica Lynn is wifey and momma dedicated to making life beautiful. You can follow her adventures at {domestic artistry}

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