Unexpected soft spots of color


Unexpected soft spots of color.

This sentence sums up how I decorate.

My garden and my home.

But I am not really going to talk about decorating because Martha Stewart and Pintrest have got that pretty well covered don’t you think?

Every gardener knows that the majority of plant life is green.

Green is good.

Green is life.

But green on green on green is not so beautiful, especially once the dazzling show of yellow, pink, purple Spring buds and flowers has faded gently away.

It takes years for a gardener to figure out the rhythm of plant life cycles and then how to plan, select, plant, and nurture bulbs, perennials, annuls, herbs, and produce accordingly. And if you are an upstate New Yorker like me, you have less than 20 weeks a year to unfold it all.

I have yet to perfectly master it all {lack of funds and time being the main culprit} but have found that a handful of unexpected pretty objects, well weathered, quirky, pleasing in shape and color, break up my tangled jungle that is a blur of green on green on green.

Every housewife knows that Country Living or Real Simple magazine spreads are about as realistic an ideal as calling Batman in an emergency.

It would be nice, but c’mon!

I stopped reading magazines altogether, even in the dentist waiting room, because it makes me so annoyed. That’s right: I would rather read up on the signs of early mouth cancer!

However, once I chucked out unrealistic ideals I was still left with the conundrum that my house is always going to be slightly messy, with minor but un-going structural damage, yet I still need some order and some beauty without being a psycho about it.

There are a few square feet in our 2000 square feet home that I keep sparse:

Unexpected Soft Spots Of Color.

Pretty things, creative things, good things against the easy backdrop of natural wood that fills our home

It keeps the blur of:





licked cleaned chocolate pudding lids

& cat hair

that swim about in rest of the house in a temporary background, at least psychologically.


Right now you may be thinking:

Wow! You are pretty smart.

You, young lady, have certainly gotten it all figured out.

Or maybe you are thinking:

Hey! I thought you said you were not going to talk about decorating.

Don’t I recall some cynical comment or two about Martha Stewart and Pintrest?

The thing is: in my quest for decorating and gardening equilibrium, that maybe I do have a good handle on-

I still struggle every single day to find inner peace in my life.

And really who cares about pretty gardens and cute window seats if the people who planted the gardens and live in the homes can’t handle what life throws at them?

It reminds me a lot of taking care of the outer man to the detriment of the inner.

All this outer is fading away, like the wild flowers, but our souls we will carry for eternity. Not only our own, but everyone we interact with.

Everyone in our home.

And don’t we all know too well that the condition of our inner man effects those we live with and love the most.

Taking photos this morning in my garden, with all that lovely green sparkling in shiny drops from last nights storm in early morning light, I was thinking about just this.

Does gardening and photography really matter in the light of panic attacks and anger?

Jesus often told parables using agriculture metaphors, as did the prophets.

The outer form can’t help but reflect what is going on in the inner.

Which makes sense because the one who created the soul for eternity also created the daisies that grow for a few days in the ditch alongside the road.

So while trying to catch the light that is filtering between my over grown forsythia and falling on a single delicate strand of spider web that survived last night storm I realized how peaceful and content I am at this moment.



I know well, that if my life is a simple blur of work- I become a blur of choking emotions.

I forget though.

Then I resolutely go about getting those carved out soft spots of creativity to color my life.

That have nothing to do with making money.

Nothing that will factor into my formula to do and accomplish.

Nothing that most people get or care about it.

Let’s not get whimsical here.

It’s work.

Beating back the black hungry vultures of questions and accusations that whisper:

“this is a waste of time”

“you should be…”

I think about my husband at work.

My children at school.

Other mothers at work.

And I feel like an out of touch, entitled, lazy, teenager bumming away their Summer vacation.

Always, always, I am a woman torn.

I debated taking the additional time it takes to load these photos on the PC. And then the extra, extra time to blog about it. Not even having a clear picture what it is! For a minute scratch of space of the internet next to no one reads. {Just being honest}.

I fought through it.

I remembered again:

the outer form can’t help but reflect what is going on in the inner.

My real need is not photography or blogging or gardening or decorations in small spaces.

My real need is peace.

Just like everyone else on the planet.

It is what every religion promises to give because it is what everyone craves every single day.

Small surprising creative spaces in my life give way to unexpected peace.

It has to stay small though, or it disappoints, then curdles into something nasty.

I know too well from my twenties, that if I make my life all about finding Me Moments I become that spoiled toddler who throws tantrums precisely because she gets what she wants, how she wants, when she wants, much too often.

My husband, my children, the watching world, are not in need of a creative wife, mother, neighbor.

My husband, my children, the watching world, are not in need of a perfect performing achieving wife, mother, neighbor.


What these people in my life, and those is your own, need is:

to be singularly drawn, and slightly mystified at how lightly we take the heavy things of this world because we have peace, and that allows us to love others well.

I believe that is what kept drawing people to Jesus, after the shock and awe of the miracles wore off.

Because He being the Prince of Peace for mankind is the greatest miracle of all.

What a horrible shame if I, who may talk about Jesus and strive to live like Him, carry none of His Peace.

Unlike outer morality, and learned inner theology, there is no formula or lists to check off for peace.

And so I flounder.


He shows me, in a small quiet surprising way how to simply be.

Season by season.

Moment by moment.

I often picture it like that favorite teacher everyone has from elementary school who would stop, put an gentle arm around, whisper what’s wrong?, then take that extra time to help you, when you were sitting in your chair, close to tears so frustrated and embarrassed that you could not get it; and no one else in the classroom even knew.

It is always a restful surprise and all it takes are “ears to hear” and “eyes to see”.

May you find your personal peace today that will invite others to sit along too.



Like most of my rambling posts it was drawn from another blog post that I read and have been chewing on for a few days.

If anything here resonates in your inner man, go over here to Tresta’s space. I also recommend the book she mentions, C.S. Lewis’s The Weight of Glory.

Post Cheers.


2 thoughts on “Unexpected soft spots of color

  1. Hey friend, I’m glad you took the time to load the photos and write this post. I agree with you that peace is something we should have as Christians and it isn’t something we gain by checking off a to-do list. I find it in my quiet, often creative, moments as well…when I spend time with the Lord. Lately, it’s hard to find peace because it’s hard to find quiet moments. May we both find that in this winding down of summer. Love you, friend.


  2. I understand so well the struggle between utilitarian pursuits and beauty. Good for you, Leah, for resisting the voices that tell you finding beauty is a waste of time. May you notice even more spots of color in your daily duties.


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