By LeAnne Martin
Squirming, talking, laughing, looking out the window at the sunshine. We were sitting in our desks but could not keep still or quiet. Finally, when the clock above the chalkboard said 3:00, the last bell of the year would ring, and out of the building we would fly.
Summer stretched before us, endless and exciting.
But sometime near the end of July, the scorching hot and sweaty humid days melded into each other and kept my sister and me inside. Boredom set in, and even the perpetual stack of library books couldn’t completely banish it for me. Summer had become routine.
As much as we crave summer’s fun and frolic, it can become a bit ho-hum after a while. One way to keep it fresh for ourselves and our families is to look for beauty in the ordinary. God has filled this world with beauty for us to enjoy, but in our busyness, we don’t always see it. These ideas can help you see and enjoy the every day beauty of summer.
Engage your senses. Grab your camera or smart phone, and take your kids on a nature walk in your neighborhood or one nearby. Make a game of looking for things that catch your eye: a flower that’s unfamiliar, a bird perched in the tree above, a caterpillar on the path. Take photos of them. Note how just holding your camera up to them can set them apart and make them special.
In addition to looking for beauty, take a deep breath: what do you smell? Is it fresh-cut grass, the water from your neighbor’s sprinkler, or flowers like gardenia and lilacs?
Now, what do you hear? Maybe it’s birds chirping, a dog barking, or children laughing. Just by waking up your senses, you can enjoy the beauty in ordinary moments.
Color your world. Color is everywhere, and whether it’s the blue water in the pool or the red tomato on your hamburger, summertime seems to heighten the vibrancy of it.
I love to ask little kids what their favorite color is, and they almost always answer with a big smile and lots of enthusiasm. As we get older, our favorite color becomes less important. In case you haven’t thought about it in a while, let me ask you: What is your favorite color? Which one draws your eye and makes it linger?
Think of some ways you can add more of it to your every day life this summer. Maybe an emerald green tee shirt, a purple beach towel, or blue travel mug. The beauty of color can refresh ordinary summer days.
Cultivate vacation vision. Going on vacation often opens our eyes to beauty because we are in new and unfamiliar surroundings. Adopt that vacation mindset in your every day life like this:
- Become a tourist in your city. Go to a new park, nature center, or museum.
- Go to a different part of your city or town to explore, eat lunch, or even run errands.
- Take a different route home from work, church, or some other place you visit frequently.
- Try a new dish for dinner, or eat a food that you’d normally only eat on vacation.
The beauty of God’s creation is all around us. Thanking Him for it draws us closer to Him and lifts our spirits. Taking note of beauty in the ordinary can add a richness to our lives during summertime and any time, all year long.
LeAnne Martin looks for and finds the beauty around us and encourages others to do the same. Through her words, she shares glimpses of beauty in nature, the arts, and the unexpected on her blog, Glimsen. You can read more of her writing there. You can also connect with LeAnne on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, where she shares her photos of beauty for others to enjoy as well.