Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Creating and/or Finding Beauty

In this down economy, we need beauty more than ever to keep our spirits buoyant.  Creating beauty requires effort, energy and love.  It is an imitation of God's creativity and imagination, to will to create loveliness. As moms, we often are giving and doing a bit of triage parenting/housekeeping to manage everything, but that sort of labor can drain the life out of us and make the very acts of service drudgery.  For service to be joy, we must willfully engage in countering the temptation to just go through the motions.

So here's a helpful summer list for the most part in no particular order, to help you add a bit of extra to your day that will lighten your own and others spirits.  Feel free to add to it in the com box.

100.  Pray.  Stop and really pray for each person you must interact with today.
99. Cut flowers and put them on the table.
98.  Write a letter to someone. (not an email).
97.  Read a story to a child.
96.  Sing with the radio in the car.
95.  The shampoo that smells good and the good conditioner you save for special occasions, use it every day instead. 
94.  Go to bed on time. 
93.  Put on classical music.
92.  Empty one junk drawer. 
91.  Hug.
90.  Call a friend you've been meaning to visit and set a date and keep it.
89.  Use the good china.
88.  Start a book you've been keeping by your bed.
87.  Take your family to a park for a hike.
86.  Get produce from the side of the road.
85.  Grow herbs or flowers or vegetables from seed.
84.  Donate some items to charity.
83.  Smile.
82.  Teach your children a card trick or card game.
81.  Schedule a classic movie night complete with popcorn. 
80.  Videotape your kids.
79.  Stomp in puddles.
78.  Put on makeup if you do, and jewelry that you love.
76.  Make a bed for someone else.
75.  Eat good chocolate.
74.  Add a glass of wine to dinner.
73.  Plan a date with your husband.
72.  Volunteer to help with something in the future.  Make sure you follow through.
71.  Put seed in the bird feeder.
70.  Water the garden, drink from the hose and spray the kids while you do. 
69.  Dance.
68.  Lend a favorite book to a friend.
67.  Garnish your dinner.
66.  Make dessert.
65.  Prune a tree.
64.  Change the sheets and fluff the pillows.
63.  Read the daily readings or adopt a prayer regimen like the Rosary that keeps you mindful of where all this comes from.
62.  Paint nails.
61.  Cook food on the grill.
60.  Listen to baseball on the radio outside.
59.  Drive with the windows down.
58.  Go to a stream and skip rocks.
57.  Make smores.
56.  Dust and declutter the room you spend the most time in, make it welcoming.
55.  Exercise with your spouse or children.
54.  Go outside.
53. Give someone in your family who needs it, an unsolicited foot rub.
52. Phone your folks.
51.  If you play an instrument, break it out and practice for 20 minutes.
50.  Count your blessings. 
49.  Slip a note in your spouse's lunch.
48.  Throw out old socks.
47.  Play on your children's level.
46.  Flag down the ice cream truck.
45.  Donate that giant coin jar to a charity.
44.  Bring some food to the pantry program in your area.
43.  Use a tablecloth on a non holiday occasion.
42.  Dress up for no occasion.
41.  Paint something.
40.  Count how many days until the next anniversary/birthday, plan something special.
39.  Take one kid out for a special date, even if it's just to 7-11 for slurpees.
38.  Get a haircut before it becomes a desperate issue.
37.  Tuck each child in.
36.  Start a  pillow fight.
35.  Make smoothies for everyone.
34.  Watch a sunset/sunrise depending on if you have morning doves or night owls. 
33.  Blow raspberries on your baby's belly.
32.  Start a diary.
31.  Have a race with your kids.
30.  Go to adoration.
29.  Light the candles that smell good instead of saving them for some occasion.
28.  Fast from little something every day even if you only make it half the day.
27.  Kiss the boo-boos. Apply band-ades liberally.
26.  Introduce your children to a rite of summer, a book, a blanket, an apple and outside.
25.  Go to a park with swings.
24.  Let your kids play in the sink.
23.  Let your children help cook.
22.  Use bubble bath more often.
21.  Have a water gun fight.
20.  Go berry picking.
19.  Spend a day screen free.
18.  Play a board game with your older children.
17.  Give the benefit of the doubt.
16.  Apologize if you haven't.
15.  Phone, skype, or face to face visit if possible, your siblings.
14.  If you don't normally do so, sleep in just a bit so you're more rested.
13.  If you don't normally, get up 15 minutes before everyone else and fix breakfast.
12.  Compliment your children.
11.  Thank a teacher.
10.  Wish someone who serves you --a waitress, cashier, attendant at the gas station,  a great day.  Hit the tip jar with a little extra if you can.
9.  Let someone else pick the channels/movie.  Stay and watch their selection with them.
8.  Sit down to family dinner.
7.  Mail kid drawings to grandparents.
6.  Point out cows, deer, humming birds, squirrels, as you drive or bright colored cars if that's not possible.
5.  Teach your kid something hard; like making a complex meal, embroidery, guitar, parallel parking, chess...
4.  Learn something from your kid that's hard, like how to read Manga, play Wii Mario Cart, the rules to Yugi-O card games, the game Go. Let yourself play and possibly/probably lose. 
3.  Learn something together, like sign language, backgammon, the constellations, etc.
2. Open the windows and let the summer breeze run through the house.
1. Say I love you more often to all of your family.

Have a great day!

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