Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Beauty

[what's brewing: get red-y for something beautiful]

There are times when I am overwhelmed by the beauty that surrounds me here – the unique sights and sounds of another culture, the weathered faces of people in our church that reflect years of work and endurance, the sight of children playing blissfully with simple objects like rusted bottle caps, the splendor of the landscape around me, or the incredible sunsets that cast a purple shadow on the mountains around us.

But there are other times when I am overwhelmed by what feels like an absence of beauty – faded and chipped paint everywhere I look, incomplete workmanship of homes and buildings, roadsides filled with litter, and expanses of dry ground that create dismal layers of brown dirt on everything. Even the cheap porcelain figurines that decorate many people’s homes depress me some days.

Some days the beauty in this place is so obvious it takes my words away for a moment. And other days I must look desperately for the beauty in my surroundings. I am learning to open myself up to the redefinition of beauty, a perception that I believe is partially innate but largely defined by my home culture.

This week, I am inviting you to join me in this search for beauty in the places you live. And in the spirit of Saint Valentine, we’re putting on our rose colored glasses.

Coffeegirl Challenge #3: Painted Red

Share a snapshot of (red) beauty from your part of the world!

Submit an artistic photograph (read: no self portraits or pictures of your kids holding their Valentine’s treats or dressed in matching red sweaters, no matter how cute they are!) that includes something red (doesn’t have to be all red) to Cindy Blomquist, the fabulous Editor and Creative Director of Women of the Harvest who makes this blog happen every week. The winner will receive a $15 iTunes gift card!

Photos must be received by 9am (Mountain Standard Time) on February 16, 2009.

Return to Coffeegirl Confessions on Tuesday, February 17 to view the submissions and vote for your favorite photograph. (If you submit a photo, be sure to let your friends, family and supporters know so they can click in to vote for you!)

To get your creative juices flowing, and for a dose of beauty in your week, indulge yourself in this short video created for us by Cindy: Painted Red.

11 comments:

Debbie from England said...

i just love this blog. very inspiring. just wish it was even more often! :) I couldn't access the Painted Red video. No link. Can you check on it? Also, re the color that represents me... as in favorite color, or mood (blue for moody, yellow for scared, red for mad...)?

Women of the Harvest Blogs said...

Debbie et al,
If you can't access/view the Painted Red video by clicking on the arrow in the middle of the screen, the video is also on YouTube at this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLN0GX0xL3c

And to further explain the color that describes you, think of it this way...If I was a color, I would be...I hope that helps on both fronts...from Cindy

Brenda said...

Its true, we have to redefine beauty based on the culture in which we live. In Paraguay, the beautiful faces are where I find beauty.

Becky Aguirre said...

I SO relate to this post! You could be writing from where I am right now! I think you are right, our home culture really does define our perception of "beauty" and it's skewed somehow. Beauty is here, just might not be where/how I expect it...

kimom said...

Funny you are writing about this now. I was reading in Exodus yesterday about the details God gave and the artists He equipped to construct the tabernacle. There was a lot of beauty involved. God prizes a beautiful spirit, but must also love physical beauty - as we see in nature every day. It's a comfort to me that God cares about beauty in all the ways I should.

Like you, I don't see it in the small things everyday - only when my heart is able to look. It would be better to find it everyday! I see it often in sacrificial giving, or heartfelt concern for others, but I'm often distracted by the broken cement, cracked paint, slashed flowers, or needy people.

The video is beautiful, btw!
I will keep striving to find the beauty everday!

malianta said...

Living at the edge of the Sahara means that the landscape is usually very dry, gray-brown which can get depressing. Seeing any kind of green is a relief for the eyes. Depending on the area, the most beautiful time of the year is in fall when the rice fields are like a green carpet as far as the eye reaches.
For the rest of the year, the colorful dresses of the women are in stark contrast to the drabness of the land and are a joy to look at.

Alan & Beth McManus said...

When my parents were on leave in northern Indiana they invited two young gals from our Mexico youth group up for a couple of weeks. We gave them the grand tour (even forcing them to eat baked beans!). One day in the car my dad asked, "So, what do you think of the beautiful view?" (rolling hills, trees, cornfields, etc. -- The part of Mexico we come from is mostly desert). They both screwed up their faces in that I'm trying to be nice but it's hard look and said, "Well, it's . . . just . . . so . . . green!"

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

Julie said...

There is so much beauty to be found in every culture, in every people group! Even the different landscapes- the desert, the mountains and the valley have their own distinctly amazing backdrops. Our God is so creative and I'm just in awe of the hand of our great artist -God!

Women of the Harvest Blogs said...

All right all you beautiful CG readers...as you discuss the beauty of your culture, please go out, snap a photo, and send it to: editor@womenoftheharvest.com.

Can't wait to see what you send in!

Libby said...

I just sent my photo yesterday. I spent part of the afternoon taking pictures and go so into taking pictures that I took a bunch of ones that aren't red too, I was given a variety of yellow fruits yesterday and wanted to take a picture to show family because they aren't fruit you can find in the U.S. and then I realized I was doing a yellow picture. :)Right now it is rainy season here and I am loving all of the flowers popping up and looking so pretty! The mountains and sky are amazing as well. I love that I can just look up and there is something beautiful there.

Becky said...

I loved your post. Words that were very well written. I know, I know I live in Italy...but trust me living in the city beauty can and does get lost in the grafiti and the chipped paint, old buildings and dark streets. I love that God loves color. Red is my very FAVORITE...my kitchen is even red. Thank you for reminding me to look outside of my kitchen and past the chipped paint.
BECKY

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