This morning, I stepped over no fewer than five stinky, balled-up socks en route to the bathroom. After breakfast, I scrubbed congealed oatmeal off the kitchen table where the 4-year-old sat. I asked for happy hearts to reign during this busy day, and was returned with blank stares. And of course, there was a dirty diaper.

I’m not complaining. This is the stuff of life, and it’s all sign of living with humans, among those I’m rearing and guiding towards maturity. Hugely thankful for that.

And I’d argue there’s even a certain beauty to it all—the snot-encrusted face that grins with devotion as he hands me his paci to give it a try. (“No thank you. No… I’m good. Really. Please stop,” I say as he crams that sucker against my mouth.)

But this dirty, daily grind can honestly overwhelm me if I don’t add a splash of genuine beauty in to my everyday. It’s true… I’m a girl. I thrive on beauty.

In all my homes and in all my travels, I’ve learned that I’m wired to highly value aesthetically-pleasing things. I used to feel guilty about that, as though it meant I was shallow or ungrateful for the less-than-perfect in my life.

I now know it’s symptomatic of my being made by a creative Creator. God, more than any other human that ever existed, loves and values beauty. He’s the Ultimate Artist. The Master Sculptor. The Genius who thought up color.

Why else would He paint delicate stripes and patterns on deep-sea fish that no human would ever likely see? What is His purpose behind every single blossom on every single tree? Any specific reason snowflakes are all completely unique?

He places a high, high value on beauty. On creativity. I figure it’s more than okay that I do, too.

So I like to add a dash of that into my everyday, and I have to say—it helps my attitude. It causes me pause when I’m up to my elbows in dirty dishes. Here are a few ways I do that:

1. I play Pandora or Spotify almost all day long.

My stations change per the family’s mood, but music can subtly, drastically, add beauty to the humdrum of home life. Plato once said, “Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.”

2. I often light a candle.

Traditionally-scented candles give me headaches, but naturally-scented soy candles quietly bring order and awaken my creativity. It’s surprising how easily a scent transforms mood. I can still remember the sweet cinnamon smell of a childhood friend’s house… I want my kids to one day say the same about our home.

3. I open the blinds—and the windows—when it’s nice outside.

Natural light is good for your mind, your heart, and your health. I’m prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder, so I can testify to the power behind good lighting. Go out of your way to throw open the sashes of your home and see if you’re more energetic. (And I’d love to see an actual sash on a home.)

4. I fill my mind with beautiful words.

Even if it’s for five minutes, I aim to read or listen to poetry (or poetic words) each day. Be it a morning in the Psalms, a good word through a podcast while I fold laundry, or a well-written novel before bedtime, words are powerful. And they don’t always need be utilitarian, though some of the most beautifully-crafted words and phrases often find meaning in my life anyhow. I just love to inhale, fully digest lovely words for its own sake. For my own sake.

These little things are beautiful, and beauty is essential to my mood. They help me lift my head to the heavens. I like to go out of my way to find it at home.

What speaks beauty into your daily grind?

By Tsh of Simple Mom

  • Sanne

    dear Tsh,
    reading inspirational words like yours, fill my day with joy! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
    I love to go outside and take a deep breath.
    Going for a fast walk.
    just making a step to the side.
    coming back filled with Gods breeze………..

  • Heather

    We often have pandora playing all day as well, it helps everyone’s mood. And while my kitchen is almost never clean (since I am constantly cooking), the smell of bread baking in the oven, or chili in the crockpot makes me happy!

  • Connie

    Great post! I recently decided to be a stay at home wife for awhile but have found that some days are a little dull. I love your ideas for brightening things up a bit. I’m wondering where you get your soy candles. I’ve been on the hunt but just can’t seem to find some that I really like. Thanks!

  • Rebecca

    “I now know it’s symptomatic of my being made by a creative Creator. God, more than any other human that ever existed, loves and values beauty. He’s the Ultimate Artist. The Master Sculptor. The Genius who thought up color.” Yes, yes, yes!!!!
    A nature dish (moss, stones, feathers, berries, leaves) or tiny antique bottle holding a few fresh flowers is a soul necessity for me.

  • renee @ FIMBY

    Beauty is an actual part of my mission Tsh. I get this.

    So much speaks beauty into my daily living (I don’t call it a grind, just like I don’t speak of the “trenches” of motherhood – part of beauty speak I guess). My children, honestly, for all their messiness are just gorgeous to me.

    Light and nature. Flowers, trees, gardening. A clean kitchen sink… these are all beautiful to me.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Ooh, beauty speak…. I like that, Renee. Thanks for that good word.

  • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed)

    Love this post. The Revelation Song station on Pandora adds beauty to my day. I have a one week old little girl and we play this station each time she feeds. It helps keep my mind on the Creator in the “it’s 3am, I’m so tired, my daughter is screaming etc” moments.

  • Carrie

    sigh. I’ve been for a long time that one of the reasons I am tired of living where we do is because there isn’t enough beauty in this country anymore. Concrete, highways, shopping centers, houses that all look the same in subdivisions… all so ugly to me. I fantasize about moving to Paris for a few months.

    Can anyone relate?

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Absolutely. There’s beauty to be found everywhere, but there’s something pretty darn magical about Paris. :)

  • Elizabeth

    You really nailed this so beautifully. WOW. This seems to be something I have really had front and center in these last weeks especially—this focusing on beauty, looking for beauty, seeking beauty. It is transformative. And yes, thank you for putting words to it. Pandora is a biggie for me. When you set your lense to beauty seeking, it baffles the mind what Creator God has done– the intricate detail of color in his World, in our World. I love this post and your words. Thanks for sharing. And who does have a sash? warm smiles here. And thanks be to God for his amazing Creation , here on display for us to feast our senses on.

  • Ellen

    So true. Thank you, Tsh! I sometimes feel shallow for my love of beauty in our home, but I do love to make this place lovely so our children can enjoy beauty as I do. For me, I’m realizing that fresh flowers really do it, no matter how simple or inexpensive/free.

  • Catherine

    I so agree with this. I have created little ‘spots of beauty’ vignettes (they usually include sentimental things like a framed embroidered doily of my grandmother’s or a favourite photo) around my home that lift my spirits when I see them as I go past carrying the umpteenth load of laundry or whatever it may be. I also sit at my dining table to eat my lunch so I can look at the garden at the same time.

  • jen

    I love to find pretty glasses to have out for my water thru the day, sometimg beautiful to drink out of in this season of littles whem i cannot have alot of knick knacks around ;-)

  • Nana

    What a beautiful post to read as the morning begins! Thank you for sharing with us. I love to go outside on a cool, shady back porch and hang out laundry on the clothesline with my little granddaughter at my side. Quiet and peaceful, with the songs of birds and the sights of green leaves on the trees. Our Father made all things beautiful for our joy. These are the moments that I hope she would remember one day as she grows into the life that God has planned for her future.

  • Marina Bromley

    Such good words of wisdom! Thanks for sharing them!!

  • Jen E.

    Love this! Thank you so much for that reminder this morning…I’m going to repost that quote as well…”Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.” I’m convinced God put a little extra of that in me! God bless you today!

  • Beth

    Thank you for this! It’s wonderful to know that Heavenly Father created all this beauty for our enjoyment, isn’t it? I read Elizabeth Prentiss’ biography several years ago, and learned that she often took what she called “tramps through the woods” to enjoy God’s creation. She would collect bits and pieces of nature, bring them home and arrange them for her family and visitors to appreciate. Wonderful idea!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Love that idea!

  • Archer

    Tsh – what a great post! Somewhere along the way of growing up in a very conservative church, I’ve always believed that beauty is bad. I love the truths about God that you point out here. I am a new convert to this new truth that God likes beauty – after all – he made it! p.s. loving all these posts this week (in several locations)!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      I know, they all kinda got published at the same time, eh? Thanks for your encouragement!

    • Anna

      What other posts? I loved this one.

    • Sharon

      Similar experience for me, I struggled with that with my appearance as well. Why has it seemed “wrong” to try to look beautiful? And now I want to try harder.

  • FishMama

    I love this. Honest, yet practical, and definitely not pretentious. It’s the heart of beauty that you’ve described, not the Hollywood-style, facade that graces the magazine pages. Thank you for inspiring me.

    Now to go find candles. ;)

  • Jenny

    Beauty is in everything I see. And that fills me with the ultimate joy. =) Thank you for your lovely words!

  • Angela

    It’s like you just totally read my mind! I’m exactly the same way. Music changes the atmosphere, natural light helps my mood and a tidy home helps me feel calm and focused. Throughout the day, I often do a 5 minute clean up where for just 5 minutes, I put away “stuff” and try to make our home look nice. It’s amazing what can be done in 5 minutes.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Gayle

    BEAUTIFUL post! I do all these things as well, but I would have to add fresh flowers. I buy them often and they feed my soul. They are a part of what it means to be home.

    • Cynthia

      Ooohh, I forgot fresh flowers in my reply. Thank you for reminding me! I try to always have at least one bloom on my desk.

  • Laura @ Unpunctuated Life

    I, too, feel the need for beauty in my life. I live in a small one-bedroom apartment and I was bemoaning to my husband the other day that, due to our space limitations, everything has to be functional. There’s not room for much that is “just” pretty. I appreciate your small tips for making that happen. :-)

  • Kendra Hotchkin

    I enjoyed reading this and plan on sharing it with others. What a great reminder of the simple things that make a world of difference in mood and attitude. As I rushed all morning to get three of four children to grandparents then rushed to get myself to a parent teacher conference forum pre kinder little one, this came as a gentle reminder to just breathe. Everyday is a gift from God. It is all in how we use that gift! Thank you for your inspiring and even relaxing words! Be blessed!

  • Cynthia

    Oh, thank you for this. I often feel superficial that I love to be surrounded by beauty but your explanation of God and His creations just wiped that away for me. Wow! Wiping away 43 years of questioning in a few phrases – you’re good! (I think I’ll print it and post it…it will be part of the beauty with which I surround myself.) My beauty is patterns and fabrics. It doesn’t have to be anything grand – just color and texture and sculpture and things symbolic of what I find most dear. One of my favorite pieces is a simple bird on a perch – rustic – noble (I know it sounds cheesy but it’s really beautiful) and it sits on my desk. It reminds me of freedom and soaring with abandon toward my Father. Thank you so much for this post. Truly worth the read!

  • Mackenzie

    Fresh flowers bring beauty into my home; I try to incorporate them whenever I can!

  • http://(in) cj

    Thank you Tsh for your words about needing and enjoying beauty in your life ~ both inside of your home and outside as well. Your words spoke to my heart. I am enjoying the windows being open this morning as well as the sweet singing of the birds all around our yard coming into our home and as a result I am feeling more peaceful and refreshed. I also enjoy music throughout my day and finds it that brings peace and renewing strength ~ body, mind and spirit! I agree that it is truly the little things which are often the simple things that we can add to our days which then give back to us a calmer heart, mind and spirit as we endeavor to live each new day to His honor and glory. Blessings from my heart and home to yours!

  • Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D

    I love what you said about God painting stripes on deep sea fish. So true.

    I remember being on my first mission trip to the Dominican Replublic. There is a very common tree there – that is all green…till you look up at the VERY tippy top. It has a burst of ORANGE flowers. Pop of color – 30 or 50 feet high.

    Just looked it up. Apparently, it’s the African Tulip Tree. (And, it was apparently imported, it’s running wild and overtaking indigenous trees. Sigh.) Here’s a pic. The ones I remember only had orange at the top of the tree.

    If you don’t look up – you miss it.
    It reminded me that I should look up more often.

    ~ Dana

  • Tracey Padgett

    “I now know it’s symptomatic of my being made by a creative Creator. God, more than any other human that ever existed, loves and values beauty. He’s the Ultimate Artist. The Master Sculptor. The Genius who thought up color.”

    I love that Tsh. You’ve given me something to chew on today.

    Music always brings beauty to my day.

    Really enjoyed this post. Thank you for being the beauty in my day.

  • Liz

    I love your words today… isn’t it funny how
    – music can make a house clean in an hour because you’re lively and upbeat?
    -candles can soothe the soul?
    -open windows, sitting outside or a walk energize when you thought you were tired?
    -what we read and what we think change our selves and even our world?
    I love what you share it was we need to hear when we’re grieving to remind us that
    we have some ‘say’ in our emotions and can help them to heal by looking for beauty.
    (Helps to remember this when gifting friends and family who are suffering from depression or grief too!)

  • Christy

    I so appreciated reading this post. I too have often felt guilty about needing beauty or aesthetically-pleasing things as well. Thank you for reminding me God wired us all differently, and He is the one who gave me this desire. :)

  • Toni

    Loved this post. Love the idea of having the music on all day and lighting the candles – I do sometimes, but not consistently – I’ll have to change those habits! Just recently I have spent far more time outdoors than ever before and God has just spoken so mightily to me through His creation. I’ve written several blog posts about it myself and have begun to capture some amazing images with my camera phone which I bring on my walks. The variety of shades of green on trees and grass alone boggles the mind. Add in the spectrum of birds and fish near my local lake or how no two sunsets are the same and it just instills such wonder. Don’t get me started LOL. God’s creativity is one of His characteristics that I love the best!

  • Angie

    Thank you for this reminder. My soul aches for these things too. Sometimes i get so tired that forget! I listen to pandora at work. i love flowers and thomas kinkade paintings. i love the outdoors (which i just learned recently since i am born and raised a city gal). pretty wallpaper on my desktop means so much and i love my lace drapes in my room (self made from an antique table cloth) :) the little things like that are so fun. Thank you God for being who you are – the OC (original creator!)

    Angie – from Boston!

  • Amy W

    Oh Tsh! You are spot on with this. This is exactly how I feel. I have a need to bring beauty and creativity to my daily grind. It makes me smile… it makes me nicer!
    Wonderful post!

  • Lisa

    On the subject of beautiful words, thanks for bringing some inot MY day!

  • Kimberly

    I used to feel guilty about this too! I love beautiful things, especially the outdoors brought inside. It wasn’t until I fully embraced the character of God as Artist/Creator that I felt free to really pursue meaningful beauty. It’s been an awakening! I’m so glad I’m not alone in this:)

  • Heart and Haven

    “God, more than any other human that ever existed, loves and values beauty. He’s the Ultimate Artist. The Master Sculptor. The Genius who thought up color.”
    I love this sentiment!

    Just last weekend, I was at our near-by lake for a photoshoot for my family. My cousin took a zoomed-in shot of a couple turtles climbing on the rocks. I was absolutely amazed at the intricate markings on the underbelly of the turtle, as if he was covered completely with tatoos! Then, my teen took a pic, on his cell phone, of an orange wild flower that was blooming in a field across the lake. I was, again, amazed to see a brilliant circle of bright blue near the center, surrounding the stigma. These were both things that were not visible at quick glance, but only after careful observation and with the help of a zoom lens. Master Sculptor – even in the minute details.

    I also love going on nature walks with the family (we are lucky to live on the edge of a National Forest). Also, we entice the nearby birds with seed from our birdfeeders and enjoy watching them rest for a moment on our birch tree in our front yard, before they fly away to their next destination of the day.

    Also, Heaven is described to have streets of gold & gates of pearls – God has exquisite tase! ;-)

    I’m off this weekend to do some more decluttering, getting rid of items I no longer find beautiful or useful….thanks for the inspiration!

  • Rachel

    I have felt guilty in enjoying beauty too. As if it was extravagant and unnecessary. Perhaps it can be as all things too the extreme, but realizing that God appreciates-and CREATES beauty-that gives me some peace with myself. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Emily Cook

    Great post. I do this too- and in many of the same ways! Music, candles, fresh cut flowers, God’s Word and other good words (like hymns) posted above my sink and by the laundry machine.

    And I often pray that God would help me SEE that beauty that’s already there- the beauty of the day He’s made, and even the smelly little people at my feet :)

    The other day we were talking about the flowers in the field and how God is the BEST decorator EVER.
    So true :)

  • April

    Love this!

  • Lisa

    Hmm, open windows, my scentsy pot, a good read when possible, a tidy house. These breathe beauty into my day.

  • Heart and Haven

    And after looking more closely at the above pic, am I the only one amuzed that your daughter is doing her English homework sitting ON the table instead of AT the table? lol (reminds me a bit of the post with your baby sitting on the table when you were highlighting the canvas art hanging on the wall, haha)

    Also, is that a wine glass filled with water next to your laptop? If only a prettier glass would make water taste better (cause I know I need to drink more water throughout the day than I do!)

  • Alana @ Domestic Bliss Diaries

    Thank you for this wonderful post!! It really hit home. You see, I love all things interior design and organizing. I get frustrated when my home isn’t clean and stay frustrated because we have nothing but hand-me-down furniture that doesn’t match my style. I used to feel guilty for being interested in decorum or wanting my home to reflect my personality. BUT, I’ve learner that this is how I’m wired… how God created me to be. He is the original Creator of beauty, so it’s normal for me to want to create beauty too.

  • Sharon

    Thank so much for this post! I have often felt that it is weakness that I am affected so much by my surroundings. Even as a child I had a hard time relaxing when things were out of place in my room or seemingly “out of control.” As I moved into adulthood and am now the mom of 5, I have had to adjust my expectations, but I still realize how much my environment impacts me. Maybe I need to stop thinking of this as a weakness and just embrace some order and beauty.

  • Sharon

    p.s. I would love some candle suggestions-almost everything seems to be headache inducing for me also!

  • sonyamacdesigns

    Oh HOW the sunshine speaks beauty to my daily grind!

  • Linda Ogborn

    The Lord has graciously filled my days with beauty! When I lived in he city I struggled to see the beauty within things but now being back in the country has reminded me of just how much He loved us before we were even here to enjoy the things He beautifully spoke into being. The call of the Sandhill Cranes so early in the morning, the scent of tomato plants as they grow & the constantly shape-shifting clouds are just a token of the beauty He surrounds my daily life with. As I watch the garden grow or see the bears and their young wander by in my yard late at night (to check me out), I think back and realize that there was beauty in the city as well but my mind was just to busy to see/feel/embrace it. I loved your post. It was a welcome read to the end of my day. :)

  • Beth Williams


    My bedlam is at the office. I use Pandora, any Christian radio station to calm my moods. At home I like to light smelly candles.

    I also use exercise and just walking and listening to Christian music alone or praying for people helps me!

    I love enjoying the beauty that God created all around us!

  • Ann Graham

    “In all my homes and in all my travels, I’ve learned that I’m wired to highly value aesthetically-pleasing things. I used to feel guilty about that, as though it meant I was shallow or ungrateful for the less-than-perfect in my life.

    I now know it’s symptomatic of my being made by a creative Creator. God, more than any other human that ever existed, loves and values beauty. He’s the Ultimate Artist. The Master Sculptor. The Genius who thought up color.”

    I so relate to this thought. Thank you for such a great reminder. It’s also encouraging to read that so many other women feel the same way.

  • Zipporah Bird

    I’ve come to realize the same thing: God delights in beauty and lavishes it in everywhere. I felt guilty for a long time about wanting more than a utilitarian life. Partially, because creating beauty can require resources and time, and I know that not all people in the world have an abundance of such. Tsh, can you share with us from your travels how people in poverty create beauty in their worlds?

  • Cari

    Such a great post.

    Key for me is accepting that the difficult and the beautiful aspects of life will indeed bump up against one another. Finding the space and wherewithal to invite them both to the table has in the end added beauty and depth to my everyday life.

    Super tangible things include:
    -My essential oil burner (cinnamon and peppermint oil are my favorites)
    -Cleaning the downstairs up once the kids are in bed so that my husband and I can enjoy a simple, clean space for our night
    -Trader Joe’s daffodils in Mason Jars all spring long

  • Prerna@The Mom Writes

    Reading reads such as these, enjoying the sunrise, opening the windows, reminding myself of everything I’m grateful for and smiling. Yes, they all make the mundane so much more beautiful.
    Thank you, Tsh!

  • sara @ it’s good to be queen

    this is good stuff. thank you.

  • Julie

    I so agree. I love your ideas – good and true and helpful words – for Moms or Grandmas alike.

  • http://www.lifeasalewis.blogspot Melissa

    Oh, I could have written this post! I’m a stay-at-home-mom and while it’s a blessing, it’s also a special challenge. ;) I, too, play Pandora all day, always light candles, buy fresh flowers when I can, keep the windows/door open, and occasionally splurge on something little just because it’s pretty.

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