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I LOVE spring. It's my season. I've always lived in some corner of the Midwest, so spring is a welcome change from snow, lack of sunshine and overall dreariness that comes with the tail-end of winter. I fall in love with the world and life in general just about the same time every year. I get really (probably nerdily so) in to the whole idea of the season of rebirth. Of starting over....light from darkness, second chances, new beginnings. And more than anything...the beauty of it all.
Beauty has been on my mind a lot lately. Not the skin-deep outside appearance type, but that which is true, full of love and makes our lives extraordinary. This past weekend, my husband and I spent a weekend in Chicago sans kiddos. One of the "must sees" on our list was the Art Institute. It holds a special place in our hearts because way back in what feels like a cross between just yesterday and a lifetime ago, he asked me to marry him. So, on our walk down Memory Lane, we spent some time there. We loved it on so many levels. For me, the paintings represent a glimpse in to someone's soul and what they themselves found beautiful in the world. There were paintings of the less fortunate, pictures of loved ones, pictures of religious occurrences, paintings of strangers, of pets -- you get it. But what's so magical about it all, is that each person painted (or photographed, or sculpted) what they found beautiful and profound. They focused on their little corner of the world and made sense of it how they could. And all of sudden, what should have been a revelation from long ago, came to me. It doesn't matter how we make sense of the world - how we add beauty (if you will) but that we do. That we do create and improve and give our best - wherever and to whatever it may be.
Throughout my life, I hated those questions that you might do at work or in any "getting to know you" session where you had to say something unique about yourself or what made you different. I still don't have a good answer to the question. What's unique and different about me? Who knows. Maybe how I see and feel the world....but again, isn't that just like all of us? Maybe for me, a better question would be how I make sense of the world. Helping others (primarily children) helps me make sense of this lifetime. Why? Because my path lead me down that path. I was a young mother and proceeded to have five kiddos - so much of my life has been dedicated to raising them, teaching them and caring for them. I started out struggling along the way - and so it's no great stretch that I might help someone coming along a similar path that I did. The artists make sense of the world by painting, sculpting, photographing that which is beautiful. They include symbolism and themes and their own perspectives and points of view. For those that love art, they add beauty in to the world. The same can be said for those that write stories, or those that create music. All of us are just making sense of the world which the eyes and perspective that we were given. And to me it's all so beautiful.....
After I had this thought or realization, or whatever you want to call it, my husband and I were walking around the city. We came upon a boy (really - he was pretty young - certainly not even 21) that was standing on a milk-crate preaching his faith. It was beautiful. Not because I necessarily believed in everything that he said, but because it was said in love for what he was doing. He believed SO strongly in the words that he was saying that you couldn't help but smile when you heard his words. He preached against racism and arrogance and fear and talked about those as sneaky forms of hate. We loved his conviction....he added beauty to the world because his beliefs were so pure, honest and built on love for his fellow man.
Later that day, Dave and I stopped to get a treat as we walked within the city. Just outside the shop, there was a man selling Streetwise (which is a publication that those who are homeless sell so that they are not just pan-handling - but actually selling a product). I watched through the windows as a group of young adults approached the man and talked with him. They were the type of people that I always look upon with interest and maybe even envy - those who are totally comfortable in their own skin. The girl that was leading the conversation was warm, smiling and totally at ease. The group was introducing themselves by name and at the end of their short interaction, the girl reached in to her backpack and pulled out a grocery bag filled with non-perishables. I realized then, that each person in the group had a backpack on, and guessed that they must have been doing this repeatedly. It was beautiful and brought tears of humility to my eyes.
There are those out there creating beautiful parks, helping people, rescuing animals, painting, writing, dancing, raising children, planting gardens, being amazing friends (and man, do I have some of them!!=) - simply put - just processing the beauty that they see on this Earth and I am so glad that each and every one is doing it in their own way. Sometimes, especially when Heather and I depend on our word getting out, I (I won't say "we" because she may be doing better than me - LOL!) expect everyone to just hop on board with our cause and just get to helping people. But, that's a really arrogant view, right? And I'm learning....bear with me! =) There are MILLIONS of great causes around the world - we just can't each stand for everything....and it also isn't my job to stand over here and judge and insist you process the world the way I do.
So, beautiful people -- HAPPY EASTER!! I hope you view the world as beautiful and that you see that each of our roles in this world are beautiful also.
In love and kindness,
Email Elizabeth & Heather
How we work
We are an online community of kind-hearted individuals who directly donate gently loved children's clothes to mothers who could use a little kindness. The wonderful donating mothers lovingly box up the clothes that they once loved their own kiddos in and send them for another mother to love on her children via the US Mail - Parcel Post. If you are in need, know someone in need or want to help by donating, please contact us at email@example.com. If you can't do any of these but would like to spread our message - thank you kindly! ~ Elizabeth & Heather