Calm, Focus and Beauty

Calm, focus and beauty. 

Those words came right off the side panel of my Peach Mango herbal tea box. 

Did you read the "Tasting Notes"? 

Tropical flavors. . .subtle earthy finish.

I didn't know whether to brew a cup or plant the tea in my garden.

Actually, I do feel calmer and more focused drinking this delicious tea, which I found at our local Safeway. (No one is paying me to say this. Scout's honor.)

So, what about beauty?

Ah, I'm glad you asked.  Beauty is all around us. It's up to us to simply notice its existence. 

Sometimes that means pulling over to the side of the road to photograph the beauty of a peaceful winter scene.

"He has made everything
beautiful in its time."
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Sometimes we create the beauty, and this brings me to the subject of beauty in the home. This month I read two excellent posts from blogging friends about decorating our homes in a fashion that is uniquely ours, without concern for what others may choose to do with their own homes. Kim of Exquisitely Unremarkable wrote Independent Interiors: Decorating on Your Own and Rue of An Old-Fashioned World wrote Both women, who have beautiful homes, share thoughts about creating spaces that reflect who we are, what we love and what's important to us.

As I read the words of my friends I thought about our mantel. I've kept it very simple. It won't win any vignette design awards, and that's okay. It reflects who Dennis and I are, what we love and what's important to us.

I love my husband's art, and I want to enjoy his sculptures and paintings every day; to celebrate his God-given talent and share it with all who enter our cottage. A favored birdhouse, pine cones, and a silver tray (a wedding gift) that I've left to tarnish to a wonderful patina. A few red apples rest in the tray's curves.




A finished rug ready to come off the loom. Not perfect. There are things I will do differently next time. 
But I know it's useful, and I believe it's beautiful.

I enjoy twining immensely, although I have much to learn. To help me master the craft I ordered Bobbie Irwin's book Twined Rag Rugs. It just arrived yesterday with Dr. Marilyn Glenville's book Osteoporosis - How to Prevent Treat and Reverse It.

Did you notice the beauty of these book covers? I think the photo of the woman walking on the sandy beach is especially beautiful. I'm certain my bones have improved just by picturing myself in her place.

Reading, twining, drinking tea, capturing a winter scene with my smart phone, arranging the mantel and sharing it all with you.


It's everywhere my dear Cottage Friends.

I'd love to know what beauty you've noticed today.

"Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious." 1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV


  1. A lovely post, Nancy. I'm sending hugs your way.

  2. I did not know how talented you and your hubby was. The rug is so pretty. Did he do the boy and man sculpture on the mantel? It is so beautiful.

    1. Hi Betty, I've been thinking of you. So glad you stopped by. Yes, Dennis sculpted the father and son. It's called "In Good Hands". The painting over the mantel is of a scene in Sedona, AZ.

  3. Lovely...


    Lovely wisdom.


    1. You're very kind, Tessa. I don't consider myself to be naturally wise, just a woman who tries to listen to the Holy Spirit, who instills wisdom. xo

  4. Nancy you are so right, Beauty is everywhere. But I add ... for only those who look with open eyes and heart. God created beauty and left us with an inner need to create our own beauty. A home should always reflect the owners personalities and your charming cottage warmly reflects you and Dennis. Nancy to me your rug is beauty. I want to try that tea!

  5. Such a pleasure to read your post today. Thank you.

  6. such a worthy and insightful post, Nancy. so often we get caught up in mimicking the style of other people to a 't' rather than appreciating another's style and adding elements to our own homes if it fits our desires. in my process of reducing our belongings i'm careful to consider each piece - though i'm brutal going through clothing and magazines - - away with it!! i'm longing for an even simpler living experience. less is truly more. tea. don't mind if i do..

  7. Celebrating you both and the unique and wonderful beauty you create! BTW, that beam (is that what you call the mantel) is simply amazing. Is there a story behind it? If I've read it already, I've forgotten...

  8. You're such a wonderful woman, my dearest Nancy, I'm so glad and proud to have you as a friend, truly !
    Sending much dear love to you, sweetest one,
    with gratitude for what you post and for the lovely words you always leave on my blog,

  9. Such a beautiful post. Again. Your mantel is perfect! Your hubby's art deserves simplicity around and the things dear to your heart are perfect on your gorgeous mantel. Yes, I read 'tasting notes'. I love your new rug. Only you know of things you wish were different. To us, it's beautiful! I'm off to reading the blog posts of your friends.

  10. Nancy-What a beautiful post- no pun intended! I love the simple beauty of your mantle. I think that is what makes our homes truly our own...placing that which we love where we can see or use it---rather than bowing to what might be the most trendy thing out there. Lovely!!! Popping in to say Hi while waiting for hubby's treatment. xo Diana

  11. Bless you Nancy.
    Praying you to have answers for better health.
    Your rug IS perfect!

  12. I really like the beauty and simplicity that I witness in your posts . . .
    I too like living in that way . . .
    Wonderful quote . . .
    And my interest in twining is peaked, because of you . . .

  13. You are so sweet, my friend. I'm so glad that my words resonated with someone :) Kim has a way of doing that to me as well and so do YOU :)

    I think the rug is a beauty as well. MUCH better than I could have done lol

    hugs to you,

  14. Finding beauty in the ordinary things and scenes in our surroundings is important.

    Your rug is, indeed, beautiful. Enjoy your tea and reading.

  15. Your mantle is very calming and pretty. Love the salvaged piece birdhouse, did you make it? There is so much beauty in our world if we would just take the moments to see it! Have a wonderfully blessed weekend ahead! Cindy

  16. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, and if you are looking, it can be found.. and such beauty is indeed found in this post, well all of your posts really! Kim and Rue are wonderful bloggers, always sharing from their heart. I was inspired by those posts as well. We should not be copy-cats, but comfortable with what makes us happy and brings us joy. I need to find some of that tea, it sounds wonderful! Enjoyed your post today :)

  17. This was a beautiful post Nancy. Very inspiring and encouraging.

    Thank you for the links. I had already read Rue's, as I am a follower, and I had made a little sign in colors I liked with the quote she posted, it hangs on my refrigerator. The other blog post was great and I am going to follow her as well.

    Love your husband's artwork and your lovely weaving. Your mantle looks very nice.

    Have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady

  18. I find your mantle particularly beautiful, Nancy. The wood and the art and the apples - any more would be (in an old fashioned description) gilding the lily.
    I am going to look into your new interest, twining. Your rug is lovely. I buy rag rugs and I think it would be very satisfying to make my own.

  19. I knew Dennis painted but I didn't know he sculpted, beautiful work. This was another inspirational post. I was sitting here this morning gazing out the window at my screened porch and marveling at the beauty of the sun filtering through the slats in a folding screen. Oh how peaceful it was to sit and gaze at the view. Blessings, Debbie

  20. Hi,
    I agree. I also decorate our home with items we love. I like to use nature in my decorating.
    Have a blessed weekend.

  21. Ecclesiastes is sheer poetry anyway, so fittingly perfect for your post today. I know that beauty is just waiting all around us and you are definitely a perceptive observer, Nancy. I had already read both Kim and Rue's posts that you write of and both of them moved me in ways that made me want to cheer. Your mantel is perfect for Joyful Cottage!

    I have gloried in the sunshine today, carrying my tax work from one window to another through the day--anything to make it more enjoyable!

  22. I love this, Nancy. Maybe it takes some years of experience to begin to open our eyes and see beauty in the everyday (at least in my case, it took time to learn.) Wonderful insights, and lovely post :)

  23. Beautiful Nancy, HELLO! I am finally home from work...what a week, getting back to semester TWO after grading tons of papers for the first semester. Ruben and I truly appreciate our home after working in such a fast pace educational environment. Your mantle is SO GORGEOUS, and our little faux mantle/shelf is just the spot where we love to also place what we love. There is an antique oil painting above it and it's flanked by two simple brass candlesticks. Perfect simplicity.

    We are made in HIS image, therefore to create, especially BEAUTY, is such an honor, and to create our homes is a gift. Enjoy your weekend, with a cup of tea!

  24. This is so inspiring, Nancy. I had to laugh abut drinking pr planting the tea!! You have a good eye for finding beauty, I pray to be more 'mindful' and less distracted. And your rug is simply beautiful!

    Thanks for your visits--I'm off to visit Kim and Rue!

    Jane x

  25. Today, I've seen beauty in the tiny narcissus blooming in my garden, the orderly bookshelves, the favorite cover on my bed, the sparkly pink hat taking form on my knitting needles, the words in the books I am reading. Yes, beauty is everywhere.

  26. I love your mantle too. I think it is perfect with beautiful art and little things that mean happiness to you

  27. Nancy, thank you so much for mentioning me again on your sweet site. I am so glad that you found something of meaning in my words. It really makes a huge difference in my day. Rue is one of my favorites, and like you, a sweet friend, to boot. That is the beauty I have found in blogging...hugs! xo

  28. It's nice to pay attention to the small things in every day life that give us beauty. We hiked this afternoon so for over 2 hours we were surrounded by nature...and beauty. Enjoy your weekend! Hugs!

  29. A very uplifting post! I have noticed this theme going around a lot of the blogs I follow....simplifying, expressing ourselves in our home, taking each moment as precious. You have done that beautifully since you moved into your cottage. Your whole blog has the presence of calm, focus and beauty. LOVE your newest rag rug!!

  30. Love this post! Treasuring the beauty of the people and creativity around us---it's a gift to feel that joy. Thank you for sharing! Xoxo Aimee

  31. Hey...there's dandelion in that tea! :-D

  32. Beautiful! Lovely sculpture, painting and mantel! I leave my silver tea set in it's tarnished state too! I like the pewter look!

  33. What a wonderful post, Nancy. And I'm sure you can understand that it falls right alongside my way of thinking. I love that William Morris quote. I recently read another of his that really resonated with me: "The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life."

    Thanks so much for sharing.



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