I called her Beauty. And, she is. My nickname for my oldest daughter fits her perfectly. She brings much loveliness wherever she goes. I’ve long been drawn to beauty-ful things and places. And, for each one of us, beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

Many of us are drawn to places because of the charm of that locale. As I write this, I'm headed to the beach for a week of rest and play. There's something about the endless sand and sea that makes my soul sing.  For some of us, the mountains are that place where we just feel a little happier.

I read recently about the beauty of the Garden of Eden being imprinted on our hearts, drawing us to things and places that make our hearts leap. I loved this thought! It seemed like something our creative, personal God would place inside of us.  He's the One, after all, who created peonies, tulips, oak leaf hydrangeas AND, (don't even get me started!!) RANUNCULUS

In Isaiah 29:14 (NIV), God tells us "Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder."  Wonder is defined as a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar or inexplicable. I am in awe of a God that lavishes us with blessings that touch our hearts in this way.  While, salvation is unarguably His most extravagant gift, He didn't stop there. He has myriad delights planned for us along the way, too.

My time at the beach was filled with beautiful sights - a sunrise one morning, the beach at different times of the day and the low country marsh outside the screen door. It wasn't hard to see all the beauty of that place and find wonder in God's handiwork. Thankfulness bubbled up in my heart. I found myself promenading the beach thanking Him over and over for His amazing gifts.

Back at home, though, I need to be more intentional about looking for loveliness and feeling the awe of all that a loving God has provided for us in His creation. It's there and I could easily miss it, if I don't pause to take it in. A friend calls this pursuit the ministry of paying attention. I like that. I plan to do just that. Because, who knows what beauty is right outside my door waiting to be discovered!