The Art Of The Ordinary {Book Club Thursdays}

We’re reading through  Sally Clarkson’s, The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming (affil. link).

For your convenience, all the posts in the series will be archived {here}. So if you miss any, feel free to head on over here to catch up.

Chapter 7: The Art of the Ordinary (Sarah)

“It’s easy to talk about beauty in the home in idealistic terms associated with special events and holidays. We are slow, perhaps, to conceive of homemaking and, with it, the creation of beauty within the home, on the level of the everyday and ordinary, even the mundane. How can the ordinary meals, the usual days with their up and downs of work and school, sickness and exercise, be a place where we discover and create the transcendent beauty of our Creator God?

This chapter is an exploration of that question, a wander through the different spaces, events, and possibilities of life in very ordinary time. In this chapter, set in the month of March, a time when neither winter nor spring quite holds sway, when rain forces us indoors for many a bored hour, when ordinary life can seem to be as dull and depressing as the mud out the window, we will explore the power of beauty claimed and created to transform and reveal the presence of God.”

Perhaps, we can start here–the reality that life is sometimes dull, depressing, and plain ol’ difficult. Perhaps we can put the Instagram and Facebook highlight-reels to the side admitting life’s not picture perfect. Maybe we can settle into the truth that many people live discontented lives. Others are hurting. Some traumatized by very dark, tumultuous, tragic events they’ve had to endure.

In our ordinary… and sometimes our not-so-ordinary-becoming-our-new-normal existence, what does it look like to live with beauty, truth, and goodness in mind?

In this chapter, Sarah walks us through looking at beauty in our homes “as the tangible, daily outgrowth of the spiritual values we hold most deeply”. We’re challenged to choose beauty amidst the brokenness, catching “glimmers of what life was meant to be, echoes from the shattered gladness of original Creation”.

On weeks such as these when terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium remind us of the darkness in this world, searching out God’s goodness and beauty becomes vital to our existence. How else would hope prevail in the midst of such evil? As we seek to make sense of it all, I’m encouraged by these words:  “Loveliness tells me of something beyond the brokenness. Every experience of joy I find is the promise of a coming and complete redemption.”

I’m reminded that God’s promise is complete redemption. If this is so with the most cruel of events, how much more the mundane, every-day-ordinary moments? If this is true in the dark, broken places, how much more in the messy ordinary?

Creating a life-giving home–and life-giving legacy, I suppose–requires “picturing God’s unchanging goodness and daring to bring it into my own small, dusty days”.

I’ve pondered those words this week. I’ve found myself asking ‘Jesus, how would you do it? How do we walk through a world threatened by terrorism, while showing up every day to homeschool, lead this family, and sow hope-filled seeds in spite of an uncertain future?

And I’m reminded He already did do this. Time after time, we read in scripture the beautiful ways in which He walked to the cross, all the while serving, teaching, and loving the Father and others. He simply did what was in front of Him to do. Though death was the final outcome here on earth, he looked forward to the fullness of joy set before Him. On the other side of the cross was the power and glory of the resurrection. He endured the fearful situations, the mundane moments, the every-day-ordinary in ways which made room for the goodness and love of the Father to shine brightly.

I’m reminded of the farmer who tills the land and faithfully plants his seeds without certainty that the weather, soil, or upcoming events will work in his favor. He does what he knows to do. He does what is in his power to do, and then He hangs on tightly to faith.

I suppose that’s where the art of ordinary comes into play in every area of our lives. As we abide in Christ and seek to model Him, we find ourselves awakened to beauty, truth, and goodness. Our perception changes, and we see opportunities hidden in every obstacle. Hope rises up in the midst of sorrow and grief. Joy and fresh excitement burst forth in our mundane. All the while, glimmers of God’s love manifests themselves in our ordinary.


In this chapter, Sarah shares many practical ways of bringing beauty into your every-day-ordinary by whetting aesthetic appetites, to family rituals, taking walks, wanders, and hikes, creating adventures, or simply exploring local events, gardening, music, and art.

Though at times these things can seem simplistic, I find that learning to cultivate beauty into our lives doesn’t come natural to everyone. Seeing what it looks like for others can inspire us in our own creating. Each family has the freedom to create a life within the boundaries of their personalities. Let this simply be a small glimpse as to what this looks like in the Clarkson family. Then, in prayer, ask God to show you the things that bring joy to your heart and take that next step to sow seeds in faith.

The Art of the Ordinary.. what does that look like for you? Let’s talk about it (feel free to do so in the comments section, on our Facebook page, or privately). Then meet me here next week when we’ll be talking about a heritage of faith and how we can engage with God’s story.

*unless otherwise noted, all quotes are by Sarah Clarkson.

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© 2016 Darlene Collazo | {In Pursuit} My Quest

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