Bold Turquoise

Jun 5 2015

The Commitment and Work of Cultivating the Lovely

The Commitment and Work of lovely
Today I want to dive a little deeper into this whole idea of what it means to cultivate the lovely in our lives.  To start with, let’s have a look at the definitions of these words…


1 :  to prepare or prepare and use for the raising of crops; also :  to loosen or break up the soil about (growing plants)

a :  to foster the growth of <cultivate vegetables>

b :  culture 2a

   c :  to improve by labor, care, or study :  refine <cultivate the mind>
3:  further, encourage <cultivate the arts>
4:  to seek the society of :  make friends with
1: obsolete :  lovable
2:  delightful for beauty, harmony, or grace :  attractive
3:  grand, swell <what a lovely morning>
4:  eliciting love by moral or ideal worth

Wow!  Do those definitions inspire you as much as they do me?  Those definitions embody so much of what I want to have living and active in my life and home.  I want to foster the growth of my heart and mind… of my children’s hearts and minds!  I want to help further and encourage my children and my husband with beauty, harmony and grace.  I want to be active in a society of friendships that elicit love with morals and ideals that give worth.

But notice also the inherent meanings of these words also include work.  In order to foster the growth, to improve and refine, you must engage in labor, care and study. In order to till up the soil around our hearts and lives we have to commit to get our hands dirty, put our backs into it and break things apart so that there is room for the beauty to emerge.

Cultivating the lovely in our lives is not for wimps!

Commit to Do the Work

Lovely doesn’t just happen.  In fact, the more I just let things happen the uglier they generally become.  After all, the phrase “she let herself go,” or “she let the house go” wouldn’t have such negative connotations if inactivity produced something pretty and pleasing. And I’m sure we all know what it’s like when we just don’t get to the dishes for a day or so.  Nope, cultivating loveliness is laborious and never ending- it takes the commitment to rise and do those same acts that bring about that loveliness over and over again.


Lovely doesn't just happen
So, am I talking just about dishes and keeping a neat home? Not in the slightest, although it does encompass those practices as well.

To cultivate the lovely means that instead of looking at all the segmented work-filled areas of our lives- the chores and to-dos, the cooking and errands, the basketball practices and the educating of children, we look at our lives more wholistically and think of them in terms of creating an inspiring and attractive atmosphere for growth.

There are many different nuances included in an over-arching atmosphere.  In order to build an atmosphere we must consider the sounds- the kinds of words being spoken are the every core and everything else plays as harmonies over that.  We must take into account the visual, which means that chaos and clutter need to be accounted for. When smells and tastes come into play we are reminded that our homes need to be clean and nourishing food needs to be available.  Finally, the atmosphere should be cosey, full of affection, hugs and snuggles.

You see, when I think of how I want to create and maintain such an atmosphere as that, I am far more inspired to put in the work it takes because I am no longer completing never-ending chores but instead building something glorious!  I’m suddenly an artist, crafting my masterpiece.

Putting on the Glasses of Loveliness

When I put on these glasses of loveliness they completely alter my way of thinking.  Now, I’m looking for opportunities to make things more pleasing.  I want to have a foundation of clean and tidy so that wellsprings of lovely can burst forth.  I want to learn to set my table beautifully so that my family cherishes our mealtimes.  I want to purposefully play beautiful music throughout our day and look for intentional moments to speak noble and encouraging words into my family’s hearts and minds.

More over, when I have set my heart to speak lovely words, when I have surrounded my family and friends with lovely sights, tastes, sounds, smells, touches and experiences, I inspire them as well.  It’s the difference between giving my child a beautiful journal (even if it is one I have made myself, inexpensively) versus a spiral bound notebook for them to use for nature study.  They are automatically inspired and motivated to do their best work and have a greater appreciation for the process.  Loveliness produces value, care and appreciation.

Loveliness Springs From the Heart

In order to even begin to think about cultivating a lovely atmosphere, however, we must begin with our hearts.  The cleanest of homes and most pinteresting decor amount to nothing (in fact, they can actually be some of the most stressful environments of all) if the mama of the house has a heart and mind that are not set on things above.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:7

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45

Commit to the work
My next post is going to go into more depth on the heart of loveliness, but for now are we ready to commit to the work?  I’ll be to first to admit that sometimes I get lazy (oooo- that stings to say).  That sometimes I just don’t want to put in the effort- that just getting by seems like all I can manage.  But if I just change my perspective and think in terms of being a crafter of our life it somehow gives me greater motivation to get things done.
What does cultivating the lovely look like for you?  Join the conversation in the comments below or our community of loveliness cultivators on Instagram with the hashtags #cutlivatingthelovely and #thesummeroflovely.


6 thoughts on “The Commitment and Work of Cultivating the Lovely

  1. Stephanie

    I’m totally inspired! After reading Sally Clarkson’s Own your Life and the Clarkson’s Educating the Wholehearted Child I’ve been on my own quest for filling our lives with the best life has to offer. From music, to what we read & watch, to enjoying lots of nature, and nurturing quality relationships. I love this idea you’ve come up with and want to participate! It will indeed be a summer of lovely! :)

    1. MacKenzie Post author

      Yay! I’m so glad you’re joining me Stephanie!! Isn’t Sally just awesome! I love everything of hers that I have written. My goal is to read the rest of her books over the next year or so. And if you like her teaching methods (we are fully adopting the Whole Hearted/Whole Books method this year) then you would really love the Homeschooling Made Simple Seminar by Carol Joy Seid! It is available from Compass Classroom but I also have it if you want to borrow it.

      So glad to have you on board!

  2. Courtney

    Love your thoughts on Cultivating the Lovely. I knew that for a long time I was just getting by, surviving work, surviving getting the kids to school, surviving housework, etc. Now that I have been cultivating my own thoughts and routines. I asked my husband what was important at home for him to be comfortable. I am finally realizing that in my life that Jesus, work, relaxation, and fun is important every day.


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