A Mission of Beauty and Joy

I had another post planned for today. It was something fun I wanted to share with you. And I'll share it, but not today. It seemed too frivolous right now.

houseplants, joy, beauty, flowers, lipstick plant, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Instead, I thought I'd share some thoughts pieced together from scribbles in my notebooks. They seem fitting and maybe they'll shine a ray of hope in a little corner of your day. Because that's the thing, my friends... these connections we make with one another are meaningful. We can find beauty and hope in the creativity and thoughtfulness of those who share love, not hate, with the world.

This world is filled with wonders. With beauty. With magic.

Yes, there are constant reminders of ugliness. What happened in Beirut. What happened in Paris. Those are recent examples, but there's always something, it seems. Always.

There is also, always, beauty. There is always joy. The sun rises each and every single day. Flowers bloom. Crops grow. Families prepare meals together with love and sit down to eat together. People fall in love. They get married. They have babies. They adopt dogs or bring home wiggly kittens. Artists paint or sculpt or draw. Authors pen stories whose characters live and breathe and walk around in our imaginations for years and years. Musicians create music that plays in our memories when all else is silent...

chickens, simplicity, joy, beauty, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

People make magic each and every single day. What acts of bravery. Of hope. Of faith.

I look back on my journey, on this sometimes rocky road, and I imagine what would have happened had I given up on my dreams. On my hope. It's sometimes tempting, isn't it? Tempting to give in to doubt. Or fear. Or grief.

That thought scares me more than any uncertainty for the future.

I think of all the creative people in this world. Living their lives. Making their art (whatever that art might be, from music to paintings to recipes to books to gardens to education to children...). Struggling. Because life is hard. Each day can be a challenge.

                    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own battle that we forget about others'. I know I do.

I've been trying to be kinder. But also, more than that, to reach out and make connections. If someone inspires me I tell them. If someone writes a blog post that's thought-provoking or instructional or even just beautiful, I write a comment. If I think someone's art is beautiful, I reach out and tell them so.

I know how it makes me feel when someone else reaches out to me.

jade plant, succulents, houseplants, flowers, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberries

This world we live in is a wondrous place.

I find it amazing that through my blog and on Instagram I can connect with people from all over the world. Truly connect. Inspire and be inspired by. Ask questions. Get advice and encouragement. Give advice and encouragement. Share art. Share beauty, joy and love.

I'm grateful for that wondrousness.

I think back to my mission (did you know I have a mission? I do! You can read more about it here). My mission isn't to sell art. My mission is to share joy. To encourage you to find beauty in the little things. To encourage you to live creatively. I try to do that with my blog. I try to do that with my art. I think at times like this, when the world's hurt is especially obvious, it's even more important to re-commit to that mission.

Joy is the knowledge that life, although sometimes ugly and difficult, is also beautiful. When the days are dark or in the wintertime when snow covers everything, not a flower in sight, I make my own joy.

Joy is following the beat of my own heart. It's turning my back on what "everyone else" is doing and living life on my own terms. It's making hard decisions for the right reasons. It's slowing down when the world speeds up.

Joy is a choice.

It's a choice of sunshine over clouds, of beauty over ugliness. Of rescued greyhounds. Of vegetable and flower gardens. Of plants growing on windowsills. Of art.

Joy is a choice.

And My Giant Strawberry? It's a constant reminder for me, and I hope for you, too, to chose joy day after day after day.

Won't you join me?

*this quote may not actually have been Plato's. See this article for more info.


  1. Oh my goodness, Anne, this is so beautiful and touching, a soft place to fall after a very sad week. You are definitely fulfilling your mission through your artwork and your blog. You really are a treasure and I'm so happy to know you. And, on top of that, you have a wonderful mom!

    1. Your comment brightened my day, Judy. I'm so happy to know you, too, and to have had you along for so much of my journey.

      And you are right about my mom. I love that photo of her with her chickens.

      Wishing you peace and joy this week.

  2. What a beautiful post Anne. You always have such insightful and thought provoking things to say. You're an inspiration for me :)

    1. Thanks so much, Jaime. Makes me happy to know that I inspire you because you inspire me, too!

  3. A beautiful post. I am with you, let us spread JOY!
    I thank you for your inspiration.

    1. Thank you, Carla! Glad to have you with me!

      Yes, let's spread JOY!! The more the better. :)

  4. People make magic every day. I love that!!

    1. Thank you, Laurie. I think it's so true. We just need to pay attention in order to see the magic.

  5. You, my friend, are a true gift to this world. This post is so, so excellent. I'm printing it off to keep close by my work space, to read and re-read, especially on days when I especially feel the pain of the evil that exists in our world. Most days joy is easy to grasp -- I have so much for which I'm thankful and that prompts me to be joyful. But on those days when evil looms large like a giant and I feel like cowering in the corner, I need to be reminded that joy is, indeed, a choice. I'm a believer, so my faith is a huge part of choosing joy (Philippians 4:4). Your words just reinforce all I know to be true. Never quit writing. Never quit inspiring with your written words. They are gently powerful. Love to you, dear Anne. ~ Nancy

    1. Oh, Nancy. Thank you for this. Your comment is so moving and it means so much to me that you shared your thoughts and feelings here. If I can touch just and inspire just one person, then I have succeeded.

      Love to you, too, my friend.

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  7. Your gift is your words and illustrations and the world is lucky to have them :)

    1. Thank you so much, Sharon! I'm fortunate to have you cheering me along on my journey. Your encouragement means a lot to me!


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