Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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Monday 19th September 2011

The Trouble with Beauty Sleep

Is this why it’s called beauty sleep? Because this is what I do: I sleep straight through beauty.

My Maker has gone to the effort of decorating the world outside my front door — hanging fog like ornaments, painting masterpiece skies, adorning each small leaf with morning dew.  Yet, all I see are the insides of my eyelids.

The world trumpets God’s beauty, and I am asleep.

Even when I awake, I wonder, do I really see it? Or am I seeing the world through half-closed eyes?

The other morning, before the girls woke up, I set the alarm one hour early. I wanted to see a September morning. To really see it.

I grabbed the Nikon and slipped out the door, into a world still wrapped in a duvet of darkness. I traced country roads; gravel kicking up dust and crackling underneath.

I watched the miracle: the Earth waking up, the sun pushing back the covers — a simple act done every day in the most extraordinary way.

And it is done in complete silence. This gigantic ball called Earth is hurtling through the galaxy. Spinning, spinning. Yet it makes not a sound.  

“… God’s great wheels revolve without noise or friction: all the Divine work is simply, easily, and beautifully managed.”
— Charles Spurgeon  

And when I am asleep — or not fully awake — I miss beauty, rolled out silently  in the God Gallery. Here’s what I’ve been missing:


“I always open mine (eyes) as wide as ever I can,
because I think I can see God
in all the works of his hands,
and what God has taken the trouble to make
I think I ought to take the trouble to look at.”
— Charles Spurgeon

Writing in community with Jen and Michelle today.

  • Beautiful! Just beautiful.

    And those Spurgeon quotes? Couldn’t be more perfect.

    I caught a burnt orange sunrise this week, too. What a mighty God we serve.

    • Did you post your photo, Patricia? I’ll have to come over and see. … I was really groping and grasping for a way to capture the true beauty of a September morning in Iowa.

      I’m not skilled enough with this big camera to know what I’m doing. But to see it in real life? Could I really fully capture the beauty anyway?

  • This is part of why I get up at 5 a.m. every morning. For a little while–like, until 7–everything is perfect.

  • This is beautiful, Jennifer! I don’t always go outside right away but I love the quiet of the mornings. When I bike to work early, depending on the season, I catch the beginning, middle or glorious end of a sunrise. I loved your take on this – missing the beauty because of sleep. 🙂

  • Something so special about those Iowa sunrises where the horizon sits low and the sky stretches wide!! Beautiful!!

  • Beautiful words and beautiful pictures. Thanks for the reminder to stop and smell His creation of the earth and roses.
    The universe declares His majesty…

  • I have always loved farmland. Beautiful pictures.

  • That last one? Convinces me you’ve got this thing figured out — the camera and the beauty.

    I’m not persuaded you sleep through all of it.

  • I loved this. A week ago my husband and I drove to our nearby mountains at 2:00 am to slip in among the elk and listen to their symphony of bugles and “love calls”. It was amazing! (I wrote about it here: http://www.heartprintsofgod.com/2011/09/call-of-his-heart.html ) and to think, we would have missed it all for some “beauty rest”. Honestly, I felt more rested for having taken it God’s beauty!

    Beautiful photos and I loved the verses by Spurgeon.
    Thanks for blessing my day!

  • Love the Spurgeon quotes! And your pictures are stunning. I am a morning person and have always loved the peaceful beauty of morning time!

  • Absolutely spectacular Jennifer! It is true. There is so much that we miss if we are not intentional about really seeing.

  • Such glory! I am most definitely not a morning person, but for a short stint (about 7 years) I ran a floral business out of my home and had to travel to downtown LA to visit the flower market one morning a week. And I always enjoyed the quieter roads, the rising sun, and then the hustle and bustle of the mart, where vendors never sleep. I wrote about the mornings here in Santa Barbara here: http://drgtjustwondering.blogspot.com/2011/06/morning-glories.html But I must be honest and say – I don’t often make it up to see these wonders. I blame it on my genes. :>)

    • But Diana, doesn’t the sun come up later in California?

  • Ahh, seems I only chase sunsets. Perhaps I should try chasing a sunrise with eyes wide open. Your pictures are amazing.

  • Makes me want to rise early to capture a NC version of this beautifulness, if that’s a word. Loved this post!

  • I so agree with this. It reminds me a lot of the last post I made on my blog, pictures of the sunrise included! Beautiful shots!

  • You inspire, too.

    I hate mornings, but these breathtaking photos and words make me want to roll out of bed early. And seek Him.

    We will be good friends.

  • And now you have me wondering about the beauty I miss when I am sleeping, Jennifer.

  • Loved this article. I also love to see the world wake up. I drove into my pasture at sunrise one morning and wrote these lyrics to a song:
    God, I love what you’ve done with the place. I know you see the joy on my face. Don’t need a decorator, you are the great creator, God I love what you’ve done with the place.

    Thank you for this. We need reminders.
    Greg Gilbert

  • This summer, desperate for quiet time, I would get up before dawn, take my tea and Bible outside, and greet the sun. A few times, I took my camera out with me and caught some beautiful rays from the sun.

    Just recently, I’ve been thinking about the abundance of today, the abundance we receive every day, but so often miss.

    So glad you linked up this week, Jennifer. You are a blessing to the SDG community.

  • So talented with a camera. I think we could spend a lifetime seeing God’s beauty and not cover it all. I need to start setting my alarm an hour earlier.

  • Rejoicing that you didn’t sleep through this beauty!

  • Such a beautiful post. A challenge I think to myself to “really see”. Love this: “What God has taken the trouble to make I think I ought to take the trouble to look at.” =)

  • So beautiful, Jennifer. I particularly cherish this time of year, knowing frigid winter and too much time indoors is right behind.

  • This just makes me happy. I think you touch on something important. Sleep is necessary and Scripture even tells us he grants sleep to those He loves. The real danger is in not fully waking up. We’re missing some of His best work! Thanks Jennifer.

  • Your pictures are very beautiful.

    The work of His hands is one of my favorite things that bring me to Him in worship. Nothing sings the creativity and beauty of God more than a sunrise or a butterfly flitting across the back yard.

    Great post! 🙂

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