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Through Your Eyes

Every month, we receive countless emails from readers expressing all that they loved about the current issue. Many have even surprised us with their deepest thoughts and prose relating to the current issue's theme. We decided they needed to be heard. So, as part of a new feature in the magazine, there will be a semi-regular category titled, "Through Your Eyes," in which we ask some of our readers to answer a question relating to the next month's theme.

For May's theme, Beauty, the question we posed was:

Where do YOU see beauty? Is it in your loved one's smile? In the bright colors of fresh vegetables? Or in the success of a new project? Is it in your baby's eyes? In the blowing wind? Or the health of a loved one? It could even be as simple as laughing until your face hurts, getting a good place in line, or finding a $5 bill in your pants pocket. Tell us what brightens your day and makes you smile.

And here are this month's featured responses:

Jennifer Hunsaker: I've never been a "stop and smell the roses" girl. While other little girls were dressing up their Barbies, I was reading a book. While other girls were dressing in princess clothes, I was in shorts and a t-shirt. I never had a use for things that were "frilly" or "pretty" — I just didn't see the function in them. It wasn't until I did my first hard thing that I realized the beauty in accomplishment. I think it started with playing the piano in front of people when I was eight. Then speaking in front of a thousand people when I was nine. And it snowballed from there. Every time I accomplished something hard, or big, or amazing, I found indescribable beauty in the moment. I can still recall clearly what it felt like to walk across the stage and receive my first degree at 18. I can tell you what the air smelled like the first time I ran a mile. I can recall moment by moment the day my husband returned from a yearlong deployment. In each of these and thousands of other moments just like them, I realize that I don't need a picturesque setting or an ethereal backdrop to find beauty — I have portable beauty makers in my own, two hands and my determination.

Diane Botill: I find beauty in the still moments. When all the outside noise has died away and the children are engrossed in something, I can take that moment to look out the window at the trees and take stock of how lucky I am."

© Jessica Ceason Photography (TopLeft, TopRight, BottomLeft) , XoeXantheVilla (BottomRight)

Leah Grammer: I see beauty in the sunset. As it's going down, it seems to be saying, "Thank you for letting me be here today." I love all the colors and the way it reflects on the mountains.

Heather Lantz: I see pure beauty when my children are sleeping peacefully, and they have a glow around them as if angels are surrounding them.

Amy Carpenter: I think my children are beautiful when they're engrossed in something. My favorite place to find beauty is in water — waterfalls, lakes, oceans, bays. I just love sparkling, reflective water.

Mark W. Gardner:

Beauty (From the Perspective of My Wife)

The look I see in the mirror
The one that everyone else sees
Through the fingerprints and the toothpaste
It shows the lines of age

Carved in those hills
Engraved in those lines
Are the things I do for others
Without end and no fortune in value

My puffy eyes are the eggs from breakfast
The trickle of dried sweat the mopping
The stain on the shoulder was formula
He is in bed now, finally asleep

I sigh and turn to the bedroom
He turns from his book and smiles
Rising he embraces me, tightly
"You're Beautiful," he says and means it.
© FelicityMaria Photography (TopLeft), Bill Lindsay Photography (TopRight), Jessica Ceason Photography (BottomLeft, BottomRight)

Leslie Giles: In a sincere smile.

Sylvia Will: God is beautiful — see His creation.

Jennifer Tupuola: Right now, I seem to appreciate more and more the beauty of civility and kindness… as each day passes, the beauty of those two things are seen less and less!

Andrea Barnhart: As a quilter, I see beauty in color, texture, and line. Every lovely thing I see magically transforms into a quilt, in my mind! I'm inspired by architecture, both of man and God.

Kerstin Engelhart: I love a summer evening, especially if it has been a hot (or warm) day, and the temperature slowly begins to cool down (still warm though). Twilight begins. There is a nice breeze. Everyone seems to slow down. Traffic and noise stops. You can hear birds chirping. I love to sit in a garden and enjoy the sounds, colors, warmth, and peace.

This month, we were overwhelmed with the answers we received. Thank you to everyone who participated. Look forward to our question for next month's issue on "Passion."