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When natural beauty clothes ugliness ..

I keep coming back to this theme of beauty.. I have so many etched memories in my mind especially of our time in Honduras, over 12 years ago now. It’s a country of beauty and pain. Of contrasts so stark it’s sometimes hard for the mind and heart to take in.


The National flower of Honduras is the lily - and it’s the emblem and inspiration of many of the handcrafts done by local artisans. The lily will be hand carved onto wooden boxes, stitched onto fabric, or painted on canvas.



I’ve seen magnificent electrical storms with hardly any sound sometimes, just a thrilling light display rolling across moody skies.

I’ve been enthralled with seeing real fireflies arriving at dusk at our favourite spot in the nearby park. I honestly thought they were stuff of myths before.


I was so glad for these displays of beauty - which were in stark contrast to some of the daily realities of poverty stricken lives, corruption and danger on so many levels.


The creativity of the Hondurans always is such a light in the darkness. Their hand crafting patience, the bright colours of threads in the hammocks. The Latino-styled paintings which often depicts the everyday life of people living close to the land, with baskets of flowers and fruit.



The smell of coffee beans - a main export from the country. The huge banana plants growing near our house. Mangoes hanging heavily on the neighbours tree.




The comforting, warm air surrounding us most days until “winter” arrives and the temperatures drop to below 50 F for a few months.

The crackle of dry leaves under foot, the warm pine needles smell….the clear bright blue sky day after day…



And then, our view is often punctuated with reminders of the kind of danger that surrounds people daily. This was the view around the perimeter of our property, without which we would be vulnerable to burglaries and worse… I did find the visual onslaught of poverty hard to take in sometimes. But I was very comforted when we lived at our first home there, that close to our little house began to grow a potaste plant (part of the squash family) .. it grew and grew, up the chain link fence, until it started to cover the top part of the fence..



And then this beautiful flower appeared. Clothing the ugly harshness with beauty.

It was a balm to my soul. Here is a poem I wrote about Fireflies in our "King Tree" - a favourite climbing place for our kids in the local park.


photos royalty free courtesy of PXFuel

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Such a stark contrast of beauty and pain. Love wins in the end, we lift up our eyes to see His power and His smile towards us. We are loved.

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Joy Stephanie
Joy Stephanie
23 sept 2023
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Thanks for writing, Kate. X

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