Welcome Welcome Welcome!

Welcome to our blog! We've been thinking about this for a long time and have finally gathered up the nerve and coordination to do it. We are three sisters named Anna, Mary, and Lisa. To kick things off, we wanted to tell you why this blog is called The Beautiful Place. 

Lisa:  "The Beautiful Place" does not refer to a wonderful vacation spot or a state of mind, nor does it refer to heaven, but, as our tag plainly states, a humble backyard bush. This might seem like an odd choice for a blog name, but allow me to explain. 

In the backyard of our childhood home stood a gigantic pine bush. (Scientific name: Pinebushus Gigantus). When we were growing up we spent a lot of time in this bush. We thought in the bush, we dreamed in the bush, we played house and orphans and Pocahontas & Nakoma in the bush (although we were not actually allowed to watch that movie much because of the spirit references, #growingupchristian), and I'm pretty sure, sang songs in the bush. After we were done doing whatever the heck we were doing, we would emerge from the bush with sappy hands and pine needles in our hair, a little happier for spending time there. 

This blog will be similar to The Beautiful Place in some ways, and not in others. For example, we are not planning on playing Pocahontas and Nakoma on this blog. But our bush was also a cool hideaway for hanging out and sharing secrets and being alone and enjoying some pine-scented air. That's what this blog is, too, a place to hang out and think about stuff, the exciting joyful stuff and the crappy, not-so-great stuff. Unfortunately, it will be less pine-scented than the original.  For greater verisimilitude, try this, this, or, if you have a beard, this.

There is another reason why this name is appropriate for our blog. I think Mary was the first one to start calling the bush The Beautiful Place. Interestingly, that name made it beautiful. We called it beautiful, so it was beautiful, even though it was a rather ordinary suburban bush. Similarly, God calls us beautiful even though we are ordinary, and worse than ordinary, people full of failure and fear and sin. But God says we are beautiful and in the Gospel he makes it true. We'll be writing about that a lot, because all three of us are skilled at wallowing in despair at our own imperfections and not trusting that God makes everything beautiful in its time. 

We almost rejected this name because it sounds a little schmaltzy, even though it refers to large vegetation and not sentimental vacation destinations. Schmaltz is strictly against Speckhard Family Protocol (see: Lisa's preferred names). But I've become reconciled with the fact that the real stuff in life is actually pretty sappy. Just like that pine push. (BAM! Extra points for one more bush connection! #winning, because the Speckhard Family, while not very schmaltzy, is very competitive).

Anna: So join us as we write about our sometimes schmaltzy but always fascinating lives. Anna will post on Mondays, Mary will post on Wednesdays, and Lisa will post on Fridays. Next week we'll start by introducing each other to you. We'll also share our personal  second and third favorite names for this blog. To choose a name we went through a rigorous screening process and hours of focus group testing, and  a lot of great stuff wound up on the cutting room floor. Feel free to steal them! After that week we will become (slightly) less self-obsessed and start our regularly scheduled programming.  

And now, here are some adorable pictures to play us out! 

This is the original Beautiful Place. Here we have our mom and dad, Anna, our brother Jake, and little baby Mary. 

This is the original Beautiful Place. Here we have our mom and dad, Anna, our brother Jake, and little baby Mary. 

This one is lacking a baby Mary, but it is a more fulsome shot of the bush. 

This one is lacking a baby Mary, but it is a more fulsome shot of the bush.