About the Author

Jennifer Dukes Lee is the author of several books, including Growing Slow. She and her husband live on the family farm, raising crops, pigs, and two humans. She’s a fan of dark chocolate, emojis, eighties music, bright lipstick, and Netflix binges. She wants to live life in such a way...

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
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things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. I had never once thought of the crowd scene at the Louvre, and the same disappointment took me by surprise at Old Faithful, Niagra Falls, and just about every wonderful scene I’ve ever taken in. Standing in a mob sort of steals some of the sense of awe for me. Thanks for this invitation to sit quietly before the “bush afire with God,” eyes on Him, soaking in the miracle of His presence.

    • Michele, Old Faithful is on our list of places to see in the next few years. When I go, I’ll keep in mind that all sorts of beauty exists on the fringes, not just at the site of the “main event.” 🙂

  2. Thank you Jennifer for such great wisdom with your analogy of the Lourve scene. I do remember the sense of “what” when I saw how small the “Mona Lisa” painting in Paris. I studied in Paris for a year on a music scholarship and each Sunday, I went to a different museum. Many of the paintings, I could sit for a long time studying them, wondering what the artist was trying to say in the painting. Many, just whizzed by those paintings. In our busy world, thanks for reminding all of us to take time – Jesus allows us all rest in such different ways; but, our rest must always be in HIM ultimately.

    • I could have spent hours … DAYS … in the hallway just outside of the Mona Lisa gallery. I wish I could have made it to some of the other fantastic art museums in Paris. Our time was much too short. Which was your favorite of all the museums you took in, Nancy?

  3. Jennifer,
    Lately, God has been pointing out the miraculous all around me that goes mostly unnoticed by the average passerby. Most people are annoyed by the momma bird that dive bombs them if they walk along the street too close to our mailbox. They fail to see the new life beginning inside the newspaper cubby underneath. Three tiny babies will soon be ready to soar. The hibiscus bush in our yard has been like a fuchsia fireworks display. One by one, the buds burst open to display their splendor. They don’t last long, but as they fall away, several more burst forth. There must be 30 buds waiting to pop. I wait and watch. My Bible sits on my side table. All the world hurries to see what’s new on Facebook, meanwhile Truth that will truly satisfy, most likely sits unopened somewhere in their homes. Like you Jennifer, I feel like the salmon swimming upstream. I want to shout, “It’s all right here and you’re missing it.” I miss it too a lot of the time, but God gently turns my head back to Him when I’m craning to see what others are looking at. Beautiful post…awesome thoughts to ponder!
    Bev xx

    • Oh Bev, God has given you eyes to see, … truly SEE. I feel like I’m not doing it well at all. I feel like I’m constantly turning my back on the beauty in plain sight, much like I did in the Louvre. So grateful that he gently takes me by the hand and turns me around.

    • Thank you Bev. I try to look at the sunrises and sunsets, and the flowers and autumn colors, to see “what God hath wrought.” (line from a hymn, I think).

  4. This is beautiful, Jennifer. I’ve always loved Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and her quote is perfect here. Someday I hope to travel to Paris and see all the beauties, both large and small. But I set my intent today to fixing my eyes on God in my everyday life here, not constantly craving for what others have. Blessings to you!

  5. I try to live each day with one ear attuned to Him, it raises my consciousness

  6. I think this is the most profound piece you have written! Thank you! It’s a great visual!!!!

  7. Perhaps, if Mona has been looking at that painting across from her all this time, it explains why she can’t stop smiling.

  8. I loved this Jennifer….and I love everyone’s comments! Karen B….hilarious! Yes, that’s why she’s smiling.
    I’m already too busy this morning so these words were perfect….helping me center, refocus, let go and look for
    God all around me….He is sufficient.

  9. I love this post Jennifer. I just finished writing a series of blogs about fixing your gaze on Jesus. He is incomparable yet, as you pointed outwe often turn our backs on Him to look at something that’s entising but doesn’t bring life.
    We are moving into a new home soon and I know I’ve been obsessed with finding the right furniture for the house and plants for the garden. Your post made me realize even after writing all those posts, I was still distracted more than usual. Thank ypu2.

    • In my own life, God has a tendency to repeat the messages I need the most in a whole variety of ways. Glad that this one came at the right time for you. God bless you as you make this transition into a new home!

  10. Jennifer, such deep metaphoric application here. Could take me days to ponder and apply. And I love and have tried to live that EBB quote. I think we so often do get caught up in whatever appeals to the crowd. And what struck me too in the nearly mass-hysteria scene that you displayed here, is that that crowd nearly crowded out the beauty of the Mona Lisa. How could one even hope to see her mid all that confusion? And other thing struck me: How often do I succumb to the snap . . . to the idea of being able to snap beauty, which is only a cheap substitute of the real thing? Sure, I’m so glad that Michael updated his antiquated wife’s dinosaur of a flip phone when I traveled solo to Scotland a year ago last March to take a spiritual pilgrimage to the ancient Isle of Iona. I was glad to record some of those memories visually. And yet those photos, a replica of actual breathtaking beauty, can in no way capture the real thing. I may be stretching this too far, but when I looked at all the snap-happy tourists crowding out each other just to take a photo of the exquisite Mona Lisa, a cellphone photo at that–which will in no way do it justice–I wondered how often I content myself with cheap substitutes for God or for God Himself. Sobering thought. Thank you (as usual!) for your deep insights, which I promise to ponder and for also prompting a little thinking of my own. Good writing, like yours, should always make us think! So glad you and your family enjoyed the adventure of a lifetime, and that you are all home safe and sound (and smiling, no doubt)!
    PS And don’t get me started on how often I succumb to the snap judgment! 🙂

      • Thank you for your kind words, dear Tammy. Like I said, Jennifer always makes me think, and I found this question to myself a sobering one. I think I will journal about it. 🙂

    • Oh, this is so good, Lynn. You’ve added such rich insights to my initial post. Like Tammy, I also appreciate what you said about being content “with cheap substitutes” of the real thing. I remember, as a child, taking photographs of the mountains in Colorado. I couldn’t wait to get the pictures back from the photo-processing place. (Remember when we had to wait days or weeks to see our photos, instead of seeing them immediately on the screen?) Almost always, the photos of the mountains were a grand disappointment because they were simply unable to capture the true beauty.

      Thanks for sharing. Have a great week, my friend.

      • Do you mean I’m not the only dinosaur?! 🙂 Yes, I do recall film! I’m glad you could relate, and yes, photos can never do justice to the mountains of God. I so appreciated all your insights in that flash-mob and how God taught you!

  11. Lovely words to read and teach me on this Saturday. I’m reminded of how we are so busy looking into the past or the future that we miss the beautiful present that we are living in.

    Your trip looked like a success and because you were willing to be present God used you to teach us all the importance of what’s right in front of us. Blessings on your weeeknd.

  12. Wow, what a great trip for you! And I love poetry quote. It is so easy to follow the crowd and miss the Lord.

  13. Jennifer, your entire post resonates with me! I love the artful way you interweave your own deep thoughts with the words of other writers, but more than that, I’m grateful for the challenge to be mindful of where I’m fixing my gaze. There are so many worthwhile truths to contemplate, so many fascinating ways that God chooses to communicate his beauty, if we but pay attention. I want to see, appreciate, and worship. And to be faithful to remain in a place where, as you say, I can see him most clearly. Thank you!!

  14. Jennifer,

    I agree this world is to rushed & hurried. Always going to the next big thing. You posed a great question: where will I fix my eyes? Often times I have fixed them on temporary things & ignored the wonders of God all around me. As I age I don’t care much about big cities, crowds or the next big thing. All big crowds do is hide the real thing from truly being seen, or heard & enjoyed. I want the simple life with hubby & Jesus. The things of this world don’t entice me much anymore. I want to take my time & savor all that God has given me. Great pictures, nice music, the beauty that surrounds. So often we tend to take quick pictures & move on. Like many have said pictures don’t do justice to the real thing. I traveled to Grand Canyon. It was beautiful. The colors were fabulous. Amazing what God did there!! God has blessed me to live amidst Smoky Mountains. Each day I take in the beauty that He has placed before me. Like you I’m taking my shoes off & running to the burning bush. I want desperately to see & hear Jesus speaking to me.

    Blessings 🙂

  15. I love this! What a beautiful reminder of the way we all allow too many lesser things vie for our attention. And if we just slow down and turn towards the Lord, what an amazing sight we will see. Thank you for sharing! <3

  16. Wow! Things have really changed since I visited the Louvre. I don’t remember all those crowds. Course my husband and I went in March, when there aren’t that many tourists. And I don’t remember the cameras, either. We were told we couldn’t take any pictures inside. Guess, they’ve loosened things up at bit.

    Either way, I love the sentiment that so many of us follow the crowd that fix our eyes on Jesus. I’m guilty of that. If I’d only open up my eyes a bit more to him, I’d see all the lovely miracles he has scattered throughout my day. Then my desire to sit with him, be with him, talk to him would be so much higher. Thanks for reminding me of that.

  17. Hi Jennifer! Such a great “picture” of how we can miss Jesus amidst all the crowds, static, and fray. A reminder to pray, “Lord, help me not look to the left or right, but rather to keep my eyes on you first. Because when I do, no matter what everybody else is doing, I know I’m going to want to keep them there.”

  18. I sat here the other night as my youngest came and laid on the couch to be near me. I looked at his long legs hanging over when he would have been more comfortable in his own bed. He’s Twenty!

    All I could think was….. God… help me hang onto these moments of motherhood still!

    I love how you put things!

  19. Jennifer, I never cease to be blessed by your gift of exposing the spiritual lesson in everyday experiences. This is so good, friend. I love your sentimental heart and the way you are sensitive to the Spirit’s stirring. I’m joining you today in praying, “Dear Lord, turn me around, so I can face the miracle of You!” Thank you. xx

  20. I had a similar experience in the gallery where the Mona Lisa is hanging. The crowd wasn’t as large as the one you captured but when I saw the Cana painting and no one looking at it, I reached for the same metaphor. Jeff and I purposefully visited the museum on the day with hours that extended into the evening and found most of the galleries were sparse with people or even empty the later it got. There was a Rembrandt exhibit at the museum at the time that caught captured my attention that focused on the artist’s paintings of Jesus. The Subject, the light in them—Amazing!! Thanks for taking me back to the Louvre today and for encouraging me to look to Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith.

  21. “How do my priorities inform my daily actions?” you ask. A thought-provoking question that begs a prayerful response: Lord, foster an attitude of gratitude that guides me to take in and appreciate the beauty of creation you have so graciously provided. Remind me that whatever my task, I am serving you (Colossians 3:23). Fulfillment and contentment come from the knowledge of who I serve, not the task itself. And to experience Jesus and the miracle of his presence, I have only to invite him. Prompt me to do so throughout the day. Amen! / Thank you, Jennifer, for the inspiration to turn toward our Beautiful Savior so as not to miss the best life has to offer!

  22. Wow, Paris? Not in Kansas anymore, Jennifer! Sounds like you enjoyed your trip. Beautifully articulated and some poignant words to ponder for sure. May we always keep our hearts and minds open to hearing from our Savior, eyes open too! Thank you for sharing your insights. I hope you enjoy the rest of your Summer and may God continue to bless you and your family. Be well, friend.

  23. This is a profound illustration. Thank you, this will stick with me and remind me to ask these questions too.

  24. My family also visited The Louvre in June this year. We also saw The Mona Lisa as well as the remarkable huge painting you are referring to. So many were concerned with getting the perfect selfie with The Mona Lisa and then moving on to the next great thing. I was able to get within inches of the The Wedding Feast at Cana. I was enthralled as I looked at it and tried to grasp the meaning of what I was seeing. There were so many other awesome works of art in that museum. I will give credit to Mona…but I’ll also be honest, when I saw it I thought “that’s it!?”. All this hype and it’s a portrait of a smiling woman about the size of an 11×12 framed photo. People were pushing and shoving to get close to, see, and take a picture with one of the most well-known pieces of art to mankind. If only we pushed and shoved to get close to and see Jesus Christ, the one who gave it all for us and would do it again and again if asked. Thanks for the reminder that we need to open our eyes to the beauty and greatness right in front of us!

  25. Jennifer, I had the same experience when I visited the Louvre in Paris 40 years ago (okay, I’m a dinosaur). I would have missed the painting of the Mona Lisa if there wasn’t a guard standing there. The painting is not very big at all. I was amazed to see on your post the masses of people standing in line to see the painting. I didn’t have to experience the lineups, and could get a good close look at it. Actually I was quite disappointed because of all the hype surrounding the painting. I was expecting to see something more spectacular . Like you I turned around and saw the huge painting which fascinated me much more. I was just amazed at the size of painting compared to the Mona Lisa, and you are right. People would look at the small painting of the Mona Lisa and missed the absolutely huge painting on the opposite wall. What I remember most about my trip to the Louvre was the size of some of the paintings, some that so were big that they would fill a whole wall. The colors, the details. I had the same experience at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Everyone was interested in Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, which is huge and actually worth seeing. But again, most of the people missed what I would consider one of Rembrandt’s most fascinating paintings. It was is in a small gallery beside The Night Watch, and wasn’t very big. Yet it left the greatest impression on me. It was a painting of a woman, but no matter how you looked at the painting, her eyes seemed to follow you. I was alone in the room and could take all the time I wanted to study the painting, which I did. To this day, that is the one painting I will never forget. Beauty is not always found in the size or the hype of something that everyone thinks is spectacular. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and some of the most beautiful things are what goes unnoticed and never mentioned. Look for beauty in the ordinary things of life that others do not pay attention to.

  26. This piece you’ve written is going to stick with me. I dream of going to the Louvre someday, and I am one of those people who often feels like she’s swimming upstream in the current culture. There really is so much beauty around us that God blesses us to see.

  27. I think I’ve missed a lot of what God’s been doing because I’m either wishing He did something different in my life or I’m just too busy to notice Him doing anything at all!
    Makes me want to step back and not miss what He’s doing right now in my life!