Friday, March 10, 2017

How I Love Stepping Back in Time

Dear friends, 
I truly hope you are well!

Has your weather been turning to spring where you are?
Or is still feeling chilly (if you're here in the U.S.)?
It is beginning to feel quite a lot like spring here in the South,
with wildflowers shooting up all along the roads and vivid green grasses
 filling  the sides of the trails and sidewalks at the park once again.

I was thinking about it the other day, and realized that the last time 
I pressed "publish" here, it was closer to the beginning of winter and now
Father Winter has almost gone away for the year.  It has been nearly two months...
how I always miss writing and visiting all of you lovely, sweet friends I've
made through blogging when I am absent for a time.

This year so far has simply been just busy each day with full days- both with
challenges and trying things and then wonderful ones as well-
and spending time deepening my faith, creating, working, refocusing, pondering,
and working to balance my time to be most well spent
...and amidst all of that and then my ever more frequent wireless
 internet troubles, I have found less and less time to be able to be online.
 And while that is a blessing in disguise  in one regard, I do love blogging
 and sincerely miss it when time gets away from me.


As I've shared before, in some of my free time, one thing I greatly enjoy
is finding, collecting, and learning about history through antique photos...
getting to have a virtual portal to the world as it was in
the 30s, 40s, 50s, and even earlier, to get a sense of the eras I dream of
or even a glimpse into the narrative of the wars or other
major historical events of those years so long ago.

I have added many to my collection recently (and also am thinking about starting a
small online shop to sell some to other history and vintage lovers) and thought
I would share a few that I picked up most recently...
for those of you who also enjoy vintage loveliness and stepping back in time
to those fascinating old eras through antique photos ☺








I hope you enjoyed these.   Ahh, I just love taking in the qualities and facets of
 the time periods and eras in each photo I find... 
stepping into that moment in a way as I gaze upon the fashions worn, 
expressions of each person, and characteristics of the time.
Thinking about where those people were and what they were doing, 
celebrating, thinking... it is so neat and so interesting.

And perhaps my favorite part is the privilege of holding onto and protecting
these moments and memories of others who have passed on...
by caring for their photos and collecting them, those faces inside each
photograph are never forgotten, and neither are the moments.


I hope to be on again as soon as I'm able.
Until then, many hugs and blessings to you all!

Love in Christ,

-J

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Happy 2017!... My Year Word and Bible Verse (and their inspiration)

Happy fresh, lovely new year, dears!
I hope that you have been well and blessed this year thus far.
A smile is definitely on my face  as I write here for the first time in 2017,
twelve days into this bright, new year.

.          .          .

Ahh, the exhilaration of a new year!
The few moments ringing in the new year were full of both
relaxation as we sat cozied up and drinking tea, watching old classics,
 and listening to the pops and crackles of celebration
outside all around us as it turned midnight.
And with each crackle, the sheer excitement for the blank slate ahead
 grew inside me!


What a miraculously refreshing feeling for the soul and heart to begin anew
in a "shiny, brand new year", with the hope and joy of new delights, things to learn,
adventures to be had, faith to be strengthened, and to experience the ever-
continuing love and mercies of our Lord as He grows us in new ways than before.
The feeling of that last aspect of a new year is most exciting to me...
to think of the new proportions and reaches of my relationship with my Father
in heaven as he speaks to my heart and mind and the ways He'll reach my
heart or speak to me through means of His word. 
I feel that each year I learn so much more about God and His glory and
 wonder how I never realized or knew those things before! 

Just before the new year, I had the privilege of visiting and walking the trails
of the gloriously beautiful state park a couple of towns away.  What a heavenly time 
spent among the winter landscape there, a palette before us of mostly gray, taupe, and 
faded out hues of a monochromatic forest scene... while in a few spots down
the trails and throughout the woods, there were pops of amber, bronze, 
and umber shooting forth in the form of autumn's remnants.

What a magical sight to behold the sigh of fall transitioning to winter.
This experience of a walk through natural beauty showing God's handiwork is always
one of my greatest delights...

...and reflecting on the time I spent out among those trees and the landscape
 is what inspired me to realize both my word and scripture for 2017.


As I walked among the trees and gazed up at a powdery winter
sky through a canopy of branches, and looked deep into the woods to see
those pops of firey, leafy wonder, I realized that it had been so long it seemed
since I had just been quieted by nature, IN a quiet moment with just
the serenity of nature and my thoughts... and I realized that that calm I felt
so relieved by in those moments as I walked was indeed a result of finally
being one thing.

Undistracted.

After I got home from our state park trip, of the photographs I'd captured,
this photo just below is one that I stopped and looked at the longest.
I noticed just how absolutely, resplendently, irrevocably beautiful that little leaf was!
The detail on it is something I admired as I stared at it and even zoomed
 in more, and I thought about how this was one of my favorite-
 if not my favorite- photos I took out in those woods that day,
and that photo was of something so seemingly simple- even boring to some.
It was such a "small" part of the view, and I only came upon
it to admire its beauty as I walked that day for the reason that I was
not distracted.

I was undistracted because my mind was relaxed and free of the everyday
rush and because the leaf stood out to me, being the only bright spot in
a sea of gray tones of twigs and branches in a newly winter scene.
And I thought from there about how that is so much like life, and especially like
our walk with the Lord- I constantly feel so distracted, both by things I
maybe need to back away from because I willingly do them and they
take up too much of my attention and time and then things that I have 
to do that keep me busy and constantly focused on them.

Just like that exquisite piece of the view, so small and unassuming,
my walk with God and my relationship with Him is the ABSOLUTE most
important part of my life and the part that keeps me going...
yet sometimes I'm so distracted by the scenery all around me that is
easy to focus on, that I miss out on spending time with my Savior.

When I really think about it, God laid it on my heart that a lot of those
things that I think are so important or even things that take up
my time because they seem to be fulfilling or joy-bringing are largely
not fulfilling at all, but actually empty.  I want to be no part of this world
or the things it loves and I want to not be distracted by anything
this world has to offer...
because there is no way it could ever compare with God and Jesus.



In the past few years, although I make the effort to seek the Lord,
if I'm being totally honest with myself and with Him, I do let those little
distractions get in the way.  And as I ponder my thoughts above,
it becomes more evident to me than ever that I don't want to miss out on God
because of distraction- 
I don't want to miss out on the REAL view, the most beautiful one that
can be missed if we walk by it and are not careful.

And part of that best "view" of the important things are those that matter most-
being UNDISTRACTED means letting the trivial things go and
in turn growing ever closer in my relationship with my parents and loved ones,
and taking better care of myself, and most importantly serving others.





In looking it up for a Webster's definition, curious as to what the finite definition read,
it appears that "undistracted" may not technically be a used word, but it serves
best the purpose for meaning that is in my thoughts as this year begins.

And along with a word for this year, I also enjoyed choosing a bible verse!
My verse for this year is one that, you could say, found me when I came upon it,
and it transcended the things on my heart that I had been praying over 
for sometime:

Lead me by your truth
and teach me,
for you are the God 
of my salvation.
All day long I put
my hope in you.
-Psalm 25:5

It has been my fervent prayer that any of my confusions or worries
about certain aspects of my faith would be cleared away by true understanding
of God, and that I would see and know Him for who he TRULY is... to be led
by His TRUTH only, and nothing false- again, not being distracted
by falsities that cause me to miss out on God's truth. 
So this was glaring to me as I read the first few words of verse five.

The second part of it that resonated with my heart and mind
is that this beautiful verse convicts me to put my hope in the Lord ALWAYS.
This is something I struggle with- to shed my worry and give my problems,
quandaries, fears, and struggles all to God.  I often innately feel
like I have to handle everything on my shoulders, and I so quickly forget that
the Lord is where my hope can truly lie, where I can rest and 
where my burden is lightened.  I want to aim to live by this verse, to
show God I trust Him with my whole life and every facet of it,
that I put my hope in him all day, every day!



I have such fervor in my heart for seeking the Lord with all my being,
as well as enjoying the things that bring a smile to my heart this year.
I suppose my intent as I pray to be undistracted also lies in doing things
that really bring me fulfillment inside; Of course nothing is more fulfilling
than THE source of greatest fulfillment, but how loving He is
 to provide us here on Earth with things that delight and bring us enjoyment,
like working with our hands, taking on fun projects,and learning...
and I seek to find those things that are not empty, but bring real joy,
and to keep doing those things that already do.

I have thrill inside me for the these things I hope to do this year:

Wander, travel, and explore nature more
Hone and learn new skills: sewing & embroidery, especially
Improve and expand my nature photography
Start a real nature journal
Achieve a writing goal I've had for awhile
Complete a landscape painting
Take part in ministry opportunities


Does the moment a new year comes in bring elation and goal-making
and certain hopes to your heart,  mind, and soul, too?☺


I am so thankful for the joy of beginning a new year with a new word
and bible verse to pray over and aim with all I have to live by, and these that have
 been laid on my heart leave me confident and stronger in my relationship with God
and looking forward to how they will change and strengthen my faith.

Each January brings with it what feels like so many"new beginnings"-
 starting anew in a fresh calendar year, a fresh new year of life,
and of new hope and looking forward with joyous  anticipation at what may lie ahead.
I have to say that 2017 more than ever has this feeling that came in along
with it that there is so much to look forward to, and I know with my focus
on my Savior, it can be the best year yet.

It's a warm, splendid feeling to feel so grateful for the place where God has me
 and has brought me to at this time and year in my life.



Prayers and wishes that you may have a year ahead of great blessing!

HAPPY 2017, friends!



What motto, phrase, word, or verse are you focusing
on in this year? 


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Styled // Wintry Olden Days Cheer

Hello, dear friends!

I hope that your time spent with those dearest to you has been wonderful this past week,
and I wish the greatest joy and cheer of this most blessed season upon you!
I am just wondering how it is that in just a few days we will welcome 2017!?

This treasured time of year is all the more special and delightful,
perhaps most of all, because of the nostalgia that is intertwined with it.
It is the most nostalgic time of year and perhaps that resonates with my heart
and my memories the most.  The "olden days" feel and the twinkly 
wonder in the heart this time of year yields such childlike joy for all.

.           .          .


That old-fashioned holiday feel resonates through the wonderment of the
season, and to me, also reflects so much in the style of clothing I like to wear...
inspiring more than any other time of year to relish in vintage loveliness!

While out on a day-trip for some shopping and eating out last week with my family,
I enjoyed dressing up in an outfit that gave me such a feel of vintage, ladylike
charm and the cheer of the season!



Knowing a vintage piece, like my pin, was worn by a lovely lady-
a grandmother, a mother, a daughter- some fifty years ago always makes
me smile.  Perhaps that is what I love most about vintage; knowing it has
a story within its threads or in whatever piece it may be.

This style is one of my absolute favorites for wintertime-
snowy white sweater (and this one is adorned with pearls for a Southern
touch! (smiles)) layered over a quintessentially wintry plaid shirt, tailored pants, 
boots, and a brooch or pin to finish off the outfit.  How ladylike and pretty an 
outfit like this does make me feel!
I love the forties/fifties-esque style of this sweater paired with the plaid collar
and pin... two of my favorite eras for style and grace and classiness.
I enjoyed trying a bit of a different style with my hair that felt lovely and fun
to try, one that I thought matched my forties style a bit more than the usual 
way I wear my hair from day to day.


Sweater- vintage // Plaid oxford- Polo //Riding Pants- thrifted
Pin- vintage // Boots (in Poinsettia photo)- Justin Roper




What a beautiful backdrop this historic home made, along with the iron fence
from the golden era, spindly trees against a sleepy, pale, winter's sky,
and this Conestoga wagon out front of the Antique Photos shop (next door).



Oh, how I adore this small town with all its old-world charm and sweetness,
and especially all of its history preserved in the bricks of the original
buildings and wrought-iron fences and other old-fashioned beauty.

I am all the more enraptured by its loveliness in this glorious season.
A few of my views from the restaurant, store windows, historic dance hall, and more...









That good old, antiquated feel of nostalgia seems a reflection
of the delight and thankfulness for the blessings of this season and the
way the Lord showers us in all things good and is our stronghold.  In a way, His love
shows me that the good days and the joy and hope always comes back (no matter
what I am going through), just as this time of year and the way it effects my heart deep
inside truly makes me remember the feelings and memories of yesteryear.
And both of those things remind me to keep dreaming, praying, hoping.


I will "see" you in the new year, dears!  I pray your 2017 starts off beautifully
and oh so joyous and wonderful.


Love and blessings in Christ,

-J

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

Happy Lord's Day to you!

What a blustering, freezing, absolutely wonderful day it is!
(Can you tell I am a lover of chilly weather?☺)
Have the temperatures plummeted where you are?  I heard several states
are in the negative temps and getting massive amounts of snow.  Here, we are
having our coldest temps so far this year.  Last night as I drifted to sleep, I heard
the howling sounds of the wind outside and the old tree branch outside scraping
against the window, and I could tell even then it was going to be freezing this morning.

Hot cocoa is in hand, the fire is on, my sweater is warm, and I
am thinking of how delightful a cold day is to the soul... the sheer coziness of it all.
I feel wrapped in the lovely, hearty feeling of wintery days like today...
even though winter is still a few days away yet.


In my most recent post, after sharing the photos of all of our road trip
to St. Louis, Missouri, I mentioned I had saved a special set of photographs from
the trip to share later.  Here they are today!
I am excited to share the photographs I took on an amazing day of our trip
that capture what I would argue is definitely one of the most beautiful works
of architecture and mosaic work in America, if not the world:
the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

These were the most sacred, breathtaking walls and halls I have ever walked within.
What an absolutely glorious, magnificent sight every corner of the Cathedral was!
And what a place of peace and tranquility it was inside.
I am so thankful to have gotten this experience of visiting with my family
and all of us getting to take it in the incredible artistry together.



The exterior of the basilica is equally wondrous in stature and architecture.


Beautiful Byzantine style notes in the architecture are found on the exterior.

Once inside, a long horizontal hall greets you as you enter, and the sun
shining in from outside the doors streams onto the walls to set aglow
the tiny mosaic pieces in gold.
We stayed until closing time to look upon these works of art- from the
entrance hall and on into the main worship area and prayer rooms- that expressed
faith and told bible stories and accounts in each scene throughout the basilica.



If I could have, I would loved to have laid down in a pew and just stared up
at that ceiling for hours... stained glass windows accented the immaculate
mosaics and the bible came to life with each and every scene depicted.





Everything was so ornately done and showed such artistry.
I recommend researching the history of the build and architecture
of the basilica if you go- we were told of it by someone before we got there
 and it is quite interesting.








Two prayer rooms were adjacent to the main part of the basilica,
and the mosaics on the ceilings showed that just as much care was taken
to make these areas adorned with beauty, as well.

Directly outside one prayer hall was a replica of one of my favorite
sculptures ever created, the incredible Pietà.

A renewed spirit and an exhilaration were inside me, inside all of us,
upon walking outside after the experience of taking in the basilica.  And a most
heavenly sky with notes of cornflower met us outside, a lovely backdrop
for a shot of the intricate stonework around the basilica entry.


Walking back to our car, we stopped to admire this statue of grace, peace, and beauty,
"The Angel of Harmony".  The angel's wings are made of wind chimes.


If you are ever in St. Louis, this is a must-see destination whether you are
searching for elaborately, European-esque architecture to admire, or simply
a place of peace and beauty to enjoy and be humbled by.  


I hope your Sunday is one of joy today, friends.
May your new week tomorrow get off to a wonderful start.  
And if your weather is like ours is right now, I send warm wishes to you, too!


Love in Christ,
-J

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...