Tuesday, September 19, 2017

What I'm Reading // Sew Retro: A Stylish History of the Sewing Revolution

Happy new week, everyone!   Do you ever just feel like you blink and the weekend disappeared into thin air?  That is how I felt as I awoke yesterday morning and realized just how quickly Monday came.  I think that is a probably a common feeling, but sometimes the weekend just seems to fly a bit faster than usual.  But in many cases, that is due to the fact that it was well spent and full of fun moments, as this one was.  And it is such a blessing to awaken on a new week and have a weekend of memories so delightful to think upon.

I do hope yours was happily spent.  Some of my favorite moments of the past two weekends have included the calm and quiet of a joyful Sunday of reading.  Especially in the golden hour of the evenings, when the sun began to descend and my thoughts and inspirations in the sewing room grew as I read... 

The beautiful book I am finding so much inspiration in lately is Sew Retro: A Stylish History of the Sewing Revolution.  Oh, this book is surely one of my favorite finds ever!  The more I look through it, the more I am engrossed in its pages that are so full of fascinating history of sewing through the eras.
This book cheers an old soul like mine (and I know many of yours☺) to look through and soak in... it is so old-fashioned and vintage and wonderful, showcasing and providing detailed historical points on sewing and ladies' fashions from the 1800s, 1910s, 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond.
The early origins of sewing machines and pattern companies, as well as the formation of early sewing societies & sewing as a social activity among ladies seeking to benefit and clothe their families and others, begin this informative and nostalgic book, and it is inspiring to us as girls and ladies who sew in modern day.  
The impact of various types of needlework, but especially sewing, on the world wars and economy of the first half of the 20th century are also interestingly shared through the pages.  Those I found especially engaging as a lover of history were the importance of sewing in America during WWII and the role it played in both morale and war efforts, not to mention to the Women's Army Corps and other elements of the war, including the issue back home of rationing and re-purposing.

Another era, both generally and in fashion, that has interested me since U.S. History class in high school is the Depression.  The elegant simplicity and lines of the 1930s dress styles was so lovely and poised.  I am loving reading more behind the history of sewing in the Depression era.  You'll notice on the footer of the pages, there are timelines that give a deeper look into the chronology of how progressions in the pattern and sewing world intertwined with major historical events and influences.  The fact that economic downfall in some of the less bright periods of our history played into how people dressed and how much ladies sewed at that particular time is something that doesn't always come to mind when we think of sewing, so this definitely educated me on just how much that is true. 


Probably my favorite section, with such quintessential 1950's charm and beauty is this one:  Midcentury Modern.  Oh how cheerful and classic and polished, yet fun, I find the fifties styles to be, and this is probably also the era for which I have the most sewing aspirations in projects I dream of creating.  Every time I watch I Love Lucy, I seem to be thinking about whether or not I may have a pattern in the sewing room for the style that Lucy or Ethel has on, especially many of Lucy's simply pretty day-dresses and her evening wear.  It is inspiring to me to see these styles, as well, because the cut and lines of many of the garments the ladies sewed then were what I would consider to be a bit more of a challenge to sew.  And I am looking forward to being more challenged by my sewing projects choices so that I can grow ☺  ...On a side note, I was just reminded by bring up I Love Lucy in this post about sewing of the episode where Lucy is on a budget so she tries to sew her own dress (and do an at-home version of her red Henna rinse)!  I love that one, it is hilarious!

There are some books you find that contain pages that are just so aesthetically pleasing!  This one definitely qualifies.  I am always falling in love with new pages like these to gaze upon, especially those that contain so much wonder in their vintage inspiration and old-world charm.

Within the book are also vintage sewing ads that are such a delight to take in, as well as needle booklet covers... I love this because it is such a beautiful thing to see the way everything, even down to a booklet for sewing needles, was so artfully made with effort put into making it lovely.  
Aside from those classic old ads, along with pictures of the neatest old patterns through the eras, there are a few diagrams that I have especially enjoyed viewing that encompass vintage classiness and elegant femininity.... like the "Best Colors for Your Type" color palette chart for different skin tones and hair colors.
Lastly, this book is not only a vintage and sewing enthusiast's dream for the illustrated history of the sewing revolution through the eras, but it even includes several simple sewing projects, an added cherry on top.  The cute apron above is one of them- I love the fabric choice and eyelet trim.  This is one of many projects.  To be perfectly honest, not all of them are pieces I'd try making, but there are definitely a good few that I would and that look like they would be fun to take on.


I mentioned at the start of this post the growing inspiration inside me as I started reading this book... which has continued as I keep enjoying its pages when I pick it up in spare moments or on the weekends.  That inspiration has led to so many new ideas and thoughts for vintage-inspired pieces, which compelled me to select some new fabrics with that feel that I am excited to put to use, as well as go through our baskets of patterns and pick up a few new ones.   Below is one of my favorite new additions, the most darling 1950's skirt, with optional poodle design included, in case you want to make it an official "poodle skirt".  And that waistband yoke!  I am also enjoying rediscovering some of our authentic vintage patterns.

Perhaps one of the sweetest parts of reading the pages of this treasure is connecting by way of history and the olden days to the ladies before us, to realize that the beauty of feeling the thrill and joys of sewing and creating is the same that coursed through the girls and ladies generations before us.  I love turning the pages of this book and thinking of how, during this or that era that I'm reading about, women sat around the fire in winter sewing new church dresses for their daughters or a new suit for their husband, much like the images conveyed in the cozy description by Laura Ingalls Wilder in her books of her mother shopping for fabrics at the mercantile and sewing.... Or in later decades how they went to the new fabric stores and picked out patterns as they were inspired by the mid-century fashions coming out.


.          .          .


In the solitude and enjoyment of my new sewing book, when I first got into it last weekend, I remember sitting at my desk with something else on my mind as I read... my heart and prayers were with the people of Florida, Georgia, and the islands and areas that took the brunt of Hurricane Irma... thinking of the impact of the storm on the lives of people and animals, hoping and praying for their safety, and knowing that they would be dealing with exactly what Texas just did.  May they all be lifted up in prayer and given strength!   

While I am on the topic, I would also like to express gratefulness for the kind comments and messages of your shared sentiment and prayers after my earlier post about Harvey.  All those impacted here in Texas are so blessed to be lifted up by prayer, and as someone who knows two family friends who had their homes flattened and has seen the damage, I am personally thankful for your heart and thoughts being here.  

It seems this is the summer of hurricanes, and so many will surely need prayer in these catastrophic and trying times.  


I hope you are having a great start to the new week!  Can you believe fall is officially upon us here in the U.S. in just a few days, friends?  I am eagerly awaiting the changing season as the crisp leaves begin to fall- it will be so heavenly to feel that first chilly air roll in.  I hope the South gets the autumn weather memo early this year ☺


Are you excited for a new season?

What is a book that is inspiring you lately?

Are you interested in sewing history?


Blessings in Christ,

-J


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Sewn // Electric Pink and Lace

Happy September!  I hope the start of the new month has been a wonderful one for you, dear friends.  I sit here typing with exhilaration inside me as I ponder over the fact that such an illustrious season so full of wonder is nearly upon us, autumn.  It is sheer delight to dream of the cooler temperatures and know they are imminent, as well as to be experiencing the first touches of it with our first "cool front" today!  It is supposed to last for a few days and is a true blessing.  Has the weather begun to change yet where you are? 


Although I am so looking forward to fall, I must admit that in matters of fashion and sewing aspirations, I am still feeling summery in my thinking.  I am so attracted to the whimsy and elegance of wearing some of my favorite summery prints, especially butterflies, floral, and bright shades.

.           .          .


I am excited today to get to share a sewing project I finished earlier this summer.  It took me months off and on to finish due to the fullness and busyness of life, but getting back to it and finishing this project made me realize so much just to what degree I missed sewing.  And that is not to say that I felt that way because I felt it was turning out perfectly- in fact, my tunic didn't end up fitting quite as I intended, but I still had such fun sewing it and putting it together that I was reminded of the delight of that feeling.  My first outing wearing my new creation was also ever so delightful a day, spent walking through one of my favorite old towns we visit when we can, where we had lunch over the river.

The aspect of this pattern I enjoyed most was challenging myself a bit.  I definitely still consider myself a beginner seamstress.  The cut and style of this blouse was one of the more difficult things I have taken on, but I loved doing something different and working with the different panels and a bit of pleating to form the finished piece.  I also relished in picking out the loveliest white lace and seeing it contrast so sweetly and femininely with the pink, sheer fabric.



My favorite part of the blouse, specifically wearing it, is the look and feel of the wide sleeves trimmed in lace.  They are oh so summery.  As for buttons, I searched for an option that would compliment the sweet feel of the lace I had chosen, and these were fun and so pretty, with a pearly finish and design and finished with a subtle rhinestone in the middles.


The pattern I used was McCalls 7128.  Although it said "easy" and was indeed relatively simple in the architecture and style of the blouse, I think the major difficulty was this fabric.  I chose this fabric solely because of the brilliant pink, whilst not considering much the way the fabric would behave with the cut of the pattern, or the way it would slip on top of itself as I sewed.  Needless to say, it was not the best fabric choice as far as that went,  but I'm happy I used it in the end since it did challenge me more and because I love the way the fabric ended up falling due to its light, sheer nature and the flowy, blousiness. ☺


Hanging up and finished, against the morning light streaming softly through the window and the fabric, the delicate quality of it seemed even lovelier, while also having its color so beautifully amplified, in a way.  Had I been more skilled at doing so, I might have added a liner inside the blouse so as not to have to wear an under-layer, but wearing a tank beneath it is an easy fix.  I just need to find one of a similar color so it blends well with the pink.



And as you might be able to tell, upon finishing, I just could not stop admiring the intricate loveliness of the lace, especially as the silkiness of it was highlighted by the light coming through my window.  Ahh, lace.  I am dreaming of future projects with more lace trim, especially because of the elegance and somewhat vintage aesthetic I feel it adds, no matter what the style of garment.



I was so excited to finish this piece this summer and enjoyed the process and learning from it so much, as I do with each new item I sew.  I await perusing some of my favorite sewing books for inspiration for some new projects this weekend, and I look forward to looking through fall patterns I picked up recently, as well.


What projects have you finished recently, sewing or otherwise?

Do you like lace trim on your clothing?


As I get ready to hit "publish" on this post, I am excited to have my schedule 
be slightly less hectic as the autumn approaches and to get to sit here and write
this with the hope of getting to do so more regularly again. 
  This summer has been a whirlwind- so full of the nicest memories and
 wonderful days- but truly busy, so this is a great feeling. I have been blessed to
live a summer of exploring and taking in nature and history in new places,
so I have been busy in the best way, but I have missed blogging,
visiting you, and having the joy of sharing.


Have a joyous rest of your week!

Love in Him,

-J


Saturday, September 2, 2017

In the Storm

In some of the coziest moments over the past week, feeling so fall-like,
I stood at the front window and watched the sky turn different shades of gray,
from steely to deep and dark to bluish-gray.  And in my hand, I held a warm cup
of tea, awaiting more soft rain that would follow and soon turn to gusty rain
and the picking up of the strongest winds I would ever feel in my life...
...this was all before the devastation of the storm, Hurricane Harvey.
I stood and looked out my window as droplets ran down the glass and I 
enjoyed the quiet peace and knowing that I would spend the next
couple of days writing, reading, and crafting under these stormy skies.
Being just a few hours away from the Texas coast, though,
I also had a bit of heaviness in my heart knowing that this storm might
negatively affect the coastal towns I've visited all my life.
To what extent, though, I had no idea.

Everyone, including myself and many in my family who live closer to the coast,
thought the storm may blow over a few signs and sheds, perhaps, and rip a few 
boards or shingles off of homes, but the almost total desolation Harvey has 
left behind is dauntingly horrific.
It is infinitely worse than many of us thought it would be.

I am so grateful that my family and family friends near the coast are safe,
but so many others are not as fortunate.  If you have seen the coverage and stories
of the horribly tragic loss of life and homes that is effecting places like Houston or
 Rockport and countless other little towns you may now have heard of, your heart probably aches
 for those  people as mine does.  The days that have followed the storm have been a shock
 to our state, namely to see the people here who have had their lives completely shattered,
their loved ones lost or missing, the elderly, families, and animals being rescued
after days of sitting and living in feet of water.
I am not even there myself, but oh how heartbreaking those sights are.
Tears fill my eyes and heart as I think of the sadness and loss.

Although a storm like Harvey may have been strong,
people who band together as Southeast Texans are (as well as those coming
from all over to so generously help and provide relief)- risking their lives to save
neighbors and strangers alike and livestock and pets- are ultimately
a great deal stronger, and most of all, so is the Lord!

"GOD is our refuge
and strength,
a very present help
in trouble."
-Psalm 46:1


Since the realization of the damage and intensity of the disastrous
results of the storm, I know am not alone as I think throughout the day of
all those impacted and of those suffering in some way or other from this.

I find myself going to sleep heartsick, thinking of how I am
in a warm bed, safe, while others are in shelters, now homeless,
or a few days ago, how those people were sitting in feet of water in their
homes still waiting to be rescued... weathering days and nights in those
conditions, waiting and praying.  And I think so, so often
of the wildlife, pets, and all precious animals undergoing the flooding and
effects of the storm, as well... and I have prayed so very hard,
asking the Lord to please save and rescue those still left and care for them and
allow things to work for good in the lives of all- people and animals alike.

I know God will bring light out of the darkness.
He already has in the way so many have had a reminder of the precious
things of life and have come together to help each other, restoring faith in humanity.
And I know He hears each and every prayer and sorrowful heart in this situation,
and the prayers of all of us praying for those hurting right now,
both in Texas and Louisiana, where flooding is also devastating several areas.

May prayers be answered and there be blessings showered
on all of the effected as they face rebuilding their lives and coping.
May they be comforted and strengthened spiritually and physically!


As I mentioned above, our coast is a place that I hold close to my heart
because I have spent many childhood and recent moments there.
I have such dear memories of beach days here and enjoying the waves and coastline.
These photographs are a few of my favorite scenes I captured on my
most recent trip to Port Aransas Island, which was hit hard by Harvey.
This is the coastline's glorious beauty as it appeared last summer.


I do hope you have a blessed and most lovely weekend, friends!

Hugs to you!

With love in Christ,
-Jazzmin

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Feeding the Birds

What a busy (and fast) summer this has been!
I hope that you have had a wonderful summer thus far, dears,
and that you have enjoyed a safe and joyful one with your loved ones.

Ahh, the magic of summertime... dreaming, swimming, traveling, family time,
the cool grass on your warm feet, watermelon dribbling down your chin,
BBQ (I can't leave that out since I'm from Texas, hehe), baseball-playing
and watching- and the sheer elation of the freedom of long, dreamy days.

It has been a lovely summer here, but I cannot believe how quickly
it has passed by so far and that blessed autumn will soon be upon us.
Are you looking forward to the crisp fall season?  I know I am.

.           .          .

One of my favorite parts of both spring and summer of this year has been
getting out to enjoy our Creator's wonders in nature, especially to photograph
and watch the wildlife.  I had the privilege of exploring woods and state
park beauty, as well as some recent trips to explore local history.
But I digress ;) ....back to nature and wildlife, what a joy it has been to
watch curiously as the birds have visited us all summer.

A couple of months ago, I had so much fun painting and putting up a little
bird-feeder for the sweet Blue Jays, Carolina chickadees, and other birds that
visit our backyard often.  It was a very simple project, but I spent a fun
afternoon painting it and thought I would share ☺

A Carolina chickadee rests above the bird-feeder just before he lands inside it
to eat some of the bird seed.


This is not a tutorial by any means, just something I wanted to share for an
 inexpensive way to do a cute bird-feeder... I kept looking for a brightly
colored one at the stores and could not find any, especially not for a good price,
so I decided to make my own from a plain wooden model at the craft store.

Here are the things you will need for this type of design,
all of which I purchased at Hobby Lobby:
Wooden birdhouse/bird-feeder
Paintbrushes
Craft acrylic paint 
Sealant Spray
Fence mount or shepherd's hook


I used 5 different colors; one for a main color on the roof, one for the "columns",
one for the flowers, an accent shade for flower stamens and dots, and one
for the ridges on the roof.  These are very cheap acrylics in the craft section
(about .70 to 1.00 each)- you can also use "Patio Paints",  I believe they are called.
They are made to outlast sun fading and better withstand both sun and other elements.

The spray sealant (you can use a Krylon craft seal spray or other brand) is probably 
necessary if you use non-outdoor paints like I did- but make sure to COVER the area where
the food will go with a cloth or paper when you do the spraying so that it does not
end up on the area where the bird seed will go (for safety and health of our
feathered friends☺).


Once I had my supplies, I sipped on an icy lemonade and painted away, using my
imagination to come up with a very simple, yet cheery design- and a colorful one, too.
And I had good company nearby as I painted (see below), haha.
Whether I'm outside reading, doing a project, painting, or whatever it may be,
Lucie enjoys the breeze and sniffing every snail and blade of grass in sight.

Once you're paint or sealant spray (whichever you used, if not both) dries- sealant may
 take overnight- you can add in your wild bird seed and you're reading to
hang up your bird-feeder on a fence mount hook or a shepherd's hook!

All finished and set up...



And after you hang it up, what sweet mornings you'll spend with a cup of tea or
coffee as you watch the Jays and Cardinals and other gorgeous species
delight and eat the bird seed.  I know we have all enjoyed it so much.
As the blue jay chicks began to grow and mature from spring, we have especially
loved watching the adolescents visit the bird feeder and observe the differences
between them compared to their mature parents.
My favorite memory of bird-watching this summer was observing a Cardinal
chick visit with a couple of larger ones, and it looked like he was learning
to fly.
It is in those moments that I often stop and think, 'Oh what precious
creatures you made, Lord!' and how privileged we are that He
has allowed us to take in the majesty, wonder, and grace of each one
of His creations.



Dear friends, how happy my heart is to get to share a little something with you
and think of many of you who I have missed talking with and visiting in the time
in which I have been absent from blogging this summer.  Time truly seems
to get get away this time of year as it does in no other season. 

Praying you have a wonderful Sunday evening!
Blessings,

-J


Thursday, June 22, 2017

My Godly Role Models

Happy almost weekend!

I hope your week has been joyful and blessed.
I am so delighted to be writing today and to share something on
my heart in a post I have been working on in the moments I have
been free over the past several weeks.

Before I get to that, though, oh what a lovely Spring we have had this year,
 lovelier than any other I remember in terms of wildlife and the nature blooming
 all around- I can't tell you how sweet it has been to see more birds than I ever
have, all in our backyard.  Alas, summer has crept in slowly
and our temperatures have soared this week, but I'm thankful for air
conditioning and lemonade as we head into this summer.
How is the weather where you are?

.          .           .


Lately, thoughts revolving around identity have rested on my heart,
something I have been pondering for years- I feel like growing up and
living through the years of 16 or so into your 20's (and surely beyond)
is such a strong period for having realizations of the type of identity
you want to have...  essentially what threads you want to make up the
 embroidery of your character as a young woman.

I'm thankful for growing up in a bible- and faith-based home... eternally thankful.
There were times that, in earlier years, being at perhaps the most impressionable
age in the early teens and also being in school, there were influences that
sometimes led my thinking to places that made me feel I should be
more like certain individuals that the world accepted and praised.
But I am so thankful that God was still always the foundation that gave me
the reasoning to get away from that thinking that would have led me
into places I surely did not want to ever go.

And in those years and up to now, I have been so truly blessed
by the right influences that I feel were put in front of me to show me the
type of woman I wanted to grow into.... a godly woman most of all.
In fact, a year or two ago, I was compelled as I pondered this very thing while
writing in my journal one day, to make a list on a sticky note (to
always have in the back of my current journal) of the women whom I admire,
from characters portrayed in film to bible characters and women I
have known in my life, for certain qualities they display.
Each time I open up that back cover of my journal and gaze at that list,
I am encouraged and inspired, and it is a list I keep adding to.


.           .           .

While I of course admire the work, pursuits, & passions of countless others-
such as women through history who have been teachers, writers & poets,
marine biologists (Eugenie Clark the Ichthyologist, for example), naturalists,
historians, abolitionists, brave ladies like the WASPS of WWII,
or fictional girls and ladies I grew up admiring (like the intelligent,
shrewd Nancy Drew, or the charming and witty Anne Shirley), as well as
others who have been a part of eras and fields that captivate me-
 my list here encompasses those whose qualities and individual character
reflect values, godliness, and inherent goodness that have influenced me most.


Some of those influences are what I want to share today-
a few of the women who became my truest role models and
whose character I hope reflects in my own life...

Caroline "Ma" Ingalls-
for her always selfless attitude, love and care for her family with a joyful spirit, 
her strength and determination through trials, and most of all her dedication to
the Lord and to teaching her children about Him and to have a 
foundation in Him.


Ruth from the bible-
for her giving and caring heart and selflessness as she loyally stayed with Naomi,
her mother-in-law, and showing a godly spirit with a servant's heart that I admire;
her strength of character is truly an inspiration to me as I seek God.
Ruth is also tied to one of my favorite bible verse, in which she tells Naomi
that she is devoted to her and will stay and care for her always: 
"And Ruth said, 'Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from
following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go;
and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people,
and thy God my God.'" -Ruth 1:16



Livvy Singleton from The Magic of Ordinary Days-
If you have seen the film, you know that Livvy's circumstances and some of her
choices start out as not ideal, while she also struggles with inner turmoil and
decision making as to which direction her life will go as she deals with her situation.
  But she grows and matures into a woman who is more and more selfless, 
comes to deal with the hurt of having done something out of loneliness
that was not characteristic of herself, and has a caring, compassionate spirit,
helping those she meets in the film in any way she can and also taking
joy in serving her family and caring for the farm and home.
As an added bonus, I admire and relate to her character as a knowledge-seeker
and lover of learning about archaeology and historic artifacts, areas of
study that fascinate me and leave me awe-inspired, as well.
(And did I mention her 1940's fashion? If you watch the movie, you
may drool a little over every one of her wardrobe pieces shown if you
have an affinity for that era.)


Olivia Walton-
for her immense strength in character as she worked tirelessly to
make her home a welcome fortress and a place of warmth and goodness for
her family, especially her children, and her grace and poise in all she did.
Her faith was a monumental part of her life and she laid down her heart and
her worries in all she and the Walton family dealt with.
Mrs. Walton was also even-tempered, generous, kind, a great encourager,
and loving, even during trying difficulties and hardships as her family lived 
through wars, family tragedies, and other great trials throughout the years.


Laura Ingalls Wilder-
for her strong family values and treasuring of the simple, old-fashioned things,
especially leading a life of honesty & faith, intentional living, the importance of 
traditions, caring and kindness, and treasuring memories and where you come from.
I also admire so much so Laura's attitude of self-sacrifice in caring
for her sister, Mary, and putting her family first, both as herself as a character
in her enchanting books and I'm sure as the person she was in real life.


.            .           .



It is so easy to get wrapped up in what we want to pursue and do with our lives,
but I am so grateful to have learned through that process that to take a step back
 and get back to who you we are in Christ is the absolute best way
to truly figure out your purpose and your identity.
Placing my hope for the future and my life in God is the one sure
way that I have found leads to being the best version of myself as I was
created to be.

Choosing and learning from role models who display a lifestyle,
manner, faith, and strength reflecting godly character has been an immense
blessing to me, especially at the key times during growth and development
toward becoming the young woman I hope to be.
Whether biblical, fictional, or living, these role models and their
admirable qualities have inspired me so positively in becoming who I
DO want to be as I leave behind and try to avoid the "role models"
the world admires who, for me, are the type of woman I DON'T want to be.

My true role models are women who bring me back to my roots and my faith.

I strive to grow toward God in my character and toward
my precious Savior, and I am thankful for lessons and examples that
have led me here- to realize I want to be a woman who most of all honors:
Faith, Family, Tradition, Roots, Old-fashioned Values,
and trusts the Lord above all.


Others in my personal life God has blessed me with as the greatest examples
to me in my identity and character are my mom, my paternal grandmother,
Patricia Ann, my aunts, and ladies I grew up admiring in church...
And may I say that so many of you whom I have
had the privilege of getting to know or have read your posts have become
role models to me as well, in modesty and dress, Christ-like identity,
and having a spirit of pure-heartedness and serving others:
Stephanie, Sarah, Debbie, Tammy M. Grace, Joy, Tammy S., Kelly-Anne, Tyrie,
Dianna, Arlene,  Mildred, the Boyer Sisters, Jerralea, and Hannah,
to name a few.



What a treasure it is to seek inspiration from pure and good individuals,
characters, and others God has placed in our lives or allowed us to see.
In the toughest moments, sometimes their personas even become
a strength and a light of encouragement.

Who are your role models, or who were they when you
were growing up?


I hope you are having a wonderful first week of summer,
dear friends!

Blessings to you,

-J

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Seeking God for God, Not for Good


Hi, everyone!
I hope that you are well while reading this and having a wonderful weekend ☺
As it always is after too long away from writing here, friends, I
am filled with elation and delight at getting to say hello and write.

I pray your spring season has been full of joy (or if you are not here in the U.S.,
I hope you're enjoying your weather where you are)!  How delightfully
gorgeous this spring has been so far.  The wildflowers are a constant reminder
of goodness and beauty in their lovely appearance scattered through meadows
and along the roads here, especially in the country.

.          .           .


With these wonderful, breezy spring days, I have been blessed to spend
quite a bit of time outside lately, and in doing so, I have been pondering and thinking
of so much as I observe the wonder around me. 
This was absolutely the case as I took a hike and walked by the picturesque
creek on a day-trip to another town last weekend.
And being there as I sat taking it all in, just quiet and alone with my thoughts
out in God's creation, I pondered much and also had the chance
to think about something that has been on my heart lately...

I had recently read a quote that drove home this beautiful point
(although I'm afraid I can't recall the exact wording):

Love God because you love GOD,
not because you want Him to bring you GOOD.


When I read something that makes me think for a moment, I know a quote
or thought has really impacted me, and this one did.
I had never thought about it so distinctly or quite in that way before.

If we think of all the times that we pray to God to ask for something good or
something we are hoping dearly for, or of the times that we may
be going through something difficult and the thought may cross our
minds, Lord, I love you and and try to be the best person I can
and live by your word- why are bad things happening to me?...
how does it compare with the amount of times you prayed just to tell Him
you loved Him or were thankful for Him in your life or for blessings
and the greatest blessing of having a relationship with Him?


This is not to say of course that asking God for things to happen in your life
is wrong in any way at all.... it is the opposite.  God ASKS us to
bring our hearts and our troubles and burdens to Him (1 Peter 5:7)!
But... in thinking of this, I began to think more deeply
than ever of exactly how I view this area of my relationship with the Lord...

I also began to reflect on this thought in terms of a thought in a sermon
I heard many years ago.  It talked about how some servants of God
have fallen away from Him because they have prayed for things to be
better in their lives and they felt their prayers were unanswered.
Or they felt discouraged and unloved by God because their hopes
 did not come to fruition.
As I thought more about this, I thought of how much an
 attitude like that can hinder our relationship with God and our love for Him. 
If we serve God for the benefits and blessings and wants we think we'll
receive as someone "in His favor", we are showing Him
that we only want something from Him- that loving Him for
who He is and His mercy, love, and glory is not important to us.


As a young woman, being at the age where many of my friends or other
girls I see or have known are hoping to get married (or are), I think of how it is 
easy to fall into this line of thinking....  to watch the years go by and wonder
why God hasn't brought the one you believe He has for you yet, or why,
he hasn't allowed a certain something to happen in your life
that you have prayed for for years...
It could be that you are praying for a friend, a marriage mate, a more
peaceful life or family, or a health issue to be resolved.

Thinking about seeking God for Him and all that He is instead of
doing so because we hope that by living a life pleasing to Him, he will give
us what we hope for, is such an interesting thing to ponder...
it made me realize how fine that line can be between BELIEVING that God 
will care for your needs and hopes and praising Him for His love,
and serving Him BECAUSE He is going to allow those things in 
your life if you do.


In struggles and trials, it is SO easy to lean the other way,
perhaps especially since we are feeling discouraged and perhaps
like God is not hearing us.  But I have learned that if I am patient, He
does open a door that will lead where He knows I am meant to be.
It may not always be exactly what we thought we wanted, but it
will be even better.
And times like those, as well as every day, we can be inspired to love and
follow God for GOD, not for good or reward... and to love Him
for the right things that will lead us to God and to contentedness and joy
that is only found IN Him, like:

His love, His mercies, the privilege of prayer,
the natural beauty in His creation that He has surrounded us with,
the goodness in the place He has us in right now, & His
 incredible gift to us of having a relationship
with Him and His son.


And we can know that our heart and our serving God
is pleasing to Him when we seek Him for these things that ARE what He
 is instead of what we hope to gain.
If we ever struggle with this, we can also take heart that the things we
 feel we need are prayers that will be answered in God's timing,
and if He does lead us in another direction, we should not get discouraged,
because undoubtedly our God knows better for us than we ever could.



.             .             .


Have a blessed and lovely weekend, dears!

Your sister in Christ,

-J



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

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