30 January 2014

How I Feel About Winter

Like a beautiful sun shone image
the sky drapes over us
On this frigid, frosty, fleeting day
perfected in constant blue
contained not only in a hue
is this multi-houred chill.
Bustling outside it is a quick walk
since the air feels icy
but so clean, clear, crystal.
There's nothing like Winter air
You shiver, but do not really care

It was a beautiful day here in St. Louis. And frigid. At least from my perspective of a Florida girl. 13 degrees with a feels like temperature of -4. That's cold! But I love experiencing the different weather. It is exciting and invigorating, to me. Of course, I am not outside for very long. One cannot be outside much when it is this cold!

This trip is for work, so I am mostly inside our corporate office in training all day. But the weekend will be a bit different because we all move downtown. I will get to see some more of St. Louis that way! I am excited. It is really hard for me to be in a city I am not familiar with and not get to explore and see the sights. So I am excited to move downtown on Friday.

It is funny how the northerners from this area or further north treat this cold air. Those who came from further north places (like Minneapolis or Indiana) said this weather here feels balmy. They are halfway joking, but only halfway. And they all just grin and bear it. I say how it is freezing and how Florida almost never gets this cold. And I tell them how when I left Florida the high was 77 that day. They become very jealous of my life in Florida. 

29 January 2014

Grey Day

Deepening night,
carry with you the moments
of the day
both good and bad
it is all away,
setting with the sun
until the next first light.

Darkening day
it is a long way until
the sun comes back
from these toiled thinking hours,
right on track
is the darkness falling
until we pass through it -- then day!

I like watching night fall, even on a damp evening such as this, with the ground wet and the rooftops darkened by the rain that fell earlier. The sky has chunks of deep grey clouds surrounded by layers of light grey, and some clearing spaces in between where the last bit of sunlight filters through subtly.

I don't mind a grey day. It puts to mind many good things such as finding a cozy space to think. Ideas brewing. A cup of tea steaming. A book on my lap. And to me, it is an ideal time to take a walk (just as long as it doesn't rain).

And for those of you who detest grey days and love the sun, just think, if it weren't for a few grey days here and there, you would not appreciate your sunny days so much! You, perhaps, would take them for granted because there were always there. And the same goes for me, in my appreciation of a grey day.

27 January 2014

Reading Feast

When so much goodness comes my way (in the form of birthday gifts - books!), one can hardly contain oneself. If only I had more time in my days, I would be in these new books for many more hours than I currently get to be. This weekend I somehow kept so busy, but I made sure to allow some adequate reading time, snuggled on my sofa with a knit blanket. Sitting on the floor, here, with my coffee in the morning was cold. Golly, these cold floors.

It has been pretty consistently chilly in these parts, which is a rarity that I am trying to indulge and savor. We usually have a few cold days and then it warms up. A sort of roller coaster ride of temperatures. But it has been a constant temperature to my liking. And I am about to head to some much colder weather in St. Louis tomorrow. I think the low is 7 when I get there. This Florida girl isn't used to air that cold.

But I am not complaining. Seriously. I like the cold. There is something about the way it energizes me. I can hear your jokes already saying "energy to run from the cold to the indoors?" Ha. Your thoughts humour me. And when I am in the freezing St. Louis you can laugh. And I will smile.

24 January 2014

Moments Captured

It has been a long while since I have done any star gazing, but as I pulled into my home the other night and saw the vast blackness above with the brightest glittering stars, I ached to reminisce again with my old friends Rigel, Betelgeuse, and Orion's belt. The sky was so perfectly clear. Not a speck of haze or cloud. How could I not take notice?

The days lately have been perfect Winter days. Starting off around 35 degrees with the utmost blue sky that goes on and on without a break. This leaves the evenings with glows in the clear sky that jump out. As you gaze upward, don't forget that stars flicker, and planets do not.

Days are flying by so quickly. Is that what happens as we get older? When you are a child it seems like endless hours of amusement go on and on. I suppose when the responsibilities hit it all starts from there to go down the spinning tunnel of time that belongs to other things - work, chores, grown-up things.

That is why I am practicing embracing moments that capture me. Sometimes I take an extra few seconds to appreciate something, like that evening's splendid starry sky. I stood on my steps outside my place, cold for a few moments, pondering how long it took the red light of the star Betelgeuse to reach us, or how bright blue the shimmer of the star Rigel is.

I don't want to miss the beauties of nature, no matter how busy my day may be, and lately my days have been very full.

I think that is why I like taking photos so much. Taking photos makes you look at your surroundings and forces you to find the beauty or interesting angle on a possibly mundane scene. I like to try to capture a snapshot of a scene that may be missed by others. It might be big and dominating like a mountain range, or it could be small and everyday like a shaft of light casting a lovely glow in my office.

23 January 2014

Frank Lloyd Wright

I don't often walk around my old college grounds, but when someone comes to visit me (like my mom and my "aunt" this weekend), I love to show them around and tell them stories about the architecture and college. I have always been very interested in architecture and Frank Lloyd Wright. I think Florida Southern College is a pretty special place.

This home (above) was just built. It was in the original plans for the college, for a professor to live in, and they pulled it from the archives and built it. It is a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian home. A style he created and was well- known for. It is now a visitor center and you can tour it. I would like to tour it sometime, being the nerd that I am.

Inside the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel. Going up the tiny, shallow velvet covered steps to the balcony you pass the walls with coloured glass inserts. It is so beautiful how the light comes through all the colours. I have always like this about several of the building that have the feature.
 At the Administrative Buildings looking toward the Hollis Room. The famous low clearance esplanades. 
 More walls of light and geometric designs in the concrete walls. I love the detail. It's never boring.
From the balcony of Annie Pfeiffer Chapel

22 January 2014

Perhaps this is...

Perhaps this is the destined hour
When hell shall lose its fatal power
And heaven itself shall bend above
To hail the soul redeemed by love.

- Emily Bronte

I tend to be a natural idealist. When something is presented to me, my immediate inclination is to think positively about it. To view it in a regard that hopes, rather than seeks to find fault.

I look at a situation and I usually shrug off anything negative and dig down to the positive that might have been overshadowed by the cloudy negative raining down upon it. But this is not the easiest way to go about life. I have learned how to make this view my first instinct. Why is it that there is something in us that wants to be negative sometimes? I have to fight it, too. It is almost like we want to bring others into that cloud of negativity so we can share in it? What is the saying? Misery loves company? Yes, something like that.

But I don't want to join misery's company. I am pretty content in my hopeful idealist vantage point. I see the horizon up ahead and I view the beauty of the possible. I see the stars and a ladder that is sitting nearby for me to climb up to them. I don't have to jump to reach the stars, but utilize the tools that have already been given to me. For I have what I need to keep going, keep growing, and be utterly content with all that God has given me. And I truly am.

I love how Emily Bronte phrases it (perhaps this is...) as a positive looking forward with hope. Because nothing we have here will satisfy our longing. But it is a glimpse of the better that is to come. Perhaps this is the destined hour....

21 January 2014

Glimpses of Home

No home is perfect. every place has its flaws and quirks. I like to focus on the good things about my home, like the original wood floors from 1950, the archway between the kitchen and living room, the glass doorknobs, and white wainscoting.

But it is not the place that necessarily makes a home. It is the cozy feeling that can be created, no matter how stark the place is. I am blessed to have a little home that isn't stark, but has charm instead. I like that a lot. A place with history and charm definitely strikes my fancy over anything else.

I think no matter what place I live in, I can make it cozy and warm. A place that invites deep thought in a comfortable atmosphere. A place to welcome someone with a cup of tea. All it takes is a few clever ideas and a little bit of effort. What do you prefer in a home? When are you most comfortable?

20 January 2014

New Decade

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night pours out knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their measuring line goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.

- Psalm 19.1-4

Today I am sharing one of my favourite Psalms with you just because I want to. I don't have to have a reason, do I? Can I say that because it is my birthday today I can do whatever I want in this post? I am told this is a BIG birthday, and I just think it is another number, but I am okay with celebrating like it is big. I don't think being thirty will dramatically change anything other than still feeling like I am about twenty-five with so much to learn. I don't feel like I can possibly know enough to be thirty. But I suppose we don't have to know certain things or attain a certain caliber of wise before entering into a new decade.

This year I want to grow in thoughtfulness, awareness of others, engage in more meaningful thinking and debating, deeper looking, and take more care to notice people's expressions and countenances. I want to take steps, chances, adventures. I want to love more deeply and forgive more quickly. I want to learn and grow more and more and more. I want to write more and more and more. Most importantly, I want to draw God into every single aspect of my life better than I have been. God's plans for me unfold so beautifully when I acknowledge Him in everything. because when I do that, I am focused on Him, and not myself.

Here is a photo my Mom just sent me, that I had never seen before. My brothers and family friends look in, and I love how happy my parents look (probably thinking- finally a girl!). It makes me miss my Dad immensely.

17 January 2014

Winter: Bundled

From Winter: My Secret
By Christina Rossetti

Or, after all, perhaps there's none:
Suppose there is no secret after all,
But only just my fun.
Today's a nipping day, a biting day;
In which one wants a shawl,
A veil, a cloak, and other wraps:
I cannot ope to every one who taps,
And let the draughts come whistling thro' my hall;
Come bounding and surrounding me,
Come buffeting, astounding me,
Nipping and clipping thro' my wraps and all.
I wear my mask for warmth: who ever shows
His nose to Russian snows
To be pecked at by every wind that blows?
You would not peck? I thank you good will,
Believe, but leave that truth untested still.

As much as I may have thought or said "golly it's chilly", especially while in my apartment, I'm loving it. I am loving that the air is colder this week. I am loving that the evenings and mornings require scarves, and the warmth of the indoors is inviting after being outside for while. I love the walks outside. I love bundling up.

Somehow the air feels cleaner. Smells fresher. Even while it is colder. It is because it is cold. And I cannot even say "cold" so much because the 40s and 50s are warm temperatures to those who live in the northern states who were dealing with negative digits recently. Now, that's frigid!

Don't mistake my comment about being chilly as a complaint. Don't think that I am dreaming of summer. I am trying to soak in all the wonderful days that we have had lately, because these are my favourite days of the year in Florida. It is blissfully chilly out, and there are more days ahead that are full of this goodness.

16 January 2014

This Day....

This day....

- is made for you
- is meant to be enjoyed
- will vanish soon
- has many joys
- is a blank page
- is a gift
- goes well with coffee
- should make you smile
- has wisdom to learn from
- has opportunities
- won't last forever
- is captured in memory
- is full of light
- has stories to tell
- just needs a cup of tea
- is special
- won't wait for you
- is fragile

15 January 2014

Poetry: Donne

In what torne ship soever I embarke,
That ship shall be my embleme of thy Arke;
What sea soever swallow mee, that flood
Shall be to mee an embleme of thy blood;
Though thou with clouds of anger do disguise
Thy face; yet through that maske I know those eyes,
Which, though they turne away sometimes,
They never will despise.

- "A Hymne to Christ, at the Authors last going into Germany", John Donne

So at last I have found a book of John Donne's poetry! This copy is a 1942 Oxford University Press publication, which would have been exactly what I wanted if was given the choice. It is truly a treasure with an added bonus of some fun pages inside! A post card with Donne's portrait, type-writer typed page with a devotion of Donne's, another page with a poem and handwritten notes from a previous owner of this book, and not pictured above is a newspaper advertisement from January 26, 1964 of a biographical novel about Donne. Interesting tidbits in addition to a book that I have long been searching for and never could find. Until now.

For some reason, in all my visits to used bookstores, I have rarely seen a book of John Donne's poetry. My theory is that everyone who has a copy just simply does not give it away or sell it, because they are much to precious of poems to get rid of. You know how there are those certain books you always see in every used bookstore you ever step into? Because once people read it the realize they won't ever read it again so they give it away or sell it? This is not one of them.

John Donne was born in 1571 in London, and if you are looking for easy reading to fill the space of a novel, this is not what you want to read. His poems are, simply for the spelling, a little challenging, but even more so is the subtext. Understanding his poems takes some work. But it is so enjoyable if you are up for it. Granted, for someone just starting to read poetry, Donne is not a good place to start. It is only now that I am able to really appreciate his writings because I don't think I was shaped into the proper poetry reader years ago. And I don't think I am able to understand all his poems even now. But that doesn't stop the enjoyment of these poems and the challenge of working out the meanings.

This is the kind of book I can bring everywhere with me and always have something to read. Either re-reading and more deeply engaging with a poem, or trying to unwrap one I haven't read yet.

14 January 2014

Jason & Renee

This was the weekend of my brother's wedding in Gainesville. I was honoured to be a bridesmaid. We stayed at the bed & breakfast where the wedding took place, and it was such a busy weekend I barely had a moment to take photos. But here are a few that I took.
 Our lovely cottage was a separate house behind the historic bed & breakfast. We had the cottage to ourselves and it was recently renovated and quite lovely. The old features added such charm to the place.
 Breakfast took place each morning here in the bed & breakfast. The homemade breakfast in an old Victorian style atmosphere was a treat.
Elliott loved exploring our cottage. She was a happy girl crawling all around with big smiles on her face.
Some of the family hanging out the morning of the wedding. It was really nice to have some relaxed time together before the day got hectic.
 The bride and groom's first dance. That room is such a lovely setting for a wedding. Even if that was plan B. The storm that came through decided that the plan to have an outdoor wedding wasn't going to happen, so at the last minute, we had to move the ceremony inside, but it truly was beautiful.
Some table decorations. I loved the lighting in that space. The twinkle lights outside. The candles and soft lighting inside. Perfect.

10 January 2014

Out of Town

It is time for another brother's wedding! I cannot believe it is already here. The time has flown by. And, it's the last of my three brothers to get married, and it is all happening this weekend. So, I am heading out of town today to join in the festive events to celebrate. It will be fun to be with family and friends I haven't seen in a long time. The weather report is predicting rain, so I hope it stays clear for the outdoor wedding. It is at a lovely bed & breakfast, so if we have to move indoors all will be okay. Either way, the event will happen and everyone will be there to share in the joy. That is what matters.
Happy Weekend to you!

09 January 2014

Thoughts on Cold and Books

This cold morning made me smile. But I will admit, I did not want to jump eagerly out of bed today, away from the warmth of my lovely quilt. My apartment was frigid in comparison, but I soon fixed that (a bit) by turning on the heat (which is only in my living room). Shortly thereafter I was good to go.

A greyish sky did not completely cover the land, but dashes of light leaked through. I am okay with the overcast sky. I know most people crave sunshine, but I am not one who needs it all the time. For some reason I do not need bright sun in order to be cheerful. Gloominess creates the perfect atmosphere for reading in a coffee shop with a good cup of coffee and an imagination running free. My heart soars at the thought, actually.

Or....What is better than getting lost in a used bookstore while it is cold outside? The warmth of the books surrounds you and a maze of aisles and stacks of books cover every inch of the space. Seriously, what is better? So many worlds to explore, at your fingertips. Held in your hand. A dusty book with old pages and the best scent that drifts upwards as you open it. I don't know why- but cold weather makes me crave a used bookstore filled to the brim with books on books on books. Shelves so close together and as high as the ceiling. Maybe because it is the perfect kind of weather for coming in from the cold and exploring inside, and then finding a lovely spot to read the armful of books I would have purchased. With a cup of tea or coffee sitting at elbow's length.

I am always dreaming of books. Sometimes I think others may think me crazy. Certifiable. But the written word in the form of books holds a fascinating possibility as wide as the great expanse of our imaginations.

08 January 2014

In Wonder

Dreamy day, full of surprise;
unknown to me, but revealed in time.
Over the shoulder I glance behind
steeped in thankfulness.
That which I have passed through
strengthened my resolve and only
keeps me going, eager to pursue
the things that I love and will do.
Restrictions once held me coldly
with ties around my legs
and eyes fixed upon me boldly;
now my freedom sings not asunder;
my inspiration and passions
appreciated, and I muse in wonder.

Our lives are but a blink of an eye. A wisp of cloud that is set to dissipate. I have been working on cultivating a constant air of thankfulness in my heart and mind. It leads to paying more attention to what each day consists of, and recognizing God's blessings.

So where do we spend most of our precious hours each day? Probably at work for most of us. All I can say is, never again will I let myself stay in a work situation that is negative and does not promote my growth and creativity. If I am going to give you my precious hours each day, I want to enjoy being there. For the last 10 months I have finally come to realize what it is like to be appreciated at work, something that felt so foreign to me it was a surprise, day after day. I still muse in wonder sometimes at it. And it confirms my earlier proclamation, meaning, life is too short to be miserable at work. It is where there is encouragement that good growth springs forth.

07 January 2014

Joyful January

 I have this lovely little journal to write in each day. I love the cover design. Just a little quip or jot from that day is all the space allows. My boss and his wife gave this to me for Christmas (they know my fondness of Jane Austen), and I have come to really enjoy reading the witty Jane Austen quote each day and writing my own short note. It is perfect for recording the most memorable moments of the day, so they are not forgotten. The journal lasts five years, so in the coming years I can see what happened on that same day. I've never done this before, but it is really enjoyable!
January is my favourite month for many reasons. It is the coldest month in Florida, and I live for these days. It's also my birthday month, so I usually get to do some fun things. Plus I love the fact that I usually receive several books for Christmas, and this is the month I get to indulge in some good reads! Oh, and since it is cold, I generally tend to drink more hot coffee. I really prefer hot coffee, but when it's so warm here, hot coffee doesn't sound as appealing. 
These are a few of my new favourite things. This tote bag is so lovely. It holds everything I need. And lately I've been hooked on a slight Southwest style. Technically the book is quite old (1941). A book of John Donne poems. He was born in 1571. This book has been something I've been looking for for a long while. A nice book of his poems is not easily found in the used bookstores. Probably because everybody keeps their Donne book of poetry, for good reason. I will expand upon him later.
While in my hometown over holiday break, I had to visit the thrift bookstore, of course. I bought a small armful of books but also wanted to take this chair home with me. 
 Another bookstore I always enjoy going to. This one is more of a rare bookstore, and it tends to be expensive. So, I only got one book here. But I love the cramped aisles and the floor-to-ceiling shelves. That's how bookstores should be.
And......the Sarasota Library, another stop for used books at the friends of the library bookstore. Are you sensing a theme here? Also, I have always loved the architecture of this library: so clean, open, bright, and organized. All the large windows upstairs have interesting views of downtown. 

06 January 2014

Crescent Moon

I can see the perfectly shaped bowl of a crescent moon through the sheer white curtains in my living room. As I move close to the window and move the curtain aside, I can see it clearly at the treetops. A hazy glow sets about it. Sitting aloft on its own, floating, skimming the trees as it shifts in the sky every minute.

The moon sitting bright, against the dark and mild night. But changes are coming. The coldest air we have experienced here in a long while is rushing south from the north. Pure Arctic air. I am excited. I am also glad to find out that my heat works, in my unit in my living room. So that is good. I won't freeze.

The bowl moon sits comfortably on the top of the trees from my perspective in my living room.
It looks kind of spooky. Like an Autumn night, with blustery winds and leaves raining down from trees. Bringing in cold air.
But we aren't there yet. The cold blustery day is coming. The moon is a foreshadow.

03 January 2014


What do you expect from the coming year?
Do you set goals for yourself or take it as it comes? 

Are there certain things you want to accomplish, or begin?

Now is the time! Do something!

The possibilities are endless. And not because it is a new year, though this is the time of year where everyone starts talking about goals. But because we serve the God who made everything, and through Him everything holds together. So, with Him, anything is possible.

Push away all those doubts and cast away the anxious thoughts and get started! It is okay to make mistakes along the way. Not one of us is perfect.

Things are not always going to be delivered to you, so dare to take that step toward your dream and see where it takes you. Something great starts with one small step.

02 January 2014


Behold! the light has pierced the darkness......

As I drove down to my hometown on Christmas Eve, I was thinking about how thankful I am for all the blessings in my life, and I had an interesting reflection.

As I drove south on I-75 I suddenly had a thought about how past events and decisions made by someone other than myself influence my life today. For instance, if my Dad had not rekindled his passion for cars (specifically BMW), I would not have this great job that I have now.

Think about how many connections have resulted in something that changes your life for the better. How a decision made years ago set the domino effect of situations to fall into place perfectly to bring something good about. Puzzle pieces that would not have otherwise fallen into place.

In my situation, when I was about 15, my Dad chose to pursue something he had set aside for many years while he raised his children (and spent all his spare money on us, rather than on his own wants), and decided to buy himself a BMW 635csi  so that he could follow his passion and meet others who enjoy what he did. If he hadn't re-energized that hobby, he wouldn't have taken my little brother, Tyler, to a German car show several times, and they wouldn't have met and become friends with Jordan, and my Dad wouldn't have suggested that I contact Jordan to detail my car, and Jordan and I wouldn't have become friends, and if we weren't friends, he wouldn't have suggested to my boss, Colin, that he contact me for the job. There is no way Colin would have known about me otherwise. And I am so thankful for my job.

Isn't it amazing how the puzzle pieces fit together?
All because my Dad decided to pursue something he loved.

Don't ever doubt the affect you can have on others by the decisions you make today, even something as simple as giving your greatest efforts to the things you are passionate about, and very talented in.

01 January 2014

Good Morning, 2014

You sweep them away as with a flood;
they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning
- Psalm 90.5

The brightness of a new year is upon us. Good Morning, 2014.
Doesn't the year 2013 seem like a dream? Not necessarily because it was altogether good or bad, but because it fades to a small piece of our memory?

What is a year to us that is not a mere inkling to God? So many things can happen in a year to change the course of our lives. And yet in eternity a year is like the blink of an eye. It is significant to us now and yet it quickly fades away, growing dimmer and dimmer, for we cannot possibly remember everything.

Reflecting on the last year, if there were five things from 2013 that you wish you would never ever forget, five memories, what would they be?