Tuesday, December 28, 2010

TRUTH Challenge

I have many small inspirational books lying about, and one I read recently from Charles R. Swindoll titled, The Strength of Character  inspired me about a concept I have been striving for,
Truth in all you do ,in all you say, in all you face , in all you pursue, in all you share. Now maybe you are more righteous than me, more truthful at all times than me, but living truth is hard. That means having high ethical, moral , spiritual and even love standards. Because there is an ultimate truth. There is right and wrong, and even certain ' gray ' areas of right and wrong...we all lean one way or the other on whatever the topic is usually. And we usually know deep inside the correct response to temptations , urges , solicitations , opportunities , etc. This means living a life that you don't ever need to lie, be deceitful, be secretive or live in public one way, and behind closed doors when you are alone...another way completely.
Truth is more than right and wrong, it is also simply what is real. What your life is really like, what you are really like, what your job is really like, what your spouse is really like. Facing the truth of your life.
Facing happy truth and most especially painful truths in your own life. No more ignoring, no more covering up or sugar-coating real truth.

When you live truth....you will end up with peace inside. That's what I believe will happen.
I hope so.

Here are Charles Swindoll's suggestions:

Think truth.

Confess truth.

Face truth .

Love truth.

Pursue truth.

 Walk truth.

Talk truth.

He suggest starting with the last one," talk truth...to deliberately, consciously, and conscientiously speak the truth . Start practicing gut-level authenticity."
To me that means not saying anything to anyone directly OR behind their back that you would not say if your spouse was there , your child was there, your pastor was there, or your boss. God is always there. I think we don't speak the truth for many reasons, we don't want to be inconvenienced, we don't want to be imposed on, we don't want someone to know what we really think or feel. We also don't want to hurt someone with the truth. Truth can be gently delivered...need to work on that one bigtime.
Take the time, to listen to yourself speak. Take the extra time, to think and then speak the truth.
By the way, I have not spoken the truth  three times already today.
Gotta long way to go.

Striving and reaching,

 "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."-- John 8:32

Friday, December 24, 2010

Window Views of a ANTIQUE Shop in Charleston, SC & Christmas Sights

One of my favorite things to do , or really I should say one of the things that I do that can actually be torturous for me, in a mild torture way...is looking in windows of antique ships that Are CLOSED. Like this one on Meeting St., across from the Mills House Hotel . I have not seen this shop open as much or I may have just been around on days he was closed. I did meet the man that owned it , probably 10 or more years ago, one day when he was there. He was nice and welcoming , unfortunately I could not afford anything there, as downtown antique prices, especially on King St., are higher than out skirting mall prices, such as in neighboring Mount Pleasant. But....the quality is very high in many of these shops on the historic street.
It was a dreary, overcast , chilly Sunday when I took these pictures...but I like that you can see the reflection of Charleston in the windows of the antique store. Plus you can see the antiques. I made the mistake, of asking my husband to turn down a street past the Mills Hotel to get here, a cobblestone street...
We bounced slowly, really were shaken for a good 5 minutes to drive over this bumpy road. Would tell each of you to not turn down one of these streets with a cup of coffee in your hands.
We did laugh though as it feels like a ride at the fair...and it was a dumb idea ( mine).
Let me show you some shots from the outside looking in...
 Antique Watercolor.
 My favorite shot here as those paintings are calling to me to come inside for a closer look. Only some one who really loves antique oils and artwork can understand.
But it was cold and windy, so I moved from window to window...to take more shots.

 Outside he has some heavy Asian statuary.

 More torture, but mild as I had already bought 4 paintings the day before.

 Italian large art glass vases. I like his handwritten signs with info on the piece. Much better than walking in a shop with no prices on anything. I would tell you to be leery of shops that do not put prices on their antiques...they are usually sizing you up to see what they think you can pay before they tell you the price. I have heard some dealers say they do that to not dissuade you from asking or buying, but I prefer the price to be prominently displayed.

 Remember I am taking all these pictures through heavy lead glass windows , it is windy cold and I am going from window to window, quickly. I look back at the car towards my husband and smile, and he waves to me...we both can hear the church bells start ringing over the city.
 I'm also quite sure, though I did not bother to look...that the bellmen over at the hotel across the street thought I was some goofy tourist taking pictures through windows of a closed , dark antique shop.
They were correct if they were thinking that.
Didn't care.
 Here was his closed sign on the front. Nice of him to let people ( serious buyers), be able to contact someone to get in.

Dresden compote vase.
Here you see condensation through the glass, as in Charleston the historic committees do not let anyone use storm windows on their businesses or residences.

This is how I feel lately anyway...always looking in at life, through a barrier...this was glass , mine is thicker and more opaque inside.

Okay, let me show you a few Christmas sightings. Charleston mainly has very simple natural wreaths and garlands made of pine branches , berries and fruit and then  some ribbons. I will just let the pictures speak...except for a few. It was so cold that mid-morning windy and cold, I would just jump out the car , snap a shot and jump back in. Here you are...

 As you know my very favorite garden in Charleston, and they put a lovely red berry wreath on the handsome statue.

 Homemade wreaths for sale.
These are made with berries, magnolia leaves, pine branches and whatever those white branches are. I don't know , but they are beautiful. Enjoy your families, many blessings, Merry Christmas,
love very strong,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A View Inside the FRENCH HUGENOT Church in Charleston, South Carolina

We were invited to a wedding in Charleston, South Carolina , a sort of Christmas wedding...as it is mid December. We drove down, just my husband and I...as children were not invited...and left our little munchkin for his first spend the night with a friend. I was hoping he could have come with us, and was anxious about leaving him.
It was a 2 hour drive, rain all the way, cold...but we did stop for a few hours that Saturday, before the wedding to go to some antique malls. We were running late, so I did not have time to shop and take pictures...but will try to do that another day. We were going to a dear friend of our oldest daughter's wedding , there have been so many weddings...and I have declined another earlier as I am not up to celebrating . But I thought , with this wedding, that I do not know if we will have a chance to go to another wedding in downtown Charleston, which my followers know I love...in my life again. Lots to consider, I have a very serious health issue going on with my father right now, and that is a hard element added to my life as well. I know it says, God does not give us more than we can handle...but I have been wondering to myself and out loud, how much more God ?
 We stayed at the Mills House on Meeting St., a very historic hotel that my mother had taken me to when I was about 11 or 12 years old, and then I have been there through the years, usually with her, about 3 more times. 
Front area , marble floors everywhere, and Christmas trees

Hotel dining area

Chandeliers everywhere

 Antique huge marble bust , with  Christmas cookies to the side that I grabbed to take with us when we left the next day.
Since I was unable to take any pictures during the wedding, I went over there the day we left, and was lucky enough that Sunday service was over, and a church deacon let me in to take pictures. Old churches, are full of beauty and charm , this one is fairly small...by today's standards , but truly beautiful in a subtle non-grand fashion. Beauty is so rich and deep when it is subtle.

 I will show this church from the viewpoint of our being here the night before for the wedding.
We walked the block from the hotel that night, in a drizzle and cold. I had a red dress on, and my husband wore his blue suit. Our oldest daughter, Rachel was a bridesmaid. Her husband, my son-in-law...is home safely from Afghanistan...and he was there too. Here is a picture of them at the reception. A couple so in love that you can literally see it when you look at them. So happy.
 When you walk inside the big doors of this church, you walk on old planks with worn marks from parishioners, wedding parties, and funeral processions. I looked down and thought that as we walked to our seats that night. Those decorations, pine branches and pine cones with a tied white satin ribbon are from the wedding.
Then we were led to our little cubicle, area, that this church has for it's parishioners and guests. You go through a little door like this...
Then you sit on soft blue velvet and look around. Which I did. Again, very hard to be at such a happy occasion as a wedding, when our hearts are not healed. It reminds us both that we will never be able to have a wedding for our Sarah. I am trying to make myself enjoy ' life ', enjoy other young people simply living still. I read that in some book, to surround yourself with life.
It is very , very hard to do. I am unsure if it is working for me at all, but maybe it is.
I remember listening  to the the church organ, looking at the large marble plaques, the windows with wreaths .I liked that right beside us I saw this memorial..and one of the person's name was Valentine.

Heavy, large memorial plaques carved from marble were all around the church.

 The church uses this main dropped chandelier for lighting , and a few sconces. I remember looking up at it and the buttresses of the supports on the ceiling of the church. So many historic architectural elements to see.

 Old plantation wood shutters flanked the windows.

 A view from their balcony , where the soloist sang for us guests that night an exquisite rendition of " The Lord's Prayer ". Her voice soared down to us below, the most beautiful version I have ever heard .

 The bride came down the aisle looking radiant and joyful, lovely in her flowing white dress...walking towards her new groom. New life , new love , promises made to one another in front of witnesses and God. So there we sat, at a wedding in downtown Charleston, of two young people, full of love, hope, dreams , at the entry of their new life. The priest announced they were husband and wife, the groom kissed his new bride...and we all clapped and smiled.

 I can say it was a difficult thing, to be here, for both my husband and I ...as difficult as I thought it would be. We walked out the doors after the ceremony, it was dark and cold outside...and all the people were heading back to the  Mills house for the reception. I did not take many pictures there that night, but there was lots of young people laughing and dancing...and older people...and the food was Southern shrimp and grits, they had a huge side of Roast beef , dips and cheeses and fruits and crab cakes , stuffed mushrooms and ham biscuits. Plus wine and then a large chocolate velvet wedding cake , decorated with white frosting and fresh bright red roses for dessert.
We sat and listened to the band, and watched life all around us.
I will try to do an entry before Christmas of a few more sights we saw before we left that Sunday. Christmas decorations on some  homes, antique shop views from the street. I know many of you are busy this season, enjoy your day,
love strong,