Abandoned Warehouses // Anna + Tori

I hope everyone is doing well in this crazy holiday season!

Recently I have been struck with how much God loves and deeply cares for His children. I am blessed in so many ways and am usually too naive to see it until after the fact. In the gospel of Matthew, chapter 7 talks about how earthly parents know how to love and give good gifts to their children, but these are in comparison nothing to the kind of love and care and gifts that God showers on his beloved children (Matthew 7:11). Right before this Matthew talks about how when we ask, God is gracious and gives to those who ask. I’ve been really thinking a lot about the power of prayer recently. So many times in my life God has proved Himself time and time again to me through answered prayers. If you are discouraged about a situation, pray about it. God hears us. He cares about us. You may not see immediate results, but then again you might. God may may answer with a no, but ultimately He is going to do what is best for us because He loves us and can see the big picture of our lives that we are unable to see. Even if you are not discouraged, I would encourage you to spend time in prayer. Thank God for the good things in your life. Lift up others to God that may be struggling.

One of the huge blessings that I feel Gods love through is my roommate, Anna. When we both came to Covenant we did not know anybody, and we just let the admission people put us with a random person. Little did I know that not requesting a specific roommate would be one of the best decisions I would of made for my college years. We were randomly placed together, but I could not think of a better person to live life with. I dearly love this sweet sister in Christ. I believe that she is a physical expression of Gods love in my life. Her selfless and compassionate character has been very good for me over these past three semesters and has gotten me through a lot and has encouraged me more than I think she will ever know.

I can always count on Anna for being up for a good adventure, or having a good discussion about some art piece, or pursing our creative passions in one way or another. If I ever want to talk about some hard theological questions Anna is the first one to be willing to talk through hard life stuff with me.

Before I went to college I prayed for a good roommate, little did I know what God had in store for me far surpassed what I was hoping for.

 

Anna Jumping Correction

One Sunday afternoon we were feeling a little extra adventurous and our creative ideas were flowing. We had been wanting to do a photoshoot for a while but just had not been able to find the time with our busy school schedules. After church, before heading back up the mountain, we passed some old buildings and abandoned factories and old warehouses . We could not pass up the perfect opportunity so we pulled over and took some pictures and enjoyed each others company. Doing photo shoots with people you know so well is so much more fun than doing them with strangers or people that you do not know very well.

Joyful Blessings
Joyful Blessings
That stunna gaze though

 

tori + anna

Anna 4

 

Now boys, I know she is stunning, but you’re going to have to get through me first 😉

Sisterly Love
Sisterly Love
“Partners in Crime”

 

Photo Creds to Anna for these next three Photos 🙂

tori 2

tori 4

tori 9

We are coming for you, World.
We are coming for you, World.

Don’t be afraid to seize opportunities when they arise. Take some chances. Would you rather wonder what what could of happened? Or would you rather have tried it and either it be an amazing experience or possibly you might found out it wasn’t the best, but at least you tried.

Go. Adventure. Hope for the best. Love those around you. Pray. 🙂

Until Next Time,
Victoria

“Covered”: A Brief Explanation

Woah. The last time I posted was on August 30th right after I had moved back on campus and settled in to the swing of college life again. From then till now has been a whirlwind. It is crazy how when you are so busy you blink and three months fly by.

My time here has been consumed by studies, sports, and the occasional mini adventures (but lets be honest, mostly studying)

This past semester I have been taking an art course titled “Adornment” to fulfill one of my electives for my Art concentration. I am working on my Interdisciplinary Studies degree in which I am studying Art, Sociology, and Marketing. The first project for this class was to make a Kimono or an altered version of a traditional Kimono. Kimonos are quite a unique piece because they serve as a functional garment but also a piece of artwork at the same time. The actual construction of making a Kimono is super interesting but for the sake of this post I will not go into the details of that, although if you are interested you should definitely look it up ;). I love this idea of well made, meaningful pieces of clothing that is functional but also beautiful. You should not have to lessen the quality and functionality of a product to make it beautiful or aesthetically pleasing.

To go about making this item we researched different methods of decorating the kimono. Before I choose what method I wanted to do I thought through what I wanted to convey by my piece. I decided I wanted to tell the beautiful story of how God clothes me with His perfect righteousness even though I am horribly broken and far far from perfect.

The inside of my kimono is made of a black cotton fabric that I distressed with scissors, x-acto knives, nails, etc. In the middle of the inside of the garment the word “chaos” is written right side up and then upside down in Japanese. My life is consumed by chaos without Christ. I get so caught up and tangled in the craziness of my own brokenness that I loose sight of what actually matters. Although I constantly am falling short, God is constantly forgiving me. When Christ looks at me He sees His perfect self and the work of the Cross on me. By the grace of God, He has adopted me into His family, and I no longer bare my name, but I bare the name of Christ. He has taken my chaotic and broken life and has embraced me,  loved me, and forgiven me, and He has clothed me with His own righteousness. The outside of my garment is pure white with golden doves stamped all over it – starting with more congested doves at the bottom and thinning out toward the top of the garment. The prophet Isaiah talks of how our sin is red like crimson, but we become as white as snow by the work of Christ, “…though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”(Isaiah 1:18). I am cleansed from my sin, and seen as clean in the sight of the Lord. The gold doves represent the Holy Spirit engulfing my life — the Spirit is within me and surrounds me. 

The act of putting on the garment is a symbol for how Christ clothes me with the garment of salvation: “I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10).

Kimono_
“Covered”

I do not think that the pictures fully do this piece justice, but I also wanted to share my work with y’all. I also think that even though I gave a description and explanation of this, the only way to understand the full story is to experience the piece its self. I think there are some things in life that is best expressed through physical artwork rather than words (although words can be made into art as well).

Kimono dove stamp
Detail: Dove Block Print
Kimono distressed
Detail: Distressed Fabric

 

 

I see Art as so much more than just an avenue to create aesthetically pleasing things. I think we can tell stories through art and portray some of Gods truth, goodness and beauty in a way that is not possible to convey by just words. I think this is true in all forms of art whether it is painting, writing, dancing, etc. I hope I have inspired you to channel your inner creator 😉

Thanks for reading and God bless!

Chicago // Millennium Park

Since I have been home for the summer from college I feel as if I have just been constantly traveling. I started off the summer by going to Alberta, Canada, then Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee. This week, my family went up to the suburbs of Chicago for a wedding. So of course it was a given to take the extra time and explore Chicago for a bit. Even though we were worn out from all the festivities, we still made it to downtown Chicago.We spent about 2 hours in the city and we were able to see something that I have been wanting to visit for a while. THE BEAN. Actually the real name for the famous sculpture in Millennium Park is “Cloud Gate” but most people refer to is as the “The Bean” due to its shape. Its reflective qualities make for some pretty intriguing compositions in pictures.

 

Cloud Gate
“Cloud Gate” in Millennium Park, Chicago, IL.
Cloud Gate
“Cloud Gate” also known as “The Bean” is a huge stainless steal sculpture created by Anish Kapoor in 2006. It is made up of 168 stainless steel plates that were welded together to get its seamless surface. It measures 33′ X 66′ X 42′ and weighs 110 tons.

 

Cloud Gate
Hi. That is me. The one with the camera.

 

Cloud Gate 6
R E F L E C T I O N
Cloud Gate
This is the view if you are standing right underneath The Bean and are looking straight up. I know, cool. Right? If you look super close I’m Right in the middle looking up. Good luck trying to find me. 🙂
Millenium Park, Chicago
At the entrance of Millennium Park there is this beaut. It is one out of four portrait sculptures in the park created by the Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa. This particular one is titled “Look into My Dreams, Awilda”

After walking around the park for a while we went to get some coffee from Intelligentsia, at the Millennium Park location. No words that I can use to describe this coffee will do it justice. It was phenomenal to say the least. I was able to try their Cappuccino and Chai Latte. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a Chai Latte so much. It was like heaven for my taste buds. I also got a pastry that I can not remember what it was, but regardless it was outstanding as well. That amazing coffee experience was the close to our short stop in Chicago, but I dearly loved my couple of hours spent in the city. I absolutely love traveling and revisiting and/or seeing new places.

Intelligensia
Busy city vibes.

 

Intelligentsia
Cappuccino from Intelligentsia. Delicious and of course you can not forget the lovely latte art.
If you are ever hesitant to go on a spontaneous trip. DO IT. You will regret it if you do not go. I almost did not go with my parents on the last trip (Memphis/Nashville), but I am so glad that I did! I was able to experience and fall in love with a new city. I used to not be the most spontaneous or adventurous person out there, but I’m getting there. If you are given opportunities to travel, take them. Those opportunities may not always be there, and I can guarantee you that you will be able to see and experience places and things that you would not have been able to otherwise. Go places. Live life. Explore. Even if its just for a day, or even a couple of hours. Go. Have fun. Don’t be afraid to look like that stupid tourist, because chances are the locals can spot you from a mile away, so you might as well own the awkward title (thats not an excuse to be a jerk or obnoxious on purpose though, still be courteous of others). Learn about different places and ways of life. Enjoy the experience. God has made so many places with so many neat things. Get out there and explore His creation. 🙂

 

Until Next Time,
Victoria Grace

Spontaneous Trips to Tennessee // Memphis + Nashville

If anyone knows me, they know I have a soft spot for country music. This past Monday and Tuesday I went and did a quick little tour of Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee. I had never been to either (at least that I remember) and my dad had a business trip in Memphis, so me and my mom tagged along and made a quick stop in Nashville on our way back home. I had no preconceived ideas about either except that I knew they were big music cities. In Memphis we were able to tour Graceland and saw where the King of Rock and Roll lived. We were also able to eat some great barbecue. Personally, I am not a big fan of barbecue, but the barbecue I had at Corky’s in Memphis was yummy!

Graceland
This is the front of Elvis Presley’s House (Graceland). It was a lot smaller than what I was expecting. But it was very extravagant and very 60’s/70’s.
This was one of the first rooms in his house — the living room. There were lots of mirrors in this room.
Graceland, Jungle Room
This was one of Elvis’s favorite rooms to lounge in. He called it the “Jungle Room.” Lots of wood and lots of green.
Graceland, Pool Room
This was one of the rooms that he used to entertain people in his basement.
Graceland, TV Room
This was the “TV Room.” I do not think that I have ever seen so many mirrors in one room in my whole entire life. The ceiling and walls consisted of mirrors.

Memphis was cool and all but what I really enjoyed was Nashville. I’m blown away by the musical talent that is there. I wasn’t able to get into most of the places that had bands playing because you had to be 21 or over but we found one that I could get into, it was an 18 and over place. Just walking around Music Row and hearing all the bands from outside the buildings was an experience. I didn’t get the name of the band that I saw, but they were exceptional. Oh! and did I mention line dancing? The places I went (Wildhorse Saloon) had people designated to leads the line dances and any one was welcome to get up and join. Yes, I did get up and dance for a few songs, how could I not? 😉

There’s just so much raw talent that resides there and the city has a very genuine and welcoming feel about it. There is a radiating sense of vibrant life and fun and music and adventure.

Nashville Band
This is a picture of the band that I saw in the restaurant/bar that we went to. The venue was rather large and they had a very nice stage and light system.

Also another thing that I realized while on this short trip is that I didn’t realize how much I appreciate southern culture. It’s just different than even where I live in Kentucky. It seems that there is a lot more respect for people. Now that is a big statement that people in the south respect other people more than those in the north, but I think that people that live in the south just express it in a different way. People hold doors open for other people (even if you are at the awkward distance away and have to do the awkward walk/run). They say “yes ma’am” and “yes sir” and just address everyone with respect. 

I went on this tag-a-long trip not thinking much of it, and ended up falling in love with a new city. I only saw a sliver of Nashville but it will definitely be a place I will be visiting often. 

Now I took my camera with me but I usually left it behind because I did not want my face to glued to my camera the whole time. I wanted to experience it free of distraction so, sorry, all my pictures are just quick pictures that I snapped with my phone camera. But none the less, I hope you enjoyed my adventure vicariously through my blog post and pictures 🙂 

I believe in Nashville
Excuse my awkwardness, I just wanted a picture next to this! I look about 5 or 6 pictures that were just way too horrible to post on the internet. This was the best one. 🙂
Memphis, Basketball
This picture was in front of the Fedex Forum where the Grizzlies play. I just love basketball so much, how could I not hop on this giant basketball and snap a pic?
Nashville, Sarah, Me
I also had the pleasure of meeting with one of my dearest friends for coffee when I was in Nashville. Such a pleasure to have this lovely lady in my life. 🙂

 

Until Next Time,

Victoria Grace

The Northern Lights

So when I was visiting family in Alberta I had the opportunity to see the Aurora Borealis! We were headed back to the hotel and my father told me that sometimes you could see the Northern Lights out where we were. The whole car ride we were watching the sky, anticipating just the slightest bit of action. There was none. We got back to the hotel, a little disappointed. I grabbed my camera to go out back to get some pictures of the sky because I was amazed by how clear the night sky was up there. I have never experienced such a clear night sky. My grandmother accompanied me in the parking lot but stayed back as I went out to a field close by. I started started jumping around and expressing my excitement in exclamations – I about scared my grandmother half to death. I saw a couple of flickers of the Northern lights in the sky and just started flipping out. I immediately called my parents because I wanted them to come out and share the experience with me. We ended up driving out farther to get away from the lights of the small town to get a better view of them. 

Sadly, I did not have a tripod so some of my pictures are not as crisp as I would like them to be, but they still capture what I wanted them too. I think the slightly blurry ones show my excitement since I wasn’t able to hold still. 🙂 The more clear ones I think show the beauty of what I was seeing – I was completely awe-struck.

Northern Lights
I always liked looking at stars, but it wasn’t until my astronomy class that I paid more attention to the sky and I have a lot more appreciation for studying the universe now.

Northern Lights 3

Northern Lights
I jotted down my thoughts when I was out watching the Northern Lights: “Wow, oh wow. My heart is filled with joy right now. I’m a bit numb from the cold, but I could not feel more alive. I have seen the clearest sky I have ever seen, filled with beautiful stars and constellations. I have seen Aurora Borealis and a shooting star. I’m so filled with awe right now. It is breathtaking to see just a snippet of God’s creation (in relation to the universe and all of the things we have yet to discover) and makes my soul praise Him for His amazing handiwork. Thank you Lord for your creation and thank you for letting me experience some of your grace tonight.”

Northern Lights_

I was ecstatic already due to a wonderful evening and beautiful night. While I was standing there with my tripod-less camera sitting on the hood of the car taking a long exposure picture in the middle of no where, I was able to see a shooting star that my camera just so happen to pick up during the 30 seconds it took to take the picture. (see below)

Northern Lights
This is my favorite photo out of all of these. You can see the shooting star – the line in the middle slightly to the left.

 

Until next time,

Victoria Grace

Mornings on the Mountian

Good morning everybody! I usually don’t post in during the week but I had some extra time this morning and just wanted to share a passage of scripture that my dear heavenly Father really encouraged me with this morning. I hope you are reminded of His promises and encouraged as well.

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord

For the Lord will not cast off forever.
Though He causes grief,
Yet He will show compassion
According to the multitude of His mercies.

I called on Your name, O Lord,
From the lowest pit.
You have heard my voice:
“Do not hide Your ear
From my sighing, from my cry for help.”
You drew near on the day I called on You,
And said, “Do not fear!”

O Lord, You have pleaded the case for my soul;
You have redeemed my life.

Lamentations 3:22-26, 31-32, 55-58

These pictures were taken a few weeks ago when me and a friend got up to watch the sunrise together. The part of the passage that says “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness,” reminded me of the morning I took these pictures.  

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

Psalm 19:1

Perks of Living on Top of a Mountain

I attend a College that is on top of a mountain. At first I had mixed feeling about this place. Yes, the view up here is undoubtably breathtaking, but it’s also on top of a mountain so to get anywhere it would take around 20-30 minutes. I am used to being 5 minutes away from everything so I was kind of dreading this part. But, this part that I wasn’t so excited about I have come to love. It has made me slow down and enjoy what is around me.

I have been so incredibly blessed by this place. The people that surround me here are beyond amazing. God knew exactly what I would need and who I would need and set me right in the midst of it.
So what do we (me and my dear friends) do on a beautiful Sunday afternoon? We take a hike! For me, there is something so sweet about just going out and taking in Gods creation. For me, it is a way to worship Him — to acknowledge Him as Creator and Praise Him for all the beautiful things He has made.

Hiking Friends_

IMG_8149 MC Hiking

IMG_8165

MC Looking into distance

Leaves MK

 

More posts to come!

 

Beneath the Makeup

Hello! 🙂
What better way to start fresh again than by completely being real with people. I am not going to sugar coat everything and make it look like I have the perfect quintessential “blog life”.
Below you will see some raw photographs of me. They are completely natural (the only editing I did was to fix some of the lighting, no editing was done to my skin or hair). My hair is 100% natural (no heat or product – I just let it air dry after my shower) and I am wearing no makeup. This is a big deal for me because I used to not be able to leave my room in the morning without putting on makeup, much less let a photo of my natural self be posted on the internet.
This isn’t some revenge post because of some horrible past where I was bullied for my acne (even though people have made me feel worthless because of it). This post is simply me sharing what is a huge step for me. Recently I have challenged my self to not wear makeup for a while. The less I wear makeup, the better my complexion gets. Simply put, the more I do not wear makeup, the more my pores can breath, therefore helping my acne clear up.This isn’t to make some huge statement. I am simply trying to be the best steward of my body and make the healthiest choices for my skin. Also this does not mean that I am never going to wear makeup again. I am just not relying on it on a daily basis to satisfy my self confidence.
I have tried to cover up my face since middle school. I have visited doctors, dermatologists, tried natural remedies. I do everything right like eat healthy, wash my face, drink lots of water, etc. Nothing has worked. I used to let my acne dictate what I thought about myself. I let it control way to much of my thoughts about my worth and who I am. I have finally come to a point where I don’t feel like I have to wear makeup on daily basis. I have become comfortable in my own skin. This is me.This is my skin. I am not going to try to hide behind makeup anymore. I can not take credit for this. It is God that has changed my heart and given me this new perspective.
Everybody has “imperfections”. Don’t let them define who you are. Don’t be ashamed of them. God has made each of us different. Praise God for your uniqueness because my darling, you are beautiful.

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
 Marvelous are Your works,
 And that my soul knows very well.”

Psalm 139:14 (NKJV)

Beneath the Makeup-7

Beneath the Makeup-5

Beneath the Makeup-2

Beneath the Makeup-8

 

Until Next Time,
Victoria Grace

 

Photo Credits: Debbie McCord