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

Back on the Mountain

Welp. I am back on the mountain, and to say that I missed these sunsets would be an understatement. The semester started off a little rough but God is gracious and things are working out nicely now. Praise the Lord for his comfort in our times of weakness! God has been exposing how broken I really am and it makes his love so much sweeter and his comfort so much more precious when I realize how much I truly do need Him, and that I am nothing without Him. Below are just a few words of encouragement that have been very helpful to me over the past couple of days.

“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – II Corinthians 12:9-10

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling… BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.” – Psalm 46:1-3,10

“You arouse us so that praising you may bring us joy, because you have made us and drawn us to yourself, and our heart is [restless] until it rests in you.” – Saint Augustine

Sunset Covenant August 2015

 

In the next few weeks I will probably be posting some photos from this past summer that I did not have time to blog about – that is if I have more time now (haha, not likely but I am going to humor myself and try anyway).

I hope whoever is reading this will have a fantastic week and I pray that God’s grace would fill your life!

Until next time,

Victoria Grace

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

Kitscoty, Alberta // Black and White

I have to apologize, I have not posted in a while. My life has been hectic to say the least – but I am finally home and can take a minute to breath. I went straight from finals to Canada for my cousins graduation. Going to Canada is one of my favorite things. All my dads side lives up there so every time we go it means spending time with beloved family that I wish I could visit more often.

This particular visit consisted of me, my mom and my dad traveling to the quaint little Village (yes, it is actually considered a village) of Kitscoty, Alberta for my cousins graduation. I also had the blessing of spending Mother’s Day with my mother and grandmother. This small little town of about 850 residence sits right between Edmonton and Saskatoon (Wikipedia) . There is not much there but I had the pleasure of my cousins showing me where they go and what they like to do.
While I was editing these photos I decided to choose a black a white theme. Why do you ask? Because I felt like it was the best way to portray how I perceived this little village. To most people, this village is probably not the most exciting. But to me, it is a beautiful place that helped me slow down after a busy year and spend time with family. I was able to explore areas that I would not have been able to see unless my cousin had shown me them. Also, I was able to have the marvelous experience of seeing the Northern Lights (yes, I am going to share this experience in a separate post).
So to answer the original question of why I chose a black and white theme is simply because I found this little village, although not very popular, to be quite beautiful. Simple yet lovely. Adventure inspiring. This place is not beautiful just because of the places we went or the things I saw, but because family resides here, and nothing is as special as the comfort and love of family.
The CN railway goes right through the village.

 

Alberta is filled with enormous farms, ranches, wildlife, oil fields and refineries.

 

My cousin took us out to an old trestle bridge (don’t worry the trains do not use it anymore). Perfect spot to shoot some photos. This place was very peaceful. All you could hear was the water beneath. No cars. No construction. Just serenity.

 

I found the terrain to be very intriguing. I’m used to all different kinds of land. Farms, cities, mountains (more like very large hills), and the list goes on. But here, it is all just flat. Flat for miles and miles and mostly occupied by farms and very small communities. And lots of dirt and gravel roads.

 

My cousins took us to another bridge. Cars use this one, but we parked and took a little walk and went beneath the bridge. You could walk the whole length of the bridge on a tiny walkway. The fence seen in this picture only was for the first 20 feet or so. After that you were about hundred feet above the ground/river on a small walk way with just a metal cord on either side of you. The experience was a bit exhilarating. Every time a car would pass over the whole thing would shake and rumble loudly.

 

Graffiti on the bridge.

I enjoyed my time in Alberta. Stay tuned for my pictures of the Northern Lights! 🙂

 

 

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