Inspired by a Word

Lately, I’ve been having fun stamping on sterling silver. It can be quite challenging to get a good imprint on the metal. Lining up the stamps is always a challenge. And there is only one chance to hit it properly.  A second hit usually adds a ghosting effect that isn’t desirable.

Who can resist cute little birds and a heart?!

LOVE

This LOVE pendant is made from leather and sterling silver. I even got to stamp the leather too!

Lots of practice on copper was needed before I progressed to the sterling silver. Even then there were many mistakes. But I persevere because of words and the inspiration they bring.

A favorite word of many is LOVE. We all need it. Life just doesn’t seem worth living if you don’t know you are loved.

Other words are equally encouraging: HOPE, FAITH, JOY… One that I have on a necklace and wear often is TRUST. At times it seems difficult to trust – when everything looks all wrong, out of control. …when I would have things go so much differently. But that is when God asks me to believe that He is loving and all powerful, able and willing to do what is good and right.TRUST

Another word that has jumped out at me lately is confidence. No, I’m not trying to find the power within myself to conquer. But do I have CONFIDENCE in God? Somehow that one word added an aspect to trust that I hadn’t contemplated yet. The online dictionary says it means: “full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing, certitude, assurance.” To me that is an even deeper word than trust. It’s something to ponder…meditate on. Psalm 71:5 says it well, “For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,  my confidence since my youth.” And so he has…and will continue to be!

What word inspires you? Is there a word that you need to speak to yourself over and over again? I’d love to hear about it! Here are some of the jewelry pieces that I have made with words on them. Some are still available on my jewelry website: Gentle Spirit CreationsCollage of Stamped Jewelry by Janine

Waterfall Therapy

In the last few days, I experienced waterfall therapy. Actually, it was almost an overdose! To view a waterfall, I have driven miles and hiked, climbed, slipped and even flown to get there. We did drive a bit and walked some, but we saw 5 waterfalls and lots of water. Where did we go? To the beautiful state of Pennsylvania.

Enjoying Bear Run

There is something about a waterfall that charms me, makes me want to stay and watch every drop descend, to listen to the roar or trickle. It seems to soothe away whatever is troubling me. I call it waterfall therapy.

One family had some serious waterfall therapy going on. The Kaufmann family owned property in Mill Run, PA that included a mountain stream called Bear Run and several waterfalls. They would escape smoky Pittsburgh where their department store (Kaufmann’s-now part of Macy’s) was and enjoy the serenity of nature while staying in a rustic cabin with no heat or running water. They decided it was time to build a more modern vacation home and hired the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.  He drew plans for what is now known as Falling Water.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Fallingwater. Photo ©Janine U Broscious 2013

The Kaufmanns were surprised when they saw the plans. They had pictured their home built on a spot where they would have a continual view of the 30 foot waterfall. But Wright had a different idea. What could be better than actually experiencing the waterfall, living with it, ON IT?!

Here we are pretending to live at Fallingwater

We toured this magnificent place on Saturday. What a work of art! I was constantly amazed at Frank Lloyd Wright’s ingenuity. I kept thinking what a dream come true it would be to live on a waterfall!! This masterpiece of a home had spacious living areas that were surrounded by windows that invited you to step outside. Once you did, you were on a terrace that hung cantilevered right over the waterfall. It is quite astounding to stand on this terrace and hear the roar of the waterfall.  I pictured myself living there in constant waterfall therapy.

But then I thought more about it. Yes, Falling Water is a marvel. It would be amazing to live there, at least for a while. Would the thrill of living with a waterfall wear off? Would the extraordinary become mundane?  Waterfalls are calming, soothing to me because they are not part of my everyday life! Sometimes, I become blind to the incredible things that are around me all the time, the tiny miracles and even the big ones. And I am convinced that I need to keep some things, like waterfalls, to be taken in small doses so that they remain effective.

However, a weekend full of waterfalls is fine with me, still quite effective and lovely! Once again, God, the Creator of nature and my soul, showed up and ministered to my heart.

Waterfall at Connellsville, PA

Waterfall at Connellsville, PA

Maine and Watercolor Painting

I’m planning our next adventure! Ever since 1999, I have wanted to go to Maine and I’m researching campgrounds and activities. My, oh my, there seems to be a lot to do in Maine. But what happened in 1999 that has brought on this Maine bug? So glad you asked!

Our three sons were just youngsters then and I was homeshooling them. They were finally to an age that we needed to do some real art rather than just color and paste. So, I bought a book about watercolor painting.

We didn't have internet in 1999, so I endeavored to learn watercolor painting from books.

We didn’t have internet in 1999, so I endeavored to learn watercolor painting from books.

I had always remembered the title of the book as, Watercolor Painting for the Artistically Challenged and have told the story with that title. But as I was sorting through the art books, I came across the wonderful gem again. It is actually Watercolor for the Artistically Undiscovered which is a MUCH better name! This little book gave our sons and me the confidence to try it for ourselves!

These are just a few of the watercolor paintings that our sons did for homeschool in 1999.

These are just a few of the watercolor paintings that our sons did for homeschool in 1999.

It didn’t matter that we had no clue what we were doing. We were artists..but just undiscovered! I practiced right along with them and found that I really enjoyed it! So, I bought more books, practiced some and then decided to try a real painting. A favorite photo from my childhood was just begging to be painted.

One of my favorite photos from my childhood.

One of my favorite photos from my childhood.

This sunset stroll was captured by my dad. I’m that itty bitty baby girl between my mom and my four big brothers. Such a tender moment and two of my favorite things: family and sunsets. I always wished my dad was in the photo too. So, I set out to paint this gem.

I placed a hat on my dad because he loves hats. It was wonderful to see the whole family together, but I wasn’t too happy with the painting. In trying to get sunset colors, it just got muddy looking. I did frame it, but it has been in our bedroom where people can’t see it. I probably would have stopped with art right then except for my dad.

My first attempt at a watercolor painting.

My first attempt at a watercolor painting.

It was nearing Christmas time and he oooed and awwwed over this painting of our family. Then he said those exciting but terrifying words. As he hugged me good-bye, he whispered, “Paint me a lighthouse for Christmas.” WHAT?! How could he think I could do that? Obviously, my painting skills were lacking. But I sure wanted to do something special for him. He has always made incredible works of art and given them to me for Christmas. So, I looked at photos of lighthouses, picked my favorite one and gave it a go.

This is the lighthouse that I painted for my dad.

This is the lighthouse that I painted for my dad.

It was so much fun working with more colors rather than just sunset colors! I still really didn’t have a clue what I was doing with watercolor painting, but I was happier with the results and inspired. Inspired to try more artistic endeavors. Inspired by a dad who knew just when to urge me a bit further.

Since then, I have always wanted to go to Maine and take my own photo of this lighthouse, Portland Head Light on Cape Elizabeth. I’d love to sit on the shore and sketch it too. Can’t wait to go!! And in the meantime, I hope I have encouraged you to just give it a go. Is there some form of art that has been calling your name, but you have been afraid to try? I’m whispering to you now, “Paint me a lighthouse!”

A Perfect Saturday

As far as I was concerned, Saturday’s weather just couldn’t have been better! So, Matt and I were off for two of our favorite past times, hiking and geocaching. We didn’t have to go far from home to have a wonderful time. And I needed to clarify something with him. DSC_5874Not too long ago a friend and I were looking for a new place to eat lunch together. So, I suggested Gambrill State Park at the overlook. Afterwards, I told Matt about it and he said he had never been there! I thought for sure that we had been there and also gotten a geocache. On Saturday, we headed there first. As soon as he saw it, he remembered that he had been there, four years ago. Whew, I thought I was imagining things!

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Matt is holding the geocache. It was in a large bucket!

After the overlook, we had a geocache to find. For this one we had to drive on dirt roads all over the mountain. Then we parked and hiked for a mile to the cache. This one was at a rock that the cache owner called “Castle Rock.”

We climbed to the top of Castle Rock and there was a bit of a view through the trees. We had a “travel bug” with us and took photos of it visiting the cache site. A travel bug is something that you can hide in a geocache and then others can pick it up and move it to another cache. It will have a tag attached to it with a number. Then you can go online to geocaching.com and register where you left the travel bug. It can be any item that you are able to attach the tag onto. DSC_5892 3

This one just happened to be Tigger and we had great fun posing him for photos. Here is one of him mountain climbing! We didn’t leave him there in that cache. That particular cache doesn’t get found very often. I guess other people don’t want to go for a mile hike in the woods. But at least Tigger  got to visit the castle!DSC_5907

In my mind, that was the perfect way to spend our day. As I walked the rugged path, I noticed special things that God put there just for us, like the tiny toads that kept hoping away from our feet or the pretty pebbles in the water that gleamed like pennies, the sun shining through the trees illuminating bright green ferns and even the spider web that shimmered in the sun. All were amazing reminders that God pays attention to every detail, not only in the woods, but in my life too. He knows the rough paths that I will have to hike to get to the high points in life, but He also lovingly guides and places just what I need along the path to sustain me.

Here’s looking forward to the next gorgeous day!
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