By the Measure of Drums of Autumn.

Last night I finished Drums of Autumn, the fourth of the Outlander novels, and I think the heftist so far. It was a very satisfying read and when I closed the novel for the last time I flashed back to when I first cracked it open in Chicago O’Hare this past January. I was thinking of the person that I was when I first opened that book, someone with no idea of the sadness, turmoil, and ultimately growth and peace that the year would turn out.  

Dorothy May Brown. 

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Aunt June, Me at 3, Aunt April, Grandma Dorothy, and my Mom

I was in Chicago for a conference, but got to visit first with my Aunt June and Grandma Dorothy. A few days after arriving she passed away. I was stricken with sadness at the loss of the family matriarch, but so grateful to God that I’d had a chance to say goodbye. On the staircase in my apartment is a photo of her that to this day makes me feel like she’s smiling directly at me from the picture.

 

The End of the PinkHams. 

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The Former PinkHams

Less than a month later, my step family the Hamiltons parted ways with my mother, brother, and I. I had spent the better part of 17 years with them.I While an incredibly surreal experience, I was able to really see God’s Hand in the situation. It was no longer a healthy family life, and the break needed to happen. God was there and ready to provide comfort, confidence and love through the situation. Mom, Nick and I nurturing each other through the situation is what has now made the three of us so close. Recovering from this change together, with Christ, has been so rewarding.

 

On My Own. 

I moved out of the family house in December, but because of fact that I spent so much of January on the road, I didn’t feel the difference of living on my own until February. The first night in my apartment I felt like I had made the biggest mistake of my life. The heat wasn’t working, the birds were so unhappy and confused, the apartment was in a complete state of chaos, and it was really creepy how quiet everything was. As soon as I settled in I started to love it, and I’m still so in love with my apartment. I was in need of a companion, so I got Lucy, who is the most amusing bird you’ve ever met.

European Adventure: Part V! 

Hopetoun House

Nick and I continued our tradition of traveling to Europe for days of exploration. Going back to Vienna and London was lovely but the highlight for me was traveling around the Scottish Highlands in our little car. It was nice to get out of Edinburgh, and exploring the country in a car was a lovely new experience. I am an extremely comfortable driver after navigating the left side of the road on those tiny mountain roadways.

Crack and a Sprain. 

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A fractured ankle didn’t stop me from going to the beach.

The rest of winter went by pretty smoothly considering the start of the year, but by the middle of June I found myself in an AirCast. While attempting a move in a musical theatre dance class I managed to fracture my ankle and sprain it really, really, badly. This has led to months of physical therapy and traveling with crutches and a boot. I’m still not completely back to where I was before, but I learned an amazing lesson about depending on my amazing family who pretty much stopped what they were doing for two weeks to take care of me.

 

THIRTY.

I turned thirty this year. I know of my friends were a bit more devastated about that, and though I was a bit panicky the closer I got to the Big Day, the more that I realized that I had pretty much everything I wanted (that was realistic) by thirty. I had intended to retire at thirty and live a life of leisure, but I would count that under “unrealistic.” I have family and friends that love me, a wonderful roof over my head, and job that I enjoy and spent my twenties growing into, and most importantly a relationship with God that continues to grow stronger.

So now as the year comes to a close I find that through the stress and the strife, I am only grateful. Grateful for a wonderful relationship with God that has only continued to grow, a supportive and health family-life, and the ability to see growth and change in my life.

Until next year…

 

A Few Days in Vienna

I find Vienna, Austria to be one of the most romantic cities in Europe. Even more romantic than Paris. There I said it. Between the romantic architecture, the cozy cafes, and the sprawling historic homes, whether you are alone, with your sweetie, or exploring with friends, here are my tips for what to see in city, especially while on a budget. 

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The Gloriette in the gardens of Schönbrunn

HISTORIC HOMES 

As you may know, one of my favorite things to see whenever I travel are historic homes. Due to the fact that Vienna used to be the seat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, there are several former imperial homes that are now open to the public. The largest and most grand  is Schönbrunn Palace, located about a fifteen minute ride outside of central Vienna on the U-bahn.

The house is lovely inside, and when you go on the tour you do get to get to see a good portion of its 1,441 rooms. However, I fell in love with the gardens. I’ve spent hours roaming through the gardens and still have not seen all of it. It’s free to move through the gardens, and due to its size you you can find a quiet space even when it’s overcrowded with a concert. The gardens include a zoo, maze, and lovely fountains. There are often concerts and other activities at the palace that only serve to enhance the experience.

If you’re looking for a few less tourists that I’d recommend Belvedere. This complex consists of two baroque buildings, Upper and Lower Belvedere with a beautiful garden in between. It’s now a museum which houses an extensive Gustav Klimt collection. If you want to see The Kiss, this is the place to go. The painting is even more overwhelming at full size.

If you don’t want to leave central Vienna, you can check out the city home of the Habsburg at Hofburg. I have a thing for extensive grounds so I didn’t find this quite as enjoyable when compared to Schoenbrunn, but the buildings around it are beautiful.

COFFEEHOUSES

Getting coffee in Vienna is quite the experience. Historic coffee shops are housed in elegant settings. In addition to delicious coffee they also serve pastries, and other classic Viennese options. Coffeehouses are elegant places to rest your feet after a long day of exploring. My favorites are Cafe Landmann for the view of the Rathaus and Cafe Mozart. In most of the coffeehouses unless there’s reserved sign on the table, feel free to go in and seat yourself. Service during dinner might differ a bit.

WALKS

Vienna is great city to just take a long walk. The Ringtrasse is a circular road that goes around many of the historic sights in the central part of the city. Grab a cup of tea and your camera and soak the three and a half mile walk in. Along the Ringtrasse you will see the Austrian Library, the Austrian Parliament Building, the incredibly beautiful Rathaus (Town Hall), the Vienna State Opera, the volksgarten, and the natural history museum, just to name a few! If you get tired half way through, there is a trolley that will take you back to where you started.

MUSIC 

You can’t talk Vienna without mentioning classical music. The City of Music is where the waltz came into popularity as well as where several operas came from. In or around the city you can visit Mozart and Beethoven’s graves, just to mention a few classic composers. You can take in a show at the State Opera, but you can also walk along the street at any point and hear the most beautiful classical musician playing. For me, it only adds to the romantic aspects of the city.

OTHER FAVORITES

If you like to stroll through bookstores I definitely recommend that you stop by the Shakespeare & Company bookshop in Vienna. It’s a tiny little place but I never seem to leave there without some kind of small treasure.

For food, when in Vienna you must try the wiener schnitzel which is thin, breaded pan fried veal. If veal is not your jam that also have pork, and sometimes chicken schnitzel. For other classy Viennese classics make sure to visit Plachutta. I do recommend that you make reservations. The portion sizes are perfect and the service is stellar.

Vienna tourism site is full of great information about visiting the city if you’re looking for additional information travel to the city. I did find the the tourist card the Wien Karte did end up saving money for the activities that we were participating in.

Have other questions about the city like where to stay? Feel free to email me at jessicapinkston@msn.com.

Mountain Top Moment at 36,000 Feet

Journey Above the Clouds Print

It’s always amazing to me how easy it is to get caught up in the mundane and forget God. I had an amazing tangible experience with God’s constant nature last week.

Upon arriving at the airport after a trip with a close friend in Kentucky, I frowned at the cloudy sky. Cloudy and rainy days certainly have their purpose, but I prefer that they are accompanied with a hot toddy, a good book, and my couch. Not the glamorous world of travel.

In the airport I went through the air travel dance: checking in, navigating security, boarding the aircraft, and then settled into my seat ready to tune out for the next hour while the pilot steered me home. I closed my eyes and soon felt the plane slowly lifting into the air. I was surprised when I felt warmth on my face and opened my eyes to discover the brilliance of the sun. I don’t know how I manage to forget that above even the heaviest cloud cover the sun is constantly shining. God has the same constant nature and is always there is regardless of whether or not we can hear Him, feel Him, or we listen to Him. He’s like the sun at its most brilliant, everlasting in its position at the center of this galaxy, and a permanent source of warmth and energy. I was so comforted by that and spent the rest of the journey full of an amazing sense of His peace.

28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31 | NIV

 

Daughter of a King

I was stuck in traffic the other day on my way to work when this car cut me off. I was playing some relaxing music and enjoying my cup of tea so it didn’t really bother me, but I was struck by the huge sticker on this woman’s rear window. It said: “Daughter of a King.”

Now I’m sure there are plenty of posts out there about people with the “Jesus fish” and the like on the back of their cars cutting people off and generally being awful, but that’s not really where I’m going today. It really made me think: daughter of a King. I mean know that, but I don’t think I really know it. It puts life into perspective that’s for sure. Why fuss and become too overwhelmed with the mundane when you remember that you’re the chosen child of a King. A King that will never die, abdicate, or be deposed.

It’s so easy to get caught up, though, isn’t it? I’ll be honest one of the reasons why I don’t put a fish or anything on the back of my car is because I do generally speed and occassionally drive in a way that might make God shake His head. However, that’s part of the beauty of it all, isn’t it? God still loves me, and will through all of His head-shaking. It allows me to have a different experience with Him when I’m able to remember that, and I’m able to remember what Romans says:

Do not confirm to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to get and approve what God’s will is – His  good, pleasing, and perfect will.

Romans 12:2 (NIV)

How do I this practically, you might ask? Well, I try to spend as much quality time with God as possible. I notice that when I haven’t taken that time I feel with Him I feel it. I think about it is as if God is your significant other. When you don’t spend enough time cultivating your relationship it starts to fall apart. Luckily because of His grace, my relationship with God is not as easily destroyed as some fragile human relationships, but I really have to remember that I can’t try to leave God at my apartment when I head to work, and then wonder why I fumble some much during the day. He’s not meant to sit at home at keep house, but instead is meant to walk through every single pretty and ugly step of your life with you. He wants that. Thank Him for that, amiright?