Yes, heaven is real

When I was 19 I was living in a dorm in London, England.  Everyday I would walk down the corridor and admire a gigantic world map that was hung on the wall.  Before long I realized that I loved maps, and every apartment I’ve lived in since has been adored with at least one very large map. 

One afternoon I went to the map, closed my eyes, and pointed to a completely random destination: I landed on the Maldive Islands, an archipelago island nation spread throughout the Indian Ocean-Arabian Sea.  I had never even heard of the place, but as soon as I looked it up and saw that heaven was real, I promised myself I would go.  I haven’t made it there yet, but when I see pictures like this it reminds me of why I love travel in the first place – it is the exploration of the beautiful and the unknown.

A diamond is the result of tremendous pressure and time

Patterns in nature often serve as metaphors for life: a diamond is formed by tremendous pressure and time.

Trials shape us into who we are. We’re all under pressure and sometimes the intensity can last a long time; but if nature creates a diamond under these circumstances, just imagine the fruit you can bear.

A diamond in the rough

A diamond in the rough

Never give up on your heart’s desires; these dreams are in your heart for a reason.  “At any given moment you have the power to say that this is NOT how the story is going to end.”

Storm in a teacup

These formidable dark and stormy skies were brewing up above in Chilmark, Martha’s Vineyard, just outside of the rustic and renowned Larsen’s Fish Market.  What appeared to be an ominous and threatening storm was a quick but heavy rainfall.  After the rain the skies cleared up, and the sun was bright and shining till dusk.

Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard, MA

Chilmark, Martha’s Vineyard, MA

Loving this one-of-a-kind vintage piece in Tel Aviv

Israel is known for its atypical and artful jewelry.  With influences from ancient Middle Eastern cultures and impressively detailed craftsmanship, the pieces a traveler finds here in Tel Aviv are often one-of-a-kind.

While running around Neve Tzedek earlier today I stopped by Boaz Kashi, a small jewelry boutique featuring original designs and revamped vintage pieces from all over the world.  Kashi is a fourth generation jeweler who travels near and far searching for unusual vintage finds.  Every piece in his store stands out in some way: think of brightly colored stones set in darkened metals, unconventional textures and a treasure trove of tribal-inspired creations.

The retrofitted vintage bracelet pictured below is so cool.  I love the bright coral against the shadowy, oxidized silver.  It’s around 50 or 60 years old and is an authentic Yemenite design.  Kashi added the Swarovski crystals to act as the clasp and the contrast of shimmering crystals and darkened silver is wowww…so lovely.

Vintage Yemenite bracelet made of oxidized silver, coral and Swarovski crystals

Vintage Yemenite bracelet made of oxidized silver, coral and Swarovski crystals

I think I gotta pick this one up.  Bling!

A silhouette of the American cowboy

After watching The Good, the Bad and the Ugly earlier today, I’m in a western state of mind.

This gorgeous shot by John Partipilo just won a Feature Photography award from the Society of Professional Journalists.  Originally published in The Tennessean, Partipilo sought to capture an image that exemplified the spirit of his home state as he traveled through back roads and rural areas in search of a place where ‘the past doesn’t seem so far away.’  Tennessee’s ever-evolving landscape led to ‘fewer farms, more housing developments and busier roads’ than he remembers seeing as a boy, but the American cowboy still remains.

“Shadows of What Was,” by John Partipilo, The Tennessean

“Shadows of What Was,” by John Partipilo, The Tennessean

Get busy living or get busy dying

Timing is inherently perfect.  Sometimes it feels like a blessing, but every so often, it feels like a curse. 

I find comfort in realizing how much is out of my control and that everything is in the hands of the Creator. Each passing moment is timed so precisely, and I think that’s a beautiful thing.

Unfavorable timing can be tough, but there are only two choices: you either get busy living and live, or get busy dying, and fade away. Look for the light or stay in the darkness. Realize that every circumstance and seemingly minute detail plays a part in a bigger picture that leads to a greater outcome than you could have ever expected. Life is really, really hard; but aren’t you up for the challenge? Keep going and create the life you’ve always imagined.

In The Patio I, Georgia O'Keeffe

In The Patio I, Georgia O’Keeffe

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.” Isaiah 42:26

In The Patio VIII, Georgia O'Keeffe

In The Patio VIII, Georgia O’Keeffe