Spring Things

Sketchbook Journal pages by Jennifer Frith
Sketchbook Journal art by Jennifer Frith
Sketchbook Journal art by Jennifer Frith

The first day of spring was yesterday for us folks in the Northern Hemisphere.

Here's the Pennsylvania view outside my art window today:

Snowy Day

*Sigh.*  Soon the view will change to birds, and budding trees, and daffodils.

What's the weather like where you are?

 - Sketchbook pages in watercolor. -

3 things You Can Learn from a 165 Year Old Journal

My sister took me to Antiques Roadshow this past weekend, which was ah-mazing.  (Total nerd here).  Steph and I first watched it with our grandmother over 20 years ago.  We've been watching it ever since.  To walk on the AR set made me giddy with excitement. 

My grandmother came from a long line of aristocratic ancestors:  a governor, senators, Army Captains, attorneys, doctors, plantation owners.  She had farmers, mill keepers, shop keepers, and a few ruffians and miscreants in her family too.  Some of her family heirlooms stayed in our keeping. 

We brought a handful of the items with us to the show.  My favorites were our great-great-great Grandfather Lewis's journal ledger and a couple of tin photos.  That's him on the right. 

The appraisers at Antiques Roadshow recommended that we bring the ledger to a historical society in Maryland for more information, which is where Grandfather Lewis resided.

Maybe some day.

Whatever their monetary value, they are timeless treasures to me.  To touch the same journal that belonged to someone who came before me – who scrawled his notes with a quill pen – fills my heart up with awe.

Here's what holding Lewis' ledger in my hands have taught me....and why sketchbooking and journaling is so exciting (at least in my world):

1.  Your Journey Matters

I don't know Lewis.  But I want to know him.  I want to know what filled him with excitement and what filled him with fear.  I want to know what bored him and what emboldened him.  He doesn't know me, but he mattered.  His interests matter, his dreams matter, his frustrations matter.  The same goes with you.

2.  Your Material Stuff Doesn't Matter

All that remains of Lewis' belongings several generations later are but a mere 2-3 of his items.  Material items don't last; your decisions last.  His decision to take a risk and pursue his wife-to-be, Sarah, eventually brought my siblings and me into the world.  Your "stuff" doesn't matter. Your stories do.

3.  Your Faith Can Transcend Generations

One of my favorite entries of his is this:

In tiny writing you can see:

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto me and rest;
lay down, O weary one, lay down
your head upon my breast.”


Which is a snippet of the 1846 hymn from Scottish minister, Horatio Bonar:

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto me and rest;
lay down, O weary one, lay down
your head upon my breast.”

I came to Jesus as I was,
so weary, worn, and sad;
I found him in a resting place,
and he has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Behold, I freely give
the living water, thirsty one,
stoop down and drink and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“I am this dark world’s light;
look unto me; your morn shall rise,
and all your day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my star, my sun;
and in that light of life I’ll walk
till traveling days are done.

This hymn is still sung today.  Here's a version from our own generation.  It makes me happy that one day I'll get to meet this mysterious Lewis Crothers in Heaven, and I can't wait.

If you want to see his journal flip-through, you can watch it here.

I hope you know you matter.

. . .

How have your ancestors' decisions helped to chart the course of your life?  What cool heirlooms do you have from your family?  What stories do they hold?