May 18, 2013

Saturday Snapshots: May 18, 2013

{A range of expressions registers across the faces of these four lovely young women - identified as the Mishanec sisters -as they pose for an outdoor photo in 1937.}

{Paper moon fun abounds in this cute shot of three 1940s youngsters.}

{A well dressed middle aged couple from 1959. I adore her whisper pale lavender hued dress and complimentary purple corsage.}

{Studio (or perhaps school) portrait loveliness from the days of 1947. What a beautiful smile and twinkling eyes this young lass had.}

{1950s playsuit stylishness snapped at Wood Island Park, East Boston, Massachusetts. The woman in the photo is identified as "Dot", a name which I think suits her well.}

{It's shades of Sunday blue finery for this quartet of girls from 1949 (you've got to love the saddle shoes partnered with a fancy dress on the gal at the far right).}

{Could the 1940s lady on the right's look get any cooler? I rather think not.}

{A lovely young bride and (first lieutenant) groom on their wedding day at West Point Military Academy, 1952.}

{Fantastic patio/squaw dress style abounds in this charming 1956 snapshot of a woman posing in bedroom near an Oregon State pennant and a number of photos.}

{A cheerful looking, sharply dressed 1940s couple enjoying an afternoon at the seaside. Her whole outfit (hair flowers and headkerchief very much included) is elegantly lovely.}

{All images above are from Flickr. To learn more about a specific image, please click on it to be taken to its respective Flickr page.}

♥ ♥ ♥

The concept of living in the moment is by no means a new one. It may have had its days in the limelight over the past few decades (especially during the peace-and-love 60s and the do-as-you-please 80s), but long before Thoreau said the beautiful words in today's quote, humans have oven striven to embrace, capture, and enjoy the essence of the moment that they were existing in as it transpired.

It is natural, human and completely normal to hope, dream and plan the future. However, it can become far too easy to build such a detailed pictured of what lies ahead, that you almost forget to stop and appreciate the majestic quality of the here and now.

Earlier this spring I began to think a lot about something that, while by no means a new realization for me, reminders of which kept being thrown my way. I say the following as matter-of-factly as though I were telling you the date or what colour the grass is. I do not see myself as a victim of these circumstances, merely a product of elements far beyond my control.

Due to the extremely unpredictable nature of battling multiple severe chronic illnesses, it is often very challenging for me to make plans ahead of time. To be more accurate, it's easy enough to make said plans, what is difficult is feeling well enough when the time comes to follow through with them. I could craft the most detailed travel itinerary in the world, plan a huge and elaborate party, promise to attend any event you could dream of, but the simple fact is that, until the moment of the particular going-on arose, I would almost no way of knowing if I'd feel well enough to be present.

Yes, sometimes, in the very immediate short-term I can try to predict, for example, how I might feel on an upcoming Sunday, based on how I'm doing health wise two days before hand, and there are various lifestyle and diet elements I can steer in certain directions to try and help my health as best as possible, but ultimately, there is really nothing I can do to guarantee I'll be able to attend any of the plans I make in advance.

There are, as I'm sure you can imagine, pros and cons to living a life like this day in and day out (my world has been this way for nearly eleven years now). On the one hand, it can be hard to constantly have to tell people "We'll see" or "I really hope I can make it" when invited out (and of course then there's the scenario in which, after a while, understandably enough, some folks just stop inviting you out at all, knowing how often you've not been able to attend their events), as well as to know that plans I make myself are, at best, lightly penciled in, ready to be erased at any moment by my health.

I would love beyond words to buy a concert ticket for, say, four months from now and know that I'll be able to plunk myself down in my seat come that night, but it would not be financially wise to do so because past experiences have taught me (many a time) that such will rarely actually be the case. I'd give my favourite vintage dress to promise a friend I'll be there at her birthday party, know I will be seated around the Christmas dinner table at my parents house, assure my husband we'll go out on our wedding anniversary night. But, if I'm being honest with myself and with those around me, I cannot, and at this point in my life, I've made about as much peace with this fact as I think one ever realistically can.

The flip side to living this kind of day-to-day existence is that it truly helps you to exist in the moment. To cherish the good times so incredibly much, those days when I wake up and feel well enough to leave the house, to don my vintage finery, to visit with loved ones, and to experience plans made, far more often than not, completely on the fly.

I have become far quite spontaneous (relatively speaking!), and by the same token, I never forget to stop and smell the roses. To savour the caress of a warm summer's breeze on my bare arms in the summer, the symphony of crunches under foot as I walk through a field of fallen autumn leaves, or the sound of rain pouncing on the car as we take a rare and wonderful springtime Sunday drive.

Mapping out my tomorrows would have its perks for sure, but being given the gift of today when you're chronically ill, is, quite frankly, immeasurably incredible in and of itself. I have learned, as Thoreau so wisely said, to find my eternity in each moment, and I could not ask for a richer life than that.


  1. This post is so beautiful, and insightful. Made me tear up a little, but in a good way!

    I'm sending you wishes for a lovely, feeling-good kind of weekend, dear lady!

  2. Jessica, amazing photos and more importantly well said! It is so important to savor the precious moments as they come. Great post!!! Thank you :) for giving us something to think about.

  3. those are some gorgeous photos i particularly like the one with the dog in it, because im such a dog nut. living in the moment is important for all of us and your attitude considering your challenges is inspring


  4. What lovely photos! I adore so many of this women's outfits!

    I wish you all the best regarding planning. But I think taking things day by day is just fine. :)


  5. I just love to look at old pictures and vintage fashion! Your pictures are so appreciated! Have a nice Sunday!

  6. You find the best pictures. And living in the moment is a key to joy.

  7. Such a beautiful post. I have to admit, life reads much like a to-do list too often than I care to admit. Thank you for the reminder to live in the present and to enjoy each moment as it comes.

  8. What a beautiful, and truly inspiring post! I adore all the snaps! I love looking at pictures like these, and in my mind I try to imagine the lives of the ones captured, those happy moments that were a part of each persons story...I wonder what went before, and what came after. And it reminds me, like your beautifully written post, to seize the day, and every opportunity that comes with it. For nothing in life is certain, and change can come at any time! Thank you Jessica, for always being real and honest in sharing your journey with all of us, and in doing so inspiring us! Tania ♥

  9. I am glad you get the best out of living moment to moment! There are some advantages to it, for sure!
    Love this week's photos!

  10. These are great images. That couple at the beach and the two women with their dog jumping! are my favourites. I love that you've been able to turn your physical limitations into a positive thing and can still enjoy your life on your own terms. It's this positive mindset of yours that I really admire, Jessica. *hugs*

  11. Great photos, Jessica...the last one is so fun.
    You seem to manage everything so well, you have a great attitude despite some adversity and challenges.

  12. I completely empathize with your post. As someone who suffers from chronic illness myself, you never really feel fantastic, and you never know when you can go to events. And sadly, after a while, people do stop asking.I often find myself going to events, staying to the absolute latest I can possibly make it, and then unfortunately having to leave. You end up missing a lot, but what can you do when there is no way to ease your pain? No one wants to be around someone who is in so much pain, that they can't have any fun. I hope you are feeling well now and in the future.

    On a side note, the pictures today were lovely.

    Best wishes,

  13. Beautifully put, Jessica, and I for one know exactly what you are talking about! I have had my illnesses for three and a half years now and have had to adapt my life considerably. It is restrictive (for example, going out in the evenings is very challenging), but the other side is the appreciation that I feel in small things. A lovely cup of tea made by one of my family, watching the birds in the garden, stroking my pets or a lovely photo on your blog! My life has got smaller but in a strange way it is richer. May we both continue to enjoy our lives, despite our health xx

  14. I admire your posivitism! You always seems to see the good things.

    I do recognize parts of your story. Since I was a teenager I've been struggling wit a very low energy level. It's only since the last couple of months one knows what's 'wrong' with me. But that's another story.

    Luckily, I can plan events. It only happens occasionally that I'm not able to make it because of my energy level. What I have to do, is planning some recovery days if I want to do something which costs lots of energy. If I want to go to a birthday party. I have to count 2-3 days to recover. I also have to clear my schedule. For example: It's very unwise for me to go two different events in one weekend.

    It frustrates me sometimes, because I feel limited. And I know it won't change. Hopefully with time passing, I'm able to accept.

    You picked some lovely pictures! I especially love the first, 5th and the last one.

  15. You inspire me so much! Also, I wonder if I might be distantly related to Dot. She has my mother's figure, especially the legs, and thet both hail from Boston. Love these photos. You showing them makes me appreciate my own collection even more!

    1. Thank you dearly, Kathleen - that means a great deal to me.

      How awesome it would be if you were in fact related to Dot! I'm super passionate about genealogy, and have always secretly hoped to come across a photo of a yesteryear relative of mine online. Connect you (potentially) with one of yours is every bit as cool!

      ♥ Jessica

  16. Hello, dear Jessica ...
    loved your beautiful text, and old photos brought me a nostalgia of the time I did not live ... Weight should I have been born in the wrong era, but actually what I need at the moment, quoting Thoreau ... "Our real life happens when we live our dreams awake" ... I have lived my dreams ... nor do I know my current situation to destroy rebuild me, know me better advice ... opinions ... I agree, kisses and a beautiful week ...

  17. Carpe Diem! How I love those words and their sentiment...I've always wanted to use that quote from DPS with gusto and passion. I feel for you greatly and hope that more often than not your health allows you to enjoy all that you want to do...and am glad that you cherish all the times it does.

    I love the shot of the littlies on the moon- it was such a popular photo prop back in the day- we even have one at our Melbourne muesem.

    xx Shauna
    P.S- I had to laugh and tell you that my local Coles is now selling "new" flavoured marshmallows!!!!!

  18. oh jessica i really enjoyed this beautiful vintage snapshots! especially the gorgeous lady in her playsuit, the kiddies on the paper moon and that handsome 40´s couple! adorable!
    lots of love and kisses,mary

  19. Love these snapshots of everyday life. It is so nice how you are able to find the positive in what we all would find difficult circumstances.

    When I saw this post, I immediately thought of Eckhart Tolle and living in the present. It's interesting to hear you sense of "peace" and acceptance in your words about not being able to plan. It is a learing lesson to clear your mind of future plans and past thoughts:) I thought I might ad these two quotes from Eckhart:

    “The eternal present is the space within which your whole life unfolds, the one factor that remains constant. Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be.”

    “Meet everyone and everything through stillness rather than mental noise.”

    1. Wonderfully beautiful, meaningful quotes, dear Joanna - they definitely speak to this same topic and resonate deeply with me. Thank you so very much for sharing them.

      Huge hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

  20. Oh Jessica, this has made me teary eyed - i must admit that i take many blessings for granted and should make an effort to stop and enjoy small things more... hugs.

  21. Beautiful, heartfelt post, Jessica, and so full of wisdom!! All of us---not just the chronically ill--would do well to enjoy every single moment of our lives. The truth is, the bulk of the days of our lives are spent in relative ordinariness. Rather than being at a party, or some glamorous event, or on an exotic trip, or doing anything grandiose, most of the days of our lives are spent in the routine of what we might call boredom. We would all do well to cultivate an appreciation for such "boredom" and to see the beauty and purpose in it.

    I may have told you this before, but back in 1994, I began my journey into chronic health issues. I had a multitude of problems, and after many blood tests, I was told that I was "looking at a lupus diagnosis." I drastically altered my life...and one of the ways that played out was in slowing down. I stayed home more and learned to appreciate the "boredom" of home and home-centered activities. Eventually, my health improved, but even now, nearly 20 years later, I have to watch just how many out-of-the-home activities I take on. My body doesn't handle the stress of constant activity well. So, like you, I can't always accept every invitation which comes my way either.

    The photos you posted are fantastic...every single one of them. I love that women of that era always dressed in an elegant, classy way, instead of the "let it all hang out" way they dress today.

    Have a great day.

    Love and hugs,

  22. I really love your Saturday Snapshots. We can learn so much from vintage photos. After all a photo is worth a thousand words! :) I think my favorite is the school photo. She's such a cutie!

  23. Lovely round up of vintage photo's once again:) my health has been much better this past year and I am trying my best to live in the moment from now on. I spent the last 5 years exactly how you are living now, not making plans, not buying concert tickets or planning a vacation, you aren't alone. Hopefully your good days last long;)

  24. Oh that first photo is so whimsical. It's amazing looking at old photos and realizing how much the people back then were much like us these days, and in others ways very, very different. I also love the wedding photo; my friend recently married a marine and they had the other officers outside the church with their swords raised just like that. So romantic! <3

  25. I was an over planner. I lived my life according to a strict schedule. Then I got sick. I never expected to not be able to plan months/weeks in advance...let alone days. At first it was so hard. People gave up inviting me places as I could rarely make it. BUT it has led to me being way more spontaneous. Rather than planning to do something as a family - I might get up and just say "let's go to the zoo". I can text a friend last minute to see if they want to get lunch. It is certainly teaching me that I can't control everything, no matter how much I might want to.


  26. i love to look at old pictures. awesome1
    the weddding dress from 1952 reminds me on my wedding dress. the bodice is quite similar ...:)
    oh and i love the lady in this squaw dress. this is something i really love to find in the states ...
    if we decide to come to british columbia, i will tell you. for sure! ... but canada actually wasn't in our plans. ;)

  27. Thank you deeply, everyone, for your tremendously sweet, wonderful comments. I know that a number of you are in a very similar boat yourself, and had you in mind as I was writing this post. We each have limitations in life - some more than others, of course - but the key, I truly believe, is just to make the best out of what we can do, without losing too much sleep over what simply cannot be.

    Heartfelt thanks & hugs to you all,
    ♥ Jessica

  28. Not being able to make plans in the future is something I am beginning to understand more and more. That is such a hard thing to manage too. I'm such a planner and to not know whether or not my body is going to hinder me once the event comes is so challenging. Living in the moment has become more and more a necessary thing. Fortunately, it is also quite wonderful and my husband helps me enjoy each day as it comes too. ;-)
    I wish you many great "in the moments"!

  29. Some of these really made my breath catch in my throat. The power of one moment in time, amid a sea of moments whizzing around throughout all of history -- it can open your mind up to the beauty of the present as well as the past. :)

  30. Ooh I love old photos, I made sure I scanned all my grandparents photos the other day.
    I truly admire you Jess, I know how tough it is to battle chronic illness, and that's why I hardly plan anymore either. Holidays can be tough or even being away from home, I get so worried that my condition will go downhill while I'm away!
    You are an inspiration to me and many others :) <3

  31. Oh, so many beautiful photos! You are a truly strong and inspirational woman, Jessica. Always positive, even though your battling a chronic illness. Not being able to make plans can be difficult, but living in the moment is not bad. I admire you! I wish you a great day!

  32. I think we could learn a lot from you - about being honest, living in the moment, enjoying the smaller things, and being spontaneous. Clever post as always. I hope you are feeling better after your operation.

  33. I couldn't possibly agree more with you about the 1940's lady with the dog, scarf in hair, and fabulous blouse/pants combo. She is super, super cool.

    I also really love the picture of the couple at the ocean. How about her shoes!?! Oh those things are so lovely in black and white, I can't imagine how beautiful they were in color.

  34. Though I don't suffer from a chronic illness myself, I do have a few close friends who do: one with crohns and the other with severe allergies and IBS. So I know what it's like to make plans with them and then on the day, have them cancel because they are not well enough to go out. It can be difficult at times, because months can go by before I get to see my friends. But I remind myself that I'm not really the one suffering. So we email, talk on the phone and text often. I have also become accustomed to dropping less important things to sporadically makes plans last minute with a gf who is feeling well that evening.

    I've also spent every night of the week visiting my gf with crohns when she's in the hospital. Each time bringing little gifts and magazines to lift her spirits.

    I can only hope you have a good support system where you live. I think that makes it easier.


    1. Dear Lisa, thank you very much for your understanding, deeply lovely comment. You are the kind of caring, empathetic friend so many of us in the chronic illness world wish we could find (or find in our existing friends). I was only 18 when I started to develop my first few chronic illnesses (in very rapid succession) and lost nearly all of my friends at the time because of it. Thankfully in the (eleven) years since, I've made new friends who are a whole lot more like you (understanding, caring, non-judgemental) both in person and especially online.

      My greatest support system lies with Tony, my mom, my little sister and some of my other close relatives. I could scarcely imagine my life without them and their unwavering understanding and love.

      ♥ Jessica