In the early 1990s I lived, with my family, in a small village on the edge of the Amazon jungle. My husband was the administrator of a small interdenominational mission hospital. I looked after my children, taught piano and art, worked with the Ecuadorian children in an after school club, and hosted a lot of guests from around the world.
Our mission offered the service of collecting printed materials - books, magazine subscriptions - at the head office in the USA. Several times a year boxes were sent down in large shipments. You cannot imagine the joy it was to receive printed materials in English. I loved sorting through the boxes, placing each family's items in piles.
I subscribed to Victoria magazine, among others. Victoria was my favorite. Several issues arrived at the same time, always several months behind. I hoarded them, allowing myself to read only one each month, knowing that if I devoured them all at once, I'd have to wait for another shipment to arrive.
Magazines were shared with friends. Some of my friends couldn't understand the appeal that Victoria held for me. It didn't have many self-help articles, no diet advice, no exercise regimes, and few recipes. Instead, the pages were filled with beautiful photographs, inspiring quotes, and thoughtful essays. To me, Victoria represented the kind of life that I longed to live, one filled with books and flowers, comfort, beauty, and intentional living.
What a treat it was for me to anticipate an afternoon hour with a cup of tea (in a china cup), curled up on my couch in my second floor living room which was shaded by a huge tree in which monkeys frequently sat and peered into our home. The world of Victoria was miles and cultures away, yet the magazine inspired me to see beauty in everyday life and to create a home that was beautiful for my family and guests. I didn't have access to the items shown on the pages, but the sentiments and intent resonated strongly with my emotions and thoughts.
I saved the magazines to read and re-read, returning to this quotation or that illustration. When we shipped our belongings home, I knew I couldn't take my 10-year stash with me. I sorted out a few of my favorite issues and gave the rest away. Then I noticed the occasional issue in thrift stores and I began picking them up again. Friends heard about my collection and contributed to it.
I have not spent as much time looking at my old issues of Victoria in the past few years. Lately, I've wondered if it was time to let them go. However, before doing so, I thought I'd page through them once more. And I find that, although they take up space on my bookshelves, they do no harm, and they continue to bring me pleasure. I think I'll keep them for awhile longer.
Brenda, from It's a Beautiful Life is holding a giveaway featuring a book written and illustrated by one of Victoria's artists. Pop on over, if you like, to see what it's all about.