The Todd Nest : Composing the Built-Ins with Color & Themes

We were so excited to walk up the stairs in our new split-foyer home and see these lovely built-ins just waiting for a special touch of lovely.

Here is a "way before" photo from the first time we looked at the house with our realtor. Beside it, you will see a simple "before" photo of what the built-ins looked like as I unloaded our boxes and tried to gain a little inspiration.

As I was procrastinating from packing at the apartment one day doing research, I saw this post from Young House Love and decided we MUST paint the backs of these built-ins. 

I gathered a few vintage inspiration pieces and decided on the color "Cooled Blue" from Sherwin Williams. 

I turned on some awesome jams and began painting away. 

Then they sat there for a few days. Some shelves were empty, some lined with bottles. It was a mess. In between dealing with plumbing issues, utility transfers and all of the other luxuries of home ownership, I kind of gave up on decorating for a few days.

{notice there is no logo on this photo. that's how embarrassing it is.}

Fortunately, my mom would be making a special trip up to Huntsville for a few days to help rescue us from the overwhelming stress of unpacking, organizing and cleaning up the messes we had already made.

First priority? 

Unpack the boxes in the living room, store the painting supplies and decorate the built-ins.

One of mine and JD's favorite things about moving has been to unpack boxes and find things we had completely forgotten about, such as all of our vintage cameras we bought for crazy cheap at a yard sale.


Mom and I pulled those babies out, cleaned 'em up and used them as one of our themes. 

My awesome mom was the megamind behind the themes and most of the setting up process. Could I have done this all myself? Probably. But would it have looked nearly as amazing? Absolutely not. At least, not in the state of mind I was in. 

Not sure if this happens to anyone else, but I get stuck in the same decorating process as I was when we lived at the apartment. I want everything to be placed the same way and have the same themes. It's so annoying. When you move, you have all of the freedom in the world to redecorate how you'd like but I was really stuck. 

The world needs great momma's and I'm so thankful for mine!!

She helped to get my out of that rut pretty quickly when she swiped my bottles off the decorating list (except two wonderful milk vases).

But back to the built-ins....

Here, we used a vintage Westclox, a chalkboard I repurposed, the TODD letters Chase and Jackie gave us as a wedding gift, an old Polaroid, a Mason jar with an old camera lamp sitting in it, and (to the far left) a mixed media piece I made. 

We carried the theme of the vintage clock, Mason jar / camera lamp, and mixed media piece to the third shelf for cohesiveness. 

The top shelf has a small, vintage chandelier piece and my two favorite birds plates on display. 

The bottom shelf displays a couple of pieces from our wedding - the chalkboard and the rice jar from our rice ceremony. Of course, we carried the theme of the nest and birds throughout, as this is, after all, the Todd Nest. :) Both of those pieces are stacked on vintage greeting card boxes and Reader's Digest books. 

[photo by Kike Morales] 

[photo by Kike Morales]

If you haven't stopped by our wedding page, check it out here.

We are still getting our annual Jitney CDs ready so be on the lookout for a giveaway on that in the very near future. 

In the meantime, head on over to Ruthy's giveaway at Discovery Street. You can enter to win a $60 gift card to one of our favorite stores, Target!! If you follow Jitney's Journeys on Bloglovin' or any of the other amazing bloggers sponsoring the giveaway, you will automatically get 3 entries for each blog you follow. Oh yeah!!!

So do the happy dance and go enter!

Vintage Greetings : Easter Inspiration

Snow flurries have been dancing around the past two days here in Huntsville. 


It may not look like Spring outside - or even feel like it - but the Todd Nest is ready for blooming flowers and the Easter bunny.

The birds are taking over, but that probably doesn't surprise anyone who has seen our home.

Bird nests, bird houses, bird cards, and birds (not real ones, of course).

When I was spending time with my family in Georgia, my grandmother gave my mom and me a huge bag of old greeting cards and postcards (along with the vintage scarves). We sat down at the dining room table and distributed those beauties amongst ourselves. Her and I are very similar but our tastes in vintage greeting cards couldn't be more different. 

We would've been in trouble otherwise.

The first greeting card ("HELLO" with the birds) quickly became my Spring decorating inspiration. I taped the back to 8.5" x 11" kraft paper and framed it with an antique white frame. 

The second greeting card has a vase of seven small flowers you can pull out.
"A Seven Day Cheer Card for You"
Each flower has a sweet quote hidden hidden its petals.
They don't make cards like this anymore, people...
I displayed it in a vintage flower frog. It's just one bonus element of our Easter display in the kitchen (main photo on top collage).

You probably can't tell from the picture but I slid one of the old card boxes between white books to give the glass jar (holding tiny nests) a boost. It has a nice aged tint to it with purple flowers lining the side. The perfect accent.

Vintage spring-themed cards would look breathtaking on a cute indoor Easter wreath or held up by vintage forks in a vase for your Easter dinner centerpiece.

What is your inspiration theme this spring?

New Etsy Arrivals Coming Soon to Jitney's Journeys!!

You've asked for it and we are about to rock your face off with some new amazing stuff in our Etsy shop

Prepare yourself.

And your wallet. ;)

Mark your calendars for August 20. We will have an awesome Release Party going on right here at Jitney's Journeys where we will introduce all of our new handmade products. 

In the past two weeks, we've added a new member to our team... Mama E [my mom]. Talent truly flares from her fingertips like a freshly-lit sparkler. It baffles us. We're thankful for her inspiration and the joy she takes in sharing her creativity with our shop. 

Are you dying for a sneak peek yet?! Ok. Ok. Here's a few snapshots to tickle your fancy...

People always come to our little home and ask, "Where did we get that awesome LOVE banner from?" We made it. And now you can have one too! It's on super heavy duty cardstock... as in, I had to put on safety glasses just to use the scroll saw to cut out these letters. In fact, I don't think I would even classify the backing as cardstock. It's that intense. :)

These other pieces were created by Mama E. We (especially, I, Whitney) are infatuated with birds and nests. They have such a sweet spirit about them, but at the same time, scream freedom. That's my style.

Glass-etched, monogrammed Mason jars

And this. Oh. Isn't it just lovely? I have officially created burlap napkin rings. It was a far cry from an easy task, but we're really hoping people will fall in love with them as much as we have. 

Who wants some fantastic Chevron napkins? This girl does. I think we'll put some of those up in our shop too. 

Follow us on Instagram for more sneak peeks over the next two weeks.

The Tel Aviv Art Market

This was definitely a highlight of our trip to Israel!! Artists lined the sidewalks in their booths as people could barely move through the streets. It was JAM PACKED. 

First stop: This was one of our favorite artists. The guy made fantastic leather bracelets that you can snap together and intertwine. He cuts, stains and designs them right at his booth in the market. Of course, we bought three for me. :) 

Perfect. Teal, brown and white are my staple colors. Haha

This artist was another favorite of ours! We bought a nameplate and she wrote "Todd Family" in Hebrew on it for us. We also snagged a few nameplates for our friends and customized them. :) 

She incorporated the bird and gazelle in her artwork, as they are her personal symbols of the human spirt of joy and freedom. 

JD: "Whit. Come on!"
Whit: "But... but... aren't these just so mesmerizing?!?"

For all of those sewing machine lovers, how great is this classic Singer? 

You may recognize this clock from my office in our apartment...

Oh yeah. We bought one of those and brought it home! The clock is made out of pebbles and sand from the Red Sea.

As if I didn't want to crochet bad enough, this lady, Sasha Neska, blew us away with her elaborate jewelry! Absolutely remarkable. 

And we say farewell to the streets of the Art Market. 

So we ask you, readers, from these photos... which piece of art would you take home from Israel??

October 29: A City on a Hill

If you drive beside the city of Nazareth, God will most likely echo this verse through your mind too. We couldn't believe the vivid imagery of this verse in comparison to Nazareth. Unless God literally lifts the hill and scatters it among the desert, there's no way to miss this city on a hill. We're not sure that this is the exact city Jesus was referencing to... but we wouldn't be surprised if it was. 

We didn't spend much time in Nazareth but we did stop for a bite at the McDonald's. They were actually serving their regular menu, unlike the rest of the restaurants that honor Shabbat. 

Still, we wanted to share some pretty epic stepping stones that Jesus followed through Nazareth. Let's rewind to the Gospels. 

In Luke 2:1-7, Joseph and Mary leave the town of Nazareth on a journey to Bethlehem because Caesar Augustus required that all inhabitants of Rome must register for the purpose of taxation. The wise men gathered at the site of the new King. Hearing this, Kind Herod got angry and sought out to kill Jesus. Joseph and the fam escaped to Egypt and set up camp until King Herod died. The coast was clear and the fam trekked back to the city of Nazareth. 

"And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. (Luke 2:39-40)"

Don't you love that? Even Joseph, Mary and Jesus had to be patient, waiting for God's will to play into action - only then could they continue on their cherished destination.

Nazareth was also the location where John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. It sounds so simple until you read Mark 1:10-11...

And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

Did you notice that all three persons of the Godhead - the Spirit, the Father, and the Son - are involved here? Mark must have left out the part where John the Baptist and/or anyone else present collapsed to their knees in absolute and pure worship of what just happened before his eyes. Can you imagine?

Immediately, Jesus is driven by the Spirit straight into the wilderness. No more Nazareth for now. 

October 28: Sea of Galilee

Rewind a bit to when Jesus feeds the five thousand men (don't forget that the women and children present were not even counted in this number). Everyone is reclining on the grass, satisfied by this feast of two fish and five loaves. Jesus tells the disciples to get in the boat and go before him on the other side so that he could dismiss this massive crowd. The crowd leaves and Jesus decides to walk up on the mountain to pray by himself. He's by himself when evening comes and sees that the boat is long-gone by now. 

And what does Jesus do?

He decides to do a little more walking... only, this time, Jesus is going to walk on water. Or rather, the Sea of Galilee.

The scene is quite different from the photos above. It's nighttime, the "wind was against [the disciples]" and the boat is beaten by the waves. Have no fear! Jesus is here. That's right. JD and I love reading this story. We can just imagine Jesus walking along the nasty, crashing waves that could take a boat down in an instant - and then Jesus faces the water with an attitude of: "Hey, guys. Ain't no thing but a chicken wing. (Deep South Translation)"

Seriously though. After being scared pants-less, Jesus tries to calm the disciples, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid." He invites Peter to join him after Peter challenges Jesus by saying, "If it's really you, command me to come to you on the water."

Of course, Jesus does just that. "Come." Peter steps out of the boat, even walks on the raging sea and then... "Oh no!! The wind." Jesus has conquered the wind, the water, the waves. Because of his faith in Jesus, Peter even conquers the water and the waves, but the wind... That's where the doubt set in.

John Ortberg wrote a book entitled If You Want to Walk On Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat. How true that title fits to our lives! People often criticize Peter for losing faith when he sees the wind, but he was the only disciple to actually get out of the boat, trusting that Jesus would keep his feet on top of the sea. How often is it that we don't even trust Jesus enough to take us out of the boat? Moreover, how often is it that we lose sight of Christ and BOOM. We collapse into the water because we shift our focus off Christ and onto the wind, or the obstacles in life.

Fear overcomes our faith. 

My favorite part of this story is that after Peter loses faith, he falls into the sea crying for Jesus to save him. Jesus reaches his hand out to Peter, saving him from the brutal waters and says, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" Is that not one of the most beautiful portrayals of Jesus? He's showing compassion, grace, redemption, salvation, and mercy to a regular guy that just lost his focus for a bit. Praise God that He desires to save us and redeem us regardless of the countless times we doubt in our God of Salvation! 

The wind ceases and every man in that boat begins crying out in worship, "Truly you are the Son of God!!"

There are so many other wonderful stories about the Sea of Galilee. If you want to check it out, the passages about Jesus walking on water can be found in Matthew 14, verses 22-33. We realize that our posts are excruciatingly long so we're trying to render that. However, we want to lead you to some other passages that took place at the Sea of Galilee. You can check them out here:

  • Jesus speaks to the multitude from Peter's boat (Mark 3:7-12, Luke 5:1-3)
  • Jesus calms the storm (Matthew 8:23-27)
  • Jesus appears here after the resurrection (Mark 14:28, John 21:1-23)

And a little quick fact about the Sea of Galilee... This fresh water lake has many names. However, the Israelites call the sea "Lake Kinneret", which means harp, because of its harp-shaped shoreline. Anyone else think it kind of looks like Africa too?... Or is that too far of a stretch?

He Gets Me.

Date: Thursday, April 19
Time: approx. 7 p.m.
Place: Publix Grocery Store

As we're strolling through the produce aisle, JD looks over and says, "Whit, I know you love having fresh flowers sitting out when we have house guests. Pick out a few bouquets. Theresa and Brandon will love it."

And there it was. My heart melted. Affirmation that, yes, my husband gets me. For the most part, he understands me and he is intentional about satisfying my wants when the opportunity knocks. We both realize that we will always have more to learn about one another and that we will never fully know one another.

But that's the journey of marriage.

The sweet journey can be heart-wrenching, in both a great and a terrible way. It's a journey of patience, understanding and surprises. We're constantly learning to love and to be intentional with one another.

Intentionality says, "Hey. I get you when nobody else does. I brought you these bouquets of assorted flowers - but not roses because I know you think they are too cliche."

Intentionality says, "I'll put these dishes up for her while she's not looking. It's my way of serving her and loving her even if she doesn't notice." (I always notice though... haha)

There are so many ways to simply love each other - date nights, chasing each other around the kitchen, leaving notes for each other in special places.

What are ways that you and your love act intentionally towards one another? 
How do you leave a mark of unpredictability in your relationship?

**We are super excited about Brandon and Theresa coming to visit this weekend!!! This will be their first time to see our home. Theresa is JD's sister and one of my best friends. Brandon is her husband, one of JD's college roommates and one of his best friends as well. Great families... that is a blessing. ;) 

October 28: Mount of Beatitudes

Simply amazing.

This place was much more beautiful than we thought it would be.

Bountiful gardens surround the church. We stood where Jesus preached about the Beatitudes, also known as the Sermon on the Mount. (See Matthew 5:1-12)

How cool is that? There is also a Roman Catholic Franciscan church that we got to enter. I felt a little weird because I was wearing my hiking shorts and there were signs that said guests could not enter the church if they have no sleeves, exercise attire or short shorts. I hadn't brought a change of clothes after our strenuous walking and hiking around the Bet She'an.

Note to Self: Pack a knee-length cotton skirt just in case you go to another site like this. 

The guys said it would be fine, so I trusted them and went in anyways. I'm pretty sure God cleared out the nuns for a few minutes so that nobody would deny my entrance.

It was quite peaceful in the church. JD and I sat on a pew and prayed together. We love praying as husband and wife. This church is a true place of reverence.

Stones lined the sidewalks with the beatitudes posted on each one. Out of all the stones that could have been missing a letter, this stone just had to be it. We couldn't believe it. With the heavy reverence of the site, this stone gave us a little comic relief. 

Aren't these gardens just stunning? Oh - what's that body of water peeking from below the surface?

Why that's the Sea of Galilee!

More on that next Tuesday.

October 28: Capernaum

We placed the map below to help you envision the country of Israel. The big star is Tel Aviv (our home base) and the little star is placed on Capernaum, near the Sea of Galilee. 

We only drove through Capernaum so we didn't do much sightseeing. It was beautiful though. JD and I would like to go back and actually spend time there, reading different parts of scripture together and walking around.

Capernaum is a pretty epic place.

It was Jesus' next destination after leaving Nazareth. In fact, Capernaum was the central location of Jesus' ministry for the last 18-20 months of His life on earth. It was here that Jesus told Simon and Andrew, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men." In other words, this is where Jesus gathered His group of disciples and called them to action (Matthew 4 and 9).

Jesus performed more miracles in Capernaum than any other location, including:

  • Healing a man with an unclean demon in the synagogue (Luke 4:31-37)
    "Be silent and come out of him!" Jesus rebukes the man who is mocking Him. We love when Luke describes the witnesses by saying, "They were amazed and said to one another, 'What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!'" Luke says that Jesus' word astonished the crowd, for it possessed authority. Instantly, the grapevine started growing into every place in the surrounding region with people talking about what they had seen. That is Jesus. Our Savior with power and authority. Is your soul stirring yet?
  • Healing Simon's mother-in-law, and then many (Luke 4:38-41)
    How beautiful is this story? It seems to be early morning ("and he arose") when Jesus walks into Simon's house and finds that Simon's mother-in-law has a high fever (Jesus probably knew about Simon's mother-in-law prior to walking into the house, since it's Jesus and all). Jesus heals her and "immediately she rose and began to serve them (vs. 39)". No recovery phase or anything like that. She just gets up and actually begins serving them, offering them some hot tea and crumpets (well, the latter part may not be 100% accurate). Then the sun is setting (a full day) and people began bringing sick and demon-possessed friends and family to the Son of God. And He touches and heals every one of them (vs. 40). That is Jesus. The ultimate Healer.
  • Healing a centurion's servant (Matthew 8:5-13)
    In case you're wondering, a centurion is the commander of a century in the ancient Roman army. But seriously? Have you read this story lately? Here comes the centurion, asking Jesus to heal his servant who is laying in bad - paralyzed - and suffering terribly. And Jesus is like, "Sure. I'll come to your house." But no. The centurion says he is not worthy of Jesus entering his home. Instead, how about Jesus just say the word and his servant will be healed, with miles between them. Even Jesus is marveled by this man's faith and tells the centurion, "'Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.' And the servant was healed at that very moment. (vs. 13)" That is Jesus. The One who responds to our faith by being faithful. 
These are a few among many accounts of Jesus' miraculous healings. Here are a few more miracles that Jesus fulfilled in Capernaum in case you want to check them out:
  • Matthew 9:18-26 - Jesus raises a woman from the dead
  • Matthew 9:20-22 - Jesus heals the woman who suffers from a discharge of blood
  • John 4:46-54 - Jesus heals an official's son


In many of these stories, Jesus responds to believers by saying, "Take heart, your faith has made you well. (Matthew 9:22)" We are baffled and encouraged by these believers with such immovable faith.

Has Jesus ever responded to your prayers in this way? 

When you talk to Jesus and ask Him for healing (not just physically, but emotionally or spiritually), do you have absolute faith in Him that He will heal you? 

What's holding you back from surrendering completely to Him and trusting that He will be faithful to your needs? 

October 28: Bet She'an National Park

Whew! October 28th was an exciting but very long day. So long, in fact, that we will be breaking the day into four different posts.

(1) Bet She'an National Park
(2) Capernaum
(3) Mount of Beatitudes
(4) Sea of Galilee

We now welcome you to...

Bet She'an National Park is the site of over 400 archaeologically-excavated acres from the Byzantine period. The ruins include the ancient city of Bet She'an-Scythopolis and the imposing Tel Bet She'an. Excavations were first carried out in Bet She'an in the 1920s; yet archaeologists have only uncovered about one tenth of the city's area.

If you are planning on going to Bet She'an solo (not in a tour group), we must warn you that the actual ruins are difficult to find even after you walk through the park's entrance. You can either take the free route and walk down hidden paths, through bushes and trees - OR you can ride the tram for a small fee. We recommend the latter, seeing as we wasted quite a bit of time trying to find the place on our own.

This 7,000 seat Roman Theater was built in the 21st century. The Bet She'an theater is known as the best-preserved ancient theater in Israel. All plays occurred in daylight, when the metropolis was the busiest. Though the walls were built in order to block out distractions from the busy city outside of the theater, can you imagine how loud the actors had to speak in this massive theater? 

The lovely columns of Bet She'an.

The Western Bathhouses

  1. The bathhouse toilets - the bathhouse provided public toilets. The toilets pictured here are the remains. Toilet "paper" was a soft leaf attached to a twig. A channel of running water under the seats afforded drainage. 
  2. Outlook into Western Bathhouses
  3. Entrance to Bathhouses - some of the facilities, such as this, faced an open courtyard paved with mosaic floors.
  4. We're pretty sure this was the king's latrine quarters. Don't hold us to that.
  5. Model of the Bathhouse - the bathhouse included a swimming pool, massage rooms, public toilets, and other conveniences.

  1. The outlook over Bet She'an. We had to climb many steps to get to this point. Well worth it! This, of course, was at the end of the hike. 
  2. Sigma - a semicircular concourse of the Byzantine period, referred to as the Sigma in an inscription found at the site, surrounded by rooms opening onto it.
  3. Colored mosaics were displayed on the floors of the rooms. This one depicts Tyche, guardian goddess of the city, wearing a crown of city walls and holding a cornucopia.
We spent about three hours navigating the ruins. We made one last stop at the gift shop and ate schwarmas before we left for next destination: Capernaum. 

Shwarmas, by the way, are wrapped like the Greek gyros but only include lamb (no beef). The lamb is normally sliced from a 3-foot tower of racked meat. I ate a falafel schwarma (no meat). The falafel is basically a hushpuppy, except made out of chickpeas. They put hummus, coleslaw and tomatoes in the schwarma. 

What about you?

Do you think you could act on a stage like that... and be heard?

What fascinates you the most about past eras and excavated ruins? 

Have you ever had a version of a schwarma? What were your thoughts?