I cannot recall anything I said or did that would cause my parents to think I wanted a Magnus electric chord organ.
Yet there it was, next to the Christmas tree, fully assembled, with my name on the gift tag. Brand new and with a bench.
I had an ear for music, like everyone else in my family. But playing a keyboard?
Did a teacher mention something to my parents? There were pianos in classrooms back when I went to school. Maybe I had hopped up and tried to play the instrument, and a teacher caught something in my eye that she recognized.
It is a mystery. My parents didn’t have money to buy a luxury like an electric organ. Yet, somehow it came to be: a musical instrument that wasn’t a loaner I had to give back at the end of the school year.
Published by The American Tract Society, this copy is 150 years old and was probably used by Sunday School teachers. The handwritten note inside says “Hickory Grove, SSL No 179, 1871.” Grace Abbott or The Sunday Tea-Party is the story of young Grace trying to keep Sunday special and devoted to God. It’s hard to do, though, with the tea parties and the mean girls tempting Grace to put aside what she learned about the Sabbath. In the end, Grace does prevail!
Your inquiry about Mother — there was not much to do after the hemorrhage. She fought well and passed gracefully.
Plan to take care of yourself. You are needed. Father expects to be back in August. I am not so sure.
I know you will put them all before yourself. Shall that be my last thought?
The blossoms — I see them when I climb to the big oak, with your pickets there shepherding Lester Atkins’ stock. The grass swaying, yellow and green, wave after wave, and I hear your jolly laugh and your voice telling me “Soon.”
You are in my lungs, like fire, like sea salt. You are loose gems. You are a mirror and a cup.
Excuse my script — there is more that I say, so read deeply.
17 June 1918
Philippians 4, vs 13
After reading through the history of World War I, I thought about the separation of families and friends due to the calls to serve. Then I imagined a young woman sending a postcard to her sweetheart soldier who is fighting in France. I took a photo of flowers in my garden and created a “vintage” postcard to inspire me in writing this love story, short and sweet.
I pray that the coming days do not usher in another great war, which always requires the taking away of loved ones.
In 1894, Scottish evangelist Henry Drummond shared a message — The Greatest Thing in the World — based on 1 Corinthians 13. His little talk on the Bible passage was soon published, and it’s never been out of print. My copy is from the 1950’s, and written inside is “Janet, My love, Aunt Ruth.”
I remember when I first read the passage in the Bible and saw that the words describing true Love are all action words, not emotions. That was a lightbulb moment for me. Take time to read 1 Corinthians 13. Maybe what it says will give you a new idea about love, like it did for me.
I love these words from C. S. Lewis on how heartbreak can be something God uses to bring you nearer to Him. That sure was true for me.
“We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it.
As we look at the relationships in our own lives we might ask the following questions. Am I holding back my love toward God and others out of the fear of being wounded in the fray? If so, am I willing to begin to trust God with my life and open up the gateways to my heart so that I can both give and receive love as God intended me to do?” (from “The Risk of Love,” The Four Loves, C. S. Lewis)
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.
For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:18-19 (ESV)
As part of a writing challenge, I wrote a scene inspired by Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18, Adagio Sostenuto. The music is wonderful, and you can listen to it by clicking here.
While I listened, I had these thoughts:
A great understanding
She realizes her true worth
A pleasant place has been found
Seeing God in natural things around her
As I began to write, the “her” in my thoughts became the girl in an image I discovered on a Black history website. No names were included with the image, so I named the girl “Netta.” The Rachmaninoff music moved me to write a poem-like paragraph within the scene that highlights a time of joy for her as she makes her way to a favorite and secret hideaway:
Netta was free.
No pig priming. No cotton picking. No running with the dogs to stomp the land.
No itching legs and bleeding palms.
She could sing, she could run, she could laugh,
See the sky, and look beyond what it was to what it could be.
It led her down deep to the place of peace.
Though she wept, it was a cleansing joy,
a soul-lifting moment of free.
The image of the young girl (Arkansas, 1935) and the story it tells bring up a great sense of sadness in me. I cannot help but try to imagine a time of happiness for her.
The Holy Life: A Book for Christians Seeking the Rest of Faith was written in 1875 by the Rev. Evan H. Hopkins. My copy is embossed with a stamp that reads “Sea Pines School for Girls, Massachusetts, Incorporated 1911.”
Angel did not want to give up, but the Philadelphia chill cut through deep to his bones and challenged his will to live.
Thirteen months ago, when he started the journey, emotions such as love, concern, and sympathy had been tossed aside. Never again did he want to feel the agony of loss, the knife-in-his-gut rawness that ruled his life after Luisa disappeared.
After a few weeks of blog vacation, I am back to posting regularly this week. Thank you for taking the time to visit my new blog and read my stories over the past year. I hope you continue to come by for more in 2022.
(If anyone knows the name of this flower — from a floral arrangement that I received over the holidays — please leave the name in a comment!)