Going to Bed Before Dark

Wednesday, May 8, 1957

My Dearest John,

I have been sitting at the desk this morning getting things ready for prayer meeting tonight and will take time to get a note off to you before starting the more mundane tasks around the house.

I believe that I will tell the children the trip that H. LaBuff has told about in the Fields that came yesterday into the tribes of the Laos country. In case you haven’t seen it, you will be greatly interested in it and probably read it several times as I have done. Among other reasons is that Orville Carlson was one of the fellows making the trip. How often I think of the way the Lord has rewarded Hazel in giving her a real man of God for a husband when she obeyed Him. Not that Leonard wasn’t, but that she chose the Lord’s will first. Makes me wish again, and again review our lives, to see what has kept us from the foreign field when workers are sorely needed and there are places that are still offering human lives in sacrifices. Somewhere it seems that we have chosen second best – may He take what is left and use it to the fullest.

Nothing new around here in the way of news – just staying by the stuff and trying to take care of it. The youngsters are anxious for school to be out as they don’t like going to bed before it is dark, but they almost have to in order to get enough rest, especially when they play outdoors. Danny is out today – and he loves it. Seems to be about well. Has a couple of coughing spells a day, but that is all.

Mrs. Warner called and asked what the records cost. I told her six dollars. I couldn’t remember what else you said. They like Tennessee Ernie. She will be sending the money to you. I found the camp folder and will enclose it. We haven’t heard a thing from the folks and are wondering how they are.

I think I will close now – except to remind you that we all love you and are praying for you. We are earnestly praying for you these days and for the decisions that must be made. I read the book “Sister Abigail” last night – how the Lord directed and provided and used here. The same Lord is ours and is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.

All my love — Always,


My Tummy Isn’t What It Was

Saturday 5-4-57

My Dearest John,

I just got home from shopping so will get a note off to you before I start lunch. Spent $18 on groceries this week, but quite a bit of it went into the deep freeze so I guess that is not too bad. Lots of day-old bread on sale, a half gallon of ice cream at 59¢ and a pork roast in the freezer. Also go fryers for 29¢ for dinner tomorrow. I guess that I should have gotten a couple for the freezer, but the pocket book wouldn’t take that.

Perhaps you are wondering where the money came from. The Lord directed others and are needs are being met – the enclosed letter from Wheaton explains $30 that was sent here yesterday, and Kreimes sent $24 for insurance that I used. Got the rent paid, groceries for today, and enough for offering tomorrow. Still have the utilities, gas, and telephone, plus insurance that will have to be paid this coming week, so if mail comes from you today, those things will be taken care of.

Danny stayed with the girls this morning without complaining much. He is feeling much better, but still has a bad cough, cold, and measles on his body. But the temp is down a lot and he wants to get going, though he tires easily. I won’t take him out tomorrow and it is the rally for CEF [Child Evangelism Fellowship] which disappoints the youngsters. They will go, but I won’t hear Dorothy’s Welcome Speech.

Got the whole downstairs cleaned yesterday – really cleaned, floors even waxed. It won’t last long, as sand is tracked in by the shovelful. It is beautiful pure sand that they dug up from the sewer hole, and the children play in it and bring it in. This afternoon while Danny naps we hope to start our garden.

Have had a good fire going yesterday and today – a cold wind blowing – so different from the first of the week.

I have a terrible headache. Dieting always causes constipation. Guess I’ll have to choke down some all bran today. Dr. said to take mineral oil or milk of magnesia whenever I wanted it, but they are both terrible, too.

The package came from Sears that Mrs. Warner ordered. Two lovely dresses – dark blue with a white collar, lovely for Sunday, and a navy blue with pink-rose top that is lovely, too. Smock type. David keeps kidding me about starting in to wear them. Since I’ve lost some weight my regular dresses still fit, though I guess my tummy isn’t what it was.

David just brought a pup in. The eyes are open now. Two weeks old today. My typing is horrid, but I guess you can take me by what I mean and not what I write.

As much as we would like to see you and are waiting for summer, I still think that you had better stay near school next weekend and try to get caught up with your papers, etc. It should all be done soon, and if it goes to the last week, you’ll be a wreck for the whole month of June which is no good. Another thing about staying near school this summer — perhaps you could work on the radio programs that Dan Ball has been working on. Camp still intrigues me, but unless we ate in the dining room all summer I can’t see where with our size family we could get much done outside of taking care of them. I keep looking for ideas in case we do go, and at the same time, work on things here in case we move to Chicago. We are praying and planting as though we will stay here! Quite a situation! If we do stay, let’s think about a trip to Washington.

I can day dream and suppose a lot – eh? Well, I had better close and get down to realities – plenty of them around here. I love you and marvel at the Lord giving me such a patient, loving husband, when I am so much the opposite.

All my love,

Blinking Lights in Farewell

Wednesday a.m.
March 20, 1957

My dearest John,

Your big long letter was such a treat on Monday. After Joyce called and I could relax more, I sat down and read it several times.

Before I forget it – your Dad’s birthday is next Tuesday. I’m going to leave the gift-sending up to you and if you’ve not written do it. Let my letter go and write him. I’m going to have the youngsters send cards. We don’t know how many more times we can remember his birthday. [He died in 1963]

Oh — spring is here — with snow on the ground. Rather chilly, too.

I’ve got flannelgraph spread out before me in preparation for prayer meeting tonight. I enjoy this, but it becomes more of a chore since I’m always tired now. Feel OK, just the draggy feeling, which goes with all my pregnancies. I feel guilty sleeping 8 and 9 hours a night when you get so little. I thought of you last night and wondered what time you got home from Champaign.

I watched last time you left and was sure I saw you get on the toll road and blink your lights. I could get confused, so many cars and lights. Glad you mentioned it.

My cold is hanging on and so is Danny’s and Jimmy’s. The older ones did not seem to get it.

Made some yeast rolls Monday – they were good this time and I’m nearly proud with all the nice things the children said!!

Time to close – wish you were here to talk to instead of writing. Take care of yourself these busy days. We love you and your name is mentioned umpteen times a day. I’m learning that when you really love a person you never get used to having him gone – it gets worse instead of easier. Hurry up, summer!

All my love,

Spring Right In the House

March 15, 1957

My dearest John,

Time flies on and my letter writing is neglected. A few interesting things have happened. The weather is one – spring yesterday, and so windy and cold today. The house feels so drafty even though I spent some time stopping up cracks this evening.

I took Margaret to the eye doctor last night. He made quite a thorough examination, it seemed to me. She seems to have a farsightedness that is not too serious – often comes in the first three grades of school and can be corrected. If let go, though, it can develop into more serious trouble. So, $29.50 for glasses. Nothing can do but take their word for it. I watched her testing in reading and identifying things and she did miss a lot. He said that eye trouble follows certain patterns in growing children: the first three grades, the seventh grade, and the last two years of high school.

Sturgis won the game on Wednesday night, and now must win one tonight over Greenville in order to play tomorrow night for the regional title. They are handicapped because Steve Boyle had to leave the game Wednesday night with a bad knee and is out for the season, and two other have the flu. Dick Bunce has been sick, but the Dr. last night said he could wrestle this Saturday for the state championship.

Dave wasn’t there Wed. night to keep prayer meeting rolling according to schedule. They got involved in some business about the Belman house, etc. and it lasted until 8:25 – which makes problems downstairs [where the younger children are]. We managed to keep them reasonably quiet, but it is hard.

Damers asked us to come over for dinner on Sunday. They said that they would like a time when you were home, but that seemed impossible, so they asked us to come. So hurry home and you can come along!

There is one beautiful daffodil now and buds for six more – spring right in the house. I’m surprised how the youngsters enjoy it.

I’m really out of news so I’m going to close now. As usual it seems like a month since you have been home. I’m really looking forward to summer and trust that we’ll have more time together. The camp suggestion sounds good, but I sometimes wonder how effective our help would be. If it is a caretaker they need, our lives are not along that, judging from how we have cared for any place we’ve lived in. I’m glad we can pray and trust the Lord to work it all out for us.

Now, all my love darling. We miss you. The children have been good this week. Danny has a huge goose egg above his left eye. The wind blew the door knob into his head. Jimmy and Danny were like young colts the two days they could play outdoors.


Danny has graduated – you are now in Oooooook Park – not Chicago!!

Searching for Spring


Something about the first of March unleashed a yearning in me for green. Our weather has been ricocheting between frozen and fair. I grabbed my camera and went on a quest, hoping to capture a crocus. One crocus.

I found heaps of ugly.
Black snow banks.
A litter-strewn vacant lot.
Dead stalks gawking.

Color, where are you?dsc_1600A tiny leaf hung on through this severe winter.

dsc_1604Yay, daffs!!

Marvelous moss!!

dsc_1607Snow is sticking to the higher elevations. Side note: I am easily annoyed with the unimaginative street names in my town. A grid of the alphabet and numbers. But Penn Avenue follows O Avenue. Because no one wants to live on P Avenue!

dsc_1611Leftover red.

dsc_1613Now this is what I was searching for — that bright green that sings Spring!

I always return to this turret. Turrets are terrific. I’m counting on turrets in heaven.

Love the blue bench.

A befitting front door.

Voted Best Receptacle

Of course I had to peruse the Little Free Library. I took home The Martian.

I had given up on finding flowers. No crocus. But, three blocks from home, beauty interrupted my walk. I’m the worst at plant identification. If I called these Lily of the Valley would I be correct? I would be incorrect.  These are Snowdrops. They were an afternoon benediction.

Simple Springtime Pleasures

Grape tomatoes ~ a splendid snack-on-the-go

Green buds are visible! Yessss!!

Yellow and white and all things bright (and beautiful)

Chicks are only a simple pleasure when they come to Nana’s
house for a quick visit before they go home.

There is something precious about the first read
of a nourishing book. This was my husband’s
first time reading Trina Schart Hyman’s gloriously
illustrated Saint George and the Dragon.

We have come to the end of our wood for the first time in years.
It was a long winter.
Wood heat is the most comfortable way to get warm.

This is my new favorite treat.  Mix cinnamon and Truvia together.

Dip slices of apple (Granny Smith is my choice) in the cinnamon.

Set the slice on your tongue and savor the flavors. Yuuum!

Upgrading April

April, the Angel of Months
Vita Sackville-West

September and October have always been my favorite months.
Harvest, color, moderate temps, rewards for work.

April has been pleasant, but never made it in my top three favorite months.
It’s time to upgrade April.

Here’s why.

First the name.
This is about the happiest moment
of my brief career learning Latin.
April comes from the Latin “aperire” which means to open.
April is the opening month.

Open flowers.
Open windows.
Open gym shoes.
Open grave.
Opened eyes to color.
Opened ears to poetry.

April is National Poetry Month.

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring–
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. –Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

Spring ~ Gerard Manley Hopkins

…all in a rush with richness…
…all this juice and all this joy…

Don’t worry about getting it.
Take your time and savor the words.
Go slow and the meaning will come.

The Light is Back

Another sign of spring: there is a window of sunlight shining into our kitchen in the early mornings.  During the winter the yawning sun just can’t stretch its beams around to this spot.  Now it plays peek a boo for five minutes. In August it will linger long enough for a cup of tea.

The light that brightens the tulips and roses also illumines the bookshelf in the hallway.  Isn’t it odd how light can both lighten and lift our spirits?

William Cowper, my father’s favorite poet,
struggled with depression and wrote about the effect of light.

Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord, who rises with healing in His wings:
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain.

(Click link for full lyrics)

~   ~   ~

God Moves in a Mysterious Way, another Cowper hymn,
was originally titled Light Shining Out of Darkness.

What is lightening your heart today?

Third World, Cheerios and Little Things

Here are a few tasty morsels that I’ve relished in my reading:

The world came apart into three segments —
the “First World: of free market trading nations,
the “Second World,” or Communist bloc,
and the economically underdeveloped
but politically emerging “Third World.

~ from Coming Apart, Coming Together  by Edward Kantowicz

[Do you know how many years I have wondered
about Third World countries?  If they are Third,
who is First and Second?  Never had it make sense
until this week. This is a ta-da! aha! wow! moment.]

~     ~     ~

The name Cerignola meant land of cereals,
and it was thus the origin of the word “Cheerios.”
It grew hard wheat, the best in Italy and possibly
the best in the world for making pasta.
The Romans stored the wheat in the ground,
silos in reverse.

~ from The Wild Blue by Stephen E. Ambrose

[Think c as in ciao!  I had to Google Earth Cerignola.
It is just south of the the spur on the back of the boot.
I zoomed in, trying to find the Roman holes in the
ground, but, alas, they are too small. ]

~     ~     ~

A little thing is a little thing,
but faithfulness in little things is a very great thing.

from A Chance to Die, The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael,
by Elisabeth Elliot

[How encouraging is that?  I’ll write a full review when I finish.]

The photo reflects my craving for spring.
We’ve awoken to snow for the last ten (?) days.
These are “four season days”. 
If you don’t like the weather, just wait an hour or two.
It will change.

Thankful, Spring Edition


photo credit: National Audubon Society

Thankful, Spring Edition

Fair sunshine and small flecks of green,
revealing treasures emerging,
an opened window, freshened air,
the deep inhaling of this grace.

Sorrow distilled,
ache and agony
poured in one vessel,
yearning for relief;
You who gather tears in a bottle,
hear our prayer.

For reunions in the produce section,
full-exposure answers to politely worded questions,
so satisfying an exchange
that we wonder
we ever let our friendship drift…

For a cataract of books,
flooding my shelves,
swamping my senses.
I splash
and sing
and scoop them up,
drenched in delight,
mesmerized by the mist
of so many nourishing words.

Balsamic vinegar,
fresh-squeezed lime,
tangy smooth yogurt,
crumbled cashews,
aroma of cilantro,
pan-fried asparagus,
savory lamb,
sweet oranges,
a cup of cold water.

For a well-placed chord or two,
a progression that knocks down
any preconceived notions,
a new way of hearing
a familiar tune.

For nicknames and
the way they bore
through apathy and passivity.
The current that keeps cracklin’
when I hear his voice say
“Hey, Babe!”

The foreshadow of Easter
in the springtime cycles:

The song of the crocus and daffodil,
the squeaks and chirps and outside noises,
The solid joy of this abiding truth:
Winter is past.
Death is dead.

Awake, my soul, and sing!


“Ten thousand thousand precious gifts
my daily thanks employ;
nor is the least a cheerful heart
that tastes those gifts with joy.”*

* Joseph Addison

More Thankful posts.