Monday, April 9, 2018

The Wife - Short Story by Washington Irving

                            THE WIFE

                   by Washington Irving, 1800's

  I HAVE often had occasion to remark the fortitude with which women
sustain the most overwhelming reverses of fortune. Those disasters
which break down the spirit of a man, and prostrate him in the dust,
seem to call forth all the energies of the softer sex, and give such
intrepidity and elevation to their character, that at times it
approaches to sublimity. Nothing can be more touching than to behold a
soft and tender female, who had been all weakness and dependence,
and alive to every trivial roughness, while treading the prosperous
paths of life, suddenly rising in mental force to be the comforter and
support of her husband under misfortune, and abiding, with unshrinking
firmness, the bitterest blasts of adversity.

  As the vine, which has long twined its graceful foliage about the
oak, and been lifted by it into sunshine, will, when the hardy plant
is rifted by the thunderbolt, cling round it with its caressing
tendrils, and bind up its shattered boughs; so is it beautifully
ordered by Providence, that woman, who is the mere dependent and
ornament of man in his happier hours, should be his stay and solace
when smitten with sudden calamity; winding herself into the rugged
recesses of his nature, tenderly supporting the drooping head, and
binding up the broken heart.

  I was once congratulating a friend, who had around him a blooming
family, knit together in the strongest affection. "I can wish you no
better lot," said he, with enthusiasm, "than to have a wife and
children. If you are prosperous, there they are to share your
prosperity; if otherwise, there they are to comfort you." And, indeed,
I have observed that a married man falling into misfortune is more apt
to retrieve his situation in the world than a single one; partly
because he is more stimulated to exertion by the necessities of the
helpless and beloved beings who depend upon him for subsistence; but
chiefly because his spirits are soothed and relieved by domestic
endearments, and his self-respect kept alive by finding, that though
all abroad is darkness and humiliation, yet there is still a little
world of love at home, of which he is the monarch. Whereas a single
man is apt to run to waste and self-neglect; to fancy himself lonely
and abandoned, and his heart to fall to ruin like some deserted
mansion, for want of an inhabitant.

  These observations call to mind a little domestic story, of which
I was once a witness. My intimate friend, Leslie, had married a
beautiful and accomplished girl, who had been brought up in the
midst of fashionable life. She had, it is true, no fortune, but that
of my friend was ample; and he delighted in the anticipation of
indulging her in every elegant pursuit, and administering to those
delicate tastes and fancies that spread a kind of witchery about the
sex.- "Her life," said he, "shall be like a fairy tale."

  The very difference in their characters produced an harmonious
combination: he was of a romantic and somewhat serious cast; she was
all life and gladness. I have often noticed the mute rapture with
which he would gaze upon her in company, of which her sprightly powers
made her the delight; and how, in the midst of applause, her eye would
still turn to him, as if there alone she sought favor and
acceptance. When leaning on his arm, her slender form contrasted
finely with his tall manly person. The fond confiding air with which
she looked up to him seemed to call forth a flush of triumphant
pride and cherishing tenderness, as if he doted on his lovely burden
for its very helplessness. Never did a couple set forward on the
flowery path of early and well-suited marriage with a fairer
prospect of felicity.

  It was the misfortune of my friend, however, to have embarked his
property in large speculations; and he had not been married many
months, when, by a succession of sudden disasters, it was swept from
him, and he found himself reduced almost to penury. For a time he kept
his situation to himself, and went about with a haggard countenance,
and a breaking heart. His life was but a protracted agony; and what
rendered it more insupportable was the necessity of keeping up a smile
in the presence of his wife; for he could not bring himself to
overwhelm her with the news. She saw, however, with the quick eyes
of affection, that all was not well with him. She marked his altered
looks and stifled sighs, and was not to be deceived by his sickly
and vapid attempts at cheerfulness. She tasked all her sprightly
powers and tender blandishments to win him back to happiness; but
she only drove the arrow deeper into his soul. The more he saw cause
to love her, the more torturing was the thought that he was soon to
make her wretched. A little while, thought he, and the smile will
vanish from that cheek- the song will die away from those lips- the
lustre of those eyes will be quenched with sorrow; and the happy
heart, which now beats lightly in that bosom, will be weighed down
like mine, by the cares and miseries of the world.

  At length he came to me one day, and related his whole situation
in a tone of the deepest despair. When I heard him through I inquired,
"Does your wife know all this?"- At the question he burst into an
agony of tears. "For God's sake!" cried he, "if you have any pity on
me, don't mention my wife; it is the thought of her that drives me
almost to madness!"

  "And why not?" said I. "She must know it sooner or later: you cannot
keep it long from her, and the intelligence may break upon her in a
more startling manner, than if imparted by yourself; for the accents
of those we love soften the harshest tidings. Besides, you are
depriving yourself of the comforts of her sympathy; and not merely
that, but also endangering the only bond that can keep hearts
together- an unreserved community of thought and feeling. She will
soon perceive that something is secretly preying upon your mind; and
true love will not brook reserve; it feels undervalued and outraged,
when even the sorrows of those it loves are concealed from it."

  "Oh, but, my friend! to think what a blow I am to give to all her
future prospects- how I am to strike her very soul to the earth, by
telling her that her husband is a beggar! that she is to forego all
the elegancies of life- all the pleasures of society- to shrink with
me into indigence and obscurity! To tell her that I have dragged her
down from the sphere in which she might have continued to move in
constant brightness- the light of every eye- the admiration of every
heart!- How can she bear poverty? she has been brought up in all the
refinements of opulence. How can she bear neglect? she has been the
idol of society. Oh! it will break her heart- it will break her

  I saw his grief was eloquent, and I let it have its flow; for sorrow
relieves itself by words. When his paroxysm had subsided, and he had
relapsed into moody silence, I resumed the subject gently, and urged
him to break his situation at once to his wife. He shook his head
mournfully, but positively.

  "But how are you to keep it from her? It is necessary she should
know it, that you may take the steps proper to the alteration of
your circumstances. You must change your style of living- nay,"
observing a pang to pass across his countenance, "don't let that
afflict you. I am sure you have never placed your happiness in outward
show- you have yet friends, warm friends, who will not think the worse
of you for being less splendidly lodged: and surely it does not
require a palace to be happy with Mary-"

  "I could be happy with her," cried he, convulsively, "in a hovel!- I
could go down with her into poverty and the dust!- I could- I could-
God bless her!- God bless her!" cried he, bursting into a transport of
grief and tenderness.

  "And believe me, my friend," said I, stepping up, and grasping him
warmly by the hand, "believe me she can be the same with you. Ay,
more: it will be a source of pride and triumph to her- it will call
forth all the latent energies and fervent sympathies of her nature;
for she will rejoice to prove that she loves you for yourself. There
is in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies
dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and
beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity. No man knows what
the wife of his bosom is- no man knows what a ministering angel she
is- until he has gone with her through the fiery trials of this

  There was something in the earnestness of my manner, and the
figurative style of my language, that caught the excited imagination
of Leslie. I knew the auditor I had to deal with; and following up the
impression I had made, I finished by persuading him to go home and
unburden his sad heart to his wife.

  I must confess, notwithstanding all I had said, I felt some little
solicitude for the result. Who can calculate on the fortitude of one
whose life has been a round of pleasures? Her gay spirits might revolt
at the dark downward path of low humility suddenly pointed out
before her, and might cling to the sunny regions in which they had
hitherto revelled. Besides, ruin in fashionable life is accompanied by
so many galling mortifications, to which in other ranks it is a
stranger.- In short, I could not meet Leslie the next morning
without trepidation. He had made the disclosure.

  "And how did she bear it?"

  "Like an angel! It seemed rather to be a relief to her mind, for she
threw her arms round my neck, and asked if this was all that had
lately made me unhappy.- But, poor girl," added he, "she cannot
realize the change we must undergo. She has no idea of poverty but
in the abstract; she has only read of it in poetry, where it is allied
to love. She feels as yet no privation; she suffers no loss of
accustomed conveniences nor elegancies. When we come practically to
experience its sordid cares, its paltry wants, its petty humiliations-
then will be the real trial."

  "But," said I, "now that you have got over the severest task, that
of breaking it to her, the sooner you let the world into the secret
the better. The disclosure may be mortifying; but then it is a
single misery, and soon over: whereas you otherwise suffer it, in
anticipation, every hour in the day. It is not poverty so much as
pretence, that harasses a ruined man- the struggle between a proud
mind and an empty purse- the keeping up a hollow show that must soon
come to an end. Have the courage to appear poor and you disarm poverty
of its sharpest sting." On this point I found Leslie perfectly
prepared. He had no false pride himself, and as to his wife, she was
only anxious to conform to their altered fortunes.

  Some days afterwards he called upon me in the evening. He had
disposed of his dwelling house, and taken a small cottage in the
country, a few miles from town. He had been busied all day in
sending out furniture. The new establishment required few articles,
and those of the simplest kind. All the splendid furniture of his late
residence had been sold, excepting his wife's harp. That, he said, was
too closely associated with the idea of herself; it belonged to the
little story of their loves; for some of the sweetest moments of their
courtship were those when he had leaned over that instrument, and
listened to the melting tones of her voice. I could not but smile at
this instance of romantic gallantry in a doting husband.

  He was now going out to the cottage, where his wife had been all day
superintending its arrangement. My feelings had become strongly
interested in the progress of this family story, and, as it was a fine
evening, I offered to accompany him.

  He was wearied with the fatigues of the day, and, as he walked
out, fell into a fit of gloomy musing.

  "Poor Mary!" at length broke, with a heavy sigh, from his lips.

  "And what of her?" asked I: "has anything happened to her?"

  "What," said he, darting an impatient glance, "is it nothing to be
reduced to this paltry situation- to be caged in a miserable
cottage- to be obliged to toil almost in the menial concerns of her
wretched habitation?"

  "Has she then repined at the change?"

  "Repined! she has been nothing but sweetness and good humor. Indeed,
she seems in better spirits than I have ever known her; she has been
to me all love, and tenderness, and comfort!"

  "Admirable girl!" exclaimed I. "You call yourself poor, my friend;
you never were so rich- you never knew the boundless treasures of
excellence you possess in that woman."

  "Oh! but, my friend, if this first meeting at the cottage were over,
I think I could then be comfortable. But this is her first day of real
experience; she has been introduced into a humble dwelling- she has
been employed all day in arranging its miserable equipments- she
has, for the first time, known the fatigues of domestic employment-
she has, for the first time, looked round her on a home destitute of
every thing elegant,- almost of every thing convenient; and may now be
sitting down, exhausted and spiritless, brooding over a prospect of
future poverty."

  There was a degree of probability in this picture that I could not
gainsay, so we walked on in silence.

  After turning from the main road up a narrow lane, so thickly shaded
with forest trees as to give it a complete air of seclusion, we came
in sight of the cottage. It was humble enough in its appearance for
the most pastoral poet; and yet it had a pleasing rural look. A wild
vine had overrun one end with a profusion of foliage; a few trees
threw their branches gracefully over it; and I observed several pots
of flowers tastefully disposed about the door, and on the grass-plot
in front. A small wicket gate opened upon a footpath that wound
through some shrubbery to the door. Just as we approached, we heard
the sound of music- Leslie grasped my arm; we paused and listened.
It was Mary's voice singing, in a style of the most touching
simplicity, a little air of which her husband was peculiarly fond.

  I felt Leslie's hand tremble on my arm. He stepped forward to hear
more distinctly. His step made a noise on the gravel walk. A bright
beautiful face glanced out at the window and vanished- a light
footstep was heard and Mary came tripping forth to meet us: she was in
a pretty rural dress of white; a few wild flowers were twisted in
her fine hair; a fresh bloom was on her cheek; her whole countenance
beamed with smiles- I had never seen her look so lovely.

  "My dear George," cried she, "I am so glad you are come! I have been
watching and watching for you; and running down the lane, and
looking out for you. I've set out a table under a beautiful tree
behind the cottage; and I've been gathering some of the most delicious
strawberries, for I know you are fond of them- and we have such
excellent cream- and every thing is so sweet and still here- Oh!" said
she, putting her arm within his, and looking up brightly in his
face, "Oh, we shall be so happy!"

  Poor Leslie was overcome. He caught her to his bosom- he folded
his arms round her- he kissed her again and again- he could not speak,
but the tears gushed into his eyes; and he has often assured me,
that though the world has since gone prosperously with him, and his
life has, indeed, been a happy one, yet never has he experienced a
moment of more exquisite felicity.

                        THE END

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage - Review

Book:  The Ladies of Ivy Cottage

Author: Julie Klassen

Publisher: Bethany House

Paperback, 444 pages.

This book has a beautiful cover which makes one think of England.  The story itself is reminiscent of a sort of Jane Austen - style of writing.  I very much enjoyed reading about quiet, day-to-day living in "Ivy Hill" in England.

The book includes a map in the beginning so you can look back to see where everyone lives, or where the businesses are located in town.  This is so helpful, particularly when some of the characters are taking a walk and you want to see how far they have to travel.

We are treated to a fascinating description of what it used to be like to form and operate a public library.  Guests had to pay a subscription for the privilege of borrowing books.  The main character, in this story, is the proprietress of a newly formed library which she started with the books from her father's personal library.

I loved the courteous way about the characters. Their manners and social graces were refreshing.

As much as I enjoyed reading this story, I hesitated when readers were introduced to the suspicious character, Mrs. Haverhill.  The reference by local residents that she was some sort of terrible person, complete with the author's description came off as something during the season of October, which I would never choose to read.  I started to wonder if I could trust the author by continuing to read, hoping she wouldn't take me to a "place" in her story that I would not want to go.  This seriously troubled me and made me not want to read any further.  I started to skim over the next several pages and found Mrs. Haverhill to be nothing of what she insinuated and was relieved.  However, because of this, I would not recommend this book to my family or friends.  It is not the type of thing I have any interest in reading.  I was really shocked by it and was not expecting this.  For me, I would much rather have read a quiet, pleasant story of a town in England, and the distinguished people, without the bold - sort - of - cinema - attraction coming through some of the pages.

Regardless of my thoughts on this story, Julie Klassen is very talented and an excellent writer.

*  Disclosure - This book was provided for review purposes. *

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Barbara and Susan's Guide to the Empty Nest - Review

Book:  Barbara and Susan's Guide to the Empty Nest (Revised and Updated)

Authors: Barbara Rainey and Susan Yates

Publisher: Bethany House

Paperback, 247 pages.

For anyone going through the stage of an empty nest, there is going to be sadness.  It is very difficult when all your children have grown up and moved out into the world.  It is a painful loss, but a part of life.

In this book, Barbara and Susan encourage women from all walks of life to cheer up, and find good things to come in the next stage of mothering.

They share many stories from their own lives, and from others.  The authors explain that in these times, it is not like when their own mothers were going through this. Their mothers, and those of that generation, knew who they were for life: Mothers and Wives.  They did not have the type of empty nest we think of today.  They may have had a bachelor or maiden adult child always living with them, or perhaps an aunt, grandmother, or uncle was a permanent part of the household.  In those days, when all the children grew up, wives would focus just on continuing to be a good wife and taking care of the home.  (Personally, this is the kind of mother and wife I will always want to be.)

But for many women of today, they start a new career, begin a ministry, travel, or go back to school.
They crave more friendships with other women, say the authors. 

This book would be best for modern Christian women who want ideas and encouragement to get through the empty nest. 

*  Disclosure - This book was provided for review purposes. *

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Proving by Beverly Lewis

Book:  The Proving

Author:  Beverly Lewis

Publisher: Bethany House

Paperback, 342 pages.

I wanted to read this book because I was intrigued with the idea of what it would be like to stay in an Amish bed-and-breakfast.  I very much enjoyed reading about all the work that needed to be done by the innkeeper and staff. I loved the quiet, simple, life with the focus on God.  The descriptions of the rooms, the cozy fireplace, serving coffee early in the morning, and preparing breakfast for the guests was wonderful to read.

The story itself was a little difficult for me to understand in the beginning.  Two separate scenes were introduced early in the book, which were not related in any way. I had trouble getting through those brief portions, but the story slowly weaved itself together and made more sense. 

There is a modern worldliness surrounding the Amish way of life throughout the book.  The story mostly contained modern technology (cell phones, texting, worldly conversations, etc.) which one must expect when an Amish business is open to the outside world.  If you are looking for a peaceful book consisting only of the Amish way of life, this is not the book.

The story was wholesome, entertaining, and would make a nice television movie.

*  Disclosure - This book was provided for review purposes. *

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Playing with Sunbeams

The following is a very sweet, short story written by Mrs. Elizabeth Prentiss, 1879.

Please note:
    It has been very gently organized and edited (though the words have not been changed), by me (Mrs. White).

Playing with Sunbeams (image) from Elizabeth Prentiss story, 1879.

"Playing with Sunbeams"

By Mrs. Elizabeth Prentiss

There is a story told of a little child sitting on its nursery floor, playing with a sunbeam that lay athwart the carpet. Now he would try to catch it in his fingers, and laugh merrily at each failure ; now he would bathe his little hands in its warmth and brightness, and then clasp them for joy.

Now we meet, sometimes, though not often, with charming grown-up children, who can be happy in the enjoyment of the intangible, when the tangible is wanting. They are the opposites of those characters of whom it has been said, that it takes more than everything to make them happy, less than
nothing to make them miserable.

Mary Arnold had grown up in an unusually happy home ; she never remembered hearing an unkindly word there.

From this home she passed, when quite young, into one of her own, which promised her all the luxuries to which she had been accustomed. But her husband met with heavy losses just as he had won his bride, and she was obliged to live in a humble style hitherto unknown to her.

He thought he knew what a sweet spirit she possessed, when the day of prosperity shone for her without a cloud. But he was astonished and cheered when adversity revealed her true character.

" It is going to be very hard for you, my poor child," he said to her, " to descend with, me into all sorts of petty economies, to which you have never been used. This is the trying part of these financial difficulties ; I do not care so much for myself."

" We shall see," she returned, with a smile.

" It is easy to smile in advance," he said, in reply to the smile. " But you do not know what it is going to be to you."

It is true, she did not know. She had now to do with her own hands what she had had other hands to do for her ; must make a very little money go a great way ; must do without luxuries ; in short, must have that grim and unpleasing master, Economy, sit with her at her table, reign in her kitchen, preside over her wardrobe, and become general Master of Ceremonies. But her friends found her unchanged by circumstances. When they condoled with her, she would reply —

" But think what a kind husband I have ! " And she played with this sunbeam, and made herself glad with it, and was so genuinely happy, that it was a refreshment to meet her.

"But it will not last," said the ravens. "By and by, when she has children, and must clothe and feed and educate them, we shall have a new tune."

Well, the children came, and she had not a moment of leisure. She had to be nurse and seamstress, never got " her afternoon out," never had her work all done and out of the way ; she was industrious, and arranged her time wisely ; but she could not work miracles. She felt, a great deal of the time, like a straw borne hither and thither by the wind ; she could not choose what she would do at such a time, but was forced to tasks, with no room for her own volition.

" Now, then," quoth the ravens, " we shall hear you complain. You have to work like a day- labourer, and see what miserable wages you get ! "

" Miserable wages ! " she cried, " why, I don't know anybody so rich as I am. With such a husband, and such children, and such friends, I am as happy as the day is long ! "

" You have a great deal of leisure for your friends, to be sure."

" Well, I should like to see more of them, it is true. And, by and by, when the children are older, I shall."

" By that time you will be so old yourself, that your heart will have grown cold."

" Oh no ; it is too busy to grow cold."

So she made sunbeams out of her daily, home- spun tasks, and went on her way, rejoicing.

The ravens were puzzled.

" It must be her perfect health," they whispered to each other.

Time passed ; the children grew up, and just as the long-needed prosperity began to flow into the house, the young people began to pass out of it into homes of their own, till father and mother sat at their table alone.

" Now you have spent nearly a lifetime in toiling for your children, and what is the good of it all ? As soon as they get old enough to be a comfort to you, they every one of them go off and leave you."

So said the ravens.

" Just what I did at their age ! " she replied cheerily. "Why shouldn't they get married, as well as I ? And instead of losing, I have gained children. Whereas I had only six, I have now twelve. And I have plenty of time now to see my friends, to read, to take journeys, and to enjoy my husband."

But now long, long days of ill-health came and laid leaden hands upon her. She had twelve children, but they were scattered far and wide, and could only come occasionally, to make her brief visits.

" Very hard ! " said the ravens.

" Oh no ! It is such a delight to me that they all got away before this illness overtook me. It would have cast such a gloom upon them to be at home and miss ' mother ' from the table."

" But the time is so long ! What a sad pity that you are not allowed to use your eyes ! "

" Oh, do you think so ? I was just thanking God that in my days of youth and health, I learned so many passages in the Bible, and so many hymns. I lie here repeating them over, and they are like honey to my taste."

" At all events, it would be a good thing if you could see your friends more."

" I do see them, in imagination. I call in now this one, now that ; and make him or her repeat the pleasant, affectionate words they used to speak. I am never lonely. And I have other delightful things to think of; books I have read, sermons I have heard, little kindnesses shown me by some who are in heaven now. Sometimes I wonder why, when others are so afflicted, I am passed by."

"Have you forgotten that you have wept over little graves ? "

" No ; I have not forgotten. I lie and think of all the winsome ways my little ones had, and how tenderly the Good Shepherd took them away in His arms. They might have lived to suffer, or what is far, far worse, to sin. I can't help rejoicing that three of my children are safe and happy. So many parents have ungrateful, wild sons and foolish, worldly daughters."

" Is it no trial to lie here, bound as it were, hand and foot, and often racked with pain ? "

" It would be a great trial if I had not such a devoted husband, and if he were not able to get for me everything that can alleviate my condition. But you see I have not a wish ungratified. Think what a delightful room this is ! In the summer-time, when the windows are open, I can hear the birds sing, and the voices of little children at their play. In the winter the sun shines in ; that cheers me."

" The sun doesn't shine every day."

" No ; and that is a mercy, because it is so welcome after absence. On cloudy days I think over the sunny ones, and remind myself that clouds never last for ever.' It is said that ' the saddest birds find time to sing ' and it's true. Nobody is sad all the time, or suffering all the time."

" You are in the prime of life ; others of your age are at work in the Master's vineyard. Doesn't it pain you that you are doing nothing for Him ? "

" It did, at one time.   I said, all I'm good for is to make trouble for other people, and use up my husband's money. But it was made plain to me that 'they also serve who only stand and wait.'  It might be nothing but a cold, flat stone in a sidewalk made to be trodden on, and fit for nothing else. But if the Master's hand put me there, I ought not to complain that He did not let me form a
part of a palace instead. We can't all be servants ; some of us have got to be served ; and I am one of them."

" Do you expect to get well ? "

" My physicians do not tell me what to expect.  I know that I may live many years; but I also know that I may be called away at any moment."

" How dreadful ! Such a life of suspense ! "

" I am quite used to it now. At first, I did not know how to act when I found I might die at any moment.   But afterwards I reflected that this is true of every human being. I do not expect to do anything it would not be fitting to do, just when the summons came. And it is very sweet, to think that I may get my invitation and go, without the grief and commotion my death would have occasioned when my children were all young and needed me."

" But your husband — could you bear to go and leave him alone ? "

'' My husband is older than I, and I hope he may go first. God has always been so good to us, that I think He will."

" But you could not do without him.  You would be left entirely alone."

" Yes. But whenever my heart ached, I could remind myself that it was my heart, not his, and rejoice that he was spared this suffering. You see, everything has its good side."

By this time the ravens were exhausted, and flew away.

And now let us see whether this faithful sufferer was doing no work in the great vineyard.

Here are six homes where she is quoted every day, almost every hour. Her children have all learned her song as she used to sing it to them in their nest, and they are teaching it to theirs. Cheerful endurance lights up and beautifies every life. And the influences going forth from these lives are beyond computation.

And here are friends who love her only less than her husband and children do; who have watched her all her life long, and have borne the burden and heat of the day, in humble imitation of the patience with which she bore hers. They have never heard a murmuring word fall from her lips. They have always heard her wonder what made God so good to her ; wonder that, full of discipline as her life was, she had so few troubles.   And they have gone away rebuked, with lessons impressed on their memories that should bear fruit she might never see, but should be refreshing in every weary day.

And those who were with her when, death stole away three cherubs from her heart, knew that it was not stoicism that made her refuse to complain, but thank God that she.had had them, for a season, enjoyed them while they were hers, and could feel that they were safer, happier with Him than they were with her. Yes, when she wept over the little graves, she caught sunbeams even then, and said, ' Though He slay me, yet will I Trust in Him ! "

The truth is, our own hands have more to do with shaping our lives than we fancy. We cannot control Providences, nor ought we to wish to do so.  But we call be willing to see the silver lining to the cloud, to " nurse the caged sorrow till the captive sings," to count up our mercies through those dark days when the rain falls and is never weary, knowing that it never rains always.

And now let us go back to the sick-room, which, to its patient occupant, has so long been a prison.

She has grown old, and her strength has greatly declined. She cannot talk much now, and no longer hears earthly voices. But she knows what our eyes say to her when our tongues are silent.

" Yes, I knew you would come to me as soon as you heard of it; so kind of you. Everybody is kind. I wish I had strength to tell you all about it. We had lived together fifty years. He died on our golden wedding-day. He had been unusually well, and we had laughed together over our young married life. The children were all here with their children ; the house was like a beehive, every bee humming. He said it renewed our youth to see them ; I'm sure it did mine.

Well, they all assembled here in this room, and the children gave us their presents. Their father told them about our wedding-day so long ago, and every time he stopped talking, to rest a little, I said, ' Every milestone on our journey marks a mercy ; there's a new one. And it will be so to the end.' Father smiled ; for you know I couldn't hear a word he said, but I always did say I had mercies when other people had miseries. At last he had said all he had to say, and Robert — you know my Robert is a minister? — Robert knelt down, with his brothers and sisters and the children about him, to pray. Father knelt just here by my side, with my hand in his.

It was a solemn time. I was with them in spirit, though I could not hear. But when they rose from their knees, father kept on his. We waited a little while, and then Robert and Edgar went and lifted him up. Well, I thought it would be thus ! God was always so good to us; he'd slipped away so gently that nobody heard him go.

" Don't grieve for me. The parting will not be for long. My old feet will soon go tottering after.

God is keeping me here a little longer to give me time to tell my friends all about this crowning mercy, and then I shall go. It has been a great shaking ; but I think I could hardly have borne to go and leave him alone."

As she falters forth these words, slowly and at intervals, her children and a few dear friends standing about her watching the smile that mingles with her tears ; a sunbeam darted suddenly into the room and lay, a line of golden light, across the bed. She laid her cold hands in it, in the tender way in which she would clasp that of a friend, and said —

" I've had nothing but mercies all the days of my life."

And so she passed painlessly away, " playing with sunbeams" to the last.

- The End -

Monday, May 15, 2017

What Does Your Home Say About You?

I saw a great quote at a "Sword of the Lord" ministry page.  Here it is:

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G. Campbell Morgan said: 'My father came into my house soon after I was married and looked around into every room, and then he said to me, 'Yes, it is very nice, but nobody will know, walking through here, whether you belong to God or the Devil.' I went through and looked at the rooms again, and I thought: 'He is right.' So we made up our minds straightway that there should be no room in our house, henceforth, that had not some message, by picture or wall text, for every corner should tell that we serve the King."

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I love this!  We ought to have beautiful, cheerful things in our home that show we belong to the Lord.  What does your home say about you?

Sacred Privilege by Kay Warren

Book:  "Sacred Privilege:  Your Life and Ministry as a Pastor's Wife"

Author:  Kay Warren

Publisher: Revell

264 pages, hardcover

I was expecting this book to be a guide to how to be a good wife to a husband in the ministry. I thought it would be like a cheerleader to the readers for doing good work in the home and in the church.  But I could not get past the first chapter.

 The author explains in the preface that she is going to be "raw" and "transparent."  I didn't realize she was going to describe some of the sins and terrible experiences in her own life.  This is not what I thought the book was going to be about. Perhaps others will find help in reading this, but I found it discouraging and depressing.  I was looking for rest and peace and sweet holiness.  There was none of that in the first chapter. I cannot get past that. The title is a bit misleading.

*  Disclosure - This book was provided for review purposes. *
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