Monday, October 22, 2012

MY QUIET HOUR; Mrs. C.G., Indiana, February 1927

Dear Friends: If, perchance, sorrow has come to dwell within the hearts of any of you, you will need—as I have had great need—of a truly “quiet hour.” One in which your very spirit can relax and grow calm and wait for comfort.

It happens that we live in what may well be termed a wooded country. There is much timber on our farm and for my quiet hour I have long held sacred a beautiful nook in a small wooded ravine. It is really a small creek bed and across it lies a fallen tree. This I climb upon and oftentimes lean against the sloping side. Sometimes I take a rug (blanket) with me; sometimes my Bible but more often I go with nothing, save my sorrowing, harassed spirit seeking comfort. Perhaps you may not know, but there are some sorrows which nothing earthly can soothe. It requires the divine hand. And I think nowhere can one lose care and worry and sorrow so well as in a quiet, woodsy spot, with grass under one's feet and the blue sky overhead, and calm, silent trees all around. From my nook I look up to the blue through a circle of green. Sometimes I look with blurred eyes. But whatever trouble I carried there, it was poured out through that circle and a sense of comfort and peace came.

Sometimes I have entered it with an important problem to decide upon, and left with a clearer sense of what was right and best. I go, too, when I am very happy to pour out my thanksgiving.

So my nook with its quiet hour has grown to be a very necessary part of my life. I do not go every day, often not every week, but whenever I feel the great need of it. Of course, I arrange the domestic regime so that I shall not be needed or missed for a time. I do not say that I am going to my nook. I just quietly see that some one else is at hand to watch over everything and I slip away.

Friday, October 19, 2012

THIS GARDEN IS A TRAINING SCHOOL; by Mrs. F. C., Illinois; 1927

The work in the garden is practically mine and the children's. I consider it one of my greatest privileges and pleasures to be able to put in the garden and tend it.

From the time the children are old enough to understand I take them to the garden with me, show them how the seed is put in the ground and later how the plant and fruit comes from it. By leaving a short strip full of weeds, I show them how it stunts the life of plants. From this I tell them how bad habits can stunt their lives.

Not only do they learn about plants but while resting a bit we get acquainted with the birds who visit our garden for bugs and worms. From the birds we study the insects which do harm and those like the lady bug which are our friends.

Often, too, we work in the garden in the cool of the evening, that most peaceful time of the day. Here we watch a glorious sunset, or a storm coming up. This brings us to a realization of who is responsible for all these wonders and somehow out in the open, it seems easier to impress on little minds how all powerful our Heavenly Father is. That if it wasn't for Him and His goodness we would have no gardens, no birds, no sunsets, no great big world to enjoy.

Monday, October 15, 2012

THE UNSUNG HEROINES--MOTHERS; by John W. Holland; February 1927

Little Willie felt abused. He realized that he was not getting paid for the errands which he was daily running about the house. Musing over it, he felt certain that he was badly abused. So he presented to his mother a bill with items such as bringing in wood, running to the grocery and wiping dishes, at so much per item.

His mother said nothing. Next morning when Willie turned up his plate at breakfast, he found the following statement:

Willie to Mother:
Preparing three meals yesterday....Nothing
Washing and ironing his clothes....Nothing
Washing his neck and ears twice....Nothing
Items too small to be included........Nothing

It is needless to say that Willie had a great deal to think about during that day. Late in the afternoon he came in and said, “Mother, I don't want any pay for my work. I was just in fun.”

When you and I pass out of this world there will be one debt which we have never quite settled. That is the obligations we owe to our mothers.

February is the month when we think of the illustrious sons of Mary Washington and Nancy Hanks Lincoln.

Mary Washington was left a widow when George was eleven years old. There were four other children. Did this heroine sit down and give up? No. She provided the food for her children, and became their teacher in religion and morals. She kept a little book into which she copied the maxims of conduct and her observations on life.

This little book became the possession of George Washington. He said, “It was consulted by me many times in life.”

When LaFayette returned to visit America, he went to pay a call on Mary Washington. They sat out in the garden and she treated him to some fine gingerbread, and gave him the recipe to take back to France.

After another France general had been in her presence he said, “It is not surprising that America should produce great men since she can boast of such Mothers.”

Down in Lincoln City, Indiana, there is a shrine that humbles the heart of every traveler who goes there. It is the sacred grave of Nancy Hanks Lincoln.

She was companion of poverty and hardship. Drudgery in the forest wilderness was her daily duty. Possessed of a little knowledge of books, she taught her children and her neighbors to read.

Broken by sickness, long before her time, she called her family about her bed. She committed their souls to God, prayed for them one by one, exacted a pledge from a tall boy who was kneeling at the bedside, that “he would always be a good boy,” and then closed her tired eyes forever.

Several months later this tall son secured a clergyman to utter above her grave some words of Christian comfort, and offer a prayer. When it was over Lincoln said, “Now I have but one purpose in life: to live as she would have me.”

There are some great leaders of America who are just now little boys. Some of them are in farm homes, going upstairs to bed with a kerosene lamp. If history is to repeat itself, doubtless the greatest leaders of the next generation are living on farms. It is possible that the little question-asking chap in your home will receive a Destiny Call. He will need all the patience and care that can be given him, if he has some great work to do. If that care is bestowed upon him, it will be the work of some mother principally.

It is well to remind ourselves often that the face above the cradle holds the sunshine of the world.

Monday, October 8, 2012

BRIGHTEN THE CORNER WERE YOU ARE; by Mrs. E. M. C., Illinois, October 1927

From Laurie: Last week was full of homeschool, a wonderful time at an historic village (Stonefield) not far from my home, very bad colds, and canning or freezing our garden produce. I have a few more beets and carrots to freeze, (hopefully tonight) but that is it from our garden, although I still might can some apples. During my husband's work day, he passes by a Mennonite food store that sells "second" apples for $18 a bushel (about 50 pounds.) That price is waaayyy higher this year, but with the drought I am just thankful that we are able to get any apples at all.

On to today's posting...It is a good reminder for me, not because I dislike my job of homemaker on our six and a half acres, but if I am not feeling well, crabby I can be!  

Dear Farmers' Wives: I married very young and came from a large city to be a farmer's wife. At first I thought I could not stay because it was unendurable,--so dull, so quiet and lonely on that beautiful farm. I loved my husband dearly, but I began to think I had made a terrible mistake, for always I had wanted to do things, be somebody, and do something great for the world to remember. I loved to go, go, go, and oh, I despised the monotony of farm work.

Then along came the babies, one, two, three, in five years. Much as I loved them, they kept me at home more than ever and the work--! Well, it was never really finished. I was tired, crabbed and cross all the time, for you know there is no pleasure in doing one thing and wishing, always wishing you could be doing another.

One evening when I was putting little Mae to bed, she said her prayer, then added softly this postscript, "Please God, make our Mama not so sour." Only a postscript, but I heard, and how thankful I am that I did. It awoke me. It set me thinking. How did my family regard me? I knew, but dared not let myself think about it. I was ashamed!

Days of deep thought, nights of wakefulness, and I came to the conclusion that I was a snob, making everybody else about me miserable. Even if it had not fallen to my lot to be a "President Coolidge" or a "Harriet Beecher Stowe," there was in this great beautiful world a tiny corner all my own which I had better brighten for the sake of others.

I got to work immediately. It took will power, for I want to tell you that being a grouch can become a firm habit. But I succeeded and today we are a happy family and mother is the merriest of the whole bunch! These words have helped me wonderfully in seeing my mistake and brightening my corner:

"It may not be on the mountain top
Or over the stormy sea;
It may not be in the battle front,
My Lord may have need of me.

"There is surely somewhere a lonely place
In earth's harvest field so wide,
Where we may labor in life's short day
For Jesus the crucified."

Monday, October 1, 2012


I was never a fan of poetry when I was young. It seemed that the teachers always picked the hardest and most confusing poems and then made the class analyse them. What an awful way to ruin a good poem, I thought. But I can assure you that each of the following poetry selections are not only enjoyable to read, but very understandable, too, with no analysis necessary!

The first one is a contemporary poem written by a fellow quilter named, Dawn. She wrote it several years ago about her Grandmother Mabel Amanda Gravely (Oppen.) Mabel lived in Minnesota and was one of the Lucky Pony Winners. In the picture below, she is posing with her pony "Scrappy." Dawn's Grandmother Mabel died in 1989 at the age of 88. Many thanks to Mabel's daughter Ruth, her grand-daughter Dawn, and the rest of their family for helping me to learn about Mabel. She must have been a wonderful woman to have been loved so much.

More about Mabel and her family can be found on my other blog:

"Memories of Grandma"

Oh Grandma. I remember when
I would sit on your lap
And you'd read me a story
Or we'd sit around and chat.

Mabel Amanda Gravley (Oppen) in 1915
at the age of 14, and her pony "Scrappy"
When you'd take me shopping
And buy me a book
Or we'd take the bus downtown
Just to take a look.

We'd go to our favorite doughnut shop
And have our favorite treats.
We'd sing into the tape recorder
And laugh out of our seats.

Grandma, I can still see your face
And I can see your wonderful smile.
Oh how I sometimes wonder
If you think about me for a while.

I remember all the games we used to play
And we'd smile, giggle and just have fun.
You'd tuck me in bed when I'd spend the night.
And we'd say our prayers when the day is done.

I remember when you'd let me sip your coffee
with a little bit of cream.
Or you'd fix my favorite breakfasts
And we'd talk and daydream.

You taught me how to crochet
And helped me learn to sew.
You'd sit by me and color
Or we'd watch the falling snow.

Oh Grandma, if you only knew
How much those times have meant to me.
They're a part of you I'll have forever
And they'll be treasured endlessly.

I wouldn't change any memories
But there is one thing I'd do
And that is to let you know,
Grandma, how much I do love you.

Both of the following poems, "The Mother" by Berton Braley and "The Farmer's Wife" by John Hanlon were published in 1927.