Monday, January 22, 2018

A Legacy of Beauty

(Most of these words are a re-post from August 2016. This is the original post that the Lord used to spur me on to look at the Legacy of Faith passed down to me.)

Her stories now reside in a bin in my closet. My Grandma Hazel, the Mother of my own Mom, used to point me in the direction of those stories whenever I went to visit her. She knew that after I was finished taking a walk around the farm, I would want to come inside and read her memories of what it was like to grow up and then raise a family in the early part of the 1900's.

I loved to look at the photos of her younger self. This is her wedding picture, in 1921, just a few years before the Country entered into one of its worst economic times ever: The Great Depression.  

But instead of coming out of that time with a bitter heart, my Grandma Hazel showed me what it was like to look for beauty in the everyday.  

"Let others tell of storms and showers,
I’ll only mark your sunny hours."

I have always loved sundials.  Maybe it's because my Grandma loved that particular sundial quote, and spoke of it in her writings. So I googled "Sun dial mottoes and quotes" and found a list from "Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations"

"True as the needle to the pole,
Or as the dial to the sun."

--Barton Booth—Song.


"Give God thy heart, thy service, and thy gold;
The day wears on, and time is waxing old."  

--Sun Dial in the Cloister-garden of Gloucester Cathedral.


"If o’er the dial glides a shade, redeem
The time for lo! it passes like a dream;
But if ’tis all a blank, then mark the loss
Of hours unblest by shadows from the cross."
        --On a Sun Dial in a churchyard at Shenstone, England. 


As a child I was fascinated that time could actually be marked without a clock! Funny how the childlike brain works sometimes . . . 

And yet, I am making an effort to keep my mind and heart soft, to be more childlike in sensing the wonder of things all around me,
to sense God's hand at work in places where I might have missed Him if my eyes weren't kept seeing.

Should we only mark the sunny hours then?  What if there is a joy to be found in the shadows as well?  What if there is a Blessing to be had when the shadow of the cross marks our days?

I can look back on days when I felt the dark would never end, but it was in the dark-seeing where lessons were learned that sunlight could never have taught me . . .  When the curriculum that we had spent so many hours creating didn't sell, and when the printing business that we had gathered fell apart at the seams, our family was carried by a God who never left us alone. When the relationships were torn asunder, and when the church that we had loved fell apart, our view of God's love was suddenly stretched beyond the easy phrase memorized and spoken by rote.

Even now, when the fatigue or the pain come ready to swallow my nights and steal my rest, the peace that only Jesus brings teaches me to wait upon Him in a stillness that is new to me. 

"Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings."

--Psalm 63:7 


So, should we mark only the sunny hours,  
or should we mark the shadow as well?  
Can we take the risk to embrace them both?  
He has a purpose for us in the shade and in the sun. 

One of my Grandma's stories tells about living through The Great Depression, and the hardness that was endured.  She ended with this thought:

"The people who lived then have forgotten about the long days of hard work without modern conveniences. Like the sundial, folks only remember the happy, sunny days of long ago. I also remember the kindness of so many people who made 1930 a time to remember." 

Singing in the shadows, or dancing in the sun, it is the kindness of the heart that opens the way to see God's Beauty in our days. 

This is Week 3 in The Legacy of Faith series here. Within a few weeks I hope to have an updated blogspace to call my home. Can I ask you to pray for me during this transition? Even in these days of pain and weariness, my Jesus would yet teach me more about seeing the beauty of HIS sufficiency.  

I would love to pray for you,
as you also seek to see His beauty.
Leave me a comment below
if there are places where your own heart is aching.

This week I am linking up with these great bloggers:



  1. I love this series. Your grandma not only left you with a legacy of faith but also of the time period she grew up in. You are blessed to have this as part of your own family line and the gift to carry it on.

    I am still reflecting on your call to decide if we only live in the sunshine or in the days of shadows too. I am sitting here with gray, milky light coming through my window. It's the kind of day I would love to crawl back into bed. But God wants us with Him everyday - present and wakeful to all He has for us. Thank you for your words. Praying for you as you go through your blog transformation. I can't wait!

    1. Dear Mary,
      Thank you for your kind and beautiful comments. Yes, I want to be able to pass along the gifts that were given to me through those who have gone before. It's hard sometimes to know how to share that, but I pray the Lord gives the best opportunities! And, I love how you put that "God wants us with Him everyday - present and wakeful to all He has for us." May I too let Him bring a wakefulness in my days, whether they are sunny or cloudy, to see His working! Thanks for your prayers for this blog transformation time too! Blessings to you, my friend!

  2. It's such a blessing to to have those memories and stories of your grandma, Bettie. I believe with you that God has a purpose for us in the shade or the sun. Sometimes in those dark days when the sun is behind the clouds, we don't always realize the sun is still shining. God's love never stops shining for us, does it? With you, I am longing to "be more childlike in sensing the wonder of things all around me, to sense God's hand at work in places where I might have missed Him if my eyes weren't kept seeing." Thank you for your encouragement! I'm looking forward to your blog transformation. Hang in there! May God give you wisdom, light, and understanding! Love and hugs to you!

    1. Dear Trudy,
      Yes, as I have been gathering info for this series, I have been astounded, really, at how much the Lord has gone before me. It is just like you said that we forget the sun is shining still behind those clouds when the day is dark. We don't realize how much He has already prepared the way for us, unless we slow down and keep our eyes open. Thank you so much for all of your encouragement also, my friend! I am trying to trust Jesus through all of these transitions that He takes us through. :) Much Love and hugs to you too! xoxo

  3. Oh, what a precious heritage you have, my friend! It is so wonderful that you have your grandma Hazel's stories to carry you through the hard times. In the Streams in the Desert devotional, there is a poem (I'm not sure which date it is on), but it talks about "Call Back"...speaking of those who have gone on before us and asking them to call back to encourage us, etc. I think that is exactly what your grandma is doing for you now. God has been winnowing our path since before you were born, and now you are seeing the revealing of that. So precious! May He bless you and continue to lead and guide you, dear friend. I got your sweet email and will write back as soon as I can. :)

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      Oh, that sounds like such a sweet poem in the Streams in the Desert devotional. I will have to try to look that up! We have read through "Streams" several times, but I cannot remember that one right now. I love the thought of the Lord "winnowing our paths" all throughout the years, preparing each step ahead of us. Oh, that we would remember that when the days seem too hard to bear. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and encouragement also! Love and Hugs to you dear friend!

  4. I have LEGACY on my mind...big time. Loving this series. I don't always comment but thought I better so you know I'm reading! xo

    1. Oh, yes, Susan--I am so blessed at the intentional way that you are shaping the LEGACY that you pass on to your Grandchildren! What a gift! And I am always so glad to know you are visiting with me here!

  5. It is so fun reading all your posts about your family, Bettie. I can see how the seeds sown through the generations are bearing much fruit. The good deeds of the righteous shall indeed follow them - not just into the following generation, but also thereafter. I see it in you.

    I so love what you say here:
    "Should we only mark the sunny hours then? What if there is a joy to be found in the shadows as well? What if there is a Blessing to be had when the shadow of the cross marks our days?" Just today, Bonnie was sharing in our Whispers of Rest book study how her art teacher explained that you shouldn't use sharp lines when drawing images, but dark shading with no real defined outline- that it is this darkness that adds value to the image, but that you also need to know where your Light source is coming from. It was fascinating seeing God's Promises reflected in this process of drawing. For there are treasures in the darkness the Lord has invited us to discover- we just have to know where (or from whom 😊) our Light source is coming from.

    1. Dear Anna,
      I am so thankful that I listened to the Lord when He asked me to be willing to share these stories. They have been such an encouragement to me also, as I've seen His working throughout the years. And what beautiful thoughts from Bonnie Grey today! They make me think about her previous book's focus on the need for whitespace--the dark shading makes the whitespace even more vivid! And, I do want to let HIM shine His light on those treasures in the darkness! Thank you for sharing these comments here, my dear friend! Much Love & Hugs to you!


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