Little Isabel’s First Tea Party ~ Part 3 ~ Tea Time

Originally posted on Katherine H. Purdy:

d6c6dd47d61dc74cc91a4279eea2befb.jpgIsabel stood in awe at the large brick home with white pillars, shutters and trees in urns on either side of the door.

“Can you reach the doorbell, dear?” Mama asked and reached for the round knob beside the door and twisted until lovely music drifted from inside.

“That’s the doorbell, Isabel.” Mama said with a smile. “It rings inside the house to let them know we are here.”

Isabel felt butterflies as she waited. She heard quick footsteps and then the door was opened by a trim young woman in a black dress and white apron.

“Good afternoon,” she said as she presented a small silver tray. “Please come in. If you give me your card, Madame, I will let Mrs. Albright know you are here.”

“My card? I don’t have a card but Mrs. Albright is expecting us,” Mama said softly as her cheeks flamed red. Suddenly, a warm…

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Little Isabel’s First Tea Party ~ Part 3 ~ Tea Time

d6c6dd47d61dc74cc91a4279eea2befb.jpgIsabel stood in awe at the large brick home with white pillars, shutters and trees in urns on either side of the door.

“Can you reach the doorbell, dear?” Mama asked and reached for the round knob beside the door and twisted until lovely music drifted from inside.

“That’s the doorbell, Isabel.” Mama said with a smile. “It rings inside the house to let them know we are here.”

Isabel felt butterflies as she waited. She heard quick footsteps and then the door was opened by a trim young woman in a black dress and white apron.

“Good afternoon,” she said as she presented a small silver tray. “Please come in. If you give me your card, Madame, I will let Mrs. Albright know you are here.”

“My card? I don’t have a card but Mrs. Albright is expecting us,” Mama said softly as her cheeks flamed red. Suddenly, a warm friendly voice drifted to the door. “Angela, please invite Mrs. Greene and the girls in. They don’t need a card; they are close friends.”

“Yes Ma’am,” Angela curtsied and opened the door and motioned for them to come inside.

“That will be all, Angela.” Mrs. Albright said as Sally Anne ran into the foyer to greet Isabel.

“I’m so sorry, Lizzy.” Mrs. Greene said as she ushered them into the parlor. “I should have told her you were coming. You know how society is today. If one doesn’t have a card, one isn’t invited in. A ridiculous tradition if you ask me.”

Mama smiled politely. “Your home is lovely, Lillian. Just the way I remember it from our childhood.”

Sally Anne ushered Isabel into a room with two tables draped in fine linen and china. One large table and one just the right size for little girls.

“Isabel, I’m so glad you came! This is my first tea party and you are my first guest!. We will have so much fun!  Mama and Cookie thought it was going to rain so they set the tables inside but now that the sun is out, the maids are moving everything outside. We may have our tea party in the flower garden!”

Isabel smiled and looked around. “There are pretty flowers everywhere.”

“You should see the treats Cookie made. Even the cake has flowers on it.” Sally Anne ushered Isabel into the kitchen but was shooed out.

“I’m sorry, Miss Sally Anne. You know your grandfather doesn’t want you to come into the kitchen and he is arriving this afternoon. If he sees you in here, I will lose my job for sure.” Mrs. Cook said as she lifted a pain of cookies out of the oven. “Why Miss. Isabel. You look so grown up today! I haven’t seen you since you were knee-high to a grasshopper! Miss Sally Anne, why don’t you show Miss Isabel your room while we finish the preparations?”

Isabel followed Sally Anne up a large, winding staircase. At the top of the stairs, Isabel looked down and felt a little dizzy until she focused on the beautifully carved banister. “Do you ever slide down the banister?”

“Yes,” Sally Anne whispered, “but only when Mother, Father and Grandfather are away and Cookie is busy in the kitchen. You’ll have to try it later when everyone it sometime,” she added with a smile.  She opened the first door on the right of the long hallway and invited Isabel in.

“Wow!” Isabel exclaimed as she looked around the room twice. “It looks like a toy store!” There were dolls of all shapes and sizes on a high shelf on one wall. A cradle contained toy animals of all sizes and her bed overflowed with both under a beautiful canopy. “It’s okay,” Sally Anne said as she looked out the large bay window. “Oh-oh, the other girls are coming in their fancy car. Father asked Mother to invite them. I just wanted you to come but he said that it would be good for business if Mother invited the mothers and daughters of his employees.”

Isabel didn’t know what an employee was but she could see the girls in fancy hats and dresses looking up at the window.” Sometimes they are nice,” Sally Anne said and then rolled her eyes. We won’t let them spoil our party will we Isabel?”

Isabel shook her head and followed down the flight of stairs and stood just to the side as Sally Anne greeted her other guests.

“Isabel, I would like you to meet Arlene and Mary Polly. Girls, I would like you to meet my best friend, Isabel”

“Hello,” the girls acknowledged the introduction and then started chattering without including Isabel in the conversation.  Isabel looked across the hall into the parlor where Mama held baby Maggie as two other women gushed about Mrs. Albright’s outfit.

“Tea is served in the dining room,” the maid said as she led the girls and their mothers through French doors into a beautifully decorated room. “Ladies please be seated,” she indicated the large, beautifully decorated table and then directed the little girls to a smaller table set with a small tea set and dishes with a bowl of flowers in the center along with the petite tea set.

Each little girl gasped as they sat down at their table already occupied by toy bunny rabbits!

 

Sally Anne tiptoed to the large table against the wall laden with many treats. “Sally Anne, you should sit down with your guests now. Angela will serve you.

“Yes ma’am,” Sally Anne said softly. “May I serve the tea? Cookie showed me how.”

“Yes, you may. Do you need any help?”

“No thank you,” Sally Anne said with a smile and ran back to the little table set just for her and her little friends.

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After the girls were seated, with Sally Anne at the head of the table, Miss Angela rolled a tea cart to the small table. Sally Anne stood by the tea cart and asked Little Isabel to ask the blessing. After the prayer was said, Sally Anne became very prim and proper. She picked up the creamer and poured until each cup was more than half filled. Next, she laid a pretty strainer and poured the weak tea into each cup. She grasped the silver tongs and picked up a lump of sugar. “Do you want one lump or two?”

“One lump is quite enough Dear,” Mrs. Albright said and then turned back to Mama and the other ladies.

Isabel, Arlene and Mary Polly put their gloved hands over their mouth to stifle giggles as Sally Anne added to more lumps into each cup.

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Each girl chose a sandwich in the shape of a heart and two cookies each. Isabel picked up the soft white napkin and placed it in her lap and then raised her tiny teaspoon with a floral design on the handle and gently stirred her tea; being careful not to spill it on the lovely tablecloth. The clink, clink, clink of spoons against china tea cups almost sounded like music to Isabel.

Found on supergoldenbakes.blogspot.co.uk Earl Grey Tea Cake

After the last sip of tea, the last treat eaten, and the giggling had ceased, Sally Anne stood and smiled at her friends.

“Thank you, Isabel, Arlene and Mary Polly for coming to my tea party! To thank you for coming, we have something special outside for everyone.

“Oh boy!” the girls said in unison as they slid their chairs back. Isabel squeezed the toy rabbit that had occupied the seat with her.

“Be sure to bring your rabbit,” Sally Anne said with a smile, “it’s for you! I have one for little Maggie too.” Sally Anne crossed the room with a small, soft rabbit and presented it to Maggie who was enjoying a cookie in a high chair near Mama.

Mrs. Albright placed her cloth napkin on the table. “Let’s all go into the garden,” she said with a smile.

View More: http://annenunnphotography.passgallery.com/event/wTMDM133297There was a table outside by the hydrangea bush loaded with gifts. Each child had brought a birthday gift for their hostess, Sally Anne which were wrapped in pretty paper, tied with bright satin ribbons. There were also baskets filled with toys and six buckets containing carrots and a book.

“These are for you,” Sally Anne said. My favorite book is The Tale of Peter Rabbit and I thought you would like it too.”

“Are the carrots for feeding the toy rabbits?” Isabel asked softly.

Sally Anne smiled and pointed to the back of the lawn. “Father gave me a Peter Rabbit of my own. I thought we would have fun feeding him!”

Little Isabel smiled as she eyed the soft, brown bunny with a fluffy white tail. She watched her friend give the critter a carrot but what really had Isabel’s attention was the way his nose wiggled and twitched. Soon, all of the girls started laughing as Isabel tried to wiggle her nose and they all joined in.

Sally Anne returned Peter Rabbit to his cage and led her friends in a race to the gift table. The girls stopped suddenly and their eyes grew large at two pink cakes, each containing four candles. “I believe we have two birthday girls here today,” Mrs. Cookie said with a smile.

“That’s right,” Mrs. Albright said as she lit the candles. “Let’s all wish Sally Anne and Isabel a happy birthday!”

Isabel looked at the cake and then at Mama who urged her to blow the candles. “When I say, ‘go’ blow them out together,” Mama said. It was then Isabel saw two piles of birthday gifts.  Mama had each girl sit in a decorated chair to open their gifts before having a piece of cake. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The girls slowly opened the gifts, exclaiming over each one and all five girls were given a basket of gifts, including a tin of Beatrix Potter Tea, cookies, paper dolls, a large coloring book and crayons. Isabel’s favorite was the Peter Rabbit tea set from Sally Anne.

 

Little Isabel Kathie Kathie

“Isabel,” Mama said softly. “Did you enjoy your first tea party?

“Oh yes! It is my favorite day of all!”

~*~

Photos used from Pinterest. Little Isabel photograph is used with permission.

Little Isabel’s First Tea Party ~ Part 2 ~ Anticipation

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Little Isabel awakened to the song of the rooster who delighted in crowing as soon as the sun peeped through the curtain of darkness. A shaft of light through the curtain cast a glow about the room. Isabel stretched and reached for her favorite item of the week – her first tea party invitation. She looked at the picture of  little girls on the card drinking tea and eating cake.

   ~*~

“Just one more sleep,” Mama said last night after bedtime prayers. Isabel tried to sleep but every time she closed her eyes, she thought about the upcoming tea party. .

“My eyes won’t stay closed. I want to go to the tea party now!”

“I’m sorry Dear but Sally Anne isn’t ready for your party yet.”

“How come?
“Well, Mama said softly as she pushed Isabel’s hair back, “there is much to prepare for a tea party – especially if it is also a birthday party.  Sally Anne’s mother and Mrs. Cookie will bake special treats, they will set a pretty table and Sally Anne will probably have a new dress to wear for her special occasion. So you see, they want everything to be perfect for the party.”

“Will they have cake?” Isabel licked her lips in anticipation. “Chocolate cake?”

“Perhaps.” Mama answered with a smile. “Is that the kind of cake you would like for your birthday?”

“Oh, yes Mama!” Isabel sat on her knees and clapped at the thought. “With candy flowers on it too! Will they have cookies?”

“I wouldn’t be surprised,” Mama said as she eased the child back under the covers. “There may be finger sandwiches too.”

“Finger sandwiches?” Isabel popped up again but this time with trepidation as she looked down at her hands.”

” Finger sandwiches are very small sandwiches.  So small that you can pick them up with your fingers and eat daintily. Just like a lady or a princess.. Now go to sleep. The faster you go to sleep, the more quickly time will pass. Besides, we have a busy day tomorrow. Remember? We are going berry picking and then after dinner we will add hair to the dolly we made as Sally Anne’s gift. Then there will be one more sleep before the party.”

“Yes ma’am.” Isabel said as she pressed her invitation close to her face. “It smells sweet like peppermint.”

“Indeed.” Mama said as she kissed the child’s forehead and pulled the covers up to Isabel’s chin. “Sweet dreams, little ~*~

Isabel stretched again and slid her legs over the side of the bed. “Good Morning!” she called to her two older brothers on the other side of the curtain wall that separated their rooms. When no one responded, she called again. “It’s morning. Wake up Eugene. Wake up, Curtis!”

~*~

After breakfast, Isabel stood on a stool beside Mama at the sink. “I love washing dishes!”

“You are my good helper, Isabel!”

A bright smile lit her face at Mama’s compliment. At that very moment, baby Maggie banged on her high chair with her rattle.

“Baby Maggie wants to help too,” Mama said with a smile as she washed the dish cloth and dish towel and hung them on the rod by the stove to dry. She scooped up the baby and led Isabel back into her room. “While I’m changing baby Maggie, you may put on the clothes I laid out for you on your bed.”

Isabel ran into her room and returned to Mama with a pair of her brother’s old overalls. “Oh-oh Mama. You put Curtis’ clothes on my bed. I can’t find my dress.”

“Since we are going berry picking, I thought it would be better if you wear pants today. I don’t want the mosquitoes and chiggers to bite you.”

Isabel’s eyes grew large at the thought of bugs chowing down on her. “Mama, do I have’ta go?”

“Certainly. Berry picking is fun – especially if you dress properly. There’s no need to be afraid. I will be right there with you.”

“Mama, are you wearing overalls too?”

“Oh yes. I will wear a pair of Papa’s dungarees. We might look funny but we will be protected from the sun and insects. Besides, no one should see us.” Mama laughed as they changed into the “boys” clothes and checked out there image in the mirror.

“I look like a boy,” little Isabel said as she looked at herself in the mirror.”

“You could never look like a boy, dear. Come and sit down at the vanity and we fix your hair so that no one could mistake you for a boy. Okay?”

“Yes, Mama.” Isabel began to smile as Mama parted her hair, pulled up one side in one hand and wrapped twine around the little tail, tied it securely, and repeated the process with the other side. “They look like piggy tails,” Isabel squealed and shook her head, watching the pig tails bounce.

“Now,” Mama said as she securely pinned the coverall straps to prevent them from falling off Isabel’s tiny shoulders. “How’s that? Did you noticed I embroidered little hearts on your pants? No little boy would wear that!”

Isabel studied Mama’s handiwork  and twirled around. “They don’t swish like a dress,” Isabel said as she tried to get her pants to swish with her. She giggled as Mama cinched the belt to Papa’s dungarees and joined Isabel in twirling. “You’re right. They’re not as much fun to wear but we won’t get insect bites or scratches from briars. Now, off to the berry patch!”

Isabel and Mama rode in the buggy to the nearest berry patch. “Just think, Isabel. Soon we will have our own berry patch and not have to pay a penny to anyone to pick them.” Isabel grinned as Mama pulled baskets out of the back of the buggy. “We need as many berries as we can carry. We will have preserves and jam to last all winter! Just remember to put more berries in the baskets and less into your mouth. Okay?”

By the end of the day, Little Isabel had been washed, fed and into bed before sunset. When Mama checked on her an hour later, Isabel was still sleeping soundly with her doll on her arm and the invitation in her hand. Goodnight, little Isabel. Tomorrow you will attend your long awaited tea party!

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Photos used with permission.

Little Isabel’s First Tea Party ~ Part 1 ~ The Invitation

10013312_552442084874278_741931352_nMadison skipping KTK

“Mama, Mama!” Little Isabel called as she skipped on the bottom of the steps leading to the back porch.

“Isabel,” Mama said as she walked up to the screen door, wiping her hands on her apron. “What’s wrong?”

“I got a letter! See? Mr. Ratcliffe said it’s just for me!” Isabel said as she waved an envelope above her head.

“A letter?” Isabel looked back to the mail man as the screen door squeaked and closed with a gentle clap.

“Good morning, Mr. Ratcliffe,” Mama said as she reached for the mail.

“Mornin’ Mrs. Greene, hope you don’t mind that I gave the little one her mail,” he said with a smile at Isabel who continued jumping.

“It’s always fun to see children respond to having something of their own to open. Sure wish adults responded with as much joy as your little girl. The last home I delivered to had a fierce-looking dog growling at me. I was tempted to throw their mail in the yard and take off.” Mr. Ratliff removed his hat and wiped his head with a handkerchief, then fanned himself with his hat. “Sure is a scorcher and the day has barely begun.”

“Why don’t you take a moment to rest in the shade? Would you prefer water or milk? Mama asked with concern in her voice. Isabel turned and waved her envelope. “Bend down, Mr. Ratcliffe,” she said mirroring Mama’s concern. “I’ll fan your face. Isn’t that better?”

“Much better,” he said with a smile and patted the child’s head. “I think I will sit in the shade for just a minute.”

Mama returned with a pitcher of cold milk, two glasses and a plate of cookies. “Why are you walking in this heat? I noticed you didn’t come in the horse and wagon.” Mama said as she  poured a tall glass of milk for the mailman and a small pewter cup for Isabel. Each took a cookie and smiled at each other as if sharing a special treat.

“Hello Charley,” Papa’s voice boomed as he stepped out of the barn and walked quickly to the guest. “Something happen to ol’ Nellie?”

“Avil Greene, you’re just the man I was looking for. Nellie’s fine but I think I broke an axle on the wagon about two miles back. I wondered if you might be able to repair it?”

Papa accepted a glass of milk from Mama and sat in the wicker chair facing the guest. “I can give it a try. Lets have a few of those delicious cookies first though,” Papa said with a smile and drank the milk in one gulp.

“Funny Papa!” Isabel said, “Your mustache is drinking milk too.” Papa smiled and wiped his mouth on the sleeve of his shirt.

“Look what I got, Papa. I got mail!” Isabel said as she started to jump for joy.

“Well, will you look at that! Who’s it from?”

Isabel’s smile began to fade. “Who is it from, Mama?” Isabel said as she watched Mama carefully open the envelope.

Mama smiled and pulled out a card. “Isabel, It looks like you have been invited to a tea party!”

“A tea party for me?”

“Lets read the card and see,” Mama said as she sat on the remaining white wicker chair and pulled Isabel onto her lap.

c236385fe767871d708a39f79ab5a75dTea Rhyme

Mama read the poem on the card and read a note inside.

Miss Isabel Greene is cordially invited to a tea party

Saturday afternoon at the home of

Miss Sally Anne Albright.

Just bring a smile and your baby sister too.

We are looking forward to having tea and cake with you!

“Oh boy, we’re going to a tea party, we’re going to a tea party!” Isabel sang as she ran around the yard. Suddenly, she stopped and turned to Mama.

“What’s a tea party?”

“A wonderful occasion,” Mama said with a smile. “After dinner, we will have a practice tea party, and you may use a real tea cup. We will celebrate Sally Anne’s fourth birthday so you and I will make a special gift for her. Won’t that be fun?” Mama smiled as Isabel vigorously nodded her head.

“When’s the party?”

“Saturday,” Mama said with a smile. “Today is Tuesday. Saturday is after four nights – bedtimes. Lets count the days together.”

Isabel held up her hand and imitated Mama.  “Tonight is Tuesday” she said as she raised one finger. Then Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and finally, Saturday! One- two-three-four!”

“Four,” Isabel said as she recounted her fingers and smiled. “Tea Party is on Thumpkin day!” Isabel said to Papa and Mr. Ratcliffe who smiled and ruffled her hair before turning to hitch the buggy to Papa’s horse.

“Thank you for my in-inv-a-mail!” Isabel shouted at the buggy turned out of the yard.

“Now,” Mama said as she gathered the glasses and placed them on the tray. “Lets go inside and decide what to make for Sally Anne before baby Maggie wakes up from her nap and your brothers get home from school.”

Isabel skipped ahead and opened the screen door. “I like tea parties!” Isabel said with a smile.

“Me too,” Mama said softly. “My little girl is growing up!”

~*~

A Word from the author:

I can just imagine the excitement Isabel and her friend Sally Anne must have shared as they waited for the day of the tea party. Mrs. Albright and Cookie’s excitement must have rivaled the children as they planned the tea party.

You can read more about Isabel in the novel, The Vision of a Mother’s Heart which was inspired by my grandmother, Isabel’s childhood. Set in rural Virginia in 1924. The Little Isabel stories would of course have taken place around 1917. As of this month, the real Isabel would have been 100 years old.

 To commemorate Isabel’s birthday, we are reprinting The Vision of a Mother’s Heart through Create Space and have it published as an e-book. It should be available on line soon!

I saw the following recipe on Pinterest and thought it would be amazing for a child’s tea party.

 

http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/962361/edible-teacup-cookies-recipe

The Watch (Part 4) Preview Chapter for Hope Beyond The Sunset By Katherine Hinchee Purdy

The Watch
Preview chapter from Hope Beyond The Sunset
By Kathreine Hinchee Purdy
(Isabel’s Story Book 2)

 

 

Isabel waited until every student had left and softly walked to the teacher who sat at the desk, fingering the watch around her neck with a far-away look on her face.

“Miss Meredith,” Isabel said softly as she touched the teacher’s arm. “I’m sorry about your friend. He sounds wonderful.”

“He was,” Miss Meredith reached for a hankie tucked into her sleeve and dabbed her eyes. “How did you know?”

“Your watch – you don’t just wear it to tell time. You trace the design with your fingers when you think no one is watching. I do the same thing with Mama’s hankie.” Isabel pulled an embroidered handkerchief from her handbag. “When Mama died, I kept this because it smelled like her. It’s one of the few things we saved when the house caught on fire a few weeks after Mama died. Sometimes I hold it to my face and remember Mama.”

The teacher nodded and touched Isabel’s arm. “Your Mama would have been very proud of you.”

“I hope so,” Isabel said softly. “Sometimes I wonder if she would be sad that Papa gave us away.”

“It must have been very difficult for your Papa to find homes for all nine of you. I understand it is only temporary,” Miss Meredith said gently. “He was brave to make the wise decision to put your future before the comfort of having all of you under one roof.”

“If Papa could have gotten married, we could have stayed together. I hope he finds someone soon,” Isabel said as she picked up her school books and turned toward the door. Just as she reached the doorway, she turned to face her teacher again.”

“Miss Meredith,”

“Yes, Isabel?”

“Do you think you will ever get married?”

 

The Watch (Part 3) Preview chapter for Hope Beyond The Sunset By Katherine Hinchee Purdy

The Watch
Preview chapter from Hope Beyond The Sunset by Kathreine Hinchee Purdy
(Isabel’s Story Book 2)

Alright class, that will be enough talk about things of which you know nothing.” Miss Meredith closed the classroom door and moved slowly, deliberately to her desk, pulling out her history book and an envelope before addressing the class.

“Now, open your history book to the chapter on The Great War. How many of you completed your assignment to interview a veteran of the Great War?”

Isabel raised her hand, slightly leaning to the right, hoping the boy sitting directly in front of her hid her. I hope she doesn’t call on me!

“Fine,” Miss Meredith said as she turned to write on the chalk board. “Your assignment tonight is to interview the wife, mother, sister or child of a Great War Veteran. I would like you to copy the questions from the board to include in your interview.”

Murmurs and groans filled the room. “Don’t know why we have to ask the women,” a boy from the back of the room stated boldly, “they didn’t do nothing!”

“They didn’t do anything, Timothy,” Miss Meredith corrected, “and your statement is false. Women made the sacrifice of their loved ones as well as doing all that they could to aid our troops. Many women took over running the farm or the family business, some went to work in factories to provide for their family, they knitted socks and scarves, rolled bandages, provided doughnuts and coffee for troops on the home front and many young women joined the Red Cross to give comfort and provide nursing skills to our wounded soldiers.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Timothy said and slouched in his chair.

“Sit up straight and listen to the story I am about to share with you.” Miss Meredith lifted up the watch necklace, ran her finger gently over the raised design, and allowed it to fall gently against her high collar shirtwaist.

Isabel looked at Millie across the aisle and both girls leaned forward, sensing a good story was forthcoming.

“Many years ago, two children sat at the very desks you are using today. The young ladies sat on one side of the room and the boys sat on the other. Both children loved school and looked forward to a bright future. As they matured, their friendship grew into a deep love for one another and the young man promised to marry the young lady after he graduated from the University of Virginia. Both sets of parents approved of the couple’s plans. While the young man studied at the University, the young lady also attended college while filling her hope chest with handmade linens and other items which would someday grace the home they had planned together.

Their plans came to a sudden halt one fateful day.” The teacher paused and looked around the room slowly before continuing the story. “One terrible three letter word shattered their dreams forever. War.”

“The young lady has given me permission to share this story and a letter written by her young man with you, today. I want you to listen carefully; you may be in the same situation someday. I pray that will not be the case,” she said as she took her seat at her desk, removed a slightly yellowed paper from its envelope and took a deep breath and began to read.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My darling,

Sun is beginning to set and the smoke from a recent battle still hangs in the air. There is no way of knowing when the sound of war will reconvene so I am taking this respite to write to you as I wait in a deep, damp trench. I hope you have received my letters. I have only received one from you but I know there are more as you promised to write me every day. I know you keep your promises; you always have. Even when we were children, you hid food in your pockets and climbed the old oak tree outside my room on the nights I had been in trouble for throwing spit balls at the teacher or fighting on the playground. The punishment was always to go to bed without supper and that always broke your tender heart. You always promised to bring me something to eat and you always did. Oh, if only you could bring some of your Mama’s delicious fried chicken and biscuits tonight. A piece of your cherry pie would be like a slice of heaven now. Just thinking of the delicious fragrances takes my mind off the horrors surrounding me.

Do you remember our pal Moose? He lost a leg this morning. Pray that gangrene will not set in and take his life. He was only a few paces ahead of me. I attempted to carry him to safety but was suddenly caught up in a barrage of gunfire. Just as the medics arrived, we took flack so thick I thought it would never end. I returned to fighting and my rifle was so hot it seared the skin. I won’t go into details about the battle. I know you are praying, and that we are not alone. The Lord is with us. So I will speak of more pleasant things, my dear.

Do you remember the little cottage over by the lake I showed you the summer before last? The one we dreamed of owning some day? I know you do. You had it decorated in your pretty little head before I had time to walk around the perimeters.  The next day, you showed me sketches of the changes you wanted to make to “our” cottage. I can still see that final drawing in my head.  The cottage painted blue with white trim, window boxes filled with flowers, white gingerbread trim, a red door and ivy growing up the side. A cobblestone walkway lined with flowers, fronted by a white picket fence with a swinging gate. We shall have that as our home, dear when I return. Arrangements were made with my parents and their lawyer to apply a large percentage of my soldier’s pay to go towards the cottage and for the renovations.  We will even be able to add two rooms downstairs and up and plumbing installed. Should anything happen to me, the cottage is yours.  I can see you now, standing in the large bay window, checking the time on your watch necklace, counting the minutes until I arrive home from work. Perhaps tapping your foot, as I drive up in our motor car twenty minutes late for dinner. Can’t you just see it? This is what keeps me sane as we march along, looking for jerry’s, doing the task at hand. Waiting, watching, fearing, praying and dreaming the day when this awful war is over and we can go home.

It is getting dark and I will try and muster up some imaginative food as I try to force down the horrible concoction they refer to as rations. I will think of Mother’s pot roast tonight, I think. If you have a chance, when you receive this letter, will you please make a batch of your famous fudge and take it to Mother and Father? Visit with them for a while and please, have two pieces of that sweet delicacy for me; accompanied by two mugs of that good coffee from the store down the street?

I know I don’t have to ask. The letter I received from Mother said that you visit often and are always wearing our promise watch – the watch you promised to wear always until we meet again. I can still remember when I gave it to you. It was the night before I shipped out. You didn’t say so but I know you were expecting a ring. You covered your surprise well, my dear, but I knew you were disappointed. I couldn’t place a ring of promise on your finger under sad circumstances. I will save that joy until I come home. We can get married and live in our little cottage together for the rest of our lives. Just think of it, growing old together in our dream cottage.

Your words still ring in my ears as I remember you gently tracing the designing of the silver watch. “I will wear this near my heart and every tick of the watch will remind me of your heartbeat. Then you will not seem so far away. You will be just as near as my heart!”

I still have the locket you gave me with your image smiling at me inside and my parents on the other side. It too lies near my heart, carefully protected by my uniform and a small Bible I keep in my left pocket.

Something is happening ahead. I must put this away for now. Remember, I am only a heartbeat away. There is something else God is prompting me to remind you.

“To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

We shall meet again; here on earth or in our cottage in Heaven.

Forever yours,

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Isabel dabbed her eyes with the corner of her hankie as Miss Meredith gently folded the letter and placed it carefully into the envelope.

“This letter was delivered with a box of his belongings a month later. He didn’t even get to sign his name. A German bullet pierced his heart – I am told that he never felt pain. He was immediately transported from the trenches of war to the splendor of Heaven.”

The class sat in stunned silence as the school bell alerted them that the school day was at an end. No one moved for minutes and then as the spell was broken by a girl’s gentle sob. Students quietly gathered their books and walked past Miss Meredith with lowered heads.

The Watch Part 2 (A Preview) by Katherine Hinchee Purdy

katherinehpurdy:

Sample chapter from Hope Beyond The Sunset by Katherine Hinchee Purdy

When we lose someone we love, we gain a new perspective. Isabel was more sensitive of other peoples feelings that she didn’t have before. She had lost the most important person in her life at an early age. In the sequel to The Vision of a Mother’s Heart, Isabel’s eyes are opened to others needs as we will see in this preview series.

Originally posted on Katherine H. Purdy:

Isabel finished her lunch and replaced the napkin in her lunch tin, shaking away crumbs from her dress and lined up with the rest of the class behind Miss. Meredith

“Alright class,” Miss Meredith said as she looked at the watch she wore on a silver chain around her neck. “You may quietly get a drink of water at the water fountain and walk softly to your seat. Take out your history book alone with your assignment,” she added.

“I don’t like studying about war,” Isabel whispered to the girl behind her in line.

“Me either,” Millie said, pulling her long hair to the side as she anticipated her turn at the fountain. “War is boys stuff!”

“I like it,” a male voice chirped in. “We cleaned the Kiser’s clock for good!”

“Yeah,” another boy joined the conversation. “Wish we had been there!”

“That will be enough, children! You know…

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He is Risen!

Originally posted on Katherine H. Purdy:

2621_emptytombcrosses_full

“He is not here, He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”

Matthew 28:6

Why do we celebrate Easter? It’s not about the new clothes, baskets of candy, it’s not about a bunny who hides pretty eggs for children to find. We celebrate Easter because God loved us enough to send His Son to bear our sin on the cross so that we may be saved. (John 3:16- 17) We celebrate Easter because He rose from the dead three days later and in doing so, He conquered death! He arose that we may have everlasting life. He did not stay on the cross. His work on the cross was completed when He said in a loud voice on the cross, “It is Finished!” He arose the third day because He is God! He has power over death. He also has the power to give…

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Peter’s Forgiveness: A Rhyme for Preschoolers

katherinehpurdy:

I posted this last year and couldn’t resist reposting. We often say with Peter, “I will never deny the Lord Jesus Christ!” and yet, Peter denied Him out of fear. Praise the Lord, Peter was forgiven. This year, we have seen believers on the news who have been tortured and killed because they refuse to deny our Lord. It is a scary time in history and I wonder, would I stand firm and refuse to deny Him no matter what? I pray that if that were the case, the Holy Spirit would give me the strength and courage to stand for Christ. And then I remember. Jesus died for the persecutors too. He will forgive them too. It is my prayer for believers to courageously stand for Him and that the evil men will see Christ through the captors and will receive Christ as their Savior and His forgiveness. This is why Christ died. Even for terrorists.

Originally posted on Katherine H. Purdy:

My friend who has been working with four-year-olds shared this in her newsletter yesterday and has given me permission to share it with you. Children that age love rhyme and as you know, some jingles continue to come to mind years after we learned it. Praying it is so with this song/rhyme!

I don’t know about you but I can emphasize with Peter. So often we speak before we think, we act on emotions and we want to be so close to the Lord that we desire to walk on water with Him. And then in a moment of distress, we forget all He has done and say or try to do something in our own strength and we fail. The good news is that through the Lord Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven and cast into the sea – as far as the east is from the west. Peter…

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Activities to Emphasize the True Meaning of Easter / Character Concepts by Marilyn Boyer

It is my joy to repost one of my favorite Easter posts from my friend, author, speaker, blogger, Homeschool Mom, wife, Mother and Grandmother, Marilyn Boyer. 

Her family site is now http://characterconceptsblog.com/ I hope you will have the opportunity to visit their site.

Looking for a special tradition to teach children about the true meaning of Easter? Reposted last year from The Learning Parent. This is a wonder activity to do with your children, grandchildren or young children to teach the true meaning of Easter. An empty tomb! “He is not here; He is risen!” Click on the link below for the recipe! Check out her website for other wonderful crafts, books, activities and pics! Activities to Emphasize the True Meaning of Easter |http://characterconceptsblog.com/