Happy Birthday, Nannie!

Today is my grandmother’s birthday. Without a doubt, she is celebrating at the feet of our Lord Jesus Christ with her precious “Mama,” Papa, her sisters, brothers, three children and one grandchild

Nannie lived most of her life in Roanoke, Virginia and lived a few years in Richmond, Virginia working at Johnston-Willis Hospital. She was a hard worker and loved children!

Isabel Riley & Baby Ronald Lee Riley (2013_12_29 01_50_28 UTC)

Why celebrate someone’s birthday after they are no longer with us? Because she made life special for many people most of her life. She cared for her younger siblings after her mother died and made a home for her grandchildren as well as her children.  It is just a way to remember and in that remembrance, to give God the glory. (This is also why I believe God placed her story on my heart to write. The Vision of a Mother’s Heart is about my grandmother, Isabel.)

Birthday tea with the pin and handkerchief I bought for “Isabel” when I was a child. She returned them to me when I got married.

Isabel surrounded by four of her children, Barbara, Ron, Betty and Sandra on her birthday, August 28, 1996.Cakes by AshleyHappy Birthday, Nannie. We miss you.


If you would like to read about Isabel’s eleventh birthday, I will be posting excerpts from The Vision of a Mother’s Heart this week. You may read parts of the chapter each day at The Vision of a Mother’s Heart by Katherine Hinchee Purdy

The Vision of a Mother's Heart (2013_12_29 01_50_28 UTC)

The Vision of a Mother's Heart back of book

Forgiveness and Fellowship

Throw Back Thursday: I ran across this post from  December, 2011. I am happy to say that Ruby no longer chews on cords or anything she isn’t supposed to chew on. She dearly loves the treats “Daddy” gives her, Skippy and little Alice around 9pm each night.

Miss Ruby hiding under the table after chewing the tree light cord.

Poor Ruby. When she gets bored, she chews on things such as the Christmas tree cord which was thankfully, unplugged. She also loves the strings on window blinds. At our former home, our mini blinds had a plastic twist-to open or close- rod. She loved to bat it back and forth and then she discovered the threads holding the blinds together. What a temptation!

She is actually the sweetest kitty I know. She loves to give “kitty kisses” and wants to be near us. (Maine Coons are not as snugly as some of our other cats but that doesn’t mean they don’t show affection in their own way.) If you stop and think about it, we are very much like that with the Lord. We give into temptation and then when we realize our sin, we feel guilt and run from the Lord.

When Ruby realized she was being naughty, (our scream might have been a clue – we were afraid she would swallow the plastic as thankfully, the lights were not plugged in.) she ran and hid under the kitchen table and chairs.  (It didn’t help that “big brother, Skip” pounced on her!) She didn’t want to come out and play or sit on her cat tree. Even though after the initial scare, and we were sure she knew the tree lights were off limits, we spoke softly to her and told her it would be okay.

She watched as John had to snip away the tight plastic ties holding the pre-lit lights to the branches. Eventually, she got closer and closer as she watched him remove the evidence of her destruction but she didn’t come out from under the table until after we put the rest of the tree together and prepared to go to bed. She followed us from room to room until she was satisfied she was forgiven or her guilt was lost with time.

As you see, Ruby and Skippy had a wonderful Christmas!

Now she is content to sleep under the tree.


How many times have we sinned against the Lord and our guilt held us back from reading His Word, praying or from having fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ?  How can we forget that He has already forgiven us? That the penalty of our sin was paid on the Cross by our sinless Savior? Why does it take us so long to agree with God about our sin? Pride? Fear? The old sin nature?

I John 1:5-9

Verse 5) “This is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light,

and in Him is no darkness at all.

6) If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth;

7) But we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of

Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.

8)  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

9) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Did you catch that? He paid for our sin on the cross with his precious, sinless blood which cleanses us from all unrighteousness. If we have confessed to him that I am a sinner, He forgives us – for always. The Word says that Jesus died once for all! He loves us. He wants to fellowship with us! He wants us to walk in the light – just as He is THE LIGHT.  Verse nine is for believers. When we sin, we break fellowship with Him. Just as Ruby felt guilty and hid away from us because she knew that she had done something wrong.

He wants our fellowship! He wants us to walk in the light and share in the joy of His love. He leaves it up to us. To come to Him and confess our sin to Him – agree with God that what you did, thought, watched, listened to or harbored in your heart so that our sweet fellowship is restored and we want to come to Him. To fellowship with Him, to read His Word above all else and to pour out our heart to Him in prayer. He is our Heavenly Father and loves us.

At this time of the year when parents warn their children, “If you are naughty, Santa won’t bring you anything for Christmas!” (Or in days gone by, he may have left a chunk of coal in your stocking instead of goodies.) In a way, children are being taught a system of works. (Check out Ephesians 28-9)  Isn’t it wonderful to know that Jesus has already taken care of the “naughty” and wants us to come to Him?


This Christmas, let the children come to Jesus and adore Him together!


Have a blessed Christmas!


An Exciting Evening in our Neighborhood!


When all of the wrappers are empty

and all of the candy devoured,

The Word of God remains.

In this you can be secure.

“Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

It was so exciting in our neighborhood last night. We saw a beautiful Cinderella, a cute little lady bug, some pirates, two “Officers in Blue”, two Darth Vaders, Many Star War characters, pirates, (one beautiful girl pirate in a gorgeous costume!) Too many to count.

John was giving out treats to four young ladies (probably in 4th -6th grade) and one girl dressed in a pioneer dress and bonnet caught my attention. She reminded me of “Ma Ingalls” with pretty blonde hair. (Probably Laura or Mary Ingalls) For some reason, I had an overwhelming desire to give her a copy of The Vision of a Mother’s Heart. (My book). She reminded me of “Isabel!” I grabbed a book and ran after her.

The Vision of a Mother's Heart


She was so excited when I told her she could keep it. Her three friend’s faces lit up. “May we have one too?” “Of course!” So I gave out books and promised they could stop by and I would sigh it for them – if they like it.

A light went off for John. “How many Missy Cats books do you have?

A Christmas Story



We gave out quite a few to the little ones. Thank you, Lord for the opportunity to serve Him even on an occassion first designed in paganism. Between Gospel Tracts and my books,which include the Gospel,  Jesus was our focus tonight.

God’s Word never returns void. I am praying for each child and parent we met last night.

Did I mention we also got to meet many neighbors? It was a beautiful night and many of our neighbors sat on their porches to give out treats and we decided to sit outside as well. It was a wonderful evening.

Now, if only I had thought to take pictures! Speaking of pictures, I found these two gems among the Purdy Family Pictures. These two snapshots were taken in 1958. My husband is the cute little pirate.


Things haven’t changed too much over the years. Have they?

Egg Shampoo and Rainwater: Sample Chapter from The Vision of a Mother’s Heart (Katherine H. Purdy)

The weeks of rain showers reminde me of one of my favorite chapters in

The Vision of a Mother’s Heart!


 In 1924 some things were done differently. Isabel’s family had a pump in the kitchen but it only pumped cold water. Families who lived in the country only took a full bath once a week as well as washing their hair. In order to conserve water during a dry season, families kept a rain barrel under the gutter to catch rain water. If you were creative, you could turn a chore such as washing your hair into a play time. My grandmother talked about washing her hair in the rain and allowed her children to do the same. When I was a child, I wanted the same experience but was told there was too much pollution in the air.  So, lets enjoy Isabel and her two sisters experiencee from Chapter 22 of The Vision of a Mother’s Heart.

Egg Shampoo and Rainwater

“WELL,” MAMA said as she placed the last loaf of bread into the oven, “tomorrow is Sunday, so we need to wash your hair, girls.”

“May we wash our hair in the rain?” Isabel asked as she looked outside at the cool, steady rain from the kitchen window.

“You always say that rain water smells good and we won’t have to use up the well water for our hair.” Isabel smiled as she made the last comment, knowing Papa was worried that the well would go dry before the end of the summer.

“Well,” Mama said, “I suppose it would be alright as long as you agree to come back inside at the first sound of thunder.

Go upstairs, and put on your bathing clothes so you will not mess up your work clothes.”

“Yes, Mama,” Isabel said. She headed for the back steps to her room. Maggie and Sylvia followed and then passed her on the steps.

“Oh boy,” Sylvia raced to their room. “I love playing in the rain.”  ”Sylvia said as she quickly dressed.

“Well,” Isabel said, “we are not playing in the rain; we are washing our hair.”

Isabel said. She pulled out her bathing I wish Mama and Papa would allow us to wear the new style like everyone else.

These old things are heavier than our regular dresses. Besides, they look ugly, and they are no good for swimming.  The last time we went swimming, I nearly drowned because my clothes were full of water and dragging me under water.”

“I remember,” Maggie said. She giggled and watched Isabel make funny faces at the offending fabric.

“Ye gads,” Isabel said. She attempted to button the dress portion of her swimsuit.

“Isabel,” Maggie said, “you just used God’s name in vain.”

“No I didn’t. I just said the same thing everybody says.”

“Mama wouldn’t like it..”

“Oh, Maggie,” Isabel said to her sister, who was also struggling with her suit, “you are such a goody-goody sometimes.

Besides, I said g-a-ds and with a little g – like the Roman gods, you know.”

“That does not make it right, Isabel. It is still using God’s name in vain,” Maggie said.

 Isabel decided to drop the issue.

“I’m telling Mama you’re swearing,” Sylvia said as she headed for the bedroom door.

“Please don’t tell her.  It will only upset her, and I promise never to say that again.” Sylvia twisted the doorknob, and Isabel spoke up once more.

I will give you a nickel if you don’t tell.”

“Okay,” Sylvia said. She took the coin from Isabel and Now shut your eyes, and don’t peek!”

Even with her eyes closed, Isabel could hear Sylvia placing the coin under her mattress for safekeeping. Next, Isabel could hear a soft thud as Sylvia removed her hand from under the mattress and a trashing sound as her hands were smoothing out wrinkles from the covers.

As if we didn’t know where she keeps things she doesn’t want us to see,” Maggie said as Sylvia exited the room.

“What do you mean?” Isabel questioned with suspicion.

Sylvie always puts her money and other secret treasures under her mattress. Didn’t you know? ”

“No,” Isabel said.

Maggie said with a smile. “You keep your diary in that old hatbox in the far right corner of the closet,

and the key to unlock it is on a string hanging behind the picture on the wall.”

“Maggie Greene,” Isabel said, “you’ve been snooping.”

Maggie said sweetly as she walked to the window and pulled back the curtain, revealing the old climbing tree a few feet from the house.

“If you want to hide something in our room, you should close the curtain or make sure no one is sitting in the tree reading. ”

“Margaret Louise Greene,  it’s impolite to spy on people; you should have let me know ”

“I saw your diary and you wrote that you have a boyfriend.”

“I do not have a boyfriend!”

Isabel and Arnie sitting in a tree…” Maggie chanted as she took off down the steps with Isabel close behind.

“No running in the house, girls,” Mama said as they entered the kitchen. They slowed their pace to a quick walk as they stepped outside

into the pouring rain.

“Now girls,” Mama said as she stepped onto the back porch. “Lather your hair twice, and be sure to get the suds out.

I will mix up the rinse and be back in a few minutes.”

The three girls twirled around in the rain until their hair was completely wet and then stepped back onto the porch.

“Here,” Isabel said. She picked up the jar of shampoo. “I’ll pour some on your hair, and then you can pour some on mine.”

She poured the amber liquid onto Maggie’s head and massaged it into her sister’s hair. Next, Isabel turned and repeated the

 same for Sylvia. Then Maggie poured the slimy liquid onto Isabel’s head.

“Work up a good lather,” Isabel said as she worked the shampoo through her own long hair.

“Sylvie, it looks you’re wearing a crown on your head. Maggie, let’s see how high we can pile the suds on your head.”

The girls giggled as they made funny figurines on their heads.

“We should rinse it off or the suds will make our head itch.: Isabel quoted Mama, who warned them each time they washed their hair.

“We know that,” Maggie said and then raced off the porch to rinse the suds from her hair and was followed by her sisters.


The girls danced around in the rain again as they attempted to rinse out the offensive lather.

“Oh no,” Isabel said, “the rain is slacking off.”

“Let’s do the second lather before it stops altogether,” Maggie said.


They ran back to the porch and repeated the procedure. Just as they stepped off the porch, the sky seemed to open up

with the heaviest rain they had seen all year.

Sylvia said. She twirled around, allowing the rain to wash her face as well as whisk away the shampoo.

“My hair feels softer already and smells good too,” Isabel said.


Mama stepped onto the porch with a tray containing three jars. She handed Isabel the jar with an amber-colored liquid.

“Apple cider vinegar to rinse your pretty brown hair.”

Isabel wrinkled her nose as she drenched her hair with the pungent rinse. “It stinks,” she said.

“It will make your hair nice and shiny, and it will wash away the suds,” Mama said.

She handed the jar of lemon juice to Maggie and then poured the liquid from the remaining jar on Sylvia’s head and worked it through her hair.

“Why do we have to use lemon juice?” Sylvia asked.

“Because you have blonde hair; it will make it shine like the sun. Now, run back into the rain and rinse.”

The girls obeyed their mother and stepped back onto the porch to squeeze all of the water out of their hair.

Isabel ran her fingers through her hair as she pushed the water out and then squeezed.

“Do you hear that?” she said. “Squeaky clean.”

“Perfect!” Mama said and handed each daughter a dry towel. “Now squeeze the water out of your suits, and go inside.”


After changing from their wet clothes, Isabel and her sisters returned to the kitchen to sit by the stove to dry their hair as they

enjoyed freshly baked cookies and hot chocolate.

“I love washing my hair in the rain,” Isabel said.

“Me too,” the younger girls agreed.

“Yes,” Mama said, “I’m thankful for the rain which will help the crops grow and will help keep my family clean.”


The argument between Isabel and Maggie was lost in the suds and washed away with the raindrops.


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

Memorial Day is about the ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice – the ones who died in battle.  Earl Hamner portrayed this side of Memorial Day when he wrote about “Ben” who made a Memorial Day bench to honor the uncle for whom he was named. When Grandpa Walton sat on the bench and gently touched his sons name, his face said it all. 

We often forget about the suffering of the ones left behind. In todays society, the sorrow and rememberance  of Memorial Day has become a day for picnics and swimming.

The story below is from a chapter from the novel I am currently working on. Hope Beyond the Sunset which is a sequel to The Vision of a Mother’s Heart. The setting is 1926 in Vinton, Virginia where twelve-year-old Isabel attended school. Miss Merrideth is her teacher who overheard boys in the classroom boasting that they would have “Cleaned the Kiser’s clock.” They learned something very important that day.

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.

Congratulations, Ron!

Missy Cat in the Heart of the Tree A Christmas Story By Katherine Purdy Cover

A big Congratulations to Ron Sumner, our friend and illustratior for

Missy Cat in the Heart of the Tree

Liberty University professor brings Broadway touch to ‘Brigadoon’

Please click the link below to see pictures of the fabulous backdrops and Ron’s story.

God has given Ron many talents. Illustrations is one. He is a husband, father, professor, fabulous painter, illustrator, writer and friend. Congratulations, Ron!

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.

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?”


Photo Shoot

I don’t know about you but when I was a child, I loved listening to stories. Especially family stories. Some of my earliest memories were listening to my grandmother talking about her childhood. She had a small picture of her mother holding her first child. That little framed picture was always on the small, round table with claw feet and a lion head with a ring in its nose for a drawer pull. I sat under this table, holding Grandma Lizzie’s photo in my hand. I could imagine her sitting in a rocking chair, singing lullabies to her little one. I could see her washing clothes on a scrub board, and hanging them on a line. Most of the chapters in The Vision of a Mother’s Heart are taken from my grandmother Isabel’s memories.

I think you get the picture. I’m visual. I imagine a scene and then put that scene into words. In future posts there will be pictures of “Mama”. I’m so thrilled to share this with you!

Apparently, I told the stories to my friends and one of my friends from childhood remembered them too. We found each other on Facebook and I haven’t chatted that much since sixth grade!  My friend is a great photographer, seamstress, baker, mother, grandmother, wife and a great friend!


Photo by John Purdy

Photo by John Purdy


The day was freezing cold but my friend, Kathie and my niece, Emily were determined to get some pictures of “Mama” that I can use in my posts or even in my book, The Vision of a Mother’s Heart which is in the process of editing for a second printing.

The Lord is good, He granted me with a healthy day without vertigo or migraines so my husband, John and I were there too. It was amazing! A day I shall remember forever and sweet Emily must have been freezing but she didn’t complain. The temperature was below freezing that day and we were all bundled up except her. Her only warm item was a small afghan throw. What a trooper!

Why did I choose Emily? You know how families are, we see grandma’s eyes, granddaddy’s humor, mama’s chin. Something about Emily’s eyes reminded me of Grandma Lizzie or “Mama” in the book.

Emily and her husband David

Emily and David

Meet Emily. She is my cousin but her Mom and I are so close in age and were more like sisters, I’m “Aunt Kathy” and Emily and her two older brothers are more like my niece and nephew. (Phew! That’s not complicated at all is it? Love is the tie that binds regardless of the title.)  Emily is married and has two wonderful sons.  She recently posted this picture of her and her husband. When I saw this it reminded me of our great-grandmother Lizzie aka “Mama” in The Vision of a Mother’s Heart.

I pulled up Grandma’s picture and placed it beside Emily and shared it with her and my dear friend the photographer and cheerleader for my books. We could finish each other’s sentences in the sixth grade and when we found each other on Facebook, we have been chatting ever since. We still think alike! Our former teacher has given us her approval for our talking now.

A plan was formed. I must say that Kathie and Emily did all of the work! Kathie knew of a perfect location and even made an apron for Emily to wear as well as props for the photos.  Emily wore her mother’s wedding dress as the blouse, bought a long skirt and had her hair fixed in a pompadour.

Lizzie Minnix holding her first son, Eugene. (2)

Emily Baker as Grandma Minnix by Kathie Kingrey

Emily dressed as “Mama” Photo by Kathie Kingrey Photography










Kathie took shots of “Mama” doing the same chores women in rural Virginia which were part of their every day life.

Look for more pictures of “Mama” in upcoming posts.



10299975_712926532159165_1012819302302209335_n - Copy

                  I would like to thank everyone who was part of the photo shop.

To my friend, Kathie of  Kathie   Kingrey Photography, Emilie, my husband, John who ran around taking pictures of Kathie taking pictures! To my Aunt Sandra, her son Doug, Emily’s husband, David, Kathie’s husband, Russ and   a dear friend of Kathie whose excitement for the project matched ours!

I am also thankful for Granny (Nannie to most of her grandchildren), her siblings and their spouse for sharing memories with me. Most of all, I thank The Lord Jesus Christ for opening the door for me.



Proverbs 3:5-6

From the hands of a child

Lachin and Dandelion

Isabel smiled as little Billy crawled to a patch of dandelions and picked one. With a look of accomplishment, he held up his prize and offered it to Mama.

“Ah, that’s nothing but an old weed,” Jimmy said and laughed with their two older brothers. “Papa said so!”

“Boys, you mustn’t laugh at your little brother,” Mama said as she reached for the yellow offering. Farmers might not like dandelions because they say the roots choke the good plants but God made them for a purpose.”

Mama received the gift, lifted it do her nose, breathed deeply and sighed. “Thank you Billy, it’s” she said as she picked him up and held him close. “Every one of you have brought dandelions to me and I treasured every one. Even a dandelion becomes a golden treasure when offered from the hand of a child.”

Jimmy turned and ran to the dandelion patch. “I’m gonna pick some Dandy Lions for you too!”

Lachin and Gabriel


Thank you, Jamie Cook Wilson for letting me use the pictures of your sweet Lachlan and Gabriel!

 Michele Green Photography & Design‘s photo.