Let’s Chat! Hidden Places of the Heart

The Heart’s Hidden Places

Ever find yourself guarding hidden places in your heart? Maybe several? I do. Are you ashamed to have felt certain emotions? How about a physical flaw? Too embarrassed to expose it even to those who love you? Oh, yeah.

Might your hidden places include spiritual struggles? Those nagging, pesky, and sometimes debilitating battles that take you to your knees in abject remorse? Yup. Too many to count. 

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**Congratulations to Jane Waughtal (pen name Jane Quail), winner of the drawing for an Amazon gift card!**

Hidden Places Covered in Dust

When I close my eyes and allow my memories to drift to the surface from their hidden places, I see a school girl and even a college student of the ’50s and ’60s. She’s pushing a wheelbarrow of insecurities. The weight of her load keeps her from expressing herself freely. Oh, she’ll happily write some lines that sound good but don’t scratch the surface of what’s lurking in the dark corners of her inner self. 

She comes across as mature and confident. But she knows the truth. She’s just a country girl, a farmer’s daughter, who lives on a dusty road miles out of town. Her school friends are daughters of ranchers, bankers, doctors, and store owners. Even those whose fathers are farmers own homes in town, not out in the sticks where the wind stirs up dust clouds that can blind a girl to all but what’s at the end of her nose. Hidden places abound in dust storms.

Hidden Places: A Girl’s Attire

This girl dons clean, neat, well-maintained clothing each morning. But her outfits can’t rise to her circle of friends’ standards. To the contrary, her girlfriends frequent the little boutique on Main Street where the racks and shelves bulge with the latest fashion, sassy dresses and skirts and blouses cut from the highest quality fabric and trimmed just so. You see, this girl’s clothes are handmade. Her mother seldom purchases an article of clothing. She sews and teaches her daughter to do the same. But the old sewing machine is locked up tight in a hidden place.

Hidden Places: A Girl’s Ride to Town

Her friends’ parents deliver them to school in brand-spanking-new, clean-as-a-whistle Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles, Buicks, and Chevrolets. They drive over city streets and rarely venture into the countryside. But this girl’s father buys second-hand family cars in whatever color is available–and affordable. She lives down an unpaved road where cars and the school bus stir up dust clouds that choke the passengers. She feels dusty–and a bit embarrassed–when she steps off the bus next to one of those new, clean cars delivering her girlfriends with not a speck of dust.

Hidden Places: A Girl’s Home and Hearth

Her friends live in homes with central air conditioning and “help” who become invisible when guests are around. They chat about what’s going on in the neighborhood–a mysterious place where she can’t imagine living. Her friends share a bond she’ll forever be denied, a familiarity borne of shared streets and playgrounds, riding bikes, service clubs, private swimming pool memberships, Sunday dinner at the one fancy hotel, and vacations in distant locations. 

Hidden Places: A Girl’s Privileges

This girl’s mother is as old-fashioned as they come. Not only does she sew–eegads–but she won’t allow her daughter to wear a bathing suit in a “mixed” crowd. Take dancing lessons or attend dances. Wear hemlines above the knees. Play basketball or try out for cheerleader or twirler, not with uniforms above the knee, for pity’s sake.

Nor is this young girl permitted to miss Sunday morning and evening or Wednesday night church, not even for an end-of-school-year or slumber party or a ball game. Her friends’ll go to church with her first, or there’ll be no party. And forget more than a handful of dates with anyone who refuses to go to church with her. Em-bar-ras-sing!

Hidden Places: Bringing Them to the Light

Hearts can hide anything from anyone–even oneself. But never from God. Six decades down that dusty road of the ’50s and ’60s, that girl finds herself throwing open the windows of her heart more and more often. Fresh wind gusts through, flinging dust to the trash pile where it belongs. 

What changed? For one, years. Decades of them. For another, a new pair of spectacles with lenses that correct faulty vision. Gradually this girl’s world came into focus. Homemade clothes? Evidence of love beyond measuring. Hems to the knee and below? A sign of a mother who cared more what she believed her God expected than twittering teens. And that second-hand car covered in dust? A possession made noble by the driver who held her head high and thanked God she didn’t have to walk.

Above all, the girl’s concept of God’s grace came into focus. And with it, the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit, whose dust bin is bottomless. I should know. I kept an extraordinarily dusty house for a very long time.

Would anyone have guessed? Not for a minute. But that’s the idea when you’re all about hiding your faults, missteps, and outright defiance. Isn’t it?

Hidden Places: Another Girl, Another Time

Which brings to mind the heroine of my coming novel, Book 2 in The Women of Rock Creek series–The Mending of Lillian Cathleen–which follows The Calling of Ella McFarland. Once destitute, battered, and abused, Lily has reason to hide. But can she live that way forever? Can she rise above the lowliness of her young life? Or will her past forever define her?

Stay tuned for coming news on the release of Lily’s story … 

~ ~ ~

Dear Lord, we praise and honor Your holy name. You are holiness itself. Strength. Sustenance. Understanding. And love. Infinitely kind, You’ve provided the cleansing agent required for every dusty house–Jesus Christ, who takes away the sin of the world.
We’ll thank and praise You throughout all eternity.  
~ For Jesus’ sake

8 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Hidden Places of the Heart

  1. Ruth Trippy

    Linda, this is a beautiful post, It carries in it so many memories that we girls share, those of us who were blessed to be born in godly families. I was born in one of those “northern” states, but in a family that cared more about character than big money or a fancy house. As one TV ad says, “Priceless!”

     
     
    1. Solid, faith-filled upbringing is second to none! Thanks for joining in, my friend. Love!

       
       
  2. JANE WAUGHTAL (Pen Name-Quail)

    Ah, Linda, God uses you in such an honoring way, praising His Name, lifting Him up, exalting Him in a manner that God the Father does. I thank our great God and Savior for bringing you into my life. I still wait upon Him for contact with a publisher, and hope to have my Novella published soon, then I will offer it on “Let’s Chat” when you feature me as an author. Thank you again for your precious friendship. Praise the Name of Jesus, He is everything to us!

     
     
    1. Oh, how precious. Thank you, Jane. You’ve encouraged me so. Bless you, friend.

       
       
  3. Marilyn R

    Linda, this was a beautiful post and I could identify with so many areas. Our mother made our clothes and I learned to sew in 4-H and mother’s assistant where I even made clothes for others when I was out on my own. A talent that so many lacks today. I enjoyed country living but never invited to those fancy homes so some deep hurts but the precious memories of our family times and yet today we all love being together. Memories, God’s amazing love and grace to heal childhood and young adult hurts as I matured is valued more than any fancy car, home, or expensive clothes. Thank you again for sharing. I’m looking forward to reading The Mending of Lillian Cathleen.

     
     
    1. Aren’t those memories precious though? What I sometimes cringed at in bygone days is now priceless. I’ve given both of my granddaughters a sewing lesson or two. Who knows if they’ll ever pick it up. I sure sewed for my daughter many a night, in the 70s and 80s. I love seeing you in our circle, Marilyn.

       
       
  4. Linda D. Davis

    Mother made all my clothes. Sunday church. School. My birthday parties. School plays. Dances. My prom. And my wedding dress. She sewed 2100 tiny seed pearls on the gown and the train. After 51 years, it’s still hanging in my closet, still white and beautiful. All my dresses were very beautiful, lovingly stitched with perfection. When I was in 8th grade, she splurged her ironing money and took me to Montgomery Wards and bought me a beautiful magenta sweater and skirt. I was so thrilled to have a “store-bought” outfit. I wore it every Friday—dress-up day—to school. But Mother was such an excellent seamstress that I was never embarrassed of my clothes. Even though I secretly longed for a “ready-made” dress, I felt like a princess. Fast forward to 1973 and my own baby girl. I made all our clothes and loved making matching mother-daughter dresses. Finally 8th grade came along with the desire for Jordash jeans and ready-made clothes for my precious little girl. We didn’t have much when I was growing up. But I treasure those years and I treasure my Mother for loving and sacrificing for me. Good memories. Your blog is wonderful and heart touching , Linda. Thank you.

     
     
    1. Beautiful, Linda. I loved reading about your mom and how she doted on you. About 45 years after high school graduation, a friend commented on how she remembered my fashionable clothes. We were eating lunch, and I nearly choked! 😊 I had no idea my homemade clothes were admired by one of the girls who shopped at the local boutique. Thanks for visiting in our circle.

       
       

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Let’s Chat! Mending Lily

Welcome to Readers! And Lily!

Lily The Mending of Lillian Cathleen Linda Brooks DavisLily, my latest heroine, stars in my soon-to-be-released novel, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, Book 2 in The Women of Rock Creek series. (The working title, Where Healing Waters Flow, faded into the woodwork when The Mending of Lillian Cathleen showed up.) Watch for a fresh, new cover for The Calling of Ella McFarland, an equally lovely cover for The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, and news about the series in weeks to come. Here’s a smorgasbord of tidbits from this story that touched my heart.

Setting

Lily Great War The Mending of Lillian Cathleen friends Linda Brooks Davis1914: The Great War has just broken out in Europe.

Needham, Oklahoma—an imaginary town with real-life characteristics

Fort Worth, Texas—otherwise known as Cowtown (or Where the West Begins)—known for its stockyards and infamous Hell’s Half Acre with its illicit business transactions conducted in saloons and brothels.

Characters

Lily The Mending of Lillian Cathleen friends Linda Brooks Davis shantyOur heroine Lily appeared as an abused thirteen-year-old girl in The Calling of Ella McFarland. She grew up in a shanty on a horseshoe of land created by two hairpin curves in Rock Creek. Thickets and brambles obscured the property from the curious stares of Needham’s townsfolk. Lily’s father Walter conducted his unholy business and took out his drunken rage on his daughter and wife Ruby on the five-acre piece of sod. Rock Creek has come to be known as the dividing line between prosperity and poverty and our heroine, as “the girl from the other side of Rock Creek.”

Now twenty-two and setting out as a woman in her own right, Lily faces life-altering choices that force her to evaluate her values, faith, and aspirations. She’s swept into Fort Worth’s underworld of saloons and brothels where she confronts evil and uncovers mysteries about her past.

The men who love—and hate—Lily

Lily The Mending of Lillian Cathleen friends enemies Linda Brooks DavisLily doesn’t understand why her father Walter has never loved her. She can’t remember a time when she wrapped her arms around his neck. Or crawled onto his lap. She never heard “Well done” or “I’m proud of you.” Certainly, never “I love you.”

Why? She can only guess. (However, answers are coming.)

But Cade McFarland—her friend Ella’s twin brother—has loved Lily since they were children. A prince in Lily’s eyes, Cade is big and brawny and voices his opinions in as big and burly a voice—with everyone but Lily. He handles her like a fragile lamb. He tends a flock of sheep and looks at Lily with such love and tenderness that she finds herself looking away—for reasons she keeps to herself.

The women who love and hate Lily

Lily The Mending of Lillian Cathleen friendsElla McFarland Evans loves Lily and always has—since the first time she caught sight of her in a McFarland cotton patch. Lily drew Ella like a moth to a flame, and Ella’s wings scorched a few years ago. But their friendship endured, deepened, and strengthened. That friendship plays a part in our heroine’s journey of discovery and healing.

Adelaide Fitzgerald, a wealthy heiress whose grand property—Broadview—borders Rock Creek and McFarland property—dreams of an opera career in Italy. She postponed her dream nine years ago when Lily needed her, but she believes her time has come at last.

Maggie Gallagher, Addie’s former wet-nurse and lifelong housekeeper, serves as a mother figure to Addie and Lily both. She emigrated from Ireland and brought her Irish bromides with her. Maggie is a rock of faith and good sense in a household in need of both.

But Sabina Gallagher, Maggie’s daughter, despises Lily. Is there no limit to her spite? Perhaps … and perhaps not.

Why?

The characters’ motivations vary as surely as the characters themselves. The players and the forces that drive them develop over time and through unique experiences that sculpt the characters into who they are in 1914.

Watch for the release of The Mending of Lillian Cathleen in the next few months to learn more about Lillian Cathleen, her loved ones, and her fascinating discoveries that send her world spiraling.

~ ~ ~

Dear Lord, I thank you for the power of words and story. Yours is the greatest story ever told, but You’ve given us stories, as well. I pray You’ll bless each word authors write for You and that You’ll multiply their power for good in the lives of readers everywhere.
~ For Jesus’ sake

10 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Mending Lily

  1. Marilyn R

    Linda, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen is going to be a wonderful story to read. Thank you for sharing. With Lily’s abuse history, I want to see how she has blossom into a lovely lady. I know God has given you inspiration plus all the hours of research you’ve done. God’s continued inspiration, blessings and guidance with your writing. Hugs

     
     
    1. Thank you so much, Marilyn. I can’t wait to share Lily’s story.

       
       
  2. Linda Davis

    Oh my goodness, Linda! Even your reminder of the story of the first book… Even your synopsys is so intriguing. You have been so richly blessed with a way with words. Your talent is absolutely amazing gift. Don’t send me a gift card. I’m so excited I can hardly wait to read your new book. Love you!

     
     
    1. You gave me chills, Linda. Thank you.

       
       
  3. Alison Boss

    Thank you, Linda, for sharing about your upcoming book, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen! You’ve painted a vivid picture to whet your readers appetite 🙂 You can tell you have put alot of work and research into this story. The love story between Cade McFarland and Lily sounds so sweet!

     
     
    1. You’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head, Alison. I have poured myself into this story. Better said, it captured me! I’m looking forward to sharing it with readers. But I need to be patient. P.S. And you’re right—the love story between Cade and Lily gives me chills. 🙂

       
       
  4. Linda, thank you for praying for me. I love your story, and I can’t wait to read it!

     
     
    1. I can’t wait to share it, Gail. It comes from a deep place in my heart. Waiting is so hard.

       
       
  5. Perrianne Askew

    I love the old farmhouse. It looks like a painting (or something my Dad would like to paint). You stories sound very interesting.

     
     
    1. Thank you, Perrianne. A freshened-up version of The Calling of Ella McFarland is on the horizon. And close on its heels … Lily’s story.

       
       

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