Welcome! A Legacy to Write

 

Welcome to my new home here in these digital airwaves! I am so glad that you stopped by for a visit.  I hope that this redesigned site will be a little easier to navigate and become a place of connection for us as we seek to follow God’s pathway together!

 

However, that word “easier” has not been on my agenda these past few weeks. No, God had been nudging me to make the move here for at least a few months, and it felt anything BUT easy!

 

When He brings those nudges how do you respond? I wish I could say that I jump to the call, but all too often I drag my feet and find reasons to linger in the questions . . . .

 

  • What if can’t learn the ropes of this new task?
  • What if I do learn the ropes but hurt someone else along the way?
  • What if I can’t keep up with all the new demands?
  • What if my weakness is just too strong?

 

Ah, but what if the Lord is doing the nudging to get at the root of all these questions?

 

You probably know where I’m going with this:  Plain old fear is that root, right? Fear, in this year when my #oneword given was meant to awaken within me the willingness to find Jesus as my all sufficiency!

 

And yet I focused on my weakness, on my pain, on my fear . . .  until the Lord rolled back the years and showed me yet one more glimpse into the Legacy of Faith that has gone before me.

 

Lois Hittle

 

She was my Great, Great Aunt Lois, the younger half-sister of my Mother’s Grandfather. And she always carried an air of mystery to me.   In a family of farmers, she left that title behind and followed her heart to become a stenographer in the “big” city of Toledo. By the time I came along, she had already retired, and was living above The Historical Museum in the town close to all of the family farmers. She was a caretaker at that museum, and that is where the mystery trickled down to me.

 

For my young heart that thirsted after stories and poems and the telling of all things wonderful, she found ways to slip extra gifts of books about dreamers of dreams to me.  One year in her travels to visit a friend who lived out West (another impossible dream to my small town existence) she met a teacher who had written a book about a cat that came to stay at school.  “Room 8” the cat became a bit of a local celebrity there, and inspired a whole collection of children to write their own stories about their beloved mascot.   My Aunt Lois never knew that her gift of that book and the collection of children’s homemade stories inspired me, along with my best friend, to dream up hours of our own writing and plays from the children’s words about Room 8.

 

Aunt Lois always seemed to know which books would stir a new longing within me. The biography of Janet Lynn, an ice skater in the 70s, spurred me on, not to be a skater, but to live out my faith wherever life found me.  And when she saw my teenage poetry journal, she didn’t chide me for choosing overly-emotional or sappy selections. No, she just slipped me a copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and my vista of possibilities soared along with the gulls.

 

But perhaps my most treasured gift from Aunt Lois is a collection that I received years after she went to Heaven. My Mom fell heir to most of Aunt Lois’s Christian books. No one else in the family saw the value in books that had been written by small publishers in the 40s, 50s, and 60s.  But I read them all.  And when my Mom had to de-clutter her own possessions for her move into my brother’s home, she asked if I wanted Aunt Lois’s collection by my favorite Christian poet: Grace Noll Crowell.  Each of those books had been autographed by the author during other numerous trips out West taken by my Aunt.   Grace Noll Crowell was the “Poet Laureate” for the state of Texas in 1938, the year that her biography by Beatrice Plumb was written.  Her books are out of print, but you can find various used copies at Amazon still.

 

What is the treasure of her writing that so appeals to me yet today?  Grace Noll Crowell became an invalid early in her adult years, so that all of her writing comes from that place of darkness enlivened by hope. Her words about her own suffering came back to me this week as the Lord was calling my heart to move forward in obedience to keep writing His story in me.

 

The Poet Prays

The crushing of a thousand petals, Lord

Distills one drop of essence from a flower.

Crush me, Oh God, if thereby my song makes

Some tired heart walk with beauty for an hour.

 

If under bruising pestles I give voice

To the high white rapture of a faint perfume,

And catching it, one weary of paved ways

Turns back a lost path where wood violets bloom.

 

If I can bring the quick relief of tears

To dry eyes dulled with bitterness for long,

Gather the fragrant petals of my life

And crush them, Lord, then help me sing the song.

–Grace Noll Crowell

 

And I recognized the Legacy that my Aunt Lois had passed down to me.  She saw the dream to taste the beauty of expression that is buried deep within me.  God gave her eyes of faith to see deeper than the chubby, greasy-haired misfit that most saw in me.  And He helped her to fan the flame and pray for the day when God would finally help me step beyond my fears and let HIM be my sufficiency to share from my heart.

 

“As for God, his way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    he shields all who take refuge in him.

2 Samuel 22:31 NIV

 

But what about that fear? How can I step forward knowing all of my own weaknesses much too well?   HE knows them too!  He sees each one of our fears and calls us forward still,

trusting HIM to be our shield and refuge:

our very great sufficiency.

 

 

And now, for those of you have stayed till the end, I am offering a give-away to say “Thank You!” for all who have followed me along this journey the last few years! All of your comments, prayers and support have been such a gift to me! In two weeks I will be part of the launch team for Chronic Joy Ministries’ latest book by Cindee Snider Re,  Finding Purpose: Rediscovering Meaning In a Life With Chronic Illness. Anyone who leaves a comment on my site between now and then will be entered to receive a free copy of this book.  Even if you don’t suffer with any kind of chronic illness, odds are you know someone who does.  And this book is a wonderful blessing to be shared! I will announce the winner at the end of the launch week on February 16.

 

Special thanks go to Joy at Words of Joy and Poetry Joy, Anna at Beloved Prodigal, Trudy at Freed to Fly, and Gayl at Words, Photos, and Art–each of them offered help and instruction to me as I made this blog transition! I am so grateful for their kind comments and support!

 

And I must say thank you to Michelle Ule for her kind response to my comments about one little sentence in her wonderful new book,  Mrs. Oswald Chambers: The Woman Behind the World’s Bestselling Devotional.  The sentence referred to Oswald Chambers and his wife, Biddy, staying with “the Hittles in Ohio,” when they visited the U.S. in the early 1900’s. Even though my searching led me to think that she was probably not part of that group, God still used that little sentence and Michelle’s subsequent comments to confirm my writing of this post about my Aunt Lois Hittle’s life.  I highly recommend Mrs. Oswald Chambers as a book to put on your wishlist. You will be greatly encouraged!

 

Today I am linking with:

#Glimpses 

#teaandword

#sittingamongfriends

#chasingcommunity

#tuneinthursday

 

36 thoughts on “Welcome! A Legacy to Write

  1. Welcome to WordPress, Bettie! May God bless this leap of faith as you’ve chosen to lean into His sufficiency through the fear. He is faithful to carry us through the big steps He encourages us to take.

    You know I struggle too. So much so. But you’re so right that He leads us to these steps we cannot take in our strength alone to raise the questions that lay buried deep inside our hearts. He’s intent upon freeing us from each and every fear and piece of shame, isn’t He? Praise Him!

    Oh, I LOVED reading old books as a little girl too. Stories of missionaries particularly and stories of a family in the Netherlands 😁. God’s little wink.

    I am loving reading all about your family. What a legacy of faith and what a gift GOD gave you in your Aunt Lois with this: “She saw the dream to taste the beauty of expression that is buried deep within me.” And what a gift He is now giving us through you as you live the dream He’d buried deep in your heart as a ltitle girl. Thank You, Jesus. May we all be faithful in encouraging those God leads us to, just as Aunt Lois was.

    And that poem is so full of truth. So beautiful. I think I recognize it from Streams in the Desert? So good to read it here today.

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  2. Dear Anna,
    Oh I am so thankful for all of your prayers and support, through this process. But even more, as we both continue to face those hidden fears that our Lord is uncovering, I am grateful that He has not asked us to walk alone, but to come alongside each other on the journey! He is helping me learn so much more about His sufficiency. What a gift ! And, how fun that as a child you too were reading those old stories, even one about the family in the Netherlands! Only God. 🙂 Oh, yes, may we encourage those who come after us, just as Aunt Lois encouraged me! Even today, I woke up rejoicing as I thought about your time with your sweet daughter last night! His miracles are so full of HOPE and GLORY! Love and Hugs my friend!

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  3. Oh, sweet friend! What a lovely new site!! I just love it! Your precious, kind, tender heart shines through in all you say, and I love reading about your wonderful ancestors who so greatly influenced your life. I feel terrible that I have still not yet responded to your dear email. I am so far behind on so many things. I feel very overwhelmed right now, but I have you on my mind, and I pray for you every, single day. I will surely write to you as soon as I can. Sending much love to you and a big CONGRATULATIONS on your new wonderful site!!!

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  4. Your new writing home is beautiful! Doesn’t it feel good to have a fresh site to share your words with others?

    Your series on writing legacy has been so enjoyable. It always causes me to stop to think about my own legacy. However, I did not benefit from family members encouraging me in writing as you did. It is such a treasure and your stories provide a greater understanding for me into who you are. You are a blessing, my friend!

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  5. Dear Cheryl,
    Thank you so much for your sweet support and precious prayers! Please do not feel bad about not being able to respond to my email yet. You are walking through such heavy trials now, yourself! I know that the Lord is using your prayers, that come from within the midst of your own weary places. He is using the comfort that you feel, to comfort others, even as you pray for so many. Please know that you are in my prayers, too. May Jesus accomplish His sweet will in both of our lives, as we cling to Him! Much Love & Hugs dear friend!

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  6. Thank you, Mary! And, yes, it does feel good to have a fresh start here, almost like “moving” to a new home! Your thoughts of home are still ringing in my heart, dear friend!

    I’m so thankful that the Lord has stirred your heart to think of your own legacy as you’ve read my stories here. It is amazing to me, how He uses the good, and even the not so good, to shape us and to draw us closer to Himself. Through every story, if we look closely enough, we can see Him watching over us, waiting to draw us in. It’s always so good to have you stop by here! Blessings and Love to you!

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  7. Dear Bettie,
    I love your new website. So beautiful and fresh! Thanks for the mention. 🙂 I love reading about the legacy of faith in your family. God is using you, too, as you share so much with us through your writing. Oh, and fear is very prevalent and really is what keeps us back sometimes. I pray that we will boldly follow where God leads and not be afraid to put our words out there. We never know who may need to read them, but God does.
    Many blessings to you, dear Bettie! Love and hugs! xoxo

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  8. Thank you so much, Gayl! I have appreciated your heart and the way that you let the Lord use your creativity to bring Him Glory! May we both keep listening to those prompts that are from Him. And, yes, you are so right that fear is very prevalent, and keeps us held back. We so often don’t see how He would use our stories to encourage another, do we? I’m so grateful that He has been showing me the precious Legacy that He planted within my own history. He has been so faithful, even when I could not always see it! Much Love, hugs and blessings to you my friend! xoxo

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  9. I love the look of your new site, Bettie. 🙂 And I thank God that He helped you to take the leap and do it. 🙂 Thank you for the mention. Those lingering questions sound so familiar… What a precious blessing your Aunt Lois was/is to see and nurture the gift in you that others didn’t recognize. Grace’s poem, too, really moves me and how she wrote from that “place of darkness enlivened by hope.” And God still uses her today! Thank you for all the hope you offer today and always! By the way, do I need to resubscribe to get your posts in my email? I don’t want to miss any. 🙂 Love and hugs to you!

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  10. Oh thank youTrudy! I appreciated your support and encouragement through this process so much! The Lord is so good to keep helping us through our lingering questions, isn’t He? I do love the way that Grace Noll Crowell allowed God to bring such a blessing from the deep trials she lived in. I hope that someday you are able to find some of her old poetry, I think you would really like them. And, yes, I am sorry, I don’t know how to bring over subscribers from the old blog, so you will need to resubscribe here. I am so grateful for your friendship and love! Hugs and love to you too! xoxo

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  11. Hi Bettie,
    I love your new home! 🙂 My regular blog is on Blogger and the travel blog I contribute to is on WordPress so I know what you’re going through, learning a new site and all of its idiosyncrasies! But it looks as if you’re doing just fine! 🙂 And — Janet Lynn’s autobiography?! I have her book and followed her when I was little, loving to see her skate — how great that you read it too! (I knew we were kindreds!:)) But I so enjoyed reading about your aunt and how she inspired you — you know I’m partial to aunts as I’m an auntie myself — haha! Sending love to you in your new online home! xoxo

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  12. Dear Valerie,
    Oh, what a joy to know that you loved Janet Lynn also! Kindred hearts for sure! I’m so thankful that you enjoyed reading about my Great Aunt Lois. I think that you are passing down some beautiful legacies yourself, as you have shared bits & pieces that show the love in your heart! What a special gift that only an Aunt can impart! And your blogs are so beautiful–what an encouragement to me that you found beauty here in my new home! I still have so much to learn, such as how to get the replies to comments to show up in the right order! 🙂 But I’m trusting God to keep helping me! Much Love and hugs to you! xoxo

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  13. Just a quick note to say that I love the story of your heritage! I had a great Aunt Jane who was a free spirit like yours. She was the youngest of a farm family of 11. None of her other sisters ever cut her hair or strove to be anything different than the others. I have a great picture of the whole family and she was the only one with short hair, a flapper dress and white heeled shoes. So wonderful to see her individuality come out in that picture. as for me, I’m basically the only one in my family who is trying hard to hold on to the legacy that came to me from that family. I tell my kids that history is important because “it’s hard to know where you are going if you don’t know where you came from.” I, for one, stayed to the end and bless you for saving and sharing the memory of your Aunt Lois.

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  14. Hello Bettie, it’s good to see you settling in to your beautiful new blogging home! I absolutely LOVE this first post. You deftly draw us in to the way God is writing His story in your heart and soul, while revealing how He actually began it all when you were an eager girl scribbling out her heart thoughts, like you do now. How wonderful to hear how your Aunt Lois saw the writer/poet’s stars in your eyes and the unsaid longings of your heart, and drew them out with loving resources to inspire you on the way! I enjoyed reading ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ too and have always been a fan of poetry. My own Aunt Madge helped to foster a love of books with her own mini library at home. I enjoyed reading the snippet you have shared from Grace Noll Crowell. Lovely! And I’m excited to see you’re also in the launch team for Cindee’s latest book. Yay!! Thanks for a wonderful introduction to this new site and a mention of the help I was very happy to have given to get you set up here. Blessings, love and congratulatory hugs to you, dear friend! xoxo

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  15. Hi Karen,
    I am so glad you “stayed to end” and appreciate stories of history and heritage! You are so right that it’s helpful to know about our history and how we are connected with those who came before us. Your Aunt Jane sounds like she would have been a delight to meet! I’m glad that you are passing on those stories to your children. I think sometimes we don’t appreciate those stories until later in life, and if there isn’t someone who has preserved those stories, we might have missed them! Blessings to you and yours!

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  16. Thank you for sharing your Aunt Lois! The legacies we receive from our ancestors lead us into our future and the things that we have gained in knowing them; whether we “knew” them or not! I have an Aunt Lois, too!! She was my mom’s older sister and mom lived with her for a while when she was about 16. I have many memories of visiting my aunt and cousins…

    Look forward to reading more…

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  17. Dear Joy, your encouragement and help have meant so much to me! I know that without your help, I would not have been able to get this first post off the ground yet! And there’s still so much more to learn! But I am trying to keep letting the Lord walk me through the fear, still, and keep trusting! I love it that you also had an Aunt with a mini-library that inspired you. We just never know the effect that we will have on those young hearts that follow after us, do we? Did she recommend “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” to you, or did you find it on your own? I was hoping that you would like Grace Noll Crowell’s writing. I wish that you could find some of her books in your libraries there–her words capture the feelings of heavy-laden days so well. And, I am so glad that you will be on the launch team for Cindee’s newest book also! Yay!! Much Love and Hugs to you my dear friend! xoxo

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  18. Thank you so much Mandy! It was a big step for me, one that I argued with God about, sorry to say! But I am so thankful that He gave me the help and the courage to follow through with His invitation! Blessings to you, my friend!

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  19. You’re doing brilliantly, Bettie! Once you get the hang of how WordPress operates then your fears will subside and you’ll look back and marvel at how far you have come. Blogging is a continual learning curve and each success motivates us to keep reaching out to improve on what we have done before. My Aunt didn’t recommend ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ to me but she did give me a book of poetry (still in my possession) and a children’s Bible. For all I know, she might have been a woman of faith and prayed for my eyes to be open too. But I never got to ask her before she died. What I do remember is the warmth in her eyes and how she was always delighted to see us. There was more love there than I experienced at home. What I meant to add was that you have the same kind of smile as I’ve just described and it’s like a mirror of your Aunt Lois in that respect. Both of you share such a lively, loving, warm and engaging look. And, yes, it’s marvellous to be in Cindee’s book launch together! I’m getting so much out of reading it. Much love and hugs returned to you, dear friend! xoxo 💜

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  20. Dear Joy, Yes, you are right that this blogging world has it’s own set of learning curves! I’m so thankful that God is here to help us in this too! 🙂 What a special Aunt you had, who offered you a glimpse into what true unconditional love looked like. And to give you that Children’s Bible, she must have had some connection with Faith. I am so glad that you have been able to hold onto that book of poetry from her! And thank you for your sweet encouraging comments about my Aunt Lois’ warmth and open-hearted smile. I pray that I might carry on that legacy of hers to look beyond the visible traits in a person, and see the deeper heart of beauty that God has created. I am praying for a day of less pain and more strength for you my dear friend! Hugs and love to you! xoxo

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  21. Dear Donna,
    I’m so glad we were neighbors today also. Thanks for stopping by and giving such great encouragement! I am always happy when someone else appreciates the poetry of Grace Noll Crowell. She had a large influence on my life long before I knew that I would be facing chronic illness myself. Isn’t our Lord so good to prepare the way before us, through so many different connections? Blessings on your day!

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  22. Bettie, what a gift your aunt was. How sweet that she’d invest in you and send you sweet gifts that left such a legacy. You’ve honored her well here today. 🙂 — Congrats on the new site! Looks great. 🙂 ((hug))

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  23. Love your new digs!!! And I love Aunt Lois. You are inspiring me to get the lead out – my sister and I are going to write a book on Legacy for kids and grands. It’s going to be good. Keep inspiring me!

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  24. Thank you Brenda! I appreciate your kind words so much! And, thank you for the great link-up that you offer. I have been so blessed each week that I’ve joined you and other bloggers there. And I am so grateful for the faithfulness of God that He has shown as I’ve looked back! Blessings to you!

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  25. Thank you so much Susan! Wow, that sounds like a wonderful project for your family!! I am humbled that the Lord would bring you inspiration here! He brings us such wonderful connections! xoxo

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  26. Dear Barbara, I’m so sorry that somehow I missed your comment when you posted it! Oh, you are so right that those “legacies we receive from our ancestors lead us into our future.” What a blessing when we let God redeem our perspectives to see how He was always preparing the way for us to know Him better through it all. And how fun that you have an Aunt Lois too. May you have a Blessed weekend!

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  27. Betti, I found your blog to be both encouraging and delightful. As I read about your Great, Great Aunt Lois and the blessing she was to you, it reminded me of the English teacher I had in Bible college.

    Mr. Jantzen expressed his belief in my abilities as a writer. Years later I wrote to him to thank him fo­r his help and tell him what a blessing he was to me.

    I didn’t hear back from him. When a letter did arrive, it wasn’t from him. It was from his wife. She said Mr. Jantzen received my note a couple of weeks before he died. He kept it by his bed and read it over and over again. It was the only written word of appreciation he had received from a student. How grateful I am that the Holy Spirit prompted me to write to him. We never know how our lives are going to touch others, but we can be assured that they will.

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  28. Dear Linda,
    Oh what a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing that with me! How sad that none of his other students had ever given any kind word of appreciation to him. But yes, what a miracle that the Holy Spirit prompted you to speak those words to him at just the right time. We do not realize the effects that our words have, do we? Oh may I keep my heart open to listen to those little promptings! It’s been so good to be back in touch with you now, dear cousin! I am grateful for these connections too!

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  29. Oh, I’m glad I wasn’t alone in that! Isn’t it good to know that Jesus sees us as so beautiful, no matter what our past looked like? He is so good to us! I hope that you are able to find some of Grace Noll Crowell’s poetry. She is worth searching for! Blessings to you

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  30. Oh goodness I had that same trouble with my socks. Yes, somehow we grew up, and God moved us along! 🙂 But even when I feel those “misfit” days hovering above me, Thank God for His Grace!

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