Date: 09 Jan 2018 1:34 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Catching up after the Christmas break, and it's like coming into a room with a wood fire burning - warm and comforting.
I'm glad Nancy has been able to explore some of her fears and receive reassurance from Mother Abbess.
Author's Response: Aw, what a beautiful thing to say, Ailidh! Thank you so much. I'm delighted you find it warm and comforting despite all the pain and grief. Yes, I think Nancy will surge forward now, more at ease with herself.
Date: 26 Dec 2017 9:55 am Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
If Nancy weren't exhausted before that talk she will be now - so much for her to take in, not least the fact that being herself is the best she can be for the school. Yes, she has much to learn from Hilda still which will give her the confidence to take charge when the time comes but she has to understand that her own personality and individuality is just as important.
Whether she and Kathie are able to have any future together will be a long road - and dependent on both of them. Kathie has a long way to go and I'm sure there will be many wobbles, some bigger than others. However, Nancy also has to play a part in stepping back and taking time to see how she truly feels. It will do neither of them any good if there's any less than total honesty on both sides as well as a knowledge that for any love to survive it must be based on friendship - and that is the part that needs most work right now.
MA has been gently ruthless with Nancy, forcing her to face not only where she has gone wrong but also where she has been right. All too often the focus is on the former leading to despondency and despair yet the push for Nancy to see just how far she has already come shold help her to continue that path. It will take a long time for Nancy to forgive herself where Hilda's concerned and yet she will realise she has to do so in order to move on.
I hope that both Nancy and Kathie will take all the help offered them and this will be the making of them where the school is concerned - where their personal relationship is concerned who knows what will happen. If they can get the professional side sorted, then gradually some form of real friendship and trust it will be good for them, anything more may or may not feel right down the line.
Love, humour, patience, understanding and honesty are all abundant in this conversation - and, I hope, in Nancy's life for the future.
Author's Response: Clair, thank you so much for such a delightful and lengthy review. Nancy has learned a lot this day from the nun, and will find it a little easier now to move forward, even if Kathie isn't willing to move on with her. She knows two strong, wise people will always be there for her, and that's given her so much more confidence. Indeed, witness the way she speaks to Hilda, now able to take her to task. Which is what Nell could always do for her. Will Kathie listen? Who knows? She's very much an unknown quantity at the moment, despite Hilda's and Ellie's words. We can only hope for the best.
Date: 23 Dec 2017 10:07 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Yet again t have to apologise for taking so long to post my review, Mary. There is so much in this latest chapter. MA's advice to Nancy will be such a great help to her as she struggles to rebuild her relationship with Kathie, always hoping that Kathie is coming to her senses and will take the lessons which have been given to her recently by Hilda and, I hope will be reinforced by MA when she meets with her. Whilst MA and Nancy were talking about Hilda's relationship with God, the words reminded me of a hymn I used to sing in Sunday School.
"And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His Own"
This really summed up what I see as Hilda's relationship and how He sustains her.
I'm now looking forward to the next chapter in Hilda's journey.
Thank you Mary.
Author's Response: I love that hymn, Linda, so how good of you to ascribe it to Hilda and her life with her Lord. I am hoping, with fingers crossed, that Kathie has now come to her senses and will try to mend her bridges with Nancy, though we saw, when she woke up earlier, that she realised just how broken their relationship now was. Has she the courage to move forward? Thank you for reading and posting at this busy time.
Date: 18 Dec 2017 10:05 am Title: A Blanket of Hope
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Date: 12 Dec 2017 3:29 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
I can see why Hilda needed to get back to the school, so many people needing her special brand of support,and still a lot to deal with even though most of the more pressing work has been done. Does Kathie really know about loving and caring, giving and sharing ? So much of her life she has been the petted only child...I seem to remember in canon that she had never even chosen her own clothes before she was appointed to the school ! So much good advice given to Nancy by MA, and specially supportive to know that she can still seek advice from Hilda if she needs to even after the latter is at the convent. Loved that MA chose Hilda's favourite verse of Dear Lord and Father to sing her to sleep. It will be very good if Hilda can be helped to sing again, and to relive happy times with Nell by listening to their music again. Sorry to have been so long responding Mary, will try to do better in future. Please be like Hilda and forgive my short comings !
Author's Response: What shortcomings would those be, my friend? Nothing to forgive at all. Thank you so much for the interesting thoughts, especially about Kathie, and indeed about Hilda.
Date: 03 Dec 2017 5:47 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
A marathon piece of writing, Mary, and there is so much in it at it will take me a while to absorb it all. Beautiful.
Author's Response: It took me awhile to absorb it all once it was written, Seven! *grins* Believe me when say it's not all me. Someone dictates and my pencil writes. I often sot down and have no idea how on earth I'm going to move the sorry on - and yet, there it is, somehow spilling out. So thank you for the compliment, but I'm not sure it's one I deserve.
Date: 30 Nov 2017 4:47 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
This is such a powerful piece of writing, Mary, and so filled with compassion and understanding. Thank you.xx
Author's Response: See above in Seven's, shesings, and you will see my answer to your beautiful compliment. I really am not sure where it comes from, but I'm glad to know compassion is somehow involved. Thank you so much.
Date: 30 Nov 2017 2:09 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
More amazing reading! Thank you!
Author's Response: Aw, bless you, Sarah! You're so wonderful, and pretty amazing yourself, you know.
Date: 30 Nov 2017 11:14 am Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
MA's advice that "I think you need to return to the friendship you developed at the beginning, and try to find each other again, the other you used to know and love. You’ve both been radically altered by what happened, so it could be different even from how it was the first time" is very wise. Neither Nancy nor Kathie can shut their eyes to the fact that they have both been changed by events. Kathie in particular needs to work out who and what she has become, a process I'm sure MA will help with. Thank you, Mary, even more than usual considering all your problems.
Author's Response: Thank you for picking that thought out, Anne, as I do feel that, for any of us, that when there have been major problems, then we are changed, perhaps subtly, perhaps overtly, but that can have a major impact on our dealings with others. Mind, I'm not too sure where all MA's wisdom comes from. Certainly not from her creator, but perhaps mine. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing.
Date: 29 Nov 2017 10:58 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
The more I learn about the Convent and MA's role there, the more I come to believe that this is a most unusual institution. It certainly lives up to its goals of caring for those who need it and supporting any who come to them for help.
I love the way MA talks so openly with Nancy here, reassuring her that while in an ideal world, Hilda should have known the core reason for Kathie's behaviour much earlier, at the same time, she (Hilda) has confessed that had she known earlier, she wouldn't have been able to make the impression she did on Kathie last night by opening up about her own feelings. I think both Kathie and Nancy must feel somewhat stunned by Hilda's open acknowledgement of their relationship, even though she has hinted at knowing it earlier in this saga -always providing they can re-establish it, given the events of the last few weeks and months. MA's advice to Nancy to take things very slowly is excellent, while her consistent reiteration of how much Nancy's support has meant to Hilda can only help Nancy as she struggles to come to terms with all of this.
I hope that she and Kathie will indeed be able to have some frank and open discussions, but I also hope that the two of them will take advantage of sitting down together with MA at least once during the latter's visit; I'm sure her wise counsel will help them. Meantime her unstinting praise of Hilda must show Nancy, if she hadn't realised it already, just how strong is the bond between MA and Hilda, and just how much the former has learned since meeting the latter. To her, and, I'm sure to many others, Hilda is indeed 'pure gold.'
Thank you, Mary.
Author's Response: A orders have different charisms, different ways of using their call and different ways of going about it, Elder. The Benedictines, for instance, have to stay within the boundaries of their abbey, but will have many people still coming to them for help, whereas, others, like MA's, may venture out to go to others in the place where they hurt, as well as welcoming them into the convent. There are teaching orders and nursing orders, and then there are the Carmelites, who not only never venture out, but may only see people for short spaces of time, and may speak very little. Imagine MA in that situation??? *grins* But MA is unusual in that she has lived a varied life, has married, was even expecting a child, and has lost a loved one, and that all brings a great wealth of understanding, wisdom and compassion. So is ideally placed, in many ways, to help this particular couple. But she knows she can only do so much that they have to do the hard work. But at least they know they have not only support, but a bolt-hole. I'm delighted you liked that little bit at the end where MA speaks about what Hilda's done for her. Thank you, as always, for your loving *essay*
Date: 29 Nov 2017 10:36 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Wow, what a conversation! So good that Mother was able to say all that to Nancy. Guess she'll be struggling to take it all in, especially all the parts about how good she is at her job already. Nancy is a very humble person and will find some of it hard to believe. Do hope when she has a chance to talk to Kathie she'll be able to get over to her the "just friends for the moment" idea without Kathie getting too upset and misunderstanding her reasons
Thank you for posting this, Mary. Do hope your pain will subside soon
Author's Response: I'm afraid my pain is here for life, now, ivohenry, as there is nothing that will help. So, like Kathie and Nancy, I have to accept that chinage this will bring to me and to my life. Thank you for the comments, and yes, I've always seen Nancy as very humble soul who never sees herself as of any great importance, but she has such a wealth of kindness in the books, and cheerful good humour. She always brightens my day when I meet her during my reading - or my writing. I'm sure both she and Kathie will struggle, but they're getting the help and support they need, so fingers crossed.
Date: 29 Nov 2017 9:29 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
MA has really opened herself to Nancy, I hope it can help her with Kathy as well as being Head of the School.
Author's Response: Thank you, Pauline. Sometimes life demands that we open up and use our own problems and troubles to help another, and MA has seen the need here. One always ha to be careful not to shove our own similar difficulties down someone's throat, as it's not a competition as to who has suffered most, but a little nod to one's awareness can help. MA, of course, has to make sure she doesn't seem to trying to rule the roost here, as she's neither the head nor a teacher at the school, and could be accused of interfering, so has to tread very carefully.
Date: 29 Nov 2017 12:13 am Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Sorry it's taken me a while to catch up with this Mary, but unfortunately, as you know, life got in the way!
How Meg has developed during her time at the Convent. MA and the nuns have carried on breaking down the barriers she has built up over the years and helped her to discover the joys of learning and developing her talents. I hope that now she is back at school and has the support of Ellie and the staff she will be able to cope with meeting her father and let him into her life on a new footing.
I hope that Hilda's sleep will bring her renewed strength to cope with the tasks she has set herself for the next few hours and that 'the still dews of quietness' will indeed 'take from her soul the strain and stress'
Thank you, Mary, particularly, for this quote from one of my favourite hymns. It really spoke to me at this time.
Date: 28 Nov 2017 8:43 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
The staff are still doubtful about Mag aren't they though if they had been doing their jobs it would never have got so bad. Very hard for Hilda to have to notice everything going on.
Hilda's handling of this staff meeting and the previous ones show not only what an amazing headmistress she is but also what a good manager. If she ever writes a book about managing it would sell really well!
I hope she gets a rest soon before she collapses again.
Author's Response: I'd never thought of her writing a book about being a manager, Seven! What a brilliant idea! Perhaps you'd like to write it!
Date: 23 Nov 2017 10:03 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Re MA and Hilda's conversations...it's your story, Mary, and has to ring true and be authentic. You can't write for the 'audience', you have to write according to how your characters dictate - much more fun!!
Author's Response: Thank you.
Date: 22 Nov 2017 6:22 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Ah, another lovely chapter Mary, thank you.
I love the fact that MA is learning from Hilda - in terms of leadership style - as much as Hilda learns from MA. I think MA might be putting some of Hilda's gentle manner to effect in the convent in the future; I have a suspicion that MA could be a bit 'bull in a china shop' with wayward nuns at times!
Well done Hilda for speaking up for Meg as well - it must have been a shock to the other teachers to find that she likes studying and is good at it.
Author's Response: Oh, MA admits it herself, Bobcat, and has said so to Hilda before now, which is why she sees her as a great example to follow. And that helps Hilda, as she feels she takes from her and gives nothing in return. Thank you for the review.
Date: 21 Nov 2017 6:18 pm Title: Hilda's Revenge (Completed)
I've just read this through again as I needed something to cheer me up and make me laugh and this is perfect!
Any time you feel like giving us more celebration antics do feel free - and if you'd like to include the Sinclairs in those antics I for one would be overjoyed.
Thanks Mary for writing something so well that it can be turned to when down in the sure knowledge that it will lift a mood.
Author's Response: I hadn't logged in! That's why I couldn't respond, Clair. *rolls eyes* Thank you so much for regarding this story as a cheerer-upper and a lifter of moods. It certainly lifted my mood when I wrote it - and watch out for those Sinclairs in ND....
Date: 21 Nov 2017 5:27 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
"I learned a huge lesson that day" - Ruth, at least, is learning even if some of the others have MA wondering. Now, how about a nice refreshing dream for Hilda as MA watches over her?
Author's Response: No dream, I'm afraid, Anne. I wouldn't want to bore my readers more than I already do! I think the one she had when she lay dying will keep her going for a goodly while. *grins*
Date: 20 Nov 2017 6:58 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Love Sally Denny's reaction, especially her thoughts that Meg had been listening and taking in all the teaching even if not applying it to her work. I don't think that she, or the others, need to feel shame over not wanting to give Meg another chance though. Hilda was the only one who had actually spoken to Meg's mother and got that glimpse into Meg's unhappiness after all.
Again with Helen, few of the others have any interaction with the parents so would be less able to see where the problems lie - one of the problems facing teachers in a boarding school without parent/teacher events. Hilda is the one to have all of that. Maybe it's time for them to look at more involvement for more of the teaching staff in some way for the future.
The way that so many people have helped Meg must be both stunning and humbling to those present, particularly those less inclined to give her a chance. This will surely prove a turning point and make them step back and think before making judgements.
It's wonderful that Patricia's work will have it's real chance thanks to Hilda. I don't suppose Gillian plans visiting with him at all - she's always been a favourite of mine?!
The fact that Nancy feels able to volunteer Kathie's services is a step in the right direction, I just hope that Kathie will go along with it and fight that jealousy of Vivien. It will be a long time before she is able to conquer it, if ever, but bubbling under is still an improvemnet of it boiling over.
Good for Nancy, yes Hilda was the best to deal with the twins but it's only right that Nancy now plays her own part in all of this ready for taking over in the not so distant future. That boost from not only Hilda but Vivien will be a great help to Nancy.
I hope that Meg will prove to be as changed in her outlook as to be able to at least hear them out over her Father although it may take her some time to truly accept that he cares after so many years of neglect.
Yet another essay but there's just so much to pick up on and I'm sure I've still missed things!
Author's Response: Oh, I don't mind essays, Clair, bless you! I'm not sure, though, that Hilda wills the parents any more than her staff, as the only occasion would be when she interviews them. They might all meet a few at plays and fairs, but most live too far away, and Hilda's only other contact would be when there's a problem and she has to phone them. As to Gillian, so will most definitely visit, as she's one of my favourite characters. Thanks also for your other thoughts on Meg, and on Kathie and Nancy.
Date: 20 Nov 2017 12:08 am Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Gosh, I think the staff learned so much in that meeting - and not just about how much Meg has improved in her week at the Convent! I can quite see why they were stunned by the level of work she has produced while she is away, and I will be very interested to see how Miss Lawrence reacts to this new Meg when she has the girl play to her tomorrow. A very good idea for MA to be present for that, though, as she will give Meg the confidence she needs to play to someone who has not previously been impressed with her playing, at least not beyond her ckear technical abilities. Hilda and MA between them, too, were right to reveal just how much Meg has gained simply by being able to burst the abscess of her parents' unfeeling treatment of her and let her bitterness at it flow away without fear of condemnation, merely encountering sympathy. I can quite see why the teachers feel guilty at having failed to dig more deeply into the cause of Meg's previous attitudes, given that they are indeed 'the workers at the coal-fact, but they are also quick to remember that Hilda has a unique gift for seeing far below the surface of her girls. I hope for all their sakes that the coming revelation from MA and Hilda about Meg's father's unexpected contact won't put the girl off her stroke - but I think we can be confident that the two people charged with explaining it to her will also do their best to help her understand what has lain behind her father's attitude and to be able to reach out and enjoy both his company and his father's before too long.
As for the twins, time alone will tell whether Emilie can change her attitude unless her mother can be persuaded to change hers and treat both girls equally. But it won't be for lack of trying by Hilda and other staff members. Hilda and MA will certainly help boost Marie's confidence. I love the way Hilda insists that Vivien *ask* Ellie if she's willing to join tonight's supper party, not simply tell her she's needed - though I doubt if there will be any problem there.
I'm glad that MA is insisting that Helen Graves come over to check on Hilda - however much Hilda may object at one level, she will agree, because it's MA making the arrangement! Finaly, now that Hilda has dealt faithfully with all the immediate problems, plus making arrangements to see both Becky Avison and Meg later in the afternoon and confirming arrangements for Marie's little party tonight, I hope that she will truly allow those 'still dues of quietness' (a favourite hymn of mine, too, by the way) to descend on her and enjoy a quiet, restorative sleept, broken only by a light lunch, until it's time for Becky's visit. It's only by resting when she needs it that she can continue to recover from her brush with death and not risk any setback - after all, she still wants to go to Boston in less than a week's time, doesn't she? and will be very disappointed if she can't.
Thank you, Mary
Author's Response: Oh, wow, Elder! What a wonderful review! Did you miss anything out? *grins* Thank you so much for picking up on that little instance of Hilda telling Vivien to ask Ellie. She's made that particular comment before, when saying she would ask Ellie when someone invited the girl somewhere, assuming she would agree. She knows she mustn't answer for the girl, mo matter how much they feel for each other. As to going to Boston, I don't think it even figures in Hilda's mind that she won't go! She wants to see Tessa and help Katy, so will give in to Mother as much as she feels she can, but also realises there are things she can do that Nancy can't as yet - but knows she soon will. Glad that hymn is also one of your favourites. I have no idea how the rest of this day is going to pan, out so fingers crossed.
Date: 19 Nov 2017 7:33 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
Thank you Mary. The verse of Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, is a favourite of mine. Learning the need for Peace and learning to rest in it is a lesson which is hard to learn and something I keep having to do. I hope Hilda's sleep is restorative and she can face the afternoon and evening in better health.
Author's Response: MA obviously struck a chord when she chose that hymn! *grins* Thank you, Pauline. I too find resting in Him hard, always wanting to do it myself, but now that it seems this awful pain I've had for months is going to be permanent, I'll have to rest more in Him.
Date: 19 Nov 2017 6:36 pm Title: A New Dream - Vol 10: Life Is Sweet, Life Is Sharp
So glad Hilda is now getting some sleep niow the meetings are over - how did she even find the strength for all she's done this morning! Good to see the others appreciating how much Meg has changed, She'll change even more once she gets to talk properly (for the first time!) to her father, and to her real grandfather, love the idea of Ian as a surrogate grandfather!
Thank you Mary
Author's Response: Thank you, ivohenry. I have no idea how Hilda finds the strength to keep going, but I guess leaders have to learn how. As MA will have learned. They can't just give up when the going gets tough. Thanks for the comment re Ian, but, as to Meg and her father, I have no idea whether she will accept what is offered or walk out in disgust at this apparently very sudden turnaround. She's only a teenager when all's said and done. So keep your fingers crossed!