Date: 23 Sep 2016 4:43 pm Title: Chapter 1 - A Thread of Grace
Thank you Mary for reposting. As well as enjoying re-reading New Dreams I've loved spotting the new bits you've added.
Looking forward to the stage of Hilda's recovery
Author's Response: Thanks so much for re-reading, Caroline. There's a new message in Vol 8 regarding the remaining chapters - which aren't remaining, so do have a look, as there will be a completely in chapter in Vol 10 on Sunday!
Date: 19 Sep 2016 8:00 pm Title: Chapter 1 - A Thread of Grace
Mary I was recognising both uses of anointing here. I am sure Ian would use both anointing for healing and as "last rites". However I am sure that as they are all praying for recovery and healing this anointing was part of that hope and ministry. Perhaps I am just hoping it was that and not that Ian and others were giving up hope.
Date: 19 Sep 2016 7:15 pm Title: Chapter 29 - Dark Is A Way -
With all the prayers being said for Hilda I don't think God would dare let her die! So many people draw strength from Hilda but I hope when she recovers those closest to her will give her even more support. She still misses Nell so much and always will.
Date: 19 Sep 2016 4:20 pm Title: Chapter 29 - Dark Is A Way -
I do hope that Hilda is able feel what a loving family she is surrounded by even if she's not able to react to them. Nancy being very much a part of it judging by the conversation between Gwynneth and Vivien.
Good for Ian being able to get Gwynneth to take a short break, it will be good for her to have just had that time away and get herself together again.
Nancy can do this, even without Kathie. In fact maybe this way is better for Nancy in some ways as she will understand just how strong and capable she is herself rather than putting much of it down to Kathie.
Hilda is just so ill and in so much pain yet still concerned for Ellie whilst awake although whether she has the strength to live for Ellie rather than join Nell remains to be seen - where is the love going to prove strongest?
Date: 18 Sep 2016 10:38 pm Title: Chapter 29 - Dark Is A Way -
Nancy may feel that she doesn't have Hilda's strong faith, but her response when she hears God speaking to her is very telling. Unlike poor bewildered Kathie, she accepts his words, bowing "her head in submission, vowing to follow Him". Thank you, Mary - prayers winging their way upwards for you both.
Author's Response: Thank you for the prayers, Anne, as well as this kind review.
Date: 18 Sep 2016 9:36 pm Title: Chapter 29 - Dark Is A Way -
Ye though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I will fear no evil,
Thy rood and thy staff they comfort me.....
Thou anointed the my head with oil
Thou prepares a table for me and my cup overflows, Ps 23
This came to mind as I read the final section of today's posting, with tears running down my cheeks. Hilda, Nancy and the others so need His promises of His presence and provision for this night and the days ahead. Ian's anointing is a part of the Healing ministry of the Church of England today, but was more rarely used in the sixties, I hope it brings comfort to them all. I know it is also used to anoint the dying, and as such might have seemed a sign of giving up hope, but that does not fit the group who are praying in hope of a miracle.
Thank you Mary.
Author's Response: I know anointing the dying isn't common in the Anglican church, Pauline, but for Catholics it isn't only for the dying but also for those who are very sick - although in the past it was known as the last rites. So I'm taking liberties here, I'm afraid.
Date: 18 Sep 2016 9:23 pm Title: Chapter 29 - Dark Is A Way -
I love the way Hilda’s little family is growing tighter here and Matey and Vivien provide comfort for each other as they look over the edge…and what a wonderful tribute to Hilda from Matey… “She knew what she could and couldn’t do, when to speak and act, and when to keep silent and wait. There was, even then, that great stillness about her.”…
I am glad for Nancy as she finds the source of strength that she needs, for Helen’s steadfastness, for Ian sweeping up all the pieces and for Jack’s humility in realising that “I do like to play God, don’t I?" It was a bit of a cliff last time too, wasn’t it? But I remember thinking that Mary wouldn’t finish off her favourite character (*winks*) Thank you for all your postings, Mary, I too will be happy to be out of these rough seas. Fresh expressions this evening brought this to mind…(Psalm 23)
And I will trust in You alone.
And I will trust in You alone,
For Your endless mercy follows me,
Your goodness will lead me home. (Stuart Townend)
Date: 18 Sep 2016 8:09 pm Title: Chapter 29 - Dark Is A Way -
I had forgotten just how much of a nail-biter those few evening hours became for Gwynneth, Vivien, Ian, Helen and Jack who were on the spot, and for everyone else, from MA and the sisters at the convent to all those in the school who were praying for Hilda's recovery. I remain thankful that once Ellie fell asleep under Hilda's caress, she didn't rouse again, and that Hilda herself was really too ill to be fully cognisant of what was heppening, even in those few brief moments of consciousness. Not surprising either, that Nancy is overwhelmed by her grief for Hilda and for her loss of trust in Kathie, at least for now, as well as by what feels like the enormity of her responsibilitiy for both schools, however temporary it may turn out to be.
I have to admit I'm very glad that I know what comes next otherwise your vivid description of Hilda floating "further and further out on the gently-swaying tide..." would have me fearing the worst - as I did the first time!
Thank you, Mary I will await the start of Volume 10 whenever you are ready to post it, and look forward to reliving that dream.
Author's Response: Goodness, Elder, I hadn't realised it was quite so vivid, but thank you for the compliment. I packed rather a lot in that chapter, didn't I?
Date: 16 Sep 2016 12:01 am Title: Chapter 1 - A Thread of Grace
They needed to be honest, they needed to give her a little break and they are right to take her back! Vivien, Matey, Helen and Iain are playing a blinder as we say in Football land!
Author's Response: Love it, shesings!
Date: 13 Sep 2016 10:32 pm Title: Chapter 28 - Thro' The Outer Darkness Burdensome
Poor Ellie. She needed the break away from Hilda just for a little while, but of course Hilda is never more than a thought away and I'm not surprised she needed to return, desperate in her desire to be with Hilda if the worst comes to pass.
The love that surrounded Ellie whilst Vivien and Ian were trying to help her to understand Kathie's jealous rage which resulted in her current painful injury is tangible. I know Ellie will mull this over in the quiet moments and may even be able to bring herself to let Kathie apologise. Always drove ding in whether her penitent frame of mind continues.
I loved the Christina Rosetti quote which closed this chapter. It framed the picture of Hilda's hand resting on Ellie's head. Peaceful for the moment.
Thank you Mary.
Author's Response: Oh, what a lovely thing to say about the poem, Linda. I just felt it said what was in my mind as I wrote the ending of the chapter. Thank you.
Date: 13 Sep 2016 10:25 pm Title: Chapter 28 - Thro' The Outer Darkness Burdensome
Vivien and Ian are totally right to tell Ellie why Kathie behaved so appallingly, At 16/17 she isn’t a child. She is desolate enough over Hilda and would have fretted even more otherwise. Vivien is a proper chameleon here…so versatile and instinctively knowing what Ellie and Marianne need and quick to adapt to meet those needs. The magic tricks are a good contrast to lighten the atmosphere. Thank you, Mary.
Author's Response: Vivien, the chameleon! Fantastic, Blueskye! But you're right, she adapts so well to any situation. Thank you.
Date: 13 Sep 2016 8:24 pm Title: Chapter 28 - Thro' The Outer Darkness Burdensome
"Ellie .....did not feel brave, only afraid and miserable. Everyone said she must pray for Madame, but all she could recite over and over again in her head was, Please! Please! Please! She had no real idea to whom she was saying it, but no other words would come to mind."
O Ellie what is your heart felt "please" than the deepest prayer there is. When you are that deep in prayer you do not need to feel you know God as He knows you and is carrying you as illustrated by the "Footsteps in the Sand."
Ian and Vivien show such love and care to Ellie and Isobel in her turn to Vivien. Marianne is learning so much about people and life, it is good that she is going to have a time at home soon to absorb all she has learnt and that her mother has shared her experiences so can help her understand them
Author's Response: Pauline, I love what you wrote about Ellie's one word prayer, and the comparison with Footsteps in the Sand.
Date: 13 Sep 2016 8:23 pm Title: Chapter 28 - Thro' The Outer Darkness Burdensome
Vivien and Ian did the right thing in being so honest with Ellie, she's a girl with a strong heart and the truth will be more likely to allow her to be generous than just part of the story. Even so, I rather doubt she will be able to look at Kathie let alone forgive her for a very long time - perhaps that's what Kathie needs though.
Ellie's own jealousy of Tessa will help her to understand what's happened to Kathie but whether or not it will help her to accept is another matter.
Ian, Vivien and Isobel are all trying to help both Marianne and Ellie but Ellie's whole being is back with Hilda. Nothing would have the strength to move her thoughst and feelings at such a time no matter how hard they and Ellie herself try. That fear of not being there at such a crucial time will take over and getting Ellie back to Hilda was certainly a priority.
I'm glad Isobel was there to help Vivien and Marianne will be all the stronger and more compassionate for seeing such grief and love.
Let's hope that Hilda somehow managing to embrace Ellie like that is an indication that hope is not lost and that the love surrounding Hilda in the present will keep her back from Nell's love awaiting her in the future.
Date: 13 Sep 2016 7:57 pm Title: Chapter 28 - Thro' The Outer Darkness Burdensome
In one way I'm almost surprised Ellie agreed to leave Hilda's side in the first place, but I think even that little break did her good. Hilda may reprove Vivien and Ian for being so frank with Ellie, but they were right to answer her questions as honestly as they could. We know how much she thinks things through and they have certainly given her food for thought. It's also quite amazing how, while her first reaction to the idea of forgiving Kathie and accepting her apology is an emphatic "jamais, jamais," in a very short time she starts to see that perhasp she might be able to do so - all thanks to the honesty, reassurance and understanding she receives from Vivien and Ian.
I'm very glad that Vivien feels sufficiently comfortable with Isobel that she can let down her own guard and be comforted for a while. While Marianne may well be startled by all that is being revealed in her presence, it doesn't hurt her to know some of it - she'll probably discuss it with her mother later, as well as resolving to do her very best for Vivien once she returns to class.
As for Ellie, clearly she subconcsiously felt a divine pressure urging her to return to her guardian's bedside - although we know that Hilda's movement was an involuntary one, to Ellie it represented so much more, didn't it?
Thank you, Mary - I must admit I didn't fully understand the import of the last lines of Christina Rossetti's poem when I first read it - but this time, we know what is coming next.....
Author's Response: Oh dear, Elder, to me the poem spoke to the action there and what He did for Ellie, but if it doesn't speak to you for the present moment as Ellie sits there with Hilda's hand on her head, perhaps I should delete it, as it wasn't mean to forecast what might be, just what is. *gulp*
Date: 13 Sep 2016 12:40 am Title: Chapter 27 - Bright Hope for Tomorrow
So much love surrounding Hilda and Ellie and such deep faith sending up prayers for healing. Hilda will love to see her butterflies when she finally wakes. Vivien knows just what will bring her peace. A lovely cameo appearance by poor little Abby. Thank you Mary
Date: 12 Sep 2016 9:17 pm Title: Chapter 27 - Bright Hope for Tomorrow
There is nothing like adversity to gather people closer together, members of AMAS included… “Vivien closed her eyes and reflected that here, round Ellie’s bed, was the nucleus of that little family envisaged by Hilda a few nights ago – but Hilda herself would always be the sun round which they all revolved, even when she was in her convent.” – lovely!
I also like the way Helen Graves is so grounded here, her medical knowledge means that she knows how seriously ill Hilda is, yet her faith is no less than that of the others and she is very practically minded and still has hope (there is always hope!) And one of my favourite hymns. Thank you, Mary.
Date: 12 Sep 2016 8:26 pm Title: Chapter 27 - Bright Hope for Tomorrow
Ellie is really learning about physicl pain as well as reliving mental pain which she is no stranger too. It is good to see the gathering of the famliy around Hilda and Ellie and their depth of trust and faith in God, such a contrast to Kathie and Nancy's seeking and questionning.
AMAS is certainly growing providing support for its members.
Date: 12 Sep 2016 7:44 pm Title: Chapter 26 - A Chastened Spirit
My Bible reading today from 2 Timothy 3 verses 15-17 struck me as a suitable guide for Kathy and Nancy
There is nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation Through Faith in Jesus Christ. every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another- showing us truth, exposing our rebelion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's Way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.
(The Message a modern paraphrase by Eugene H Peterson
Date: 12 Sep 2016 7:04 pm Title: Chapter 27 - Bright Hope for Tomorrow
Wow, Vivien really does think of everything and everyone, doesn't she? I'm glad she is now at the San to share the vigil with Matey, at least for the next few hours and to provide some diversion for Ellie once the girl wakes again. I'd forgotten what a strong plea she made to Matey on Kathie's behalf there, doing her best to defuse the older woman's smouldering anger against Kathie, and succeeding rather well overall.
Nothing, though, can allay their concern over Hilda's worsening condition, a concern which Ian, Helen and Jack all share, although Jack is leaving no stone unturned in his quest to find something to "hit" the infection and reduced her fever. The cream he has had the pharmacy make up for him will certainly soothe, as will the unspoken prayers with which he administers it, and the fervent prayers of all who love Hilda, both on the Platz and at the convent, as well as the butterfly mobile when she sees it. As for that lovely cat mobile for Ellie - yet another expression of the growing love between Vivien and this young girl who has known so much sorrow in her life and apart from her own hurt, is now in anguish lest her beloved guardian should die.
I love the 'drawing together' of all these souls into this special family "with Ellie herself and Hilda joined together as its beating heart." Surely God must spare Hilda for this? I know it looks grim just now, but.... Meantime, Vivien will do all she can to help Ellie; Ian, too, adds his mite by loaning that special lap blanket to keep the girl warm.
Thank you, Mary
Date: 12 Sep 2016 6:37 pm Title: Chapter 27 - Bright Hope for Tomorrow
How hard it must be for Vivien to try to help Gwynneth see that this is not all Kathie's fault when she herself is still cursing Kathie for all she's done. Yet maybe Jack was right, had Kathie NOT gone so far maybe Hilda would have struggled on until ti was too late for treatment. Hilda's in the best possible care and will surely recover with so many people needing and loving her.
The mobiles are an inspiration, the butterflies will undoubtedly make Hilda smile when she wakes up and the cats have given Ellie something new to focus on even if just for a moment.
Poor Helen, her love for Hilda is no less than others yet she is still going on with working, looking after Hilda and trying to add strength to the rest of them. Her place in AMAS as well as within that close group of people is well deserved.
The amount of love and compassion inside that room would have Hilda cured in seconds if love were all that were needed. If only it could be bottled and used to treat all ills the world would be a happier place.
Date: 12 Sep 2016 4:13 pm Title: Chapter 26 - A Chastened Spirit
Really do hope Kathie keeps up the reformation, and that Nancy can come to terms with everything and forgive her, though she won't find it esy to forget even if she can forgive. Don't think their relationship can ever be the quite the same as it was before, though in the long term it may be even stronger after what they've been through.
Date: 12 Sep 2016 1:57 am Title: Chapter 26 - A Chastened Spirit
Both Vivien and Nancy are helping Kathie to understand that she needs to listen to God's voice and lean on Him for support as she tries to seek redemption. Whiles I was reading this Chapter, the words of this hymn crept into my mind.
"From sinking sands, He lifted me, with tender hands, He lifted me, from shades of night to plains of light. Oh praise His name, He lifted me."
Author's Response: I didn't know this hymn, Linda, so thanks for posting it as it's very apposite to Kathie's situation. Oh, and thanks so much also for writing so many reviews at once.
Date: 12 Sep 2016 1:51 am Title: Chapter 25 - My Arrogant Insistence
The first part of this chapter, the conversation with Kathie and Mireille, is one of the most inspirational parts of the whole of ND so far. Mireille's understanding and willingness to be open with Kathie is all the more amazing giver Kathie's actions earlier this morning. Kathie has made a start towards redeeming herself, but, can she keep it up or will her jealousy raise its ugly head again?