Reviewer: sue mc Signed [Report This]
Date: 23 Jun 2017 1:55 am Title: Chapter 25 - This Is The Wilderness Time

A chapter worth waiting for. Helen has certainly come to the fore ensuring Hlda does what she needs to do and seeng her safely to bed, as well as pointing out to Nancy and Gwynneth their errors.

    It was good to have the intelude of humour with the middles pillowfight, which will have given Gwynneth time to get back to her normal self.

   I think Vivien surprised MA and Ian with her  revelations of Nell soeaking to her and showed what a good friend she is to Hilda.

    Hilda is going to need MA as she is still suffering mentally over her future choices'

   I think that yes any suffering will help Kathie in her future position.

   Loved the Paul Tillich quotes not heard of him so need to look him up, not only giving us wonderful stories but educatin g me as well. Thankyou Mary.

Reviewer: MaryR Signed [Report This]
Date: 22 Jun 2017 2:53 pm Title: Chapter 25 - This Is The Wilderness Time

I'm posting this review on behalf of Rosemarie (who used to be Celia, until SDL rejected her!) because, for some reason, her review has also been rejected by SDL. Is Hilda up to mischief, I ask myself? *grins*

Rosemarie's review: "The poem by Theodosia Garrison captures exactly how Hilda felt when she lost Nell, and before that James. It must have been daunting to hear how much Kate still misses Stephen, even after thirty years. That's a whole heap more time for Hilda to hurt. Nevertheless having MA with her is obviously going to comfort and strengthen her, and will provide someone to chide and chivvy her in much the way Nell used to. As for Kathie, she was a loved and popular member of staff but to regain trust after such dreadful behaviour will be an uphill struggle such as the strongest soul would find fearful. Hearing the Lord will be a constant necessity I'm sure if she is to have the courage to climb her mountain. Thank you for a very interesting chapter, Mary."

Reviewer: Seven Signed [Report This]
Date: 21 Jun 2017 4:21 pm Title: Chapter 25 - This Is The Wilderness Time

Kathie finally seems to have accepted that her behaviour has been appalling.  I'm sure she will now make amends where she can and hopefully she will keep her jealousy in check.

I wonder what will happen when Kathie goes home at Easter and tells her aunt all that has happened - if she does.  Her aunt's advice was totally wrong but will she see that?

I am glad Hilda finally made it to bed before collapsing.  Perhaps Nell will visit her to reassure her she is still doing the right thing and to tell her off of course!  

Author's Response: Or perhaps Nell will have to remain quiet for a while, Seven, after her performance the night Hilda died! *grins*

Reviewer: Blueskye Signed [Report This]
Date: 21 Jun 2017 6:14 am Title: Chapter 25 - This Is The Wilderness Time

Lovely... Thank you

Author's Response: Thanks.

Reviewer: Jenny Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: 19 Jun 2017 9:43 pm Title: Chapter 25 - This Is The Wilderness Time

My heart goes out to pretty much everyone in this chapter! Kate's observation that Kathie needed to go through this to help her come to maturity is astute but it seems so unfair that so many people have had to suffer in order to get her there. It is wonderful to see her draw closer to the Lord, but at what cost? Gwynneth and Nancy are also suffering because they lacked the courage to tell Hilda the truth and Kate had to go against them so that the truth came out; Ellie has suffered greater damage..... and Ian has had to open his heart to Kathie in order to help her. And yet, this may also develop the characters of the above mentioned which will stand them in good stead at a later time in their lives as well. We are all the sum of our experiences - Hilda's tough life has enabled her to give of herself now to her erring staff and pupils. Ian's experiences have enabled him to help those in anguish now. It is said that whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger but it's come pretty close with Hilda. I'm sure she feels herself a very weak vessel for the Lord at the moment. But how amazing her trust is. If only she can get the strength to persevere, more wonderful things may come to pass. There are so many lessons to learn from your writing, Mary, and I truly believe that you are doing the Lord's work here so please don't be discouraged by difficulties. I can't wait to see how the characters develop still further and really feel like a 'fly on the wall' wherever your story is set. Thank you for a lovely long chapter

Author's Response: Oh, Jenny, what a lovely review for an author to receive! I want to deny that there are many lessons to be learned from ND, as it seems to show pride, but I so wanted readers to take away help for grief, thoughts about their faith, acknowledgment that we are all weak and make mistakes and so should forgive others theirs, and just the comforting thought that God loves them. As to doing the Lords work, He and Hilda write it, Jenny. He inspired me to start as I had never written anything before ND was begun. Yes, I agree, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, and I hope some of my characters do now comes across as stronger. Hopefully Kathie will learn and grow, as Hilda has had to, and Ellie, and Ian, and indeed MA. No one escapes trials in this life, do they? It's what we do with them that counts. I'm sorry, Jenny, I've written an essay in response, but you wrote such a loving review.

Reviewer: ivohenry Signed [Report This]
Date: 19 Jun 2017 9:42 pm Title: Chapter 25 - This Is The Wilderness Time

Glad you finally overcame the gremlins in your computer!


This souinds hopeful for Kathie, and it's good that she's had a chance to meet Kate (and vice versa!) before going to the Convent.

Maybe Hilda can relax a bit on that situation and hopefully have a restful night. She still has issues to deal with - not least deciding how and when to talk to Meg about her father (and gtandfather)

Author's Response: Yes, indeed, ivohenry, she still has that to face. But she now has help and support of the very best kind. Thank you.

Reviewer: Elder in Ontario Signed [Report This]
Date: 19 Jun 2017 12:07 am Title: Chapter 25 - This Is The Wilderness Time

It does sound as if Hllda may have got through to Kathie, but I just hope that the latter is able to make good on her present repentance and promises to do what she can to repair the wrongs she has wrought on so many people.  It's clear that she has taken to heart both Vivien's and Ian's words, all of which has given Hilda a good foundation to work on, while Hilda's own openness (not something which comes easily to her) has spoken to her too.  Building on all of that, and, I hope, encouraged by her experiences of the Lord and His words in the last few days, Kathie should be able to move forward - it won't be easy, and she'd exceptionally lucky if she can do so without any backsliding, but at least she now knows that she can (and must) ask for help when things get difficult.  If not....  Meantime, both Gwyneth and Nancy will have to come to terms with how much they have hurt Hilda by their reluctance to tell her the truth - and to walk delicately "like Agag" until she herself can forgive them - she will do so, we know - she couldn't be Hilda if she didn't - but it may take a while.  

I love it that Vivien is so comfortable with Mother, Ian and Helen that she feels able to tell them so much about the openness of her relationship with Hilda, and how it has evolved in just those few short months since Lausanne, and also to describe her own encounters with Nell's spirit.  Mother, in particular must be thanking Heaven fasting that Vivien has shown herself to be such a present help.  I'm glad that Mother and Helen bring Hilda's session with Kathie to an end - she truly is, as Helen says, beyond exhaustion, but needed to have that meeting.   I'm also glad that Ian was there to carry her downstairs to her room - I doubt the other two could have managed to get her there otherwise.  But above all, I'm glad that she has that session with Mother to soothe her to sleep - she needed her reassurance so much.

She has indeed done far more than anyone newly recovering from a brush with death should have tried to do, within the space of a few short hours, but having done it, and having received assurance that she has done well, I hope she will sleep the night through and awake in the morning, refreshed and at least somewhat strengthened, though we know full recovery will take longer.  I don't blame Mother for wondering whether Hilda really will be fit for Boston in less than a week, but she does know both Hilda's will to recover and her strong faith - both will help her along that road.  I also hope she realises just how much her own presence and encouragement (and her ability to apply restraint when necessary) will do to help Hilda along that "long and winding road."

Thank you, Mary - apologies for yet another essay!

Author's Response: No apology needed, Elder. Its lovely ND teases out so many thoughts. I love the thought of Nancy and Matey having to walk delicately *like Agag* The trouble is, Matey had already upset Hilda by revealing that nasty comment of Kathie's, so much as she will forgive them it will be hard to put it to one side - yet, to her, to forgive is also to forget. And how hard is that!?! Oh, yes, Vivien is most definitely one of them now, isn't she? As is Helen, who got to know Mother so well after the accident. Oh, Mother realises exactly how much Hilda needs her - wasn't she told so just now? *grins* Thank you so much, Elder.

Reviewer: shesings Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: 18 Jun 2017 11:49 pm Title: Chapter 25 - This Is The Wilderness Time

Mother is just so strong and good with Hilda, and with the others. I hope that the breakthrough with Kathie is sustained and that she can begin to rebuild her relationship with Nancy, the rest of the staff and the pupils but it will be a long hard road.

Author's Response: Oh, I hope Kathie can sustain it, too, shesings. She hasn't told m yet!! And yes, how Mother Abbess was needed!

Reviewer: Charlotta4th Anonymous [Report This]
Date: 18 Jun 2017 9:31 pm Title: Chapter 25 - This Is The Wilderness Time

I love the way Hilda treats Kathie, she could have gone in all guns blazing and Kathie would have deserved that, but in typical Hilda fashion, she is so kind and loving. I hope she gets some relief for herself soon though. Surely no one can endure that much suffering for so long.

Author's Response: She couldn't do it any other way, Charlotta. Hilda isn't an all guns blazing sort of person, is she? And I'm sure she'll get some relief now MA is there. She had it just by falling asleep with her there to soothe and sympathise. Thank you.

Reviewer: PaulineS Signed [Report This]
Date: 18 Jun 2017 9:11 pm Title: Chapter 25 - This Is The Wilderness Time

Hilda and Kate have certainly packed a lot into the less than seven hours they have been in the same place. 

Kate's comment that perhaps Kathy needed this time of suffering to learn about herself and sorrow if she was to be an effective leader gives hope for the future.  A pity it had to be at the expense of Hilda and Ellie, and the school though.

Thank you Mary 

Author's Response: It was indeed a pity, Pauline. Thank you.

Reviewer: Sarah Anonymous [Report This]
Date: 18 Jun 2017 8:14 pm Title: Chapter 25 - This Is The Wilderness Time

Awesome! Xx

Author's Response: Thanks, Sarah.

Reviewer: sue mc Signed [Report This]
Date: 16 Jun 2017 12:23 am Title: Chapter 24 - Dance of The Waters

sorry I've not reviewed earlier life has been hectic. Hilda has certainly dealt faithfully with Kathie, I am not sure that it will all be plain sailing even though Kathie seems contrite at the moment.

     Hilda certainly didn't hold back in what she said, MA has certainly helped Hilda to open up more than she would have done before. Again I loved the quotations and Hilda  saying "Always take the gentle path" how right she is.    

    Thanks Mary I loved this chapter, perhaps Kathie will now see how blessed she was to have God speaking  to her.

Author's Response: Oh, I do hope she will feel blessed, now Hilda has pointed that God cares for her, and always will, even though she has messed up. Aren't we all in the same boat? Kathie may find it hard, at first, as you say, and may slip back now and then, but she has the best helpers in the world.Thank you, Sue.

Reviewer: Clair Anonymous starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: 13 Jun 2017 4:01 pm Title: Chapter 24 - Dance of The Waters

Oh Kathie, please let this be the turning point and allow yourself to really move forward. Hilda has pushed so hard and yet so gently that Kathie will take time to assimilate all that's been said but if she can just truly believe that there is nothing more than the deepest and truest friendship between HIlda and Nancy maybe she has a chance to come out the other side of all this pain.

This is a different Kathie already, one who apologises and notices Hilda's own pain and discomfort as well as one who is finally ackowledging her lack of understanding when others are in pain and her own difficult nature. How deep that change goes remains to be seen, I just hope she is able to bring herself to face all the effort it will take to bring people like Rosalie back to her in any form.

Will Kathie have the courage to be as honest, open and ready to listen and care with Nancy though, more to the point will Nancy even want to go there?

Bless Ian for all he has done to help Kathie, a true friend to Hilda prepared to show such a private part of his own life to  make Kathie see sense.

Thanks Mary  

Author's Response: I'm so glad you licked up on the differences already to be seen in Kath, Clair - like her apologies, comforts Hilda's own pain when it is revealed. I think her hardest work will be to face her critics, those she's hurt, and we all know how hard it can be to face someone who feels aggrieved with us. You're right, too, that Ian's openness, like Hilda's, has played a huge part. Thanks for such a thoughtful review, Clair.

Reviewer: Blueskye Signed [Report This]
Date: 11 Jun 2017 10:11 pm Title: Chapter 24 - Dance of The Waters

*hurries into SDL rather late*  Well! Hilda dealt very faithfully with Kathie and at considerable cost to herself. Oh, Kathie  "...a man wrapped up in himself is a very small package indeed..."  But Ian and Hilda barely flinch from offering the support she needs. “Always take the gentle path" lovely - Thank you, Mary. 


Author's Response: Thank you, Blueskye.

Reviewer: Linda Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: 09 Jun 2017 11:56 pm Title: Chapter 24 - Dance of The Waters

This is Hilda at her absolute best, gentle yet unyielding, determinedly making Kathie face the reality of just how destructive her jealous behaviour has been and how difficult it is going to be for her to regain the love and respect of those who she has damaged and destroyed.

Now, thanks to MA, Hilda understands that Kathie's behaviour has been down to her jealousy of her and the dread that Nancy will fall in love with Hilda and she has been able to tackle Kathie from a different angle. I just hope that she has finally got through to Kathie and her current contrition will lead to a permanent change of heart and she will be able to become the leader that Hilda and Nell believed her to be.

Thank you Mary.

Author's Response: Thanks for saying it's Hilda at her gentle best, Linda, because the fear is always I get it/her wrong. I'm with you in hoping for the best, but don't forget MA is also about to have a go at her, and will have to try not to be too tigerish, won't she? *grins*

Reviewer: AnneM Signed [Report This]
Date: 08 Jun 2017 6:27 pm Title: Chapter 24 - Dance of The Waters

Wow! I have been reading about the Desert Mothers and Fathers recently and it strikes me that Hilda is very like them, with her steely indifference to the ego and its attention-seeking demands and her absolute attentiveness to what really matters.

I know she thinks that if she'd known about Kathie's real jealousy earlier she could have stopped it, but I'm not sure - I rather agree with her thought that "she hadn’t then overcome her dislike of revealing herself in such wholesale fashion, so might not have been as open and honest". It's only her costly openness that is doing the trick now with Kathie, who wouldn't have been able to understand if she couldn't actually see and hear Hilda's pain. Thank you, Mary.

Author's Response: Thank you for this wonderfully thoughtful review, Anne. I love the desert fathers, but haven't read anything about the mothers, so will have to search. But you've put into a nutshell Hilda's character there - she always puts self to one side when trying to get the best out of people or trying to turn their behaviour, focuses only on the other person and what is required to soothe or change or whatever. Glad to see you agree with her/my assessment that she couldn't perhaps have had the same impact when she wasn't so open about herself.

Reviewer: Seven Signed [Report This]
Date: 08 Jun 2017 12:20 pm Title: Chapter 24 - Dance of The Waters

At last Kathie has got what she thought she was entitled to with Hilda, namely that Hilda has now shared her crippling grief over Nell with her.   Kathie has realised, of course, that there is no way she would have been able to help Hilda.  Hopefully, her remorse over what she has done is going to last and MA will continue to build on that.  

I hope Hilda can now go to bed before she falls down.   It is a wonderful scene between Hilda and Kathie and I cried through most of it!  It must have been hard to write but you have done a great job Mary.  

Author's Response: Aw, Seven, I'm sorry Hilda and I made you weep! It's lovely that my words could do that, but it wasn't my intention. It was hard to write, as I kept thinking, *No, Hilda wouldn't say that or that...* But I felt in the end she had to be brutally honest with Kathie to make her understand and stop being jealous, telling out in words of one syllable just what her relationship with Nell was and wasn't. Now, all she can do is wait and hope. Thank you for such loving thoughts.

Reviewer: Rosemarie Anonymous [Report This]
Date: 08 Jun 2017 11:10 am Title: Chapter 24 - Dance of The Waters

How very much more open Hilda has become over the months. A year ago she would not have been able to speak as she has with Kathie and I guess the girl would have had to leave. Maybe she still will, but hopefully the 'grand sulk' is finished and after her visit to the convent she may begin to build her life again.             When the room in our hearts is unlimited it is surprizing how often we tend to discard people we say are friends to make way for new or 'better' ones. All we need is to remember that each friend offers us a different treasure, and we discard them at our peril.       Thank you for another thought provoking chapter Mary, it must have taken a lot of writing.



Author's Response: Yes, she has opened up, hasn't she, but I feel sure that in her friendship with Nell there would have been times when they would have had to be just as brutally honest and tell it as it is. As MA has to do with her community. I love what you say about friends, and how each one offers us a different treasure. Thank you for a really beautiful review, Rosemarie.

Reviewer: PaulineS Signed [Report This]
Date: 05 Jun 2017 11:22 pm Title: Chapter 24 - Dance of The Waters

Let us hope Kathy is taking in all that Hilda has shared with her.  The way has been opened for MA to be able to get through to her now.  Nancy will certainly need help and support as well.

Author's Response: Thank you, Pauline. Yes, both Nancy and Matey will need support, but I suspect Hilda will leave it to Mother, as they feel too ashamed to face her yet. As for Kathie, we'll see...

Reviewer: Bobcat Anonymous [Report This]
Date: 05 Jun 2017 11:06 pm Title: Chapter 24 - Dance of The Waters

Thank you Mary.

Reading, for me, is often an escape, and reading this whole story is like escaping into a warm, safe space. I read, and I'm in a school half way up a mountain in Switzerland; it's snowing outside but inside is warmth and light and honesty - even when that honesty hurts. Or I'm in a convent in England, imagining the corridors and the hushed chapel, or MA in her office tapping at the desk and wondering whether to make a phone call to the continent.

The pictures and feelings conjured up are vivd - and that's all by your marvellous writing, Mary.

I do hope though, that MA goes a wee bit gently with Kathie, so that Kathie's not terrified to go to the convent at half - term. I have a suspicion that they'll be travelling back together, and if I were Kathie I"m not sure I'd want to share a plane journey with a slightly scary nun! I am looking forward to seeing how Kathie gets on with the nuns - and this chapter with Hilda will hopefully have done some groundwork in Kathie so she's ready to face what lies ahead.


Author's Response: Thank you for the very kind review, Bobcat - and apologies for using your name below in Ivohenry's review. I got totally confused, and of course on here one can't alter anything. Bless you for the lovely words likening my story to a warm, safe space, although I'm stunned that you find the feelings conjured up so vivid. It's what I aim for, but not sure I ever succeed. Mother is slightly scary, isn't she, but she can do gentle, as she did with Meg. I sense she knows Kathie needs soothing like a frightened calf, for she told everyone at that table how mixed-up Kathie was, not knowing which way was up, and they'll be more at ease with each other before the journey takes place. I'm hoping Hilda's brutally frank words re her relationships with Nell and Nancy will have put to rest Kathie's fears. One can dream...

Reviewer: ivohenry Signed [Report This]
Date: 05 Jun 2017 1:27 am Title: Chapter 24 - Dance of The Waters

Do hope Kathie has finally realised how and why she has been misunderstanding and hurting people, and especially poor Nancy. Hilda certainly told her pretty plainly, but in such a loving way. Time at the convent soon will help - she does need to get away from everything and have time to reflect.  

Do hope now Hilda can get to bed - with help from Helen and Gwyneth, and enjoy some restful and restoring sleep. Everone else who needs her can surely wait till tomorrow!

Thnk you, Mary.

Author's Response: Thanks for popping in, Bobcat. Hopefully the next chapter will reassure you about Hilda. I think she felt she had to be brutally frank to get through Kathie's misconceptions about Hilda and Nell and about Hilda and Nancy.

Reviewer: Elder in Ontario Signed [Report This]
Date: 04 Jun 2017 11:57 pm Title: Chapter 24 - Dance of The Waters

Well, if we thought Ellie was inspired when she took Kathie to task so inexorablly, yet so gently, earlier this afternoon, we can only be lost in admiration for Hilda's treatment of her now.  Despite the fact that Hilda is clearly only hanging on by a thread, at least physically, by now, she once again shows how much she puts others' needs before her own in this talk.  She could have been angry with Kathie, but that would be against her nature. Instead, she gently, but persistently, does all she can to disabuse Kathie of the worst of her misunderstandings, in the hope that the latter will finally see the error of her behaviour and attitudes - most of all, her jealousy of Hilda herself.  Despite her innate reluctance to reveal so much of herself to anyone except Nell, and now, Mother Abbess, she is so honest and open with Kathie in her efforts to get through to her.  Kathie may not realise it, but we know just how much Hilda is driven by guilt that her failure to understand just what has lain behind Kathie's actions stems from the latter's jealousy; so many people have suffered as a result that it will be hard for her to forgive herself, no matter what anyone else may say on the matter.  

I sincerely hope that Kathie's recent experiences: hearing the voice of the Lord and His support for her ast she apologises to those she has hurt, coupled with this session with Hilda will bear fruit and that she really will be able to turn things around both in school and in her relationship with Nancy.  I also hope Hilda will be able to get back to the Salon without Helen having to physically carry her down there - she really is pushing way beyond her limits, and no doubt will be well reproved by MA as well as Ian, Jack, Gwynneth, Vivien and Helen herself for doing so! At the same time, I hope that having done so will have helped assuage at least some of her guilt at not having been fully informed of the true situation earlier. 

Thank you, Mary, for giving us much food for thought.

Author's Response: Had to laugh at your last sentence, Elder. There was almost too much food for thought in that chapter, I felt! Or too much for folk to get a good handle on. Yes, Hilda's confrontation with Kathie does take further forward all Ellie said earlier. And Hllda's brutal frankness, in stating in words of one syllable just what sort of relationship she had with Nell should dispel some of Kathie's misconceptions and all of her jealousy. Oh, I don't know that Hilda will be reproved, not this time. They all recognise it needed to be done, and done as soon as she heard the truth, but you'll have to wait for the next chapter to find out... *grins*

Reviewer: Linda Signed starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Date: 28 May 2017 4:45 pm Title: Chapter 23 - Landmarks Shift

Well, I never expected that! But, thinking it through, which has taken several readings, of course, Mary, it is obvious. Kathie is jealous of Hilda, not just jealous of those who Hilda loves and who love her. Perhaps now, Hilda will be able to get through the wall of pride which Kathie has built up. Her encounter with the Lord has started to chip away, and Ellie's forthright approach has continued the good work. I do hope Hilda, now, can find the right words to say which will finish the job and turn Kathie into the woman she is meant to be.

As for Matey, Nancy and even Vivien, it is going to take some time for them to come to terms with how much they have let Hilda down, with the best of intentions. No doubt Hilda, as usual, will be at the forefront, picking up the pieces.

Thank you Mary, for one of your most thought provoking chapters.

Author's Response: *giggles* Funny how many folk said they never expected this to be the truth that would be revealed. Bless you for being so thoughtful and reading it so many times, Linda, because, believe me, it required far too much thought to write it, and the meting itself is proving even more difficult! Hopefully, Kathie will now be amenable to Hilda's gentle words and listen to her assurances about not loving Nancy. Will Hilda pick up the pieces where Nancy and Matey are concerned? It may be that MA has to do some work there. Or even Helen and Ian! We'll see. Thank you for reviewing, Linda.

Reviewer: Blueskye Signed [Report This]
Date: 26 May 2017 7:52 pm Title: Chapter 23 - Landmarks Shift

Ah! This was what was coming! Poor Matey …”For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…” she seems to be getting further away from Hilda when the opposite is what she would want.  Helen on the other hand has much more clarity and seems to know intuitively what Hilda needs.  And Hilary – yay! Always a favourite of mine.


Thanks, Mary

Reviewer: Rosemarie Anonymous [Report This]
Date: 25 May 2017 7:43 pm Title: Chapter 23 - Landmarks Shift

Well the cat is certainly out of the bag now, and despite the agonising effect on Hilda she can now approach Kathie on the right level and the right way.  I'm sure the Lord will give her the strength she needs, and Helen sitting at the top of the stairs will also be a comfort. Will she collapse again after this, or will extra help be forthcoming to allow her to see and help others before her day ends. A powerful piece of writing Mary, thank you.

Author's Response: Thanks, Celia. Yes, let's hope Hilda can now find the way in and change Kathie's strange ideas, though at the moment they're both proving rather hard to write about. Helen is wonderful, and really propping Hilda up, but even she may not be enough, in the end.

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