A couple of weeks ago I finished re-reading one of my all-time favorite novels First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen. This book is a sequel to her first New York bestseller story called Garden Spells.
It seems trite to call these novels “enchanting,” or “magical” or “charming” but they are both all that…and more. They aren’t dealing in any kind of fantasy…just simply exposing beautifully different talents found within the characters that make the reader want to be with them and root for them …long after you close the book on the last page. Allen calls her writings “Southern fried magical realism.”
The author is from Asheville, North Carolina and we share a similar challenge…breast cancer. Like me…her cancer is stable now and she has resumed her writings again, though at a slower pace since her mother has been seriously ill recently. A new book is expected out soon (hopefully 2018) but her mother’s health comes first. (That tells you a lot about this young author right off the bat!)
Similar to Garden Spells, First Frost picks up the story of the Waverly women, ten years later…still living in their rambling Queen Anne home with the wraparound porch. It once belonged to their grandmother Mary who raised the two sisters, Claire and Sydney, when their mother abandoned them.
It is a well-known fact in Bascom, North Carolina that the Waverly women have secret “gifts” that no one else does. Claire’s talent is in her culinary skills, Sydney is an amazing hair-dresser who can change lives with hair-cuts and her daughter, Bay, knows exactly where everything and everyone belongs. A mischievous apple tree, with all of its strange pranks, completes this whimsical household…but then there is a distant Waverly cousin, named Evanelle Franklin, now eighty-nine and carrying a portable oxygen mask, who has the most intriguing gift of all.
At any time, day or night, Evanelle knows that she intuitively must deliver a certain object to a certain person within a specific time. She doesn’t know why…just simply that she must do it. This is her Waverly gift.
“There’d been times when Evanelle wished it had been different, that her special gift could have been more pretty, or at the very least she could have made a living by it. But she’d long ago accepted this was what she was supposed to do- she was supposed to give people she knew, and sometimes people she didn’t know, people she met on the street, a strange gift. She couldn’t change who she was, and she no longer wanted to, even if she could. She knew that who you are is a stone set deep inside you. You can spend all your life trying to dig that stone out, or you can build around it. Your choice.”
What words of wisdom in one paragraph! Dr. Seuss is right “Why fit in when you were born to stand out.” I think this is the greatest gift we can give our children…To keep reassuring them to be who they are and who God wants them to be…that is all that is needed, all that is required, all that will make them an amazing person!
Because all of our lives are based on a true story…this fact, alone, makes each of our stories magnificent, unique, and powerful. And the best part is…there’s still so much story to tell! In fact…the most exciting parts are still waiting for us to live them! What an exciting thought!
So until tomorrow…Let’s all remember Evanelle’s message: ”
…”Remember that who you are is a stone set deep inside you. You can spend all your life trying to dig that stone out, or you can build around it. Your choice.”
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
*Eva Cate…you have an infatuated bee in your Japanese Maple tree…he let me get a few inches from him to take this photo. I am not sure what kind of “nectar” a bee gets from the leaves on a Japanese Maple…but whatever it was…he was loving it!
*April showers might bring May flowers…but for several of the Dingle family cousins…this year May means Ireland. A group of them are renting a cottage together the first week in May. Kaitlyn sent me this photo of Tommy’s latest “reads” preparing for the trip. I told Kaitlyn I hoped he finished before he left…they might add several more pounds to his luggage!
I am so enjoying my deck these past few days…I go out and catch the late afternoon sun…there really is something for getting our 20 minutes of sunshine each day…I feel stronger just sitting there soaking up the rays. As I was getting ready to go inside…I noticed how beautiful the waning rays were and took this picture. Love it!