Some months ago, Nancy stopped to comment on my Andy Elvis Presley post. She wrote, “Fantastic!...” Was she amazed by my husband’s exceptional singing talents or just overcome by his absolutely ridiculous appearance and weird sense of humour? Anyway, Nancy left a beautiful fun comment which I appreciated very much. I meant to fly straight over to Nancy’s blog and return the visit. But somehow that never happened.

Weeks passed turning into months, and Nancy once again stopped by to say hello. This time I didn’t hesitate. A few clicks and I’d arrived… I’d arrived at Nancy’s The Cloistered Heart blog. I stood there and looked around and it was my turn to be amazed and overcome. Wow! What a beautiful blog.

THE CLOISTERED HEART IS a way of living for God in the midst of the world. It is heart monasticism that can be embraced by married or single persons, religious or lay. It's an analogy in which our lives can be "monasteries," our hearts can live in the "enclosure" of Christ, and all things may be viewed through the will of God as through a "grille."

THIS BLOG IS a journey through parts of the heart-monastery, an exploration of how facets of monastic life may be applied to our lives in the world.

The first post I read was The Advent Window. I just soaked up Nancy’s words. She has such a wonderful way of expressing an idea. Now it was my turn to stop and say hello. To write a comment I was invited to visit “The Parlor”.

So I knocked on the door, or rather I clicked with my mouse, and there I was… in the parlour. Now I have intimate knowledge of monastery parlours. I know one when I see one, and Nancy’s parlor is the real thing. I can imagine Mother Prioress arriving at any moment. I can see the teapot and cakes set out on delicate plates, ready for the guests. A faint sound of chanting floats through the grille. Oh yes, there is a warm welcome too.

I’d been having a bit of a problem with the monastic view of the world after the grief of losing my daughter to a convent, and having to give up my role as her mother. (She was later returned to me but I was left with so many unresolved feelings.) Nancy has turned all those sad feelings around. Her posts, which I have been devouring, have encouraged me to take a second look at the monastic way of life. Nancy has also written a book called The Cloistered Heart which I would love to buy.

But the surprises weren’t over. I discovered Nancy has a second blog: The Breadbox Letters. (Don’t you just love that blog title? I do!) I arrived at this blog, took a look around… and there was my blog link in Nancy’s side-bar. Apparently Nancy has been reading my blog for some months… and I didn’t even know. She overlooked my failure to be courteous and visit her blog, and not only continued reading my stories, but also told others about it through the link. Isn’t she so generous and kind?

Why a breadbox…

My writing began at a breadbox. Mother’s metal breadbox, 1950s vintage with a pull-down front door - it made a dandy mailbox. Just the right receptacle for letters to Paul.


Paul was my make-believe husband, the kind that’s appropriate for an eight year old girl…

You must visit Nancy’s blog and read the rest!

Now I don’t know what Nancy looks like. In fact I don’t know many details of her life at all. I do know she is a talented writer. I suspect she is very clever and wise in the ways of the spiritual life. But I am certain she is a humble soul. I never creep away from Nancy’s blog thinking she is so far ahead of me in her spiritual journey, I’d better not stop and reveal how little my faith really is. We are travelling this journey side-by-side. At least that’s how Nancy makes me feel.

By now you will be aware I love Nancy’s blogs The Cloistered Heart and The Breadbox Letters. (I love all her beautiful images too.) I would like to thank Nancy for her inspiring posts, and for visiting me frequently and leaving me so many encouraging words. I am glad I finally visited you, Nancy. Now I am wondering… why didn’t I hop over to your blogs sooner?

Please don’t waste time like I did. If you haven’t visited Nancy’s blogs, follow the links from this post right now. When you arrive, there will be tea and scones waiting in the parlour. Please sign the guest book. I am sure you will receive a beautiful reply.

Here is a little daisy for you, Nancy. Please accept it as my thank you for your beautiful friendship and because... I love your blogs!


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  1. Sue, I read this with... I'll admit it... tears. How kind, sweet, and generous - of kind, sweet and generous you! THANK YOU!

    And I love daisies enough that I had them on the altar for my July wedding. So this is a particularly meaningful flower to receive in the chill of an American midwinter.

    I looked again at Andy Elvis Presley's video just last week, one day when I needed a smile :)! Your blog is filled with marvelous variety, which is one reason I love it. THANK YOU AGAIN AND AGAIN!

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    1. Nancy,

      Thank you for accepting my daisy. I love daisies too. I have great memories of making daisy chains as a child: daisy necklaces and crowns and even earrings! I think you are the first person I've ever heard of who had daisies at a wedding! A beautiful choice.

      You looked at Andy's video again? I just smile thinking about it. He is such a good sport. I am so glad you like variety. I wonder sometimes if readers only like a certain type of post, like my grief ones or maybe my homeschooling ones. Perhaps they scroll through the irrelevant ones. So much to write about!

      Nancy, thank you so much for your comment. It was really my pleasure to write this post about you.

      May God bless you!

      Delete
  2. Sue, I just had to second everything you said about Nancy. What a gift she is! She showed up at my blog sometime last year and started leaving interesting and generous comments quite regularly. Then I visited her blogs, and was astonished at the beauty I found both in design and content. One of the things I love most about Nancy is her sense of humor, and the way she makes everyone feel like they have known her forever. She has a lovely way of bringing everyone together. I hope she blogs FOREVER...at least till Jesus comes :)

    Love and hugs, Nancy...if you read this! You too, Sue! :)

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    1. Patricia,

      I am sure everyone would agree with my words about Nancy. Yes, she is a gift indeed. I agree with everything you have said too! There is no way we shall let her ever retire as a blogger. We would all miss her too much. I am afraid it is Nancy's duty to keep writing and to keep encouraging and inspiring us all.

      Wouldn't it be lovely if we all met one day and exchanged real hugs? Until then sending love and hugs back to you.

      God bless!

      Delete
  3. Goodness, I'm glad I stopped back by here! You ladies are amazing.. thank you SO much, Patricia and Sue. May God bless your kindness!! Sue, the daisies were sweet on the altar at my wedding, which was in the ULTRA HUMBLE pre-fab metal building of the Catholic student center of our University (we'd met at the Catholic center and were both involved in its programs, so insisted on marrying there). Somehow, daisies just seemed to fit :)!

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    1. Nancy,

      Thank you for explaining about the daisies. I bet you had such a beautiful wedding despite your humble surroundings. Weddings can grow and grow until they are very stressful and expensive, but they needn't be that way. I have only arranged one wedding and we had to work to a very modest budget. Our church is so beautiful: small and historic with an unusual fairy tale looking altar and lots of statues. We decided we didn't need any additional decorations. A couple of weeks before the wedding, the flower arrangers filled the church with gorgeous artificial tulips for our local town's spring tulip festival. I asked the ladies if they could leave the flowers until after Felicity's wedding, before changing the display. They were quite happy to do this. The flowers looked so beautiful in all the photos. And no one realised they weren't real! I have 4 more daughters so I suppose I will be an expert on budget weddings before we are finished!

      May God bless you!

      Delete
  4. Great post. I love her blogs too!

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    Replies
    1. Colleen,

      Nancy has a lot of fans! Thank you for stopping and saying hello.

      God bless you!

      Delete

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