What’s Your Story?

Hey there friend!

Last week on the Grounded in the Middle podcast was the first in the “What’s Your Story?” series where the focus is on YOU and your personal story. This week I’m diving in a bit deeper into why it’s important to look back and reflect on what has carried you to this moment in time. Sometimes when we look back, it comes to fruition as to what might have a hold on us, how we may have been shaped through experiences, and how lies we’ve been telling us need to be parked to make may for the truth. By gathering those pieces, you can better understand yourself and your story leaving you to feel more whole. It also allows for you to re-examine how you want to chart your next course and what you might have to let go of that no longer serves you in order to carry on. I hope you will hop on and take a listen to this four-part series.

Dried flowers found folded up inside one of the letters to Clara

Remember Clara B. Kendall from last week? As promised, I am sharing with you today photos of not only these beautiful flowers that were sent to her in 1901, possibly from a first husband who made suits for sailors, but also sharing photos of Clara and her family members-They’re below for you in a gallery for you to flip through.

I have learned that Clara was raised by her parents, Wilson and Martha, along with seven other children who all wrote her at some point between the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. They were raised in the Quaker church in the Richmond, Indiana and Clara attended Earlham College. Her brother Elmer was a teacher and Clara was going to school to be a teacher as well.

Clara’s sister wrote a letter to her on Wednesday, July 13, 1898, from Richmond, Indiana and noted she had included some “famous flowers. Rose was once pale pink.” From another letter addressed from a Pauline, it’s mentioned that Clara loves poetry about flowers. Clara truly seemed to be someone many in the family thought of often with the lengthy letters that were sent to her. She even received a letter from a high school friend, Emma, who was in San Juan, Porto Rico dated May 27th, 1901. What is neat about it, is it’s typed. Here is an excerpt:

My dear Clara;

You made a funny mistake when you addressed your steamer letter, for you forgot to put my name on it, and just addressed it to the transport, so I did not get it till the fourth day of the voyage and then only by accident, for the stewardess, seeing your name and address on the envelope, and knowing by the register that I was from Indiana too, asked me to help her find the one it was meant for. Of course I knew right away that it was for me, and I was mighty glad to get it, too.

“…You know we are visiting my uncle, who is in command of the army here. He has his headquarters in an old Spanish castle over looking the ocean and the bay of San Juan. There are high stone fortifications all around, and we sit out here in the evenings, especially when there is a moon, and entertain company. On the night I speak of, there were about fifteen people out here, and we sat out on the ramparts all the time. We have three Porto Rican maids, and they furnished the entertainment by singing their native songs and by dancing, white their brother played the guitar beautifully. Then we had some refreshments, and sang a little orselves….”

“One could tell that I am a novice on the typewriter, nicht war? I am so used to writing on it, however, that I really hate to use a pen now, and do all my letters this way. You must write me all about commencement, and your dress, and how everything went off, and how Margaret looked. Wont you feel funny to be through at High School? I should think you would be glad, though, since all this foolishness of Mr. Ellabarger’s. I wonder how much longer he will be principal of the High School!

My dear, do excuse such a short and stupid letter, but I am in a great hurry to finish this in time for the mail, and one is always at a disadvantage at such times. Do write soon to,”

Yours expectantly,

Emma Howells Burchenal

As someone who enjoys using pen and paper for my notes and journaling, I find these letters of Clara to be treasures as well as a glean into what life was like during the turn of the century. There is a unique value in the thoughtfulness of receiving a letter. It means you not only were on their mind, but that they value you enough to stop from their busy day (can you imagine how busy they were back then!) to account for what has occurred in their life and request to know what was happening in the recipient’s life. The intention in these letters to Clara make them so special.

If you’d like to see the Clara’s family as well as see a photograph of the letter above, head below where you can flip through the photographs. There is so much to notice in each!

I hope you will enjoy!

Something to Consider

Grounded in the Middle Podcast

If you’re on the go this week, join me on my podcast, Grounded in the Middle. Last week was the first in the “What’s Your Story?” series where the focus is on YOU and your personal story. This week I dive a bit deeper into why it’s important to look back. Sometimes when we look back, we can see what might have a hold on us, how we may have been shaped through experiences, and how lies we’ve been telling us need to be parked to make may for the truth. By gathering those pieces, you can better understand yourself and your story leaving you to feel more whole. It also allows for you to re-examine where you want to go in life and what needs to be left behind in order to carry on.

Learning From Others. Grounded in the Middle.

We not only can learn from our own personal story, but we can also learn by listening to someone else's story. Get ready to be inspired by Oliver Asher, author of Invincible Joy! Listen in today to learn more about how over time he was transformed by the Lord. "I spent my childhood in poverty, my house burned down (twice), I've spent days wondering where my next meal would come from. I once dreamed that I was going to lose my job, then found out the next day that dream was coming true. In the midst of it all, God was there with me. Through those experiences I learned the secret to joy that doesn’t fade and doesn’t depend on circumstances. That’s Invincible Joy." -Oliver Asher Ways to connect with Oliver + purchase Invisible Joy: https://www.oliverasher.com http://www.advancingnativemissions.com @OliverAsherOfficial 
  1. Learning From Others.
  2. What's Your Story Part 4

9 More Days until the next recipe exchange-Now Worldwide!

If you missed joining this month’s snail mail recipe exchange, no worries! You can simply email me at danielle@farmhousestoryteller.com with your name and mailing address and I will be happy to put you on the list for next month’s exchange.

Inspiration behind the exchange. Gathering around the table with those we love offers us the unique opportunity to share of those who came long before us through preparing recipes that have been passed down from family members from one generation to the next. I want to invite you to the table and have you share a family recipe + brief story, if there perhaps is one, through the Farmhouse Storyteller Recipe Exchange.

How the recipe exchange works. You will choose a recipe of your choice. I encourage you to neatly handwrite your recipe (like the old days) and a note to say hello and share about the recipe you are sending. The note you include could share about yourself, your Instagram account handle, why you enjoy this recipe, what time of year it’s typically made (if significant), or if it’s a special recipe that’s been passed down through generations. You will then send it off in the mail to who you’ve been assigned to (included in an email from me) and they will send a recipe to you. Did you know there are participants this month that span from Alaska to Florida?!

At the end of the month, I will ask if anyone wants to “opt out” of the exchange. If there is a majority of people who want to continue the exchange for the month of March, I will email those participating with a new name and address. Be sure to use and follow the hashtag #farmhousestorytellerrecipeexchange to connect with our community and invite your friends to join in March!

Farmhouse Storyteller Playlist

If you’d like to tune in to what I’m listening to out here in the middle, you can join me on Spotify where I have a playlist titled, Farmhouse Storyteller. You can easily find the station by directly clicking play to the right or searching for Farmhouse Storyteller on the Spotify app.

Never miss out! Subscribe to FSJ below.

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