The book pens a journey with Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a framework for pondering life lessons, or songs, of grace-filled "yes" to God.

This blog continues to explore the implications of these songs in daily life. Here you will find ten additional reflections on each of Mary's "songs." May they continue to encourage your heart. ~Carla

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Tale of Two Sisters

There were many hidden joys in writing Songs of Assent, but perhaps none of them more fulfilling than working on the text while my youngest sister, Pamela Keske, drew five "folk icons" for the book.  

Simplicity was always there.  I don't even remember when she appeared. I think Pam drew her well over a year before I eventually wrote the chapter that went with her. In this case, the picture helped me articulate the themes in the chapter.

Receptivity began as a quick cheap marker expression of beauty on a Women in the Kingdom retreat with undergrad women. Initially she was a much younger woman with flowing green hair and solid root systems--and then morphed into the intriguingly organic expression of fruitfulness in Christ that she has become. 

Then there was the long conversation about how best to express Lady Wisdom and her home, which included my fifteen-year old niece trying on "Mother of the Bride" gowns at a couple of obliging bridal stores, and bending over trays. Thanks, Allyse!

The day came when Pam and I stood in front of my fireplace with two sets of hands gripping the brick as we began again to conceptualize Confidence...  long after Pam had drawn a polished, but completely different, version.  The chapter had taken on a life of its own and the drawing had to stand courageously but vulnerably at the edge of an unpredictable tunnel to keep pace with the words.  

And Buoyancy? Let's just say I'm glad I was on the other side of the phone when Pam realized she not only had to tackle wind and waves, but that I wanted the perspective from inside the boat, and, oh, by the way, I would like a few really good ropes hanging around, too, if she wouldn't mind.  (Pam reminds me that I also thought I wanted a second boat in the picture...until I saw it drawn in all its fully-furled glory. Nope. I guess I don't like the second boat.) Fortunately, this was the last drawing, and we'd both learned some things about the creative process along the way.

In the end, the "folk icons" took as much prayer and waiting as the book.  Some thoughts came easily, others slowly...but we learned to wait--for God, for each other, for the ideas and for the way to express them in lines of text and ink.

My cover designer later confessed that, when I wrote my initial request for her assistance and mentioned that my sister was the artist, I had just played into a graphic designer's worst nightmare..."Oh, my husband drew the design I want for the book cover on a napkin over dinner last night." But not this time.  This time it was God's great gift of joy to two sisters on a long journey who, together--at least for one timeless moment--have received a mutual gift of abounding grace.  

This morning I read a Psalm that expresses our shared experience of publishing Songs of Assent"Those who sow in tears, shall reap with shouts of joy!" (Psalm 126:5)  We offer this book in this Spirit, and pray that those who ponder these great realities with us will also receive the Lord's great gift of joy.

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