Turning. . . A Simple Gift

Posted by on Oct 28, 2015 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts | 2 comments

Turning. . . A Simple Gift


Saturday, Bruce and I drove down to Newberry, South Carolina, for Oktoberfest. We hung out at one of our favorite bookstores, Books On Main, visited with friends old and new, and sold books. It was delightful. But, in our minds was the little detail of time. We were on a schedule.


At 2:30 we needed to leave since I had another destination that evening. But there were people still buying, so we lingered a bit. After all, if people are buying, you don’t leave. But as soon as we could we packed up, hurried to the car, and Bruce drove back up the mountain.


Then I switched gears. Throwing my already packed bag in the car, I said goodbye to my husband, and off I drove for a writer’s weekend near Boone, North Carolina. Whew.


This is our life. Switching gears. The turn around. The next event, next day at work, next project to get done, next book, next trip.


As we drove, the spectacular Autumn foliage popped up around every curve. The season has changed and the trees have “turned”. Bruce commented on the song from The Byrds called Turn, Turn, Turn. (To Everything There Is A Season) by Pete Seeger. As a young adult it was one of his favorite songs. He especially liked the harmonies, and the words come straight from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, which of course talks about the changing seasons.


Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.


I didn’t know the song well, but as he described it, the melody and words floated into my memory, as songs often do. Yes, I knew that song.


Then he mentioned a song I didn’t know. Simple Gifts, a Shaker tune. Here are the words to this piece.


Simple Gifts (by Elder Joseph)

Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free.

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,

To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,

To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.


I’ve been thinking a lot about these songs. We are in a time of shifting gears. The Fall season of school visits is almost over. This week I will turn in the manuscript for the first book in the Nearly Twins Mystery Series, due to release in the Spring. Soon I leave for South Dakota where we will have the launch party for The Double Cousins and the Mystery of Custer’s Gold. I will spend much needed time with my family. Once back home, we switch again to normal life—whatever that is—for a couple of months until it is time to start a new book, a new round of school visits.

Custer's Gold cover final

Turn, turn, turn. Tis the gift to be simple.


How do I do that? How can I constantly turn, turn, turn, but keep it simple? To arrive at the place where the turning is more of a delight?


Focus. That must be the answer. I must make certain I am “in the place just right”, which for me is the place where I delight in God. Then as I turn, turn, turn I’ll “come ‘round right.”


Turning . . . it’s a simple gift but a difficult challenge.


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  1. Deanna Klingel

    Beautiful thoughts. Thanks for sharing. Tell Bruce, that was one of my favorite songs as a little girl. I’d nearly forgotten the words.