The idea for Simple Gifts came from something I learned years ago while working on a family history. While researching my dad’s family in Jennings County, Indiana, I learned about a great-grandaunt named Lucinda. I discovered she lost her first husband to a grain mill accident early in their marriage, but did have one child with him. I knew I’d probably never know the story behind her second marriage, so like a good writer I made it up.
I first wrote the basic story several years ago as a short story and without the Quaker twist. Since the original story was set at Christmas time, it was the first idea to spring to mind when I was invited to join this novella collection.
As I researched the Quaker angle, I learned some interesting facts concerning the Quaker faith and their observance, or lack of observance of Christmas. Through Quaker genealogist Karen S. Campbell, whose web site I serendipitously stumbled upon—something I consider a God-thing—I learned that a sect of Quakers called Gurneyites do celebrate Christmas, albeit very simply. Miss Campbell’s kindness and generosity in sharing her vast knowledge of all things Quaker was an invaluable asset as I wrote Simple Gifts.
Chris Gustin, owner and operator of Homestead Weaving Studio of Columbus, Indiana was another great resource I was blessed to find online. Chris helped me with the technical aspects of home looms and rug weaving as I wrote the weaving scenes.
My aim was to write a poignant Christmas story that depicts a young widow’s arduous and very human journey from grief to acceptance, to peace and finally to joy as she finds her way back to her faith and renewed trust in the Lord following a devastating loss. I also wanted to show the destructive power of guilt and how it can hamper us from following God’s will for our lives.
I hope my readers enjoy experiencing Lucinda and Will’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
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