All posts by Annina

About Annina

Raised in Kempton, PA, and still considers it home. Annina is a designer, artist, entrepreneur, and teacher. She is also a sister, daughter, friend, aunt, niece, cousin, and granddaughter who is grateful for her large, loving family, and her upbringing in the New Church. She finds great strength in the doctrines for the New Church, especially those regarding the beautiful, unique, and complimentary qualities of men and women, those that teach about who the Lord is (an all-powerful, never angry, constantly loving, and ever-knowing God), and the merciful and hopeful gift that is the steps of repentance. Annina finds the idea of spiritual Correspondences fascinating, and tries to use what she has learned about them in her design work.

Book Hero

I remember as a young teen coming across a small book inside a tissue paper lined box on a shelf in our home, crafted from birch bark, with poems carefully copied onto every curled-edge black-marked satin page, each poem a gift of words chosen by a young man for his future wife. 

I had always known my mother loved poetry and the written word (after all, she read to us daily, her golden voice a shining road to faraway lands and places of wonder) but as a smaller child, seeing my father as Strength, Work, Wisdom, Fun and Humour, I had somehow missed, with childhood’s myopia, his love for words (How, I don’t know, because he, too, read to us almost every day, from the Word, and chapter stories before bedtime). 

How wondrous to hold in my heart the new knowledge that his love for poetry had lead him to trudge through the woods he loved, selecting perfect peels of bark. Love had lead him to search through the forests of poems to gather those whose sweetness and strength seemed worthy of Her. Here I held between my palms the proof that his strong capable hands were also capable of this delicate artistry and tender tribute…this labour of love. 

As a voracious reader, I had a young girl’s theoretical standards about romantic book heroes, but as I carefully put the birch bark anthology back in its box, my heart swelled in new appreciation for my real ‘book hero and heroine’. (Theirs is still my favourite love story to this day).

Since then, I’m happy to say we have had many sessions sitting around the kitchen table looking up at our favourite mountain,  or by the fire, sharing poetry and stories with my parents and with each other. It’s especially fun to get my Dad started on poems, since he will recite them ‘by heart’ , having learned them over his lifetime. I treasure the almost daily emails I receive with poems and stories from Mama, almost as good as sitting basking in their sunny window seat and reading with them.

Finding the birch bark book that day marked a new state in my life, that of beginning to notice my parents as people, with inner landscapes of their own. I began to see how they dedicated their skills and talents to build a life for us. How they forged ahead in parenting when they probably actually felt young, and inexperienced, and confused and worried at so many points when raising us. How they went from being the center of a romantic story, where every tiny detail about the other was a new discovery, rejoiced in by those around them,   to being the leaders of a house full of small people, somewhat incurious about their parents,  little kids who probably noticed very little beyond what directly affected them. 


So much of my childhood revolved around stories and words, leaning against a parent, watching hands turn the pages of a myriad of books.

I am sure it would have been easier after a long day of work, for my parents to leave us to find our own entertainment. Yet after dinner and chores, before bedtime, they read to us, both picture books, and also chapter books. 
 
Daddy, after a long commute and longer work day, might sometimes require the combined frantic massaging of several small hands on his head and neck to keep awake while he read to us about Narnia or whatever story it was; yet he still chose to spend his scarce evening hours reading to us of heroes and heroines of courage and honour, of humour and tenderness.

Mama might have liked to put her feet up after running after us, cooking meals of artistry and flavour, teaching, and nurturing us, but instead she put us up on the couch, braving the wandering of sticky fingers in her hair, and wove magic with her voice, her evening hours a gift to us.

These reading times were such a part of my childhood, yet looking back, I know that the most important reading of all was my parents’ dedication to family worship.

My Dad read through the Word from Genesis to Revelation, and starting again at Genesis over the years.  They involved us in the simple rituals of candles, prayer, readings, singing. I remember the faint, comforting cadence of Daddy’s voice floating down the hall as we drifted into sleep, reading The Writings to my Mama.

I have become an adult, and my parents are my best friends.  As I spend time with the children in my life now, observing their parents (my siblings and friends)  from a peer perspective, I find that the book of my early life has many more pages than I had known. As I watch this generation of parents, I learn more about the work my Book Heroes undertook when they were so young, and when I was too young to notice much.

Each page of that book was searched out and chosen by them, each satiny surface marked with wisdom and examples for me to keep, an anthology of spiritual and natural life, carefully crafted by their hands, bound with their youth, wrapped in translucent sheets of their dedication and kept safely in their promise to the Lord at my baptism.

Yet when I look closely at that  book,  I see that every leaf has the same message inscribed on its surface; the reminder that any story that is good, any idea that is true, is so only because it echoes the Real Story. My earthly heroes point the way to the Real Hero of that True Book that I  received when I turned seven. 

That Book, with its inner cover inscribed with these words:
‘I will lift up mine eyes to the mountains, whence come my help. My help cometh from the Lord who made heavens and the earth’.

‘And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.’ Deut 6:6


Providence and Time

Great peace have they which love Thy law.
~Psalm 119:165

Recently, I have been noticing that it is easier sometimes to pray for others than for myself, to encourage them in their road, to try to help hold up their arms when their battles falter, to see the ring of chariots of fire for them when their eyes are dim with sadness or despair, to believe in the blessings that lie in store for them. In this process, an unexpected blessing has occurred; I can see more hope in my own spiritual battles as I see that my life is the same in the Lord’s eyes as the lives of those I love. It is full of endless opportunities from the Lord each new moment, guided unerringly by the untiring Providence that does not need to be seen to be real and unending.

These are all things I FEEL strongly and KNOW to be true for my friends, and through seeing these, I have to begin to acknowledge MEDIATELY that these are true for my life, too, even if I cannot feel that easily. Hearing of their worries, and feeling hope for them has helped me see, that when I allow despair or impatience in, what I am really doing, is not only not trusting the Lord’s Providence, but is taking on myself the responsibility for timing and success of events and victories that belong to Him.
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Grateful musings on 50 and even 10

Genesis 18:20-33

“And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.

Continue reading Grateful musings on 50 and even 10

Eclipse

Editor’s Note: On August 21st a solar eclipse occurred over much of the United States. Following are reflections by Annina inspired by this event.

Today I was thinking about how much I take for granted daily miracles. I assume the sun will rise–that it will shine. Monday’s eclipse had me looking in the Word about the sun being darkened. It struck me that an eclipse is a special opportunity to think of all the Lord does for us daily and in every instant–His Heat and Light flowing down unendingly–as we watch an earthly picture of something out of the ordinary–we see what it would be like without the life-giving sun.
Continue reading Eclipse