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Book Review: A Pocketful of Seeds


When we sow, life happens

 

Pocketful of Seeds
When we sow, life happens
by Debbie Johnson
Deep River Books. 335 pages. $16.99

A positive new book, “A Pocketful of Seeds,” gathers 12 months’ worth of seed-sowing actions for each day of the year. Some seek answers; some are creative; some ask reflective questions; almost all of them calls to action. They are short opportunities to make an impact and draw out a better world by fostering an attentiveness to connect with others through love, kindness, and service.

March 11 urges us to collect loose change and donate the proceeds to a charity by the end of the month. Do this every month and you have twelve causes that have been helped by coins you barely miss.

debbie-johnson-author

Debbie Johnson, author

 

May 18 challenges us to adopt a new habit by making a concerted effort for 21 days—enough time for it to form a habit.

July 21 admonishes us to live simply by living on less. Fewer things, less eating, less whining and talking. In other words (as a friend of Johnson’s did), go on a clothing fast. Repurpose clothing by not buying clothes for an entire year.

The plans here, for the most part, are to change the world by being intentional every day. Though these daily seeds are meant to plant action in a world and culture that is so destructively self-absorbed, most are inspired not just by Christ’s teaching alone but by eastern thought and Greek philosophy, quoting motivational speakers, movies, and thought leaders. The calls to action possess some semblance of scriptural influence sprinkled here and there, but overall, these seeds promote a global effort and devotion to a moral and ethical service which invites even the secular reader, summoning a shared experience with others through moments of grace, mercy, and ministry.

“A Pocketful of Seeds” is a profound thought because it reminds us to sow what we can with what we are given, yielding a purpose in action. It can be read as an attempt to humanize this fallen world where we ought to stretch ourselves to help our neighbor, our fellow man, while delighting in what our hands can accomplish. Everyone by default has been given a pocket of seeds via our talents, gifting, and capacities and the intention here is to encourage the reader to take her seeds and plant them wherever she goes.

Johnson says: “Here’s the way I see it. After Jesus died and rose again, He told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for what the Father had promised. Then He ascended into heaven and later, the Spirit came. Power arrived. And if we’re Christ-followers, we have that same power. I think of that power as my pocketful of seeds.”

The seeds here are inspired by the teachings of Christ, but my wish is that they cover scripture more comprehensively. If Christ’s teachings are only inspiration for these seeds we are recommended to sow, then it opens influence from other kinds of philosophies to cast a shadow.

One of the most evocative pleas is for the widow (August 16) which has about 82 references in the Bible. Johnson reminds us that we must always remember widows and orphans. “God seem (sic) to have a special place in His heart for them.”

While we are to do good within the body of Christ, we are also called to be a light in the dark, secular world. Activities which shine a beacon of hope improve the situation of others, yes, but biblically speaking, are we to only presume to do good unto others? Social service carried out in the name of Christ tends to depict to the world an image of Jesus that is only charitable and egalitarian. Jesus as a generous giver to all is not the chief motivation of our faith and to suggest that this is what Christ envisioned for mankind exclusively is not altogether Biblical.

In Matthew, it is recorded:

And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

 

Jesus is specific here about what we are to do with those who are disenfranchised. We are to preach the gospel to them and not merely attempt to rescue them with deeds that will assist their standard of living. The material needs of the world, while important, wasn’t the ultimate reason why Christ came to earth to dwell among us and then die on the cross. The spiritual needs of the world were of utmost importance to Christ then, as they are today. Therefore, the decisive mandate of the gospel is not equity and service, but salvation.

Making the world a better place with seeds of goodness is a great thought; the intention is well-meaning, it is understood as well as it is needed. And it is appreciated when it is received in the fullness of gratitude and humility. The giver is rewarded with satisfaction, knowing that he made a difference in someone else’s life.

However, we are warned time and again in scripture that this world is not our home, that we are just passing through and considering how we live in a sinful world, we should expect to see needs of every nature across all the corners of the world. Our deeds of kindness and making the world a better place are noted, but they are secondary works to the chief work of the gospel. Christ didn’t only improve the material lives of others with His miracles and benevolence but He intended to point the masses to His heavenly Father. Doing good for others alone isn’t what we are commanded to do if we are to live Christ-like, following His teachings and not merely be inspired by them.


Congratulations to Cristina Grau of A Homeschool Mom who won the book giveaway! Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

The seeds here are inspired by the teachings of Christ, but my wish would be that they cover scripture more comprehensively. Click to read full post of my book review of A Pocketful of Seeds by Debbie Johnson.

Book Review: As My Parents Age – Cynthia Ruchti on Life, Love, and Change

Forty beautifully written reflections that offer hope and reassurance

 


Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote that the bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone. At the core of this message are two sensibilities of regret and action, for caring for a parent on the brink of death requires reflection and intentional obedience to God—a dependency on Him alone as we are reminded that love and sacrifice are synonymous forces of compassion, despite its discomfort.

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“Against the biting sting, we cling onto the ones we knew when age was a ‘someday’ thing.”

That discomfort is what award-winning author and storyteller Cynthia Ruchti reflects upon in her new book, As My Parents Age (public library). She understands that God will not call us to a task that requires us to neglect what He’s already assigned to us.

Drawing on her experience as a daughter with parents undergoing a decline in their health, Ruchti writes of her dad: “He lived ready, as if perpetually on call—the ultimate call. No unfinished business. No unspoken words of encouragement. No unexpressed love. He wanted the focus on eternity, not on a used-up shell of a body.”

Writing about instances in which parents won’t have the hard conversations with their children, Ruchti speaks to those who avoid discussing death and admonishes them to think differently about it: “Some families find it awkward to discuss funeral plans, financial decisions, who gets what, and preferred casket lining, burial plots, or ash-scattering locations. Our family considered it a gift that we didn’t have to wonder how to honor our parents. They’d told us their wishes ahead of time.”

When we talk to our elderly parents about their final days, it’s not a morbid thing or a bad omen. It’s preparedness for a peaceful departing. And peace is too compelling a prize to pass up, even if we may hold on to well-deserved resentments towards our parents. The most viable option, in this case, is to love and forgive old hurts that are hard to let go of for we know God holds reconciliation high on his list of priorities.

Such occasions, therefore, become tests of forbearance and compassion for how willing we are to extend grace to our aging parents. The testing ground for this is especially palpable when our parents are in denial about their mental, physical and emotional decline. Ruchti writes:

In aging issues as in other areas, truth expressed with a sledgehammer may shock us into reality but do irreparable damage. Truth expressed in love—there it is again—is what convinces us of our need for a Savior in Jesus…and can also serve as the conduit for conversations with aging parents teetering between denial and resistance… Love intervenes, but without pride, an ‘I told you so,’ or condescension. Love and respect working in tandem can minimize collateral damage when a parent camps on the banks of denial.

Making allowances for aging parents to be in denial may be fine to an extent because a reality check won’t change anything for the better. But this is not to be confused with necessary reality checks that are warranted. Ruchti adds:

As our parents age, logic and efficiency wrestle with concepts like kindness and does-it-really-matter? If he believes he’s younger than he is, does it really matter? If she’s convinced her sister is still alive, what does it help to prove the hard truth? Will it change anything for the better? On the other hand, if octogenarian Dad thinks he can still climb roofs and clean chimneys against doctor’s orders—when his life or other lives are at stake—a reality check may be truly necessary.

Ruchti examines the byproduct of denial, unwise decision-making. She considers the feelings of hopelessness and the struggle children of aging parents go through as they witness their parents’ careless choices. She writes:

How aging parents invest their money, their time, and their affections matter to us because we care about their future—however long or short—and their health and happiness. A healthy parent-child relationship establishes a level of trust that comes into play when our parents’ decision-making abilities falter… In some families, the word impossible laces many conversations: ‘The choices Dad and Mom are making frighten me, but they won’t listen. What am I going to do? I don’t want to see them hurt or taken advantage of. It’s impossible.’

Ruchti considers the effects poor decisions from parents have on their children, and not just as they age, but from the onset of childhood. It is no surprise that trust issues are very apparent between the adult child and aging parent which took root in the past, causing the relationship to become strained over time. Guilt may ensure and taint the relationship between parent and child, like a tattered rag we try to throw out and a dog keeps bringing it back. Ruchti recounts the testimony of a man named Stephen. She writes:

Stephen bore endless regrets about his relationship with his estranged father. He’d tried many times to reconcile over the years. Eventually Stephen stopped trying. How much battering could his pride take? He hoped age might soften his father’s heart, that forgiveness would come easier to the old man as his life drew closer to its end. But instead the hardwood of his heart petrified. And his ability to communicate was the first of his functions to leave.

The efforts to make amends with an aging parent may eventually stop through the course of time after rejection and defeat repeat itself like a vicious cycle. But Ruchti takes us back to the core message of the gospel: love. God makes provision in His word for dealing with guilt:

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51 : 1-2

We need to turn to God in our moments of guilt just as the psalmist David did. The comfort of God’s word is a balm not only to our soul but to our hands swollen with grace. As parents age, we may not like them or recognize who they are becoming. They may have been experts at making us feel miserable, but we don’t need to respond in kind as we mature alongside them. With a keen awareness and sensibility for these sentiments towards aging parents, Ruchti observes:

Gregarious parents who become reclusive, cultured and proper parents who grow sloppy and coarse with age, kinds parents who become cruel or the courageous who become timid or the strong who grow frail… “Are you really my mother? My father? I hardly recognize you…How can we focus on and preserve their true legacy rather than the shadow of who they once were, or an illness-and age-shaped imitation of the real thing?

How do children think good of their aging parents, considering all the transformations they are experiencing?

It becomes a choice then like love does. We choose to love and to do right by someone. The choice is made daily to love, and likewise, the ugly and unrecognizable faces and habits of our aging parents need to slide off like water on a duck’s back. We may not like who our parents are becoming in their old age, but we need to apply a filter—call it putting on the rose-tinted glasses—and watch them through that lens…just for a moment.

Our parents’ aging may start small or catastrophically. Someone said, “The four saddest words: she doesn’t remember me.” This resonates with those of us who have parents aging into dementia. Ruchti describes:

For too high a percentage of us, dementia will get in the way of love. At its most severe and harsh, it steals even the recognition of who we are and that we were ever important to our parents or grandparents.

as-my-parents-age

It is futile to manufacture memory recollections with our parents suffering from dementia by reminding them of an experience we shared together. Likewise, we don’t need to run for the hills when our parent believes they are in a different place or that you are a different person, unrecognizable to them. We easily pretend to play at tea-time with the toddlers in our life, or we can cope in the middle of a conversation between two people who are speaking a different language. Why then can’t we step into the forgotten world of our parents’ imagination or distant recollection? Let’s risk stepping into their reality for a while for we serve a higher purpose when we do. Ruchti explains:

If mom needs to nap before her piano recital, what purpose is served by telling her it’s a ridiculous notion? If Dad insists he won a golf tournament the day before, although he hasn’t left the assisted living facility in two years, who are we to insist the he didn’t? And what purpose does it serve?

The discomfort of visiting and beholding our aging parents’ deterioration deepens our pain and our understanding. When our parents age, we are meant to change also. No child can watch a parent age and be the same person. Ruchti writes:

Watching our parents show signs of aging shifts our thinking about the length of the dash of life, the space between date of birth and date of death… My mom’s strong will had been forged. It wasn’t a character flaw. It had been hammered on an anvil of life events that would have flattened most of us.

We need to be changed in powerful ways as we see our parents age. A friend of Ruchti recounts a moment with her ailing father:

He whispers his gratitude for every small kindness, as if he’s waited all his life for someone to care about his needs, as if he’s forgotten the years and tears and sleepless nights he invested in caring for me. His tenderness slays me. It slices me open to lay bare a history of my harshness and irritation with him, holidays I thought were too full to fit in a cross-country trip to visit him, countless invitations to go fishing with him that I turned down to hang with friends whose names I no longer remember.

Cynthia-Ruchti

Cynthia Ruchti

We need to reflect—as our parents do on their last dash—on those moments in life that were all vanity, that served no eternal purpose only so we can offer our loving attention to that which matters most in the present: love. We need to allow ourselves to be moved by the condition of their bodies, their minds, and souls, and ask God to renew our mind and our thinking about the state of our relationship with our parent who needs us most in this last dash.

William Shakespeare wrote: “When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.” As aging parents regress, they take on the role we once had as children. We switch into their place as the caregiver. When this shift in positions of identity becomes ever present, we need to wait on God. If we don’t know what to say to an aging parent, we just need to sit quietly and wait for the Spirit to fill in the gap. We can learn a lot from our parents when the ease of stress is carried by other shoulders. Ruchti gently reminds her readers:

With our mouths, we say ‘Anything for you, Jesus.’ But when he asks, ‘Will you visit Me in the nursing home?’ we retreat into, ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t understand the question.’

 

As My Parents Age is a revealing read in its entirety. The thoughts shared are raw and sobering, convicting to the soul and compelling to the heart. This is truly a message of love and devotion and one that many don’t get to read until it’s too late. It’s a cautionary tale from many who have walked through life, regretful and sorrowful, but it is one that we’ll all need to walk at one point—whether we are children of aging parents or are soon to be on our last dash. Follow Ruchti’s Pinterest board where you will find a wealth of information on this topic.





A Better Way to Reflect on Aging Parents: Cynthia Ruchti on Life, Love, and Change. Forty beautifully written reflections that offer hope and reassurance.

Book Review: The Illustrated Book of Sayings – Curious Expressions From Around the World


You may not quite know what you’ll read here, but it will introduce you to how similes, idioms, or proverbs are used around the world

 

“I’m learning to be more careful with my words. Words that seem meaningless at the time can end up having a lot of power. Seeds that you didn’t even intend to plant can fall off you and start growing in people,” said Brandon Stanton from his photography project and book Humans of New York.

Words are a force to be reckoned with. Emily Dickinson said, “I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.”

It is no wonder, then, that words carry with them a visceral quality that roots itself and then flourishes around us in a powerful curiosity. We wander through the world we know for certain sometimes unaware of what we don’t understand culturally, linguistically speaking, and then suddenly, there is an explanation for that which we don’t understand.

How do we translate a meaning in another language that isn’t translatable and which may seem ridiculous, absurd and nonsensical when attempted?

Writer and accidental illustrator Ella Frances Sanders says that the expressions in her new book, The Illustrated Book of Sayings, are “like plants that have, in many cases, been growing for centuries, passed down from one generation to another, grown through one community to another.”

 

To Pace Around Hot Porridge, Finnish

 

 

The sayings Sanders illustrates express the diversity of peoples and cultures from around the world, expressions that range from the mundane to the profound, all limitless and delightful absolutely, all insightful and magnificent. We find the Japanese saying for even the monkeys fall from trees, and the Italian saying about having a head full of crickets.

 

To Pull Someone Out of their Watermelon, Romanian

 

To Pedal in the Sauerkraut, French

 

Not only does Sanders cultivate an understanding that we can only see explained in brief detail, illustrated to capture its full spirit, but for those of us that speak in any of these languages presented here in this book, we may be able to articulate meaning from what we know and understand of these sayings to those who do not speak, say Spanish, in my case. “You are my orange half,” makes no sense in English, but in Spanish, “Tu eres mi media naranja,” is sweetness and life. It reminds me of what my beloved husband would say to me during our courtship, an endearing expression of sentimentality and love.

 

You Are my Orange Half, Spanish

 

To Feed a Donkey Sponge Cake, Portuguese

 

He’s Ripping Clouds with His Nose, Serbian

 

These sayings are curious and pique interest in how cultures from around the world find simile, metaphor, and amusement to poetically blend and bind our languages together. How does one express that privacy, for instance, is to be respected and not sticking noses in places that they don’t belong to is of utmost importance? In Ukrainian, there’s a saying for that.

 

The Water of the Sea is Only To Be Contemplated, Swahili

 

My Eye Went With Me, Maltese

 

 

Hen knows about the Alphabet, Hungarian

 

Pair up The Illustrated Book of Sayings with Sanders’ Lost in Translation. And for good measure, The Book of Memory Gaps by Cecilia Ruiz is sure to delight you as well.


Copyright © 2016 by Ella Frances Sanders. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. All images reprinted from The Illustrated Book of Sayings.

I received this book for review from Blogging for Books.

As featured in the Daily Post.

The Illustrated Book of Sayings: Curious Expressions From Around the World. You may not quite know what you’ll read here, but it will introduce you to how similes, idioms, or proverbs are used around the world. Read and enjoy it here.

Book Review: A Journal Compendium That Captures Your Quirks


A fill-in journal for kids

 

We have a particular interest in information gathering. We are quick to activate a friend request, follow a Twitter user, or subscribe to a newsletter. We seek to learn more about someone and this is how we do it. In Me: A Compendium, the Wee Society captures your uniqueness in a fun and delightful way.

This journal book is all about filling in the blanks. The mind is triggered to think of such curiosities as a favorite thing to do at the park, the type of underwater animal you’d like to be, the code name you’d use if you were a secret spy.

This book is saturated with inquiring about the everyday moments of life. These questions here are not those you would find answered on a social profile. Rather, these inquiries consist of a range of interests, from the minutiae (number of steps from your bed) to the deep thinking (awards you would give out).

One could venture to say that this journal would make a wonderful gift for the young at heart. For instance, a guy desiring to get to know his beloved better can fill in the blanks and hand it over as a way of introduction. Better yet, if he is the chivalrous type, he may be brave enough to hand the girl this book and ask her to fill in the blanks. What a novel idea!

 

Me A Compendium by Wee Society

 

Each page features a colorful illustration and there is plenty of room for doodling, writing, and sketching a profound answer to the many interesting areas found here. As with any children’s subject, this journal offers much creativity in the sincerest form of inquiry, one that encapsulates the quirkiness of an individual, yet the quotidian as well. It answers the questions: who are you now and who do you want to be?

Like all journal books, this one may be of special interest to homeschool families, as it can be finished over a year, culminating the school year with the delights of a smile and a sweet savor.

I received this book for review from Blogging For Books.


Want a journal that your kids will love? Try this one for size... it is sure to please your child with all its quirks. Click to read for yourself.

Book Review: George Washington’s Rules – A Precocious Epitome to Fine Manners


I have never seen anyone who was more naturally and spontaneously polite

 

If you’re gearing up for Independence Day, you must recall the year 1776. Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the Continental Congress declaring that the thirteen American colonies are a new nation, the United States of America, and no longer part of the British Empire.

As commander in chief of the Continental Army during the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799) was called a born leader. His “face was commanding, his eyes were kind, his gestures and words simple; and above all, a calm and firm behavior harmonized all these qualities.”

That behavior, that synergy of patriotism and virtue, modesty and self-restraint made Washington an impressive man, that even his “faults transformed to virtues.” His height was a commanding 6’3” to go well with his high ranking official stature, but only after growing his character through his study of Francis Hawkins book of etiquette, Youths Behavior, or Decency in Conversation Amongst Men (public library) are we able to realize the origins of his precociousness. This code of conduct spawned an interest in manners for the young Washington—who at the age of 16 ended his schooling short in order to support his widowed mother and four younger siblings. What a testament to precociousness, to study the subject of etiquette so earnestly that he penned his code of conduct in reverence to grace, a preoccupation with good behavior which eventually is found in George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation (public library).

At the age of 17 Washington, became greatly favored by the aristocratic family of Lord Fairfax of Virginia and was thus appointed as a surveyor of his property. His mingling with the higher echelons of society and politics, visitors to the Greenway Court of Lord Fairfax, was a contrast to the environment he was accustomed to at home with his mother. At Greenway Court, Washington was polishing his social behaviour. Before turning 16 years old, twenty-eight years prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Washington wrote 110 rules that today may seem charming, yet quaint, his boyish writing style and misspellings apparent yet common in the 18th century. His first ten rules are a demonstration of the awkward phrasing of a boy’s ambition and determination to mature into manhood:

 

 

Washington’s rules are in the public domain and are available in a special edition published by The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. The edition has a comprehensive introduction by Letitia Baldrige, an expert in presidential etiquette. Add this memorable historical masterpiece to your permanent bookshelf. It is sure to add value to your reading repertoire. Pair it up with Big George: How a Shy Boy Became President Washington. It is sure to delight your young reader with its fine prose and striking illustrations.


 

George Washington's synergy of patriotism and virtue, modesty and self-restraint made him an impressive man, that even his faults transformed to virtues.
Dorothea's-eyes

Book Review: Dorothea’s Eyes Reveal What We Cannot See

 


The truth, seen with love, becomes the art of Dorothea

 

During a trip to the library with my children, I perused the aisles of picture books nestled tightly between chipped wooden shelves. I was drawn to a table with select titles and was immediately drawn to the figure on the cover of a woman looking through the accordion of a camera. Not knowing exactly who Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 -October 11, 1965) was, I proceeded to the check-out desk. Later as I prepared my toddler for an afternoon nap, I started reading the pages of this book to her and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Lange’s photographs were recognizable to me. I knew of her work, but I was about to learn who exactly she was.

 

 

In Dorothea’s Eyes: Dorothea Lange Photographs the Truth (library) writer Barb Rosenstock and artist Gérard DuBois reveal Lange’s beautiful interpretation of love and truth captured in her photographs. Her lens took a remarkable shot at the lives that otherwise were ignored: the poor, the destitute, the miserable.

The book follows Lange from her childhood enclosed in the environment of her New Jersey home where she observes the faces of her family to the scary diagnosis of her polio at age seven. Chief to her predicament is the invisibility she feels as kids taunt her with names and her inability to walk as she did before fuels her visual sense, to see even though she ironically is unseen.

Dorothea’s parents fight over money and at the age of twelve, her father abandons the family. To make up for the loss, her mother begins work at a library where the hours are long. So Dorothea begins to blend into her new school comprised mainly of poor immigrants.

 

As she waits for her mother at the library, Dorothea is drawn by her curiosity of people in their crowded tenements. She sees fathers and mothers and babies going about their business at the close of the day, maintaining a safe distance between herself and them, but bringing herself close enough with her eyes.

 

 

Marking the narrative of a life seemingly lived in the shadows of society is Lange’s decisive moment—her declaration to pursue photography, which her family perceived to be unladylike. To placate her family’s disapproval, she attends teacher training school but continues pursuing photography at Columbia University and works in portrait studios.

Dorothea’s love for faces is what she wants to show the world. She learns all she can in the studios and becomes knowledgeable about camera mechanics: shutter, lens, aperture. She helps in the darkroom that she built from a chicken coop with another photographer and is able to see faces reveal themselves on the wet printed paper, diminished from invisibility, coming into full view.

But Lange’s eyes wanted to behold new places and faces. At twenty-three, she set out to tour the world but was derailed when her money was stolen in San Francisco. She planted herself there and bloomed in her own portrait studio.

 

Although art is heavily influenced by the environment, sensibility and pathology of who creates it, Lange’s work was fueled by a particular era in American history:

The stock market crash in 1929, which ushered in the Great Depression, was the economic downturn that hurt the lives of many families. And Dorothea’s eyes couldn’t look away: they saw the sad, the lost, and the crowds of men with cups in their hands, waiting for a piece of bread. She captures one man’s face in a sea of others that are not visible in her photograph, “White Angel Bread Line” (San Francisco, 1933).

 

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“White Angel Bread Line” (Photograph: Archives.gov)

 

 

Dorothea’s friends don’t see the value in her taking photos of the poor, but her heart is what keeps her pointing and shooting their most honest circumstances.

 

 

 

Despite Dorothea’s comfortable life as a photographer in San Francisco, where she made portraits of the most affluent families in California, securing herself financially and starting a family, there was something that continued to unsettle her about those she saw on the street and their condition.

She takes her camera to fields where workers earn only pennies for their labor. She witnesses mothers and children who are sick and thirsty, who live in jalopies. She recognizes the ignored of the land, those that live in the shadows, and extends her heart to them. She reaches out to them, asking them about themselves, asking to photograph them, as she sees the goodness in their face, despite what the world may perceive.

She travels the country for the U.S. Farm Security Administration and photographs many of the destitute—the homeless, the hungry, the jobless—despite the pain she carries, not only in her heart for them but the hurt she has in her leg as well.

 

migrant-mother-dorothea-lange

“Migrant Mother.” (Photograph: Wikimedia Commons)

 

Dorothea’s photographs brought national attention to the condition of the poor and jobless and thus, the government is moved to provide parents with their most significant needs: work, food, and shelter.

On October 11, 1965, Dorothea died from cancer of the esophagus. She was seventy years old.

 

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“Dorothea Lange, 1936.” (Photograph: Wikimedia Commons)

 

Today, Dorothea’s photographs are a flagship to American history, documenting our country’s most vulnerable season in the 20th century. The depth that a face can evoke has more significance to the condition of a country than meets the eye. Lange’s work is collected all over the country in museums such as the Oakland Museum of California, the Museum of Modern Art, the Cleveland Museum, and countless others. Dorothea’s Eyes teaches us to see with our hearts before anything else. Barb Rosenstock and artist Gérard DuBois deserve special admiration for their warm expression of Lange’s coming of age story, depicting how she contended with her physical condition, which contributed to her keen sensibility for the conditions of others. To emphasize the depth of Lange’s complexity, the bolder, or gray and red text noted throughout affirms that urgency she saw with her own eyes, her vision of what is left unseen to any other observer.

Pair Dorothea’s Eyes: Dorothea Lange Photographs the Truth with another delightfully illustrated biography celebrating another icon in history, Thomas Jefferson.

 

Illustrations © Gérard DuBois courtesy of Calkins Creek.

 


 

Dorothea's Eyes Reveal What We Cannot See. The truth, seen with love, becomes the art of Dorothea. Click to read and respond.