Thursday, September 04, 2008

Of Grace and the Barn

Ann Voskamp's Stone Crossings

Ann, my dear Ann of Holy Experience, who slowly made her way into my heart, has graciously agreed to let me post her picture of Stone Crossings, as part of my Links for Art offering.

I first saw the picture when she gave the world this eloquent review of Stone Crossings. Still, I knew nothing about the secrets behind it, the humble beginnings of the table and what Ann's mind and hands had purposed and wrought. So, thank you, Ann, not only for the picture but also for this beautiful story. Told in the kind of beautiful words you're always speaking...

It's an old wooden table, one that's been out in the barn for years, neglected. I dragged it into the sunlight this summer, painted its top face a happy, gentle scone color, sat it out upon the front porch, a place of honor. Bestowed her with a wreath of worn chairs, ancient and memoried. So the little ensemble greets visitors right at the front door, inviting them to sit a spell, share. And I smile when I think of Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places laying there. It seems appropriate, right. An abandonded, beat-up barn table redeemed, set in an esteemed place.

Grace found in a hidden place.

Isn't that just SO Ann? Grace that searches the darkness of a barn, works to bring love to light.

Stone Crossings at Wooden Table photo, by Ann Voskamp. Used with permission.

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Blogger Llama Momma said...

Absolutely beautiful. And, as you say, so Ann!

And thinking a bit about your last post, and how blogging has impacted me, I'm struck by what a gift it is to read these words, just now, and how blessed I am by them.

I feel less alone knowing people like you, LL, and Ann, and so many more that I'm honored to know through the blogging community.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

This is lovely. I love the image of that table being redeemed and put to useful work again.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Hats off to Ann and NaNcY for their pics. I'm thinking now that I would really love to create a good shot of your book, too. But where and how? Hmmm...

Word verification is "huntch." :-)

9:37 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

Ooooo, I bet the history behind that table is a gooooood story. :)

11:22 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Llama... it really is a gift to share words over this big cybertable, isn't it? :)

Ruth... yes, a great image. One we could probably use in so many areas of life.

Craver... oh! I'd love to have a picture from you, with a story too if you could spare one.

Erin... I hadn't even thought of that. More stories behind this little story. I guess that's kind of how it goes. Maybe Ann will come by and tell us more.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Wonderful words by Ann, and really a wonderful table. Reminds us of the hope we all have in Jesus.

6:15 AM  
Blogger Lara said...

What a perfect image - the stone colored table for Stone Crossings. I love Ann's description.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Wow - that was an eloquent review of your book! Amazing - of course, the book is amazing too!

Just letting you know that your meme has been spreading and I've been tagged by both Ted and Craver, so am responding now and have hyperlinked back to you!

Also saying, "I miss you, friend". Blogging time has been at a bare minimum all summer. Hopefully now that a few deadlines are past, my daughter is safely settling in with her 6th grade class, and delightful Andrew (AKA "the boyfriend", see his comments on my last post, or the link to "beloved before time" on my blogroll) is safely moved to Chicagoland and teaching high school chemistry, life will slow down a bit and blogging will become more regular again!

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sighs peace and repose on the porch.
Longing to create such a place.

7:21 AM  
Blogger kirsten said...

oh, that's so lovely:

An abandonded, beat-up barn table redeemed, set in an esteemed place.

breathing. burden sliding off somehow ... i love how art & words can effect that.

as soon as the life support for my laptop arrives, i will be able to provide my art. :o)

10:36 AM  
Blogger RumorsOfGlory said...

I too love Ann's photos. I don't always get to read her posts fully, but I absolutely adore seeing her life through the lens of her camera. She is a unique woman who has so many talents! Lucille Zimmerman at

9:27 AM  
Blogger Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

Oh, I'm late, late, late... forgive me?

A story behind that table? At first, I thought no... no stories that I know. Discarded from a sister-in-law, we dragged it off to the barn, where it quietly sat for the past decade.

And then, yes, it came -- a story scrap (for isn't everything storied?)

I wanted a gathering place for the porch... nothing grand or ornate. (Read: nothing glass, shiny, curvy). Just simple, a bit worn, quiet. (Do seating arrangements reflect our personalities?) Like a hawk, I scoped out thrift stores, garage sales. To no avail. Couldn't find a plain, wooden, worn table. (Does this somehow speak of the oddity of this personality? ~warm smile~)

And then I thought of the barn table: Yes. Exactly right. (Yes, I'm a farm girl--where else to find the perfect table?)

The only glitch was that kind Dutch Farmer whose wedding band I wear. He said he needed the barn table to remain in the barn. It was a fine repository for various miscellany. The perfect size. The perfect shape. The perfect age. I agreed.

For the porch.

Negotiations continued for a few weeks. As days warmed, and the porch called for leisurely sitting and talking and eating, I pressed. But neither could I find a similar replacement table for the barn.

And then one inviting summer day, there was the table, sitting out on the porch, waiting.

Confused, I asked "But don't you need it still? And I haven't found one to swap you yet..."

He smiled kindly, the way he does. "I'll make do. Table's yours."


You wrote it so well, L.L: Grace and the barn. That's where Grace entered into our messy world.

And redeems us.

Nearly every day this summer, into the fall here, we've ate out on the porch at least one meal a day around that barn-redeemed table. Saying grace around grace.

It was the perfect place to read Stone Crossing, L.L.

But then again, isn't anywhere?

For all is grace.

(I look forward to more grace places Stone Crossings has wandered too! Thank you for this place, L.L.)

All's grace,

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's just as well that Ann leaves the comments turned off on her blog because I am always left speechless. Wanting to say so much, to express my gratitude for her offering, and yet not quite sure how to do it.

Thanks, LL. And thanks, Ann. More than I can muster up the words to express. A lovely image.

10:34 PM  

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