“All Things Bright & Beautiful” An Easter Message

WOW joins in the observance of Easter, or Resurrection Sunday this Holy week with fellow Christians around the globe. Easter is the season of victory, the conquering of death by our risen Lord who affirms our hope in the resurrection of all.

To celebrate, we are sharing two performances from works written by the late 19th century Irish poet, Cecil Francis Alexander. The first work remains a popular Easter hymn, “He is Risen” performed by the Tabernacle Choir. “He is Risen,” echoes the words of the angel to those seeking the body of Jesus at an empty tomb. Alexander’s verses continue on to exclaim, “Death is conquered, man is free. Christ has won the victory.”

The second piece is probably her best-known work today, the poem-hymn, “All Creatures Great & Small” performed by the National Taiwan University Chorus. This work is a tribute to God, the Creator who gifted mankind universally with the beauties of nature. Both hymns celebrate the Divine, who was the great influence in what flowed from Alexander’s heart to pen, paper and love of neighbor. However, it took a loving father to provide the nourishment and encouragement of this fertile ground.

Francis or “Fanny” was a timid girl who loved to pen lines of poetry, but in secret. She developed the habit of hiding her private pages under the carpet of her room. Her prolific writings eventually gave themselves away by an obvious bulge in the rug. Her curious father investigated the disfigured carpet and discovered his daughter’s hidden treasure. He immediately recognized Fanny’s talent and lovingly, desired to encourage her. He constructed a wooden box with a slit on top for her to keep safe her precious work. He also began having her share her verses on Sundays, first with family and then to the occasional visitor, helping Fanny to increase in confidence. Fanny blossomed as a writer due to her father’s love and family’s encouragement, and by age 25 her work was published and quoted throughout the British Empire.

Fanny’s contributions extended beyond her work in the arts, demonstrating the woman of character she would become. She took the proceeds from her work to help construct a school for the deaf and mute in 1846 as well as the Derry Home for Fallen Women. It is said of her that those, “…who knew her best felt that, beautiful as her hymns are, her life was more beautiful still” (Campbell, Hymns and Hymn Makers, 1898).

Fanny’s life is an illustration of a few of WOW’s 14 Principles in action. The first is Divine Power. Knowing God loves us and has a divine destiny for our lives, brings greater meaning and purpose to many individuals, who work diligently beyond self to contribute positively to society. With a desire to share this truth, Fanny published one of the first hymnals for children, which grew to 69 editions in her lifetime.

WOW’s principle #7 emphasizes the importance of fatherhood. The love of an engaged father like Fanny’s can and will flow through both daughters and sons to the spreading of greater good. Her story may induce ache into the hearts of some, because of an absent, neglectful or abusive father, but no matter one’s circumstance, peace can be found for all who seek their Heavenly Father. Fanny’s works are deliberate in leading others to Him.

It was said of Fanny that she was “indefatigable” in her good works. WOW advocates for being our brother and sister’s keeper in our principle #11, Service as a means to help strengthen and lift women & family, community, society, and even ourselves. It is through the quiet and not so quiet giving of our lives that truly make, “All things bright and beautiful.”

Happy Easter!

Saving Mother’s Day

by Nicholeen Peck  Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you have planned how you will spend your special day. I usually try to find ways to serve my family like a good mother does.  Years ago I fell into the trap of feeling entitled on Mother’s Day.  I thought it was my day off.  In fact, it seemed like society was convincing me that I should feel entitled to special treatment.  One Mother’s Day, after being thrown up on and having everything go wrong, and feeling like being a mother was the worst thing ever, I decided that never again would I trick myself into that kind of selfishness.  I decided that Mother’s Day was my day to do what I do; mother people.  I decided that to honor my special day best I needed to be selfless, not selfish.  Here are some things you can do to make Mother’s Day special for you and for your family; live your role and love it!

  • Make your family breakfast in bed
  • Make a special dinner for your family
  • Tell stories from your life to your family
  • Tell your family about mothers you admire (your heroes)
  • Have a special mother’s day treat (tradition) you always serve like strawberry shortcake.
  • Send your children cards of appreciation for being able to be their mother

Happy Mother’s Day


WOW upside down spells MOM. It’s a universally common title, but the real beauty and influence of motherhood begins to shine when Mom doesn’t accept the role as common. At a recent fundraising event, one couple at a shared table happened to be a Mom accompanied by her young son. Her husband couldn’t attend last minute, so his son was to take his place. As conversation progressed through the evening, it became obvious this beautiful woman did not accept her title as common. Motherhood was something she continually planned, prayed about, and sought wisdom in. It was something she put her best energies into. I knew I had found a kindred spirit when she said she was once asked what job she would choose if she could have any in the world. She said she thought about it a moment and then answered she already had it-being a stay at home Mom.

This reminded me of Cornelia Africana, an ancient Roman patrician whose maternal care and wisdom jolted Rome with the dignity and worth she brought to motherhood. One day sister patrician Compania showcased her jewels to Cornelia. After, she asked Cornelia to bring out her jewels for her to see. Cornelia in all sincerity gestured toward her young children and replied, “These are my jewels.”

Painting by Angelica Kaufman, 1785

Painting by Angelica Kaufman, 1785

It is true Cornelia was blessed with a life of material comfort, but she was hardly spared human suffering and grief. She was widowed fairly young, and though she bore twelve children, only three survived to adulthood. Later, even her two famous sons, “the Gracchi”, she outlived, because they were cut down in their prime of life for beliefs she raised them to stand for.

WOW respects and supports the dual role of parenthood, but today WOW wants to honour the Mother, and those who do not accept the title of Mom as common.

Happy Mothers Day!