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A Gift of Light is a reflection of the life and experiences and work of a well-traveled woman, in regards to the individuals whose lives she chronicled through her art.

That woman was Rachel Wyse, my grandmother.

Book CoverRachel Wyse was a light in the world. Some amazing experiences in youth, including the instantaneous healing of a violent toothache and an encounter with Jesus at her mother’s deathbed, left her with a quiet sense of wonder and beauty in everything — people, nature, art — that lasted all her long life:1864 in Salem, Massachusetts, to 1958 in Charlottesville, Virginia. She brought up her four children in Toronto, and afterwards travelled in Europe, Canada, Alaska, Mexico (well into her eighties), and once (alone, at 75) round the world. She was writing and painting all the time, often hurriedly, to show her family what she was seeing and doing, yet always looking and listening for the inner beauty. When she painted a portrait, even a quick sketch, the eyes always looked thoughtful. A flash of crimson bougainvillea was a marvel, but so was the old stone wall it grew beside. She was always lighthearted, fun to be with, not given to preaching. A man who once interviewed her on the radio thought she was like “a bird poised for flight.” The life inside kept sparkling through. We first put this book together for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as she certainly would have wished, for she was devoted to them; but she also thought of the whole world as her family. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook, too!

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