A Joyful, New-to-Me, Word!

Bouquet of forget-me-nots flowers in  a white vase on a grunge  background Stock Photo - 19789320

A few weeks ago, I began a new post category of Forget-Me-Not Words.  Especially those that inspire Beauty… Hope… Light!

 Perhaps I’ve heard or read them – somewhere- before.  Only to have them float out of memory as a will o’ wisp.  So when I come upon these flowerets in my reading (particularly in my favorite British novels) .   I want to pluck them, place them in a freshwater vase…here…for you.

Today… the word is…

To Limn (verb):  to draw or paint (either through words or art), to outline, delineate with sharp detail;  to describe a scene so vividly as to make someone feel they can see it. 

Origin: Middle English limnen to illuminate (a manuscript), probably back-formation from lymnour illuminator, alteration of lumenur, from Anglo-French aluminer, enluminer to illuminate, ultimately from Latin illuminare.  First Known Use: 1592


“Day followed day and I scarcely noticed how they passed.  I was enthralled by the task of editing Garth’s book.  I went with him step by step upon his journey, I shared his vigils, shared his discomforts, shared his keen enjoyment of the beauties which had encompassed him.  I grew to know his companions through Garth’s eyes… they were all alive and vivid — Garth had limned them in a few words. “

                                          ~ D.E. Stevenson, The Young Clementina


The image I am dreaming of is like a breeze ruffling through tiny, sunshiny dresses and sailor boy bloomers.  Billowing them up, up, up – like giggling girls and boys on a swing – to chase, to reach, to touch the clouds!  The sky is blue upon blue.  The air clear and crisp and fresh-launder-scented.  And in the lilt of happy, chattering birdsong I feel… merry!

“Limning,” I see then, smiling at the thought that God has just…limned… a picture across my mind.  So vividly, my fingers itch to draw a new childhood-reminiscent  note card with this simple scene.   Can I limn it for others, make them feel such a… mmm… flash of springtime joy?

Can You make my words, my art, do that too?  I silently sing heavenwards.

Warmth, like butter melting over golden pancakes, spreads over me with a life-stemming reminder.

The world is looking for my living epistles.  To read Me and find Me in you…(and you… and you too!)  I want to be the Companion others get to know through your eyes… alive and vividly drawn through the Words and pictures I limn of who I AM… in you… through you…

[Like Garth’s writing limned for Charlotte, in D.E.’s The Young Clementina, I see then.  Illuminating with joy.]

Like the wind billowing through your soul and sending another up to touch the clouds!

In gifts and dreams I place in your hands, yes. 

But also…In everyday moments… in your eyes… in gracious words to a harried stranger.

It is then I remember recent times when disgruntled feelings got the best of me.  Of just wanting things the way I want them.  Of not even thinking about windows and doors God might want to open as encouragement to someone else – because it’s too easy to be caught up in necessities of life that keep me from seeing.

O Father, Holy Spirit, forgive me… illuminate and remind me in every day.  “In my vigils, in my discomforts and in my joys, in the keen enjoyment of beauties you encompass round me” — may my life  ever be, a living, limning, letter of You.


I particularly love the origin of illuminate to this word, limn.

 In what way would you like God to limn His letter –

like a breeze through someone’s window-

through you today?


© Pam Depoyan

breezy window photo source: rebekahknight.blogspot.com

flower photo:  fotosearch.com

Ask about “...merrily, merrily…merrily merrily…”  – in print size perfect for a child’s room/nursery or in note card size.   :)   See more in my All Things Childhood collection at https://pamdepoyanblog.wordpress.com (Picture It in Pen and Ink!)  (Please do not copy without permission. See my copyright info button on the sidebar.  :)  )


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  whimsical-wednesdays_edited-1    Tell Me a Story      


About Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

I love to hear your thoughts, even chat back and forth amongst comments.Won't you join the conversation? :) ..................................................................................................................... May my stories refresh you, like a whisper from our Father's Heart !
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9 Responses to A Joyful, New-to-Me, Word!

  1. lynndmorrissey says:

    Pam, I just love this . . . first of all for saving those forget-me-not words and bringing them to our attention. As well you know, I love words, and I was unfamiliar with this one. And don’t you love to study etymologies and to see how words relate? I had no idea how to pronounce this! Does one pronounce both the m and the n? If so, that would be somewhat of a tongue-twister. It turns out that the n is silent. I also found it interesting that limn doesn’t just mean to represent in drawing, but to portray in words. So you are a wonderful limner! =] I don’t know which I like most–your words or your drawings. Either way, you are an artist for the Lord, portraying him with the beautiful gifts He’s given you.

    Thank you for not shying away from words you have to look up. Words are beautiful gifts, and we should unwrap more of them, and in so doing we will discover such beautiful nuanced meanings, and thereby enrich our lives.

    BTW, I wonder how the word “limerick” fits in? =]
    Love you,

    • Well, fellow literary word lover, I can count on you to join me in love for these words.. 🙂 I wasn’t sure if the ‘n’ was silent either until I looked it up. Yes, it would be a tongue twister indeed the other way!

      I actually was re-reading this D.E. book (one of her absolute best!) when I came across that word limn and it jumped out at me this time – must have simply glossed over and surmised the meaning before (I often don’t look up words, just enjoy them in the scenes and trying to figure out the deeper meanings on my own). I loved the way she used it – definitely referring to a word picture, not a drawing. But how words can be so vivid as to bring something or someone so close and real. And then as I mused about all the variations it could mean, I loved thinking of it in all forms of “drawing” – with words, with thoughts, not only with actual artwork. Illuminare! Love that!

      Yes, I love how you put it – words ARE a beautiful gift and we should unwrap them. Not sure about limerick in that sense either 🙂 Thank you Lynn, for your encouraging words! Glad you enjoyed this writing and drawing… Hope it puts you in mind of a refreshing breeze! (I don’t know anyone who hangs clothing on the line anymore, but I remember my mom doing that!)

  2. Gentle Joy says:

    Great word…. words are so carelessly used in our day…. and so many good words are simply lost from our vocabularies… it is so fun to learn new ones. BTW, I LOVE the picture of the gauzy curtains gently blowing from the windows out onto the beautiful porch. 🙂

    • Yes, isn’t it? The more I think about the many shades of meaning in this word, the more I am loving it! It is a shame how we lose so much great vocabulary from disuse…(I’ve been guilty of stifling vocabulary at times in speech, not wanting to sound uppity or put people off). I hope to keep bringing some of these to the forefront here as I “stumble” upon them in reading… 🙂

      Thanks. I love that photo too, but can’t claim it as mine. Just love the mood and feel of it! Comes from rebekahknight.blogspot.com. Thanks for letting me know you were here! 🙂

  3. Hi Pam,

    Wow, I have never heard that word before! Thanks.

    Re your comment on my post “Why Community is Worth It…” It’s true how God can use written stories, oral accounts, and entered into real life situations to teach us. I am thankful for each method.

    Nice to have you here,
    Jennifer Dougan

  4. What a lovely new word even for me. I must enlarge my word file. Thank you for sharing your lovely post with us here at “Tell Me a Story.” At: http://letmetelluastory.blogspot.com/

    • Thanks, Hazel! The most beautiful thing to me about this one is how it opens up a new thought about God as one who “limns” his pictures to our minds, word pictures and ideas! I hope that is the idea that is coming across centerpoint in this post, though I’m a little surprised no one seems to have commented on that reflection. I thought people might love that picture of God too… 🙂

      I love how God is THE Word, and words hold His life, don’t they? 🙂

  5. Barbie says:

    Thank you for sharing!

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