Life is Lovelier with Lace. . .and the Guitar



It all started back in 1967. Her name was Stella. She had six strings. My dad was strummin’ her by the campfire. As an elementary school kid, I could enjoy his silly songs on the ‘cheap’ guitar, while munching on a smore, right off the campfire.

“Ole’ McDonald had a farm, e-i-e-i-o…with a moo moo here, and a moo moo there…”

Yup. I was inspired. To play guitar! I don’t think it was his silly songs, or even his ability. 😊 I just saw the potential beauty of its sound.


I don’t where Dad kept the guitar, when we were not camping. And I don’t recall him playing it any other time. Nonetheless, my guitar beginnings are here.

When I was a bit older, possibly thirteen, I somehow took ownership of Stella. I had her in my bedroom and started plucking away.

“The first chord to learn is G. The second, C. Now practice changing back and forth: G – C – G – C, an unremembered mentor told me. “And when you have that smooth and steady, learn the D chord. That’s all you need to play, Leavin’ on a Jet Plane.”


This Peter, Paul & Mary song was probably not known to me at thirteen years old. But I learned it, nonetheless! And now, when the world gets🎶 retro – ish🎶,and this song once again hits the airwaves, guess what I am reminiscing about!


Watch “Peter, Paul and Mary – Leaving on a Jet Plane.” on YouTube

When the day settled down to evening in those junior high days, I would sit on the edge of my bed and plunk away. I was falling in love with Stella!



What grieved me was that Stella did not have a case. She was not easily transported! I would have given anything for a guitar case for Stella, but, “where can I find one?” (Remember, this is 1969. No Google. No Amazon. No wifi! )

“And no money,” my mind was muttering.

With Christmas coming, I asked if I might get a guitar case for my one and only gift. (Guitar case defined: cloth, with zipper.) Even this was more than I should ask for, I knew. Family funds were low: High expense/Low income. And a simple cloth guitar carrying case at Christmas should not be expected.

And I didn’t expect it.

Awestruck, I was! Yes! Completely beside myself with unbelief! The last gift to be opened was not something wrapped and lying under the tree, but was brought down to the living room from some hideaway place. A guitar case! For me! Not a soft cloth case. A more expensive hard case! I will never forget my happiness!


Now I hoped to carry Stella to and from home base, to play with others. To play accompaniment for group singing. Our church youth group. Every meeting began with singing the choruses of The Day:

We are One in the Spirit, We are One in the Lord…

“Easy chords,” I would sigh with relief. “Just Em, Am…back and forth,” with a C thrown in once in a while.”

Pass It On…

“It only takes a spark, to get a fire going, and soon all those around will warm up in its glowing…that’s how it is with God’s love, oncell you’ve experienced it; you spread His love to everyone; you want to pass it on.”

“Now this is not an easy one to play! (G,C, Em, Am, D…all mixed up.) I only hope to make it through,” concentrating immensely, I focused and strummed.


Time went on. Actually, time has passed so very quickly so that now my memory contains not only sharing Stella’s harmonious strings at church youth group meetings as a youth myself, but also going on into my college years, and accompanying the church youth groups as a young adult!

In between youth group meetings, I was able to pick up additional guitars and bonified guitar lessons.

Classical guitar lessons. My instructor was able to teach me how to play scales and strumming patterns. He instructed me as how to appropriately hold the guitar, and proper fingering. And ultimately, to play classical pieces.


My favorite moment of each 30 minute instruction period was watching Tim, my guitar teacher, write out (from memory) minuets on music paper, for me to practice the next week. I still have that music paper. I think it should be framed. I can safely say, I liked my guitar teacher!

Time for guitar began to fade as marriage and family came into play. And rightly so. Parenting is quite all consuming. With love.

The guitars were put away for safe keeping and for protection from curious, sticky toddler fingers.


Opportunities availed themselves when AWANA became a family focus! While Tim and the growing boys were busy in their AWANA group, I was able to accompany Cubbies and Sparkies with, “Jesus Loves Me,” and “Stop and Let Me Tell You What the Lord has Done for Me.”  And many more.

As the years rolled by and the little grubby toddler hands became more anxious to appropriately touch my ‘Epi’/Epiphone and my Fender, there was some exchange of hands that went on! One in particular. He had more time than his mom did, still at this point.

So I enjoyed hearing guitar played again, under our roof.

Still deep into mothering, but with just a tid bit of opportunity to play in a blue grass group at church, I was able to learn a few tricks of the trade from a seasoned guitar player in the ensemble.

With the knowledge he gave me, very soon I was quite successful in chording songs. With chorded songs (mostly hymns) we were able to take hymnsings to nursing homes, using guitar for accompaniment.

Over and over, opportunities avail to bring hymnsings to the elderly in the nursing homes.

Most recently I see opportunity to use the mellow sound of acoustic and classical guitar for the elderly who struggle with ahlzhiemer and dementia.

And more hymnsings!

So I best get those finger callouses re-formed!

Life is Lovelier with Lace. . . 

Now, there is a minute war happening within me. Time for lace? Time for guitar? Which will prevail? Both bring rich rewards to my soul. And to others. “Balance,” I can hear my dad’s answer. “Take time for both. Schedule your time. It is most valuable. Not to be waisted. Do both, Deb.”57d09193fa67951e8b56dceb5905b4ad

With busy scheduled time, I continue to crochet lace. For its beauty to me and to others.

And today, I also add: the beauty of the guitar music, as I determine to form those callouses on those same finger tips, to share stringed harmonious chords once again!

With crochet and guitar string in hand,

Debbie Ludvigson 

The Ludvigson Lace Lady 


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