Tuesday, December 4, 2018

My Friend the Author

Have you ever met someone and knew immediately you would like them?

We had that experience fairly recently when a new couple joined our church.

After church one Sunday, we met them at our favorite after-church place to eat and learned it was also their favorite.

We realized, though they are a bit younger than us, that we have much in common.  On top of that, we realized we enjoyed each other's company.  So, when we are all in town at the same time, we continue to enjoy meeting for Sunday lunch.

Jim and Rita Rabalais (pronounced Rab-uh-lay for you none Cajuns) are a delightful couple whose love and respect for each other is immediately obvious.  It is clear they are each other's best friend.  They have three grown sons, two daughters-in-law and another soon-to-be.

Jim works for Libbey Glass and travels all over the country and abroad in his job.

Rita is a retired school teacher after having a 33 year career in the Caddo Parish school system.  She now substitutes at the Shreveport First Baptist Church School when she isn't traveling with Jim.  Or, when she isn't making dolls or writing books.

It is this latter activity that I want to share with you.

Rita's first book is about an experience from her mother's childhood.  Her mother, Pearl is the central character and it is based on a story that was shared with Rita as a child.  Years later when Rita told her mother that she would write a book about that experience, her mom sent her the notes she would need.

Seventy Times Seven is a sweet story about forgiveness and friendship.  It takes place in 1934 during the Great Depression, but the lesson it teaches and illustrates is timeless.  Unfortunately, Pearl did not live to see her story written and published, but Rita is glad she was able to keep her promise to her mom.

Even though it is written about a little girl, the story is also appropriate for boys as well.  Learning the importance of forgiveness between friends has no age or gender limits.

Pearl's story continues to live on.

Not to spoil the story, but Pearl's grandmother really did make rag dolls and that is what inspired Rita to learn the skill and she delights in sharing her dolls with little girls just like her great, great grandmother did.

This past Sunday, Rita couldn't wait to tell us that her second book has been published and that she had had her first book signing the day before.

Piano's Song is a beautiful large book.  It is about a player piano and its many homes.  The story is told from the piano's vantage point and shares the desire we all have to be loved and needed in an ever-changing world.

The art work is beautifully done by a young lady who also lives in Louisiana.  The colors are vibrant and the story equally rich in its meaning.

Rita learned to play the piano on an old player piano, and this book is written in honor of her piano teacher who has been giving piano lessons in Central Louisiana for more than 75 years. Mrs. Maxwell has also been the pianist in her little country church for 75 years.  She recently broke her wrist and is terribly upset that she won't be able to play the Christmas music this year.

Rita also gives the history of the Player Piano in the back of her book for those children who may not have ever seen one.

Either or both of these books and the rag dolls would make wonderful Christmas presents for those little or big ones on your list.  If interested, you can leave a comment on this post, or contact Rita directly at


Elizabeth "Libby" Day
Elizabeth "Libby" Day

Hello, My name is Libby. I enjoy reading good books, painting, blogging, spending time with friends and whatever my "Heart" leads me to do. Welcome to Beauty Without Within.


  1. Both of those books sound absolutely wonderful. I particularly like the idea of the piano telling it's story...what a very interesting and unique persective!

  2. I am so impressed. Rita is an amazing woman. So glad that you have become friends with this couple.

  3. What a very talented woman. I like your new friend and both books sound good. Our piano when I was growing up was a converted player piano. I always wondered why they did that. My Sunday School teacher had a player piano and lots of music rolls for us to sing to at our class parties.

  4. Thank you for introducing us to this amazingly talented woman and her stories and art!


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