Mary and Martha and Me (and you, too!)


The internet is a formidable force for bringing the comfort and consolation and hope of the Lord to all of us. It can be an incredibily powerful medium for community. There is an unfathomable resource for prayer here. We have on the 'net the privilege of praying for people and of being witness to the miracles brought forth when fervent, faith-filled people pray for one another.

Let's be that community of hope and faith for one another.

How about this idea? What if I pop in here every weekend, share Sunday's gospel and talk a wee bit about how we can live it and pray it in our homes? And then you tell me how we can pray for you that week? Deal?

{And please, do return and let us know how prayer is bearing fruit.}


Luke 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village 

where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.

She had a sister named Mary

who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. 

Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,

“Lord, do you not care

that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? 

Tell her to help me.” 

The Lord said to her in reply,

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. 

There is need of only one thing. 

Mary has chosen the better part

and it will not be taken from her.”


Therefore, my daughter, be careful and diligent in all your affairs; God, Who commits them to you, wills you to give them your best attention; but strive not to be anxious and solicitous, that is to say, do not set about your work with restlessness and excitement, and do not give way to bustle and eagerness in what you do;--every form of excitement affects both judgment and reason, and hinders a right performance of the very thing which excites us.

Our Lord, rebuking Martha, said, "Thou art careful and troubled about many things." If she had been simply careful, she would not have been troubled, but giving way to disquiet and anxiety, she grew eager and troubled, and for that our Lord reproved her. The rivers which flow gently through our plains bear barges of rich merchandise, and the gracious rains which fall softly on the land fertilise it to bear the fruits of the earth;--but when the rivers swell into torrents, they hinder commerce and devastate the country, and violent storms and tempests do the like.

~St. Francis de Sales


Please Lord, let me approach my daily round from a place of rest in you. Help me to be a diligent good steward while leaning upon you for grace and strength in all things.


More from St. Francis de Sales:

Accept the duties which come upon you quietly, and try to fulfil them methodically, one after another. If you attempt to do everything at once, or with confusion, you will only cumber yourself with your own exertions, and by dint of perplexing your mind you will probably be overwhelmed and accomplish nothing.

In all your affairs lean solely on God's Providence, by means of which alone your plans can succeed. Meanwhile, on your part work on in quiet co-operation with Him, and then rest satisfied that if you have trusted entirely to Him you will always obtain such a measure of success as is most profitable for you, whether it seems so or not to your own individual judgment.

Imitate a little child, whom one sees holding tight with one hand to its father, while with the other it gathers strawberries or blackberries from the wayside hedge. Even so, while you gather and use this world's goods with one hand, always let the other be fast in your Heavenly Father's Hand, and look round from time to time to make sure that He is satisfied with what you are doing, at home or abroad. Beware of letting go, under the idea of making or receiving more--if He forsakes you, you will fall to the ground at the first step.

Polish madonna

Blessed the husband of a good wife,

    twice-lengthened are his days;

A worthy wife brings joy to her husband,

    peaceful and full is his life.

A good wife is a generous gift

    bestowed upon him who fears the LORD;

Be he rich or poor, his heart is content,

    and a smile is ever on his face.

A gracious wife delights her husband,

    her thoughtfulness puts flesh on his bones;

A gift from the LORD is her governed speech,

    and her firm virtue is of surpassing worth.

Choicest of blessings is a modest wife,

    priceless her chaste soul.

A holy and decent woman adds grace upon grace;

    indeed, no price is worthy of her temperate soul. 

Like the sun rising in the LORD's heavens,

    the beauty of a virtuous wife in her well-ordered home.

-from the Book of Sirach

A Homemaker's Prayer

 May I have the strength and the will to do the humble tasks, that make a house a fit abode for my loved ones. Clean floors, shining china, dainty curtains, clean sheets, good food, a cheery fire-may my willing hands make these things possible.

But Father, let me remember that man does not live by bread alone, that material things but make a proper setting for life's real treasures of mind and spirit. Give me patience and understanding and kindness and humor and love in abundance, and charity for all. May the spirit of happiness, of joys and sorrows shared, of unity, of the peace that passeth understanding linger here! Help me to keep the path to Thee open and easy to find for the little ones in my keeping. And let there be laughter here.

And last, dear Lord, help me to remember the stranger without the door. May there be warmth enough on our hearth to share with him.

Is this too much for one so weak, so full of faults as I, to ask? At least it can be a goal toward which to strive, and to Thee all things are possible. Amen

-Mrs. Howard Peet 

Prayer to St. Anne for Homemakers

Dear St. Anne, we know nothing about you except your name. But you gave us the Mother of God who called herself handmaid of the Lord. In your home you raised the Queen of Heaven and are rightly the model of homemakers. In your womb came to dwell the new Eve uniquely conceived without sin. Intercede for us that we too may remain free from sin. Amen.

Orderly color

More Links to inspire your  homemaking:


Cocooning and Flying Free

My Not So Simple Life 

More on simplicity

Rhythm and Prayer

On Being Intentional and Making Lists

Why Bother with Cleaning? (But then, be sure to read this one and this one, too;-)

Laundry, Linens and Love

Homemaking Companion Notebook (with lots of forms to use, if you like)

More Home Management Notebook Links  





Simplicity Parenting. A very thoughtful parenting book. It's not Catholic, but it's just good, plain common sense. Combine it with Lifeline, for a simple parenting library. Very simple;-).

CrazyBusy, Overstretched, Overbooked and About to Snap! This is lifestyle simplification for adults.

Simplifying Your Domestic Church a beautiful, thoroughly Catholic guide to bringing simplification principles to your environment.

Keep it Simple: The Busy Catholic's guide to growing closer to God. This is simplicity for your prayer life.

Homemaking Prayers


A Homemaking Library:

Homemaking books

Gathering my Thoughts


::noticing God's glory

Rain. Rain. Rain. The weeds are proliferating and everything else is rather soggy. I'm going to "unorganic" my roses this morning and bring in some big guns to take care of black mold and insects. I wasn't planning on eating the roses anyway...

::listening to 

Quiet. I got up at 4 AM for this privilege. Seriously, I so love to have the house to myself for a little quiet first thing in the morning.

::clothing myself in 

Right now, I'm wearing one of Mike's T-shirts and a pair of pajama bottoms. He's in Miami. I awoke to the news that the Heat pulled it off in OT last night. Awesome. Not really. Means he's due home later than sooner.

::talking with my children about these books

Still Shakespeare.

::thinking and thinking

about a family social media/screen time policy. I have it drafted. It's a bit wordy;-). Still pondering, but nearly ready.. 


::pondering prayerfully

“As an antidote to time-wasting and sometimes even alienating indulgence in superficial media programs,” the document proposed that the students should be “guided to the love and practice of reading, study, silence, and meditation. They should be encouraged, and be provided with the necessary conditions for community dialogue and prayer. This will serve to remedy the isolation and self-absorption caused by the unidirectional communication of the mass media . . .”  [emphasis mine]

as quoted in this great article sent to me yesterday by Elizabeth Williams.

::carefully cultivating rhythm

So, about that email thing. I somehow stuck all my email in the trash. I can't restore it unless I restore one message at a time. There are now 19,951 conversations in the trash. Ever since I last wrote about email (oh, 3 weeks ago?), I've been retrieving email from the trash. Dumping the whole inbox might have been a good idea for someone else, but for me, not so good. I've been pulling important mail (for me and for Mike) like crazy. The clock is ticking; that mail will be permanently deleted 30 days from when I trashed it. So, there you go, I somehow managed to take my email mismanagement anxiety and make it so much worse.

::creating by hand

Somehow, the costumes for the Tiny Toes little girls came in in a GIANT size. This week, I set up in the studio with my sewing machine, took a deep breath (or two or three), and cut those sparkly lovelies down to size. Then I stitched them back together. They're so cute! Only 5 more to go...

::learning lessons in

Eating well. I just finished Heather's 30 Day Vegan. I was surprised by the things I learned. I very much benefitted from the workshop. I especially enjoyed essays by Renee Tougas (looks like her site is down today). At the outset of the Whole Food Kitchen workshop I took last winter, I commented to a friend that I was skeptical because it seemed like the goal was to move in the direction of veganism. And, I said, that wasn't a good option for me because how in the world can you be a vegan without wheat or corn? Turns out Renee's family eats a plant-based diet without wheat or corn. Imagine that?! Plant-based. No wheat. No corn. No sugar. I'm learning lessons in what works for me.

::encouraging learning 

Yes, we are doing school all summer. We absolutely are. I'm no longer in the running for favorite neighborhood mom.

::begging prayers

for teenagers: mine, yours, and those they befriend. It's really challenging to be a teenager these days. They need us to cover them in a mantle of prayer and to beg showers of grace on their behalf.

::keeping house

We're working on it;-)! The reality is that this is recital week. I'm trying mightily to make sure we don't get behind in housekeeping, but I'm not making great forward strides either.

::crafting in the kitchen 

We did a big brunch for Father's Day:

  • Strata with asparagus, manchego, and prosciutto
  • Mixed berries smothered with berry puree and served with a Greek yogurt/lemon curd sauce
  • Homemade Belgian waffles with toppings
  • Muffins

The dads were happy. I lived on berries for 48 hours after Father's Day because I definitely wayyyy overbought. Not a bad problem to have.

::loving the moments

when I see him standing, waiting for me at Arrivals at Dulles Airport. Counting the hours.

::giving thanks 

for you. I'm so grateful you come back and find me here, despite my sometimes erratic publishing schedule.

living the liturgy

This is not some earthshaking revelation, just a simple truth: the most effective way to live the liturgy is to go to Mass as often as possible. It’s all there, available every day. You don’t need a craft closet. You don’t need a grocery shopping list. You don’t even need much advanced planning. You just need to show up. And a priest who gives relevant homilies is plus, too.

::planning for the week ahead

Let's see...We have rehearsals this week for this weekend's spring recitals. We have training this week to get ready for Nick's team to go to the Regional tournament, following his State Cup win (thereby extending soccer season by a month). Turns out Stephen lost his State Cup game. Three days later, he tried out for the team which beat him (and which is the closest team to us geographically). He made that team and now he's training in advance of their trip to Regionals (thereby extedning his soccer season by a month, even though he's not eligible to actually play in the Regional tournament.) Christian and I will take a trip to James Madison University for an IEP sort of meeting. Mike will depart with the boys for the Regional tournament in Rhode Island.

And, by late next week, I will revel in at least three calendar days with absolutely nothing written on them.

I will.

Memories Captured on an iPhone last weekend:
Sarah performed for the first time ever last weekend -- a Circus Tea at the Ritz-Carlton. She had so much fun, she just didn't want to take off her stage makeup. She and her biggest fan fell fast asleep within seconds of arriving home Saturday afternoon. Takes a lot out of a girl to be a dancing clown!
Father's Day Brunch:

needle & thREAD


Good morning! I don't have much to show in the sewing department today. This week's sewing is mostly under wraps. And since I hit a sewing sweet spot and just kept chugging along, I don't really have many pictures to show you after Christmas. Maybe I'll snap a few of recipients. Sometimes, as I cut specially chosen (and not inexpensive) fabric or dream up just the right design for something, I wonder if they'll "get it." I wonder if they will know how much I value the gift I'm giving, how much thought and care and love gets stitched into it or cooked into it or baked into it. Increasingly, I'm becoming aware that many people consider handmade to be of lesser value. And they consider the people behind handmade to be of little or no value at all. I love my handmade gifts and the people to whom I give them, but do the gifts lose their value if the recipient doesn't recognize the worth?

We are rapidly approaching Wedding Day here, too, and my mind is awhirl--pretty much 24-7--with details, details, details. I have not done a whole lot of reading. One thing I have noticed in the past few weeks, though, has definitely prompted me to make a reading list for the future. It seems that the more I post about intentional mothering or about homemaking arts, the more hate mail I generate. And I mean really angry mail from women who are disparaging and disgusted with mothers at home. They paint a picture of "kept women" who are leeches on society. It takes every ounce of self restraint not to respond.

This new mail is a curious thing to me. Firstly, I have collected a paycheck of some sort my entire adult life (and plenty of my teenaged life, too). The only time I didn't do some sort of paid work was when I took "time off" for chemotherapy and radiation. So, I'm not sure how I became a "them" in the us vs. them mommy wars. But my deeper ponderings have everything to do with the misconceptions of mothers at home, particularly those who try to reclaim lost homemaking arts of an era long gone.

There are a couple of articles in this years' issues of Taproot, written by Shannon Hayes, author of Radical Homemakers. She speaks to the misconception and affirms the value of women who are actually working very hard to tread lightly on the economy and on social resources, not by dabbling in needlework and berry jam, but by integrating every aspect of human experience into the tapestry of home. I re-read them last night.

We live in bizarre times, victims of a post-industrial era that, for the sake of efficiency, has segmented our culture into factions--some produce food, some produce the education, some produce goods and services. This segmentation fails to acknowledge our need to be human, to engage in daily work that feeds our minds and our bodies and reestablishes our oneness with the earth. Perhaps more carrots can be produced, more books can be written, more art can be created, more kids can be schooled, more numbers can be crunched and more albums can be produced if one person plants carrots and someone else writes the books, and someone else paints pictures, and someone else teaches our kids, and someone else crunches the numbers and someone else plants the music and someone else cooks the carrots. But none of us is experiencing what it means to be fully human, where our unique minds and bodies work in harmony with our spirits and nature to create and provide for our wellbeing.

I also read a short biography yesterday. (Or was it the day before? I forget. So busy sitting around eating Christmas bons-bons and all.) It is the story of an Eastern Orthodox saint who is a beautiful example of homemaking and a life of service. Just beautiful. So, there you go. I'm reading across the spectrum and finding women who find peace (and create it, too), by embracing home. And that's about all I can say about that, because, you know, it's days before Christmas and the week before our family's first wedding and there are just so many bon-bons to which to attend.

What are you sewing and reading this week? How does the work of your hands benefit your family? Your neighbor? Do you find that people appreciate your handmade gifts?  Are you working on Christmas presents? Racing to the finish with something special? Do tell.  

Make sure the link you submit is to the URL of your blog post or your specific Flickr photo and not your main blog URL or Flickr Photostream. Please be sure and link to your current needle and thREAD post below in the comments, and not a needle and thREAD post from a previous week. If you don't have a blog, please post a photo to the needle & thREAD group at Flickr
       Include a link back to this post in your blog post or on your flickr photo page so that others who may want to join the needle and thREAD fun can find us! Feel free to grab a button here (in one of several colors) so that you can use the button to link:-)


needle and thREAD

needle & thREAD

needle and thREAD


This was supposed to be the St. Lucy's Day edition of needle & thREAD. There were to be three flannel nightgowns here for happy pictures. Alas, I spent the weekend relearning slope-intercept and graphing inequalities. Saturday morning, fabric all smoothed out and newly-traced patterns pinned in place, I recognized that these nightgowns weren't going to happen before exams were taken. They might not even happen before Christmas. When I make them, I'm going to make them extra long. They can wear them in January and February and then again next year. 

I do have some things to show you, though. iPhone pictures are beginning to frustrate me. A camera is moving to the top of my list of things to research. Do you love yours? Tell me why.

The drapes for the main floor of the house are finished. Cari and I worked on the sewing room drapes this week and I finished them yesterday morning, early, early. Mike's been working ridiculously long days, splitting his time between here and Miami, so the rods aren't hung yet, but the drapes are so pretty!

I'm nearly finished with the great pillow expedition in the family room. I love the pop of color on some otherwise rather dull couches. 

One last pillow remains to be covered. I've been doing a little stitching sampler on a scrap of the drapery fabric. It will be the center of a log cabin square. This seemed a grand idea when I first conceived it. In reality, this fabric is so loosely woven that it frays if you look at it the wrong way. It's not fun to make patchwork with it. I'm determined to make just that one pillow, but my grand plans for lots of them were squashed pretty quickly. I do want to do just this one pillow, though. The needlework competes with my knitting time whenever I sit down these days. I want to finish Sarah's sweater by Patrick's graduation party (the day after the wedding). Knit? Stitch? Math? 

I haven't done much reading. Last week, Emily recommended Dirt and the Good Life. I have the book now, but haven't yet begun to read. After the math final...





So what's happening out there in needle and thread world? Are you working on Christmas presents? Racing to the finish with something special? Do tell.  

Make sure the link you submit is to the URL of your blog post or your specific Flickr photo and not your main blog URL or Flickr Photostream. Please be sure and link to your current needle and thREAD post below in the comments, and not a needle and thREAD post from a previous week. If you don't have a blog, please post a photo to the needle & thREAD group at Flickr
       Include a link back to this post in your blog post or on your flickr photo page so that others who may want to join the needle and thREAD fun can find us! Feel free to grab a button here (in one of several colors) so that you can use the button to link:-)


Thoughts on Knitting and Farming and Life in General


I am certainly the slowest knitter ever. A year and a half ago, when I first learned to knit, I was actually pretty quick. I learned to knit at the beginning of Lent and had three (or maybe four) shrugs knit and blocked and ready Easter morning. Spring faded into summer and whatever autoimmune process causes muscle and joints to slow and ache seized mine with a vengeance. I thought rest would help. I reluctantly stopped knitting at all, waiting for the pain to go away. It never did. So, I began to knit again.

Slowly. Very slowly.

I picked up a sweater for Katie, begun by Mary Beth. Katie had outgrown it. Thanksgiving weekend, I finished it for Karoline. Then I picked up a sweater for Sarah, begun by me, just before I stopped knitting. I thanked heavens for a pattern already begun that had the same number of stitches in the neck of her former size as the neck of her current size. 

And so it goes, slowly. very slowly. All my yarn for next year is stashed. I have no need of yarn because it lasts me a long, long while. My skills are still very much at the beginner level. Still, I want to knit.

I want to sew.

I want to garden.

I want to can. 

I want to make things come to life (in a manner of speaking) by moving myself into them. And it think such movement might be critical to my wellbeing.


I read a wonderful book last weekend. I started reading as I lifted it from the box and I couldn't put it down. It won't be everyone's idea of wonderful, but I found it to be a very satisfying read. The Dirty Life is the story of a Harvard-educated travel writer who  interviews an organic farmer about his connection to the local food movement and ends up falling in love. With him, with the food, and with the work. Together, they begin to farm on an abandoned acreage in upstate New York. The amount of work they do is astonishing. The author, Kristin Kimball, doesn't romanticize the experience. It's messy and hard and fraught with all kinds of challenges. Somehow, though, it seems so satisfying: an entire life made by moving one's body and mind into work. 

I found myself wanting to ask so many questions. Did you ever get the ramshackle house cleaned up? Did he ever make you the promised bed? Who did all that work when you were pregnant? How did you do all that work with a nursing baby? The blog offers a little more insight into the day-to-day world of running a CSA that provides its members a full diet: produce, eggs, meat, dairy, even sweetener. It doesn't, however, answer all my questions. My hunch is she's too busy fully living life to write about it in daily detail.

I will never be a farmer. I've often wanted to be, ever since I was a little girl. In all my imaginings, I lived a rural life.  I am, however, the wife of a very good man who doesn't much like dirt. He works hard to provide a pretty clean life in suburbia. Our kids are thriving here. I love him for it.

So, how does that translate? Contentment with suburban life and the desire to get dirty and work with one's hands in every aspect of living? I have no idea. Today, it will be warm. I'm going to plant more tulip bulbs in the front bed. And then, I'll just keep slowly knitting and think on it.

For more Yarn Along, please visit Ginny.