Beach Notes

::noticing God's glory


We are at the beach this week, noticing flowers that look like great peppermint candies, and magnificent sunsets over the bay, and horseshoe crabs that are "stuck together."

::listening to 

Ann Voskamp's blog. Did you read her note to Kate, Duchess of Cambridge? I wandered over there to read it and decided to hang out in the neighborhood and enjoy the music? 

::clothing myself in 

PJs. It's actually fairly early Monday evening, but we've been going and going and going all day and we have to be up and out the door tomorrow at 6:45 to start a new day of dance.

::talking with my children about these books

I only packed two books for bedtime read-alouds this week. Karoline is determined we will read every story in The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter and Katie is happily choosing at least a story a night from the Random House Book of Humor for Children.

::thinking and thinking


about the value of homemaking. It really does amaze me that an art so vital to the health and welfare of every one of us is given so little thought. We do a deplorable job of training young women to makes homes. Instead, they come of age in a state of cultural confusion over the value of such things as cooking, cleaning, or even the thoughtful rearing of children. And it shows. I wonder if we aren't a generation or two away from "home" being a quaint concept one reads about in old stories.

::pondering prayerfully

"When your ordinary work or business is not specially engrossing, let your heart be fixed more on God than on it; and if the work be such as to require your undivided attention, then pause from time to time and look to God, even as navigators who make for the haven they would attain, by looking up at the heavens rather than down upon the deeps on which they sail. So doing, God will work with you, in you, and for you, and your work will be blessed. "  ~St. Francis de Sales

::carefully cultivating rhythm

There's that careful balance of relaxed vacation time and competition time and just plain eating/sleeping/living time. I'm trying to maintain some rhythm while still getting the girls to the stage on time for a week's worth of dance performances. We're squeezing in every minute of outside time we can!

::creating by hand

I planned to bring some knitting along, but I think I left the bag at home in my sewing room. I did bring a wee bit of embroidery. I have plans for an embroidered headband…

::learning lessons in


traveling without my big boys. So strange to be here without my veteran travelers! I miss them terribly. And I am reminding myself all the time to soak up the wonder that is these six still left at home. Such a different rhythm when the majority is female.

::encouraging learning 

Ah, those podcasts. What a great little conference I designed for myself:-) 

Several of you asked for links to good listening. Lately, I've been listening to Andrew Pudewa:

Nature Deficit Disorder

Teaching Boys & Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day

The Four Language Arts

Nurturing Competent Communicators

Fairytales and the Moral Imagination

::begging prayers

Recently, three people very close to me have confronted a cancer diagnosis. I've told you a little about Shawn. And my friend Carmen is recovering from a double mastectomy. The third one I'm holding very close for now.. Please, please pray for all!

::living the liturgy

The end of the July truly is the liturgical celebration of homemakers. This year, we began with the gospel story of Martha and Mary. Then we shall celebrate the feast of St. Anne on July 26 and the Feast of St. Martha on July 29. Lots of notes on those here in this post (along with some wonderful St. Francis de Sales wisdom). Sarah Annie is very happily looking forward to her name day celebration!

::keeping house


This week, we are sharing a condo with another family. Housekeeping is so different at the beach. It's always fun to play house in a new neighborhood! Still, I really need to do laundry tomorrow.

::crafting in the kitchen 



I brought my blender, so smoothies are still happening every day. I cooked ahead last week and brought most of our main dishes out here frozen. And we stopped at a produce stand on the way to the shore and stocked up so that we have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. Well, plenty enough to get to Wednesday, at least. After that, we may be a little on the less green side because fresh fruits and veggies at the grocery store here are outrageously overpriced.

::loving the moments

when she swims to me!

::giving thanks 

 for safe travels.

::planning for the week ahead


Swim, sun, dance, eat, sleep. Repeat.


  1. Kathy says

    Elizabeth, I have 5 boys and 3 girls in that order. The oldest boys are grown and off on their own. My home now is mostly 3 girls and 1 boy. Weird! I too miss their presence deeply. But, I am amazed at how sweetly my little ladies play together. How my youngest son, now the oldest at home treats his sisters so protectively (most the time). It really is a new season. I guess our mother’s heart is always growing.

  2. Samantha says

    Ah yes the art of homemaking….even we can fall into the cultural confusion. The women who know this is the vocation and still try to feel purpose in this world because the world tells us in order to be successful you have to go out with a big boom! Most people would hardly consider housekeeping and childrearing a big print. (I think otherwise – big prints here lol)
    Beautiful photos of family fun. Your family and friends are in my prayers.

  3. Melissa Buttry says

    Enjoy the beach. I am home nursing my 8 yr old with new stitches in her ankle who now does not get to have her birthday at the lake because of said stitches :( Homemaking is a much less practiced art but I think there is a new surge in many young mom’s right now to intentionally teach homemaking to their daughters because they/we see how fast it is going and how much society tries to dimiss the need. I grew up with my mom as a homemaker and my grandmother and Aunts also. The only thing they didn’t do was verbally give their work importance. I never teally thought much about it. Now, I think those of us, like yourself are intentionally teaching the art and planting the seed for future homemakers.

  4. says

    Elizabeth, my husband always nudges me in Mass when the reading is about Marthat and Mary. He considers me a Martha! But, I was not aware h fear day is July 29th… birthday! Guess my fate is sealed!

  5. says

    We were just lamenting the growing up of all our boys yesterday and how strange it is to do everything with only little girls now. So sad how quickly the time went.

  6. Judy says

    Elizabeth – thank you for the listening links. If you are looking for some more good listening, you may enjoy nos. 43 and 44 titled “Tales of a New Creation” Parts 2 and 3 (there is a part 1 but it does not inspire as these two do) – wonderful conversations about the way fantasy tales tell a larger story, Also, I have recently heard about a book “Real Love for Real Life: The Art and Work of Caring: by Andi Ashworth which I am about to order and which I think might address some of the issues you are pondering around the value of home making.
    Blessed holiday.

  7. Meg says

    So happy you can enjoy some time away from home! I agree with the thoughts on homemaking being so important. I just hope I am helping my daughters to understand the importance of it! Hopefully I have led by example but I’m not sure…. lots of thoughts on the Martha/Mary gospel! I feel like I lean towards Martha.

  8. says

    We are listening to Beatrix Potter on audible right now! Great stuff. About homemaking … sometimes I wonder what it really means or should mean. I immediately think of systems for cleaning and getting meals on the table, but there’s more to it than just the practical component. Are we failing at teaching/modeling self-discipline and right attitudes too? I’m thinking and thinking right there with you. Just not at the beach, where the thinking might go better :).

  9. Mary Lou Shookhoff says

    Elizabeth, I read your column in the Herald and am amazed at the time and effort that some people (and all of us can fall prey to it if we aren’t careful) spend on sending hateful letters criticizing others. It truly is possible to differ with other kindly, a skill that too many of us did not cultivate as we grew up. I worked the entire time my children we growing up and wish that it was not necessary. I always wanted to be a stay at home mom. I am thinking that your dissenter has the wrong impression of the Women’s Movement. I will admit parts of it were not morally correct but when men entered the delivery room, they fell in love with their children right from the start. I labored alone except when the nurse needed to check my progress and I did not touch my firstborn until the next day. Thank God that all of my babies took to nursing without a hitch because there were no lactation consultants in those days. But the effect of bringing the father into the room to encourage the mother and witness the birth has made for better fathers. I worked at a Catholic hospital in the 80′s and when the medical staff met to discuss allowing husbands into the labor rooms, she argued successfully for all fathers to be allowed in. What was her reasoning? She felt that witnessing the birth of their children might prompt some of them to marry their girlfriends. I used to check our logbooks to see if she was correct and I’d say that about 50% married the mother of their child. WHht a beautiful thing that was. Now back to your dissenter, I also took the Women’s Movement to give women a choice to stay at home and the women who do so are prone to have husbands who VALUE their work in homemaking. The women who read and comment on this blog seem to be fantastic mothers who are valued for what they do in the home and with their children. Your dissenter obviously does not have that,and needs to be prayed for.

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