Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Love My Washing Machine!

I really do! And I love my laundry room, where I retreat almost daily to spot-clean clothes and clean out the lint trap. But until I read this book above, I hadn't realized the spiritual possibilities of making the laundry room a prayer closet. Barbara Curtis, mother of 12 and a recent revert to her childhood Catholic faith, details how to find spiritual solace in the most mundane of chores. On her blog she reflects:

I feel it's part of the rhythm of my life - almost as unchanging and dependable as God. It's a service I render to the people I love, thinking of it as a small reflection of Jesus washing his disciples' feet. more

Her book is wonderful Lenten reading. So it was natural for Barbara to stride into the fray when furor arose when the Vatican newspaper remarked on International Women's Day that the washing machine had done more to liberate women than the birth control pill. She has posted her own comments praising washing machines on her blog, along with some revealing and fun pictures and a poll. Enjoy, and if you agree, consider passing on the poll.

Once when I was rhapsodizing about the joys of the simpler life, a woman friend who had homesteaded for several years without electricity said, "I will never go back to living without a washing machine. It takes all day to do laundry without one." I said, "What did you do, then?" She thought and said simply, "You get used to living with less clean things and more dirt."

So reconsider the beauty of the humble washing machine: I think Mother Church is showing wisdom, as usual. What we take for granted. I pray my children live to see women in every part of the world gain washing machines of their own.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Little Saints of Spring

For years, I've enjoyed the artwork of my friend Sophie Cayless, a Catholic nature artist with a love for the childlike spirit. I'm pleased to announce that Sophie has turned some of her charming images of Little Saints of Spring into cards and t-shirts: the perfect gift for Easter! Saints thus far included are St. Patrick, St. Bernadette, St. Joseph, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Isidore the Farmer, and St. David. I hope she'll do more! Please check out her gallery at!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

House Update: Schoolroom finished!

Slowly but surely we are starting to finish rooms in the addition of our house. I am delighted to
be able to announce that our school room/meeting room/den is "mostly finished!" We still need to install one more door, and I would like to put curtains on the window (alas, the Briarwood curtains I won on ebay never arrived from England -- the first time an international purchase has gone tragically wrong on me. I keep praying they'll show up unexpectedly, but it's been since August...!) but for now, the room is done!
I am much indebted to the girls who attended the Fairy Tale Novel Fan Gathering 08 at my home. One of them had the idea of transforming the landscapes I had planned to put around the room into vistas of Middle Earth. So now Hobbiton (which I painted) resides over the blackboard...

And Minas Tirith, Edoras, and Orthanc's tower are dimly visible above the armoire. On the very top photo, you can catch a glimpse of Rivendell. Someday I'll have to get a ladder and flash and go around and get better pictures of all of these, for the sake of the girls who painted them. By the way, the matching doors came from our handyman, who scavenged them here and there for us: I can't believe he managed to find *two* doors with large windows in them! The solid door I bought for a song at Habitat for Humanity. And my dear husband created the blackboard for me with trim and paint.

I'm also indebted to our family friend John Robinson, who owns a carpet business and has kept my parents and siblings and I well stocked with carpet extras whenever we need them. I was delighted when he gave me these industrial carpet tiles, leftovers from a grade school library. They were easy to install, and I love their bright patterns. I've been in love with industrial carpet ever since I was a janitor in college and had to vacuum every day: while I might dream of Oriental rugs, I love living with the short, tough tight weave of commercial carpeting. Thanks so much, John!
So at long last I have my meeting room. Two weeks ago, I had a chance to use it to host our John Paul 2 High meeting (Book Two: Trespasses Against Us is coming out at last! Hooray!). It was so nice to have a blackboard and bulletin board to help keep track of plot points. And yes, I've used it for homeschooling (occasionally!) as well. Three rooms down --six to go!