Cottage Blessed

January 2, 2007 @ 8:36 pm | Filed under:

Happy First Blog Anniversary (a day late) to one of my favorite people in the whole world!

Maybe it’s because we just watched It’s a Wonderful Life, but all this week I’ve been thinking about Alice and the gentle, quiet, beautiful influence she has on everyone who encounters her, both in the world and on these here internets. She is a gem, a regular George Bailey: a person humbly oblivious to the effect she has on the lives of those who know her, and those who read her words.

I was thrilled—nay, triumphant unto gloating!—when Alice the Best (as she is known in my household; just ask her goddaughter Beanie) began blogging a year ago.  Her zest for motherhood, her celebration of the merriment and mishaps that make up life in a house full of small children, her genius for creating crafts that enliven the traditions of our shared faith—all these things have enriched my life since we met (at a bakery, of course) ten years ago, and the lives of hundreds of homeschooling mothers since the first day she plugged in her modem. Now her blog brings those gifts to a whole new audience.

In a sphere full of lovely, intelligent, inspiring blogs, hers stands out. One day she has me laughing so loud I wake up my baby, and the next day I’m bawling at how beautifully she captures a fleeting moment of childhood. And no one does crafts like Alice. Time and again she has shown us, in pictures, how she puts together her beautiful crafts step by step. And then there are her liturgical teas! I’ve been harrassing urging Alice to put together a book of teas ever since she dazzled her children and me with a Shakespearean "tempest in a teapot" long, long ago. Instead, she shares them freely with the whole world.

This is why I keep coming back to this image of Alice as the George Bailey of the internet. It’s hard to imagine what the homeschooling world would be like without her. Her brainstorms are contagious. Years ago, her fabulous idea to help her daughter put together a First Communion notebook met with such enthusiasm among the Catholic homeschooling crowd that the concept is now almost a given. Her Easter Vigil notebook and Pope John Paul II memorial notebook were embraced with similar zeal.

I remember a time years ago when she eagerly showed me a copy of Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady and spoke of how one day, when her tiny girls were old enough, she would like to help them keep a family nature journal. Ooh, good idea! I said, mentally adding this notion to my already bursting-at-the-seams collection of Alice’s Ideas to Copy. Blogging inspired her to take the family nature journal to a new medium, and thus was Cottage Garden born. From fairy houses to spring soups, mantis adventures to epic battles, there is always something interesting to discover in that garden. The kids’ narrations and observations make you want to let your own kids stay outside all day from now on. When you read their pieces, you can see how much they have absorbed their mom’s merry sense of humor and appreciation for nature.

Most of all, I think Alice reminds us what a privilege it is to be entrusted with the children we’ve been given. She writes eloquently and movingly of the profound gratitude she feels for her husband and growing family. Reading her blog, I am suffused with exactly the same sense of joy and wonder I have always found in her comfortable kitchen. There is such a spirit of fun there: the fun that fills the atmosphere of a home in which the mother is cherishing every precious day of the happy golden years when her children are young.

Thank you, dear friend, for inviting us into your cottage day after day. Here’s to many more years of happy posting.

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13 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Kristen Laurence says:

    Lissa, this is truly a beautiful tribute to your best friend, Alice! How blessed you are to have each other. I know what it is to have such a special friendship. So, when should we have Alice and Suzanne come to California for a visit? 🙂

  2. Jennifer says:

    I agree with everything you said. She is a bright and gracious presence on the internet. She truly inspires me to be a better person with her good cheer and enthusiasm.

  3. Karen E. says:

    Lissa, what a beautiful, link-a-ful (and we all know those are time-consuming, so this is true friendship shining through) and perfect tribute! Happy Blogiversary, Alice!

  4. Suzanne Temple says:

    This is a lovely testament to Alice’s virtue and to your friendship! God bless you both!

  5. Jennifer in TX says:

    Your post is a loving reminder of the gift of friendship that God can bestow on us…Alice is such a blessing to so many…what a lovely tribute!!

  6. Margaret in Minnesota says:

    Yes, yes, yes–a beautiful tribute to a beautiful gal.

    PS. If you and Kristen ever DO organize that reunion, I would love to crash it.

  7. KC says:

    Beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady. I feel so much the same way you do and I only know her through the boards and her blog.

  8. Meredith says:

    Very well said, I second everything!!! What a sweet and special tribute to a an incredible lady! I am pretty sure you were both cut from the same cloth as well, 🙂

  9. Kathryn says:

    You are absolutely right. Alice is beautiful, and so is her blog. I’m so glad she gives us this window into her family and their lives.

  10. Jane Ramsey says:

    Being compared to George Bailey is high praise indeed! George is one of my all-time favorite characters, and Alice is definitely worthy of the comparison. I’ve only been reading her blog for a little while, but I’m very impressed with all I’ve seen, especially the beautifully creative “teas!”

  11. Mary Beth P says:

    I agree wholeheartedly! I think of Alice (& you) many times a day when I am at my wits end, ready to blow, and think of you two peacefully in your homes, calmly kissing your babies! Her love of mothering and appreciation for the precious gift of her children is what inpires me most!

  12. Heather - NY says:


  13. Jeannine says:

    I agree with each and every word. And I must thank you, because it is through your blog that I became familiar with Alice’s; I have since been blessed to meet the “real life” Alice. I am thankful to you both for reminding us that motherhood is a privilege.