All the things I learned about in art classes in college- like color, texture, form, function- are what guide me as I keep a house and a garden on Blessing Hill. William Morris, the nineteenth century British artist, said, “Have nothing in your home that you do not believe to be beautiful or know to be useful.” This is my thinking, too, and I’m still learning how to live it out. My husband just read this paragraph and said that he’s glad to know he can stay here on the hill, because he considers himself a very useful, helpful person, which he is!

Our house and our hill are my canvases on which to design and create. Years ago, I was captivated by a book I found at the library, Carl Larsson’s Home. I especially admired the way Larsson decorated his home with portraits of his children that he painted on the doors, floral designs painted above doorways and on walls. He also carved birds and figures into support posts, and designed and installed furniture and lampshades. His wife, Karin was also an artist who wove textiles that they used throughout the house. (For a look at the Larsson home and the artists’ work, visit: )I thought, why not copy Larsson’s ideas yourself? I borrowed some of his designs, painted pots of foxglove and geraniums on the dining room wall, decorated the inside of the powder room door with panels of stylized flowers and painted a trompe l’oeil window on a wall in the upstairs hall.

I usually manage to grow most of our summer vegetables in a garden protected by a hedge that the deer have not yet tried to jump over. This garden is my “potager,” patterned loosely on the French idea of a vegetable garden that combines beauty and order with usefulness. We keep a small flock of chickens, mostly for the delicious and beautifully colored eggs they give us, tan and brown and pale green and blue. Our hens are now famous because a photo of them appeared in Baltimore Magazine a few years ago. Six years ago, John became a beekeeper and manages two-to-four hives each year that produce enough honey for us to enjoy as well as to sell to friends.

As much as I value beauty in my life, I value Truth even more. I encountered the Truth in church when I was just becoming a teenager. It is recorded in the Bible that Jesus Christ said He, Himself, was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. When I learned about this and read what else Jesus said about Himself, I believed Him. As I read the Bible, I became aware of many things in my life that were not pleasing to God. I read that Jesus calls us to repent of our sins and follow Him. He promises eternal life and His indwelling Presence to anyone who answers His call. I responded to His offer of love and forgiveness and have sought to follow Him who is the Truth, the Son of God, ever since.

I began to take writing seriously about twenty years ago, at the urging of my husband and friends. After attending several writing workshops, I set a high and scary goal for myself: get published in Discipleship Journal, an award-winning Christian magazine. This magazine eventually published three articles I wrote. Excerpts of these articles appeared in other publications. Getting published felt -and still feels- really good!”