Wednesday, April 19, 2006


I thought this letter would help others gain insight into the reason for homemaking. Even when we are unable to make things really nice, due to unforseen interruptions, our presence is greatly felt and needed in the home. I found an interesting story about kitchens here May03/
Mrs. Sherman, I cannot restrain myself any longer! I must thank you, and thank you again!

I have been reading your columns for some years now and always look forward to them for the inspiration you provide. You truly understand what makes a woman happy and successful as far as homemaking is concerned: love. It is love for my family, loved ones, and community, and for myself also, that is my motivation to provide a home which is clean, pretty, and full of good things.

It is the simple joy of my table, set with lovely linens and flowers, and dishes filled with good and nutritious food. Or my living room, filled with clean and comfortable furnishings, not costly and pretentious but homey and warm, inviting family and guests to linger over tea and good conversation. My linen closet contains pretty pressed and folded linens with which I can decorate my home in any season, for any manner of affair. And so I thank you, for the understanding and shared joy of these small things that you show in your writing. And for understanding, too, of the richer rewards of such efforts and simple joys: a happy and contented family, a community enriched by loving communication, sharing our lives and our gifts with others.

Finally, I thank you for the fact that you understand that homemaking is but one facet of the complete person that we are. I don't feel that because I delight in arranging flowers I cannot likewise enjoy reading books on philosophy or gaining a deeper insight on current events. Nor do I feel that my life is narrow and selfish; in fact, my role enables me to give of myself and my talents as I know I could not do if I worked a full-time job. And everything that I say about myself is equally true of all the women who, like yourself, are at home. And so, I thank you, for helping others to understand us better, and to give us the inspiration that we sometimes need.

All my best,


Photograph by Lisa Hollinger


Kelli said...

Thank you for posting this letter, it really spoke to my heart. I don't often fault the world for my misfortunes, however in this case it deserves at least a portion of the blame. I have spent 15 precious years of life pursuing a career outside the home. This career however did not bring the fulfillment I hoped it would. As obvious as it seems to me now, until recently, I didn't even consider being a wife and homemaker a worthwhile life pursuit at all.

Anyway, better late than never! I now look forward to a life of caring for my own family and home. What greater fulfillment could any woman ask for?

Country Victorian said...


I am honored you used my photograph for your blog. Remember I took that while we were laughing as your teapot began overflowing during the film shoot for "Garments of Praise".

I will be coming to Florence again soon in the next week or so. My mother is very sick and is unable to take her Cancer medication or do all the therapies Seanna has to give. Poor Seanna is carrying a heavy load. My e-mail is not working on my computer but I can get messages via my blog.

Hope you're feeling better.

Mrs. Lisa Hollinger

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Sherman,

Here is a shorter link to that article.

Hope this helps!

Cherish the Home said...

Mrs. Sherman,

Is this a picture of your home? (o:

Lydia said...

Yes. We were going to get more pictures of it today but my daughter, who has the camera, could only visit a short time. Hopefully we can get more of them up.

Cherish the Home said...


I've always wanted to see some pictures of your home. (o:

Anonymous said...

I read the aticle about kitchens and it reminded me of this last year as we were house hunting and the kitchens I saw usually disappointed me because they didn't look warm, family friendly and inviting. The house we settled on has a usable nice kitchen but it's not the traditonal farm type kitchen that can fit a long table. Islands in the middle of the kitchen are usable but this one is too high. We'll learn to love itand be thankful for it since that is what we have. Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

I came across this letter and no matter a person's view of what is the best diet for her family, it shows the difference in the health of a family that a dedicated mother can make.

"Letters, Summer 2003
I just had to let you know what a blessing the Foundation's work has been to our family. We were vegetarians for about 7 years (my husband for over 25). I had no energy and was gaining weight despite the fact that we ate "really well." My son came along and was happily breast-fed for 2 1/2 years. He changed overnight when I weaned him, becoming grumpy, argumentative and belligerent.

Then one day we were at a church dinner and I was just about to tell the little old lady not to put chicken on his plate but it was too late. So I thought, we just won't eat it. Well, Mr. 21/2 year old ate his, mine and one other person's! And guess what, he wasn't crabby anymore! I gave up the vegetarian cause and resolved to feed my family good-quality meat.

Here we are four years later and boy, if this kiddo doesn't have his fat and protein—look out! We have learned our lesson, which brings me to the next lesson. Good meat! I have a farm near by that has pastured poultry. When we cook those birds, the whole house is alive with the most amazing aroma. We have gravy, lots of meat and soup after—heaven. One night when I was working long hours I stopped and picked up some chicken from the grocery store—yuck! No nice smell and no taste. The kids wouldn't eat it.

So the long/short of this tale is that I have resigned my position at the university to stay home full-time. People think I am nuts because my kids are in school. But I am going to make bone broths all day, lacto-ferment veggies and beverages and make wonderful traditional food. It takes a lot of time to do all this. And I run to our farm (Midvalleyvu in Arkansas, Wisconsin) once a week. I get raw milk, raw cheeses, the most amazing yogurt ever, eggs like no one has ever seen in their lives, meat and a chat with some incredible people. I feel blessed beyond belief. Money will be tight but we figured that rather than dump it into the stock market for their college education, they will be able to stand on their own two (strong) feet when it comes to college. What we lack in liquid assets, we will make up for in bone density and mental health.

Thanks for all you do!

Lisa Hood
Eau Claire, Wisconsin

P.S. My 49 year old husband still calls himself a vegetarian but eats bone broths, gravies, and I usually find most of my leftover meat missing. The dark circles under his eyes have disappeared, he doesn't fall asleep at 7:00 at night and he has more energy than ever before. I let him call himself a veggie but laugh at him and put more gravy on his plate."

Amanda said...

I read the kitchen article, too. Goodness, I miss having a large kitchen! Before I moved to Philadelphia, every place I lived had a large kitchen that was the main traffic route and the hub of family life. The kitchen was where we cooked, ate, socialized, did homework, paid bills, read, played games, did crafts and small repairs... just about everything except sleeping.

The kitchen in our current apartment is too small for two people, but it's not all bad. It has a good view of the living room, so I can still talk to my husband or guests while I finish dinner.

Country Victorian said...


What most ladies don't know is how you made your home absolutely beautiful so economically. I know because I filmed a lot of the "Garments of Praise" video from your home and had many visits, teas and meals together. I saw all your creative brilliance in action. I think you should get some type of award for it. I don't want to give it all away but if ladies think you have to be rich to make your homes a welcoming beautiful retreat then you are in for a "real treat" when you learn what Lydia did on a budget!

Lydia, you have to write some articles on LAF and here on your blog about how transformed your home and all your creative ideas. I think it would inspire and encourage so many woman who feel they can't afford to do anything with their homes, have either no money or pennies to work with and those that have a mental block in creativity.

Love Lisa

Terri said...

Yes, Lisa, that is an excellent idea! I have often wondered about your home, Lady Lydia, and like Mrs. B, I would love to see pictures! I would greatly enjoy reading about your creativity, too!

Anonymous said...

Lovely blog...I really enjoyed it! One question though...where is this picture from?


Lydia said...

The photo came from if you are talking about the one of Emma. It is a German site and has other pictures from the movie.