A Little Way

20140224-DSC_9359I can sense the coming of spring, although we keep having snow showers here.  On Tuesday the flakes were especially big and beautiful.  They melted almost as quickly as they covered the ground, remaining for just a little while on the tips of dry branches and plants.  As much as I am ready for warm weather, I know that spring is going to land suddenly and I won’t be ready.  Jonny and I are talking about scaling back in the garden this year, planting less for us, more for the bees.  But then, we can’t decided what not to plant.  We’ll probably do too much as usual, and end up with an overgrown mess because we can’t keep up with it all.  The travel baseball schedule is in, and it looks like it will dominate our weekends through early June.  That commitment is a hard one for me to accept.  I hate to miss watching the boys play, but I rely on weekends to regroup at the end of the week.  I’m sure we’ll strike a balance somehow.

I’m getting ahead of myself, stressing about a busy schedule that doesn’t start for another month.  Lent begins in less than a week.  I have a definite theme, one that evolved with the help of some friends.  I’m thinking small.  I’m thinking of St. Therese because I need her ‘little way’ right now more than ever.  It all started when a friend asked for family reading suggestions for Lent.  I mentioned Bringing Lent home with Mother Theresa and she answered that there is a new book out now, featuring the words and life of St. Therese.  She went on to recommend Shirt of Flame: A Year with Saint Therese of Lisieux.  And then she even mailed me her copy.  St. Therese’s message, that it’s not the greatness of our actions nor their difficulty, but the love with which we do them, is universal in its reach.  Her little way is accessible to a child just as it is to an adult.  We could all afford to love more.  So in these coming weeks I will pray for the grace I need to fill my every action with love, whether I’m cleaning a toilet, wiping a nose, or interacting with someone whom I find difficult to get along with.  I will encourage this family of mine, stir crazy and bickering as we near the end of winter, to join me.  While it seems that every year I start Lent with great intentions and end up falling short, I pray that by focusing on the small things this year, that we will emerge as a family with a strengthened faith, a deepened prayer life, and a greater love for Jesus and each other.  Oh dear, that doesn’t sound small at all.  Let me step back from the big picture, and focus instead on just doing the next thing, and doing it with love.

Our Lenten Booklist includes:  Shirt of Flame (for me) Bringing Lent Home with St. Therese of Lisieux (daily family prayers and devotions), The Little Flower (family read aloud), and the first six books in the Catholic Children’s Treasure Box which feature stories of Saint Therese’s childhood along with pictures (perfect for the younger kids.)  I’ve bought a few little reminders as well including some vintage holy cards and St. Therese bracelets for the girls.  I have sets of sacrifice beads hidden away for each of them as well for when they are ready.  I added my Lenten Booklist to the sidebar.  It includes the books we are reading this year, along with some from year’s past.  I especially recommend A Family Journey with Jesus Through Lent.


  1. Such lovelies out! Beautiful photography, wonderful read! Thanks for sharing!

    Samantha Disch {Wild Maple Wool}

  2. Kathleem says:

    Do you remember me? My husband and. I used to own a restaurant on the water where you can find sharks teeth. I had recognized the beach you were on by the photo on your blog. We used to bring our children down to play in the water while he worked in the “shak”.
    Another author I wanted to suggest to you is Father Jacques Philippe. A friend of mine had gone to one of his lectures while he was visiting America. He has written many books on St. Theresa and her “little way”. I am currently reading : The Way of Trust and Love, A Retreat Guided by St. Therese of Lisieux. My friend had also recommended the “Shirt of Flame ” which I just finished.
    I love the vintage holy cards.

  3. We are buried with snow in Connecticut. Cant see the early buds until this snow melts.
    St Patrick’s day is when we see some buds and feel spring is near. We have a bit to go…
    Cant wait…

  4. I’m going to be the unpious one here and talk about the garden instead of Lent. My husband is the chief vegetable gardener here. When we first started on our food garden 10+ years ago he was very enthusiastic and went completely overboard. He’s scaled back, year by year, but we still grow more than our family can eat (or I can deal with preserving). It gives us an opportunity to give to others. We can’t help out the poor much monetarily, but we can give food to our parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society food pantry. They are always grateful for fresh, home grown food as they rarely get that. That might be something you can get your kids involved with, a kind of corporal work of mercy motivation.

  5. That first photo makes me swoon. Also the snow, which we get none of here in Southern Cali.
    Much Love to you Sweet Lady, XO

  6. I love your picture of the flowers coming up in the snow, stunning! Thanks so much for the Lent book recs. We love St. Therese here and those look perfect. My kids are still really little so we’re doing the crown of thorns/good deed devotion and giving up rasins :-). I think they’re really going to feel the pinch on that last one…

  7. THat sounds amazing Thank you, you just gave me the inspiration for what I want to do.

  8. I like this very much. Instead of, what do we “give up” for Lent, rather to think what do we “give.” Lovely.

  9. I just finished reading “Shirt of Flame” and really enjoyed it. Another book about St. Therese that is wonderful is “Maurice & Therese” , it contains her letters of spiritual direction to a young priest. What is remarkable is the power of her teaching and encouragement to him at a time when she was suffering from TB. St. Therese has so much to teach us!

  10. I can’t believe the daffodils are out already : )

  11. I purchased the Family Journey Through Lent on your suggestion, can’t wait to dig in!

    Can I be a bother and ask where you found the St. Therese bracelets? I find similar bracelets but none with her on them and my eldest has taken St. Therese as “her” saint. I know she would treasure one of these.

    Thank you 🙂

    • I bought them at the National Shrine in D.C. I would have bought her one had I known! I’ll pick one up next time we visit!

  12. This sounds a lot like my Lenten plans. Except I had just written down “Yell less.” I like the idea of instead of “yelling less” it be “The Little Way of Love.” I ordered “Bringing Home Lent with St. Therese” after seeing the recommendation on facebook. We are doing that as a family. I may add in St. Therese’s autobiography for myself. I really need her help with the “small things with great love” this Lent!

  13. Thanks so much for the inspiration to aspire towards a more holy lent. Don’t worry about failing. As long as you still want to grow in your faith you are on the right track. What’s truly distressing is when you stop trying. I have been reading about mission trips and such, and was reminded that St. Theresa wanted to be a missionary but settled for doing what she could and praying for the missionaries. Sometimes it is easier to fantasize about helping a foreign child than to quietly clean up the cat throw-up with complaining or waiting for someone else to do it. I am presently not working and my husband is retired. You have NO IDEA how hard you are working as a mother till you stop and look back. Almost every day I marvel at how quiet it is and how much time I have. It is neither good nor bad, just another stage. But nothing is as worthwhile as what you are doing now as a faithful catholic mom. Please keep up the good work on your blog. I find it very edifying. You might remind people that Heather King has a really good blog.

  14. You got to my heart here. I went to school to a Carmelite order school and I remember having in my hands the holy card of Santa Teresita del Niño Jesús, shown on the plate in one of the pics. I’ve tried to find it in the web site that you linked (thank you for that), but I can’t find it. How did you find it in the search engine of the page?. Thank you

    • The one I purchased was a vintage card, and he only had that one. I’m sorry about that! Keep looking! Maybe that shop will have a similar card in the future. You might also do a general search for “vintage St. Therese holy card” Good luck!

  15. Love the picture of Job – such intensity! – and Larkspur catching snow.

  16. It looks like you have a beautiful, cohesive plan. It’s so delightful that Small Things is leading us to focus on the Little Way. May your efforts be richly blessed and may you all have a fruitful and holy Lent! St. Therese, ora pro nobis!

  17. “Shirt of Flame” is awesome.

  18. Sacrifice beads! Thank you for the reminder. These will be just what I need to grow in Lent and a sickness filled first trimester!

  19. jereWineman says:

    As I struggle with my new life after my husband’s death and my son’s three heart attacks and open heart surgery I read something that made the path seem a bit easier.
    God WILL, very likely give you more than you can handle.
    He WILL NOT, however, give you more than HE can handle.
    And God walks the path with you .
    Your emails are so comforting and food for thought.
    Thank you for spend your time sharing.

  20. Beautiful. I love your fore-thought and planning. It encourages me to do mine. I too have a great fondness for Saint Therese. When I’m struggling through a day I recall her teachings and think, ‘do a little bit, a lot.’ It helps me. Katie x

  21. Thanks for the book suggestions. I’m going to try some of them. I always fall short of my goals too, but what would we be if we didn’t try!!! I’m going to try more kindness too. Thanks

  22. it is exciting to get ready for Lent… I have a pile of books to read and some goals… it’s a good time but yet one that is to challenge us… which can be hard of course, for the likes of myself… yes, hard to not worry about what is 1 month or so down the road; but God will be there to meet us and is with us now…

  23. Libby Tsubai says:

    This is so strange (or not!). I just finished Shirt of Flame and was going to ask you if you’d like my copy!

  24. How apt that you’re focusing on St. Therese’s message of ‘small things.’ 🙂

    I personally hate that weekends become a time of regrouping because then it feels like weekends are all work and no play. But I’m 28 and still haven’t attempted to change it. This post totally inspires me to try to get more stuff done during the week (laundry, grocery shopping, etc.) so when the weekend comes I can sit back and play! Thanks, Ginny!

  25. I love to read your Lenten and Christmas booklists
    I have enjoyed the Simplifying the Soul Book – although some of the suggestions are undoable in Maine where it is still winter…..oh well
    My 10 year old has enjoyed the Family Journey one the last two years but this year I am thinking of buying Amon’s Adventure: A Family Story for Easter Paperback by Arnold Ytreeide
    as he has enjoyed Jotham’s Journey and Tabitha’s Travels
    has anyone read this book and have any comments?
    I also own Bringing Lent home with Mother THeresa but couldn’t really get into it last year although I like some of the authors other books, perhaps I should try the one for St Therese instead
    A number of years ago I read this article in Catechist Magazine
    and your comments about your goals and failures made me think of it again, I plan to try it this year now my kids are older (and I have remembered it)
    In Lent we have a “bean jar” where we try to add a bean everything we do something good, kind etc, really each little way of loving each other, then on Easter Morning the Black Eyed Peas have turned into jellybeans

    I can’t find the original story but here is a link to someone else’s blog about it

    Super jealous about your daffodils coming up already 😉

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