Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Haystack Full of Needles

By Alice Gunther

When we learned we were moving, I mentioned it in a same time chat with my internet friend, Alice Gunther. She typed back with enthusiasm, a friend of hers, someone who was a part of her home education group had just moved to that state. She mentioned the town her friend had moved to, Did I know that area? Did I ever. That was the very town we were moving to and a quick Googling of the address revealed Alice's friend lived a few short minutes from the house we were hoping to purchase. Alice introduced us and we exchanged email addresses and phone numbers.

Ironically, it was this friend of Alice's that loaned me my first copy of Alice's new book, A Haystack Full of Needles as we were driving together to a meeting and registration for the home educator's group in this new area. Two friends of Alice's that she had brought together, driving to our new Catholic home educator's group with the hope of meeting others, talking about Alice's new book about how to meet and interact with other Catholic home educators. Who'd have thunk it?

I read the book, poolside, in a weekend and I loved it! I shouldn't have been surprised, but when I heard that Alice was writing this book I imagined it would be full of charm and grace, all the beauty and richness of faith that overflows every corner of life at the thatched cottage that is Alice's home on Long Island and that she chronicles at Cottage Blessings. And it is. But it is also a very practical guide to making and keeping friends and organizing activities in the setting of Catholic home education.

Alice (I know this is something of a review, but I just can't bring myself to call her "Gunther") offers, as to a friend, her proven methods of organizing activities. She suggests the best times, places, and structures and all that she says rings true with my own experiences both of the activities we have successfully arranged and those we've attended and most enjoyed. Alice also offers sage advice on how to meet and keep true friends. She suggests we pray for wholesome friends for our children and once we have them, to guard our tongues against the poison of gossip and backbiting.

Lastly, this book is a wealth of wonderful ideas for the events themselves. From St Martha's Homemakers class to St Luke's Art Class, to gardening club, to chess club to organizing and performing a Shakespearean play, A Haystack Full of Needles has it all and more. This book is a tremendous resource for Catholic home educators. It is an invaluable opportunity to bring some of the abundant blessings found at Alice's cottage into our own lives and homes. Thank you, Alice!

Thank you also, Alice, for introducing me to your friend. She is every bit the treasure you said she would be.