Blood Soaked Earth

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Blood Soaked Earth

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sumaccover-page-001Set on a small farm in upstate New York, Blood Soaked Earth tells the story of three orphaned sisters and their valiant attempt to care for one another after the tragic death of their parents. Helen is only fifteen when she gives birth alone to her daughter, Denny. With the death of her parents looming over her young life, she carries within her a hidden memory that drives her back again and again to a place under the sumac, to the blood soaked earth.

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Photo on 2011-05-18 at 10.28 #2

Mary Joslyn is a freelance writer, a trained labor doula, natural childbirth educator, yoga instructor, homeschool mother of four, and a part time event planner. She has written for Finger Lakes Times, Life in the Finger Lakes and Edible Finger Lakes magazines. When she is not wintering in a nest of blankets on her couch, you may find her rummaging nearby thrift stores for vintage goodies.

God is in the Detail

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It occurred to me as I was folding the linen napkins from the laundry that they shouldn’t be returned to storage without ironing. But I had no starch. My mother would have had starch. She ironed and starched tablecloths, sheets, and my father’s dress shirts in the living room while watching her favorite soap operas. My mother created an everyday elegance in the home, thoughtfully selecting wall paper, curtains, paint colors and upholstery fabrics.

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Accents of hand knit afghans made with complimentary yarn, cross stitched throw pillows, worn wooden bowls and baskets were tousled here and there  adding warmth, femininity and charm to every room.

Windsor Castle. The care that surrounds each hospitable event is complete to the most minute detail, actually measuring distances between place settings on the royal table. Today, many women don’t even know if the fork goes on the left or the right of the plate. table_AP

In my childhood home, we were treated like royalty. We were the company! Our everyday dining dishes were pink and white with European cottage scenes. Our silver was heavy and made of real silver! Our beds were strewn with handmade quilts, and covered with printed floral sheets.


Supper was served every evening at six. There were no exceptions. Afterwards, the table was cleared and dessert was served.

All of this was my mother’s doing. Had she gone off to save the world, or discover herself, or make her mark, her seven children would not have felt like princes.

There is a scipture that says he who wishes to be great, make him your servant. My mother is the greatest servant I know. And what quality she brought to my home life! May women everywhere aspire to be as great as my mom.

Danish Festivities

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Feeling Festive

   With this guy watching, you can bet Santa knows if you’ve been bad or good!  

Taking a break from toymaking

                                                                                                                A child’s wish list 

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The Dark Before the Dawn

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The day Robin Williams died I found myself out of sorts. I went for a drive. I sat in my truck by the lake and watched a kingfisher in the rain. I cried. I felt the heaviness of defeat hovering over me like the gray sky above. Not for myself, but a painful sadness for the desperate cries of those who end up taking their lives. The Catholics say that to despair is to sin. It is the ultimate in unbelief. I was suffering the pains of life in this world, with its failures and cynicism. I kept crying, and crying. At one point I was on my stairs, back in my home, when I finally surrendered to deep sobs and crying out to my Lord, “It hurts. Oh Lord it just hurts here so bad. So much suffering!” And then he was next to me; sitting bloody and torn with wounds all over and nodding in understanding. “Yes. Yes it does.” He was smiling, His tone lighthearted. He knew all my pain. And more. So much more. I felt a certain affinity toward Him; a connection.

As I write this I remember encouraging a pregnant woman who was only a few minutes from pushing. Her labor was at its most intense, and almost over at the same time. And she was looking at me with fear and in pain. She was so desperate. And I was smiling at her. Not because I had no compassion. On the contrary, I knew all about giving birth without the help of drugs or epidurals. And I knew it was well worth the effort. And so, she could look at me, and see my faith in her. My demeanor said this was a wonderful thing, not a bad thing. And she composed herself, got down to the business of pushing, and delivered her little girl.

“Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. “Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.” John 16:21-22

New Blue

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Softening Up for Summer!

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Softening Up for Summer!.