One of the first lessons the Lord taught me in that schoolhouse was “Be a blessing.”  When Abram set out on his journey of faith, 

                 the Lord God said to him, 

                 “Go forth … and be a blessing” (Gen. 12:2). As I set out on my journey of faith, the same words were for me, “Mary, be a blessing,” 

                 which seemed an impossibility at the time. 

                  The very process of being divorced felt as though I had become a curse to my husband, yet now I heard the Lord saying, 

                 “Just as you were a curse, so I will save you that you may become a blessing” (Zech. 8:13).

                  The lesson was simple: I was to keep busy, even as “busy as a bee,” yet be a blessing all the while. 

                  Out of this train of thought came the beehive you can see by the front door of the schoolhouse. If you look closely, you will see eleven bees keeping                      busy, busy, busy.

                  Indeed, learning the basic lesson, Be a blessing, played such a vital role in both my healing and in my family’s as well, that I put beehives on each of my next two embroidered works of art., the                            wedding garments and the family quilt.




A One-room Schoolhouse





Teach me Thy way, O Lord (Ps. 86:11).


         I never knew there were so many different things one could do with needle and thread! Although I was familiar with sewing on a sewing machine, my knowledge of hand stitchery was                            limited. Years before I had done some very simple embroidery but nothing intricate. I had a lot to learn.

         Working in the needlework shop was never dull. Every day customers would come and go.  Being the only clerk, I waited on every one. Those already working on a project often brought                        their work with them. Their enthusiasm was contagious. Excitedly, they would share their ideas and then ask me for suggestions. As many needlework techniques were new to me, my                            knowledge and skill as both clerk and teacher were constantly being challenged.

         Through these women a generous feast of needlework delights was spread before me. This sudden exposure to so much that was appealing whetted my appetite: the more I learned, the                      more I wanted to learn. The spirit of exploration and adventure beckoned, as though to say, “Try it; you’ll like it!”

         At times there would be a bustle of activity; then there would be stretches of quiet. As soon as I found myself free from chores, I would use the library to continue learning. I would browse                   through the books, absorbed by the pictures and descriptions. Often, by studying a photograph closely, I would be able to figure out how the stitching had been done.


“See with your eyes, hear with your ears, and give attention to all that I am going to show you; for you have been brought here in order to show it to you” (Ezek. 40:4).



            Embroidery worked with white threads on a white fabric holds a fascination for me. Its single color conveys an impression of strength in simplicity, even though the piece itself contains extraordinarily intricate detail. Whether the stitching is fancy or simple, white-work embroidery has an aura of purity and grace that will dignify any subject.

          One day I was reading about white-work for the first time. As I turned a page in the book my eyes were captivated by the picture of a cozy little house cradled like a bird’s nest in the lower curve of a large capital “C”. One could feel the love the artist felt for the place itself and also for the family life it represented. What a wonderful way to say, “I love you!”, by creating a beautiful embroidery based on a symbol of that love!


          Caught between pain from my past and hope for the future, I was drawn into the midst of this scene. I missed my own home more than ever. I had no place to call “home”, yet the school house felt like home to me. I loved being in it as well as the things that were in it, especially the people. Above all I was beginning to recognize the living God who put me in that schoolhouse as my Teacher teaching me how to live and love again, and I loved Him most of all.


Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher) (John 20:16).


 I made a sketch of the schoolhouse in the mountains of Vermont and began to stitch my own masterpiece in white-on-white. As the several techniques I was using were new to me, deep concentration was required. Even working under a magnifying glass was a novel experience! Having never done anything like this before, my eyes were continually surprised to see what my fingers were doing!

          Stitching-time was like prayer-time. Every moment was so precious that I worked either in silence or to the soothing sounds of Bach’s music in the background. With peace, joy and purposefulness as my constant companions; I was being healed of pain, anger, and unforgiveness.


I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart (Ps. 86:12).