Valentine's date night in

I love date nights at home. Honestly, I'd choose a quiet night at home with Mark over going out almost anytime. We started these dates when our children were babies and went to bed early. It felt expensive and tiresome to regularly set…

our homeschool in pictures | January

Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell others. ― Mary Oliver, Sometimes ________________________________ reading lessons on the kitchen floor lettuce snipped from the winter garden a beginning in Latin,…

for the weekend | a winter cocktail

It's Friday, friends! Do you feel a deep sigh of relief, too? The weekend is here, and again I'm ready for it. I'm beginning a new series here this year creatively titled "for the weekend"–I know, how did I ever think of it? Anyhow,…

a gentle beginning to math at home

Although I did well in maths growing up, teaching it is an entirely different story. For me, each class during my childhood to early-adult years was a practice of mastering one section of a puzzle without understanding its connection to…

our family Sabbath meal revisited

Last autumn, our family began practicing a weekly Sabbath meal together, which I wrote about in more detail over here. Six months into this new family tradition, I have a little more to say about both the difficulties and surprises of this…



Cloistered Away is a lifestyle blog, focused on simple, purposeful family living, written by Bethany Douglass.


Rearranging furniture. Making plans. The boys have requested navy walls in their room, in other words: they're over white. 😂 🙄 I'm planning a compromise of some sort. Also walking sticks and dirty feet hanging off the bed. #lifewithboys #sundayprojects
The sun rose again yesterday, like it always does. Not stolidly cloaked in clouds, but vibrant. Alive. Awake. I'm convinced this is the sun Paulo Coelho imagined when he wrote, "People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of."
After yesterday's tornados and 24 hours of torrential downpours, the kids had so many questions about weather. So today we pulled out the books and paints.
We're watching the rain fall from the roof and gather outside our home. Rain storms always feel so richly spiritual to me, a reminder of presence, of what Hosea wrote about God: "he will come to you like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth." Today, I'm receiving.
It is another grey and rainy May morning here, and we are all beginning to grow stir-crazy from the accumulated weeks of sickness and changing weather. I took Blythe for a breathing treatment yesterday and am hopeful our family will be clearing the clouds and well again soon. On a different note, I'm sharing another post on self-care and nurturing the whole self today, this time on evening rituals and the importance of sleep to our wholeness. The image is of course unrelated—mostly a sweet nod to peonies, my favorite flower. Link in the profile.
This weekend Olive told me, "Mom, my hands are feeling crafty. They are just meant to make things—and I love making people happy by making things for them!" I beamed in the cheesy way moms do when children understand some bit of who they are, and then we baked a new brownie recipe together and shared them with friends.
We are taking care of ordinary tasks today and sampling a simpler summer routine for school work. I've been thinking on these words I read earlier from Laura Ingalls Wilder, "We who live in quiet places have the opportunity to become acquainted with ourselves, to think our own thoughts and live our own lives in a way that is not possible for those keeping up with the crowd." I like the idea that the quiet, ordinary work at home invites me into deeper thought and purpose—an encouragement while I fold yet another load of laundry.
Sometimes when the air is sticky and warm, throwing together random chopped veggies in one bowl balances me. The chopped thick-cut bacon is bonus. #thecloisteredtable
We nestled on our friends' back porch last night, sipping drinks, celebrating friendship, and watching the fog slowly roll in. The kids were littered about the grass, playing. These are the days.
Fifteen years ago today we sat at a small table near the sea drinking our first morning coffees together, the words "better or worse" still hanging on our tongues. In fifteen years, we've had to digest them more than once—the best and hardest—and yet together they have worn our souls like leather, wrinkled and soft in just the right spots. I wouldn't swap it for anything. With him, I'm home. #thecloisteredtable
It's a rare rainy and cool May morning here. We're listening to Bon Iver and tidying up random blankets and dishes littered about from sickness. Purification is diffusing the air and later today I plan to fill our vases with flowers—because flowers make all the difference when you're stuck indoors. 🌾
We're in our third week of sickness here, and since being away this weekend, I've noticed each of us feeling a bit lost, fumbling around for familiar rhythm. Last night, I sautéed onions and garlic and cilantro together with bone broth and black beans for soup. The aroma and cadence of the kitchen gently nudged me back into our family rituals, and suddenly today eating leftovers, I find that I'm home. #thecloisteredtable