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Dearest and Closest,


Meet Margaret Roach:


I first heard about Margaret Roach and her new book, And I Shall Have Some Peace There, from my agent and friend, Kate Lee. Kate said, “Hey there’s this writer I met who I really think you’d get along with.” Now Kate has an uncanny sense of…well, everything, and is often right. So I often follow her lead. Introductions were made, books exchanged. Then, suddenly Margaret was everywhere I was: she was in People as I got my hair cut; she was reading at Gibson’s in New Hampshire –where I will soon read; she was coming to the Maine Festival of the Book, where I will also presenting….the list goes on.


When I saw that her book was about a woman (Margaret) who had left her job as the Editorial Director of Martha, Inc (as in Martha Stewart) to, in a sense, go back-to–the-land and move into her weekend home in upstate New York, I didn’t yet realize that her life would share so many themes—albeit from a totally different angle—that I share in my book, Made for You and Me: Going West, Going Broke, Finding Home. What struck me especially was how she, too, needed to find home—and it didn’t necessarily come easily.

Margaret, too, spent years chasing one kind of dream only to find that the simplest existence was where she belonged: at her home in a thicket of trees, her gardens surrounding her. When she was finally ensconced in her new life, she began a very popular gardening blog, that garnered the love of both real and virtual gardeners. It was called awaytogarden.com.

Her book, And I Shall Have Some Peace There, is such a lovely mediation on being a woman in the natural world that surrounds us—birds, frogs, bushes and flowers— and, also, it’s the story of someone who took a brave leap out into something that she had no idea if she could handle—she just knew she had to get out of the life she already had. I love it when she says such bracingly honest things about her corporate self as, “I could blow through five thousand dollars in fifteen or twenty minutes, a sort of fuck-you-pay-me reaction to whatever exercise in frustration the day had served up.”

Chock full of poems and lovely, relatable anecdotes, And I Shall Have Some Peace There is a satisfying read. I especially enjoyed her story of the cat, Jack, who appears in her life and is not necessarily welcome at first. However he soon becomes her solid companion and, more than that, Jack is a living, breathing example of how Margaret has changed her life.

Here are a few of the many lines I loved—and also related to:

--“All lives involve hard decisions and compromise.”

--“I know only one thing for certain about gardening now, thirty years in:

Things will die.”

--“I am mounting my own slow-food movement, a one woman, one-mouth-to-feed effort.”

“…I am a cat person. I learned this just the other day, when I grabbed Jack off the kitchen floor and was spontaneously taken with laughter, clutching him to me. ‘I can’t believe how much I love you,’ I blurted right out loud, before the thinking mind had a chance to stifle that declaration.”

So, here’s the thing, folks, if you’ll write in YOUR STORIES BELOW IN THE COMMENT SECTION of how you found home—and of what home means to you, from your musings I’ll choose two people with compelling stories to send And I Shall Have Some Peace There to—free—a gift from Margaret and me to you.

YOU’LL DOUBLE YOUR CHANCES TO WIN, if you click HERE on Margaret’s blog (where she is giving away MY book).


I HAVE 2 COPIES of Margaret's "And I Shall Have Some Peace There” that I bought to give away; Margaret bought two copies of my “Made for You and Me” to share on her site. Simply comment below, answering the question:

How have you found home—and what does home means to you?

Then go do the same thing over at Margaret’s, HERE. We’ll each draw two winners after entries close on Sunday, March 27, at midnight. Remember: You double your chances by commenting on both blogs, even if you simply cut and paste your same comment to both spots.  

Now you know me: I understand some of you are shy and just want to say, “Count me in,” or “I want to win” in the comments. That’s fine—but it’s even better if you talk a little about the notion of home. Good luck in the drawing!







Posted on Monday, March 21, 2011 at 09:09AM by Registered CommenterCaitlin Shetterly | Comments47 Comments

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Reader Comments (47)

How have you found home—and what does home mean to you?
I have have found home via a circuitous route that has been travelled by many others, including, by the sounds of it , the author. I had my life all in order and then the unexpected happened...each person's curveballs may be different, but I believe that as a result of the changes, listening to the universe and having flexibility life improves.
Home to me, means never taking for granted simple kindnesses.

March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Home. Continuing the journey forward and back again to find it, often surprisingly, right in front of me. Paying attention to the heart. To what sustains me. Making jam. Sharing food. Digging dirt. Putting words on paper. Paint on Canvas. All in the place I call home today–a small, “hippie-like” make do environment, on a tree-lined street in a thriving city–far from what I ever thought would be, or could be home. But for now, it is here..with two kids, cats, neighbors, and my creative work.

Thank you for sharing your story Caitlin; I look forward to reading it, whether by winning your book or buying it. Best of luck as your path continues.

March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRomney Steele

I realized long ago, after almost constant moving and traveling, that home for me is a warm cup of tea. So easy and portable it is a bit like a turtle carrying its home on its back.

March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinn

Home is a meatloaf dinner with my wonderful husband and whomever else may be around!

March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJudith Flynn

Home is where my family is and a place to escape the horrors of this world. It is a haven of peace and security in a chaotic world. We work hard to make it that way!

March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTammy Goughnour

I will soon find my new home in my beloved Black Hills of South Dakota. I've been waiting to go back there for many years and it is finally going to happen....ahhhhhh.....the peaceful and quiet....and, the smell of the pines.....sounds of the forest.....deer.....birds.....

March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSandy in South Dakota

In my 67 years I have only lived in 3 places although my husband and I have a second home in the Berkshires. My husband and I often talk about whether that will be a permanent home but wth our children and grandchildren in both NY and NC we have trouble committing to a permanent move. Home to us is a warm, inviting place where we can gather with friends and family and have them all feel comfortable.

March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarole Clarin

Hi, Caitlin, thank you so much for this wonderful chance! I`m dreaming so much to read Margaret`s book, her story made my heart whisper when I first read it - because it reminded me so much about my love for working in the garden, being close to earth and plants and flowers.. and having a cat around and doing what you love - I miss so much all these things.. I read the description of your book on Margaret`s blog and it made me dream and think so much to the dear people from my life and to my precious home and its meaning to me.. I wrote quite a long message there, so I truly hope you won`t mind if I`ll add it here as well.. Here it is:

Home.. only when I`m saying this word my heart starts trembling and whispering and my eyes are shining through happy tears.. I grew up in a little town from a valley surrounded by serene mountains and hills covered with ancient, deep forests and millions of flowers on fields, where the time goes slower, the birds are happily singing all day long and the clouds are smiling on their flight to other lands..
My precious Grandma used to live in a dreamy little house with a huge nut tree close to it, a magical swing (it could fly, really!!), a garden with vegetables and a little garden where snowdrops, tulips and bushes of roses (among many others) were charming us with their beauty.. the morning-glory was smiling on the fences and my Granny`s adorable cats were following us on the little paths from the garden.. that space and the joyful, tender presence of my Granny made that house and garden so magical and so healing, that even now, when it doesn`t exist any more, my mind and heart still flies there and when I miss my Granny and that “home of my soul” too much, I must only close my eyes for seeing the sun shining through the leaves of the trees and to feel the perfume of roses and everything from there..

My dear mommy is living with my dog into a bright little apartment from the same area, you can see the stars and the mountain from the windows and our house is filled with green plants, many books and other dear things.. that place is very special for us, because it brought us peace, serenity and happiness.. When I`m with my mom and my dog again there, I`m the happiest girl in the world, no matter what.. everybody can see on my face the effect of a visit at home, because it simply rejuvenates my soul and it`s filling all my batteries..

These two places that I call home are filled with so much love and joy and beautiful memories, that my biggest dream is to go back home and to be again with my mommy one day very soon.. home is where my heart belongs and where my roots are.. and all my dreams are taking me there..

I`m quite far away from my home and my mom now, but every time when my mom comes to visit or when I`m with my sister (who loves our home as much as I do) I`m feeling like being at home again.. I know now that home is where your dear ones are..

As well, when I`m surrounded by things that I love, like little gifts from my mommy, the blanket made by my Granny, when I`m looking at the plant from my granny`s house that`s on my desk, when I see a sweet turtle dove looking at me from a branch and the first snowflakes peeking their little heads through the frozen ground, I`m feeling like I`m home.. and my heart is smiling again..

March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDea

Home is one end of of the sofa on the sun porch. I am surrounded by a variety of potted plants which I refer to as my “green family.” There are soft throw pillows at my back and to my side, a laptop on the coffee table, a cat on my lap and a steaming cup of green tea nearby (with maybe, a biscotti or two). My books are piled on a chair and there are pens and pads at the ready for stray thoughts and good ideas. Ah, home.

March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGerri

Home is warm, safe, nonjudgmental, and inspiring. I try to create this wherever it is I happen to be. I also carry a lot of stuff in my car.

March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarahLexi

Please count me in!

March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMia

Home? I am still looking.

Finding home has been an ongoing process for me. I moved many times in my early years, moves governed by circumstance. I settled (in apartments). In time, I felt "at home," almost. I wanted my own house. I finally bought one. It needed work. I started a garden first. A dog was added to my family of two cats. Pet rabbits appeared in my yard. Hutches were built. The interior work was postponed. It is waiting still as I continue to evolve and understand what home means to me.

Sometimes, I feel more "at home" when I am away from my physical home, creative workshops when I was younger or house-sitting a friend's home in the woods. That is not a bad thing but that feeling reminds me that there is still work to be done on finding my home—and me. To me, a home, in the broadest sense of the word, is a place where one feels safe, creative, and centered. The physical manifestation is a place where one leaves one's "mark"—for example, by decorating, creating a garden, becoming part of the community in which the tangible home is located.

I currently live in a city suburban environment and I feel a growing need for more space, more dirt, and trees. I remember tramping through the woods of my youth on an army base in New Jersey, the sunlight filtering through the canopy, and the walled garden in one of my favorite books ("A Secret Garden"), the description and rebuilding of which captured my imagination. One more move is probably in my future (I am retired). Will I find this place I envision, find home?

March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDianne

I find home whenever I am with my beloved family.

March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDMMKB

Home for me has been much more than just a domicile, even if it is a domicile full of felines. As far as I am concerned, the definition of the word 'home' is incomplete without the inclusion of a nearby plot of land in which to spend timeless days cultivating food crops and growing flowers to enjoy. From the garden in my childhood, which took up nearly all of our front yard to the backyard garden which I have developed in my adult years, I cannot imagine a home without this special place.

March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark Raymond


I found your site from Margaret's. What a gorgeous book - I can't wait to read it. Love your site and story as well. Thank you for being brave enough to share it!


March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPamela

I’ve stayed put, and been everywhere at the same time. Same house for thirty years, same job for thirty years (which I’m about to leave which made reading And I Shall Have Some Peace There a wonderful preview of what’s to come), would be same husband but he died, which is it’s own story and just deepens my sense that this is home. Peace.

March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGrace Mattern

Home is within and wherever I am when I am taking as good care of myself as I do of others (I am a preschool teacher, wife, mother and Brooklyn backyard gardener).

March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Zerkin

“Home is where the heart is”, “Peace – that was the other name for home”, “It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home”. All of these quotes give me the sense of home. However, home to me is anywhere they accept me for who I am and welcome me anyway.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRose Wallace

Home does not exist, physically. It's a state of mind, an action, much like how faith works. I've lived in a dozen places. Home is gardening, writing, eating dinner, playing with the cats. Home is a promise and a hope that when I wake up in the morning the fire in the sun will also be in my belly, both of us made of the same stuff no matter where we are or what angle we happen to be at.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBenjamin Vogt

How have I found home? and what does that mean to me? I wonder if I HAVE found home! This earthly life is a journey toward our real Home, which is Heaven. Even the times when I’m here, where I live, I’m traveling toward Home. Meanwhile, I try to make this place comfortable and welcoming for my family and anyone who visits. This place is temporary. When things get rough, I’;m glad of that assurance.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary Thompson

I know I found home after being in this house for many years and finally seeing small pieces of myself throughout the rooms inside and especially in the plants I nurture outside.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMuriel

I come from a very chaotic and unstable childhood. I am 40 years old and share my home with a husband, two kids, and a kitty coming soon. I finally have enough peace, stability and happiness in my life to cultivate a sense of home. Something I’ve felt little enough of in the past. In early adulthood I had a tendency to rush to the next best thing to avoid dealing with my past. Now, after a couple life altering events including the onset of a chronic pain condition, I am learning that home is in your soul at this moment, in nowhere and in nothing else. From this stillness, I am beginning to see all the blessings in my life. Home is starting to reveal itself to me. I just had to slow down and take notice. Home is my children, my husband, my garden. But it is also the state of mind that allows me to see the beauty in all of these.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterK. Davis

I have recently returned to my "home" city of Sydney after living overseas for 14 years in 3 different countries. Right now I feel somewhat dislocated as I'm not sure where my true home lies. But rather than despair, I'm prepared to work through this feeling and I know, in the end, the truth will present itself.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJudith Manion

I found have literally found home by returning to where I grew up 4 years ago after being gone 30 years. I had followed my husband on the trail his career took us, along the way we had 3 children and a sweet life but neverly really feeling any one place was “home”, just somewhere we lived until the next promotion. Four years ago my husband died suddenly in a motorcycle accident when my children were 14, 17 and 20 so I brought them to where I had family. Now the youngest has left for college and I am left with my dogs to really rediscover my roots literally and figuratively. I just started a master gardener’s class. Growing up on a farm but having lived in NYC and Ft Lauderdale it’s wonderful to be back where nature is part of my life. I love to sit at my kitchen table and watch the birds at my many feeders. I listen to the water from my fountain. All reminders of my connection to my father, mother and husband who are now part of the earth and the heavens.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Simmons-Walker

By doing what I thought I should do and what others thought I should do, then by doing what felt good, I found a place where I can go "Ahhhhhhhh".

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

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