+ favorite book +

Today was one of my favorite days of the month - Book Club day. It's a pleasure to gather with women I admire and discuss a book each month. Today was not such a pleasure because I had to give the review - but I love the book - and so it was a time of reading favorite passages and sharing impressions.

If you haven't read Sue Bender's books, just stop what you're doing and click here for Everyday Sacred and here for Plain and Simple. When you finish, there is a third book called Stretching Lessons. I can wholeheartedly recommended these books for any woman - especially "older women" (although I LOVED Plain and Simple when it was published in about 1990 and I was young - twenty years younger). If you're thinking gifts, you can order from Amazon and get these books in time for Christmas! The books are beautiful outside too - the covers are appealing and there are drawings inside that go with the text to add a bit of delight.

Everyday Sacred, A Woman's Journey Home was the book I reviewed today. It's full of wisdom and life-learning examples from Sue Bender's life. She is a writer and a maker of pottery. She tells of her personal journey to find joy in everyday tasks. She shares examples of people around her who taught her valuable lessons.

She uses the image of an empty bowl as a symbol to illustrate what she is seeking. She tells how she learns to go forward each morning with a (metaphoric) empty bowl which is then filled throughout the day with whatever is given her - and she is grateful for it. The bowl reminds her to be generous, both to others and to herself. The bowl reminds her to not try to be perfect. It reminds her to start each day afresh and find, at the end of the day, that commonplace people and tasks have made the day sacred. Everyday Sacred.

Some things that rang true to me:

A quote by Helen Keller. "I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."

"Begin a generosity practice. Including being generous with yourself."

"Expectations become definitions."

"To really listen you need a certain amount of relaxation and ease. Don't be so busy asking questions and getting ready to speak that you can't hear what is being said."

"Good deeds have echoes."

The book also suggested that SMALL THINGS can mean the most. I hope to remember that as I go through the next couple of weeks. There are people I need to visit, who don't need a gift, except the gift of attention and love.