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Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit (Ave Maria Press) Paperback – December 19, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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John: The Gospel of Light and Life (John series) by Adam Hamilton
Adam Hamilton Explores the Major Themes of The Gospel of John
Join Adam Hamilton this Lent and Easter, as he explains the context of some of the best-known verses in the New Testament while teaching abouth the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus through the Gospel of John. Learn more | See author page
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Too often thought of as simply a season of sacrifice, Lent is revealed here as something far richer--a privileged time to experience God in your everyday life, to open yourself to conversion, and to savor God's transforming love."--Rev. James Martin, S.J., Author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything


"This is the most moving, most appealing, and, at the same time, most practical book I have ever seen on Lenten practices."--Phyllis Tickle, Author of The Great Emergence


"Huston offers herself as a lively companion in a Lenten practice stripped of cliches. Join her--it might be the simplest and liveliest Lent you have ever kept."--Eugene Peterson, Author of Pastor: A Memoir


"When I read Huston's words I am galvanized and motivated toward greater simplicity." --Luci Shaw, Author of Water My Soul

About the Author

Paula Huston wrote literary fiction for twenty years before shifting her focus to spirituality. Since then, she has published the critically acclaimed Signatures of Grace, The Holy Way, By Way of Grace, and Forgiveness. A Camaldolese Benedictine oblate, Huston is married, has four grown children, and lives in central California.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ave Maria Press (December 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594712697
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594712692
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

(Author Photograph by Dennis Eamon Young). Paula Huston grew up in Long Beach, married at nineteen, and relocated to San Luis Obispo county on the Central Coast in her early twenties. About the time her two children were born, she began writing short stories; in her early thirties, she became a single mom, working two part-time jobs while continuing to write and publish short fiction. After remarrying and becoming a stepmother of two, she returned to school for a B.A. in English, then went on for a Masters in English and American Literature.

She began teaching at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo after completing the Master's degree. While still matriculating, she took a class in ethics that spurred a return to Christianity and a shift to writing spiritual non-fiction. Along the way, she became a Camaldolese Benedictine oblate, a lay associate of a contemplative Catholic hermitage on the Big Sur coast. For many years, she and her husband Mike have lived on four acres in the country where, in the spirit of St. Benedict, they produce much of the food they eat, including fruits, vegetables, olive oil, eggs, honey, and wine. They have four young grandchildren.

Huston is the author of two novels and five books of spiritual nonfiction, plus co-editor and contributing essayist for another. Her essays and short stories have been honored by BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES and included in the annual BEST SPIRITUAL WRITING anthology. She is a National Endowment of the Arts Fellow in Creative Writing, a member of the Chrysostom Society, and a founder and faculty member for a low-residency California State University Consortium Master of Fine Arts program. She currently mentors MFA students in creative nonfiction for Seattle Pacific University.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I sat down to read Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit, by Paula Huston, with the intention of just reading the first section. Then I decided I could read the first couple of sections.

And then I read the whole book.

In my defense, I had a whole evening before me and I needed to get the review written for the Patheos Book Club. What I found with this book, though, was much different than what I expected.

I don't know what, exactly, I expected, but I'm sure it had to do with preaching and a feeling of insignificance at the end. I was excited at the premise and what the book jacket promised, but maybe a little sure that I would not be able to approach Lent using this book as an actual resource.

"It will be good for someone, though," I thought, "and I can surely read it and see what I have to look forward to."

(Negative much?)

I was gloriously, wonderfully WRONG. I found myself reading, shaking my head, and looking forward to Lent, when I can dig in.

Will I fail? Yeah, probably. I do every year. In the failure is the kernel I need from Lent, I think, and success isn't usually about what I plan, but about what graces I allow God to work.

Each day of Lent has a task, with a reflection by the author from her own experience, and then an brief description of the task or practice for the day.

Throughout the book, you get to know Paula Huston as your guide, someone walking beside you and encouraging you, even as she doesn't settle for less than what you can at least try to do. She's gentle, but tough. She weaves humor in with what I can only call teaching: she makes the Desert Fathers and Mothers an accessible crew, even for a busy mom in the Midwest.
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Format: Paperback
Paula Huston is one of premier spiritual writers today (disclaimer (sort of): Paula is a friend of mine). She writes clearly and well about the deepest parts of the human experience -- our spiritual life. Simplifying the Soul provides wonderful (as the subtitle says) "Lenten practices to renew your soul."

Now, as a Quaker (a sect that eschews Advent, Lent -- where every day is both ordinary time and extra-ordinary time), I am not normally drawn to materials that are liturgical seasonally based. But, since Paula wrote this, I knew I wanted to read it and would find it helpful. And I did. And I'll return to it again and again -- in Lent and other times.

Lent is quickly approaching. So if you're a liturgical type, pick it up soon. And if you're un-liturgical (like me) get it anyhow!
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I love this book and it is quite helpful in an overwhelming fast paced world. It explains how to slow down and allow God to be first and foremost in your life. A wonderful book to use not only in Lent.
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simplifying THE SOUL is just what the title says. It introduced me to some simple Lenten practices that made a lot of sense. I enjoyed Paula Huston's reflections, meditations and simple suggestions for practice. I am planning on continuing to practice her suggestions throughout the year to help become a better person and Christian.
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If you ever want to spend six weeks to refocus your walk with God this is a wonderful devotional tool to use. I am in the process of using right now and in my 56 years of life I can honestly say this is the best Lenten season I have ever experienced. It is good food for the body, soul and spirit. I highly recommend this book to all followers of Christ, no matter their church affliation.
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Format: Paperback
In the useful book on Lenten practice, where quiet and silence, even meditation is recommended and outlined as practice for the Season, author of "simplifying THE SOUL: Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit." Paula Huston, again gives readers an excellent opportunity for the bettering and continuing their work of Church life.
Another in a series of well-done books, which include, "By Way of Grace," and Following Jesus into Radical Loving," as another in her few number of books in the religious realm, one of the works received a starred review from "Publishers Weekly." That was the one she authored titled "The Holy Way," which is recommended for reading, too, by this Religion Writer.
Published by Ava Maria Press in Notre Dame, Indiana, my review copy arrived in time for the 2012 year, and a pretty paperback for Lent/Spirituality it is-- besides the readable and attractive type and design, it is a good size for carrying around. City people can even bring it with them on a bus or transit of any kind, if you don't mind others seeing you are reading something religious. Should those others even notice, let alone care--though someone might get curious. It is good enough for curiosity, too; for looking through it at a bookstore, online, or even when catching someone at an involved reading of the work, the curious will find gems of practice and observance like:
Today, consciously avoid looking at or listening to any advertising, whether it is on the Internet, in magazines, on the radio, or on TV. The easiest way to do this is to keep all these devices turned off, but if you have to use one of them, pray first for the ability to recognize, then avoid, any ads that pop up. Pray also for insight into your own susceptibility to constant advertising.
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