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Listening spirituality, Vol. 1: Personal Spiritual Practices Among Friends
Listening spirituality, Vol. 1: Personal Spiritual Practices Among Friends
by Patricia Loring
Edition: Paperback
25 used & new from $15.33

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than 5 stars..., June 1, 2005
There are two parts to Patricia Loring's "Listening Spirituality". Volume One Personal Spiritual Practices Among Friends, is for individuals. (ISBN 0965759903), Volume Two Corporate Spiritual Practice Among Friends is for those interested in the spiritual life of the whole meeting for worship (ISBN 0965759911).

Both of these books are incredible additions to any Quaker library, whether your meeting is programmed or unprogrammed.

Volume One is also good for any spiritual seeker to find. She offers guidelines and thoughtful queries that can help you focus on living a more spirit-led life. Great idea for worship sharing or prayer groups, its chapter titles are revealing of the content "Foundational Personal Practices in Support of Listening for God", "Active Meditative Personal Practices in Support of Listening for God", Moving Toward and Away from Listening to God in Contemplative Prayer and Personal Retreats".

Though those titles may sound a bit stiff and huge, the book is incredibly warm and inviting, soft and centered, inspiring to read. Inside these chapters, the sections are small, intense and yet sweet - with queries and small stories, information and historical bits. I wish I was as gifted a writer, so I could get this review right! This is a wonderful book. My copy is as crumpled, bent and well loved as any wise old woman could hope to be.

The corporate book is highly recommended for clerks - meeting clerks, committee clerks -- and anyone interested in the history and current spiritual nurture of Quaker meetings. This book goes in my bag for Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, if only to find an inspiring reading or to give strength to the on-going attempt to keep the focus on the Divine rather than on the secular world.

Wonderful wonderful books, true treasures. They will be classics for years to come. And you don't have to be a Friend to enjoy and gain from them!

Melt & Mold Soap Crafting
Melt & Mold Soap Crafting
by C. Kaila Westerman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.95
106 used & new from $0.01

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Starting Place for Melt and Pour, June 1, 2005
Although this has a slick commercial look about it (I tend to doubt the usefulness of commercial stuff!), this is a great beginner's book for learning and doing Melt and Pour soapmaking.

This was the first book I bought, so perhaps there is some sentimental value for me. But it has clear written and graphic instructions on melt and pour soaping, along with useful information such as a guide to additives, basic information about setting up your work area, selecting and preparing your molds, determining the right temperature (thermometers are not so necessary in melt and pour, so you're going by 'behavior' and look of the glycerin). A troubleshooting page is included -- even with melt and pour, there will be problems! She has small sections (sometimes just a page) on mastering fragances, color theories, and other useful bits throughout the book.

Please note that in my reviews, recipes are very secondary to me. In looking at and using soapmaking books, I'm looking for information on how to (create swirls, mix colors or scents in better, use additives, package, wrap, sell). Recipes give me ideas for recipes to make on my own.

I like the variety she offers -- very brief bits on all kinds of soap making - loaf, french milled soaps, commemorative soaps, tube (cane) soaps, leftover soaps (she calls this shelter soap, which makes me wince a bit), soaps with small toys in them, bath salts, soap tassels (invented by Sandy Maine, see my review of one of her books), gemstoneskitchen soap and more).

Her recipes are written as instructions, telling you what you will learn. About 30 recipes, ranging in level of difficulty from one (moldless soap, saving face soap, tropical indulgence soap are examples) to five (Kaila's happy to be bar). She has a recipes for a Victorian bridesmade cake soap (difficulty level four) that looks good enough to eat. Most are in the one to three difficulty level.

Four stars, though, not five. This book is missing some information, and its sources in the back are incomplete. You will need a lot more detailed information for learning how to develop your own recipes. And I wasn't impressed by the picture, on the rainbow loaf soap page, of food coloring bottles -- food coloring is inexpensive, handy and can be used, but it will not last. No note is made of that in this section, though it really should be noted for beginners.

A basic book for beginners -- and fun recipes to try and to add to your own collection.

Whitmore Tree Bookplate
Whitmore Tree Bookplate

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic bookplate, May 31, 2005
This review is from: Whitmore Tree Bookplate
The Whitmore tree shows a tree with its roots wrapped around a book. This design was made for Antioch publishing (not related, really, to the college) by Robert Whitmore and is now used as their corporate logo. BUT it also remains one of their most popular bookplate designs. You should be able to find it on the internet as it is still in print, and very popular.

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics)
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics)
by Pema Chodron
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.17
320 used & new from $3.28

92 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It works for me..., May 31, 2005
This book does not promise short term, quick fixes but encourages a way of life that will make living more joyful and meaningful - pain, change and all.

This is not a book of "thought" filled advice from the mind, but a book (as the subtitle states) of heart advice. Pema openly shares some of her own experience as things fall apart, when her old way of doing things was no longer working.

I bought it to give to my (fully grown) son when he was going through some difficult times. It wasn't what he needed or related to, so I read it myself.

I like the way she points out that when things fall apart, that usually means we are on the brink of a change of some kind. My usual practice is to try to hold on to the familiar ways, but as I am finding out, that just doesn't work. And if it does, I am usually even more miserable. Depending on the kind of change you are experiencing, allowing it to happen with less resistance, without fear, can ease the opening to a new way.

This is a disturbing thought to many of us. Give in? No way. Why, what if your spouse is cheating and you lose your job and you have a fatal illness and the sky is falling and you don't resist? (Ah, well -- most probably your spouse will still have cheated, that job will be lost, you will still have the illness and the sky will continue to fall.)

On page 10 she says, "To stay with that shakiness -- to stay wth a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge-- that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic-- that is the spirtual path."

This book reminds us again, that going with the pain, confusion, disorder of those falling apart times is necessary. Eventually we can get to a place where the pain does not seem so big or so deep, where we are no immersed in our own dramas but see everything on a larger world wide scale.

I liked her section on "It's Never Too Late", which is about not hating ourselves -- and not really condoning ourselves, but observing ourselves -- 'when we buy into disapproval, we are practicing disapproval. When we buy into harshness, we are practicing harshness...The trick then is to practice gentleness and letting go. We can learn to meet whatever arises with curiosity and not make it such a big deal."

This is a truly helpful book, if you can read it expecting a deeper, long-term change in how you experience the unexpected and unwelcome turns we find in our lives.

I realized after reading this, that what I perhaps need to do with my son is not to buy him a book to read, but to be there for him as needed but to allow him to have his own experiences.

Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen
Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen
by Edward Espe Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.92
95 used & new from $2.50

20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treat, May 31, 2005
I think of this book as a treat to carry about.

Each chapter is short and refreshing, and ends with his "Thank you"...

I have many things to encourage myself to practice, this is one -when first I got it, I used it as a breakfast treat, allowing myself to read just one of the very short chapters in the morning, then meditate.

He makes me laugh and smile and be.

Now I need to read Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind (I often do things backwards).

Thank you.

Buddhism Is Not What You Think: Finding Freedom Beyond Beliefs
Buddhism Is Not What You Think: Finding Freedom Beyond Beliefs
by Steve Hagen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.17
121 used & new from $0.01

28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Buddhist Teacher in a Book, May 31, 2005
This book affected me with the aggravation and annoyance I suspect I will experience if ever I allow my arrogant self to come under the guidance of a flesh and blood teacher.

Here are thoughts I have about why this book is hard for many of us to take.

Steven Hagen is sure in his beliefs and despite knowing that Buddhism is not what you think (and therefore cannot be experienced by reading the written word), he is trying to explain things to those of us who have a longer way to go (or we wouldn't be reading this book).

I still would recommend it - it has some good stories and if you just read it to read it, without high expectations, parts of it may settle in well.

The book is divided into three sections.

The first, Muddy Water, addresses our confusion about what we think we see and experience in the every day world. (Human beings). We are confused. We think we know, or we think we can know. This section is very wordy, long and thick. So are we. Hah.

The second goes back and tries to view our experiences with a different view. Pure Mind. It offers some thoughts and stories, some explanations about why we are so muddy and what it would be like if we were not.

The third section, Purely Mind (a small section indeed) on being in the moment.

The book is a frustrating experience because it is a book. It contains thoughts of someone, when perhaps we are seeking experience.

I read and read, looking for explanations and answers that I know, from brief moments, are not 'there' and cannot really be explained well.

Until we stop reading the books and 'get it' I don't know that a book will be what we want in finding freedom beyond beliefs. Because Buddhism is not what you think. Nor what you read.

Beginning Mindfulness: Learning the Way of Awareness
Beginning Mindfulness: Learning the Way of Awareness
by Andrew Weiss
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.95
99 used & new from $0.99

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mindfulness home program, May 31, 2005
This book offers a structured, ten week course in learning the way of mindfulness as a spiritual practice. Because of this, I find it useful. It is good for the very new person, and for those like myself who are studying without yet having a teacher and who may not be naturally self-disciplined.

It begins with a four week section designed so the reader knows how to set up the basic elements - breathing, sitting meditatin, daily life practices and such, both formally and informally. After this phase is completed, the student will have the basics as part of a schedule and can move on.

In the fifth through eighth weeks, the student learns to focus on mindfullness of body, feelings, thinking and objects of mind (this last chapter focuses on thoughts, feelings, or object of perception which our mind is focusing on - and includes mindful conversation and deep listening).

In the third section, weeks nine and ten, one practices loving kindness and compassion.

At the beginning of each section there are two guided meditations you can use, breathing in, breathing out (and specific sentences to help guide you)

The final section has ways to continue this.

This book is very good as a help to those working alone. A good-sized book, it offers over 200 pages of instructions, not including introduction, appendix, index and other comments. It is a book I can use over and over...someday I'll grow out of it but not just yet.

Antioch Bookplates (Set of 30 Self-Stick)
Antioch Bookplates (Set of 30 Self-Stick)

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bookplates to show ownership, May 31, 2005
Antioch bookplates are still available - not sure why they are not shown here -- but they offer a classic line of bookplates. What is a bookplate? It is a label (made of archival quality pressure sensitive backing) which is put inside the front cover, to show ownership of the book. Handy if you are lending out books or sharing space with someone. Make nice gifts for high school or college graduates or any booklover.

They are available online.

No Title Available

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for Friends, May 31, 2005
This is THE magazine for FGC Friends - (Friends General Conference). Topics are timely and articles are well written, whether from the staff or from people around the country and world. A valuable source of information as well as opinions and discussion. Tenderly edited, something wonderful to receive in your mailbox and a great gift to give, too!

You can also, usually, get this at your local library -- but it is nice to keep them around the house. There are also book reviews, and in the back a listing of Friends meetings. Advertisements are for everything from singles to lodging to calligraphy written wedding certificates.

by Dag Hammarskjold
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
131 used & new from $0.01

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mystic at work, May 30, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Markings (Mass Market Paperback)
This is an inspiring, moving, remarkable book written by a 20th century man who struggled with making his every day life fit with his spiritual beliefs.

This summer I kept feeling that I should read this book again (first read it some 20 years ago). I had little memory of what it was about, just that I knew it was written by someone who was an important world leader. He was Secretary-General to the United Nations and died on the way to Northern Rhodesia in 1961, on his way to negotiate a cease fire between the UN and Katanga forces.

This book tells almost nothing of his daily work, or of his thoughts about world events. Instead, it focuses on his struggle and changing relationship with God.

Excerpts are from his diary, starting when he was a young man in 1925 and ending just a few months before his death at the (to me!) tender age of 57.

A reviewer here made comments about this being thoughts of a socialist and athiest -- clearly he did not read the book. The writings inside this awe inspiring book are from a man deeply and directly talking to his God. His concerns are for others, not for himself.

When I read the book, I realized some part of me must have remembered this deep connection with God, something I, too, have longed for and have found at times (when I am open to receive!) Dag Hammersjold had been filed in my subconscious as a mentor, a teacher I could return to when I could better understand what his words were expressing.

This book is a wonder to experience -- what a privilege to have been allowed to come so close to his thoughts, his soul, his own experiential experience of the Divine. It is not intended to provoke thoughts and philosophical wonderings within the mind of the reader, but instead to offer a view of someone who is connecting their soul rather than their mind, with God. Dag Hammersjold was a mystic - not a new agey kind of a guy, but a Christian mystic of the 20th century (see Thomas Kelly's books, Thomas Merton's books, and others).

His diary, unlike Kelly's writings, is not filled with the joy of his spiritual connection with God -- he struggled painfully with the awareness of his own human imperfections and shortcomings. I only hope that in his last moments, he came to realize more peace and to accept and experience, first hand, God's love for him.

(The only downside to this book is that the printing is old - the cover was brand new but the words are fuzzy as if they were copied from a copy...)

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