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Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry Paperback – April 1, 2002
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In an age when "keeping up with the Joneses" refers not only to material riches but also to a whirlwind of activities, author Katrina Kenison humbly asks, "Just whose standards am I living by, anyway?" Kenison, mother of two sons and former annual editor of The Best American Short Stories anthology since 1990, understands the hectic agendas, short tempers, and full-time careers today's families endure. But she has also learned to limit the chaos. The title comes from Kenison's youngest son, Jack, cuddled up with mom one quiet afternoon as she crochets mitten strings. He holds up a long piece of yarn and proclaims, "I'm knitting a mitten string for God"--a sweet phrase, but a bit misleading. Despite a sprinkling of minor religious references, the larger focus of Kenison's beautifully written first book lies in living with care and awareness. Chapters with titles like "Grace," "Healing," "Spirit," and "Breathing" offer soothing pictures of a family life that honors patience, imagination, and Sundays without plans. Kenison weaves together personal stories and wisdom from such philosophers as Thoreau and Anne Morrow Lindbergh; the graceful resulting tapestry shows how peace and simplicity can be savored in a world hell-bent on pushing people to accomplish more, own more, and do it all as quickly as possible. --Liane Thomas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
This heartfelt collection of essays will strike a chord with any mother whose response to the "arrythmic" pace of modern life is a yearning to "shut the door, stop the noise, and tune in to our own inner lives." Drawing on hard-won insights from her own struggle to achieve balance (she gave up a successful career in book publishing to work from home and raise her two young sons) and to infuse her family's days with meaning, Kenison's richly anecdotal musings on such diverse topics as "peace," "simplicity," "play," "Sabbath" and "discipline" resonate with honesty and wisdom. Though this is not a religious book in the traditional sense, Kenison's contemplations are suffused with a spirituality that thrives on connecting with others and with nature and finding the sacred in the everyday. Rendering an intimate portrait of family life with grace and a lively sense of humor, Kenison, who for the past 10 years has edited The Best American Short Stories, is most impassioned and enlightening when she shares "moments in which we were bathed in grace, moments when we were astonished by the simple joy of our togetherness." Though each essay ends with a pat homily, some of which are jarringly treacly ("Someplace deep within me, I carry every story I have ever heard, every story I have ever lived, every story I will ever need"), readers will be left feeling refreshed and encouraged by the generosity of spirit that prompted these thoughtful reflections. (Apr.) Cahners Business Information.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
There are times, however, when I wondered what it must be like to live in her perfect household, where the TV is permanently off and the parents and children play their musical instruments together for family entertainment. And, perhaps I'm a little overly-sensitive, but at the very end, I perceived a bit of working-mom prejudice (though the author admits to working part-time, she is able to work out of her home during the hours her children are in school). For the most part, however, I found this book sweet without being too precious (despite the rather cutesy title) and I do plan to purchase gift copies for friends.
The author's musings and advice are really quite simple: Make your family and children the focus of every day! Find the extraordinary in the ordinary happenings of life. Enjoy and hold dear the magical moments shared with your child as they grow into a deeper awareness of the world around them. Simple, and yet profound, especially in the fast-paced society in which we live.
Her essay on "Peace," I found to be most relevant. I read it not long after 9/11, when I was struggling with what had happened and feeling helpless to change the atmosphere of fear and suspicion that engulfed our entire country at that time. Again, the author's words went right to the point and made me realize there IS something I can do and, as a matter-of-fact, is my responsibility! In a few words, this quote encapsulates the essence of the essay: "In stillness, we find our peace. Knowing peace at home, we bring peace into the world." The dreadful, terrifying feeling I had carried with me for weeks melted away and I was better able to talk with my 12-year old daughter about her reaction to all the turmoil and her personal fears. Together we were able to come up with a plan to help make our world a more peaceful, loving place by starting in our own community.
Providing "balance" is the best way I can describe what this book offers. I highly recommend it to any parent, although it most specifically speaks to mothers. You won't be disappointed.