Spirit. And books for you!

Last month, my pal Margaret Roach and I gave away four books each – and in return, you gave us hundreds of thoughtful comments and generated the best reading list we’d seen anywhere. So of course, we thought: Let’s do this again! This time, we’re celebrating the official publication date of Margaret’s And I Shall Have Some Peace There, as well as the new paperback edition of Dani Shapiro’s gorgeous memoir, Devotion. What better way to enjoy the gift of these ordinary days of February than with good books and good friends?

If there’s one thing (actually there are many, but you’ll figure that out!) that our three stories have in common it’s that we all touch on matters spiritual. As writers, as women, as humans, we have each found ourselves longing for something ineffable – call it more feeling, more spirit, more love, more faith in life as it is. And we’ve drawn closer to this “more” in the most ordinary places: the garden, the yoga mat, the kitchen sink, the dinner table.

Reading Dani Shapiro’s Devotion, last year, I found myself thinking, “Oh, if only she had written this book sooner, I wouldn’t have had to go to all the effort of writing one myself!” It was an odd notion, for Dani’s spiritual odyssey – from a deeply religious and traditional Jewish childhood to a profoundly transformative exploration of Buddhism and yoga — bears almost no resemblance to my own casually Protestant rural upbringing and midlife floundering.

And yet, again and again, the questions that plagued Dani as she dealt with the early loss of her parents, her infant son’s critical illness, and her nagging self-doubt and anxiety, seemed eerily similar to my own sense of loss and confusion as my children grew into adolescence and I felt the old routines and rituals that had sustained our family life begin to slip away. How could we be so very different, and still have so much in common?

I’m not even sure now who sent the first Facebook message, but, having tread so closely upon one another’s heels through this rocky territory of loss and change and letting go, meeting face to face seemed like a small, yet utterly necessary, leap to make. It wasn’t long before we managed to get ourselves seated across from one another over a couple of lattes, talking as if we’d been friends all our lives.

The last time I saw Dani, I brought her a signed copy of Margaret’s bound galley, eager to connect even more wires and expand our little group. So what if, at first blush, Margaret’s story of leaving the fast-paced world of New York publishing for a solitary life in the country appeared to have little bearing on Dani’s explorations of faith and doubt and motherhood? I was coming to see that, once you peel away the first layer of external circumstance in any of our lives, what’s left, pulsing right below the surface, is practically universal: the yearning for connection, contentment, meaning, and peace.

And perhaps this is the most wonderful thing about reading and writing memoir – private, unknown, and unlikely meetings of the heart and soul occur within the pages of books every single day. Certainly the relationship between author and reader can be as intensely personal, as intimate, as healing, as any in real life. As it turned out, Margaret herself was already a devoted Dani fan. We had all discovered one other in print first, had read each other’s work with a sense of deep and abiding recognition, and had realized, with sighs of relief, that we weren’t alone in our seeking after all.

Spirit. I search for it all the time, everywhere. And then I remember: it’s always right here, right where I am, whenever I pause long enough to really pay attention to the world, whenever I notice what’s already right in front of me. Certainly, I find it expressed in the words of these two extraordinary writers I’ve come to know and love, both in print and in life. What a pleasure it is to introduce them to you, to make our circle even bigger, to invite everyone in.

“Much has already happened, and has formed the shape of our lives as surely as water shapes rock. We can’t see what’s coming. We can’t know it. All we have is our hope that all will be well, and our knowledge that it won’t always be so. We live in the space between this hope and this knowledge.”
–from Devotion by Dani Shapiro

“The greater Garden, capital G, perpetually tries to take over the relatively puny one that I have placed in its shadow. It musters forces far greater than a barn full of tools and these two hands. . .will be able to keep at a distance forever. We are small, we are nobody—but when we are out there toiling—turning the compost, harvesting the year’s sweet potatoes, planting only the biggest cloves of the previous garlic crop to continue to improve our own strain—we are also part of something infinite.”
–from And I Shall Have Some Peace There
by Margaret Roach

TO ENTER TO WIN ONE OF SIX SETS OF 3 BOOKS EACH, comment here and on Margaret and Dani’s sites. Tell us: Where do you seek and find spirit in your life? If you’re feeling shy, no problem, you can simply say “Count me in!” (But we do love hearing from you, and the more answers to our question, the more interesting the conversation!) Leave a comment on all three sites and you’ll triple your chances of winning our books.

Entries close at midnight Saturday, February 19, with winners to be drawn at random (using the tool at random [dot] org) and announced the next day.

Remember: Once you post your entry here, go see Margaret and Dani to triple your chances. And if you’ve been sent over to my site by one of them, Welcome! I’m glad you’re here. If you like what you read, do come back – you can subscribe in the box to the left.

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for my reflections & inspiration

your comments

  1. Let me just add my voice to the chorus celebrating you and Dani – and Margaret, too, whose book just arrived at my door and which I cannot wait to read. Katrina, you and Dani have become incredibly important voices and presences in my life, as I think you know – extraordinary when I think of the fact that a year ago I was just beginning to read Devotion and had not met either of you. Thank you, thank you, for all the ways you are a mentor and a guide and a teacher to me … and a friend. xoxoxo

  2. I recognize myself in your book quotes. Yesterday our 39 yr. old son called to ask his parents to go to the movies with him. I would rather have that time together (Xlg popcorn that you can refill at no extra cost, smuggled in cans of seltzer and raisinettes)than all the material presents in the world. He fell asleep 3/4th of the way in the movie and I had the pleasure of watching him sleep. It was a glorious day!!!

  3. I have just recently begun to read Dani Shapiro’s beautiful blog and today I finished Robb Forman Dew’s exquisite new novel, which Dani blurbed. All these connections. All this weaving together.

    Another beautiful entry, Katrina.

  4. Ah, any way I connect to other people brings spirit in my life. Whether it be through conversation, practicing yoga in the same space, hiking, cooking, eating:) Connecting to others helps me define my own inspiration and purpose.

  5. I find spirit in the creativity of nature.

  6. Kim Campbell says:

    The spirit of my life comes from learning from my dogs, that love is without conditions, total acceptance as I am. I am comfortable being me, as they have taught me, that I am worthy of love. This wasn’t something I grew up feeling.

  7. I find my spirit in my tiny garden. Awe and care wrapped up in something so mundane.

  8. I am connected to spirit when I am with my dogs. They are creatures of the Here and Now and remind me that I should be that way too.

  9. All three sound like my kind of book! Like Margaret, I find spirit in the garden. As I get older, more and I more I find spirit in just about everything, including the eyes of my two young grandchildren, the love and connection between family and friends, and in small, everyday moments like the walk in the sun my old dog and I enjoyed together this afternoon.

    I’m glad to find you by way of Margaret, and look forward to reading more!

  10. I agree with Marissa: I bring more spirit into my life through connecting with others. I’ve had the good fortune to live all over the US and travel around the world, and I leave a piece of myself in each of these experiences. I also maintain a number of written correspondences — which are exceedingly important in my spiritual life — that keep me tethered to these places. But connecting and communicating my emotional world, especially via the written word, is vital to me.

  11. You are so inspirational!! I am going through the same with my children going off to college and growing into young adults. Never easy, but comforting to hear that others have the same thoughts and feelings that I do. Thank you.

  12. I find spirit in the interaction of my two daughters. They are best friends. Seeing them together keeps me going. (They are both grown.)

  13. Irene Kay Clark says:

    I find “spirit” in all life forms – plants, animals, birds, etc. I grew up a very lonely little girl with no real affection shown in my family. When I became sad and lonely, I would spend time with the “barn” cats, chicken, baby pigs, etc. I felt I could share my sadness, and they actually understood and gave me the unconditional love I was seeking as a child. Today, I find peace in taking a walk in my backyard woods, walking barefoot in the creek, flipping stones over to look for whatever little water creatures may be hiding under the stones. Whenever there is a clear night sky, I see spirit and peace by a bright, shiny star and staring at the star meditating upon the unending universe.

    Margaret says Hello!

  14. I encounter spirit when I connect with mothers at a local tea room, when I’m simply chopping vegetables, or when I rub my younger son’s forehead as he drifts off to sleep–his peacefulness deepening with every breath. I find it in the energy of a farmer’s market and in the birds on feeders around our property. I mostly find it in feeling grateful—-early in the morning or late in the evening when four hearts are quiet yet thankful either for the day that just past or for the day ahead.

  15. Delores Williams says:

    I seek the spirit through the visible joy I see in other people. I usually find this spirit in my actions when something is done selflessly and people outside of yourself benefits. There is a great sense of peace and joy knowing that you have lifted the heart of somebody.

  16. angie_seattle says:

    I have to say I am still seeking more spirit in my life. I am very excited to read Margaret’s book. I’ve reached that age where I’m questioning what will be meaningful for the final third of my life. I’ve worked long at a job I don’t often enjoy, for financial security. I’m starting to listen to my inner voice more and find what spirit is trying to tell me when I slow down and listen. And I think it means more connecting with others.

  17. In the curve of a smile on my young sons lips, an embrace, in the sunlight streaming through the canopy of my childhood home, a crickets’ song on summer eve, a smile from a stranger, a cup of tea, the first scent of spring…

  18. The emotion that comes forth when I came across your website was profound. I am as many on a spiritual journey that I am trying to understand and not control. Thank you for putting into words, many things I have felt but have been unable to voice. So much gratitude!
    Nature is my all encompassing peace, the spiritual connection is there for me. Thank you.

  19. Mary Thompson says:

    In my mind and heart, there are two “spirits”: spirit, which I find in books, music, art, gardens, all of nature. Spirit, which I find in my connection to God and all His Creation. The Holy is within me at all times. Praise arises as I worship Him, Who is Spirit.

    I’m very thankful for all three of these books: certainly a way to deepen my experience of spirit—

  20. Count me in!


    I’m finding it in spending time with myself

    Still waiting for the emotinal dust to settle after surviving childhood cancer with my 7 yr old daughter

    As each day passes I focus on gratitude in the little things in life we walk by without even noticing until something happens and God really gets our attention!

    I read 3 books a month and rotate crocheting projects

    I have a goal to have made something that will outlast me for friends and family

    I’m working on making sure I live my dash now that I’ve been forced to acknowledge we’re all here on barrowed time.

    Have you collected a weeks worth of fun earrings now you finally have your ears piereced Katrina?

    Have a nice day!

  21. I find my spirit in great poetry and literature. The sagest of wisdom can be found in a beautiful passage from ancient pages of the Bhagavad-Gita to modern comtemplatives such as Thomas Merton. My soul is fed through the journeys others have taken and shared through the written word.

  22. Laura Biegger says:

    I find spirit in working outdoors, especially when I can see some “improvement” or at least think I do. I also find spirit in volunteering at a nursing home to help with Bingo. The devotion to that game and the struggles some have just to get the right numbers covered are inspiration to keep going.

  23. Margaret says “hello”! I find my spirit in sunrises, beekeeping, sprouting seeds, and newly flowering plants. Last Spring I spent 20 minutes each morning before I went to hectic work place and photographed all the new blooms and sprouts I saw in the yard. Then every evening I uploaded the photos and shared them with friends.

    Also being a beekeeper — when I am working the beehive I am totally absorbed by what I am seeing and my mind is free from all other thoughts — I feel I am renewed in spirit after any beehive inspection — being close up with nature.

  24. Linda MacGregor says:

    My spiritual connection is such a part of my life that “finding it” is not an issue. I’m so very blessed and have been given the opportunity to enlarge my life through teaching for 20+ years in the far northern world of the Yukon. Spirit resides everywhere as a reflection of our love manifesting in our world: family, friends, art, music, nature, cooking, sharing, reading.

    If I’m not fortunate enough to win the books, I will certainly seek them out. Books, for me, are wonderful friends on this journey called ‘life’

  25. In nature, all of it! When I garden, I lose myself and find myself in another place. When I watch the birds and the little creatures in my garden. The insects, butterflies, bees. The incredible detail in a flower. The magnificence of the trees in my woods. It is all amazing to me and many times I find myself close to tears at the wonder of it all. In my 86 year old father’s face and the story of the life he has lived, and what a wonderful man he is.

  26. Shelia Gentle says:

    I find spirit anywhere I am….He lives in me.

  27. Judy Edwards says:

    I was an unwanted child, adopted to save a marriage then stuck in the corner while it failed. After that I was passed from Aunt to Aunt to Grandmother until Dad remarried. Whatever. Thank goodness for books and magazines that taught me there were folks who actually spoke to one another and lived their lives. But that isn’t my story. My story began at age 20 when I married for the first time and built a life from the ground up….I knew nothing about friends, how to act in “polite society” or a relationship let alone keeping house. Everything required a steep learning curve but I plodded through thoughtfully & thankfully was a fast learner. Four children came along a few years later and I was in love with my life and full of myself…until he left. Talk about a house built on shifting sands.

    I met my current husband (of 20 years) just after. He accepted the four children (then under ten years) as his own. He, too, had a mess of a childhood and the joke was that, together, we made a whole person. The nice part is that together we nurtured our broken selves into two content adults. I enabled him to be a successful businessman while he enabled me to have the time to raise the children, run and yes, garden and we shared the joys & heartaches over the family dinner table. For me, gardening is indeed spiritual and I relish each step of the cycle: digging in compost, patting seeds in the sun-warmed earth, gently teasing weeds away from roots, harvesting and serving up just-picked alive-with-flavor miracles and finally hauling the scraps to the compost pile to begin again.

  28. i have just seen the youtube video and felt such a closeness to your words. Thank you for such amazing insight into the life of a mom watching her children grow up. I was so busy when my 3 were g rowing up that now I so love my grandbabies because I love spending time with them and hearing little voices say I love you Cece!!!

  29. In the movies sound designers have a lovely way of creating the quality of silence. (I learned this on NPR.) They create the feeling of silence, not by removing all sounds and leaving a kind of deadened void, but by highlighting the most minute of sounds. They add rain to the roof to the parked car, the tapping of cutlery against the dinner plate, muted footfalls to the apartment ceiling.

    I forgot to say goodnight to my son this evening. We were all out late last night. Everybody was going different directions when we got back home. My boy was fussing with homework. I fell asleep early reading on my bed. But then I woke after a bit and realized that I’d forgotten to say goodnight to him. And I sat there and I checked my bedside table clock and it still wasn’t that late and I ran through the should I or shouldn’t I of getting up and possibly waking him to say goodnight and the whole back and forth of it.

    He is thirteen now, and I lay there and thought about how thirteen plays into this and whether he was still sitting in his bed half-hoping I’d come in or whether he’d just gone to bed without it bothering him. I thought about whether I’d wake him if I went into his room, and whether his feelings were hurt that I hadn’t come in. I even thought — and I’ll admit foolishly — about whether it is good thing that he manages a night on his own from time to time without a goodnight kiss from his father.

    So you asked, Dani, about where we find connection, and I would say that this evening I found connection in its opposite, in a small interruption, in a hot crackling spark that jumped across the gap and reminded me how much power is flowing silently under my roof.

  30. always, in the garden

  31. I have been blessed with the gift of song, and much of my time is spent in churches. From the time I was a little girl, I always felt a sense of peace there, a presence of God with me. The ultimate experience of spirit comes when I take a walk at a nearby park with my iPod playing sacred music – spirit for all my senses, rejoicing in all the beauty around me.

  32. Farida Zaveri says:

    I find spirit in the beauty of nature & this miracle of life, in loving & giving & cherishing all the beautiful moments that make up my life.

  33. Martha Iszard says:

    What I posted on Margaret’s site:I have preordered your book for a gardening friend of mine who is quite ill.He also loves the poet Yeats. I bought him a book of Yeats poetry to go along with your book. I went crazy over the poem” The lake Isle of Innisfree” last Spring when you announced the name of your book. I read it everyday for a month.. I remember reading it so many years ago. Now I must run off and buy Katrina”s and Dani’s books. All this before the flowers of Spring come

  34. Both Devotion and Gift of an Ordinary Day helped me to grow and seek out peace at this time of emotional and physical upheaval. Midlife crisis averted! Midlife contentment and a “bring it on” attitude is now the norm for me. Thank you to both of you. And now, for a treat I didn’t see coming, onto Margaret’s book.

  35. Gorgeous. I’m so glad you’ve all made these deep connections in real life as well as in print.

    I find spirit in the books I read…it’s always amazing to read someone’s words and feel as though they were writing my story. I also find it in spending time with the people I love, and in a bit of solitude with my journal and a cup of tea.

  36. All I can say is that I watch your video over and over sometimes. I have one daughter in college and a son in high school. So comforting that someone as well spoken as yourself, has managed to put every other mother’s feelings into words. In fact. my mother (that raised nine kids herself) said “So True” when I showed her the video.
    I am addicted to your site and check it often for more of your insightful blogs. Many thanks, from a mom that looks up to you!

  37. Count me in! and thank you so much for this post! I love reading your blog.

  38. count me in!!!

  39. Thank you so much for all your posts and books…..I feel as though you are writing just to me and I could meet you, share a cup of coffee and we would be old friends. My three children are grown, we have moved across the country, I have left my job as a teacher and I am searching for what to do next, it isn’t easy at the age of 51! I am reconnecting with who I am and maybe even who I was meant to be,a big part of that is spiritual..learning to see everything with eyes of gratefulness and celebrate all the simple gifts of life.

  40. I find spirit and the great Spirit in all things spontaneous, beautiful, compassionate, and peaceful. Also, at times, in extravagance. In anything which does not require a return payment, or does not detract from the simplicity of ‘being’ from moment to moment.

    In joy that bubbles up from the depths, in sorrow that weighs my heart into learning, in life, which does not cease to compel me to be present and in awe.

  41. I didn’t lose my parents early in life like you did but one thing that I have found to be true is that you never stop missing your mother. My mother’s mind died years before her body did and that is when I really started to miss her although I seldom missed visiting her in the home every day. It was a wonderful place staffed by people we had known while Mom was well so I felt comfortable with how her body was being cared for but the part that made her who she was had been gone for quite a while. I talked to her about things in my life as though she understood but the answers came from my own mind. What a surprise to find that my answers were evolving into the answers she would have given if she were still able.

  42. I find my spirit through many things. Nature, family and friends just to name a few. It’s been a little over a year since I discovered you! Here is another mother who is going through the same thing I am and oh what words of wisdom you have! I want to thank you for sharing your family and your emotions with me because you put into words what I feel and sometimes cannot express. You give me hope that it’s just a rough patch in the road of life.

  43. I find Spirit in watching Cats frolic in my garden, amidst the fragrant sweet peas.

  44. I’ve come to realize I find spirit (in the sense of peace and fulfillment) in growing things, mainly (and in no particular order) nurturing my kids, growing things in my garden and working on my novel-in-progress. I also feel connected to spirit (in the sense of something bigger than anything else) when I go hiking in the wilderness.

  45. Even though I am currently searching to find my place in this world, I find joy in connecting with people and spirit in smalls things…a lovely walk to watch the cranes, working in my garden, watching my sweet dog nap at my feet.

  46. please do not enter me in the give-a-way as I am already so blessed to have won two of three books. I really have enjoyed my books and am now curious about devotion. Spirit – is noticing the beauty of the everyday – especially found in nature.

  47. Count me in! I find spirit when I make an effort to see the ‘bigger picture’ and make intentional choices for myself and in my relationship and encounters with others.

  48. Judy from Kansas says:

    I find Spirit all around me, now that I have learned to look. From anything living…from my recently blind and incredibly brave husband of 52 years…from my beautiful daughters and grandchildren…from our three loyal dogs…from the garden, the orchard, the house pond…from the wild things, the deer, the turkeys, the hawks overhead. And from within…from the heart that had frozen shut after the death of our only son at only 39…but that finally again sings with gratitude for each precious day.

  49. Jane in CT says:

    Margaret says, “Hello!”

    I find “spirit” in every thing, in the no thing of the universe; in trusting and being open, in not knowing.

  50. This resonates so much with me. All of it. What you write, here, what Dani wrote at her place and what I am sure to find at Margaret’s. I’ve been struggling through a difficult year, but despite it’s challenges one wondrous and spell-binding thing has been happening. I’ve found my writing voice, and I found it through the connection I felt to a writing community and a network of women who were kindred spirits. As these pieces unfold I’m delighted to see what’s lies beneath. I’m encouraged and inspired by what you write, what Dani writes and so many more that I’ve discovered along the way. It’s a gift to find people in this world who can explore spirituality and share it on such an intimate level.

  51. Judith Flynn says:

    My spirituality is found in my garden. Just this past week I see the tree buds swelling and spring is sure to follow as it does every year. this constant flow brings me peace.

  52. Karen Tandy says:

    I find spirit when I am out in my garden with my fingers in the soil. Smelling the wonderful smells of the garden and touching each plant. All my senses come alive and I am at peace.

  53. I find Spirit in various forms, depending on my mood. It can range from my ‘mommy time’ early Sunday mornings before my family awakes while I enjoy a cup of coffee and the current book I’m reading, to goofing around with my son who will randomly ask ‘Guess what?’ at which I ask ‘What?’ to his silly smile as he replies ‘Chicken butt!’

  54. You asked where I find Spirit? On the back of a horse or standing next to a horse, in the presence of my Icelandic Sheep, rubbing Mr Frodo’s horns or scratching his wonderful wool. Laughing when my dogs seem absolutely delighted to see me.
    The joy of each critter who shares their lives with me.

  55. Mame Johnston says:

    I find spirit in the early morning quiet of day’s dawning, the birds awakening, the peepers’ chorus near the pond as they welcome the signs of spring’s warmth, the companionship of book clubs, church groups, Bible studies of faithful women, and so many more. All of these awaken my senses to the world around me and bring me peaceful serenity.

  56. Spirit for me is found in the silence that allows the inner voice to be heard. This is not always an easy task, or even the desired option . . . but it never ceases to send me in the right direction. Looking forward to a good read of all these books in the days ahead, whether as a winner or buyer.

  57. Patti MacDonald says:

    I find spirit in my family. Having just suffered the loss of my beloved mother, we are all trying to find a new “normal” way of life without her in our lives. Learning to re appreciate the everyday joys of family life and connecting and finding such spirit and comfort in each other.

  58. Beth Hogan says:

    I have a giant energy inefficient picture window that overlooks a ramshackle overgrown garden in front of my house in the city. Sitting on the sofa breastfeeding or trying to tune out Cailou, I watch the seasons change and the birds eat. Some days I even get to listen to NPR. The window grounds me to the earth and to who my self is under the Mommy.

  59. I find spirit in reading books such as yours, also reading blogs & just trying to enjoy life for what it is & be present.

  60. You have no idea how much I love that your words met before you did and that your words and voice on paper brought you together.

    Margaret’s book is the one I have not read yet and I cannot wait.

    Thank yoU!

  61. “…once you peel away the first layer of external circumstance in any of our lives, what’s left, pulsing right below the surface, is practically universal: the yearning for connection, contentment, meaning, and peace.”

    Beautifully stated!

    I found your blog from Dani Shapiro’s blog. I read her memoir, DEVOTION, a little over a year ago, and found so much of that recognition of connection and kinship in her words.

    My writing partner writes memoir, and I look forward to sharing your words about it with her. When she and I meet we often find ourselves digging into the spiritual and emotional material in our lives so much that the writing becomes secondary. Of course, we know that the writing grows from seeds planted in that ground, so we understand how important its cultivation really is.

    Whether or not I win the drawing, I look forward to following your blog and reading THE GIFT OF AN ORDINARY DAY.

    I wish you all the best!

  62. Lucie Martin says:

    Count me in- I am intrigued by the conversations that happen at midlife when we dare to own our vulnerability.

  63. Count me in. The holiest times for me are outside; just before dawn on a day in June out in my garden as the sun comes up and all the songbirds are singing around me; walking in our woods with the dogs during a sudden rainshower on a hot day; watching the colors in a major sunset (which are rare for us, living as we do in the shadows of our Catskill foothills); wandering around outside in a snow storm when the flakes are big and fat and our Chessie dogs look like big white snowbeasts; watching new growth emerging in the spring, like the furry red peony shoots and the hyacinths already blooming as they push their way above ground.

  64. The spirit in my life comes from my Lord Jesus and many of the things of his earth like when I hold a newborn baby (how could you not find spirit there). The beautiful skies above, the ground that I am able to walk on every day, the smell of a rain-kissed morning, the rebirth of spring and forthcoming blooms of its flowers and all little critters scanting around. Just the miracle of life and being able to enjoy it to its fullest day by day.

    I haven’t read any of the books you speak about but would certainly love to have the opportunity to win them in your giveaway. They sound like they would be a lovely read to hear about where others find spirit in their lives.

  65. Diane Bascom says:

    I am better able to find spirit in my life after reading Katrina’s book, The Gift of an Ordinary Day, a year ago. Last year, my daughter was in college, and my son was applying to colleges, so I could relate to Katrina’s story very well. This year as they are both away at school, I find spirit in connecting with friends whose kids are also in college and who are going through the same transition as me. I’ve been blessed to have known several of these friends since our kids met in pre-school! I continue to introduce these friends to the joy of Katrina’s book, and I look forward to reading Dani’s and Margaret’s books, too. Thank you for making me aware of them!

  66. Hi Katrina,
    Dani says hi…yes I would like to be a winner. I loved “Devotion” and can also relate to bonding with fellow writers as their experiences transport and inspire us. I look forward to reading your work.

  67. I have been on a search for a greater connection to spirit since my early twenties. I meandered closer, taking my time, until a difficult pregnancy last year resulted in the stillbirth of my son during emergency surgery to save me. Since then I’ve been rocketed into grief and a deeper connection to spirit, to source, to the divine. I am finally learning that it is everywhere I turn, in everyone I see, in myself. This greater awareness has been the biggest gift and though it was delivered in tragedy, it is maintained in the ordinariness of life as a woman, a wife, a mama. Thanks to you, Margaret and Dani for your generosity, and your voices shining light into the dark.

  68. As often as I can remember, I practice “Be here, now” and take a few deep breaths. Life is too fleeting to miss it all by mentally re-living the past or worrying about the future.

  69. I have learned that Spirit is really seeking me more often than I am seeking it. Over the years I have learned to slow down and be quiet so that I can listen to what God is trying to tell me through holy silence. My favorite times are the still ones – putting my children to sleep, holding hands with my husband during Mass, walking through the woods with my three boys, sitting with cup of coffee and candlelight before the household awakens each day. Spirit is always there, simply waiting for me to notice and to be nourished.

  70. I seek and find Spirit in being outside with Nature. It’s a challenge in the winter months of the Northeast, but even being bundled up and shoveling snow clears my head and helps give me insight into my life.

  71. Shannon Balletto says:

    I find my spirit reading wondeful books, baking special treats, a great cup of coffee or tea..mostly with conversation and spending time with my woman friends.

  72. I find spirit outside, in the making of things, in my friends, and in the kindness of strangers.

  73. What a great opportunity! I would love a chance to own each of these books!

  74. I love these contests! The ideas they generate make wonderful reading! I find spiritual peace each day at work by leaving my desk and going outside to walk around the campus of the NIH, where I work. I feel a special connection to the campus, the buildings, and the trees, and the views coincide with memories of the stories I listen to on my iPod while walking. I can recall some of the places I walked while I listened to a certain part of a story. It’s great!

  75. as a child i was conditioned to look outside of me for God.
    as an adult i have come to suspect i need to look inside.
    and that takes some undoing:)

  76. Good morning, Katrina. Dani says ‘Hi’

  77. Count me in!

  78. Margaret says hello! Fortunately for us all, spirit takes may forms. The joys of caring for animals, caring for the earth, caring for our bodies. Caring. Gardening, hiking, feeding, loving, so many opportunities in this world! Harvesting food, pulling weeds, hugging my daughter when she hugs back, hugging even when she doesn’t! Picking strawberries in June. Peaches! Loving, truly loving our days. Loving our friends. A starry night sky. A warm summer day. A clear blue sky. Allowing an overflow of joy. Noticing when a moment is so wonderful.

  79. Tina Knezevic says:

    I find spirit in my life every day I spend with my husband, pets, family and friends. I also love to volunteer my time to my community and find peace and happiness in my garden, cooking, baking, crocheting, crafting, sewing, painting and decorating my home.

  80. To be happy….Nature-Exercise-Family-Good Food….this excerpt from my journal says it all…
    LATE SUMMER ON EVERGREEN LAKE…It was a beautiful Adirondack sunset after a glorious day exploring the bayous and bogs. This day I exchanged glances and a word or two with the otters. I tried to get close to photograph the peeping woodducks, and unnerved the heron patiently trying to fish. I swam in the cool, clean waters on my back and watched the clouds above as they swirled and morphed into different things. I saw the mountains from every angle, and I ate tiny wild blueberries. Now the sun has come full circle, casting it’s last glimmering light on the wake behind me. I’m tired, yet cheered, as I head for home to a decadent dinner with family and friends. I’ll really savor and enjoy a drink or two, as we sit before the roaring fire, and later enjoy a most peaceful sleep that too often evades me in my city life. Pat Huther August, 14, 2010

  81. Count me in!
    I’ve recently become acquainted with the concept of “thin places” – an old Celtic belief that there are some places on earth where the veil between us and God is thin, allowing us a closer glimpse of heaven. Having a recent brush with death, I’ve been seeing a lot more thin places, most notably in a group of dear friends who I go adventuring with. There is something wonderful about discovering fields of alpine wildflowers with people you love! It helps me see that this life is not all doom and gloom as the news would have me believe, or a constant race to ‘get to the top’ or fulfill the ‘American Dream’ as my culture would have me believe. Life is a beautiful chance to live each day and still have a sense of wonder at the smallest, most ordinary things. I cherish time spent with others who have this attitude, even via the written word.

  82. Outside, to nature, anywhere, from my porch, to local public gardens, to the water, even to a garden center. Listening to the natural world and all its “chatter” just releases stress and touches something in my soul. When all else fails, picking up a book wherein the writer is describing an outdoor experience will work wonders too…I just use my imagination. Thank you for reaching out to all of us and making the opportunity for the gift of more spiritual reading available to everyone!

  83. It took me a long time to find myself in a place where I could even search for spirit in my daily life. But now I see it everywhere, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

  84. Rana Binder says:

    Dear Katrina,
    I am reading your books now and am so grateful to Dani for introducing me to your work. Thank you for helping me to be aware of the joy and spirit within each day. Please enter me in the contest. Thank you!

  85. I find spirit everywhere – living in a small town, rural environment just makes it easier to identify. I find spirit and therefore my peace in the silence and nature all around me

  86. Rana Binder says:

    Dear Katrina, I am enjoying your work very much and I thank Dani for leading me to you.I may have posted this before but I have never posted a comment and would very much like to be entered in the Spirit contest. Thank you!

  87. I find spirit in the natural world — it can strike me suddenly, when I’m stressing/worrying/saddened by something — and then notice how the natural world goes on steadily, and is constant…breezes blow the leaves, water courses ahead, clouds & sun fill the sky — the beauty and constancy of it is so calming, it never fails to fill me with peace.

  88. Katrina,
    I came here via Dani’s blog (via Twitter), but in truth, I don’t know why I haven’t visited your blog before. You and I connected briefly on Facebook, and for that, I’m grateful for your encouragement. I’m really looking forward to reading all THREE of these books (Margaret’s is new to me). Thanks for co-hosting this unique giveaway.
    The Quivering Pen blog

  89. When I was a child, spirit was all around me as I played in nature and talked with the trees, rocks, clouds, brooks, birds, and all the living things about me. SPIRIT was who I was and I could awaken to it at any time, As life gained momentum and my footsteps tracked here and there, I didn’t hear the spirit as loud as I once did, but like us all, I never lost it…all I needed to do was to open the window or door and the very breeze that entered brought me my spirit anew,
    today after living 62 years, I have returned to nature and reclaimed
    SPIRIT as my life force and every moment of every day I am grateful for it, I loved Devotion, I’m reading ”
    And I Shall Have Some Peace There” and I am truly on board with Margaret and ‘woo woo’. You can also find me in the garden or at the beach with my two canine companions as we listen to the wisdom of the waves, the gulls, the flowers and nymphs and find “PEACE” and “SPIRIT” with all living things. Thank you all for your stories and wisdom. I am looking forward to reading the last of the three referenced books “The Gift of an Ordinary Day”.

  90. I find spirit most readily when creating, and enjoying my boys creating.
    Shockingly, at age 41, I’m finding spirit in the act of running—something I once found punishing and that now feels liberating.

    My friend Allison gave me Mitten Strings as a gift at my now 8 yr old son’s baptism. What a blessing it was then, to learn about Waldorf ways and to hear someone valuing the work that was turning my career-focused world around.
    Last year I read The Gift of an Ordinary Day, and this too was a blessing. It’s been passed around my circle of friends, and I’m grateful to have read it now, when I still have three young boys at home. These are the days that are long, but years short, and I know I am more grateful adn aware because of your writing, Katrina. Thank you.

  91. I’d like to win

  92. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of all three of your books. I left a comment on Dani’s site which essentially says I find my sense of peace and spirit in the nature that surrounds me up here in the mountains of Northern California. I never feel closer to God than when I am surrounded by the beauty of nature or communing with animals. A wonderful book I read last year was Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature by Kathleen Dean Moore.

  93. Steve Ambruzs says:

    I find spirit in practicing / living the 12 Steps of AA.

  94. I know I would enjoy reading all three of your books, and I’d love the opportunity to blog about them after I read them and then pass your books on to my readers.
    I think many people are searching for the answer to true contentment and happiness and a feeling of purpose in life and all three of you have found that in your own unique ways.

    We need to experience both nature and love in our lives as that, I believe, is the essence of being human. Being one with nature and feeling love for a person, or a place or an experience, makes me feel closest to God.

    Thank you!

  95. Katrina,

    Below is a comment I shared at Margaret’s site–and she said hello!

    Groucho Marx once quipped, “I’d never join a club that would take me,” and I would not join a religious group to the exclusion of another faith–even the Unitarian Universalists,which accept everyone!

    I feel Spirit pungently, earthily, and viscerally every day and in my dreams. This knowledge came to me when I was 15, watching dustmotes whirl as fading sunset beams shone through stained glass windows. I also found it that night in the AlaTeen group that understood my pain. I found it in my husband’s eyes and his touch, in seeing our family and friends grow. I feel in it my coworkers, in my volunteer work, and strongly feel it in Egypt right now.

    And I feel it in every aspect of gardening. Today, for example, I brought 14 woefully unsustainable Styrofoam cups in shoe boxes to soak up the sun and heat of my south facing window. It’s so selfish: I want to see Spirit unfold as seedlings grow: Silverado Swiss chard, green zebra tomatoes, garlic chives, radicchio, red romaine lettuce. And I am so grateful, grateful for all I have been blessed with, and grateful that these seedlings, and so many others will grow into food for our family and others who need it. I would be so thrilled to receive a set of books . ..and thank you for the opportunity.

  96. Got here from Dani’s blog post. Very pleased to learn about your work. Looking forward to reading.

  97. My sense of spirit is found wherever there is water – a pond, a lake, the ocean

  98. As a Lupus patient with chronic daily pain (who is also now on weekly chemo injections) it is VERY important for me to find spirituality in everyday life in any way I possibly can. Otherwise it will quickly spiral out of control & it’s harder to get it back to normal once that has happened as most of us know.

    I find spirit in the love & care taking my beautiful & amazing husband shows me every day. He is my rock 🙂 I am so incredibly blessed to have this man in my life & I could not do all this alone. Thank the stars, God, Buddah, and everyone else for bringing us together!

    I also find spirit in our animals. Since we can’t have kids, we have animals. And oh my it seems one animal or another who needs rescuing crosses my path every time I leave the house lately! Nursing a sick kitten back to health & then placing it in an amazingly loving home is a wonderful place to find spirituality in your life. It’s fills me to the brim with happiness. And animals keep you going in a way nothing much else can.

    Doing something good for the Earth feels very spiritual to me at a time when our planet needs loving kindness from it’s inhabitants more than any other. Reusable bags, recycling everything possible, reusable water bottles, shopping at farmer’s markets, only eating local & only organic foods has helped me become more healthy & happy & full of the spirit of the Earth & all it’s goodness!

    But nothing makes me feel more spiritual than tending my succulent & flower & herb gardens 🙂 I love to see how they grow & change & what comes back each season. I have learned to plant & grow “forgiving” plants, because there are periods of time I am sick & not able to get out there & spend time with them. When I feel well enough to do so & go to check on how things are, it makes me SO happy to see new buds on everything & new shoots & sprouts, etc 🙂 Gardening is so spiritual to me in so many ways, almost to the point where I can’t say enough about the joy & peace it brings to me. I am very impatiently awaiting spring!!!

    I would LOVE to read all three of your books & hope I am picked very much 🙂

  99. Spirit, connection with it and all there is comes to me thru my creative life, painting and writing, as well as communing with nature. I am also very aware of how it flows in different ways for each of us, due to my work as a professional astrologer, which brings a wonderful consciousness of the cosmos and our being an integral part of it.

    I do not see spirit as a separate thing, rather it is the true essence of reality that is often forgotten in our hurry to “get someplace”. We are already there, which is here, inside us.

    Many thanks for sharing your work!

  100. I find spirit through community. How do you articulate that community is a gift, not an obligation and that our connection as humans is primal? The connection that I feel with the protesters in Egypt and new mothers in Vietnam, the elderly in Haiti or a struggling single dad in rural Alabama are the same. I love and honor their humanity and their struggle- and in doing so honor my own. I strip bare the man-made constraints of culture and language and all the other social barriers we have created to keep us apart.

    I see their source. I see their humanity. I see them. How could they not fill my heart with love and joy?

    I would love to read your books and hoped I am picked.

  101. Spirit is Nature.

    My cathedrals are forests, ideally filled with magestic white pines;

    My churches are my vegetable patch and my kitchen;

    The only thing I know for sure : I want to live in harmony with Nature.

  102. Aside from my friends, family and the blogging community, I seem to find spirit with children. I’ve always been child-friendly (I have 8 children by birth and adoption, I’d better be), but as my own children are getting older (ALL teens and adults), I’m finding that I appreciate children (and value the short time that children actually are children) in a renewed way. I love being around children and I’m thrilled I not only get to work with them daily…but, I am “surrogate” auntie to many these days. My spirit feels renewed after looking at the world through a child’s eyes for an hour or two.

  103. Donna Cutting says:

    Margaret sent me to say Hi, I would love to read any of these books. In would love to be inspired now. Being in nature renews me, being with children and good friends helps me to see the wonderful moments in life. Hope to win somi can renew myself.

  104. Margaret says Hi
    Would love to read these! Spirit shows up in my church, with family and friends in my prayers… Spirit is there , waiting to be discovered!

  105. Connie Prain says:

    I find spirit in my own backyard : feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin on a winter’s day and the refreshing breeze on a hot summer’s day, watching the Black cap chickadees and Junco’s feeding on hollyhock & larkspur seeds &the hummingbird visiting the Honeysuckle and Larkspur in my garden;the Bald Eagle spreading his wings to dry while perched on the top dead branch on the very top of the Douglas Fir tree; listening to the power of a south east wind storm ,of a gentle breeze fluttering the bamboo & the hum of the bee on the apple blossom. Breathing in the scent of my roses, lavender or witch hazel Each of these revitalizes me & gives me a feeling of aahhhhh! I find spirit in the comfort of my cat Puck purring next to me as I sit reading and drinking a cup of tea. A walk through our west coast rainforest or along the seashore brings a sense of peace and well being to me. I hope to have the opportunity to share in the reading of the books. Margaret says hello.

  106. Linda from NY says:

    Spirit and connection are found in the smiles of my sons, the arms of my husband, the acceptance of my close circle of friends, and when I open my eyes and look around and see, really see, the magnificence that the universe offers each and every day.

  107. I’m just trying to find the good and the active in each day … I tend to be inactive and “implosive” without a schedule, so I’m looking to make living a healthy balance now that children and work don’t define me.

  108. How lovely to find two more kindred spirits (I’d already discovered Dani). I have been seeking to find answers and meaning in my life since I was 28, when I unexpectedly lost custody of my four-year-old son in a time when that just didn’t happen to women who weren’t drug addicts or prostitutes. I look forward to reading your memoir.

  109. Clare Tauriello says:

    I seek and find spirit in the things I don’t understand. There must be a higher power in these things because there is no other explanation.
    Thanks Katrina!

  110. My spirit renews and finds comfort in my garden and in the nearby woods, in my friends and family who amaze me with their generosity of spirit exactly when I need them, and in the love I see in stranger’s faces when they don’t think anyone is looking.

  111. Dancing Shoes says:

    My spiritual being is my Lord Jesus Christ. Through the relationship I receive so much joy, wonder, and awe from every aspect of nature. Gardening, weather of all kinds; sitting and gazing upon, say, a beautiful mountain range knowing that my God created that beauty; watching a plant grow from a tiny seed.

    These 3 books sound wonderful and it would be a pleasure to be able to ready insights from the 3 of you!

  112. Special thanks to Dani for sending me to your site.

    I know when I first found Dani’s book and website, I thought, “This woman is living my dream life!” I am currently living a life I don’t recognize, in the city, suffering from a constant state of corporate stress. Yet I long for a more rural, quiet, and creative life; the life of a writer, where I can create enough space in my head for my writing to find its voice. I long for a life that allows me to be a human being instead of a human doing, and I learn how when I read the works of those who have accomplished this in some form or another.

  113. I find spirit in the escapist pleasure of reading! The fact that I can start reading and immediately be transported to another place, another mind… it’s still miraculous to me…

  114. Nature, to me, is where the spirit is….animals, plants, oceans, the very air, and how it smells and moves. Sometimes it is all so peaceful and other times wild and unpredictable. I just love it!

  115. I find spirit in my life by looking out the window, seeing the birds, hearing the frogs. Movement of the air thru the trees and watching the sun head toward the sea…

  116. I kneel down and pray first thing upon getting out of bed every single day. I am thankful for what I have and ask for strength to be able to just get a few specific things done. When I pray, my list always gets done. When I don’t pray…it doesn’t. Simple as that.

  117. Nature sustains and always humbles me!

  118. Sandy in South Dakota says:

    My peace and solitude is found in the “woods” in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. I have just received margarets books today, but would love to have another to present to a very special friend. thank you.

  119. Found you on awaytogarden.com. battery may run out so can you count me in?

  120. As I prepare for a day of “yoga” in my therapy office, my “hope” slowly melds into recognition that we are ALL already practicing together—and yet I throw my comment into the ring to see if it shall be my karma to win these books, or if it will be my karma to purchase them (as I have happily purchased your work, Katrina).

    Maybe we are ALL kindred spirits—and what shifts is our consciousness about this, learned through the crossing and weaving of threads, strings, roots and stories. Namaste

  121. I find spirit in my small sun room, which is bathed in late afternoon warmth. Tucked onto the back of the house, it’s the most private spot, shaded by a hydrangea tree and looking out on a dogwood and rhododendron that’s taken on a windswept appearance due to browsing by deer. From this vantage point, I’ve observed the comings and goings of many critters:fawns frolicking with their stoic mother, a skunk mom waddling down the slope with all her babies clinging to her sides, a red fox who waited for a treed squirrel to descend. It didn’t.) Wild turkeys just passing through, or sometimes holed up in the brambles, only their clucking giving them away. Resident coyotes yapping and barking. The woods are full of creatures.

    PS Margaret says “hello.”

  122. joanne suley says:

    I haven’t found my “spirit” yet. Still looking

  123. I find spirit in my garden

  124. Loved Devotion and I look forward to reading Margaret’s book and yours.

    I find spirit in sunshine, in hearing the rush of waves on a beach, in connecting with great books, and in the company of my fellow WWW writers.

    PS. Dani says hi.

  125. I find spirit in the rolling hills surrounding my home.

  126. I find spiritual sustenance in nature. The changing of the seasons, the endless cycles of life and death followed by all living things on this planet. Somehow seeing these things playing out over and over again bring comfort. Each of us contribute to the cycle whether we want to or not. It’s the how that brings us our peace and joy-or not!
    Glad to have found you. Thank you for writing.

  127. Nadine Tatum says:

    I find spirit in the birds chirping outside my window, the call of the roosters next door, the neighborhood dogs who sometimes stop to visit, and the wind in the trees. Oh, I almost forgot–butterflies and rainbows!

  128. This discussion of midlife redefinition sent me on a journey to discover it is not about a new career or hobbies. It is about a struggle to become a better person. Now free from parenting obligations, career competition, and obtaining material possessions it is easier to see that what is left in life to achieve is authenticity. That is, opening your heart, living in truth in the moment with gratitude.

  129. Feeling the earth in my hands, a walk in the woods, silent moments in reflection, smiles of my children, presence of my husband all mean renewed spirit and connection for me. Now, I feel connected to the community you have created here.
    Each day In my thoughts of gratitude, I whisper a thank you to you. I would very much like to receive the give away books. Thank you for this opportunity and for sharing yet another good read and another special someone’s thoughts to ponder.

  130. Hi Katrina,

    I’m not sure the connection you’re talking about isn’t just a myth and a dream, because that’s where I find it in my own life. But I know that I want to help you and Margaret and Dani keep that dream alive in the imaginations of people all over the world. Maybe that’s all we need.


  131. Nature sustains, this and practicing self-acceptance and “being in the moment”.

  132. My sprirt rests in the infinite, in all that rests in the pauses, the spaces of this wild, wild world, this imperfect body, and this very extraordinary day. By the way, Dani and Margaret say hi.

  133. Margaret says hello… please count me in… thank you…

  134. “Life is sorrow. Live joyfully in the knowledge that life is sorrow.” At 18, I longed to understand what Joseph Campbell really meant when he said that. I have now come to revel in it, at the whole encompassing wisdom of it, now at middle age. It is a beautiful graceful thing to feel. To feel it all: that is when I find my spirit.

    *By the way, Margaret says hi!

  135. What matters to me is paying attention and being able to shift between a very narrow focus to be aware of precise detail and drawing back to get a broader view. I figure it’s a balancing act. The fluidity and timing of smooth shifting is essential. Skills gained in the process are cumulative and preparation for the next thing. Conceptually, autodidact and propinquity are my favorite words. Margaret sent me….

  136. As I pondered this question, with gratitude I remembered that Spirit finds me. I find reassurance in the psalmist’s words:

    If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
    9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
    10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.

    I also wanted to add the book, “A Three Dog Life,” by Abigail Thomas to your list. I neglected to mention it in a previous comment.

  137. I just finished Devotion and was blown away – I connected to the book on so many levels even though on the surface I have little in common with Dani.

    Spirit – I often feel disconnected from it in the course of daily life but I do find it in nature (water, crisp air or a blue sky)

  138. Cynthia Doran says:

    This is such a cool idea. I have been following Dani for a while now. Loved Devotion, and that lead me to her novels. And now to discover 2 more writers more or less on the same journey as the rest of us, all I can say is, thanks! I can’t wait to begin your book.

    And as for spirit and connection, as I explained on Dani’s blog, I had the great good fortune to have a wonderful father, who taught me the value of time spent alone in the woods, where I could mull over the different religions, and where I could find that spirit connection for myself. I had a blessed childhood.

  139. spirit in nature, kindness, growing and making, animals, music, and breath.


  140. In words, both the putting together of them as if a puzzle and the consuming of them as if a food. In the sun as it bathes the pillows of my bed where the dachshunds have migrated before I’ve awakened. In the taste of a sun ripened tomato bit into in the garden. In the arms full of flowers I cut from around the house and bring inside to rearrange and admire. From the black pussy willow buds that are now opening. From the smell of the ocean as you approach it by foot. In the feathers of the goldfinches who appear to increase in brilliance daily at my feeder. In the feel of oil paint as it slips off my brush and onto my canvas. In the threads of the loom as I randomly throw the shuttle back and forth. In the laughter of my husband who I waited 46 years to find. In the way the sky looks when the clouds are imitating a Maxfield Parish painting. In the long stretch of my cats as they perform their own version of downward dog. In the paintings of Monet and Joan Mitchell and Julie Mehtru. In the crazy dashing dance of the chipmunks who bravely traverse the yard hoping for peanuts from the feeder. In the dance of the three tenor crows who have been with me at my feeders for over ten years. In the buds of the Japanese apricot which opens ever February just when I need it most.

  141. I find spirit in my family when they don’t know I’m watching, in hand work and in nature! xo

  142. I find spirit on my early morning runs where it is so dark that my only navigation is through the glimmer of the stars.

  143. Just wrote this on Dani’s blog…how… the Spirit moves like the wind, ascending to heights unseen and descending, cascading through and through. Its whereabouts are shrouded in mystery. I have been told the Spirit is powerful, as powerful as the wind raging thick and loud in the eye of the storm. I have also been told that the Spirit of God is like a breath of comfort. In times of great duress, if I choose to believe in God and His ineffable goodness, His Spirit descends and comes upon me like a wave of cleansing warm water. He holds and comforts the way a mother wraps her babe close to her breast. Then, there in her warm bosom, a still small voice speaks. This voice rings clear and I hear it telling me, exhorting me to stand up and fight. Keep faith it says. Go and fight the good fight. So also there in her bosom, I am told to keep singing. Sing the songs of remembrance and praise to an awesome God who in due time will make all things well.

  144. Lyn Rosenberg says:

    I’d been sick for a few years and knew that I wouldn’t ever be returning to the workforce, so it was left to my lovely partner to provide for us both. With our children grown up & moved on, we were left with a huge house & an even huger mortgage & financially we were slowly going down the drain. If we didn’t make some drastic changes soon we’d be financially ruined so we took a huge leap of faith…. we put our house up for sale and went looking for a place where we could relax & live a slow quiet life away from the city. We’d talked about growing our own fruit & vegetables,as well as having some chickens but we thought we would never be able to buy a house with much land to be able to do that.
    Little did we realise that our spirits had a very different plan…..
    My partner found, on the internet, an old red brick Church for sale in the country, 5 hours drive away from our family. We took a huge leap of faith & decided to go look at it. When we saw it was on 1 acre of land, we fell in love with it & put a deposit down straight away. If our old home sold it meant we would be financially secure, with a small mortgage that was manageable & our quality of life would be better… so I prayed!
    We had never had the money to get officially married & we decided that as soon as we bought the Church we’d organise to get married. We joked that the 4th September seemed like a good day & we were absolutely amazed later on to find out that the Church had officially been opened on the 4th September in 1940.
    We bought the Church & on it’s 70th Anniversary, we got married in it, with our parents & our children at our sides.
    Our old house has just sold & we will be moving to our Church in the country permanently soon, as man & wife….so that we can grow our own vegetables & have the chickens I’ve wanted for so long….

  145. I find spirit in my five-year-old son’s exuberant giggle.

    P.S. Dani says “hi”.

  146. I loved your line, “I was coming to see that, once you peel away the first layer of external circumstance in any of our lives, what’s left, pulsing right below the surface, is practically universal: the yearning for connection, contentment, meaning, and peace.” I have found this over and over again, as I talk with other new mothers. Our stories are so very different from one another, and yet they are all the same as well.
    In the past I would have said that I found spirit and connection in various places – in long talks with friends or time at home with my family…but lately I’ve been finding it with myself too. Reconnecting to the me that existed before my marriage, before my baby…getting in touch with the part of me that loves both silliness and quiet pondering.

  147. Nancy Williams says:

    Sent here by Margaret–I find Spirit in so many places, both simple and grand.
    A perfectly poached egg.
    A patch of violets comfortably ensconced between concrete
    sidewalk and crowding tree root.
    A sunny, warm day in February following snow and ice
    and night lows in the single digits.
    Tea and popovers at the Jordan Pond House in Maine.
    The wonder in my then- 18 month old son’s eyes upon
    seeing his first wood fire in a fireplace.

  148. I learned how to knit about 10 years ago. During the process, I had to concentrate on the “under, over, through” mantra my friend taught me, but now, I find spirit and it finds me in the simple repetition of the knit and purl stitches.

  149. Hi! Dani sent me, and I’m glad to have found you. Looking forward to reading your book, as well as Margaret’s!

    I encounter spirit in nature, in a breeze, or sunshine, or the leaves falling from a tree. And I encounter spirit in the people I meet everyday, people I know and don’t know. Spirit is all around me when I open my eyes to see it.

  150. I find comfort in the joy of my family

  151. I was just thinking today that the quiet moments every morning with my 11 year old labrador retriever are where I find peace.

  152. Spirit is all around and within each of us. I feel Spirit’s presence most in that quiet moment at the end of my practice lying on my yoga mat. At that moment, totally relaxed, acknowledging conscious thoughts and letting them go, knowing that I am totally and utterly safe, being held in the palm of God’s hand, is the moment when I am most aware of spirit.

    Margaret send her regards. 😉

  153. Please count me in!

  154. My search for spirit comes from within myself. I can’t change my life and wouldn’t want to. I have a great husband, two wonderful children who are on their own and doing fantastic, and I have a nice-size yard to create my gardens.
    Sometimes the little problems in life start to creep into my thoughts, is there going to be enough money to get by?; will my health stay good for a while so I can enjoy it all?; when am I finally going to lose the extra weight?
    When that happens, I tell myself which of those things I can and can’t control and I reach out to cherish the things I can and learn to make the changes I need to accomplish the others.

  155. Spirit is everywhere… in ourselves, others and the world around us.

  156. I’ve come closest to finding my true spirit while researching my ancestry. Finding out the real story of “what I am made from” has breathed new life into my purpose. One that I am passing on to my children.

  157. Count me in.

  158. jacky barnes says:

    A must read!
    I recently gave away all my possessions, job and all to be with my first grandbaby! Sleeping on an air mattress in my daughters laundry room with no money, spending my days in PJ’s on the livingroom floor with my precious Abby this winter has been the best days of my life! No regrets. My husband thinks it is a midlife crisis… so be it! Oh yeah he is also in another state; I kinda sent him back to his mother.LOL

  159. i search for and find peace/spirit/grace/hope in books, pets, children, gardening, nature, water, wide open places with endless sky.

  160. Hillary B. Ayazides says:

    Spirit to me is not defined by the unknown…it holds no barriers. Spirit is an energy force.

  161. For many, many years … and even as a child … I was always “doing” for others. Protector, caregiver, sister, co-worker, wife and mother. While being caught in the chaos of everyday living, I lost sight of myself. Most recently, while in NYC of all places, I began an urban garden space as a relief to my daily stress. The peace, and absolute joy, that it brought to me and to the people in the city neighborhood was such a surprise. I can definitely relate to moving away from “a person of the world” and finding my true self again. ♥

  162. I definitely find spirit in the gardens in which I work, mine, the meditation garden at the farm and the school garden with the kids. Besides that the various hiking places I visit. The outdoors is where spiritual renewal happens for me.

  163. In my memoir, MORNING GLORY: A Story of Family and Culture in the Garden, I find it through rediscovering my distant mother, her family’s dark past, and how the past lingers in me as I struggle in a new marriage. Then I find it in my new garden, an echo of my mother’s garden, her grandmother’s, and my sense of place and family is bridged. I find it in writing, in gardening, even in teaching. I find it in cutting down cardboard boxes or watching geese fly overhead. I find it in the last bee on the last aster in fall. I find it here, now.

  164. Marie Nickerson says:

    I have been observing nature, on wings and legs or in the earth, for so many years now. Doing so has heightened my awareness of a power and greatness I have yet to fathom. One might call it spirituality, I call it “One-ness”. I began with a small but complete herb garden in the middle of a city as an 18 yr old newlywed. From there, we moved to the deep woods in southern NH, to find our book-inspired “Five Acres and Independence.” Time marches on, and after many gardens and yet another move to a home with a panoramic view in Milford, NH, I have slowed down a bit to really think about where I’ve been. I look upon all that I know; the valley and streams below, the smell of the newly warmed earth, the peace of the snow covered hills, and the eyes of the creatures that share it with me. Keep writing, and never loose that inner peace.

  165. Books, bouquets, bicycles, boys, and Buddies nourish my my spirit.

  166. Margaret says hi! Please count me in.

  167. I feel most like myself and most spiritual in my garden, watching my birds, hearing the rustle of grasses and the beauty of wildflowers.

  168. Grace Jacobs says:

    Where do I find spirit? The power present around me- that tug that reminds me I am not alone. Those small signs that appear if you are mindful. There really aren’t any coincidences- things/people appear all the time. I am searching to understand who I am and what I am preparing for –what is the meaning?

  169. Laurel Ferris says:

    I find spirituality in nature and in animals and in the small moments of life.

  170. Nature. That is where, for me, God can be seen and felt in the purest way. I also see and connect with God through the creativity of others–whether it be a writer, chef, sculptor, furniture maker, painter, landscaper, musician–it really doesn’t matter what the gift or talent is, just that it’s being tapped into and shared. These things–nature and creativity–are spiritual inspiration. The writer or the chef can be the inspiration to the musician or sculptor to create their best…and so on…

  171. In this crazy fast paced world, I reach deep inside the spirit and find peace through relaxation imagery sessions…soft music, soft voice of instructor, calming scents, tingly vibes throughout the body. Gets me through.

  172. Mary-Ellen says:

    —–It’s all around me. Just have to always try to live in the present and experience what life is offering at that moment, Being in my garden and enjoying all that it offers is just about the best!!!!

  173. Count me in!

  174. Lately I have been thinking a lot about mindfulness and gratitude, as others have commented. I am particularly grateful that spring will come again (hopefully, soon!)

  175. Susie Collins says:

    My journey to spiritual light has been long and difficult at times, but at present I feel happy, loved, and in extreme awe of absolute beauty in the natural world around us. This beauty includes humans first and foremost although I know many people are at oposite ends of the spectrum as far as spiritual enlightment goes. The time spent out-of-doors in the living, natural world inspires us all to attain to spiritual enlightment.

  176. Count me in!! It seems “meant to be” that I finally ended up on your sight at 9:30 pm on the last day to be able to win your books…I saw your video on FB over a year ago…bought the book, put it aside…and finally finished it about a month ago. I want to share it with my best friend but hesitate to give up my copy. Wouldn’t it be great if I had another!
    As I watched your video again tonight, tears poured again!!! You, so eloquently, put into words everything that I can’t. Thank you so much for your honesty, your vulnerability and your imperfections. In these media driven days of feeling that we have to be perfect, your book was a breath of fresh air that maybe love is enough. That we can fail, be furious at the way we handled our children and know that they will be ok in the end!! As I type this, I am blessed with listening to my almost 16 year old son, just home from a percussion ensemble competition, playing video games with 2 good friends…pizza just bought by us to sustain them, hunkered down for the night on this windy, but lovely February night! A million times…thank you.

  177. elizabeth davis says:

    I find spirit all over the place and mostly within. Just now, I was out at the ocean walking my dog, Squid, after the rains. The moon is full, and the night is clear in spite of so much rain. Everything was wet and dripping, the earth completely soaked. As we were leaving the ocean to go home, I looked out and saw the waves crashing on the beach and thought how much I love living near the water. It’s hard to feel the nature with city lights along the walk, but I try and ignore the glare and let the moon light my way. I am blessed to have this puppy, even though she’s three now, we still think she’s ‘tiny.’ I’m always urged to go walking her and so I do, early mornings after I drop my daughter at high school in the Pacific Palisades. I walk in Temescal Canyon, the mountains, less than a mile away from the ocean. There’s water running in the stream from so much rain this year. I like being quiet when I walk so I might find a rare hawk alone in the woods or a family of deer and there are always lots of bird sounds. I never plug my ears with headphones or pipe in music when there are nature sounds to be heard. I consider my walking my meditation and I breath and stretch as I go. I enjoy walking alone so I can be quiet and not talk. I feel replenished and full of life and love as I walk and this is how I connect with Spirit each day. I relish sunsets again by the ocean in the evenings.

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