A Religion of One’s Own

IMG_9798The first thing I did when I found out I was pregnant, twenty-five years ago this winter, was get in my car and drive to Harvard Square to buy a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting.  I am a book person, a life-long reader.  And so my first response to anything new or challenging in my life has always been the same: go find a book on the subject.

For a few years, as I became a mother to first one son and then another, I read my way through an entire shelf of parenting titles.  I read books about every age and every stage, about attachment and achievement, discipline and diet.

But the book that finally set me on my own path, both as a mother and as a person, wasn’t a parenting book at all.  It was a book called The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life by a writer named Thomas Moore.

Most of us have a handful of books we consider seminal, books that make such profound, deep, and lasting impressions that we remember, even years later, exactly where we were and how we felt as the words landed in our hearts.

I was in a lawn chair at my parents’ house in Florida, savoring quiet. Our boys, about seven and four at the time, were off somewhere with their dad. So I found myself in that relaxed, open, on-vacation state of mind that’s particularly receptive to new ideas.

And, although I probably didn’t know it then, I was very much in need of a new idea.  With each passing year, as our sons grew out of infancy, through toddlerhood and into early childhood, it seemed our life was moving faster.  The stresses of working and parenting and marriage intensified.  More and more, I felt as if my old idea wasn’t working all that well.

The idea I’d begun with, the one that had led me to read all those books in the first place, was that if I worked really hard at being a mom, and did everything right, and signed our kids up for enough enriching activities, and somehow achieved a perfect balance between my work life and our family life, our two sons would grow up to have the successful, well-adjusted, happy, high-achieving lives we envisioned for them.

We were in the thick of all that — juggling school schedules,  doctors’ appointments, playdates, lessons, and work and birthday parties.  The calendar was full. Everyone was busy.  I was managing.  We were fine. We were also exhausted most of the time.

So this title, The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life, captivated me.  “Re-Enchantment” sounded lovely.  It was exactly what I wanted.

In the book’s opening pages, Tom suggests that to “re-enchant” our ordinary, mundane adult lives, we simply need to reconnect with the magical, “enchanted” world most of us knew as children.

As we grow up, he says, we get sophisticated out of enchantment.   We get too busy, too practical, and too smart about the things that cause children to wonder.  It made sense to me.

When I thought of my own leisurely, uneventful childhood in a small New Hampshire town in the early 1960s, the memories were still fresh.  I thought of a musty basement nook under our house, where I once placed a Concord grape on a cobwebbed windowsill and watched, day by day, until it turned into a raisin.  Wonder!  I remembered the scary excitement of sleeping outside in a tent in the back yard, the thrill of skinny-dipping in the middle of the night with my best friend.  I remembered reading Gone With the Wind and crying my way through the last pages of the book — and how, every day for a week, until I finally had to return the book to the library, I picked it up and re-read the ending again, weeping every single time, convinced that Margaret Mitchell’s words held a secret power over me.

There were so many long, empty summer days spent reading books, which always meant entering a world of enchantment.  There were aimless bike rides to the sandpit and, once there, countless secret games and rituals and stories to share with my friends.  There were orange popsicles that cost a dime for the long ride home.

I remembered spending a hot summer afternoon sitting outside a neighbor’s chicken coop watching a sick chicken die.  The mystery of life and death! I remembered believing in ghosts and fairies and haunted places out in the woods. I even recalled a day when I had so little to do that I sat down in the yard and told myself I wouldn’t get up again till I’d found a four-leaf clover.  I stared into the grass for hours, until I’d found three, proof enough for me that the world was a magical place.

dreamstime_s_36244722No, it wouldn’t be too hard for me to conjure that childlike sense of wonder.

But I also wondered if my own sons, perhaps someday reading this same book as adults themselves, would have any idea what Moore was talking about.  It seemed possible they wouldn’t have a clue.  And that unless we made some changes in the way we were living, our children might grow up with very little experience of either boredom or enchantment.   Sitting in my mom’s lawn chair that day, reading this quietly revolutionary book, I got a glimpse of a different path.  It’s not an overstatement to say it changed my life.

Of course, as Tom often points out, change begins in silence, in the private realm of the imagination.  And suddenly I had a new vision — of a different kind of pace for our family and a different approach to my own task as a parent.  I hadn’t ever thought of motherhood as a spiritual practice before, but now I saw that for me, anyway, it could be.  A practice that would be more about deepening my own faith than following the experts’ advice, more about being than about doing.

It occurred to me that my real challenge as a mother wasn’t just to meet my children’s physical needs, but to nurture their inner lives as well.  And that to do that, I’d need to carve out time to simply let my children be children.  Instead of finding things to do and creating experiences for them to have, I could create empty spaces in our days.  Instead of trying to hustle us all toward some kind of future happiness, I could trust that, left a bit more to their own devices, our sons would each bloom in their own ways and in their own time.

And instead of striving to do more and to be better, I would practice simply relaxing down into the here and now, and remind myself that the enchanted world of childhood is a place not to be rushed through but rather a garden of innocence to be appreciated and protected for as long as possible.

The Re-enchantment of our family life, the care of our souls, began right there, right then, with a dawning awareness that my real work wasn’t all about my children, but about me, too.  Because, in order to care for my children’s souls, I also had to care for my own.

I didn’t know Tom Moore when I began to read his work.  But I’m quite certain that, were it not for his writing, I wouldn’t have become a writer myself.  Approaching my own ordinary life as a practice worthy of mindfulness and attention changed the way I did almost everything.

Letting go of my need to be right, of my desire to understand and control, meant cultivating a deeper faith in the rightness of things as they were.  It meant trusting my children’s destinies to unfold according to a plan greater than my own.  It meant resting more and accomplishing less, tuning in to intuition, making beauty a priority, creating rituals around everyday activities like meal time and bed time and story time.  It meant seeing each moment of the day as an opportunity for reverence and gratitude.

Bringing that kind of attention to my everyday tasks, I began to see our family, our life together, in a new light.  And the more awareness I brought to this life, the more deeply meaningful and precious it became.  And so I found not only a spiritual path, but also my subject as a writer.  The gift of an ordinary day.

This, of course, is territory that Tom and I share as fellow travelers — I owe him a debt of gratitude for first pointing the way.  And, though our work is very different in both genre and subject, it does seem that we were neighbors in spirit well before we became friends and neighbors in the world, living for the last few years just a mile from each other.  And yet, how could I have imagined, all those years ago, that the day would come when my spiritual and literary mentor would knock casually on my back door to drop off a galley of his latest book?

IMG_0146(I absolutely attribute this lovely bit of serendipity to the enchantment of everyday life.)

Reading A Religion of One’s Own over the last week or so, I’ve been moved and inspired, as always, by my friend’s deep compassion for our ordinary, everyday struggles to live well, to love well, to care for our planet and ourselves and one another.  A Religion of One’s Own is very much both an expansion and a refinement of the ideas that first inspired me to craft a more contemplative, intimate, soulful life as a young mother.  Reading it, I found myself underlining and scribbling notes in the margin of every page – there is so much to think about here, so much to take in and use and share.

No matter what your faith or religious affiliation, A Religion of One’s Own is an invitation to go both deeper and wider in your learning and in your faith,  a call to keep thinking, seeking, wondering, and celebrating.  I think of this book as a handbook for the spirit.  A reminder that life is both more joyful, and more meaningful, when we allow ourselves time and space to wake up to its magnificence and mystery.  And in that way, this new book, too, is about re-enchantment.  For a true, useful religion is grounded in the details of our ordinary lives  — and, at the same time, it invites us, again and again, to transcend them.  The holy and the ordinary work together. The result, always, is grace.

I know Tom would never consider himself a self-help author.  And yet I’m always grateful for his advice.  “Follow your dreams,” he suggests.  “Speak from your heart, and make a life that is more soulful than practical.”  These strike me as good words to live by.

Leave a comment to enter to win two books

It’s my pleasure to offer a copy of A Religion of One’s Own, signed and personalized by Tom, along with a signed copy of the new paperback edition of Magical Journey.  (Given how often I quote Tom, it seems only fitting to send these books off as a pair.)

To enter to win, simply leave a comment below.  I’d love to know how or where the sacred and the ordinary intersect in your life.  Or, you can simply say “count me in.”

A winner will be chosen after entries close at midnight on February 7.  Good luck to all!

Of course, if you’d like to order Tom’s book right now, you can do that, too.  Just click here. (I use the small commission I receive on books ordered here to purchase more books to share with you.)

Many thanks to you all for your wonderful song suggestions — I’ve been listening to music all week.  (Will compile the big list of all your recommendations soon!)

for my reflections & inspiration

your comments

  1. Count me in. 🙂

  2. Still trying to figure it a out..would love to win these

  3. Three years ago, we were in the rat race. Two kids in schools we could barely afford (and one of the way), looking down the barrel at a life that was going to sweep us away.

    I was becoming increasingly anxious and depressed, but I could not put my finger on why.

    An opportunity to buy a beach house came into our sites…and my husband and I pulled the kids out of the pricey schools and bought the house.

    We go for three months in the summer, as well as year round.

    The lifestyle is slower. We are happier. There is boredom, time, and beach.

    We DECIDED to make the change we needed…and not wait and wish.

    Thank God.

  4. Katrina,

    I have felt very deeply that I have the way of mothering my boys in my heart and each time I’ve tried to read parenting books I’ve just gotten off my own path. With the exception of Mittens Strings For God, what a life enriching book for me. When I feel like my boys aren’t doing enough I can always reflect on it and know less is more. I also quite enjoyed Magical Journey as well. Kripalu has always seemed a Mecca for me! I’d love a copy of Mr. Moore’s new book. Thank you!

  5. Hi Katrina, I stumbled upon your website quite by accident and I am so glad I did. I ended up bookmarking it and come to it when I need to center myself. I have 3 teenagers – 19 year daughter, and 15 year old twin boys. I wish I had these posts to read when they were younger and I would have done things differently. Fortunately, my kids have turned out beautifully and I always get compliments, but I can’t help but think sometimes that I could have done more or “less” (post on Re-enchantment of Everyday Life) given the world of technology and busy-ness we live in.

  6. Kristen Patterson says:

    Count me in please!

  7. Heidi Calma says:

    His book sounds lovely!!

    • Heidi Calma says:

      Forgot to add this- one of the most sacred and also ordinary moments of my days are when I’m nursing my daughter. There is just something so incredibly calming and healing and connecting about it and yet we’ve done in for almost three years.

  8. Diane J Wulf says:

    I was born into, and raised in a very strict, conservative Catholic family. Everything we did was governed by fear and, even as a child, I had questions. As my own children have grown, and I have had many challenges and experiences, I am enjoying the questions and the journey away from organized religion and toward an even greater spiritual experience.

  9. The glorious moment of sunrise never fails to inspire awe in me. Each one is different, yet it brings the same promise of a new day ahead, another chance to revel in all of the blessings that I have been so fortunate to have been given. There is such a sense of peace in me at that moment, the wonderment of my smallness in the world, the beauty unfolding in front of me. An ordinary event in that it happens each day, yet a sacred one at the same time.

    Please count me in for the book giveaway. Thanks.

  10. Sarah Ellis says:

    This is question at the crux of what I “agonize” over every single day. Please count me in!

  11. I have a strong feeling that your memoirs are going to be for a lot of people what Thomas Moore’s book was to you. I am one of those people and Mitten Strings for God and The Gift of an Ordinary Day are those books for me. Looking forward to reading Magical Journey! Thanks Katrina! Blessings on YOUR journey!!

  12. Thomas Moore inspired you. You inspired me. I do my best to inspire others to see the immense value in the “ordinary” day. Blessings to you, Katrina and to Tom.

  13. Patricia Battaglia says:

    I have also been deeply touched by Thomas Moore’s books and fully intend to read this one as soon as I can get my hands on a copy. I have been moored to being a mother for a long time, and as the life of my family moves onward and my children have grown (or are nearly grown) the feeling of being adrift in uncertainty is gradually being replaced by the wonder and mystery of a new phase of life. Your book has been a guiding light to me in this journey and I am sure this new book will be a guide toward new awakening.

  14. My days in the rat race of raising kids are over. Now I’m enjoying 6 grandchildren…while I watch my 2 sons and their families run the rat race.

    I loved Magical Journey! And I’m a wannabe writer…so please count me in!

  15. Count me in

  16. Your words always come at the most perfect times…thank you, Katrina!

  17. I love the way my yoga teacher ends class. She has us silently thank the others in the class whose breath and practice support our own. Over the last 18 months I have come to appreciate the people I interact with regularly but maybe don’t even talk to often. I look forward to reading more from both of you.

  18. Please count me in, Katrina! Thanks. Xo

  19. Count me in!

  20. Sounds like a lovely read – something I have thought much about. Choosing that which is life-giving and finding the transcendent!

  21. Oh yes! This! Count me in.

  22. I believe the sacred and the ordinary are inexorably linked. 🙂

  23. Grace Sapienza says:

    I would love to discover Thomas Moore’s words of wisdom….and the opportunity to pass your book (which I have read re-read!) to someone else. Count me in please!

  24. Please, count me in!

  25. A young father just told me he is “doing less to do it more deeply’ with his kids. The other day, on the way to do errands, he asked his tired looking son what he wanted to do. His son replied “take a nap”. They aborted the errands went home and read and slept. This dad no longer plays the radio when he drives his boys somewhere. He has had the most amazing conversations with them as a result. I think more parents are realizing the toll “too much” is taking on their children and themselves. I will share this post with him. Thanks Katrina.

  26. Irene Evangelidis says:

    Dearest Katherine,
    Your books have been an absolute filler for my soul the last while. With my son studying away from home and my daughter finishing schooling this year , by reading your books I have found everything and more.
    With the relationships of my husband and now almost grown children you have opened up to gratitude, love, self worth, meaning and loads of time, to just be and not flee every time.
    Thank you so much for your writings, I feel like Ihave now found my long lost friend in you.
    I would love to read Thomas Moore book and have a hard copy of your book to keep as a companion always beside me.
    Kindest regards Irene

  27. I recently left a busy, soul trying career in the city and am finding my next step on a different path. As grandmother of 6 girls, I find inspiration in being with them and getting outdoors. Love and nature are sacred to me. Please count me in.

  28. Saralee Leary says:

    I am savoring Magical Journey and learning to open my heart more each day. Thank you.

  29. Heidi Boggini says:

    I remember those ten cents popsicles!
    My new dog Joey reminds me to laugh a lot and bring back those moments when you just have to laugh at the silliest things and be carefree.

  30. I read Care of the Soul twenty years ago…it helped me through a dark spot in my early mama years. I’ve enjoyed Thomas Moore ever since. Count me in!

  31. Thankfully, I had been exposed to the paths of gratitude and mindfulness before our younger daughter was diagnosed with leukemia – the girls were four and six and we were very busy. We were slowed by this event and gradually as we moved through her successful treatment – three years of commuting 3 hours to a larger hospital – we cultivated a quieter, smaller family life. I likely won’t feel grateful for the diagnoses – an awakening can happen without such a drastic and painful event- but I am grateful for the awakening. Waking up to the reality of life, helps me be present and embrace what’s happening right now, as the clutter of the past and future depart, the space for love and service opens up – what could be better?

  32. I am always looking for books for my daughters, because like you they are avid readers, to help and encourage them while raising their own children. I am going to order them each The Re-enchanctment of Everyday Life. It is so easy to get caught up in just life itself that just a reminder that it is passing you by and to stop and take time to smell the roses or walk in the rain!! Less is More and Time is so precious!! I often wonder myself… Where did all those years go while raising them??!!

  33. Shawn Trotter says:

    Count me in. I like to start the day off with gratitude.

  34. Count me in!

  35. There have been so many books that have spoken to my heart, my soul; books I have read and as I read, said “thank you for putting in to words what I have known, felt.” What would I do without books?

    Thank you, on this day, for the reminder of the gift of an ordinary day. Usually I am good at finding the gift in the ordinary day, lately I have felt a little lost.

  36. On early morning runs when the world is still quiet and I can watch the sun rise. When the only sounds I hear are my feet hitting the ground, breath coming in and going out, and squirrels and birds foraging in the bushes and the grass. I am a student so my life is very busy right now, but I hold on to my runs as my chance to re-connect with myself and with the world.

  37. Every moment spent in the company of my nearly-grown sons is sacred to me. Each day I’m newly surprised to find that the previously open expanse of time with them suddenly feels very finite. Count me in.

  38. Sounds like a juicy read and I would love to win both books. I also must say that the way you described the magic of childhood wonder and how a non-parenting book steered you on the spiritual path of motherhood was beautiful. One of the books that did that for me as a new mom was Mitten Strings for God. My mother gave it to me when I had two small boys of my own and it was as if it lit a candle of truth inside that has kept burning as I now have three boys and we try to live our very busy lives at a mindfully slow pace. I have come to see motherhood as a ministry and my daily spiritual practice. I think I’ll also look for The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life. I cannot get enough of books that reaffirm this way of thinking and living.

  39. I’m in!

  40. SueinMtVernon says:

    I would love to read any book that you recommend. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  41. I would love to add both of these to my reading stack. Thanks for the recommendation, steeped in story.

  42. Where do the ordinary and sacred intersect for me?
    As I get older, being mindful and having gratitude and pure enjoyment of the ordinary things that happen in life (time with family, cooking and talking with friends, sharing meals, doing family evenings in front of the fire) have become the sacred in my life .. no doubt I treasure those things more so than I ever did. And this has brought peace and happiness and contentment more so than I ever had as a younger person. To appreciate the ordinary every day aspects of life much more than any big accolade, or job promotion or raise and truly feel it in my soul and bones has been a gift pure and simple. Gratitude.

  43. Karla Heitkamp says:

    Thanks for another lovely post! I have only recently found you from my friend and I love getting your emails. Both books sound great and I would be honored to win them! I take care of my 2 year old and 4 month old grandchildren and I want to make their world wonderful – great reminder!

  44. Please count me in.

  45. Thank you both… for helping us to remember…

  46. Your writing is always so inspiring. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

  47. Thank you for the opportunity to win these two life-affirming books!

  48. SueinMtVernon says:

    I forgot to ask in my previous post – where could I find those awesome figurines you have placed on your window ledge? I totally love those!

  49. I’m about to turn 66 and didn’t raise children. My life so far has been about discovering my own path toward wholeness. Like you, I love books that resonate with my spirit, especially memoir. I’m forever interested in how others find their way.

  50. Mitten Strings for God was the book that shaped my approach to mothering. I’m so glad I found it when my children were young. It reminded me to focus on being mindful each day of the reality that my children are only with me for a short time and that each and every interaction I have with them is an opportunity for connection, empathy, nurturing and love.

  51. I woke up this morning with the realization I am so tired of trying so hard all the time. As I read the post, I copied down the phrase “letting go of my need to be right, my desire to understand and control.” Blessed, sweet words confirming my desire to rest and let life be.

  52. Liz Solar says:

    I’m a single working mom of twin 8 year old’s who goes to sleep every night feeling bad about something I did or didn’t do to make my children’s lives more meaningful and wake up every morning seeking the strength from within and from some higher source to make me a better mom to these two lovely creatures that I called into the world to share my life. Reading has always been my friend and my resource. I would love to read these two beautiful books. (count me in, please).

  53. ‘Magical Journey’ arrived at an important point in my life, helping me to find gratitude in simple things, allowing me to breathe and just ‘be’ in the spaces between mothering my four wonderful children x

  54. Many years ago when I was struggling with my faith, I stumbled across Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore. That book opened my eyes to a whole new way of being. I would love to read his newest book.

  55. Your lazy childhood summers filled with lots of books and time spent doing “nothing” sound just like mine. Now, time spent in such a way would probably be viewed as wasteful by many people, but it’s true that remembering those moments gives me a warm, nostalgic feeling.

    I would love to read Thomas Moore’s new book. The Reenchantment of Everyday Life already has a proud place on my book shelf!

  56. mary thompson says:

    I’m sure that I could profit by reading this book. As I grow older (now 75) I realize more and more the importance of cherishing each moment of every day–thank you!

  57. First, I love the Virginia Woolf inspiration for Tom’s new book. I love this idea of re-enchantment. In my world, I call it savoring and that is actually the topic we’re discussing in the e-course I lead for mothers. Yes, mothering is a spiritual practice. Absolutely. Both caring for our inner selves and for our little ones is a passion stirring inside of so many of us. I would love to read this book and while I read yours, another copy would be great!

  58. Stephanie Douglas says:

    Thomas Moore’s book “Dark Nights of the Soul” got me thru what was the darkest time of my life, my separation and divorce.

    Frankly, he saved whatever scraps were left of my sanity at that point.

    We are all blessed to have books and people like you who blog and bring us together to share thoughts that shift us, ever so slightly… day after day… to a healthier place in our mind and ultimately our lives.

    I am looking forward to reading A Religion of One’s Own. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

    P.S….I found a 4 leaf clover shortly before my divorce was final. I love when he Universe speaks to you.

  59. Your books have inspired me to move at a slower pace and give my boys lots of time to just be and discover on their own. I am not familiar with Thomas Moore, but just put holds on a couple of his books at our library. I am looking forward to reading them. My greatest moments of peace and spiritual connectedness- when life seems almost too good to be true- is laying next to my youngest son as he falls asleep.

  60. The book that set me on my course was Mitten Strings for God. I remember gobbling it up and realizing that I didn’t have to mother like super mom. Each essay brought relief, inspiration, hope. I could listen to my soul and parent my kids by heart. I left my “real job” to stay home with my kids and began writing. I’ve loved all your books and this blog am forever grateful for your inspiring words that often come just when I need them most. Much gratitude and many blessings to you Katrina.

  61. Count me in!!

  62. Karla Heitkamp says:

    Didn’t realize I would get every post – silly me thought that was if Katrina had a comment for me – please take me off of the notification of comments list.

  63. Right now that intersection is in the morning snuggle with my youngest—stillness, togetherness, quiet before we start our day, and holding on to her littleness even as I wonder at her growth and change.

  64. Seems his book changed your life the way yours did mine!

  65. Any book you suggest must be worthwhile! I accidentally (Is there such a thing? I think it was meant to happen!) stumbled on your book Magical Journey last year, and have learned so much from all your books, and always look forward to your posts. They have made me a better person!

  66. As you found Thomas Moore to be your spiritual mentor, I found you! Your words are a gift that I treasure daily.

  67. Charlotte says:

    At 66 I am still trying to figure life out. These books sound like just what I need. I am retiring soon and look forward to my art, reading more, being outside more and of course, my family. I enjoy your thoughts and inspiring writings.

  68. Moore’s “Care of the Soul” changed my life many years ago in the same way that “The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life” changed yours (and, I would LOVE to read that book, too, BTW). I am so jealous — and not at all surprised to learn — that he’s a neighbor of yours! Although I grew up in the early 80s I came of age in a way very similar to yours: lots of unfettered play and marauding around the neighborhood on my bike, unattended, for hours and hours each day, especially in the summers. I, too, worry that my daughter won’t have anywhere near the same childhood that I did, but I am working hard to re-imagine the wonder I felt as a child and make that possible for Abra. Namely, through the small traditions and rituals that we’ve created over the past three years, such as eating the SAME breakfast every Sunday morning. Would LOVE to win a copy of Moore’s new book.

  69. Your writing always inspires me! My daughter is seven (where has the time gone?), and I have recently noticed how much of her daily life is spent doing rather than just being. I have precious memories of my own enchanting childhood, and I often wonder whether she will remember her childhood with the same happiness with which I remember mine. All I can do is try and hope…

  70. A simple blessing at dinner with candles lit can make the day right even if it mostly went so wrong. I learned that from you – thank you

  71. Each day is a new re-enchantment of life happening around me but I do feel most connected to my faith and soul on those quiet mornings when all alone just before and as the sun rises. Amazing revelations happen here. This post was most inspiring this morning for me. Love seeing your name in my inbox!

  72. Please count me in!

  73. Count me in!!

  74. I always feel like I’ve “come home” when I read your writings (Moore’s, too). I feel re-grounded, and I especially needed that today. 🙂 Thank you for supporting the journeys of so many parents.

  75. Lovely post, Katrina. I waxed nostalgic reading it, remembering the joy of unstructured days, both in my childhood and my children’s. Count me in on the book!

  76. Wow, another great giveaway, thanks so much! Thanks also for the wonderful book recommendations. I’ve added both of the Thomas Moore books you mentioned in this post to my to-read list. They have joined his “Care of the Soul”, which I added to my to-read list after reading “Mitten Strings for God”. I’m learning more and more as my life goes on that the sacred and the ordinary intersect in little ways every day of our lives. One realm I see it in most easily is when out in nature.

  77. Thank you for your beautiful books! The Gift of an Ordinary Day changed me profoundly as a parent. I have two boys similar to your two and when I read it my oldest was just starting his senior year. That book helped me see my boys for who they were & stop trying to make them who I wanted them to be. Then The Magical Journey came out while I was battling breast cancer & it helped me focus on what was really important in my life. I’m cancer free now & try to appreciate all that life has to offer & if I start to forget I can just pick up the book!

  78. Since I have been retired, my goal has been to center into a more quiet pace.When the grand children are not here, the tv is off. I find peace in the quiet. Yes I would love a copy.

  79. Since I have been retired, my goal has been to center into a more quiet pace.When the grand children are not here, the tv is off. I find peace in the quiet. Yes I would love a copy.

  80. I’m so thankful I found you through Facebook when someone posted/share the video of you reading sections of ‘The Gift of an Ordinary Day”. I was in tears as I have two boys around the same age as yours. I so wish I would have found you sooner. I so enjoyed reading “The Gift of an Ordinary Day” and just purchased “Mittens Strings from God” (I know I am going backwards, but want to read this one before “Magical Journey”. I also very much enjoy receiving you blog/newsletter via email. Please count me in for the 2-book giveaway!

  81. Talking with my son before bed and sharing poetry with others are two things I find most sacred & enriching. Thank you for your honest and soulful thoughts Katrina.

  82. Thank you for sharing your beautiful gift with us; I have learned so much from your wisdom and stories. Most importantly, I have remembered to slow down, listen, and to enjoy my family again. Thank you! I have only read the gift of an ordinary day… With 5 children ages 3 to 18…one day at a time.

  83. Thank you, Katrina. Tears of gratitude are streaming for your soulful storytelling. The resonance. The joy. The heartache. The awe of life’s mystery and majesty. Being claimed by the divine feminine, the fierce love of Shakti. Eye gazes. Warm cuddles. Dancing to the rhythm of the drum.

  84. Once again Katrina beautiful reflections on living the “good” life.
    Thank you for your thoughts.

  85. I have 2 girls the same age as your boys Katrina. I found your books several years ago when one of my girls was away starting her life in a university 5 hours away by plane and a younger daughter still in high school. I too was trying (and still am) to find my new purpose. I often say I felt like a Chief Operating Officer in a company who was laid off without compensation. 🙂 Anyway, at the time that was my biggest problem. 2 1/2 years ago my younger daughter was diagnosed with a most serious illness that started as back pain. She is the strong one not me. She has been through surgeries, chemo and radiation. This is not what I had ever imagined for my life or more importantly her life. I find reading your blog and reading other books you suggest such as Priscilla Warner’s “Learning to Breathe” really helpful. Thank you!

  86. There are always things I should do, but the days I love are the ones I allow to just unfold in front of me.

  87. Susan Baron says:

    My seminal book is Mitten Strings. It completely changed my view of parenting. Thank you.

  88. Wylie Hunt says:

    As always, Katrina, your words bring tears to my eyes, and I will definitely read both these books you have suggested. As I watch the mindful parenting my eldest daughter is doing with my granddaughter, I am awed by the love and grace, and ever hopeful that the seeds I planted have come to fruition. Thank you….

  89. Count me in too! I agree with this philosophy whole-heartedly. When my children were younger, we stayed on the go constantly. One day I realized that I was keeping them so busy, they couldn’t just “be”. That’s what it’s all about.

  90. Thank you Katrina, again and again for your posts, for your sharing of your heart, of life’s questions and answers (?) and of other wonderful ‘guide posts’. I too found you, and your wonderful books just as I was facing my oldest son leaving for University. Reeling with uncertainty I appreciated knowing that someone else was also going through loss and discovery along the way.
    I now find my self in sort of a sideways spiral – as I have just returned to work after 20 years at home raising my family. My absolute joy in life – taking care of my family, and now I feel as though I am floundering a bit to realize the purpose of this upheaval (other than the financial need) – I feel as though I am carrying it like a weight. Ridiculous, I know, other people work to provide for their families, my light has just dimmed a little.
    Thank you sharing the wonderful Priscilla Warner’s Learning to Breathe, for Amy Neighbour VanEchaute’s beautiful posts, and now for this recommendation of Thomas Moore. I do appreciate sharing this ‘Magical Journey’ with you as a fellow traveller. ♥

  91. Pease count me in. Thank you!

  92. as an artist I try to find the sacred in every thing I do. I am always amused that when I type sacred I usually type (by mistake) scared first. I take it as a reminder its scary to be mindful, to sit and find the sacred in my everyday rather boring but wonderful life.

  93. Your memories of a childhood filled with the enchantment of ordinary moment resonates so strongly with me. It is time to re-visit Tom’s earlier book, dip into his new one, and continue reflecting on yours!

  94. Katrina,
    As always I am inspired and moved by your sharing. As someone who is always seeking to journey deeper spiritually, I would love to read this book by Thomas Moore. I have been truly inspired by all of your books – there is something about the way you write that really connects with right where I am. Thank you

  95. Your blog posts come on days I need them! Thank you! From a young mother very inspired by you!!!!!

  96. Please count me in!

  97. Linda Rosenfeld says:

    As always your wisdom and profound essays are most heartily appreciated. Your
    three books sit on my shelf as quiet mediations for Life’s daily challenges. I refer friends to them. I remember when my children were small, the laundry had piled up,
    and the sun was shining…the laundry will still be there. But a beautiful day spent swinging on the swings with my then 3 and 6 year olds, was there anything closer to heaven than that? I would love to have you count me in! My children are now 22 and
    25, and I am still hopefully re-inventing myself and appreciating the “gift of an ordinary day” to paraphrase you. Thank you for making me grateful every day.

  98. Please count me in, thanks!

  99. Hi Katrina

    As always, your words inspire me. I find it neat (and not surprising) that you are inspired as well. I love how we pass on our inspiration from and to other people. Thanks for bringing your gift of writing and noticing to the world. I am a grateful receiver of your gift:)

  100. Heathers Willoughby says:

    Count me in! Love your books and blog!

  101. Count me in, too! Thanks!

  102. Tamara Hansen says:

    Please count me in.

  103. Few things in life are truly random, I’ve learned it is the Holy Spirit among us!

  104. My busy days of carpools, practices, games, homework, classes are done. Whenever I see young mothers my heart whispers to them, “Slow down, look around, don’t forget to enjoy.” Thank you for sharing your memories and thoughts, they truly inspire me. Thank you and please count me in!

  105. I love reading what you write! You are filled with joy and honesty and you ALWAYS inspire me!

    I was raised with no religion (always felt I was missing something); became a Sikh at age 15, wore a turban to high school when I was 17. And became what I call an Unorthodox Sikh by the time I was 30……I practice in my own way. Chanting, meditation, prayers all feed my soul but I now practice BEING. Knowing that I am awesome and amazing in my own right and I don’t even have to do anything to prove it. 🙂 My life’s passion and path is helping humans fall madly in love with themselves. I mean how can we love our neighbors, if we don’t love ourselves?

    thanks Katrina for BEING YOU and sharing that love and joy with the world.

    love, Elizabeth, of Oregon, Human Being.

  106. how or where the sacred and the ordinary intersect – the cross (I need to remember) in my life?

  107. Once again, your writing seems to have reached the place inside me that was hungry for these words without knowing it. I stopped in the middle of trying to fit everything into an already full day and managed to sit perfectly still while I read this. This is the line where I teared up because it is the at the core of where I am at with my kids these day..”It meant trusting my children’s destinies to unfold according to a plan greater than my own.” Your books have been my constant companion over the last five years, I can imagine Thomas Moore’s book will be a great addition!

  108. Count me in too, please!!

  109. your posts are always spot on with a concern I am having that day. It is like you are a mind reader!

  110. Please count me in. These books by Thomas Moore sound wonderful.

  111. Yours is the one shining newsletter in my email that I always make time to sit down & enjoy! It’s such a pleasure & I’d love to read these books too! Hope you’re having a gorgeous day! Cheers, Lou

  112. Suzanne Troy says:

    Blessings to you Katrina and Thomas for how many blessing you two have given to so many others thru your books and all the readers they have touched. This is was life is all about. Giving to others is what it is all about. I have enjoyed reading your book Gift of an Ordinary Day. I have a daughter in college (was serious about St. Olaf but she chose Knox College instead). Two boys in high school. Life goes by quickly so I have enjoyed the reminders of slowing down from your book and from other sources that are good to have in our every day lives like church, music and anything else to keep us from the grips of reality of every day life. In turn, we can pass this on to the next generation. Thank you.

  113. I was given the book as a graduation present and I second your love of it.

  114. Coming from Catholic roots, I find the sacred and ordinary interwoven at our daily breaking of bread together—our dinner table.

    I’d love a chance to win a copy of A Religion of One’s Own, and another copy of yours to share!

  115. Carolyn Russett says:

    count me in! I remember reading Thomas Moore so long ago…but its been awhile. And since I’ve been reading your blog, I’ve been feeling that it might be time to revisit this author. This will be the perfect oppotunity. Thanks!

  116. Katrina, count me in. Raising two boys as a single mother, while in school and working too, I was on the “other side of the fence” — my kids had few organized activities, rituals, and shared mealtimes — and had to fend for themselves so much of the time. Now that I’m a great-grandmom, I sure wish I could step back in time and strike a better balance.

  117. I have read and loved each one of your books…I’ve also been moved and inspired by Thomas Moore, though the book of his that had a lasting impact on me was “A Life at Work.” It really did save me from a life of living to meet others’ expectations. Each day I find the sacred in ordinary moments of witnessing the joy of my 11-year-old son, as well as his challenges and struggles. I am grateful that I allow myself space to notice and simply be with him in these moments.

    Thank you for your writing, Katrina. It is a balm for my soul.

  118. Beautiful! i so enjoy your writing, and your books have had a similar affect on me as Thomas Moore’s had on you as a young mother. It would be a joy to receive these books.

  119. Count me in!

  120. Count me in!

  121. my job in this life is to be present, to be present in all five children’s lives – his – mine – ours… to realize the world around each of them is different, to know that I have a second of influence that can last a lifetime, to conclude that God has had a hand in all of it, every step of the way…. that moment I opened the window to the teachings and knowledge I consumed as a child in a Christian school… the foundation given me, once forgotten, pushed through somehow during extremely difficult times and during the quietest moments ever… my job in life is to be “present” – not selfish, it’s not about Me… it’s about living now and loving now.

  122. Josie Lombardi says:

    Life would be so dull if we didn’t believe in the magic we embraced as children. I have tried over the years to maintain belief. On two seperate visits to London I would not rest until we had found the statue of Peter Pan for it reaffirms my believe that there are fairies if we believe hard enough. My children are way grown and in 2013 I was blessed with a granddaughter in January and a grandson in May. In watching them grow I am blessed to see the world through their eyes and truly reconnect with the wonder that is children. There is nothing like grandchildren to do this. They bring a level of contentment unsurpassed.

  123. I have loved The Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore. It always has an honored place on my bookshelf. I’d love to read his latest book. Count me in, Please!!

  124. I first read Thomas Moore’s book back in the early 90’s when I was struggling with raising an unhappy teenager. We had all been feeling so unsettled, trying to fit into a world full of pressure to achieve and accomplish and do. I have always had a deep affection for the ordinary, simple pleasures, yet society was telling me these weren’t enough – I should be striving for the Big Experiences.

    It was so refreshing to read other viewpoints, like Tom Moore’s – to know my inherent feelings about the sacredness of everyday moments wasn’t wrong, that I wasn’t lazy or unmotivated because I wanted to spend time enjoying walks in the park or reading for hours or staring up at the sky.

    I’m excited to know he has a new book out, and I would love to win a copy. How fitting that two writers who have inspired and comforted me should be neighbors!

  125. Count me in to this giveaway! Sounds like two wonderful books. Thank you!

  126. Katrina, my kids are a few years younger than yours, and as they prepare to leave home I’m so grateful for the moments I was able to pack up in my memories – I only wish I had realized it sooner. I’m sharing “Mittens” with my new mom friends in the hopes that they realize how truly precious their child’s childhood is.

  127. Wonderful thoughts from the heart. Thank you.

  128. My sacred moment is when my 2 daughters, ages 17 and 14, will crawl onto my bed at 11pm and start telling me things without me asking…they are sharing a part of themselves with me and I soak those moments in. I’m very lucky to have my girls. They are sacred to me.

  129. Count me in. I would love to read this new book by Thomas Moore. I have always admired his writing. Wow – you two are neighbors. Isn’t that just remarkable?

  130. For me, it is morning where the sacred and the ordinary meet.

  131. Please count me in. Both these books sound like interesting reads. Thx.

  132. Well, there certainly are a lot of folks here already, but yes, “Count Me In”, please.
    Two NH literary treasures…..how blessed are we!! Namaste.

  133. I too remember Popsicles for 10 cents. The flavor burst of sweetness and sour of “Orange” or, on special days, the elusive secretiveness of “chocolate”. Thanks for starting my day off with such lovely memories.

  134. The way you describe your experience reading A Religion of One’s Own is precisely the experience I had upon my first (of many) reading of The Gift of an Ordinary Day. If this is the book that gave you such profound wisdom as a parent, then it is one I simply must read as well.
    Please include me in your giveaway, and thank you for the recommendation.

  135. I see that I have 2 new books on my reading list …. The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life is one I will be eager to begin right away, as my children are still young and our lives are very full…. wonderful, but full.

  136. Please count me in. And just want to say you have a very inspirational blog.

  137. Lori Hibbard says:

    I would love to read both of these books and then do as I always do – pass them on!

  138. Marnetta White says:

    Count me in! i have read all your books, loved them, given as gifts, recommended them to other. I love your blogs too.

  139. Yesterday a woodpecker flew into my picture window. Temporarily stunned, she was unable to fly, so I picked her up, marveling at the intricate patterns on her feathers. If you’ve ever had the experience of holding a wild creature, you know how this feels. I kept her quiet in a box for a while, until I heard movement. Taking the box outside, I opened it and watched in awe as she flew off through the trees. Ordinary and sacred.

  140. Mindfulness– a great mantra. Please count me in!

  141. Hi Katrina,
    I am always looking for books for my just made shareholder lawyer daughter who also has a I year old baby girl…to give her perspective, and another lawyer daughter who is a precious gem…and dealing with her own issues…to give her perspective. It is always about perspective. And 3 years ago…assuming we would not have grandchildren and realizing we needed To fulfill our dream, we tore down and rebuilt our NH “camp” in that wonderful hill town off Rt 31. That is our happy place…and now for our daughters and baby, a bonus! We always say to people who ask us what we do…we say ” Not a thing, but the days are jam-packed!” That’s what makes their memories.
    Thanks for this insight.
    Holly in Texas

  142. Sharle Kinnear says:

    My children are all grown now, but the wisdom of letting them just be children infused my parenting while they were small . . . Hours spent at the beach, in the mountains, biking in Yosemite Valley, watching tiny seeds grow in the garden, caring for bunnies and kittens, and always always always staying in awe of life’s wonders! As I watch them with their own toddlers, I hope the lessons they learned about the miracles of life will infuse their parenting as it did my own . . . Childhood, alas, is all too brief!

  143. bookboxer says:

    These all sound like such wonderful books. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

  144. Would be honored to win these books!

  145. what a profound posting, Katrina….it’s just what I needed…food for my soul. thank you!

  146. Count me in!

  147. Katrina, Tom Moore’s words inspired you like Wendell Berry’s inspire me. Count me in! Thanks and keep on keepin’ on!

  148. Lisa Cabral-Lane says:

    It was my pleasure to meet you for the first time in Exeter, NH on Tue night. Thank you for taking time to sign my book and to take a photo with me. I have purchased several of your books and given them as gifts to my close friends. I have recently nudged & supported my daughter into a 2yr community college program @ LRCC where she is majoring in Baking/Pastry…which is an achievement for both of us as I (am a single parent) and she (wanted to quit HS when she was 15….) …do together we are sharing a ” Majical Journey”…inspired by you and my determination to not let her give up……
    Being present at the church in Exeter NH on Tue to meet both you and Thomas Moore for the first time was “food for my soul” as in additional to parenting 2 teenage/early 20’s children….I have been working full time and a long distance caregiver to my dad. He resided in Tiverton, RI…so I have been traveling from NH to RI 2-3 times a week for 2 1/2yrs He was 88yrs old and passed away a few days before Christmas.

    I also have an 8yr old Border Collie…named Lilly and was very sorry to hear about loss.

    It was a pleasure to meet you on Tue…thank you so much for your insight, inspiration and the few minutes you spent with me on Tue night. Godspeed…. Continued success, health and peace on your journey!

  149. Your story of your experience with these books sounds as inspiring as the books themselves. Please count me in on your giveaway!

  150. I’ve been so excited for his book to come out. I can’t wait to read it! And yours!

  151. Count me in!

  152. I’d love to read those two books ! Thank you, Katrina, for your wonderful blog : it is so inspiring !


  153. Your writing hit me like an Aha rock in the head. My own mother has parented this way, and reading your words filled me with gratitude for her and a lesson for my own journey in motherhood. I can’t wait to share your book and Moore’s.

  154. Katrina, we value your advice as you value Thomas Moore’s! Thank you for always giving us the opportunity to grow.

  155. Wow Katrina! So many responses to this post! Hopefully everyone picks up a copy of Magical Journey and Tom’s books to become enchanted with our own magical, ordinary, and blessed days! I have many stories to share, but see you have many to read already. So instead I will simply say thank you for being our mentor!

  156. Karen Shuman says:

    Reading many of the comments above all I can say is just “ditto”. And please count me in!

  157. Hi Katrina,
    Just when I put one book down, there is another waiting to be picked up. Your thoughts, feelings and book recommendations are truly valued.

  158. I’d love copies of both books. Thomas Moore’s, “Care of the Soul,” is on my beside table, right next to, “Ordinary Day.” That others share my desire to lead a more simple, spiritual, discerning life is gratifying.

  159. Count me in 🙂

  160. Burndett Andres says:

    Sounds like my kind of books. I cobbled together my own personal philosophy of life (religion) many years ago and I find the sacred and the mundane intersect every minute of every day. It is truly a wonderful, blessed way to live life. Thanks for this opportunity to share.

  161. Charlotte says:

    Reading your books and Tom’s is like a balm for my inner being. You both put written words on the page that I as a reader resonate with the heart.

  162. Thank you for considering me in the giveaway! Would love to read these!

  163. Thank you for considering me in the giveaway! Would love to read these!

  164. I think Tom’s book would be so right for me right now. Thanks for the chance to be in the giveaway!

  165. Count me in!

  166. This book sounds wonderful, especially with the word “enchantment” in the title. You inspire me so much that I would love to know more about someone who inspires you. Please count me in.

  167. This giveaway would be cherished and very special. Thanks for this feature.

  168. I am reading and pondering along with you. 🙂

  169. Nothing is more sacred and ordinary than family dinner, a walk in the woods with my husband, frogging with my daughter or sitting in the stands cheering on my son. It is watching my cat bathe in the sun, the pot of stock simmer on the stove, or the snowflakes cover bare branches. Your words have inspired me to cherish the dailiness of life, and to find the richness in even the most mundane. I am always open to more inspiration so please count me in.

  170. ZThe Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn did this for me many years ago, deep in babies and toddlers. Now that I have four elementary-aged, I realize I lost the lesson along the way, as needs and routines changed along the way.

  171. Katrina Kenison says:

    Congratulations to Mary Ann, winner of a signed copy of “A Religion of One’s Own.” Thanks so much to all who entered and thank you, too, for sharing these glimpses of the sacred moments in your own lives. The holy and the ordinary are so often beautifully intertwined; all we have to do is notice and be grateful. I can’t recommend Tom’s book highly enough.

  172. Thank you once again Katrina for inspiring me and at the best possible time ie just when I need it the most. I have read and loved Thomas Moore in the past I am glad he has written a new book. I will be sure to look for it in my bookstore

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