Orchards of Perseverance: Conversations With Trappist Monks About God, Their Lives and the World (St. Therese's Press, 2000)

I purchased this book at Vina Monastery, a place where I often go to meditate, pray and write. The monastery’s book store draws me like a magnet. This book is an excellent “inside” view of the personal side of the monks’ journey. Orchards of Perseverance contains part and parcel of the origin of the Vina Monastery.  Nine monks share first-person accounts of their own stories. Perata records each one’s monologue as if they are talking to us. The stories often focus on how and when God started calling them toward their vocation, then the struggles and the joys of living as a monk, and the rigorous but gentle way their lives are directed by God and those who lead them. I found it fascinating in many respects. First off, I realized that I had some of it wrong. Some of my assumptions about monastic living were incorrect. It’s not so much about “duty” (my assumption) as it is about seeking God and embracing His presence. One of the beauties of living as a monk is the opportunity to grow in a centered relationship with Christ. However, even though there is less distraction than on the outside, there is more awareness of self and self’s problems. The journey is as much about facing one’s own self as it relates to one’s need for God in a very  difficult but beautiful way. This book is also some about the author. As a boy, he spent time with a friend at the monastery. Throughout his life he has participated in visiting the monastery on many occasions. His love for the place and for the brothers is apparent. Orchards of Perseverance is an interesting read for anyone who enjoys monasticism and asceticism. The book opens with helpful information concerning Cistercian Trappists’ roots. I enjoyed this book.

Mother Teresa and the Spirit of Thanks-Giving

In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.

In Her Own Words, quotes by Mother Teresa   http://www.slideshare.net/PAAVANJ/mother-teresa-slide-show-by-paavanj

Thanksgiving is a powerful concept. Thanks and giving are two outwardly focused ways of being. Giving because we all have something to give. Being thankful for what we have and what is our good fortune. Some take this further. Thanks and giving is their life’s mission.

I think of Mother Teresa. She gave to the poorest of the poor.

Helpful Tools for Living a Well-Differentiated Life (10)

Open the gate.

Yesterday at Cafe Coda, I am visiting with my friend sharing life. She is telling me about a life-changing event in her life. I have a few things I would like to say, but I remain silent, listening to her.  I listen intently while she talks. It is the third time we have met in less than a month. I am observing positive changes in her life as she chooses to move forward, but it is hard-won at that. I offer a few comments but nothing substantial. It is my desire to be a good friend to her as best I can. But I do understand the pit she is mired in. Anyone who has fought hard to win your own sanity and to find your own self will identify with someone else going through it.

I share a picture with her about how I see life as a series of gates. You become aware of an area of needed growth (the gate), then it becomes your choice whether to open the gate, to remain where you are at, or to back-track to where you’ve been before. What is on the other side will change you, that, you know in advance, but you don’t know exactly how and in what way until you enter the enclosure on the other side of the gate. You don’t know what you don’t know. She nods in agreement and then shares a gate she recently opened that is sustaining her right now, giving her grace during this time of great need.

Need Some Feedback, Here. What do YOU think about these books?

Get that cup of cola or mug of coffee, set a spell, and read this post if you would. Thanks. I would really appreciate an answer to the question at the bottom. Please leave a comment. Much thanks. Norma

I am in the process of writing four book queries this week to submit to an agent at “Books & Such” for consideration.
Here are the books I am submitting….all nearing completion except no. 5. I believe my writing is strong enough that one or more will be picked up by traditional publishing. However, there is a caveat. Not only does a book need to be well-written, but the publisher must be convinced that there is a market for the specific type of book. Next will be the book proposals to match the queries. These have to be ready before one can submit a query in case they are interested in knowing more. I will self-publish books 1-4 if they fail to attract interest.

I am curious what YOU think. Do these books resonate with you? Do they have a potential market?