Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Lost Art of Gratitude

I am so grateful for what Alexander McCall Smith continues to teach me about writing and about being human. In the world of adrenaline pumping television dramas and novels, The Lost Art of Gratitude is a welcome change of pace. Nothing much happens in the story, but so much about life is conveyed. The descriptions of Isabel’s feelings toward her lover Jamie and her son Charlie are priceless. The storyline about Brother Fox connects us to what it is to have compassion and to love. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book:
“Books are not mute, she thought; they have things to whisper…”

Monday, September 21, 2009


Alexander McCall Smith’s first chapter of the second “book” of Corduroy Mansion begins today on the internet, and a new chapter will be published every weekday through early February. Reading the opening sentence, I am quickly reminded why AMS is one of my favorite authors:

William French wine merchant, Master of Wine (failed), somewhere in his early fifties (hardly noticeably, particularly in the right light), loyal subscriber to Rural Living (although he lived quite happily in central London), long-time supporter of several good causes (he was a kind man at heart, with a strong sense of fairness), widower, dog-owner, and much else besides; the same William French looked about his flat in Corduroy Mansions, as anybody might survey his or her flat in a moment of self-assessment, of stocktaking.

Two weeks ago I started writing Kata’s Cadence, which is essentially an extension of what I have been writing for our church the Sundays that I conduct the service. Each day I write a prayer, affirmation, blessing, or brief observation. Like the rhythm of my life, the tone can vary from day to day.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Bookfilled Journey

Life presents us with all sorts of marvelous opportunities for journeys. In recent years I had become concerned that I was reading too many self-help books. I rarely read fiction. When my aunt went into assisted living I began to send her books, mostly novels, but I was somewhat concerned about what I was sending her. For good reason!! I didn’t know they could print some of this stuff without a warning on the cover!! One of the benefits of my reading books before I gave them to my aunt was finding the works of Alexander McCall Smith and other wonderful authors.

So, when I made my New Year’s resolutions for 2009, I decided that I would read at least 52 novels. In February I added to that resolution that I would also read at least one author for each letter of the alphabet. As I have finished each book, I have listed the title and the author in my small notebook. Not only have I been reading books this year. I have also been exploring the imaginations of over 26 authors.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Directed Change

Sometimes, when we don’t have the courage to change, everything changes around us to direct us to a new path. You cannot stop yourself from growing—evolution requires it.
The Secret Daily Teachings