See Mom* Read: New Virtual Book Club

I have recently been able to get back into reading books again – wahoo! I have been reading some books lately that I think many other moms (or parents) might like to read so I thought I would start a virtual book club of sorts in order to share these great books with you.

My goal for this virtual book club is twofold:

  1. To share books that I find interesting, moving, funny, or inspiring – and hopefully open your eyes to books or authors you may not have heard about. Since this is a website for parenting tips, the books I read and share will relate to parenting or motherhood in some way, but they won’t necessarily all be non-fiction “how to” type books. 
  2. To promote the joy of reading to other adults, who will hopefully then model the joy of reading to their kids. (Hence the name See Mom Read.) I love to read and I hope my kids love to read one day. What better role model for an emergent reader than mom curled up on the couch with a great book!

I plan to keep these monthly book reviews short and sweet; just the basics of what the book is about and what I liked most about it (if I liked it, that is). So let’s get this book party started!

*I mean no offense to other parents or caregivers by using “mom” in the title of this book club. I chose the name for simplicity and since I will be reviewing the books from my role as a mom. I hope other parents and caregivers can find value in these books and book reviews as well.

Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment

magicaljourney

I saw Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment on the “New Books” shelf at my local library this January and decided to give it a try. This is the latest book for author Katrina Kenison.

What’s The Book About?

This memoir encompasses the author’s life around some difficult midlife changes: the death of a friend, children leaving home, physical changes, as well as shifts in her marriage. She tells her story, her challenges, her questions, her process of deciding her own path, her search for “What now?”.

Once her role as a mother to young children at home changes, how will she shape the rest of her life? This question might be hard to answer for many women once children grow up and leave home. I am deep in the “young children at home” stage of my life (kids’ ages are 6 and 1.5) so my immediate thought was that this book might not be for me – yet anyway. But the story of this spiritual journey intrigued me – and I am glad I read it now. It gives me something to think about for the future, for sure, but its message of creating meaning in your life NOW is always of value.

Here is a video excerpt from the book:

If you can’t see the video, click here.

I Almost Quit Reading It

As I read the first chapter, I thought it was going to be a great book; I was excited to read it. Then as I kept going, it just seemed too sad and gloomy, depressing. Too many questions and no answers yet. I admit that I almost quit reading it. Sure it was a bit of a downer to read about the death of her friend, but I was also uncomfortable with the talk of “shifts in her marriage”. What did that mean? What would happen once a couple’s biological reason to be together is complete? I admit that it was my own fear of my own unknown future that really bothered me (and not the author’s work) but it was a struggle to pick up the book and keep reading day after day.

But I’m Glad I Kept Going!

But I stayed with it and I am glad I did. I enjoyed learning about her yoga teacher training and Reiki training,  surprised that someone else mentioned this little-known healing, since my husband was interested in it many years ago. I also liked seeing the various other ways she incorporates her passion, skills, and interests (her art) into gifts she gives the world. She realized that the love she gave her children can be offered out into the world in other ways. I really like thinking about it that way and am already thinking of my own gifts that I can give.

Quotes I Liked

I ended up really liking how she thinks and approaches different aspects of her life and I found great wisdom in her words, which I appreciated and I soaked it all up. I think some of them make very inspirational quotes.

I really liked her mentioning the Metta Prayer of loving kindness and how she uses it (p. 175).

May they/we be happy.

May they/we be safe.

May they/we be well.

May they/we be peaceful and at ease.

And one on page 189:

…The most beautiful achievement of life is not the self-sufficiency I was once so keen on asserting, but enduring, meaningful connection.

And to make the thought even more concise for me:

…The most beautiful achievement of life is […] enduring, meaningful connection.

And one on page 196:

…What matters most is not the size or scope of the work we do, but the intention behind it, the love that fuels it, the satisfaction of doing it.

That last quote really resonated with me as I sometimes struggle with my job as “just a mom”. While I am confident in my choice to stay home and raise my children, sometimes society’s subtle (and not so subtle) attitude against stay-at-home moms can cause my confidence to waiver (just temporarily though). When I read that last quote I am buoyed once again, absolutely sure I am where I should be at this time in my life.

It means to me that now and in my future aspirations, I no longer worry about what anyone else might think about what I choose to do with my life. What may seem like small, unimportant work to some might be feeding the soul of others. As long as I know my intention, my love, and my satisfaction, that’s all that matters.

Great advice, Ms. Kenison.

Other Work by Katrina Kenison

I have not read any of her other books, but part way through reading this book I realized I have heard about one of her other books: The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother’s Memoir. I remember a few years ago watching this touching video about realizing and appreciating the gift of an ordinary day, narrated by the author (be prepared for tears):

If you can’t see the video, click here.

Where to buy Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment?

You can purchase Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment on Amazon.com.

Next Book in See Mom Read Book Club

In February I read Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting and I can’t wait to share this review with you!
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Have you read the book? If so, share your thoughts in a comment below!

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Wendy – ParentingTips365.com
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