For me, and I am hoping for you, this past year of writing and reflecting on how to live more soulfully has been fruitful and revelatory. What I have learned over this year is that I have to be more intentional, disciplined and encouraged to live soulfully. If I am not careful, I can easily find myself right back on the well-traveled path of busyness, where my life runs me, where I rush here to there, only experiencing the surface of things. I leave little room for grace to work in my life. I have to demand more for myself. If you will have me, I would love to continue the journey with you in September. I feel I have barely scratched the surface on what it means to be a “SOUL-FULL” human spiritual being in this world! I have some extraordinary guests lined up for my Soulful 7 Conversations this Fall, many prayers and spiritual reflections waiting to be laid onto paper, delicious recipes, and so much more! I’m feeling inspired, and I hope you are too!
Summer is my sabbath, my sacred time with family and friends, my chance to read the stack of books that has been collecting on my bedside table, and most importantly, my invitation to set out on many an adventure! Although I will be stepping away from my computer and the Bread and Honey blog over the summer to fill my cups, you can follow me on the Bread and Honey instagram on all my adventures! I have a lot of “soulful” adventures up my sleeve!
Following is a curated list of books that I’ll be packing in my suitcase! There is something here for everyone! I would love to hear what you are reading! As they say in France, A Bientot…..see you soon!
I relish a food travelogue/memoir, especially if it is set in France and waxes eloquently about eating croissants! One More Croissant for the Road, by British food writer cookbook author, Felicity Cloake, has received glowing reviews! She cycles 2,300 km across France in search of the definitive versions of classic French dishes. The book promises humor, recipes, and an abundance of reasons to buy a plane ticket to France! It arrives stateside this summer!
Some of my all-time favorite summer reads, like The Elegance of the Hedgehog and Hunters and Gatherers were discovered in the European section of bookstores. Martinez’s French sensation, The Threads of the Heart, has been compared to two of my favorite authors, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabelle Allende. I am always up for mystical realism and beautiful, lyrical writing. I’ll be packing this one for my trip!
My Wish List is a bestseller in France. The protagonist of the novella is a forty-seven year old mother, wife and fabric shop owner named Jocelyn. She has been married twenty-one years, raised two children, a closet blogger and the local fabric shop owner in a small town in France. She wins the lottery. Her life on the outset appears small, uneventful, and absent of dreams. Imagine what 20 million dollars could do to “upgrade” her life. Or not. I read this in one sitting. I came away so grateful for the small and ordinary gestures and experiences that make a life significant and beautiful! Actually, they are the secret to soul joy!
Top on my bucket list was to go to Albuquerque, NM and meet the Franciscan priest, Richard Rohr. He is one of my favorite spiritual authors and mentors. His latest book, The Universal Christ is one of his very best. I have basically highlighted every sentence in the book. He believes God has, is and will always be in the thick of creation beginning to end! If you are looking for a read that will stretch, encourage and inspire your faith, read The Universal Christ!
In my recent Soulful 7 Conversation with my mom, she recommended several books that have inspired her faith. Top on her list was Frederick Buechner’s three-book spiritual memoir: The Sacred Journey, Telling Secrets and Then and Now. Her all-time favorite spiritual novel was Victor Hugo’s literary masterpiece, Les Miserables. I am betting once you read both of these, they too will find top spots on your eternal booklist!
Recently, I had the pleasure to meet Laura Lea at her studio here in Nashville. She invited me to taste-test some of the dishes she is working on for her much anticipated second cookbook. Instantly, I fell in love with her! She is just one of those people that radiates that contagious joie de vie! And she loves food and making mischief in the kitchen just as much as I do! This is a cookbook and chef you will fall in love with! I sure did!
This has been the spiritual book of the spring for me! There are so many nuggets of wisdom in here for living a deeper, more sacred life. I really appreciated his vulnerability and unabashed curiosity and excitement for the spiritual journey. This is a perfect Father’s Day gift, but make sure you buy yourself one too!! His interview with Oprah on SuperSoulSunday is really illuminating!
Who knew a love story between two Oxford Scholars (one a vampire, the other a witch), set in Oxford and France could be so good! Pack this one for the beach. And the British release of the TV series, A Discovery of Witches on Sundance, is a summer treat!
When I interviewed Anne Stauffer for Soulful 7 Conversations she couldn’t believe I had not read this iconic book! Maya Angelou said about the book, “I am grateful to Women Who Run with the Wolves and to Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés. The work shows the reader how glorious it is to be daring, to be caring, and to be women.” This one is packed for the summer!
Fingers crossed, I am hoping to visit Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hanh’s spiritual retreat in the southwest of France. In preparation, I will reread his bestseller, Living Buddha, Living Christ. Thich Nhat Hanh has this beautiful and gentle approach to the human and spiritual experience. Like the Christian theologian, Saint Augustine, he is convinced “We are restless until we find our rest in God.” His entire life and ministry of spiritual mindfulness is dedicated to helping souls like mine and yours find our being, our grounding and our peace in God. Follow me on Bread and Honey instagram to experience Plum Village with me!
A friend thought I might appreciate this quick twenty minute conversation with Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love, Big Magic and most recently City of Girls. I especially loved her quote from Big Magic as a call to how we can approach the soulful, creative life: “The universe buries jewels deep within us all, and then stands back and waits to see if we can find them.” Life is an eternal adventure! I have two friends who have recently suffered great losses, one, her father, the other, her unborn child. For anyone who is grieving, Gilbert also gives some beautiful insight and tools for seeing your way through.