Thursday, March 16, 2017

Book Review: Daring Greatly


How the Courage to Be Vulnerable
Transforms the Way
We Live, Love, Parent and Lead

by Brené Brown


“To grow up is to accept vulnerability. To be alive is to be vulnerable.” This quote by Madeleine L’Engle is the core idea upon which Brené Brown bases her book, Daring Greatly. This is not a daring of risking life and limb but one of opening our hearts, exposing ourselves to the possibility of both hurt and great love and joy. We risk failure as we step into greater expressions of ourselves, taking risks to create, to be seen, to find success or love. She invites us to learn to live with the uncomfortable, to experience what our human hearts feel when they not guarded or closed.  Brown shows us the value of this way of being, and the steps to living it. It is living our authentic selves, bringing our whole being to life and allowing ourselves to feel the richness and fullness of our experiences. As in her other books, Brown anchors her book with her findings from her work as a researcher, bringing proof and power to her teachings. She also uses her own life to illustrate the challenges and power of this vulnerability. This is not about becoming fearless, it is about being willing to walk through our fears. She says, “Sometimes the most powerful thing we can do it just show up.” Daring Greatly is a fulfillment of our human desire to be free to be all that we are.

Review by Rev. Ruth Barnhart, a staff minister at Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa.

Daring Greatly is available from Stepping Stones Books and Gifts.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Book Review: Ordinary Goodness


The Surprisingly Effortless
Path to Creating a Life of
Meaning and Beauty

by Edward Viljoen

Once again Edward Viljoen brings inspiration with his latest book, Ordinary Goodness. In his introduction, he quotes C. S. Lewis as saying, "To love is to be vulnerable." And in Viljoen's typical style, he draws on that vulnerability, that realness of just being human, as he explores living ordinary goodness. He tells stories about his experience with his grandmother, his early role model of love and acceptance. He tells how she would often  say, “Oh for goodness sake” when incidents would occur that might bring a more profane expression from others, and then he invites us into the deeper meaning of these words. After simply reading the introduction, I already felt inspired to strive to live from this higher perspective, to live more for goodness’ sake. Throughout the book, Edward shares personal stories to illustrate his points, both with experiences where he struggled and those where he brought his greater understanding. He also offers many points of wisdom from spiritual teachers from all traditions. And woven within each section are suggestions and simple practices to support the reader in finding and living from ordinary goodness. Here is a spiritual book that is not lofty or complicated, but written for ordinary people like us, living our ordinary lives, for goodness sakes.

Review by Rev. Ruth Barnhart, a staff minister at Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa.

Ordinary Goodness is available from Stepping Stones Books and Gifts.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Book Review: Discover a Richer Life


The Path to Health, Wealth, 
and a Life of Greater Meaning


by Ernest Holmes

“Is this not the essence of prayer? Just saying to Life, ‘Here I am. I let go of everything that does not belong to God.’” This is just one of the nuggets to be found in Discover a Richer Lifea compilation of articles written by Ernest Holmes for the Science of Mind Magazine, which he started in 1927. These short articles present Holmes’ brilliant teaching in easily digestible bites. The book is put together in a way that makes it fresh and enjoyable. Covering a myriad of topics from prayer, faith, and health, to successful living and our place and value in the universe, these writings are relevant for all of us. Leaving out much of his poetic language, he addresses us with a directness that serves to wake us up to our role as expressions living in oneness . “I am lame and blind and halt without inclusion. Unity permits no division.”  A most important message for today.

Review by Rev. Ruth Barnhart, a staff minister at Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa.


Discover a Richer Life
 is available from 
Stepping Stones Books and Gifts.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Free Event: Ordinary Goodness

a Stepping Stones Books and Gifts Free Event


An evening with Rev. Dr. Edward Viljoen


Date:   Friday, January 27
Time:   7 pm
Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa
2075 Occidental Road


Rev. Edward will be discussing his new book, Ordinary Goodness: The Surprisingly Effortless Path to Creating a Life of Meaning and Beauty.


"It’s excellent!!  — Ordinary Goodness received a coveted “Starred Review” from Publishers Weekly, the largest publishing trade magazine (an excerpt from the review is shown above). The book also has received many pre-publication endorsements.
"It’s pure Edward — reading through the book, you’ll be able to “hear” Edward’s voice throughout.  It’s filled with stories and amazing teaching, like being in a Masterclass with Edward. It’s for readers of books like “Kitchen Table Wisdom” by Rachel Naomi Remen, and books by Anne Lamott. The book is deep but accessible. I believe it will bring many people into our Centers, and will appeal to a broad audience of spiritual readers."
—Joel Fotinis

Please join us for this enlightening evening.  No tickets or reservations are required.


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