Sunday, December 29, 2013

Album Review: Blessed Always


by Rickie Byers

Five ways to experience feeling Blessed Always:

I experience the feeling of being in a state of blessedness when I wake up each day to feel the breath and light of morning; a new day with blessings ahead.  My favorite way to have the feeling is to notice every bit of nature I see and wonder at the miracles of life all around me. I have found that I feel the presence of blessings in my life when I think of family or friends, knowing I am surrounded by love. As I allow myself to slow down enough to recognize the beauty of each moment, I know that I live in a constant shower of blessings. As I have grown into a way of understanding my world, I have opened to the knowledge that every situation has blessings to offer, and my definition of blessings expands. I need only pay attention.  This experience of being human is a continuous flow of blessings.

Review written by Laura Feahr, a bookstore volunteer.

The Blessed Always AGAPE CHANT ANTHOLOGY set is available from Stepping Stones Books & Gifts.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Book Review: Wisdom Cards by Louise L. Hay

I find the Wisdom Cards by Louise Hay quite easy and fun to use for many situations.  The bright artwork is energizing on its own.  For group, committee or friends gathering, I sometimes ask each person to pull a card at random.  Sharing about this can take many forms.  Depending on the intent, I suggest that each person reflect on the card and share as comfortable.  The more open people become, the more we learn about each other, our commonalities and differences.  I often place cards around the house to remind me of particular intentions I have on the front burner.  To choose one each day myself at random, I use it as a perspective for the day.  It can open my mind in unexpected ways.  If I really want to focus on one of the cards, I will leave it up on the bathroom mirror for several days.

Using these cards as an entry into my meditative art is a revelation to me. I try to take just the words as I enter into meditation, even making a mantra of them.  As I then begin to draw or paint or scribble, the words are sitting in the background having their own influence on the art, and eventually my perspective.  When my children were at home, we sometimes pulled cards to help with a decision or change we wanted to make.  These cards bring a sense of the world being contained in a way that we can hold and integrate the wisdom, simple as it is, into our daily thinking, feeling, living, being.

Review written by Laura Feahr, a bookstore volunteer.

Wisdom Cards by Louise L. Hay are available from Stepping Stones Books & Gifts.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Free Event: Back by Popular Demand

 A Stepping Stones Books & Gifts Free Event

More Original Stories by
Some of Our Favorite Local Authors

     Luanne Wolff         Susan Hagen   Barbara Stafford

Date:  Friday, January 31, 2014
Time:  7 pm
Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa
2075 Occidental Road

Luanne’s tales are rich with humor and heart as she shares her experiences of growing up on a large ranch in Wyoming.  Susan carries her pen like a flashlight to illuminate and explore the human experience.  Barbara combines humor and spirituality with the search for meaning in her quirky very short stories.

Please join us for a wonderful evening with these three lovely ladies.

A free event sponsored by Stepping Stones Books & Gifts.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


What are Affirmations?
 and Why Do They Work?

Research shows that we think between 45,000 and 51,000 thoughts per day. Wow! That’s about 150 to 300 thoughts per minute. For most people, about 80% of those thoughts are negative.  And approximately 90% of the thoughts we are thinking today get carried over to the next day.

It has also been shown that we tend to think negative thoughts when we are not aware of our thoughts.

Affirmations are a way to have more control of our thinking and to experience more positive mental activity.  Affirmations are statements or declarations expressed in the present tense with positive language. They are generally short and simple phrases that can easily be written on a post it note and placed somewhere prominent like on a bathroom mirror or computer monitor.

Think about how wonderful it could be to start the day with a burst of positive thinking such as, “I rise above all limitations” or “I am healthy and filled with energy.” Both of these affirmations come from the message card set “Wisdom Cards” by Louise Hay.  Message card sets are prepackaged affirmation cards with beautiful artwork to accompany the text. They are available on a variety of topics, but as I mentioned earlier, affirmations can be created with your own personal and specific messages, written on Post-it notes or 3x5 index cards.

Written by Martha Salazar, Stepping Stones Books & Gifts manager.

Have you used affirmations?  Even if you don't think of them by that title, or consciously create them, most of us have relied on these positive thoughts at some time.  Perhaps you have a story you can share of how affirmations have worked for you.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Book Review: The Power of Meditation

an ancient technique to access your inner power

by Edward Viljoen

The flow of the language in this book makes it feel like a conversation.  As each idea, technique, or perspective is introduced, it invites calm consideration.  The steps are easy, clear suggestions for beginning simple daily rituals are given. I leave the book with clear images of this path as accessible and quite valuable.  I have meditated for many years, and am hungry for ways to keep it fresh, to go deeper, and maintain clearer understanding of my responses to life.  The variety of examples and suggestions is wonderful. This book is packed full of information I will access again and again.

I am such a story lead reader that I am more skeptical of the interest level I can keep with an instructional book without pictures.  I am happy to find this a welcome tool for my practice, and I have new insights into my particular relationship to meditation and quiet.  I recommend this book to anyone curious about mediation and quieting the mind.

Review written by Laura Feahr, a bookstore volunteer.

The Power of Meditation is available at Stepping Stones Books & Gifts.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Why is Jizo special?

Jizo Bodhisattva is one of the most revered deities, who works to relieve the suffering of the living and the dead.  Jizo is often depicted as a monk.  While he has roots in India and China, Jizo is most often associated with Mahayana Buddhism in Japan.

Rev. Ruth Barnhart writes the following about her Jizo statue.

"I love my little Jizo statue with his colorful bib and angelic expression. I know the Jizo is a representation of the Bodhisattva, the Buddha of compassion. I know he is specifically a protector of woman, children and travelers; but what I love most of all about this little guy is how happy I feel when I look at him. His sweet smile brings a smile to my lips and elicits my inner smile. This is his blessing to me. His precious, playful nature brings out mine and opens my heart to the Divine. That is a lot to receive from such a small statue, but that is the power of the Bodhisattva."

If you are interested in having a Jizo statue like Rev. Ruth's, it is available online at Stepping Stones Books & Gifts.

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