Tuesday, December 15, 2015

An Evening With Karen Drucker

a Stepping Stones Books and Gifts sponsored Event

with musician and author
Karen Drucker

Share an intimate evening with Karen Drucker as she sings, answers questions, and shares her experiences writing, performing, and sharing positive music with the world. This is a unique opportunity to be one of the first to hear songs from Karen’s new CD, Joy In Our Hearts. MC Jennifer Mann will guide the conversation which will include audience questions, and Karen will be joined by her wonderful backup singers, Annie Stocking and Allyson Paige. You won’t want to miss this one-of-a-kind event.  Seating is limited so make sure you get your tickets early.

Date:  Friday, January 22
Time:  7pm
Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa
2075 Occidental Road

Karen Drucker has recorded 15 CDs of her original inspirational music, and is the author of an inspirational book, “Let Go of the Shore: Stories and Songs That Set the Spirit Free.” Among her many accomplishments, she has been a professional comedienne, led her own band for corporate events, and has been the music director of New Thought Churches, as well as music director and “ music weaver” for many spiritual conferences and retreats. Karen has been honored with an Honorary Doctorate of Music for her work within the Religious Science Community, and a “Grace Note” award for her work within the Unity Movement.

Tickets are available online for $15 at Stepping Stones Books and Gifts, and at Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Book Review: The Zen Commandments

by Dean Sluyter

“A saint is a very simple man: when he walks, he walks, when he talks, he talks, and that’s all.” This is one of the many quotes Dean Sluyter uses in his book, The Zen Commandments. He maintains this simple style and approach as he weaves text and stories, both ancient and modern, that support us in applying spiritual principles to our day to day living. He is brings clarity and practicality to finding, as he says in the subtitle, inner freedom. As someone who has read many books on Buddhist teachings, I am very happy to have come upon Sluyter’s book. He leaves out all the jargon and complicated systems, and dives right into how to bring the simple instructions of Buddhist teachings into real life situations.

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

The Zen Commandments  is available from Stepping Stones Books and Gifts.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Book Review: The Wisdom of the Native Americans

Compiled and Edited by Kent Nerburn

“All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the children of the earth.” This is a quote from Chief Seattle in Kent Nerburn’s book, The Wisdom of the Native Americans. This book is a refreshing read, with its simple words and teachings. Nerburn gives an overview of the understanding of the indigenous peoples of our country, along with the call to rethink how we live and treat the earth and the life upon it. It brings home the awareness that the oneness spoken of in our teaching includes all beings, all life, including our resources, forests, waters, and the land and air itself. The wisdom of the indigenous peoples drives home that we are a part of creation, and not in charge of it, and reminds us that in a oneness of life we must embrace and respect all life. It can seem by our senses and individual awareness that we are somehow living in life and not woven into the very thread of creation. This book serves as a deeper understanding and invitation to be aware of our way of participating in all that we are and all that we do.

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

The Wisdom of the Native Americans  is available from Stepping Stones Books and Gifts.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Book Review: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Islam

by Yahiya Emerick

The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Islam by Yahiya Emerick is just that, a thorough introduction to the history and teaching of Islam. The author starts with the importance for Westerners to understand Muslims, who are spread throughout this country and the world. These are our neighbors, both across the globe and next-door.  Emerick presents the historical background of the religion and then goes through the many aspects of this teaching, many of which are either totally unknown or misunderstood by Westerners. He uses clear definitions, and clarifications from teachers, as well as actual quotes from the Qur’an and other sacred texts.

This guide both presents a extensive exploration of the teachings as well as going through the many spiritual traditions and practices. Included is a comparison of Islam to other faiths of the world. Emerick does a wonderful job in opening our minds and hearts to this most beautiful and sacred teaching, based on love and devotion.

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

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Islam is available from Stepping Stones Books and Gifts.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Free Event: An evening with the editors of Cry of the Nightbird

A Stepping Stones Books and Gifts Free Event

Cry of the Nightbird:
Writers Against Domestic Violence

with editors Michelle Wing
Ann Hutchinson and Kate Farrell

Date:  Friday, October 2
Time:  7 pm
Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa
2075 Occidental Road

In Cry of the Nightbird: Writers Against Domestic Violence, thirty-eight writers speak out in more than fifty prose and poetry pieces of a hidden tragedy: violence in homes, living in fear, and forced silence. Authors from every walk of life and every aspect of this difficult issue raise their voices as one to end this silence, to bring freedom and release for themselves and others. These words will inform and inspire readers: give them eyes to see, a way to express, and motivation to act.

Michelle Wing, Ann Hutchinson and Kate Farrell are three Sonoma County residents who became involved in the five-year project, Changing Hurt to Hope:  Writers Speak Out Against Domestic Violence.  Together, they edited the results of the project and worked together to get Cry of the Nightbird published to make the message available to a broader audience.

Michelle, Ann and Kate will be speaking about the project and the book, which also contains a resource guide for services in Sonoma County, the state and the nation, a basic introduction to the dynamics of domestic violence, a reading list and a history of the Changing Hurt to Hope project.

Please join us for this informative Free Event.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Gangaji Returns to Santa Rosa

Stepping Stones Books and Gifts


An Evening with Gangaji

Date:  Friday, October 23
Time:  7pm
Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa
2075 Occidental Road

This is an opportunity to gather together and closely investigate the truth underlying our daily life experience. Many people meet Gangaji for the first time in this community setting. Gangaji will share her direct experience and invite comments and questions from members of the audience.

Gangaji is a teacher and author who travels the world offering the invitation to fully recognize the absolute freedom and unchanging peace that is the truth of one's being.

Tickets for this event are $20 and are available at Stepping Stones Books and Gifts store, online at our website, or at the door.

We hope to see you there.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Book Review: The Pathway of Roses

by Christian Larson

The classic, The Pathway of Roses, by Christian Larson, has been on my bookshelf for years. The first thing I need to say about this updated version is that, as a woman, it is refreshingly easy to read in gender neutral language. The publisher, Newt List, has done a wonderful job in seamlessly taking out the language, which has for eons, left women feeling slightly excluded from the text. 

In his book, Larson beautifully marries the understanding of our consciousness as that which brings forth the experiences of our lives with the deeper practice of living from the awareness of the one life, the one true source and reality. He makes it clear that we are not just simply changing our thinking, but more accurately, learning to see from a higher perspective, and then to live from this new vantage point. He invites us to dwell in the words of Truth that lift us up and then amply supplies those words. In this way, we become imbued with the greater truth of our being, the knowing that we and life are whole and wholly one.

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

The Pathway of Roses is available from Stepping Stones Books and Gifts.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Free Event: Real Life Rituals

a Stepping Stones Books and Gifts Free Event

an evening with Rev. Karyl Huntley

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

Rev. Karyl Huntley's book REAL LIFE RITUALS is a resource book for many ministers, ministerial students, practitioners, officiants of various ceremonies, individuals, and families. It is also used in college classes, and found in an occasional garden shop. Join her as she talks about the power of ritual and how we all can deepen our joy in this earthly life by incorporating ritual into our lives at important times.

Sacred teachings of the ancients and the wisdom of the earth have been a part of Karyl Huntley’s life always. Ritual and ceremony have played important parts in each era of her life, as well. She has had careers in high school teaching, college publishing, and New Thought Ministry. More recently, she is the author of Real Life Rituals  and also writes for her website: www.AncientWisdomOnline.com. Each year she guides journeys to sacred sites, where she leads her groups in prayer, dance, and ritual, based on the spirit of the land and its ancestors. In each area of endeavor, her love of universal wisdom teachings and earth-based spirituality have enriched her experience of life and the experiences of her congregations, students, travelers, and readers.

Rev. Karyl is an ordained minister and lover of the "old ways." She is an author, ritualist, and earth-based spiritual teacher. She is a guide to inner realms within one's heart and a guide to ancient sacred sites in lands near and far.

"It is my deepest desire to assist individuals and groups to a heartfelt experience on the sacred in their lives and the blessings that are available through a well-crafted ritual or a meaningful journey to an ancient land. The impact of such an experience goes beyond words to soul-satisfying comfort and wisdom."
—Rev. Karyl Huntley

Saturday, June 6, 2015

What is the Book of the Month Program?

Each year the Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa selects 12 books to enhance and inspire the spiritual paths of our congregants, providing them with the means to delve deeper into each month’s focus. The book of the month program is very popular because there is a sense of belonging and cohesion that arises when a spiritual community studies and practices together. There is a common language that is created and experienced when folks are reading the same books at the same time. And there is an increased opportunity for dialogue—exchanging ideas and expanding awareness while walking together on common ground.

In the month of January, we read Wisdom Walk: Nine Practices for Creating Peace and Balance from the World’s Spiritual Traditions by Sage Bennet. April’s book was Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh. And in October we will read The Wisdom of Native Americans by Kent Nerburn. These are just a few of the books from the 2015 reading list. The reading list contains books that are steeped in depth, knowledge, and inspiration.

You can find a complete list of this year’s books on our website at:

Happy reading.

Written by Martha Salazar.

Free Event: 4 Steps to Deeper Intimacy with Self and Other

A Stepping Stones Books and Gifts Free Event

an evening with Susan Campbell

Date:  Friday, July 10
Time:  7 pm
Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa
2075 Occidental Road

In this mini-workshop, Susan Campbell, CSL member and co-author of 5 Minute Relationship Repair, will help people use their fears as a portal to deeper self-compassion, self-awareness, mutual healing, and intimacy.  Specifically, you will learn:
  • How to heal the one fear that underlies such common conditioned fears as the fear of abandonment, criticism, rejection, control, and the like;
  • What to do when one of these core fears gets triggered in an adult relationship;
  • How to repair relationship rifts caused by such fears in a way that deepens love, trust, and intimacy.
This workshop is designed for both individuals and partners.
Susan Campbell, PhD, has authored nine books on relationships and conflict resolution, has delivered hundreds of seminars and workshop internationally, and has counseled thousands of individuals and couples. In demand with the press, radio and TV to help interpret the status of contemporary human work and love relations, she has appeared on CNN’s NewsNight and Good Morning America and Dr. Dean Edell.
Some of her more well-known book titles are: The Couples JourneyBeyond the Power Struggle, and Getting Real.
Her most recent research and writing has focused on dating – a scene widely regarded as fraught with tension and lacking in directness—and she proposes an exciting new model for dating and relating in her book, Truth in Dating: Find Love by Getting Real.
This free event is sponsored by Stepping Stones Books and Gifts. No Reservations or Tickets are required.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Free Event: An Evening with Rev. Jane Beach

A Stepping Stones Books and Gifts Free Event

Date:  Friday, June 26
Time:  7 pm to 8 pm
Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa
2075 Occidental Road

What if you knew for sure that God was real? Not the God you learned about, but a Higher Power that’s personal to you? How might your life change?
What if you knew that this Higher Power cherishes you just as you are, no matter what terrible things you’ve done or what your life looks like today? How might your feelings of self-worth shift?
Rev. Jane Beach, will talk about her new 3-workbook series, How to Build a Relationship with the God of Your Understanding, that addresses these questions, and more.
Rev. Jane is a regular contributor to Science of Mind and Creative Thought magazines, and a prolific writer of spiritual curricula. Her classes are taught in many Religious Science Centers, as well as at the Institute of Noetic Sciences and Unity churches.
Please join us for this evening with Rev. Jane. No Reservations or Tickets are required.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Book Review: Simple Taoism

A Guide to Living in Balance

by C. Alexander Simpkins and Annellen Simpkins

"What is preached should be put into practice — only then is it called speech and action without defect." This is one of the quotes woven into the book, Simple Taoism, A Guide to Living in Balance by C. Alexander Simpkins and Annellen Simpkins. This sweet little book flows like the Tao itself, anchored in nature with its natural rhythms and balances. The authors start with the history of Taoism, introduce its basic teachings and practices and then touch on some of the many art form that incorporate Taoism, from martial arts to feng shui. Not only does the reading invite you into the experience of the gentle connection and flow of Taoism, but I found the body practices helpful in bringing me the sense of grounded vitality, which is such a big part of the teaching. The book really is simple, exemplifying the simplicity of the Tao.

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

Simple Taoism, A Guide to Living in Balance is available from Stepping Stones Books and Gifts.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I look for gift items you are not likely to find anywhere else

I have the delightful job of purchasing products for Stepping Stones Books and Gifts. I take my job seriously and I have fun doing it! I’m a researcher by nature. I like to gather information and I enjoy studying the buying habits of our customers. When customers wander around the store, I like to observe what they are looking at, what they are touching, what they actually pick up, and what makes it to the cash register. This tells me which items are moving, which items are drawing attention, and which items are collecting dust.

I’m always on the lookout for fabulous gift items. I attend the San Francisco Gift Show twice a year and work closely with representatives of numerous vendor lines. I also study catalogues and trade magazines. I visit websites of other stores, in and out of the area, to see what they are carrying. I look for items to inspire, to enrich, to calm, to soothe, to comfort, to induce smiles and laughter, and to bring joy. I look for gift items that represent many different faith traditions and that our customers are not likely to find anywhere else.

I do all of this because I want you to consider Stepping Stones Books and Gifts your go-to place for that special gift.

Martha Salazar

Friday, April 17, 2015

Lisa and Erika in Concert

a musical event
sponsored by Stepping Stones Books and Gifts

Date:  Friday, May 15
Time:  8 pm
Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa
2075 Occidental Road

"Listen to the beat of the Global Heart"...
—A lyric from Lisa and Erika's new hit Corazon Global

Fire and honey. Lightning and gold. Lisa and Erika give birth to music born of the earth and destined for the heavens.

These two extraordinarily talented artists are far more than the sum of their parts. The music they create awakens the soul and stirs that which raises the consciousness of oneness and joy!

Erika Luckett has been awarded numerous International independent music awards and acclaimed songwriting including Album of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Female Artist of the Year, Vocalist of the Year...two Emmy awards and an Oscar nomination!
Lisa Ferraro is an accomplished songwriter whose latest Jazz Standards recording climbed the Billboard Jazz charts in 2014. She is recognized as having one of the most dynamic, soulful and delightfully rich voices of our time!
Tickets for this event are available online from Stepping Stones Books and Gifts, and at the Center for Spiritual Living Santa Rosa.  Advance tickets are $15.  Tickets will be available for $20 at the door.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Many Kinds of Books

I’m happy to report that in the age of e-books and electronic reading devices, my customers also enjoy reading “regular” books. I’m talking about books that are printed on paper—hardcover or paperback. Books that you can hold and thumb through, and smell. Books that take up space in your bookcase, on your night stand, on the table next to your favorite chair, on your coffee table. Books that call out to be read.

We are a community of spiritual seekers. We want to know more about ourselves and our relationships with others and our relationship to the Divine. We want to expand and grow and be inspired.

There is a great deal of wisdom and knowledge available at our fingertips. Ernest Holmes, the founder of our teaching, wrote over a dozen books, many of which we carry in our store. Other influential authors in our teaching include Emma Curtis Hopkins, Thomas Troward, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ram Dass, Deepak Chopra, and Joel Goldsmith, to name a few.

There are a great many spiritual teachers who write about their journeys, and by doing so, they inspire us to find our unique, personal paths. Authors like Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, and Osho.

In Stepping Stones Books and Gifts we also carry books on overcoming fear, on forgiveness, meditation, practicing peace, feng shui, love, living and dying, and everything in between.

Our store has a wide variety of not only books, but unique gift items as well.
We hope to see you soon.

Martha Salazar

Friday, April 3, 2015

Book Review: Living Buddha, Living Christ

by Thich Nhat Hahn

In rereading Thich Nhat Hahn’s book, Living Buddha, Living Christ, I realize that Thay, as he is called, is not only comparing Buddhism with Christianity, but he is also inviting us to be living expressions of these two great spiritual teachers. He creates a clear parallel between Buddhism’s dual aspects of wisdom and compassion and the Christian teaching of knowledge and love. In this way, he establishes the thread that connects these teachings in order to bridge the communities into a greater understanding of the same ground upon which they both stand. He calls to us to drop our differences and to embrace each other in our common goal of bringing peace to our world. Living Buddha, Living Christ does more than bridge a gap between religions, it offers a broader foundation from which to practice our individual paths.

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

Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hahn is available from Stepping Stones Books and Gifts.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Why Quality Matters

As manager and buyer for Stepping Stones Books and Gifts, I spend a lot of time and energy finding new products for the store. Whether I am perusing products at a gift show, looking in magazines and catalogs, or meeting with sales representatives, I am always on the lookout for items that support our Center’s vision of a world that works for everyone. I also take into consideration the price point (the wholesale cost of the item versus how much I need to charge for it in the store) and, most importantly, I scrutinize everything to determine its quality.

Quality is an important consideration for a number of reasons. I purchase products to sell in the store that I would buy for my home for personal use. I am very careful about how I spend my money, and I think that our customers are too. I would not feel good about selling something that is not going to hold up under normal wear and tear. I want to feel good about what I am selling and I want our customers to feel good about what they are buying.

My intention is to create long-term relationships with the folks who shop at Stepping Stones. I want to turn customers into friends by making sure everything they purchase is of good quality. That’s what friends are for.

By Martha Salazar
Manager, Stepping Stones Books and Gifts

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Variety of Gifts

It’s nice to have something for everyone.  People sometimes come in to our store looking for a specific item, and they leave with something else entirely.  Probably because we spend a lot of time seeking unique items that you won’t find elsewhere.  Looking through our inventory stimulates creative juices and often our customers will leave satisfied that they found the perfect gift, and something for themselves. 

We had a customer come in from a utility company looking for a retirement gift for a Buddhist colleague.  Because they didn’t know much about Buddhism they felt concerned about selecting an appropriate gift for a Buddhist. 

We love the opportunity to help customers learn about other faiths.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Social Media And The Joy of Helping

Hi, don't mind us.  We're doing internal renovations.  Re-linking social media connections. 

We are learning about the power of Social Media and the difference between clicking "Like" and "Share" so that we can invite our readers and volunteers to help us raise awareness of our beautiful store.

Did you know that there is a substantial difference between the power of Like and Share?  Yup, you have amazing powers at your fingertips.  Think of like as a "thumbs up" and share as a personal endorsement.

Don't forget a comment!  Wow, the power of a comment.  Your friends are more likely to take your word about a product on our store, than a paid advertisement.

We'd love to enroll you by inviting you to share links you find interesting, comment on products that have caught your eye.

And, tell us what kind of posts you'd like to see here!


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Book Review: Experiencing Spirituality

by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketchum

Reading Experiencing Spirituality by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham reminds me of a line I once heard, "good stories make us good." Throughout the text of this book, the authors interweave stories, both ancient and new, that bring their lessons alive. This is the power of stories and the richness of Experiencing Spirituality. It is through the blend of teaching and stories that the ineffable becomes present as an experience. The stories point the way, but even more, they open the heart beyond mere intellectual understanding to a living teaching, a felt experience, hence the title. The book is mind expanding, heart enriching and soul inspiring.

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

Experiencing Spirituality by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketchum is available from Stepping Stones Books and Gifts.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Free Event: Affirmation Mantra & Meditation

A Stepping Stones Books and Gifts Free Event

with Dr. Edward Viljoen

Date:  Friday, March 13
Time:  7 pm
Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa
2075 Occidental Road
Experience the meditative power of repeated, rhythmic, melodic prayer in a group setting both in English and Sanskrit. Complete 108 recitations of one of Hinduisms most beloved mantras, the Asatoma Chant from the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad.

Learn what each word means and how to pronounce it. Then sink into the beautiful rhythm of affirming the ancient prayer.

Please join us for this exciting and meaningful evening with Dr. Edward.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Book Reveiw: One River, Many Wells

by Matthew Fox

I love reading Matthew Fox’s One River, Many Wells. In this book Fox presents a thorough and deep study of the foundation under all the great world religions, the thread (river) that flows through them all. But more than this, he offers the sweet whisperings of the Divine, that still small voice that has been with us throughout the ages. One River, Many Wells is a book to read over and over again, for it becomes a spiritual practice of hearing the voice celestial, a call home to our inner sanctuary. Fox invites us to keep expanding our understanding and experience of the Divine, and thereby deepen our understanding of our true selves. Well done Mr. Fox...

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

One River, Many Wells by Matthew Fox is available from Stepping Stones Books and Gifts.

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