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

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