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Everyday Sacred Journal

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  1,195 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
"When I started this journey I was hoping to find a miracle, one that might dramatically change my life. What I found was far more important: the extreme importance of small things."

Like the vibrant yet simple quilts that spoke to her heart and led her to live with the Amish and to write the New York Times bestselling Plain and Simple, the empty begging bowl is the powerfu
Published November 25th 1997 by HarperOne (first published 1995)
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Karen Floyd
Mar 21, 2010 Karen Floyd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women, memoir
A slender book, but full of wisdom and great stories. I find something new every time I read it. "We ourselves make each day what it is. The fortunate and unfortunate will always be with us, but our responses - maintaining dignity and equilibrium - to whatever befalls us, determines whether the day is good or not."
Jul 07, 2009 Lia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: simple-life
This book never quite made it for me. I kept waiting for it to develop. But instead it just hung out in the "half-formed" stage throughout the entire book. The author might have something to communicate, but she never quite gets there. She offers what amount to be a whole bunch of starts for what could be enlightening essays--but they are only starts. Sometimes the starts had moments of nice inspiration, but they never went further. Her tone also bothered me: somehow she came across as condescen ...more
A collection of short thoughts about life, relaxing, and appreciating the little things in life. Beyond making the mind calm, the content of this book is really not that inspiring.
Jan 24, 2015 Connie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well written inspiring book.
Jan 02, 2013 Lavonne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book to start out a new year with. Affirms previous resiliency training.
Feb 06, 2017 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
lovely book.
Mar 07, 2012 Thamar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So when I was reading this book It seemed like a writer just jotting down feelings, thoughts ect... (which in most part it is) But I didnt get it. many short thoughts I felt like I needed the master to help me understand it. it was still a "white painting" that I didnt get. Some of them I understood and could relate and knew I had to apply to my life. It was "enlightening" So I thought about giving it maybe a 3 stars but as I read on and on I understood more. Of course like I previously said the ...more
Jun 24, 2008 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dear friend gave me this book years ago, when it was first published. I read it then and remembered liking it. So the other day, desperate for something to read and no car to get to the library, I pulled this off the shelf. Usually this style of writing irritates me--short vignettes that often completely disconnected from the preceding vignette. I often feel like the author is condescending to share insights with me, but I'm too stupid or too slow or too something to get it. But Sue Bender's s ...more
I think the jewel in this book is the idea behind the writing: that monks used to go out into the community everyday with a begging bowl to ask for sustenance. And whatever the monks received was what they were grateful for and what they used for nourishment. Bender's idea (as well as the idea presented behind many philosphies) is that we should see whatever is put in our bowls each day as a gift. While I've heard this idea before, it came as a reminder at the right time.

Beyond that, I felt that
Sep 30, 2011 Suzyberry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sue Bender is an author not to be missed. This book is chock full of incredible thoughts, deep ponderings put so beautifully into words. Yes, everyday is sacred, and when you have read this book you will look at the world around you in a different and more wonderful way. A book to be savored, underlined and with a notebook nearby so you can write down your thoughts as they arise. All of her books will inspire you to do the same...they will touch you and make you think of all that is so wonderful ...more
Susan Schefflein
This is a book to savor over a period of time. Read a little bit and then think about it. Let it soak into your soul. Let it teach your soul how to grow. I found, much to my surprise when I finished, that I read the book for the first time as long ago as 2000. Then, I read it again in 2008. Now I have read it for the third time in 2016. Sounds like a pattern. Why do I keep reading it? I am a perfectionist, as is the author, Sue Bender, and as she learns how to not listen to the critic on her sho ...more
Apr 15, 2015 Robin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I wasn't sure I'd finish this book. There was a slow, almost sauntering pace to it, and for some reason I was expecting it to wow me with quick insights. Reading it was like taking a walk with someone who moseys and dawdles when you're in a hurry to get somewhere. It was when I was forced to slow down and look around that I realized the book's value to me. Among the many small lessons I learned, the biggest was not to approach a book with expectations. Better to enter it with anticipati ...more
Subtitled "A woman's journey home," Bender uses the image of the begging bowl as she continues her account of her search for "peaceful wisdom and simplicity." Zen monks go out each day with an empty bowl in their hands, gaining nourishment for the day from whatever is put in the bowl. So too, should we approach each day afresh, with our bowls waiting to be filled, and we will find at the end of that day that extraordinary things,some so small we may be tempted to overlook them, have come our way ...more
Apr 18, 2009 Tina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For people who fight perfectionist tendencies, this book provides a great perspective on finding the perfection in imperfection. Sue Bender meditates on the image of various simple bowls, and the lessons she finds in them are life changing. The pottery bowl that is a little off center, the begging bowl of the monk that accepts what ever is placed in it, along with others provide opportunities for reflection on what really matters in life. This is another book that I re-read periodically when I f ...more
Mar 08, 2012 Clara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good reminder to appreciate the wonders of what's right in front of you, to revel in the ordinary. The author uses the metaphor of a monk's empty "begging bowl" as a metaphor throughout the book. The monk accepts for his sustenance whatever food is placed in the bowl, whatever the offeror is willing to give. Similarly, Sue Bender discovers that seeking the big spiritual revelation may be keeping her from receiving the small, meaningful learnings that surround her. There are some lovely stories ...more
Debbie Hoskins
My writing consultant suggested I read this. I'm working on a book about labyrinths and visual journaling that also includes personal stories. I use labyrinths throughout my book. Sue Bender uses the image of the begging bowl in a similar way that I would like to use the labyrinth. Sue Bender has a deceptively simple writing style. She describes the creative process and the friends and teachers she meets along her journey.
This was more like a collection of personal thoughts than a book. There are some thoughtful sentiments for appreciating the bounty in our lives but there just wasn't enough of a journey in the story to make it at all satisfying to read.

This was my book club read for this month and the group was in agreement that this book felt like it was phoned in. We weren't sure who the intended audience was but felt that it wasn't us.
Lezlee Hays
Dec 21, 2011 Lezlee Hays rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This kind of worked it's way into my psyche and truly made a little dent in the way I think, observe the world, process things. Her ruminations are lovely. It's a quick read if you want to read it all at once. But it can also be a slow read if you want to savor it in little bits. Now that I've read it I will probably go back and read it again. There are great insights here. Her thinking is circular and tangential. But that's kind of the point.
Apr 27, 2008 Alauna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book had some interesting ideas, and some stories and quotes that I liked. Overall though, I found this book to be disorganized and hard to follow at times. She would tell a story about one person, then move to another story, and then a few chapters later she'd come back to a previous story. It got kind of confusing at times because I couldn't always remember who each person was and what their purpose was in the book. I don't know if she remembered either.
Jan 11, 2014 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will admit, this book was not what I had expected. I thought it might be more of a story book with a plot. It is a wonderful collection of thoughts and experiences not only is the author but of many people who crossed her path during normal days, challenging days, just "every day". Most of the stories are very brief, but provide wonderful insight into what lies just below the surface of life. I found many of the stories encouraging and thought-provoking.
Jul 01, 2008 Lorie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book because it validated a lot of feelings and experiences I have had over the last three years. My "journey to nothingness", I call it, to set aside perfectionist thinking and seek the sacred spirit in my everyday life. It involves slowing down, saying "no", and allowing yourself to find pleasure in the hum-drum. If you haven't already been down this road, this book can help.
I understand her first book is really good, written after she spent a year with the Amish. This one is more Buddhist. It has some wonderful insights and nuggets of wisdom, but my honest reaction to the overall effect was, "It's time to quit finding yourself and get on with life!" Fans of self-realization books will love it, but I just liked it.
Oct 09, 2016 Penelope rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, fall-16
Some inspirational anecdotes, but I was hoping for a bit more structure or more of a...well...journey, as the title promises. It did make me want to read Bender's previous book, about living with the Amish. It also made me want to read M.C. Richards' work, which Bender cites a few times. I like the drawings throughout the book, and that the stories are short tidbits--perfect bed time reading.
Jun 07, 2016 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Follow up to the author's first book, Plain and Simple. Bender continues her quest to find meaning in her life and art. In this book she focuses on the bowl as a shape. Bender asks lots of questions and includes many short quotes or anecdotes. Like Plain and Simple, it made me think, and would bear re-reading.
Oct 13, 2008 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I picked this book up, love the cover, from the many boxes of books that my recent college grad brought home, and I'm so glad I did. It is as beautiful on the inside-
great feel good spiritual biography.
Aug 24, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I enjoyed reading this book. She has some good insights and short stories regarding "being in the moment", embracing mistakes, and related deeper lessons life teaches if you listen. I would read this again.
Jan 06, 2012 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books. Love that it's written in a journal-like way. It is a book that made me examine the Atonement more closely and our Savior's hand in our lives. It made me more grateful and I found myself delighting in the everyday..
Sep 03, 2011 Michaela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author has a quirky but engaging style and her observations are right on the money. Refreshing too as although her thoughts and observations are very Buddhist, she doesn't meditate. Really a book about mindfulness and karma and very uplifting.
This is a good book to remind us of some important things -- listening, being grateful for what we have (or don't have), our relationship to our inner critics, what we can learn from others. This is a quick, easy read.
May 28, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book found me in a stack as I was checking out. Very personal account of a woman struggling and finding herself through the metaphor of a begging bowl. Some of her musings resonated with me dearly. I hope I run into her some day in a cafe in Berkeley.
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Born in New York City, Sue Bender received her BA from Simmons College and her MA from the Harvard University School of Education. She taught high school in New York and English at the Berlitz School in Switzerland. She later earned a Masters in Social Work from the University of California at Berkeley. During her active years as a family therapist, Bender was founder and Director of CHOICE: The I ...more
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