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Saturday, June 16, 2007

This woman is one I had as a professor a couple times during my time at Wheaton College, and I have deep respect for her. Each of her books that I've read have been both enjoyable and challenging. This book speaks about what it might mean to be content in our day and age. Two of the phrases she uses repeatedly are 'mellowness of heart' and 'walking gently'. We are given an example of walking gently in the way McMinn writes, speaking truth in ways that can be heard without condemnation. The end of each chapter has a series of questions, which comes from the Quaker background in which she was raised, reminding the reader that if something is read it can easily be forgotten .. but if it is pondered and applied to my life the ideas will stay present much longer.

On the surface, many of the pieces of advice and ideas that McMinn shares are easy to do: finding my limits and keeping them; taking time to savor and enjoy this moment; taking care to value and work to create community; remembering. But as with so much of life, those things which are simple are not necessarily easy. McMinn comes to this topic with an acknowledgment that she still has much to learn, and is on the journey as her readers may be. At least a couple of times the idea of mentors is raised, perhaps not people who are formal mentors, but those who are older than us who live well and in doing so call us to walk as they do. This idea, of looking for traits you value in others and then imitating them, is echoed throughout creation, (like baby ducks imprinting and following whomever is in the room with them when they first hatch,) and probably for very good reasons. Having examples of humans to follow and be encouraged by can give us the strength to choose well today, as we slowly learn how to walk gently.

Title:The Contented Soul: The Art of Savoring Life
Author: Lisa Graham McMinn
Date published:2006
Genre: Nonfiction, Spiritual
Number of pages: 174


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