Five Tips for Having Great Conversations with Your Reading Group

October 22, 2017

The process of building meaning in our lives results from navigating the tension we feel between what we believe and what we experience. Books and stories help us build more meaning

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The Value of the Soul Reading Journal

October 22, 2017

As you consider whether or not the Soul Reading Journal is for you, you might have questions about the cost of the book and/or whether or not you have the time to spend to filling out the records pages. I hope this post might

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Not Just for Books

October 4, 2017

While I often write about books in this blog space, I see the practice of Soul Reading as being about so much more. Reading, in its broadest definition, is about taking in and making sense of new information. And like other contemplative activities,

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Soul Reading as a Way of Life

September 20, 2017

Part I of this series explored what it means to live a soulful life. I ended that post suggesting that Soul Reading can be viewed as a contemplative and active stance in the world and not just a way to approach reading

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Living a Soulful Life

September 5, 2017

This is Part I of a series exploring the highlights of the past year while also taking stock of what this blog is all about. If you have a friend who is a soulful reader, this series would be an inviting place to join the conversation.

What does it mean

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Lectio Divina

July 29, 2017

Soul ReadingTM is based on the ancient practice called Lectio Divina.

Lectio Divina can be pronounced lex-ee-o or lek-tee-o. Either is correct. The term is simply Latin for “divine reading.”

It is believed that Lectio Divina was formalized as a practice by Benedictine monks in the middle ages,

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Faith Practiced Through Friendship

June 26, 2017

If you’ve been following these pages, you know how important Brian McLaren’s book, The Great Spiritual Migration was for me. In trying to breathe new life into Christianity, he beautifully articulates this important difference between faith and beliefs:

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Connection Through Time, Space, and Imagination

June 3, 2017

American public life is deeply troubling to many of us right now. As a society we seem to be in deep denial about our interconnectedness. I offer an interesting retro reading list this month that illustrates the need

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Good News!

May 17, 2017

Something very exciting happened recently and it came about unexpectedly and quickly. A new position called a Connections Coordinator was created at my church and I felt a call. I entered a period of discernment and tried to convince myself it wasn’t the right “fit”

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Five Ways to Use the Soul Reading Journal

April 24, 2017

If you’ve been following the Soul LibrarianTM on social media or looking at the Products tab on this website, you might have encountered the Soul ReadingTM Journal. It is a tool to help you bring more mindfulness to your reading and it specifically helps you to follow the Soul Reading method.

This article is for people

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The Stance of Oneness

March 19, 2017

The soul quality I’d like to explore this month is Oneness. This is the idea that we are all interconnected, that we live in union with one another. It’s a big concept and it can be hard to wrap one’s mind around it, let alone live into it as a soul quality day after day.

For me, oneness asks me

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Journal Worthy?

March 18, 2017

I have a good friend, someone who gave me feedback during the creation of the Soul Reading Journal and received an advanced copy back in September, recently confess to me that she hadn’t yet gotten up the courage to use the journal. She thought the journal was too pretty

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Soul Reading Goes to the Movies

February 26, 2017

I would like to invite you to consider using the Soul Reading process and perhaps the Soul Reading Journal for films…

While the journal is presented as a tool for book readers, its essence is to help you appreciate and learn from all stories. So give it a try and see if it’s a tool you might want to use to gain more meaning from the films

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Compassion for Self and Others

February 17, 2017

In Krista Tippett’s lovely TED talk on compassion she attempts to resurrect the concept. She views compassion as a “spiritual technology” that is in desperate need today. But she also talks about compassion not as a solution, but as a set of signs that signal

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It’s in the Waiting: Review of The Invention of Wings

January 21, 2017

In her 1990 book, When the Heart Waits, Sue Monk Kidd teaches us about waiting. She sees waiting as a sacred time in which are hearts find the grace they need in order for us to transform our lives:

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Reckoning with the Past: Three Books Confronting “Hinge” Moments

January 16, 2017

One of the qualities that sometimes distinguishes a kairos moment is that it feels like a hinge – either drawing on something from the past and sparking a memory from deep within or awakening us in such a way that we know we are changed somehow. These hinges can be as simple

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Soul Quality: Kairos

January 10, 2017

One of the soul qualities I’m striving for is Kairos.

The ancient Greeks were so attuned to the various aspects of time that they created two words for time in order to differentiate types of time.

There is chronos, which is how we normally think of time, marked hour by hour, day by day, year by year, using calendars and other measurements to do so. And then

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Change is Coming

January 7, 2017

So many of us use the changing of the calendar to try to make changes in our lives. I am trying to make some important ones this year to improve my health and my energy level. There is so much I want to do and I need to give my body a better opportunity to hang in there with me for more years than its current trajectory.

I made this playlist

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Soul Reading is a Weaving: the Best of 2016

December 29, 2016

As I talk to more and more people about Soul Reading, the most common question that I get is about what types of books to read. The first impression my project gives some people is that Soul ReadingTM should only be focused on spiritual books.

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Waiting and Preparing

December 12, 2016

I cannot lie. This past month since the presidential election has been rough. The divisions that were exposed in the weeks leading up to it and in the immediate aftermath have been painfully revealing. And they are everywhere. We are divided in our churches. We are divided in our communities. We are divided

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November 2016 Poem: From Christian Wiman

November 18, 2016

This blog is ultimately concerned with the hard hard work of love. Part of this hard word is uncovering and seeing, really really seeing, the truth. Related to this is the hard work of stretching to see things in new ways. Poems give us alternate perspectives through which to view the world

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Reading and the Soulful, Political Life

November 13, 2016

My friends and even my readers who have only been following this blog for a few months know how much I love plans. But sometimes plans get in the way of letting me be in the moment. This blog is about reading and the soulful life. And right now, the zeitgeist of America’s

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Roles and Communities: Greater and Lesser Expectations

October 28, 2016

I have suggested in Community: Nonfiction Reading List that they way we think about community is tied up in how each of us performs our own unique calculus between individualism and collectivism. We intuitively know that the greater good requires individual

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Community: Nonfiction Reading List

October 12, 2016

The word community can mean different things to different people and may even shift in meaning for you across your life. This isn’t so surprising when we consider that the word community shares its root with so many other relevant words: communion,

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The Soul Qualities I’m Striving For

October 4, 2016

It can be incredibly challenging to live a soulful life in a world that seems to be constantly telling us that we should be striving for money, status, power, certainty, and perfection. Our world is a 24/7, competitive, globally-connected place where it can be hard to hear oneself think and nearly impossible to get in touch with our deepest

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Tell Me Something Real: When Change Finds You

September 22, 2016

The Soul Librarian tries to help readers who are soul seekers bring more intentionality and mindfulness to their reading. The Soul Reading process and the lens through which many books are suggested and reviewed on this site are geared toward building awareness in our lives that might lead

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Soul Songs: Four-Songs for Facing Change

September 22, 2016

Facing change, whether self-initiated or in response to circumstances can be hard. We need motivation and energy to keep us on track and to keep up our hopes. Sometimes we might even need to channel anger or fear. Music can help when we need these boosts.

Here is a four-song playlist for facing change.

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Change is in the Air

September 14, 2016

It is September, a time of change. We start to feel summer slip into fall with shorter days, cooler temperatures, changing light, and changing colors. Kids go back to school and many of us still feel that old rhythm of the school year with the itch to buy pens and notebooks and learn something new.

The Desire

As the easy and more carefree days of summer give way,

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Soul Reading: Four Lessons from the Spiritual Journey Series

September 14, 2016

Last week I recommended a set of pilgrimage books and if you’ve read even one of these, I imagine you might be inspired to someday undertake your own pilgrimage. In the meantime, you can practice Soul Reading on your own virtual mini-pilgrimage through the pages

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Spiritual Journeys: Three Books Exploring Deep Discovery

September 1, 2016

In the popular creativity guide, Walking in this World, Julia Cameron suggests a number of discoveries that can be made by walking. She calls all of these discoveries senses. She suggests we can discover a sense of adventure, perspective, origin, momentum, discernment,

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The Power of Stories to Expand Our World: A Reflection

August 29, 2016

During this summer, my church has been focused on the readings of the Hebrew prophets – Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. These prophets call on the people (us) to take a long, loving look at the real – to really see very clearly the causes of what is ailing us – our powerlessness, our grief, our meaninglessness. To do this they try to strike at our emotions through metaphors, stories, and prophesies. If we can feel something new then maybe we can see something in a new way?

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Multiple Choice: A Review

August 25, 2016

If the previous two books on the August 2016 Reading List have offer gentle nudges to pay attention to how stories can expand our worlds, Multiple Choice by Alejandra Zambra kicks us in the pants. Yes, stories have the power to expand our world, but it is ultimately our choice to let them. Further,

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The Faraway Nearby: A Review

August 22, 2016

Rebecca Solnit’s 2013 memoir, The Faraway Nearby is one of my favorite books. There is so much depth to mine within it that I hesitated to include it on the list this month. I think I could read it a dozen more times and get so much more out of it, how could I do justice to it after just one thorough, savoring

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All the Light We Cannot See: A Review

August 17, 2016

This month we are exploring the power of stories to expand our worlds. The first book on the reading list for this month is Anthony Doerr’s novel, All the Light We Cannot See, a critical and popular favorite published in 2014.

Imagine it’s the 1930s in Europe…

Werner is a boy living in Germany.

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August 2016 Poem: From Rabia

August 12, 2016

This month we are celebrating the ability of stories to expand our worlds. One way stories expand our worlds is by helping us shift perspectives and see things through different eyes. Poems also give us alternate perspectives through which to view the world and they often do so in order to help us touch the emotional

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Expand Your World Through Stories: A Three-Book List

August 7, 2016

In one of my first posts, I described the purpose behind this blog as being, in part, about my recognition that “through stories our little worlds can expand infinitely.”

I am sure many of you can relate to this. Maybe you don’t have the time or resources to travel as much

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Soul Librarian Reading Lists: A Note

August 7, 2016

How are the Soul Librarian Reading Lists created?

  • Beyond building reading lists around a monthly theme, here are some other criteria for book selections that I try to follow:

The focus will be on fiction, but you will also see some memoirs, personal essays, and occasionally other nonfiction

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Modern Lovers and Mismatched Expectations

July 31, 2016

One of the tenets of Soul Reading is that books not only shape us, but that we also shape the experience we have with a story. In other words, we each bring something different

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Words of Wisdom: Inspector Gamache Series (1 – 3)

July 25, 2016

If you’ve read Being Caught Up is a Good Place to Be, you know that I am immersed in reading the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. I’ve completed the first three books and I am completely captivated by the world of Gamache and the characters who live in Three Pines.

My biggest aspiration for myself is to be as Penny describes Clara – both sensible and sensitive.

This post is simply a sharing of some of my favorite quotes from the first three books

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Being Caught Up is a Good Place to Be

July 23, 2016

Well, I’ve come nearly full circle since I wrote Dryness in the Reading Life. I am currently racing through the Inspector Gamache series. I started Still Life on July 10th and I’m trying to read
the first 11 books in the series

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All Souls Trilogy and the Immortality of Love

July 15, 2016

Today is the two-year publication anniversary of The Book of Life, the concluding volume of the wonderful All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. The Book of Life followed

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Three Fun Summer Reads About Families and Money

July 11, 2016

In Eligible, Charlotte Lucas states:

Sometimes it amazes me how much these defining parts of our lives hinge on chance.

The following three-book series are all stories

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Soul Librarian Art: A Note

July 1, 2016

If you’ve been following this site you know how tickled I am with the design help I’ve received from the Meyocks Group in West Des Moines. What they do is amazing and makes me proud to show off whatever I am working on.

What might surprise you is that the art work that has inspired the designs for Soul Librarian is actually my own.

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Sweetbitter and the Terroir of Cynicism

June 29, 2016

Sweetbitter is a fairly straight-forward coming-of-age story about a young woman who moves from Ohio to New York after college to build and exciting and culture-filled life. The story follows Tess through her first year

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A Partial History of a Happy Book Club

June 14, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, my good friend, Naomi, who has been in a book club with me for roughly 15 years now, asked me to send her whatever lists I had of the books we’ve read. I have been the organizer or scribe for the past six

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Beyond Outrage: Questions for My Violent Heart

June 12, 2016

So one week after I read the account of the victim in the Stanford Rape Case and followed the public anger and outrage during the week on social media, how do I make sense of this story? Can it change me?

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Soul Reading the News

June 12, 2016

Like many others, I was taken in this week by the story of convicted rapist, Brock Turner. Like others, I was angered and outraged that someone convicted of crimes facing a potential sentence of 14 years, could get off with so light a sentence of six months.

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Being a Soul Reader

June 8, 2016

Although you will find plenty of reading recommendations on this site that I believe will bring you insights and I do believe I benefit greatly from bringing awareness and intentionality to what I read, there are not prescribed books in order for you to become a soul reader. Instead of shifting what you read, being a soul reader asks you to change the way you read.

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Grace and Loss: A Three-book Series

June 5, 2016

There are times when I feel like my reading life takes on a theme for a short time. Sometimes I haven’t really noticed, but all of the sudden I’ve read two or three books in a row that are all set in England during World War II or that deal

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Reading and Our Soulful Lives

May 27, 2016

Why did I feel the need to create a whole new platform about reading and soul seeking?
The short answer is that reading has brought meaning and transformation to my life.

From my earliest memory of reading picture books like

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Our Kids and Soul Reading Nonfiction

May 14, 2016

As you begin to explore the Soul ReadingTM process I think it might be most obvious how this process can be used with novels and memoirs – traditional stories with protagonists facing a challenge that needs resolution.  But I have tried to design

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Soul Songs: Four-song Quick Chill Out

May 14, 2016

When you’re not feeling so soulful, how do you calm yourself down? One of my best tricks is music. There’s almost no stress in my life

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The Neapolitan Novels: Soul Lessons for the Social World

May 14, 2016

Oh how I love Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels! This four-book series shifted my perspective forever about what novels can do. I’m not alone in my adoration for these books

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The Soul Reader’s Stance as a Traveler

May 14, 2016

The travel season is starting for many of us and if you’re like me, you appreciate air travel, car travel, and beach time as good opportunities to plow through some books. But as soul reader, there is another way to look at travel.

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Dryness in the Reading Life

May 14, 2016

I love how life has a nice way of throwing irony our way to keep life interesting.

Just as the idea for the Soul Librarian platform and Soul Reading Journal began to take shape and take up much of time, my own reading life became dry.

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