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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Comfort Read Give-away

Do you have books you return to time and again for a good read? I call them comfort books for comfort reads and one such author, for me, is Alexandra Stoddard. I'm re-reading Living Beautifully Together. Seems strange, perhaps, because there's no together since Dave has gone ahead but now, more than ever, I need the cozy comfort, the peace, the serenity of h.o.m.e. 

The subtitle says "How to Live Graciously in a Hectic World by Finding Time to Love Your "Family, Your friends, and Yourself. There! At the end...loving myself. Dave was sick for a long time and all my energy, efforts, prayers and time was spent, willing, on him. So now it's time to think of myself and begin to build my life, all over again. Baby steps all with room to be stationary as needed; even regress a bit should need be.

My giveaway copy of Living Beautifully Together was published in 1989 and is the older willow plate with glass of red wine and yellow flowers in a basket in the back ground. This book has hundred of ways to touch lives and make a difference. At the end of each chapter, Ms Stoddard offers up Grace Notes as ways to add more to our lives. There are 3 parts, each with different sections:
Part 1: Nourishing Yourself
Part 2: Living Together, Twenty Points to Remember
Part 3: Enjoying Others, Children, Friends, 
Relations, Unknown Others

As Ms Stoddard says, "Nothing of value comes quickly. Everything is a great deal easier, however, if we open up and know ourselves better by letting our defenses down, understanding that we are all equally vulnerable.' and "The difficult struggles we've all experienced--our losses--are our muscle and strength. We learn through loss not to hold on too tightly." Yes, I am learning.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "scatter joy."

You've encouraged me to both open up and scatter joy; for that, and so much more, thank you. Your prayers have been my constant companion, along with Jesus, and keep me standing, whole even though bruised, tattered and worn, while I navigate new and uncharted waters. That's what I want to do...scatter joy so if you'd like a chance to win this book, please leave a comment and tell me one of your favorite authors, one of your favorite books and why you like both. If you'd like two chances to win, tell others about this give-away on your blog, then come back and leave another comment. I'll give it a week, then draw a name via on Wednesday next at 5:00 p.m.

It's my hope Living Beautifully Together brings you as much joy and comfort as it has me.

Blessings ~ Living Beautifully Together ~ joy ~ grace ~ comfort books ~ 


  1. Hello Sandra:
    We know, from direct, personal experience, that you really do 'scatter joy' in your daily life and we feel blessed that, through an almost chance encounter, we have had the enormous pleasure of meeting with you and, thereby, having our lives enriched. Our greatest regret is that we were unable to meet Dave.

    We should love to be included in your very generous and thoughtful giveaway but, as you will know, are in fear of the Hungarian postal service!!

  2. scatter that.
    God bless,

  3. Anne Lamott is one of my favorite authors and Traveling Mercies has remained one of my favorite books - one I would buy for someone but not lend mine LOL I also loved Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith and Grace (Eventually). But there is just something about Traveling Mercies...

  4. Sounds like a wonderful read, Sandra! I agree with Deanna's comment~ I like the term "scatter joy".

  5. This sounds like an excellent book!

    Favorite author? I love Gladys Taber- her description of home and contentment in the rhythmn of the seasons just echos my own enjoyment in these things- her words settle me, even when I don't agree with all she says.

    Favorite book? Picking even one is hard! Probably 'Mrs Sharp's Traditions' by Sarah Ban Breathnach
    It's very inspiring and again- seasonally based.

  6. I would love to be entered in your lovely giveaway, Sandra! I would love to learn to 'scatter joy' as well as you ~ you bless me with each post you write!
    My favorite books are the Classics ~ Austen, C.S. Lewis, and most especially Dickens. I have a set of his works dated 1888. They are too fragile to actually read, but it thrills me to see them on the bookshelf. Of course I love A Christmas Carol, but David Copperfield and Nicholas Nickleby are captivating as well!

  7. Looks like a great read! hope your day is going well!

  8. Oh, I do like book giveaways! And I really love the phrase "scatter joy" would make a great blog name - Scattering Joy!

    Too many authors and way too many books to choose one favorite, so I will share a "comfort" read of mine...Anne of Green Gables...

  9. Sandra, sounds like a book for
    any stage of life. Getting to go
    home Thursday. This skilled unit was super great- what a fabulous team work at the Knox Nursing Facility.
    I am walking and my Daughter Renee is coming to help get me back on my feet.I sure am excited to seee her face.. Love Yvonne

  10. I just reread her book, "Living a Beautiful Life." If you haven't read it you would like it,too.

    My comfort book is The Mitford Series by Jan Karon.

    (I already own this book, so no need to add me to the list.)

    ps. I am very proud of you.

  11. Oh I would love a chance to win the book! My mind is a blank on fav book right now!!

  12. Sounds like a cool book--I like scattering joy and am always open to new ways to do it!

    One of my favorite authors is Tory Hayden who writes mostly non-fiction about her experiences teaching special needs children. I admire teachers who have such such dedication and who share their methods. There's a teacher buried inside me somewhere so I enjoy books about teachers, classes, coaching etc.

  13. Agreeing with Jane and Lance, I have to say that I already had the impression, that scattering joy, and loving to do so, is something you have always done Sandra! :)
    This book sounds like a very interesting read, touching on some very important and necessary do-ables for a good life.
    I have to admit that I don't know that I have a fav author, but I do love to read books by many authors. I have very eclectic tastes really.
    Lovely and gracious giveaway. Thank you.

    You're doing so well with those baby steps, and definitely should be pleased with yourself. Take care. x♥

  14. Hello Sandra..I really enjoyed your finely written post
    "My Period of Grace"...grace for the journey..that's what we all need daily, just like nourishment (of various kinds) which is why my ears pricked up when I read the title of the 1st part of "Living Beautifully Together". I am learning that tender, quiet grace can extend even to nourishing ourselves well & most especially in the On the Porch years. I have been collecting nettles & making herbal infusions with them kidneys are now stronger than I can remember them being in years...the simple things. The most memorable book I have ever read is a book called "The Heavens Declare" by Kacy Barnett-Gramckow. (I found it in our library!!) I had to look it up to recall the authors name..this is the gist of the story "Marginalized by society and mistreated by her own family, Annah befriends a young man she's never seen before. Shem is captivated by Annah's courage, and he risks everything to help her gain her freedom. Trusting in the Most High, Annah marries Shem and joins her strange new family in their solitary faith that will ultimately separate them from an ancient world of amazing beauty and appalling violence--a world fast approaching the unimaginable catastrophe of the Great Flood. Out of this chaos, only eight people will survive. Their world is our world. Their future is our own." This book is the first part of a trilogy but fully stands alone & is profoundly captivating & VERY thought provoking. Lovely to visit with you. Much love Catherine x0x0x

  15. Oh, I love 'comfort books,' as you say! I have only a few that I've read four or five times. There's no boredom in re-reading them; it's more like returning to visit a place where I've found peace and joy and beauty. My favorite is perhaps, "Country of the Pointed Firs" by Sarah Orne Jewett. A close second would be "A Tuscan Childhood" by Kinta Beevor. Both these books have such a strong sense of PLACE, something which is important to me. I've moved around too much, and now it's too late for me to acquire a single location where I feel like I truly belong. Books with a familiar, beloved location can help fill that void in me.
    Sandra, thank you so much for sharing your journey of grief with the rest of us. Even when you're focused on your own recovery, you're still sharing and giving -- that's an important component of recovery too, I think!

  16. I have that same book, and though I have read it several times through the years it's probably time for another re-read! (Maybe when I get everything unpacked, months from now...) Ms. Stoddard has a wonderful approach to life and a marvelous way of communicating it.

    My favorite reading is anything by Wendell Berry. His poetry is every bit as good as his fiction, which is every bit as good as his essay work. Best of all is to hear him read anything he's written - really slows it down and gives it a thoughtful cadence I sometimes miss when I read.

    Oh, and C.S. Lewis also. I adored The Narnia Trilogy when I was a teenager, and have enjoyed a number of his books.

  17. Hi again, Sandra! Well, this is my attempt #2 to win your book :) I did a blog post on this, with a link to this post of yours too. Here's my post:

  18. Anonymous6:46 PM EDT

    Marie W.
    Thank you, Sandra for just a wonderful giveaway opportunity.

    I love so many authors and so many books, as it seems they come into my life when I am need of the comforting words within.

    Always Blessings,

  19. Would love to read this book. Sounds wonderful!;-)
    Debbie in Alaska


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