returning the gift

October 4th, 2010

Between the giver, the receiver and the gift there is no separation – Maezumi Roshi

The world can seem stingy, competitive and cruel. Or it can seem generous, welcoming and kind. A single gift can make the difference, and it always comes back to us. The gift we offer is the same gift we receive. Like the coffee we put into our cup, what we pour out is what we drink in: all of it an inseparable extension of our own hand.

The world I share with author Katrina Kenison is welcoming and kind, because she is, and she brings that out in me. It does me no good to bemoan how rare this quality is in any of the realms I occupy. Cups look empty until we fill them again.

In Katrina’s two books, Mitten Strings for God, and The Gift of an Ordinary Day, she welcomes us into a world infused with natural wisdom. She is the kind of mother we all are, aiming to change her family life for the better amid the inevitable undertow of change itself. She doesn’t pretend to know how. She doesn’t make any self-satisfied assessments. She simply follows her instincts into blind curves and doubt. Settle into the pages of her memoirs and what spills out is the fullness in every mother’s wistful heart.

How we all wish that the sublime sweetness of our lives would linger, that happy would last, and that time would somehow slow down. How we all wonder what we’re doing, question where we’re headed, and shudder at the deep shadow of uncertainty that trails our every move. When I opened Katrina’s latest book, I found myself smack dab in the thick of it, facing the same threshold she traces with exquisite honesty: the goodbye years, when our children boldly wrest their first taste of freedom, and we vainly grasp the last bit of control.

It’s hard to see the gift in such a worrisome struggle, but it’s there in Katrina’s gentle telling. Only in the passing of time is there presence, only in empty is there full, and only in giving away do we receive the gifts we keep forever.

I’m giving away a signed copy of the most beautiful book I’ve read this year, the new paperback edition of The Gift of an Ordinary Day. Give yourself a chance to win by leaving a comment here by this Friday, Oct. 8. Then give yourself two chances by tweeting this:

RT @kmaezenmiller Giveaway: Gift of an Ordinary Day by @katrinakenison

You might think I’m being generous, but I’m not. I’m being greedy for the good stuff.

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  1. this is on my wish list… your hand wash cold is my favorite book so far this year, and with your recommendation, i’m so excited to read katrina as well. xo

    Comment by blissfulyogini — October 6, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

  2. Thanks for your continued kindness and support through your words and experience. I’d love to receive a copy of the book.

    Comment by Jen — October 6, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

  3. adding my name to the hat… 🙂

    Comment by Jennifer — October 6, 2010 @ 2:37 pm

  4. looks wonderful! 😉

    Comment by Sarah E Stauffer — October 6, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

  5. i so enjoyed your book, hand wash cold. would love to read this one as well. thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Dawn — October 6, 2010 @ 3:24 pm

  6. I loved Mitten Strings for God and I would love to read her new book.

    Comment by Christina — October 6, 2010 @ 4:00 pm

  7. I love Katrina Kenison’s writing, but gave my copy of her recent memoir to a friend whose oldest was leaving for college. I’d love to have a copy of my own again—with her signature no less!

    Thanks for the chance.

    Comment by Deirdre — October 6, 2010 @ 4:28 pm

  8. I would love to read this book!

    Comment by Shannon — October 6, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

  9. Yay Katrina! Yay Karen! I love you both – write on sisters…Thank you for the book offer!
    love and joy to you : )

    Comment by Julie Bond Genovese — October 6, 2010 @ 8:13 pm

  10. You rock, Karen! I don’t know what I would have done without your books during these first few months of motherhood. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. I’m sure any book you recommend will be amazing. XOXO

    Comment by Rachel — October 7, 2010 @ 5:00 am

  11. Thins sounds like exactly what I need right now…

    Comment by Julie — October 7, 2010 @ 5:41 am

  12. Thank you for this blog and please add my name to the contest. I would love to have a copy of this book.
    PS after the “goodbye years” (which are certainly heart wrenching) come grandchildren. Abundant joy and new beginnings!

    Comment by Maureen — October 8, 2010 @ 12:20 am

  13. What an exciting offer. I’d love to win a special copy of this book.

    Comment by Claire Mcfeely — October 8, 2010 @ 4:58 am

  14. Everything returns to perception.

    Comment by Joanne M — October 8, 2010 @ 4:00 pm

  15. I love Katrina’s website and get so much out of it. I have marked yours and will return often.

    Thank you

    Comment by Grace Lenz — October 8, 2010 @ 6:59 pm

  16. A friend of mine just recommended Momma Zen to me, I’m waiting for it from the library right now! I’d love to win a copy of this book. xo

    Comment by Taryn — October 9, 2010 @ 12:07 am

  17. I walked into the Scholastic Book Fair at school on Friday and this book was there! Now that’s a gift!

    Comment by Melissa — October 11, 2010 @ 1:05 pm

  18. Great opportunity! Thanks.

    Comment by Amy Rush — October 11, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

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