Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach – Susan’s Newsletter May 2010. Jan. & Apr. 2009



Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort & Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach  
Susan’s Newsletters
     May 13, 2010 (Humorous poem of a woman sighing)
     January 15, 2009 (Simplicity)
     April 30, 2009 (Eulogy for each day of your life.  Awareness.  Noticing.)

May 13, 2010 Newsletter:
Good morning!  Do we dare hope to see some sunshine today!??!?!  It’s amazing what I was able to accomplish in the lightening flashes this week in the middle of the night.  Goodness….for the sake of our little corn sprouts – I hope the sun remembers Nebraska exists this week! 
This week.  Graduations.  Preschool.  Kindergarten.  Elementary School.  Middle School.  High School.  College.  Graduate School.  Weddings.  Kids coming for the summer.  Kids leaving.  Life.  Constant….  Mother’s Day.  Memories.  Children playing.  Friendships.  Marriage.  Work.  Quiet mornings.  Busyness.  Unknowns.  Letting Go.  Constants.  Change.  Not to mention…the dryer full of laundry to fold, the kitchen with dishes needing washed, the book wanting so badly to be read on the table, and the little one that thinks I should come up with another breakfast this morning for him.  The bed needing to be made, the shower needing to be washed, the flowers needing to be noticed, the refrigerator needing to be washed from a shrimp smell, the cabinet that has things fall on me when I open needing my attention, and did I mention – the flowers that I need to watch grow?  The birds singing for my attention.  The beautiful calm in the trees asking me to sit under them for a moment.  The friends I need to write back.  The elderly woman I love I need to go visit.  Oh, and the cupcakes for Camden’s summer birthday to bring this week.  (Camden just read this and said I’m too late for the cupcakes!)  Oh, and did I forget to mention the cats needing loved?  And breakfast needing cooked….and backpack needing found….and again noticing the flowers?  (grin)  Oh, and prayer for a beautiful sick friend of Camden’s. 

The constant mix of everything in our heads.  And – to do this without anyone knowing there is more than one thing at a time on our “list”?!?!?   I’ve got to put an entry for you that I absolutely love.  This comes from another treasure I hope you get soon for your shelf, or if you’re a man – for a girl or woman’s shelf that you care about!  Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  The entire book gives daily inspirations divided by topics for each month (another book that was recommended to me by one of you!).  A particular weakness of mine is to not be able to stick with the correct date assigned that I’m “supposed” to read & venture further ahead or look back to what I might have missed.  But – this particular weakness gives me what I need for a certain day – regardless of the date in the book for the entry.   How I love this one!  Here is to all of us with a need to sometimes sigh to get energy for the next moment!  (grin)
Sigh Some More, My Ladies, Sigh Some More by Sarah Ban Breathnach  (December 5 entry! Ha!)
I have a habit that drives my husband crazy and keeps me sane.
I sigh.
Obviously, I sigh more than I am consciously aware.  Yet I’ve noticed that whenever my sighing is brought to my attention – “Please don’t do that” – I’m taking deep breaths for a very good reason.
Women sigh so that we won’t scream.  There are several occasions in the course of any woman’s day when, without question, screaming is the appropriate response.  However on this side of an electrified fence, screaming is not considered good form. 
So we sigh.
First we breathe in, quickly and sharply, inhaling reality, acknowledging the present situation – the current hassle or disappointment, confrontation or challenge, long wait or lack of cooperation.
We hold our breath for a heartbeat.
Then we breathe out, slowly and deeply, exhaling and letting go of our initial response – our dismay, impatience, frustration, annoyance, disappointment, regret.  Letting it out.  Letting it go.
The act of sighing is a quiet vote of acceptance – of “getting over it” and moving on.
Women with significant others and/or children sigh more than their solitary sisters because there are more preferences, needs, wants, wills, and demands to be dealt with, if there is to be a state of detente in the daily round.  More bending in order not to break.
So should you feel the need to sigh today, by all means breathe slowly and deeply.  Breathe expressively.  Think of sighing as the hot air that makes rising to the occasion possible.  Hot air that’s pent up will eventually explode, and steam can burn.  But steam that’s deliberately allowed to escape through a safety valve can be converted into creative energy.  So sigh without hesitation.  Sigh without guilt.  Sigh without embarrassment.  Sigh with pleasure.
Sigh some more, my ladies, sigh some more.
Isn’t that fun!  Go, pick up those kids, or let go of your kids…whatever particular movement of your song you’re in – know that each movement is what makes your particular life composition beautiful.  All movements in a classical piece – the sad, the beautiful, the slow, the fast, the minor notes in pain, the trills in the excitements…all make our songs.  Our composer has the writing of our soul’s music created to be a beautiful song.  We may only be able to see the particular movement that we’re presently in…but always know – our composer sees the entire song.  And when the piece closes – we will see how each movement worked together to bring glory to the composer.  Our song.  Our epitaph tonight for our moments today…will we have something to write that shows we stopped.  We were still in the midst of any rush.  We sighed.  We continued.  We made the occasion possible.  We gave.  We looked others in the eyes.  We looked to the hills.  We remembered that we can claim always, “The peace that passes even our own understanding will never pass away,” – regardless of what our story is at the moment.  Live.  Breathe.  Sigh.  Look up.  Fall to your knees.  Notice the flowers.  Appreciate the rain.  Thank you so much for letting me enter your world again today.  How much your encouragement means to me.   Life is so fast.  Let’s make our songs beautiful and worthy of what we can really be.  Susan

Latin for this week:
Volventibus annis – With the years rolling on, As time goes by.

January 15, 2009 Newsletter (Simplicity) & Love for Books

Good morning out there!  Who wants to get passports today to leave next week for Crete?   My family is going insane, my cats have already showed traits that would give them automatic admission into insane asylums for cats…where do we go from here!?  What do you think I’ll put for the answer?!?!?  Enter the world of all of the books on my shelf!!!  In a book of Camden’s yesterday an idea for exploring in your mind was to enter pictures on the wall at museums (A Quiet Place by Douglas Wood).  Can you imagine what our lives could be if we could enter scenes on our whims?!?!??!  Then come back out into the main hall with no one knowing what we just explored?!?!?  Well, that’s exactly the privilege we have, those of us that are determined to find books that give us chances to think outside our normal lives, enter worlds…enter minds of others….transforming who we were….I have said before, but I’ll say this again – I can’t wait to meet myself in ten years…twenty years…fifty years (ha!)…I can only imagine how much I will have changed, significantly because of authors I’ve let enter my world and influence my entire outlook.

She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.”  Louisa May Alcott.  From the December 15th excerpt in a book that I’m ordering a case of, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, author Sarah Ban Breathnach writes, “Virginia Woolf believed that when we women who read too much arrive at the pearly gates carrying our beloved books with us, the Almighty will tell St. Peter, “Look, these need no reward.  We have nothing to give them here.  They have loved reading.”
In real life, there are women who read and women who read too little.  There aren’t women who read too much because this is an impossible feat.  How can one read too much with only twenty-four-hour days?  Lifetimes that average only 80 years?  Any time of the day is perfect for reading.  Any placeAny excuseReading is the last refuge for addictive personalities; there are no bad side effects from reading too much. 
Louisa May Alcott thinks becoming too fond of books will “turn” our brains.  Of course, any woman so fond of books that she feels compelled to write her own can’t be all wrong.  Books do turn us.  Turn us on to our passions and to pursuing our passions.  Turn us into authentic women.  When a sentence in a book resonates within, it is the voice of your authentic self.  Listen to what she is trying to tell you.  Spirit is constantly communicating with us.  Most of us long to experience Paradise on earth.  Women who read do.  Whoever said that you can’t take it with you obviously never read a good book.  For everything you’ve ever read, loved and remembered is now a part of your consciousness.  What is once cherished can never perish. 
Reading means,” Italo Calvino tells us, “[being] ready to catch a voice that makes itself heard when you least expect it, a voice that comes from an unknown source, from somewhere beyond the book, beyond the author, beyond the convention of writing:  from the unsaid, from what the world has not yet said of itself and does not yet have the words to say.”   Are we ready!??!?!??!?!?  Don’t you dare say you don’t read!  That is beneath you.  Say instead, “I have yet to find an author or book that influences me greatly….”  If you will only realize the potential you have yet to find…for I can guarantee you that there is someone out there that you would LOVE to read, that will influence you…change you, think with you, give you courage to face any circumstance because they have been there.
The forward of this book states, “In 1995 women didn’t buy it for themselves…they bought it for their sisters, best friends, daughters, daughter-in-laws, mothers, mothers-in-law, nieces, cousins, neighbors, bosses, & secretaries…given for holidays, when jobs were eliminated, diagnosis’ devastating, phone calls sent a woman reeling, dashing her dreams or shattering the life she took for granted…this book was given.  Women read it while receiving chemotherapy & leave for their nurses who cared for them…to celebrate, commiserate, comfort, cheer, to communicate.  She wrote it “to discover what matters most…inspired to change, to simplify“…”women identified with an angry, envious, resentful, workaholic, care-aholic, perfectionist who secretly fretted over everything and everybody but herself; a woman who frequently felt she was holding her life together with double-sided stick tape; who couldn’t remember the last time she’d taken a nap, got a haircut without pretending it was a root canal, or had an hour to do nothing at all.  It gave them hope that they too, could change their lives for the better one grateful moment at a time.
Sarah Breathnach ends her forward with, My prayer for you, dear Reader, is that if there is a life you really  want to enjoy, but haven’t started yet, then you must turn the page.  May reading Simple Abundance remain a comforting conversation with a good friend who shares your gratitude that our paths crossed.  When I look down our cherished path of everyday enchantment, I see delightful days ahead.  Blessed are we among women, and how wonderful that, finally, we both know it.  (Men reading this – I know this week’s book was written for women, but you may know a woman (wife, daughter, mother) that would love this.) 
This book is on simplifying our life – finding meaning in what we have at our fingertips.  Finding meaning and being thankful every day of our lives for what we do have.   I think of all of you that come in the store – that have let me enter your Thursdays.  We all desire to LIVE, to give, to take, to make a difference, to find our souls, to know ourselves, to have meaningful friendships, to be above the average.  To look back on our life (even if we die within this year) and realize that we thanked God every day for the day he gave us, and more importantly, that we were always ready to go above – to be excellent.  To see pride in God’s eyes when he looks into ours. 

Go make yourself proud today – make decisions no one will ever know you made.  Look others in the eyes, expect nothing from those around you, just be at peace with your own soul.  Look up – God is there.  Drop the foot to your knees.  Immediate peace will come.  That is the only promise of anything else I can write – for this is a promise from God…given to those that need the most.  Have a great week.  Make your coffee or tea extra strong.  If you don’t drink that, then drink double cokes.  Get through this winter – it’s hibernating time.  Don’t feel bad if you have absolutely no ambition.  Stay in your sweats and pick up a book!  You never know!  It may change your life!!!  I hope you can come over to see what all we have gotten in.  I can’t wait to show you.  You must realize – the reason the store is working is because of you.  Thanks for letting me again enter your world this Thursday.  Susan
Latin for this week
Ubi in dubito, redo simpliciorem.  When in doubt, simplify.
Tabula Rasa – Fresh, clean start.
Works Cited:
Breathnach, Sarah Ban Breathnach.  Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.  2005.  Grand Central Publishing.  New York.
Wood, Douglas.  A Quiet Place.  2002.  Simon & Schuster.  New York.






Susan’s Newsletter April 30, 2009
Eulogy for each day of your life.  Awareness.  Noticing.
Desert Wisdom from 4th & 5th centuries compiled by Henry Nouwen
Simple Abundance by Sarah Breathnach
Good morning!  The birds are singing & the coffee has brewed hours ago….time to get my fingers typing for you! Last week I opened Desert Wisdom: Sayings from the Desert Fathers (translated by Nomura, with an introduction by Henri Nouwen).  These are sayings compiled from the 4th & 5th centuries. What is fascinating is that 1500 years later the wisdom endures.  I am intrigued when I read anything from so long ago that inspires, calms, encourages, strengthens me.  I hope that the quotes I’ve picked out are ones that also stay in your mind after reading them….
Some old men came to see Abba Poemen, and said to him:  Tell us, when we see brothers dozing during the sacred office, should we pinch them so they will stay awake?  The old man said to them:  Actually, if I saw a brother sleeping, I would put his head on my knees and let him rest.
A brother who was living among other brothers asked Abba Bessarion: What should I do?  The old man replied: Be silent, and do not measure yourself against the others.
Amma Syncletica said:  In the beginning, there is struggle and a lot of work for those who come near to God.  But after that, there is indescribable joy.  It is just like building a fire: At first it’s smoky and your eyes water, but later you get the desired result.  Thus we ought to light the divine fire in ourselves with tears and effort.
What shall I do?  For many thoughts are bothering me, and I don’t know how to fight back.  The old man said: Do not fight against all of them, but against one. In fact, all thoughts of monks have a single head.  Therefore, you have to figure out which and what kind it is, and fight against it.  By doing so, you can defeat the rest of those thoughts.
A brother who had sinned was expelled by the priest from the church.  But Abba Bessarion stood up and went out with him, saying: I too am a sinner.
An old man said: If you have lost gold or silver, you can find something in place of what you lost.  However, if you lose time you cannot replace what you lost.
Abba Poemen asked Abba Anthony: What should I do?  The old man said: Do not be confident in your own righteousness, do not worry about a thing once it’s done, and control your tongue and your stomach.
A brother who was insulted by another brother came to Abba Sisoes, and said to him: I was hurt by my brother, and I want to avenge myself. The old man tried to console him and said: Don’t do that, my child . Rather leave vengeance to God.  But he said: I will not quit until I avenge myself. Then the old man said: Let us pray, brother; and standing up, he said: O God, we no longer need you to take care of us since we now avenge ourselves.  Hearing these words, the brother fell at the feet of the old man and said: I am not going to fight with my brother any more. Forgive me, Abba.
Abba Poemen said about Abba Pior that every single day he made a fresh beginning.
…I have thought of the line that we can’t replace time….I often “cheat” and read books that are dated out of order.  In Simple Abundance by Sarah Breathnach I read May 1st this morning…beginning with the quote,
Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it. (Anne DeLenclos)….the writing in this entry discusses walking through a graveyard,,,”ruminating” on the meaning of life, the toils, the struggles, the heads that “rest upon the lap of Earth”… She writes, “We should write an eulogy for every day that has slipped through our lives unnoticed and unappreciated.  Better still, we should write a song of thanksgiving for all the days that remain…Everyday epiphanies encourage us to cherish everything.  Today a new sun has risen.  Everything lives.  Everything can speak to your soul passionately if you will be still enough to listen. “You have to count on living every single day in a way you believe will make you feel good about your life,” actress Jane Seymour suggests, “so that if it were over tomorrow, you’d be content.”
Every day is a fresh beginning. Written 1500 years ago by a leader…and don’t you think was probably stated 1500 years before that by a mother to her child?  Comforting to see what we read to keep us looking forward was also read by those we respect so long ago.  What will be our eulogy of TODAY that we would write (even if we only write in our thoughts as we try to get to sleep) tonight?  Beginning now – the next 12 hours.  Will we notice small, beautiful details?  Will we look for beauty?  Stop trying to solve things…stop trying to get back what isn’t possible to get back…stop living in a daze? If your energy only entails you to look out the window today – then NOTICE beautiful details.  Let your eulogy for today be that you NOTICED – you noticed the new green buds.  You noticed the out of tune bird.  You were AWARE.  If your energy today only allows you to survive because of chaos and children everywhere – will your eulogy be that you looked in their eyes for more than a glance. That you kissed their pinky?  That you grinned when they woke up too early & called YOUR name?  Those are the beautiful moments in the chaos. 
If your energy seems sapped completely and your day is “redundant” because of caring for someone (even if the someone is yourself) because of illness…can you write in your eulogy for your day today that you noticed the little beautiful veins of the sick person there with you….are you noticing the eyes – are you trying to imagine what scenes are playing in the head of who you are loving?  Are you going to be able to write tonight in your mind that you saw the person as healthy….the person that will meet you in eternity?  I love this idea – we can never get time back…so each evening we will write an eulogy of that day.  Pick the flower, call your friend, give yourself a silent five minutes alone, have an Oreo (have two!), walk a mile, do nothing (if that’s the gift – grin!).  We can never replace time lost, but we can each day begin the next writing.  The next chapter.  The next movement of our song.  Thank you for letting me come into your Thursday again.  Go make yourself proud with decisions you make today – decisions no one else will even know you made.  Thank you so much for your encouragement & business. You will never know how much it means to me.  Susan
Latin for this week:
minima maxima sunt – The smallest things are most important.
Works Cited:
Breathnach, Sarah Ban. Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. 2005. Grand Central Publishing. New York.
Nomura, Yoshi. Desert Wisdom: Sayings from the Desert Fathers. 2007. Orbis Books. Maryknoll, NY.




Product Overview

With the grace of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea and the wisdom of M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled, Simple Abundance is a book of 366 evocative essays-one for every day of your year-written for women who wish to live by their own lights. In the past a woman’s spirituality has been separated from her lifestyle. Simple Abundance shows you how your daily life can be an expression of your authentic self … as you choose the tastiest vegetables from your garden, search for treasures at flea markets, establish a sacred space in your home for meditation, and follow the rhythm of the seasons and the year. Here, for the first time, the mystical alchemy of style and Spirit is celebrated. Every day, your own true path leads you to a happier, more fulfilling and contented way of life-the state of grace known as… Embrace its gentle lessons, savor its sublime common sense, dare to live its passionate truth, and share its extraordinary and exhilarating gift with every woman you encounter: the authentic self is the Soul made visible.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reissue edition (September 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446563595
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds

Recommended in Susan’s May 13, 2010 and January 15, 2009 Newsletters