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Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry [Paperback]

Katrina Kenison
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 2002
As mothers today we are faced with a daunting list of responsibilities. How easy it is to simply rush headlong through our lives, slaves to our daily obligations, and in the process race our children through their childhood. But there is a better way... In Mitten Strings for God, Katrina Kenison shares her own search for a more satisfying balance in her life. The result is a lyrical and tender series of reflections, interwoven with gentle suggestions and advice, that remind us what happens when we slow down and are fully present in our lives. Suddenly there is room for joy and play and intimacy, space for wonder and reverie, and time to awaken to the beauty of the world and discover the sacred in the ordinary. Tranquil in our own hearts and minds, we can offer our children the one thing they need more than anything else: us. And we receive something priceless in return-the chance to savor our lives and the precious people in them.

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Mitten Strings for God: Reflections  for Mothers in a Hurry + The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir + Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment
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Product Description

From Amazon

In an age when "keeping up with the Joneses" refers not only to material riches but also to a whirlwind of activities, author Katrina Kenison humbly asks, "Just whose standards am I living by, anyway?" Kenison, mother of two sons and former annual editor of The Best American Short Stories anthology since 1990, understands the hectic agendas, short tempers, and full-time careers today's families endure. But she has also learned to limit the chaos. The title comes from Kenison's youngest son, Jack, cuddled up with mom one quiet afternoon as she crochets mitten strings. He holds up a long piece of yarn and proclaims, "I'm knitting a mitten string for God"--a sweet phrase, but a bit misleading. Despite a sprinkling of minor religious references, the larger focus of Kenison's beautifully written first book lies in living with care and awareness. Chapters with titles like "Grace," "Healing," "Spirit," and "Breathing" offer soothing pictures of a family life that honors patience, imagination, and Sundays without plans. Kenison weaves together personal stories and wisdom from such philosophers as Thoreau and Anne Morrow Lindbergh; the graceful resulting tapestry shows how peace and simplicity can be savored in a world hell-bent on pushing people to accomplish more, own more, and do it all as quickly as possible. --Liane Thomas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This heartfelt collection of essays will strike a chord with any mother whose response to the "arrythmic" pace of modern life is a yearning to "shut the door, stop the noise, and tune in to our own inner lives." Drawing on hard-won insights from her own struggle to achieve balance (she gave up a successful career in book publishing to work from home and raise her two young sons) and to infuse her family's days with meaning, Kenison's richly anecdotal musings on such diverse topics as "peace," "simplicity," "play," "Sabbath" and "discipline" resonate with honesty and wisdom. Though this is not a religious book in the traditional sense, Kenison's contemplations are suffused with a spirituality that thrives on connecting with others and with nature and finding the sacred in the everyday. Rendering an intimate portrait of family life with grace and a lively sense of humor, Kenison, who for the past 10 years has edited The Best American Short Stories, is most impassioned and enlightening when she shares "moments in which we were bathed in grace, moments when we were astonished by the simple joy of our togetherness." Though each essay ends with a pat homily, some of which are jarringly treacly ("Someplace deep within me, I carry every story I have ever heard, every story I have ever lived, every story I will ever need"), readers will be left feeling refreshed and encouraged by the generosity of spirit that prompted these thoughtful reflections. (Apr.) Cahners Business Information.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'd give this a 3.6 rating on a scale of 1 to 5 April 27 2003
By A Customer
This book has many beautiful components to it. The author shares hard-won lessons from her own life as a mother, wife, and an editor in a series of thoughtful essays. Certain insights-if you have peace in your home then you carry it into the world-will stay with me.
However, I also had trouble with this book. There seems to be little consideration for other ways, other paths to balancing or living a life. Some women have to work for economic reasons. Some women don't have the luxury of being able to maintain a relatively prestigious career from home. Some women want to work.
In addition, while certain solutions to a more peaceful, more balanced life may work for the author-no television, unstructured time for children during the summer, fewer lessons-they may not work for everyone. Without being too politically incorrect, television offers a lot of interesting and educational fare if you know where to look. Some children cherish their memories of summer camp. Some kids want all those lessons.
Finally, the author clearly has certain economic priviliges not shared by all. In addition, what about the mother of children with disabilities? I would hesitate giving this book to my friends with autistic or physically challenged children. They could never live this life due to the demands on their time.
While I admire the author for having the guts to formulate and propound a philosophy for family life, I also must say that I found her and her book a bit smug and self-satisfied with little thought for alternative ways to live.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST FOR MOMS Feb. 11 2004
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Mitten Strings For God: Reflections For Mothers In A Hurry by Katrina Kenison is a series of meditative thoughts. Inspirational and life-affirming, it offers reminders of what is of lasting value, such as grace, love, tranquility.
Ms. Kenison writes, "I can only bring peace to my children when I possess it myself."
The mother of two energetic young sons and former editor of The Best American Short Stories anthology, Ms. Kenison well knows the pressures under which contemporary families exist, the whirlwind activities generated when one wants only the best for children, and the frenetic treadmill involved in being a working wife/mother.
Nonetheless, the author has suggestions for discovering oases of serenity as she intersperses personal experiences with philosophical wisdom. Her writing, which is as simple and true as that of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, bears rereading and contemplation. Ms. Kenison brings a sense of reawakened pleasure to the sometimes harried family evening meal, as well as a profound joy found in the ordinary.
"Only by slowing down do we make time for one another," she writes. "Only by stopping long enough to observe our surroundings can we bring shape and meaning to our lives."
How simple. How true.
- Gail Cooke
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read, Relax and Reflect Sept. 25 2002
This book was a part of my day for the past few months. I took the time to read a small portion of it as my daily reflection/inspiration moment every morning. It helped to center and balance me for the best start, always giving me something profound to think about and vitally important to strive for each day. I also found it relaxing, making me more open to the surprises that awaited me as the day unfolded.
The author's musings and advice are really quite simple: Make your family and children the focus of every day! Find the extraordinary in the ordinary happenings of life. Enjoy and hold dear the magical moments shared with your child as they grow into a deeper awareness of the world around them. Simple, and yet profound, especially in the fast-paced society in which we live.
Her essay on "Peace," I found to be most relevant. I read it not long after 9/11, when I was struggling with what had happened and feeling helpless to change the atmosphere of fear and suspicion that engulfed our entire country at that time. Again, the author's words went right to the point and made me realize there IS something I can do and, as a matter-of-fact, is my responsibility! In a few words, this quote encapsulates the essence of the essay: "In stillness, we find our peace. Knowing peace at home, we bring peace into the world." The dreadful, terrifying feeling I had carried with me for weeks melted away and I was better able to talk with my 12-year old daughter about her reaction to all the turmoil and her personal fears. Together we were able to come up with a plan to help make our world a more peaceful, loving place by starting in our own community.
Providing "balance" is the best way I can describe what this book offers. I highly recommend it to any parent, although it most specifically speaks to mothers. You won't be disappointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars essential reading, ASAP, for all mothers June 2 2000
By A Customer
A dear friend quietly recommended this book to me, but I feel like shouting to the rest of the world that this book has added a quality to my living that I never knew possible. I shudder to think that I may not have breathed in her wisdom and ideas until it was too late.
I have read other books that celebrate living in the moment, and I thought I was doing more of it. But Kenison's practical suggestions, woven with her raw awareness for the simple goodness availabe to us in our lives, have finally brought me to the place, where for the first time in my life, I am making conscious decisions about raising my family and nurturing myself that are allowing me to BE rather than DO.
She has helped me to resist the flow of popular culture, and listen the the voice of the mother and person I know I have always wanted to be.
Like a millenium version of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's "Gift from the Sea", Mitten Strings for God is prayer for mothers to find and live more moments of pure joy and inner fulfillment. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Thank you, Katrina Kenison, for this important book that will become as legendary to mothers as "Gift from the Sea".
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, inspiring, and filled with thoughtful ideas!
Katrina has written such a beautiful book. I often pick it up to read chapters over again (and the recipes are delicious!). Read more
Published on March 26 2004 by Nature Mom w/ 2 children + EE & Management degrees
5.0 out of 5 stars Not in too much of a hurry to read this!
Katrina Kenison can make magic. This short and easy series of thoughts on mothering was able to go down all the better for it's brevity (the boy's napping - let's take 5 and read... Read more
Published on Oct. 7 2002 by "ebmaloy"
5.0 out of 5 stars This NEVER leaves my nightstand...
So often in the midst of sibling rivalry, dirty laundry, homework and lessons, I forget the real reason that I am a mother. Read more
Published on July 27 2002 by Jen
5.0 out of 5 stars This NEVER leaves my nightstand...
So often in the midst of sibling rivalry, dirty laundry, homework and lessons, I forget the real reason that I am a mother. Read more
Published on July 27 2002 by Jen
5.0 out of 5 stars I would put a copy under everyone's chair
This book spoke so strongly to me that I told all my friends I would put a copy under all of their chairs if I was a tv talk show host! Read more
Published on April 27 2002 by W. Seifert
3.0 out of 5 stars BUt what to do
It was a nice peek into the author's "privledged" life but what can most of the rest of us do to create more spirituality with our kids. I prefer hands on action books. Read more
Published on April 15 2002 by Amanda Phillis
5.0 out of 5 stars finding the sacred in everyday moments
This is a wonderful book for mothers who long to reclaim what is sacred in family life. After reading it, I felt empowered to make changes -- it's both practical and inspirational. Read more
Published on April 9 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Something so simple
This book has such a basic message to all of us with children. Keep it simple. Ms. Kenison's style truly is a pleasure to read. Read more
Published on April 7 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for every mom!!
This book was exactly what I was looking for! As a mother of 4 children under the age of 8, I contantly feel the crunch of today's fast-paced world. Read more
Published on Nov. 5 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Meditative
This is a great book to read during quiet moments, because it is meditative and soothing. I am inspired to continue to be the best parent I can be, and it reminds me of what an... Read more
Published on Oct. 21 2001 by "krisa"
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