Today’s the day to try “River of Grace”

Ave Maria Press is offering River of Grace Creative Passages Through Difficult Times at a deep discount for a limited time. If you’ve always wanted to read it, now’s the time to take the plunge!

Be sure and purchase it directly from Ave Maria Press — here’s the link.

Still not sure? Here is more information on the book.

You can help out too by leaving a review on Amazon — just search for “River of Grace by Susan Bailey.”

And thanks!

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Susan’s latest CD, “Mater Dei” is now available!
Purchase here.

Many people find coloring to be a wonderful way to relax and experience harmony in their lives. Is that you? Join my Email List to subscribe to this blog and receive your free Harmony coloring book (and more).

River of Grace Audio book with soundtrack music available now on Bandcamp. Listen to the preface of the book, and all the songs.

Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
Read my other blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

 

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Talking with Allison Gingras on Breadbox Media radio about “River of Grace”

00 cover drop shadowI was privileged to have my River of Grace discussed on Allison Gingras’ radio program on Breadbox Media, “A Seeking Heart” for the last 3 episodes! She used the first two programs to talk about how River of Grace impacted her own life — it’s such a blessing to hear that my book has impacted someone in such practical and powerful ways. In the third episode she invited me on-air to talk about my experiences of grace that inspired River of Grace.

Sit back, relax and listen to how God surprises us with gifts of grace in even the smallest of ways!

a seeking heart with pic
Be sure and check out Allison’s show notes with lots of interesting links to more information about the various things we talked about.

p.s. I am offering a free giveaway on the program — if you purchase River of Grace after listening, email me your receipt to susanwbailey@gmail.com and I’ll send you a PDF book of all the Flow Lessons included in the book – they include color pictures and links not included in the book. It’s an easy way to pick out the Flow Lessons you want to try.

Click to Tweet & Share: Talking with Allison Gingras on Breadbox Media radio about “River of Grace” http://tinyurl.com/glvqve8

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Many people find coloring to be a wonderful way to relax and experience harmony in their lives. Is that you? Join my Email List to subscribe to this blog and receive your free Harmony coloring book (and more).

River of Grace Audio book with soundtrack music available now on Bandcamp. Listen to the preface of the book, and all the songs.

Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
Read my other blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

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Can’t go away on retreat? Try this stay-at-home multi-media retreat for Lent, “A Journey Within”

Jesus in the desert

Welcome to this Lenten Mini Retreat of self-examination and discovery:
“The Journey Within: Seeing Ourselves in the Eyes of God by Following the Path of Jesus”

This retreat consists of an hour-long presentation of word and song. It is broken up into sections and features several short videos. You do not need to do the entire retreat in one sitting. In fact, I recommend that you do a portion each day over several days so that the lessons really sink in.

You will need three additional items in order to participate in this retreat:

Following the example of Jesus

I present this retreat to show that by following our Lord’s example we find that the journey of self-discovery is not a self-indulgent act but one of love, towards ourselves and our Creator. It is an act of humility where we come face to face with the ugly truths and weaknesses in our lives and give them over to God. It is a fruitful action, empowering us with the confidence and vision to carry out the wonderful life plan that God has given to us.

This presentation is drawn from chapter 6 my book, River of Grace. You will be led on a rich journey where you begin to see yourself as God’s beloved child, fearfully and wonderfully made with a glorious mission to fulfill.

Let’s begin.

  1. Listen to Part One of this retreat–it is the longest segment, lasting approximately 34 minutes:

a. Watch the video:

2. Listen to Part Two (3 minutes, 55 seconds):

a. Watch the video:

3. Listen to Part Three (6 minutes, 35 seconds):

a. Watch the video and sing along:

4. Listen to Part Four (1 minute, 50 seconds):

a. Watch the video:

5. Listen to Part Five (1 minute, 41 seconds):

a. Watch the video and sing/pray along:

6. Listen to the last portion, Part Six (13 minutes, 1 second):

I hope you have enjoyed this mini retreat–perhaps it will lead to a lifelong habit of self-discovery. Remember always to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and follow every footstep of his path.

Citations:

  • 00 cover smallThis retreat quotes extensively from Chapter 6 of River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times
    by Susan Bailey and published by Ave Maria Press. Flow Lesson handouts also come from this book.
    Copyright 2015 Susan W. Bailey
  • “Lead Me to the Wilderness” copyright 2016 Susan W. Bailey
  • “In His Eyes” sung by Mindy Jostyn; written by Mindy Jostyn and Jacob Brackman, available on the album In His Eyes. Song used by permission.

Share with your friends

Going on a retreat with a friend can make it extra special. You can easily share this retreat with your friends
on social media – just click on the links below:

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For more aids to your Lenten journey, visit the Lenten Resources page for posts, podcasts, music and videos.

00 twitter profile 400x400both books river first-640Join my Email List (special surprises just for you!)
to subscribe to this blog.
Keep up with news and free giveaways regarding Susan’s new books, River of Grace
and Louisa May Alcott: Iluminated by The Message!
Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
Read Susan’s blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

Find Susan’s books here on AmazonPurchase Susan’s CD.

Life restored after a season of loss: “River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times” in word and song

This past Wednesday was a BIG day. This arrived in the mail …

river of grace books-640

cover front only for webBut that was not all. I also got the final mix of my soundtrack CD for River of Grace from the producer. And I have to say he really outdid himself. I sent him a text back with 7 hearts – one for each song!

It was one of those rare, extraordinary days that sends you into orbit and you just want to cling to that feeling forever. I will write about it in my journal so I can go back and bathe in that grace, that pure gift from God whenever discouragement knocks on my door.

Now, I would like to share what God gave to me with you.

00 cover drop shadowRiver of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times is a spiritual memoir that reveals how several major losses helped me rediscover creativity and faith. Published by Ave Maria Press, it is described as “Filled with powerful insights on the presence and action of grace–in the Mass and the sacraments, nature and grief, and even through the life and works of Louisa May Alcott–River of Grace guides readers in strengthening their faith, discovering their own hidden gifts and restoring a joy in living during and after tough times.” It contains lots of practical spiritual exercises called Flow Lessons that lead you there. (Some of the Flow Lessons are on this site–check them out here.)

Losing a part of yourself

One of the losses I experienced was that of my singing voice. Yet throughout the writing of River of Grace, I kept thinking of songs that would fit with each chapter. While writing the third chapter on the loss of my voice, I experienced a miraculous healing after receiving a throat blessing on the Feast of St. Blaise.

This song was playing in my head; here’s a passage from chapter 3 on why:

How Can I Keep from Singing • Traditional Quaker hymn
“Instead of being raw and fragmented, I began to feel whole. A sense of wonder and deep gratitude welled up inside. The following Sunday as I entered the church to go to Mass I was immediately struck with the knowledge that I had received a significant healing with that throat blessing. I couldn’t wait to tell the priest.
Thereafter during Mass I noticed that it became easier to sing the hymns. Buoyed, I pushed my voice a bit further each week. One day while driving home after Mass I sang some of the most challenging songs in my repertoire including “I Know That My
Redeemer Liveth” from Handel’s Messiah and discovered to my delight that I could sing them just as I had before. My voice had been restored. I had received a physical healing along with the emotional and spiritual.” (from chapter 3, River of Grace)

New life after loss

River of Grace is also about new life. In the writing I learned that creativity is far more than being able to sing, dance, paint or write. Creativity is all about intention. As the Lord led me on my journey towards a new creativity in my life, I thought of Psalm 103, traditionally read during the Easter season, and this song:

Lord, Send Out Your Spirit (from Psalm 103) • Words and music by Susan Bailey ©2001 Susan W. Bailey
“If you recognize and accept the presence within of God’s Spirit, you will live a creative life. Since God is limitless, the possibilities of creativity are limitless too. You only need to believe it and take your own deep dive to discover the authentic person within, the one created in the image and likeness of God, the person you are meant to be. Nothing is too small or too insignificant. Nothing is too foolish or crazy. No effort is wasted. God has placed the capability in every person to be “great” even if that greatness is quiet, unassuming, and shared within a small circle. … Broken as we are, we can be made new, made whole though likely we will never be the same again … By being immersed in the river of grace, we can go on the adventure of a lifetime.” (chapter 5, River of Grace)

Working through fear

River of Grace is also about overcoming fear; stepping out and seeing life as a glorious adventure. Seeing obedience to God’s will as a series of wonderful “yeses” rather than onerous no’s.

This song came to mind:

Touch the Sky • Words and music by Susan Bailey ©1998 Susan W. Bailey
“I saw yet again that working through my fear was necessary in order to find and then be my authentic self. I could be like Gloria: passionate, confident, joyful, and enthusiastic, affecting those around me as a result. By believing in God’s love for me I could then become his emissary. I didn’t have to travel to Haiti; I only had to travel within to discover where the river of grace was leading me, and then commit to the journey. I had to get used to living with the uncertainty that is the fundamental part of self-discovery. It required being alert and awake to that quiet voice of God inside of me, his gentle hand nudging me this way and that. It gave new meaning to the scripture to “Beware, keep alert” (Mk 13:33). We must be alert and awake at all times to God’s call. This is what it means to be truly present to each and every moment. And if we pay heed to such moments, we won’t have the time to worry about the future or regret the past.” (from chapter 6, River of Grace)

So that’s the big reveal! This project has been my life for the last two years and a lot of the transformation I write about happened as I was writing the book. Gotta love the immediacy of the Holy Spirit at work.

Ave Maria Press is everything everyone said it would be. Totally professional, really helpful, and daring, taking chances on newbies like myself. I am so honored to have a book published by them.

You can order River of Grace (the book) through Ave Maria Press and Amazon. Don’t forget to write a review after you’ve read it!

The CD will be available by the end of October; I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

Fundraiser almost over; still need your help

I hope you are enjoying these clips from the new CD. With the deadline of October 15 looming just around the corner, I still need much help in meeting the goal of raising $1600 to pay for the making of the CD. You can donate at http://igg.me/at/susanbailey. Every dollar counts. If you can only give $5 or $10, I will be so grateful. And for those who can give more, I am offering some rewards which I think you’ll appreciate.

00 twitter profile 400x400both books river firstJoin my Email List (special surprises just for you!)
to subscribe to this blog.
Keep up with news and free giveaways regarding Susan’s new books, River of Grace
and Louisa May Alcott: Iluminated by The Message!
Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
Read Susan’s blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

It’s all about the “Yes!” A review of “The Grace of Yes” by Lisa M. Hendey

catholic mom logoI have known Lisa Hendey for many years. Her site, Catholicmom.com, hosts over 150 contributors and has won accolades and awards from grateful Catholics around the world. The site is all about the reader, a rarity on the internet today. A vibrant community thrives there as a result. I am honored to be one of Catholicmom’s contributors.

the grace of yes 640I am pleased today to review her latest book, The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living, published by Ave Maria Press.

Quick read; buried treasure

Lisa Hendey is the neighbor next door, the friend you confide in over a lingering cup of coffee. The Grace of Yes reads in this friendly voice but don’t be deceived–although this book is a quick read, there is much treasure to be found between the lines.

Authentic struggle

The Grace of Yes is a departure from Hendey’s other books, employing a memoir style. It is a story her legion of fans have longed to hear. She is authentic and honest in sharing her struggle to live a deeper life of faith, stemming from the goal to live generously for others, and for herself.

It is a life of the bolder “Yes, I will!” as opposed to the safer “No, I won’t.” It’s a life lived in full partnership with her Creator; it’s a life that any of us can live if we desire it.

She lives this grace of yes through eight different virtues:

  • belief
  • generativity
  • creativity
  • integrity
  • humility
  • vulnerability
  • discerning the right time to say “no,” and
  • rebirth.

Digging out the deeper meaning

The Grace of Yes is a book that calls you back for a second, more thorough reading. Having a sense that God was trying to tell me something, I journaled through the book on my second go-around. The result was 16 pages of notes constituting an extensive examination of conscience. Hardly the outcome I would have expected from such a seemingly simple book! It was a rich, exhilarating and thought-provoking experience.

Those dreaded words!

In exploring the eight virtues, Hendey is advocating several things which Catholics especially have seen as rather onerous:

  • fidelity
  • obedience
  • discipline
  • confession

And a new way of looking at them

I no longer view these words as oppressive negatives, forbidding a life of excitement, adventure and yes, even fun. I now look upon these words as the necessary tools to achieve all of that and more: a fulfilling, meaningful existence where I can make a difference in the lives of others around me.

Through Hendey’s stories of her own life and others who have inspired her, I have developed new definitions for these words:

  • Fidelity simply means being faithful, giving our best effort to everything we do.
  • Obedience is another word for “yes,” agreeing to go along with whatever God has in mind for us while trusting that he always has our best interests in mind.
  • Discipline is a tool, a means of creating healthy new habits which lead us closer to our real selves and to God.
  • Confession is the unloading of our failures, dumped into the lap of God who will wipe them away while granting us his kiss of peace and forgiveness.

Yeses that stretch

lisa m hendeyHendey explores the various “yeses” in her life that have propelled her in a most unexpected direction. From claiming her Catholic faith as her own, to marrying, having children and sacrificing a career she loved, to finding a new path in her life that led her to become a noted blogger, best-selling author and journalist traveling to Rwanda for Catholic Relief Services, Hendey is at times painfully honest about her motivations, ambitions and failures. She also acknowledges her triumphs in a spirit of gratitude, attributing them to the lifelong working partnership she has with God. With every experience she is stretched, sometimes to the breaking point, as she experiences the rich growth that comes when you give yourself away unabashedly.

The little things that get in the way

The sense I got from reading this book was that the details of life really do matter. Hendey seeks to live a life of fidelity, keenly aware of how those little details can either help her to lead more generous life or grind that life to a halt.

There are those little sins, the ones committed without a thought, the ones that fall through the cracks, straight out of our memory, brushing by the conscience on the way out. We don’t like to talk about sin today; it’s another one of those “onerous” words; strictly out of vogue. Yet an authentic life where yes means “Yes!” and no means “No!” hinges on those details. Hendey’s stories of self-discovery gave me the means by which I could examine my own life with honesty and humility.

An honest examination

In journaling The Grace of Yes, I came up with an extensive list of questions that I intend to compile into an examination of conscience. It is a honest examination but one that promises growth and renewed life rather than an oppressive burden of guilt. I have maintained privately for a long time that a new examination of conscience is badly needed, one that invites repentance (which simply means turning back to our loving God). One that helps us catch those sins that fall through the cracks. One that will motivate me to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation more often. One that inspires hope.

A new spiritual discipline

I have since added a new spiritual discipline of examining myself twice daily; already I am becoming aware of those pesky little sins. I am beginning to catch them and confess them; I expect one day soon I will even stop committing them. And that will be a day of celebration!

The Grace of Yes is a simple book with simple truths. Do yourself a favor: read it once for fun and then sit down and read it again prayerfully with pen in hand.

It’s time to dig for buried treasure.

Join Susan Bailey’s Email List (special surprises just for you!)
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