Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Life, Love and Lilies: The Sanctified Self - A Book Review

This is one homework assignment that I take joy from!

After a relaxing Presidents Day weekend of hosting friends from Atlanta, including a post day trip to the Nation's Oldest City, I received a very thoughtful gift.

Brenda Bunch Strickland gave me an autographed copy of her book, "Life, Love and Lilies: The Sanctified Self." Even though the weeks have passed since then, I knew that the time would finally be right for me to read Brenda's thoughts on life, love and lilies.

Thankfully, after a school year of challenges, I sat down in a quiet waterfront park here in Bath, Maine to enlighten myself with Brenda's unique perspective. I managed to breeze through but also to savor her words like the sweet summer air around me and the cooling waves of the river at my feet.

Firstly, don't let the title fool you. This book is specially created for those who believe that being 'sanctified' is about as rarified as becoming a saint or a martyr. In reality, Brenda shares her thoughts about how we can achieve our potential as spirits in the material world.

For this lifelong journalism student, Brenda skillfully breaks down the who, the what, the when, the where and the why of our very existence. With as much reason as passion, she takes me on a journey into purpose, existence and the road ahead. The usual baggage of sin, fear and guilt are set aside so we can learn to travel light.

And what a trip it is. Brenda understands that it takes universal thinking to understand the universe. She does not limit herself to one path or condescend on other beliefs to make her points. She embraces all that is good and I know that the good returns her gentle hug.

Yes, the bookstores are populated with religion, new thought, new age and all that could keep a thinker occupied for centuries. Yes, we may never grasp the answers to all of life's questions in this lifetime. Brenda, however, has a worldview that make her efforts worthy of recommending to all who want to begin somewhere.

Central to her book, in my opinion, is the Bible verse from the Book of Matthew. We are to behold the lilies of the field as they toil without worry for their sustenance. This has been misread by many to think that we can just sit there and expect good to come our way. In practical terms, Brenda explains that even the most leisurely and lovely among us have work to do as the lilies serve to hold the ground together in the face of erosion. We, too, have our work and we too can lay down our worries to make room for the best that we deserve.

I hope that you consider looking up this great book to read for yourself! To order a copy ($20 plus shipping), call 404-734-8827, email, or visit

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