Book Review — Everywhere Holy, Seeing Beauty, Remembering Your Identity, and Finding God Right Where You Are, by Kara Lawler
Having experienced bouts of anxiety and depression, Kara Lawler found a way to bring back the joy and peace she sought by considering simple observations as a form of prayer and embracing the noticing of beauty as a spiritual practice.
In her latest book, Everywhere Holy, Seeing Beauty, Remembering Your Identity, and Finding God Right Where You Are blogger and author Kara Lawler sets out 16 insights to experience peace and sacredness in day-to-day living. In captivating prose, she describes her life in terms of ongoing prayer and appreciation for the world and life around her.
Kara observes, “If you look around at the children in your own life, you can see most of them know how to live in the moment; however, most adults I know have lost that ability … How can we see the gift our lives are if we can’t learn to stand in the here and now, appreciating the gifts of the second, hour, day instead of projecting, planning and just waiting for the next best thing?”
We are taken on a journey of life stories, from appreciating the beauty of a basket of eggs to watching the splendor of sunrise over a mountain. Kara shares her stories, teaching her high school classes, watching her children, spending time with her husband, as she says “the most mundane things” and finding the holiness in each one. She reiterates, “Learning to be here, right now, right here – isn’t always easy, but it is worth the effort.”
Kara’s stories of finding herself, learning to “breathe, bless and release,” and her detail of everyday life brings a peaceful, easy flow to her words. She challenges us to look around and find the “holy, everywhere” in our own lives.
Kara reminds herself that “anxious thoughts are, after all, only thoughts, not reality.” And she moves on through her days, finding peace both at home and in her own thoughts.
For women and mothers especially, Kara’s words and stories can bring an understanding of self and our relationship to the world and people around us. Seeing grace and goodness — in dragonflies, butterflies, the fog rising, the rain falling, a yoga class, a single beam of light through the trees, a quick coffee with a friend, a cat brushing against a leg — are all a part of the holiness of life.
As Kara concludes, “I can feel a prayer wherever I am … Holiness is found right here, right now. I think I’ve finally found everywhere holy …”
Author: Kara Lawler is a writer, blogger and teacher, whose work has appeared on HuffPost, Parenting and on Today.com.