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A Plentiful Harvest: Creating Balance and Harmony Through the Seven Living Virtues    by Terrie Williams order for
Plentiful Harvest
by Terrie Williams
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Softcover

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Terrie Williams' introduction describes an awakening common to many female high achievers who have met career goals to the detriment of personal ones. In her case, a Kwanzaa card that she stumbled on at the same time triggered a desire to work towards a life balanced by a focus on the seven living virtues: Calling, Responsibility, Thrift, Love, Community, Spirituality and Creativity.

She leads the reader through a year of working, week by week, on these living virtues, sharing her own and friends' experiences and mistakes. The advice, which comes with strong common sense and touches of humor, is very palatable. Williams suggests specific techniques, including extensive journalling to work towards the 'harvest' of a better, more balanced life. Though she herself is a Christian, she is open to other forms of spirituality, and her counsels are inclusive.

Williams reminds us that balancing wisdom used to come through church or community (to which I'd add extended family) but that most of us are disconnected from these sources nowadays. She emphasizes the importance of finding your 'calling' in life; 'Our jobs may wear us out, but calling feeds the spirit.' She reminds us to search out kindred spirits and to 'develop a healthy respect for change'.

I especially liked the author's tribute to an impressive mother who 'had only one real goal: to give back to the world around her.' But she also reminds us of what many women forget, our 'responsibility' to our own needs. Under 'thrift' she advises us to consider needs versus wants, and encourages us to take the 'high road' in dealing with 'love' and conflict - 'Understanding and tolerance lay a foundation upon which love can grow.'

The section on 'community' addresses the issue of people moving away from their birth communities and recommends forging new ones based on tolerance and respect. The author's definition of 'spirituality' says a lot about her as a person; 'For Terrie Williams, spirituality is about creating a world filled with joy and compassion.' And she sums up 'creativity' as 'the ultimate expression of who we are', suggesting that we apply it to all aspects of life from the job to celebrations.

Read A Plentiful Harvest if you're dissatisfied with your present life and ready to work on these seven virtues to improve it; if you've temporarily lost balance and need reminders of what's important; or if you simply want to spend time with a positive, energetic and highly focused Sistah.

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