The new book produced by the Blessed Family Department and written by Susan Crosthwaite is now available to order through your local pastor. It can also be accessed through Amazon Kindle, with the introduction being made available to read in this article.
The book is a study book that gives daily thoughts and questions to consider and reflect on, with space to make personalised notes. The book covers over 50 different topics related to living life to its fullest with strategies for practising these topics in day-to-day life.
The book can be purchased through Amazon Kindle (while those with kindleunlimited can read it for free):
Read the introduction to the book here:
Those of us who have a calling as professionals in any field of human endeavour have a responsibility to share a meaningful vision about life through practising genuine love in both words and actions. I hope that the next generation will become wise and courageous friends, spouses, parents, politicians, teachers, investors, lawyers, doctors, nurses, midwives, artists and builders of all kinds. The foundation for that of course starts in our families, and I want this book to be a resource that can support the nurturing of an enjoyable family experience.
Isn’t family life wonderful and challenging? How do you manage to base your family life on God’s Word? I think it may start with reading Scripture together: parents and children. Hoon Dok Hae might be translated as ‘Reading for Learning Together’. I believe the most effective way to learn, when reading scripture, is through an interactive approach; communicating about how to apply the Word in our daily lives.
There are four parts of each section of ‘Day’. The first is a collection of True Father’s words largely extracted from World Scripture and some of True Mother’s words I found in public addresses as well as small sections of the Exposition of the Divine Principle (EDP); the second is about how to live the Word, where I propose strategies for living ideals or virtues; the third contains suggestions for discussion and reflection. Lastly, there are words of wisdom from extraordinary people who have practised the ideals.
Some time ago, a friend and volunteer in the UK Blessed Family Department, Mari W., sent me a book called Ordered to Return: My Life After Dying by George G. Ritchie, MD, written in 1991. What he writes is stirring stuff! In 1943, he died for nine minutes when he was twenty years old, and was taken on a journey by Jesus to see various realms in the spiritual world. He felt total acceptance from Jesus and unconditional love so powerful, that nothing he had ever experienced, thought or done seemed unforgivable. Everything he went through afterwards felt like training and lessons for sharing this love. In a very real way, he looked at everything and everyone from God’s point of view from then on. This morning his words helped me form a couple of questions to myself and to the Blessed Families in general, which are fundamental to this book: ‘What are we dedicating our lives for?’ and ‘What are we using our time for?’.
Ritchie states, ‘No one has driven home to us the point that the most important job we as human beings have, if we want the world to be a better place in which to live, is to love and train the generation we bring forth into this world … We have, for the most part, ignored Him who God sent as the ideal.’
This ideal example is what I believe we are striving to understand and follow, and so much of it has been described for us by our True Parents. Our True Father has been called ‘a kind genius’ for his endless efforts to speak about, and to love and serve in order to encourage humankind how to live with true love. I believe it is our task as their children to create this principled way of life in our families, and encourage a true way of life in those around us.
How to use this book
The purpose of this book is to encourage a living, learning lifestyle beginning within the family; learning to develop your relationship with God on a personal level, on a family level and beyond. The book contains 3 parts, and within them sections called ‘Days’. Part 1 is made up of 12 days, Part 2: 17 days, and Part 3: 20 days. Each ‘Day’ provides material that can be used for meditation and reflection. Perhaps you’ll read it in the morning while you’re eating breakfast, or perhaps after dinner, depending on your particular schedule. It may be used in your early morning devotion. It may be used for youth programmes and workshops. Most of all through, I hope it will be a tool that can empower parents and their teenage children to ‘read and learn together’. We need to not only read and learn, but also practise the Word of God to really learn it. The ‘strategies’ section in each ‘Day’ I believe will inspire and inform your awareness of how truth can be lived. You may have a weekly ‘family get together’ during which you can use it.
One vital way of expressing love is to speak and listen to one another. That’s what the section called Questions for Reflection and Discussion is about. Indigenous Americans invented an effective way of helping people in a group to take turns in speaking without interrupting anyone. You might want to use it. It’s called ‘the talking stick’ or the ‘speaker’s staff’. The person who is talking holds a stick until they have finished saying what they want. Then they pass it to whoever wants to speak next. I am sure that if you let your family/group members speak and do not correct, judge or argue with them, everyone will come to look forward to discussing the topic of the day. Remember, listen intently when the speaker is speaking and express your thoughts and ideas too, when it’s your turn.
Every seven ‘Days’ I ask you to make a fresh and specific goal for your personal strategy to grow your heart through practising. Please focus on a personal goal every day for a week or more and see how it helps grow your confidence, peace and joy. Dare to make positive changes!
Of course, the real energy for living virtues based on God’s truth comes from God’s love. Each individual one of us needs to spend time with and I would say to bask in God and True Parents’ love every day at least once, in order to have the power to become good, beautiful, true and loving. I mean to bask in a way you do you find a patch of sunshine in a cool garden. You take time to allow the warmth and light warm you though from head to toe and down to your bone marrow. Then you are energised.
Maybe your ancestors gave you great genes and great qualities which make this task of life easy for you. Not so lucky are most of us to be able to sail through life with ease! There are mountains and valleys to trek, and thousands of obstacles to face.
My hope is that this book will lift your mind and heart each day that you read it, and perhaps give a hopeful and yet realistic strength to your soul, in your efforts to nurture your family life, be true to yourself, and also your ideals. May it point you inward where our Heavenly Parent will touch, shape and order your thoughts and feelings, decisions, words and creativity.
It was in one of those basking moments one morning that I started to write a song called ‘Garden of a Promise’. It’s a poetic and musical expression of The Family Pledge. You can read it towards the end of the book.“ – Susan Crosthwaite (March 2019)
To continue reading visit Amazon while physical copies of the book can be ordered by contacting your local pastor or by contacting the Blessed Family Department directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org