Small Mercies: Glimpses of God in Everyday Life

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People who are only nominally spiritual have relatively little trouble sensing some sort of Divine presence when looking up at a beautiful snow-capped mountain or looking around in a grand cathedral. But even deeply spiritual individuals would likely admit that finding God in the places and faces that define daily life can be a bit more challenging.

InSmall Mercies , fifty-something Nancy Jo Sullivan reflects on her life to this point?which includes the death of one of her ...

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Small Mercies: Glimpses of God in Everyday Life

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People who are only nominally spiritual have relatively little trouble sensing some sort of Divine presence when looking up at a beautiful snow-capped mountain or looking around in a grand cathedral. But even deeply spiritual individuals would likely admit that finding God in the places and faces that define daily life can be a bit more challenging.

InSmall Mercies , fifty-something Nancy Jo Sullivan reflects on her life to this point—which includes the death of one of her daughters and a painful divorce—and discovers with great joy that God has been, and continues to be, everywhere. From her grandmother’s not-so-tasty date cookies to a dog that seems bent on attacking her to a conversation with her daughter about the function of muscles, Sullivan gives readers—especially second-half-of-life women—every reason to expect God to show up in the most unexpected ways.

Ultimately, Small Mercies encourages us to stop "limiting" God to those rare moments where all seems sublime and perfect, and instead to seek out God's mercies in the ordinary, often imperfect moments that shape our everyday lives.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Filled with insight for anyone facing inevitable changes."
--OSV Newsweekly

"This book is not annoyingly uplifting, nor is it a complete downer. It has humor, realism, and God. Sullivan’s awareness of God’s “small mercies” keeps her going and it will keep you reading."
--The Good News, Diocese of Kalamazoo

"Sullivan's writing style is so smooth, comfortable and inviting for readers of all ages. Her stories are engaging and endearing. I truly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to others, especially mothers and daughters. You can read more of her work at as well. I hope that others will have the courage to live their lives as she does, seeking God in everyday life."

"This sliver of a book is a pearl."
--Sky Sanchez-Fischer, San Francisco Book Review

 "God is easy to spot in a breathtaking vista, but Sullivan chooses the sweet and sour of the mundane to show the deliciousness of the divine in... [her] gem of a book, Small Mercies: Glimpses of God in Everyday Life."
-- Suzette Standring, Suzette's Spiritual Cafe

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780829436952
  • Publisher: Loyola Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2012
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Jo Sullivan is the author of five books and is a frequent speaker at both the local and national levels. She is a columnist for two websites: Catholic Exchange and Catholic Mom . Sullivan lies in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Table of Contents

Small Mercies ix

1 The Divine Touch 1

2 Empty Nest 5

3 Scrapbooks 11

4 New Drapes 17

5 A Dog Named Sabbath 23

6 The Twitch of Hope 27

7 Jesus at the Door 33

8 Date Cookies 39

9 Smoothies 45

10 Teddy Bears 51

11 Copy-Machine Dance 55

12 The Best Gift 61

13 A Holy Interruption 67

14 Grace in the Grocery Store 71

15 Mountains 75

16 Pounding Pillows 81

17 Graduation Day 87

18 My Mothers Garden 93

19 Another Great Day of Life 99

20 Yahoo! 103

Acknowledgments 107

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A dance of hope

    Nancy Jo Sullivan has a gift for pulling grace out of daily life even when the larger picture is anything but ordinary. In her latest book, Small Mercies, she looks back on the years of mothering her three daughters and ahead to the possibilities that await her as an “empty nester.” In the process she shares the challenges and blessings a special needs child can bring to a family, the pain of losing that child at age 23, and the continuation of life with her two younger daughters. Sullivan, whose marriage ended in divorce, was always a mother first, though she held a job and also flourished as a writer and speaker.

    The twenty short chapters in Small Mercies contain examples of finding God in everyday life. One lesson is the blueprint for helping someone who is mourning. Sullivan returned to work three months after her daughter died. She had largely stayed in bed during the period and recalls that she hadn’t smiled in weeks. On her first day back to her job at a Catholic parish she was greeted by the office administrator, Ellen, with whom she had worked for several years. Sullivan started that day crying quietly at her desk, and developed a ritual of 15 minutes of tears at the beginning of each day. Ellen said little but sometimes brought a card or vase of flowers.

    One day as Sullivan arrived at work Ellen turned up the volume on her CD player and said, “There will be no crying this morning.” With that Ellen left her chair and started to dance, urging Sullivan to join in, which she did. Looking back, Sullivan says she’s sure the two of them looked ridiculous, but as they danced, joy bubbled up and “I heard something I barely recognized, my own laugh.” Sullivan will never stop mourning her daughter’s loss, but neither will she forget the gift Ellen gave her that day by inviting her to take a break from heartache.

    The chapter ends, like all the others, with a Receive the Mercies element formatted under the headings of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. In this case, the prayer is for God to send a dance partner in times of grief. The fasting is a few moments each day without grief, and the almsgiving is reaching out to a despairing friend, leading her in a dance of hope.

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