Gift from the Sea

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Gift from the Sea
by Anne Morrow Lindbergh





About thirteen years ago I went to a used homeschool curriculum sale with my friend, Lengel. There was a booth that was selling used literature and I was drawn to this particular book, Gift from the Sea.  And even though it was only a few dollars I didn’t buy it because I had never heard of it and I’m pretty picky about the books I purchase.  I wandered around the room and went back to the booth to look at this book at least three times.  But I still didn’t buy it.  A bit later my friend and I caught up with each other and started going through the sale booths together and when we came to the booth with Gift from the Sea she picked it up, purchased it, and handed it to me and said, “here, I want you to have this book.”  She proceeded to tell me what a beautiful book it is.  That was such a great blessing in my life.

Gift from the Sea has turned out to be one of my very favorite books and I’ve read it every summer since that summer curriculum sale.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of Charles Lindbergh, wrote Gift from the Sea in 1955.  It’s a book about her insightful reflections on being a wife and mother of five children, which she so values and the joys and challenges she encounters while performing her many daily duties.  She uses a two week vacation to the sea shore to rest from her busy life and to meditate on cutting out distractions and balancing her life and needs with those of her husband, children, and other things demanding her time, and she uses the sea shells she finds to form similarities between them and her life in each of it’s stages.

She uses the Moon Shell to give us two reflections that seem so simple, yet are sometimes difficult to remember or make time for:

  • “If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others.”
  • “Only when one is connected to one’s own core is one connected to others, I am beginning to discover.  And, for me, the core, the inner spring, can best be refound through solitude.”

She goes on to reflect on this concept and writes that women are meant to give, but in order to give we must be replenished and that we as wives and mothers need to find time for that replenishment somehow because we are the only workers who do not have regular time off.  She isn’t suggesting, though, that we each take vacations alone.  She mentions that even just arranging a bowl of flowers can give a sense of quiet in a busy day ~ and that what is important is that we have a space of time to be “inwardly attentive.”

Anne compare the Oyster Shell with the middle years of marriage.  Just as the oyster fights to have a place on a rock and then clings to it tenaciously, so most couples struggle for and cling to home, children, and their place in society.

She finds symbolism for the other stages of life in other shells she finds.

Towards the end of the book she shares this thought: “Perhaps this is the most important thing for me to take back from beach-living: simply the memory that each cycle of the tide is valid; each cycle of the wave is valid; each cycle of a relationship is valid.  And my shells?  I  can sweep them all into my pocket.  They are only there to remind me that the sea recedes and returns eternally.”

Anne gives us her reflections as a seeker herself and is never preachy but is thoughtful, simple, and honest. In fact, it almost feels as though we could each be having her ocean and cottage experience and writing her reflections as our own.  This book is so relevant to our lives today because we could all probably benefit by simplifying and decluttering our lives and finding joy and validity, strength and refinement as we fulfill our roles as wives and mothers.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh has given us a gift of herself in her book Gift from the Sea.

More book reviews…
Mao’s Last Dancer
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
I Am Potential
James Herriot’s books: All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Things Wise and Wonderful, The Lord God Made Them All
Left To Tell
The Happiness Project


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11 Responses to Gift from the Sea

  1. Bette Denison September 11, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    You gave me this book years ago and I loved it. I thought it was such a beautiful story also. Thanks so much again. Mom

    • Lori September 12, 2013 at 12:09 am #

      Hi Mom, Thanks for letting me know that you loved it. I never knew that. In fact, I had forgotten that I gave you a copy of this book. We should have a little book discussion. 🙂

  2. Jennifer September 13, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    I wanted to invite you to the Friday Flash Blog Party, the best linky in town! I hope you’ll join us and link up. Who knows. You may just get highlighted!

    The party goes on ALL weekend.

    Jennifer @ The Jenny Evolution

    • Lori September 21, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

      Thanks, Jenny. I’ll come check out your party. Thanks for the invite.

  3. kim September 13, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    I have several different copies of this book and I visit Sanibel Island every year. I love it there. Have you ever been there?

    I stopped by from the Farm Blog Hop.

    • Lori September 21, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

      Hi Kim, we have been to Sanibel Island once and it’s been one of our very favorite places that we’ve visited. Florida is a long way from our Idaho so we don’t get there often, 🙁 .

  4. Michelle September 15, 2013 at 10:25 am #

    I’ve heard a lot about the book, but haven’t read it yet. Thanks for your review! From another LDS homeschooler!

    • Lori September 21, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

      Hello Michelle. I didn’t know that you, too, are LDS. And a homeschooler. There aren’t many of us around. 🙂 I would love to hear your thoughts if you ever read this book.

  5. Shannah September 17, 2013 at 7:16 am #

    Thanks so much for linking up to the Pinworthy Projects Party! I will have to check this book out.

    • Lori September 21, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

      Shannah, I would love to hear your thoughts on this book if you read it ~ I’m always up for a good book discussion. 🙂

  6. Georgie Lee October 2, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    I read this book in high school as part of a class. It is a very moving book.

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