"Momfulness" is Denise Roy's word for the spiritual practice of conscious mothering. She writes: "When we mother with mindfulness and compassion and a willingness to let this vocation awaken our hearts and transform our lives, we walk a spiritual path. We discover that care for our children and family is not a distraction from sacred practice but is the very essence of it."

Roy's My Monastery Is a Minivan was one of our choices for a Best Spiritual Book of 2001. She is a popular retreat leader who is also a mother of four and the foster mother to a fifth, a spiritual director, and a licensed marriage and family therapist. In this accessible and practical paperback, Roy demonstrates a keen sensitivity to family dynamics, the blessings and the burdens of parenting, and the home as a workshop for spiritual development. She quotes Sue Monk Kidd who wrote in The Secret Lives of Bees: "You have to find a mother inside yourself. We all do. Even if we already have a mother, we still have to find this part of ourselves inside."

Her exploration of motherhood is organized into six thematic sections: presence, attention, compassion, embodiment, the sacred in all things, and community. There is no task or moment in the family context which cannot become an occasion for grace and joy and love and meaning to abound. Time also must be taken for silence and solitude and self-nurturing so mothers can continue to serve others.

Roy presents a lively and eclectic group of spiritual practices including smiling (which she calls "mouth yoga"), hugging, body blessings, ways to frame the day, making sacred circles, planting trees, plus creatively named ideas such as the "Late-for School Practice," the "Eye Contact Meditation," the "Plan B Practice," and a meditation to discover where you may be of service inspired by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai. All of them are routes to a fresh and down-to-earth kind of parenting that makes the most of every grace moment that arises during the day.