The Rev. Barbara Cawthorne Crafton, an Episcopal priest, writes gracefully about death, loneliness, time, hardships, marriage, and vocation in this wonderful collection of essays. The organizing principle here is her belief that the people in her life have tutored her spirit in diverse ways. She writes about the lessons gleaned from her nice mother who was "afraid that the admission of the smallest of negatives would precipitate an avalanche of despair." Crafton muses on those she has watched die; they have taught her how to "practice for our deaths by learning to achieve serenity in our lives." And she marvels at the courage of those who have survived the loss of a child and reclaimed new purpose in the process.

But the best essays are those in which the sensitive author uncovers the special blessings of her life. They include the tangible rewards of sewing, a place to cry in secret when she was a child, the pungent pleasures of baking bread, the admission of a clerical error, and a confession that it's all right to ask others for help. The Sewing Room will help you appreciate the spiritual teachers in your life and the creative meanings in your everyday activities.