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Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit: Nourishing the Soul when Life’s Just Too Much ~Karen Horneffer-Ginter, Ph.D.

I wish I had owned a copy of Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit when I was a young mother and working on balancing my life, with apparently no time for myself at any given moment.  Karen Horneffer- Ginter has taken her expertise and 16 years of work experience and put together a manual for all of us who are too busy and our lives are too full.   I wish I had had this book when I was doing counseling or working on a busy college campus, but the race was just warming up; the author’s words would have given us more balance as we  arrived at the started line. I would have referred this book to nearly everyone I encountered. People are so driven today; so busy.  It is here now and it is about time.

Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit is about time management but not just for work or school projects, it is about finding a new rhythm to your life which is holistic and assists one if finding their individual best life.  It is about couples learning who they are as individuals and then meshing their rhythms and activities to make a more complete experience.   It gives new meaning to partnership in relationships that does not just imitate a business model.  Our lives and our families are often very busy but they are not a business.  Corporations and Businesses are often held up as the ideal but these models are not very relevant for successful living and relationships.

Horneffer-Ginter uses a 6 step form to assist folks in finding their best, which includes rediscovering core values and integrating them into YOUR actual life not the imagined way one thought life would be happening.   She calls the steps – shifts:

Shift 1: Honoring Our Rhythms
Shift 2: Turning Within
Shift 3: Filling Up
Shift 4: Fully Inhabiting Our Days
Shift 5: Remembering Lightness
Shift 6: Embracing Difficulty
Ending with finding a balance that integrates the themes.

Searching for the spirit within ourselves can often be thought of as being part of a religious experience.  Sometimes that religious experience can be just more busyness to incorporate into our lives and may or may not give back to our best living.  This author is not preachy or evangelical in her concepts and ideas.  She is showing us how to find the magic in “no” and “intentionality” bringing us to our center and making our activities more beneficial to nurturing us and not just consuming us.   She shows us how to confront our imitation behaviors which are not working to our benefit, how to tackle perfectionistic expectations and to lift up what truly helps our best light shine.  Often these changes only take a shift in our perceptions and thinking and are not such a major workout or dramatic in their plan or intention.

The language in the book is conversational; the format is something that anyone could read a chapter or a section a day and find they are able to make the step by step changes on their own – Lots of ah-ha examples to explain and define.  I also liked that the quotes were inspiring  and were truly relevant to what she was explaining and demonstrating.  Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit was written after 16 years of practice in the areas of psychology, yoga, and contemplative practices.

Karen Horneffer-Ginter is the Co- founder of the Center for Psychotherapy and Wellness in Kalamazoo, Michigan.



I received a copy of this book from TLC online book tours and  Hay House, Inc. in exchange for writing this review.  The Publisher is giving away a copy of this book for a great comment.

If one purchases anything from Amazon  or Powell’s from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket. Thank you.  Donations also welcome.

Related Reading:
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place
Emotional Chaos to Clarity
Search Inside Yourself

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19 Responses to “Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit: Nourishing the Soul when Life’s Just Too Much ~Karen Horneffer-Ginter, Ph.D.”

  1. Suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia,
    This sounds like it sure would have come in handy when the kids were here, as you said. Those days were nuts! Now I have no one to blame but myself (gulp) for not being able to accomplish what I want to and still be nurturing to me. Some days I do great, others, not so much. But it’s all on me. :)

    patricia Reply:

    Yes it is all on me now…and some days are good and some are tough :)

    Today the big tree came down next door ( that which crashed their garage our fence and yard) it was very spectacular and an amazing thing to witness, and it left a sadness in me for the remainder…

    feeling it all :)

  2. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    “…a manual for all of us who are too busy and our lives are too full.” It sounds like a book we could all use. I’m also intrigued by the shifts.

    Patricia – you’ve piqued my curiosity yet again!

    patricia Reply:

    I am excited about reading your book about 7 selves, because I am thinking that these two books could make a wonderful collections of wisdom about self-care and creating time and space that works with one’s values…What a fulfilling life we could all lead.

    It was a great read and yes for any age

  3. Karen Horneffer-Ginter Says:

    Thank you so much, Patricia, for your kind words and for taking the time to read my book. I really appreciate it!

    Blessings, Karen

    patricia Reply:

    Thank you so much for coming by – I actually read the book 3 times and I really appreciated it – very good words and shifts for helping folks live their own lives and be whole and healthy.

    It was my privilege.
    Looking forward to your next book…or maybe we should write something to help those turning 60s and 70s because life is so much bigger than we expected it to be…the peak of creativity is about the age of 65…
    …and all those care giving for both children and parents at the same time…they need personal time and creating time too….and I can tell you they are worn out and tired…
    You have a lot to share and offer…such good words…keep writing – keep writing and teaching

    Karen Horneffer-Ginter Reply:

    I love that thought! I gave a reading the other day and, afterwards, I was talking with numerous people who were in their 60’s and 70’s and found myself encouraging them to write just that sort of book based on their life wisdom!

    patricia Reply:

    Karen, H-G,
    Good for you, we need more sharing because I keep finding people who can not think of anything to do – though I have to say going back to school and getting a new degree does not appeal to most of the folks I visit with….
    One woman was getting her massage license which I found interesting, but she was getting no credit for 31 years of being in the class room …

    I was looking at Doctoral programs again and they are just not the right fit any more – and no life experience credits offered – hmm

    School and programs need to see folks as a new resource for our communities not as just new money to exploit?

  4. trish Says:

    It’s funny you mention finding balance when you have kids, because I overscheduled myself when my son was little. I quickly found it was just too much. He didn’t have to be in music class, swim class, etc. Our best days are running an errand or two and letting him play at a playground for a few hours. I’m just glad I learned these lessons early on, since kids’ schedules seem to be overfilled these days.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

    patricia Reply:

    I was so happy to be on the tour – it was a great book and a very quick read for me….I stuck sticky notes in a number of pages and put a one word summary because there were so many little pointers to guide and remind.

    I think I would give this book to young parents and to all care givers I know – oh yes! and all those folks wanting to be healthy and whole on their own terms….it is a good one for the reference shelf

    Thank you for thinking of me and sending along this book

    patricia Reply:

    These lessons will come up again and again in life – working from what you value and designing your own life seems to be the trick and journey worth taking.

    Thank you for your comment – I appreciate you coming by and your good thoughts

  5. Sara Says:


    It’s funny I’ve never been one to really enjoy book reviews, but you do a way with doing them that draws me in. I love your honesty and your ability to capture a key element of a book.

    For example, this part jumped out at me: “This author is not preachy or evangelical in her concepts and ideas. She is showing us how to find the magic in “no” and “intentionality” bringing us to our center and making our activities more beneficial to nurturing us and not just consuming us.”

    I always worry about these kind of books being preachy and you took care of that. You make me want to check this book out. Fortunately, I have a gift card I’ve haven’t used yet:~)

    Hope you’re feeling well and be good to yourself!
    Sara recently posted..House Renovation PicturesMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Thank you for your very kind words about my reviews. This is a very good book, I believe because it celebrates the individual and does not try to make one fit into the common mold or practice – it begins with the individuals own values and style and helps one create an authentic space.

    I think it is good for all ages, though I sometimes had to think about myself as when I was the parental caregiver 24/7 and was exhausted. How could I have been better at caring for myself – I got fairly exhausted and fatigued.

    I have just started a Liangong Class a healing form of Qigong because I am inspired by this book to begin where I am presently at and that feels very good.

    Hope you are doing well…can’t wait to come over and see your pictures

  6. Terrill Welch Says:

    Oh this looks very good Patricia! The – the magic in “no” and “intentionality” – speaks loudly to me.
    Terrill Welch recently posted..Unraveling the artistic influences and intentions behind the painting EVENING AND THE ARBUTUS TREEMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Hi Terrill,
    I think this is a book for all ages, with an emphasis on those with young children. But the steps to shift thinking are just marvelous for any one who is rethinking spending their time in certain ways.

    I think your daughter with 2 babies would really enjoy this book after the sleepless nights stage, and being able to plan her routine a bit differently with her values in mind…That skill was also helpful to me

  7. Chris Edgar Says:

    Hi Patricia — I particularly liked what you said here about letting go of the need to use a “business model” as the guide for what our lives should look like. For myself, if I’m constantly pushing to achieve “results” in my life, I’m probably not looking at the big picture and being grateful for what I have as well as considering what I really want in this moment. Definitely a useful reminder.
    Chris Edgar recently posted..Choose My Next MusicalMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    That gratitude is so vitally important and it is from appreciating what we already have and what we already know about ourselves that we can design our own living and style….and include our own self in the experience.

    I saw this as a powerful shift in thinking that the author shared in this book.

    I just spoke with a woman who has lived 34 years of a full life since her retirement. She had a part time career as an instructor of pre-school teachers – a huge change from her CPA days with the government but she loved it so much and she addressed her fears…Those shifts are important

  8. Sam Juliano Says:

    “Searching for the spirit within ourselves can often be thought of as being part of a religious experience. Sometimes that religious experience can be just more busyness to incorporate into our lives and may or may not give back to our best living.”

    Excellent concept, and in my viewing a telling one. Look like you have encountered yet another book that is well worth exploring Patricia.

    patricia Reply:

    Always so nice to find you here and I think you have a dual career with your teaching and movie blog….I believe I have read that you write also….top that off with Italian cooking…oh my You do lead a full life….

    It was a good book Sam and I enjoyed reading it…I get to pass one on….will have to draw a name from the hat…Nice to have so many good comments