Mary Hayes Grieco is the Director of The Midwest Institute for Forgiveness Training and has been a presenter in a wide variety of professional venues, including the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize Forum. This is one of our favorite everyday spirituality books; it was first published by Hazelden in 1992.

In her introduction to The New Kitchen Mystic, Grieco mentions a friend who called it "the little book that could" since it sold so many copies and has so many fans who have bought copies of it for their friends. The author describes the many challenges she has faced as "a high-maintenance personality — an extra-sensitive temperament that gets mired in insecurity and derailed by intense emotions or leftover ghosts from the past."

Grieco begins with a definition: "Kitchen Mysticism cultivates the awareness of direct, intimate communion with the Divine in the arena of everyday existence. It's a very personal path, and there are as many ways of walking it as there are people." There is adventure in the quest to discover the Divine within our everyday precincts. Grieco says the spiritual journey that has great appeal for her is one that puts the accent on the immanence of God, the Divine Feminine, discipline, acceptance, both giving and receiving, a trust in life, contentment, humility, forgiveness, and living your purpose.

The author celebrates the transformation that is possible through everyday spirituality and through the recovery movement which she supports wholeheartedly. We used Grieco's amazing meditation on "God in Onions" on the "Beauty" episode of the Spiritual Literacy DVD series — you can read it in the excerpt and see the clip from the DVD. It is a perfect example of the spiritual practices of imagination and gratitude. We also enjoyed Grieco's essay on her close-encounter with a spider and the mystical moment that accompanied it.