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Dear Reader,
In this pocket of time, between Thanksgiving (our U.S. holiday of gratitude) and Christmas, I hope you are well. I hope those you care about are well. In this pocket of time, I’ve been doing some reading and thinking about things related to Advent: hope, waiting, and patience.

Last month I wrote about a writing trick in which you juxtapose experiences and thoughts to come up with a whole greater than the sum of its parts. This month, I’m offering you three book excerpts that go together, in my mind, and have something to say about the season and beyond. They have something to say about the world and our place in it, about the role of hope no matter the season or headlines on the evening news. If you’re interested, and at your leisure, consider reading these excerpts one after the another, maybe reading them a second time, a third time, and then sitting in silence with them for awhile.

From Patience: How We Wait Upon the World by David Baily Harned:
“Patience and humility and gratitude together are committed to offering to all others what God has ungrudgingly given to us: the time and space they must have for their own flourishing. Patience provides the essential support so that we may live as if the new age had come. Patience means living against appearances. This is one way, and perhaps the most important way of all, to express a fundamental form of the New Testament ethical imperative – the injunction to live as if the new age had come in fullness and power, and as if this present age were no longer with us but had passed entirely away. How better to honor the biblical invitation to live ‘as if not’ than to contend against appearances by practicing the Christian patience that forbears, perseveres, endures, and waits expectantly despite everything that pronounces this is futility and folly?”

From Hope and History by Josef Pieper:
“The ‘kingdom of God’ realizes itself nowhere other than in the very midst of this historical world. It is true, of course, that nobody can have an idea of what is concretely meant by ‘resurrection’ and ‘a New Earth’ as images of hope; but what else could those possibly imply if not this: that not one iota will ever be futile, or lost, of whatever is good in earthly history—good, just, true, beautiful, fine, and sound.”

From Deep Comedy by Peter J. Leithart:
“It is no accident that there is an etymological connection between ‘advent’ and ‘adventure.’”

That last line intrigued me. Before reading that I'd never made the connection between Advent and adventure. Had you?

If you'd like, hit REPLY and share what strikes you when reading and thinking about these excerpts.


Finding Livelihood and Other Writing News

This past week Kalos Press, the publisher of Finding Livelihood, released an anthology about pregnancy loss and infertility written by women and men who've gone through such an experience: NOT ALONE: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility & Miscarriage. The book's goal is companionship for other women and men who are on that path. I'm grateful to have an essay ("Ontology") in this collection, not only because it's a way to have a part in something that will help so many other women and men, but also because this collection is evidence that good can come from grief. You can read more about the book here on my blog.

If you or someone you know needs companionship on the journey of pregnancy loss or infertility, consider this book - available through Kalos Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

On the Blog

Visit my Markings blog, formerly called "Just Thinking," to catch these posts from November: 656–659. (I’ve started numbering my posts).

656. The way forward: closing from behind or opening ahead
657. Going out singing: the poetry of Brett Foster
658. Be still my soul – and brain
659. Thanks be to Thee: Handel for Thanksgiving

If you don’t already subscribe to my blog, which is different than this newsletter, and would like to, you can do so here.

On My Reading List

God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas, edited by Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe and published by Paraclete Press. Last week on my blog I ran an interview with Emilie Griffin, one of the contributors to this devotional book for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. Other contributors include Eugene Peterson, Richard John Neuhaus, Luci Shaw, Scott Cairnes, and Kathleen Norris.

Light Upon Light: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany edited by Sarah Arthur. Last summer I posted on my blog about Sarah Arthur’s devotional book for “Ordinary Time.” This is a similar approach but for the season we’re now in.

Write Without Crushing Your Soul by Ed Cyzewski. I’m looking forward to reading this in the time between Christmas and New Year when I’m going to take some time off. Although Cyzewski is focusing on writing here, his goal of finding ways, as well as a mindset, to work with a sense of balance and an identity grounded apart from the work suggests that his ideas can be applied to all kinds of work and not only work of the writing variety.

Alternative to Futility by Elton Trueblood. This compelling little book, written in 1948 by Trueblood, a Quaker theologian, is timely even now. It’s about community. It's about courage, adventure, and joy. I've been reading it this week and already know I’ll likely mention this book in my next newsletter. Stay tuned.
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Favorite Writing Moment

Please look past my inadequate photography and see this wonderful event. The Satellite Sisters were here, at the St. Paul Athletic Club, in November on a book tour for their second book, You’re the Best: A Celebration of Friendship. I’ve written before about the Satellite Sisters on my blog (here). They are a group of 5 amazing women, all sisters, all aunts to my daughter-in-law Katherine. For 15 years they’ve been broadcasting weekly to an active and engaged audience first by syndicated radio and now by podcast. As I said in my blog post, they “have a way of throwing a net of friendship and sisterhood over all their listeners.” This picture shows two of the sisters - Liz and Sheila - and only a small portion of the hundreds of people, mostly but not all women, who were there, hanging on every word, standing in long lines holding stacks of books to be signed. Other than being a fan myself of the Sisters, who I like to now consider family, the reason this was my favorite writing moment for November is that the relationship between author/writer/performer and reader/listener/audience was so joyously demonstrated and celebrated. The act of sitting at a desk writing or speaking into a microphone in a make-shift studio in a bedroom closet is so physically separate from the women or men reading or listening, that the visible love going back and forth in this room among “friends” who have never met was a wonder to behold.
Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter. As always, I appreciate it so very much.
Blessings on you, dear reader.

p.s. If you enjoyed this newsletter and know of someone who would enjoy it also, please share the love and forward it by email or link it on social media.

“The wind came back with triple fury, and put out the light for the last time. They sat in company with the others in other shanties, their eyes straining against crude walls and their souls asking if He meant to measure their puny might against His. They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God.”
–From Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
You may have noticed this newsletter is coming more frequently than it used to. While many years ago it started out as monthly, in recent years I pushed send only when I had a specific update to let readers know about. For lots of reasons, not the least of which is that I'm more excited than ever to connect with readers (both long term and brand new), I've taken it back to a monthly schedule. I hope you like the increased frequency and new format. If not - or for any reason - please feel free to unsubscribe.

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Copyright © 2015 Nancy Nordenson, All rights reserved.

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