Ardent Eden

Ardent Eden is a place to explore my thoughts about the interdependence of life - humanity and nature - and to engage with others for collective problem-solving.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Grace, Faith, and Snow

This morning I sat watching the snow blow sideways outside my window with the side of my daughter's soft infant head pressed firmly into my left cheek. I squeezed her just a bit tighter and dispensed some kisses on the back of her neck, thanking God for grace the whole while.

You see, the weathermen's hype was enough to get us out of the house yesterday afternoon and off to the library for storm provisions. I picked up a book about bread, Ruth Reichl's latest foodie memoir, and Anne Lamott's Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. I've always liked Lamott's quirky spiritual side: a Christian who is as progressive as anyone I've read, a recovered addict, a single mom, and a delightful writer who brings it all together in a way that makes me want to write her a letter that simply says, "Let's have coffee and talk about all of this sometime." I dug into her newest book yesterday afternoon and felt enlightened and, yes, more faithful with each essay. Her witty commentary about George Bush synchronizes seamlessly with her tales of her son's adolescence and her ardent struggle to see and affirm light every day.

The book has been like a cup of hot cocoa for me while the storm rages outside...and inside. Because the other blizzard activity that my husband and I undertook was watching Schindler's List for the first time. I can only tell you that having that film juxtaposed with a book on faith that I happened upon at our library yesterday is one of the simplest examples of Grace that I know. My God. I don't have the message all figured out. I just know that when Grace speaks, you're given a chance to listen, to respond. For now, I am going to sit quietly in the heavy silence of the snowstorm, with my baby snug and safe nearby, listening.


  • At 5:19 PM, Anonymous A Christian Socialist for a Better World said…

    "a Christian who is as progressive as anyone I've read"

    I think if you look at the majority of the post-industrial era, rather than current events, you will find christians to overwhelmingly be progressive force of social activism.

    In this context, it is less surprising that a christian is socially progressive and more surprising that so many christians voted for Bush and aren't more progressive. How did we get here?

    I love the blog!! Keep the faith!!

  • At 6:10 PM, Blogger lauren said…

    Good point! My husband and I often comment that Jesus was a radical working for social change -- as progressive as they come.

  • At 6:12 PM, Blogger madcapmum said…

    I have a few books recommendations:

    "Soul Survivor" and "What's So Amazing About Grace?" by Phil Yancey

    "Amazing Grace - A Vocabulary of Faith" by Kathleen Norris

    Progressives both. I'll have to check out Anne Lamott.

  • At 8:51 PM, Blogger lauren said…


    Serendipity! Funny, I have Amazing Grace sitting on my desk right now because I was going to try to pull together some threads from Norris' writing for my post. That became a bit too ambitious as soup and popovers needed to be cooked for dinner. But your comment makes me think that I need to spend some time re-reading portions of that book.

    I've never heard of Phil Yancey, so I will most certainly put both of those books on my list. I love recommendations. Thank you.

  • At 7:52 AM, Blogger madcapmum said…

    I love book recommendations, too. I've had the pleasure of several great reads since I started blogging, on others' suggestions. Try Frederick Buechner, if you're looking for a novel. I'm partial to "On The Road With The Archangel", but he's written lots, including an odd "daily devotional" recently, that I wouldn't have looked twice at if he hadn't written it, but doesn't disappoint. Buechner was recommended to me by Constantine from the blog Ex Animo Constantine. I'm too lazy to do the link code, but he's on my sidebar.

  • At 12:24 PM, Blogger SustainableGirl said…

    It must be time for me to read some Anne Lamott. One night a couple of years ago when I was very sick and couldn't sleep, I stumbled on Anne Lamott on the "Book Channel" ... she was speaking at a writer's conference. Despite being ill I was so moved and inspired by how she was unapologetically herself and how she spoke about her faith and her struggles as a writer, woman, & mother. She was powerful and vulnerable and revealing.

  • At 10:54 AM, Blogger marigolds2 said…

    What a lovely post. Snow is in and of itself a grace, I feel. It seems to renew the world in so beautiful a way. And don't forget those negative ions! They perk us right up. No wonder children and dogs love snow so much. We enjoyed the snowy weekend, making soup, doing our taxes, reading. Anne Lamott is one of my favorite writers, she can be funny, furious and devout, all in a few phrases. I've read everything she's written, and want more more more all the time. Ruth Reichl's books are also dear friends and faves, though I have to admit I loved the earlier ones somewhat more than Garlic and Sapphires. But I can see we are kindred spirits, and I am so grateful to know you through your writing.

    I am Mary Ellen, marigolds2 at The Blue Voice.

  • At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Karen said…

    I felt like dropping everything and running out to the library. Thanks for all the book recommendations. I just finished reading Everyday Grace by Marianne Williamson.

  • At 9:11 PM, Blogger lauren said…


    Thanks so much for the recommendations! I'm chomping at the bit to find those books.

    I also want to read the Marianne Williamson book Karen mentioned. I read Healing the Soul of America, and really enjoyed it. In fact, I wouldn't mind picking that up again.


    It's surely a sign that you should pick up one of Lamott's books! I've read Traveling Mercies, which is quite representative of her writing, and Operating Instructions, a book about her son's first year. I've already finished Plan B and found it a relevant and enlightening companion to Traveling Mercies. In short, pick one up!


    As you can tell, I'd also love MORE Anne Lamott. If we could also get Barbara Kingsolver to come out with new stuff, I'd be one happy reader! I haven't read Ruth Reichl's earlier books; they're always on my list and something else turns up first. Garlic and Sapphires jumped out at me at the library so I grabbed it. I'm a couple of chapters in and am finding it pretty entertaining. I'm looking forward to reading the other two books now.

    Come to think of it, reading is itself a form of grace, isn't it?


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