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Ordinary Losses: Naming the Graces That Shape Us [Paperback]

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Item description for Ordinary Losses: Naming the Graces That Shape Us by Elisa Fryling Stanford...

Filled with wonder and incisive exploration, this book offers a vivid appreciation for the grace that comes from naming what we have left behind. We often think of loss as a part of later life, but loss shapes us from the time we are born. From the perspective of someone in her twenties, Elisa Stanford explores the realities and redemptions of these losses. What do we grieve in our twenties and thirties? We grieve our shifting understanding of God, even as our faith develops and matures. And every decision we make - marriage, parenthood, career, friendships - ushers us into change. As it does, we expand to make room for new possibilities and a stronger pulse of faith. Elisa Fryling Stanford is an editor with Shaw Books at WaterBrook Press. She and her husband, Eric, live in Colorado.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Paraclete Press (MA)
Pages   123
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8" Width: 5.6" Height: 0.41"
Weight:   0.36 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 31, 2004
Publisher   Paraclete Press (MA)
ISBN  1557254036  
ISBN13  9781557254030  

Availability  0 units.

More About Elisa Fryling Stanford

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Elisa Stanford has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Baby Bible

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Product Categories

2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Ordinary Losses: Naming the Graces That Shape Us?

Explores the losses that are the common of young adulthood  Feb 3, 2005
In Ordinary Losses: Naming The Graces That Shape Us, Elisa Fryling Stanford (non-fiction editor for Shaw Books at WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House) deftly explores the losses that are the common experience of young adulthood, with an especial focus upon the healing that comes through naming the losses that accompany each transition from childhood to adult responsibilities. Drawing upon her own life for illustration, Stanford reveals the major life changes presented by marriage, career, and parenthood. Sharing personal stories of her losses and how they shaped her character and views, Stanford shares how the recognition of loss brought her hope and the possibility of redemption. Specific chapters cogently address a range of issues including home, relationships, courage, and identity. Ordinary Losses is welcome and recommended reading for anyone within a Christian community seeking to see "the pattern of God" in the workings of their own personal life history.
Hope is more than the things I dream about  Nov 5, 2004
Ordinary Losses is not an easy read. Elisa Stanford's use of words creates images that demand savoring. Her recounting of the very intimate, personal losses experienced as she made her way from childhood through adolescence strike universal chords resonating in the personal life of the reader. In each page one senses her loss, but woven into the loss is her sense of hope. Hope, she says, "is more than these things I dream about, it is living out the story as it comes." Her ability to remember and make sense of incidents in childhood only affirms the maturity which gives this book appeal not only to her generation but to those of us who have lived longer but perhaps not as deeply or with as much insight. The author is one of the favored ones who have learned not to define God but to act on what they believe is true about God. Thank you, Elisa, for giving words to experiences I can only recall dimly.
A refreshing collection of insights taken from ordinary life  Nov 2, 2004
In a series of 12 short autobiographical essays, Shaw Books editor Elisa Fryling Stanford takes a reflective look at "the losses we never bury and rarely mourn --- the absences that grow so slowly we barely notice the void they leave." These are not the life-changing losses --- the death of a parent, the unraveling of a marriage, the razing of the generations-old family homestead. Instead, these are the losses we experience in the ordinary, day-to-dayness of our lives: the slow erosion of a friendship due to a change in geography or the simple passage of time; the disappearance of a comfortable routine such as the "coming-home hours and staying-home evenings of childhood"; the evaporation of "the voice I was learning in my private prayers," the voice of God that would not survive a public airing.

Stanford writes exquisitely of these and other losses from the perspective of a single and, later, newly married woman in her twenties. Appropriately, Lauren Winner, an author and essayist who writes in a similar vein, provided the foreword. Among Winner's "ordinary losses" are those that accompanied her recent marriage: "I find dying to my fantasies of being a spinster in some cold New England clime a particularly hard loss," she writes.

In truth, Stanford has gained extraordinary insight from a fairly ordinary life. The product of a loving, stable family --- parents, sibling, grandparents, assorted other extended family members --- she writes from a refreshing, angst-free perspective, thus putting to rest the notion that insight can best be obtained through tragedy and trauma. Stanford had neither, and yet her insights provide a glimpse into the deepest of human emotions.

The essays follow a thematic structure: "All I Can Remember: Home," for example, and "First Words: Voice." My personal favorite is "Between the Mysteries: Wonder," but I confess it was a tough call. Maybe it's because I had not known that someone else could, like me, so vividly recall how she thought about numbers when she was just learning them: "1, the proud, bold number in the left corner of my mind. 2, weak but gentle; 3, cocky but alone; 4, strong and kind..." And then the threat of losing that sense of wonder, as weary teachers "moved us through alphabets and recesses and told us how to write our names in the right places on our math worksheets and did not look for the mystery in-between the letters and the numbers floating towards us." But in third grade, an astonishing restoration of mystery and wonder! The snow outside the classroom seemed "white and bizarre, just because Mrs. Pearl thought it was. She had created space for the astonishing to arrive."

ORDINARY LOSSES is a book to be savored and Stanford an author to be treasured. Let's hope we hear more from her in the years to come.
Something out of the ordinary: honesty.  Oct 29, 2004
It seems that from even a young age, Ms. Stanford had it in her blood to become an honest writer. One of my favorite stories in this book is Elisa as a young girl being given a writing assignment that began, "Jip was happy. He..." She completed the homework by writing, "...was sad too."

Ms. Stanford's book, Ordinary Losses, is from the point of view of an innocent but curious child, a confused teenager, a searching college student, an overwhelmed young working woman. I relate to this book amazingly well and was captivated by Ms. Stanford's storytelling throughout the book.

I enjoy how Ms. Stanford creates a mosaic that intertwines her childhood memories with her present-day reflections and feelings. She is open and honest about hard times, and doesn't try to get away with easy cliche answers. While her sustained faith in God is often expressed, the reader learns how her faith is more than just a label, more than a mere security is something moveable and changeable as she enters each new season of her life. I find this honesty, above all else, the most refreshing thing about Ordinary Losses.
A MUST HAVE - Buy this book now for a limited first edition   Oct 29, 2004
I've known Elisa Stanford professionally for two years (she was the editor of my WaterBrook Press books). I have never dealt with anyone who has more grace in speech than Elisa, and have often thought, Elisa could be described - as contemplative like the late Anne Morrow Lindburg. (Gifts from the Sea). And yet contemporary, like Writer Lauren F. Winner.

Elsia, is not my editor anymore - she had to leave the publishing house to deal with a personal emergency - but I miss her and I'm thrilled the whole world, can now enjoy her gift of communicating through this wonderful classic of a book.

And one more thing, - if you have read my books - they are anything like Elisa's. (I write of every stupid thing I've ever done - she writes of every wonderful thing she remembers).

Buy this book now, and buy other copies for gifts - you'll be so glad you did.

Marsha Marks

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