Celebrating in community – Finding Livelihood's book party

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Last weekend we officially celebrated the launch of Finding Livelihood. We invited guests and rented a room at Open Book (home to The Loft Literary Center, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and Milkweed Editions).

Inside those word-saturated walls, we ate cupcakes and drank Italian soda; we ate watermelon and raspberries, roasted vegetable antipasto and cheeses I don't even know the names of; all was prepared and served with beauty and skill by Blair Zafft and Nicholas Garding of JJ's Café Catering.

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We played music. You can listen to the party soundtrack here on Spotify: http://sptfy.com/livelihood. We talked and laughed, maybe all of us a little giddy at the reminder that good things happen and new things are born.

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While the congratulations about the book were flowing, inside I was secretly flooded with gratitude for the people who were there. Not only grateful that they chose to spend this Sunday afternoon in response to my invitation, but grateful, so grateful, that they have been in my life. They may not have contributed a word to the book, but they all have contributed to my life and the communities we share, out of which the writing of the book emerged. We all help shape each other, and I have been so fortunate to have these people in my life.

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I said a few words before reading a couple sections from the book, and one of the things I said was that it is good and right to celebrate in community, that as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned more and more that nothing of value is created in isolation or in a vacuum.

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In the room: my husband of 35 years; my sons and daughters-in-law (I burst from love and pride just thinking of them); my parents, to whom the book was dedicated; my sister and brother-in-law; my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and nieces; dear close friends; neighbors and old friends; friends from college; my former pastor and current pastor; friends from church; friends from former Bible studies or book groups; friends I've met in classes; a teacher of a class I currently take; long-time family friends; new friends I'm just getting to know; writing friends; the man who cuts my hair; a friend from my graduate program; an uncle and a second cousin; the list goes on.

There were many who couldn't be there and who have been an important part of my life and this book, and I hope you know who you are if you're reading this.

So Finding Livelihood is launched and on its way in the world. Tons of love and good will sent it forward from that room, like a smash of champagne across its bow. My heart is full. Travel well, little book.


My thanks to David and Ben Vessel for taking and sharing their pictures.