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Parnassus Books to Welcome Bonnie Smith Whitehouse for New Book, ‘Seasons of Wonder’

On Thursday, Nov. 17, Parnassus Books will be hosting a free event to celebrate Dr. Bonnie Smith Whitehouse’s newest book, Seasons of Wonder. The event will take place in-store at 6:30 p.m. and will feature a conversation between the author and the Reverend Canon Lissa Smith. Registration (by clicking here or calling 615-953-2243) is required due to limited space.

Smith Whitehouse is the director of Belmont Global Honors and a professor of English. She’s a renowned writer and professor specializing in storytelling, creativity, contemplation and wonder, with over 20 years of experience in her field. She has authored several award-winning books, including Afoot and Lighthearted: A Journal for Mindful Walking and Kickstart Creativity: 50 Prompted Cards to Spark Inspiration.

A Look at Seasons of Wonder 

The ordinary can become sacred through projects, prayers, reflections and rituals. In her latest book, Seasons of Wonder, Smith Whitehouse helps readers do just that. Through 52 weeks that follow the liturgical calendar, she provides readers with projects, prayers, reflections and rituals designed to help them see the sacred in the ordinary.

Smith Whitehouse includes reflections on and voices from many different faith cultures and traditions, but the book is also accessible for those who feel disillusioned by institutionalized religion or don’t identify with any particular religion.

Within each section are 52 devotions (one for each week). Each includes an opening quote or meditation; suggestions for a project, ritual or reflection (something to “try,” something to “wonder” and something to “make”). The projects range from making a candle to sourdough bread. The rituals include everything from picking up trash to stargazing. And the reflections range from gratitude practices to prayers.

“Finding the sacred in the ordinary is everything about this book,” Smith Whitehouse said. “It opens up with me walking outside and feeling the blades of grass underneath my feet, thinking about being part of the universe and part of God’s creation. I’m not separate from it. I’m part of it. I talk about yeast, bread and how this simple act of making sourdough starter that bubbles is an incredible way to think about God’s presence through bread–that we can use to feed and nurture ourselves and our families indefinitely. It’s also spiritual food.” 

Here are the themes covered in Seasons of Wonder:

  • January: Transcend Dualities
  • February: Discover Contemplation
  • March: Embrace Mystery
  • April: Welcome Incarnation
  • May: Adore Creation
  • June: Come Alive
  • July: Cultivate Resilience
  • August: Cherish the Holy Pause
  • September: Gather Courage
  • October: Light a Fire
  • November: Point to Love
  • December: Look for the Light

It also includes four special weeks in the lives of loved ones: celebrating a birthday, healing from an injury or sickness, taking a journey together and blessing a home.

“We live in a time of disruption,” Smith Whitehouse said. “It’s been a really hard season for a lot of us. It’s been a hard season for our students who lost families and friends. And, you know, I think a lot of people are experiencing religious disconnection, too. And so I want this book to be a balm, something that helps ease people into a relationship with each other and into a relationship with the divine.” 

Learn more about Interdisciplinary Studies & Global Education (ISGE), Belmont’s hub for interdisciplinary learning and global engagement, here.

Scan this QR code to download a Thanksgiving and Advent guide from Seasons of Wonder:

QR code for seasons of wonder

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