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Adventure of Ascent: Field Notes from a Lifelong Journey

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  94 ratings  ·  26 reviews
In this book, writer-poet Luci Shaw has given us a lifetime of exquisite reflections on nature, love, death, suffering, loss, faith, doubt, creativity, curiosity, lifelong learning--all of it drawn from the breadth of her own experience, harvested in penetrating and lyrical insights. Still active in her eighties, Luci now turns her attention to the season of edging toward ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 3rd 2014 by IVP Books
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Dale Harcombe
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Four and a half stars.
Luci Shaw is a poet I have admired and have been following for a number of years. She is now in her mid-eighties and still living a rich life, which make her eminently qualified to write about life and aging. Interspersed with her thoughts on aging, sharing aspects of her own life, her doubts and her walk with God, are her poems. Some are delicate as the Queen Anne’s lace flowers she loves. Others are humorous and quirky.
While I could not agree with her passion for camping
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
I found this book lovely and wise. I'm sure I will return to it again as I get older. Interview at Off the Page forthcoming. ...more
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
”To get older is to watch the door close inch by inch
against my will so that the inflow of silky air
stops, and the creek’s subtleties of sound
in the small house of my ear I listen closely to
the message of blood, knowing others are deaf to it.”

I have read a few of Shaw’s poems. I know that Shaw was a close friend of Madeline L’Engle, who has been one of my heroes for some time. However, I really didn’t know much about Luci Shaw herself. Which meant I was intrigued by this title when I saw it in
Michele Morin
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On a muggy June day, I ducked into a cool, dark library and was surprised to find a used-book sale in progress. I was even more surprised to find a book by Wallace Stegner for only a dollar. The voice of crusty Joseph Allston served at the perfect foil for my reading of Adventure of Ascent. "I am concerned with gloomier matters: the condition of being flesh, susceptible to pain, infected with consciousness and the consciousness of consciousness, doomed to death and the awareness of death. My lif ...more
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Delightful book. Which, since its subject matter is about aging and death, is remarkable. A breath of fresh air to this 40 yr old and I hope helpful to others as they contemplate their older years and the transitions required.
Barbara Melosh
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Personal essay/observation interspersed with the author's poems; reflections on the experience and losses of aging. Good production too, handsome design from InterVarsity Press. ...more
Jan 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book on the wrong day. I read almost all of it yesterday, the day after I had cleaned out my dad's house after his sudden death. Reading Luci Shaw's work always prompts introspection and mental hiking off the usual trails. Having just spent too much time thinking about death, and my dad's death specifically, I found this hike a bit too taxing at times. Nonetheless, I did find many treasures along the way, and in fact, found solid footing in an unexpected place, as expressed in this m ...more
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I've always loved Luci Shaw's writing and this one is just as good as the others I've read. More than twenty years ago, I was able to hear her at a writing conference and even had a brief correspondence with her. She was kind to a young woman who had a desire to write and to learn how to do it well.

This book is candid, honest and entirely enjoyable if you are in the second half of your life. I love her perspective that we are not declining but we are ascending - which if the reader is a believer
Karen Shilvock-Cinefro
Mar 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Adventures of Ascent is a collection of treasures. Shaw shares her thoughts of life and meaning. As she faces the changes of aging and yet embraces life even as she knows simply with years death approaches, “Why? is the cry of young children getting acquainted with the enigmas of the world. It is also the cry of the elderly. Why is my life moving to an end? Why did God put me here in the first place? And have I fulfilled his purpose for my life?”
Shaw is now 92 years old and I pray she is still w
Peggy Ostrom
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humw-books
I have discovered a new author!

I read this book because it was one of my book club selections. I am so glad it was chosen. Luci Shaw has a wonderful writing style. In this book she addresses aging, taking us on a journey that is not all sunshine and lollipops. It took me longer to read this book than it normally would because I kept stopping to look up her poetry. I don’t know how I missed her in all the years of reading, but I’m glad I have found her now.
Nov 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very wise book from a acclaimed poet, and Christian writer. She is now in her eighties and lives in Bellingham Wa.. It kind of reminded me of Gift of the sea, As she moved through life she documented it with pose, good humor and sage advice. One young friend told me she would return to this small book in years to come. No major tragedies just life told in her poetry and fine writing. O enjoyed very much.
Charlene Eubank
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
I used this book as a study book for the United Methodist Women's group. It is one woman's journey to aging gracefully. We could relate with a lot of the day to day challenges as we age. A fun book for discussion. ...more
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Luci is candid about her journey and taught me some new vocabulary. She hints at a lot of fascinating experiences that I wanted to know more about. Most intriguing to me was the publishing company she ran with her late husband.
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic little book of wisdom. I adored it and will come back to it again. Looking forward to more of her writing.
Debbie Beeman
Mar 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Not my cup of tea.
Tim Hoiland
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith, anglican, 2014
In her endorsement blurb on the back cover of Adventure of Ascent: Field Notes from a Lifelong Journey, the novelist and spiritual writer Paula Huston writes that Luci Shaw, an octogenarian poet who on this occasion has tried her hand at autobiographical prose, “embodies what it means to be a fully flourishing human being.” That puts it exactly right.

In her new memoir, Shaw writes poetically, to be sure, but she’s also legitimately funny and, it seems to me, a bit mischievous. Because this is a
Aug 01, 2014 rated it liked it
There are some good thoughts in here on aging, and other worthwhile notes about holiness, but overall this seems a bit of a thin book. I'd like to have seen some of the issues discussed in some more depth.
The chronology is also a bit difficult to work out. The notes, which start off seeming to be in a kind of diary form, have apparently been reshuffled into topical sections, so that it's hard to gauge when things are happening in her life.
Nevertheless, I also made notes about a number of the t
Tamara Murphy
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
A warming Saturday morning read that, at times, felt more like a front-porch conversation with a woman in my grandmother's generation. Luci Shaw is one of the writers I hope to emulate -- not in word only, but also in deed. I'm glad she wrote this honest, yet hope-full, reflection on the act of aging toward inevitable death -- her adventure of ascent.

Read a couple of my favorite excerpts here:
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely book, honest and wise. Luci is a scout and a guide. Her's is a voice I will always listen to and her life is one I love to know about. She inspires me to a way of aging that is engaged and active, living vibrantly as she does into the callings of her life in her mid-eighties. At the same time she is honest about the losses of aging and tells it true. Thank you, Luci! ...more
Dec 01, 2015 rated it liked it
I love Luci Shaw's poetry but, as poetic as these "field notes" are, I was disappointed.The field notes are quite disjointed, somewhat whiny in tone, and not as reflective as I expected. However, I enjoyed the many mentions of bones, recalling her lovely volume, Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination, and Spirit. ...more
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
A mix of poetry and notes from the author's journal. She shares her trials and struggles as she manages a very active life. Her energy and attention are still strong at 84. Thanks for sharing this insight into a author and poet's life.

Oct 12, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed observing an octogenerian being very socially engaged, productive and in possession of very high verbal skills. She's published Christian poetry for years, and here she shares journal entries / meditations / poetry about the view of life from the vantage point of late life. ...more
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great book, full of Luci Shaw's wisdom. Plan to read this slowly, in small bits at a time. There were plenty of opportunities to stop and ponder along the way, as well as taking time to appreciated her crafting of words.
May 01, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed Luci Shaw's observations and reflections. She has a gift for weaving words into memorable phrases. An encouraging read. ...more
Mar 27, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 Good reflection/memoir on aging with grace. I like Luci Shaw and her writing. This small book also includes some poetry as it relates to the topic on which she's reflecting. ...more
Cath Martin
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: purchased
Loved this book!
Tara Brown
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Nov 01, 2016
rated it liked it
Apr 04, 2020
Nancy McShannon
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Oct 04, 2018
Cathy Barr
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May 18, 2021
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Luci Shaw is a poet, essayist, teacher and retreat leader. Born in England in 1928, she has lived in Australia and Canada and (since 1950) in the United States.

She is the author of a number of nonfiction books, including God in the Dark and Water My Soul. Her first book of poetry, Listen to the Green, was published in 1971. It was followed by several others, including Polishing the Petosky Stone,

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