"In Extraordinary Time, Laura Dunham invokes a scriptural question: What sort of person ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and goodness? Dunham's writing reveals her to be a person of uncommon humility and spiritual maturity. Yet the illness, love, loss, and change on which she reflects ground Dunham's insights in real life, making this a meaningful book for anyone seeking God in hard times. An extraordinary meditation on faith, highly recommended."
Rachel M. Srubas, author, pastor, Benedictine oblate
"Few people write with more credibility about the nature and meaning of suffering than Laura Dunham. Over the course of little more than a year, she experiences challenges that would break the endurance of most of us. She writes with a journalist's clear-eyed precision and the compassion of a person deeply steeped in Scripture. We, her readers, are launched on a journey of discovery toward what really matters in this life. Dunham leaves us with the assurance that 'nothing that happens is without gifts through the grace of God.'"
Judith Valente, author of How to Live: What the Rule of Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning and Community and The Art of Pausing: Meditations for the Overworked and Overwhelmed
"In Part 1 of her book, Dr. Dunham quickly captivates her readers as she weaves in the story of an extraordinary year of her life. This is followed by a profound yet accessible set of reflections on suffering, healing, death, and the afterlife. Practical advice is paired with inspiration, all with clarity that is infused with wonderful bits of self-effacing humor."
Ellen Dauwer, SC, Executive Director, Religious Formation Conference
"Disciple means student. Being disciplined means either showing orderly self-mastery that can make us productive, or being held accountable for wrongdoing. My disciplinarian dad used to ask
me after I'd hurt myself or someone else, 'What have you learned?'
Lots of painful things came Laura Dunham's way all at once: cancer and a cure that was as bad as the disease, her beloved husband's illness and sudden death, and an abrupt cross-country relocation to care for a disabled son.
In a disciplined way Laura has asked herself, 'What have I learned?' She shares generously with us what her contemplation has taught her about suffering, healing, death, and the afterlife.
Come and meet my friend, Laura, in these pages. If you don't get to know her in this life, you'll enjoy meeting her in the next."
Father Nathan Castle, OP, Author, Workshop Facilitator, Retreat Director
I wholeheartedly recommend Extraordinary Time to anyone who has or is currently experiencing the fear and suffering associated with a scary diagnosis, illness, the death of a loved one or any of the many life experiences that can overwhelm us emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Dunham speaks from an authentic heart as she recounts her personal traumas and provides her reflections as well as the wisdom of many spiritual sages and guides from the Christian tradition. The section on the Afterlife is a unique blending of what we know and what we can imagine, making it both informative and inspiring. Pastors, spiritual healers and directors will find the frequent references helpful in ministering with hopefulness for others who are suffering from illness and/or loss.
Mari Miller, OblSB, spiritual director and writer
Laura Dunham's book will inspire readers with ways through the grieving process, whether it be for one's health, for loss of a loved one or for a move to a friendless place. Although the circumstances were dire, one is inspired by the steady resolve with which Dunham faces each one. Spoiler alert: she solves each dilemma as much as humanly possible through at least one miracle! The second part of the book consists of inspirational reflections on cancer, death, and transition. I think you'll love the book.
I wanted to share this wonderful book my friend Laura Dunham has written. It is a compelling work of life, pain, transitions, death, healing, and joy! I highly recommend it for her authentic telling of a difficult year in her life and the subsequent reflections on how the challenges tested her notions of life, faith, and peace. I appreciate her candid look into her own contemplations and her healing. The result is a humble and profound work of compassion, practical information and loving insights that reflect the grace she has received as a result.
Christine Thompson Barranco, Sisters of St. Joseph Associate
Path of the Purified Heart
“Laura Dunham invites the reader to share in the rich convergence in her own life. That convergence includes deep rootage in Reformed faith, alert participation in the great tradition of spirituality, engagement with contemporary masters of spiritual disciplines, and her own critical angle on her own experience. She lines out this convergence according to the liturgical year of the church, giving access that may lead the reader, along with the author, closer to the heart of God.”
Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary
Author of The Practice of Prophetic Imagination (2012)
“In Path of the Purified Heart, Dunham employs all the candor and intimacy of good memoir and all the objectivity of a trained pastor to give us an honest and informative look into Christian mysticism from the perspective of the Reformed tradition.”
Author of The Divine Hours series
“Rare keen intelligence, simplicity of style, and compelling as literature! This book can teach all of us how transformation is possible if we take seriously one liturgical year and stay attentive. Rev. Laura Dunham has written a book not only different in degree, but different in kind. This is
a new contribution to serious seekers in the Christian tradition...not only smart and personal but real and ready for any contemporary seeker who wants to go deeper right now.”
Mary Margaret Funk, OSB
Our Lady of Grace Monastery
Author of the Matters series and Into the Depths: A Journey of Loss and Vocation (2010)
“Spiritually rich and beautifully written, Laura Dunham not only retrieves important traditions of Christian wisdom, she juxtaposes them in unique, insightful, and fully convincing ways. How does the embodied and transformative process of walking the labyrinth guide us also in the soul’s journey through purification, illumination, and union? How is the church’s liturgical calendar humanized through provocative yet honest person anecdote? In raising these questions Dunham honors Christian tradition as well as her readers.”
Steven Chase, PhD
Studium Scholar, St. Benedict’s Monastery
Author of Nature as Spiritual Presence (2011)