Something Sarah Loves.. Shauna Niequist’s writings..
Before I tell you about one of my favorite authors, I need to tell you about how I “met” her.
Enter THE LEADERSHIP SUMMIT. It’s the pinnacle of all things leadership, founded by Bill Hybels of Willow Creek fame. I first was introduced to the Leader of Leaders when my choleric, strategic, commander of a husband brought me to one of these Leadership Summits, oh some 13 years ago. It was in an unfamiliar church worship center where I was at once fascinated by this man, and quite rightly, intimidated.
My favorite part of any leadership summit was when Bill, or any other speaker, would get emotional. Emotional connection is my jam, folks. It’s my rhythm. It let’s me know that a person is real, and connectable. I would wait for those moments, soak up the truth of what these leaders were saying, squeeze my hubs arm, and wipe my tears away.
My hubs used to encourage me to read this leadership book, or that one. And I would try. I so would try. But after reading about structure, and strategy, and how successful people think, or the 21 Laws of taking.over.the.world. et al, my brain would be tired and overwhelmed. And I would decide that I wasn’t cut from the same cloth. I used to get annoyed at myself because of it, but now, I choose to love the way God put me together. I am glad God made him like him, and me like me. Two of “take over the world” us in one marriage would not fit. God knew what He was doing.
You might imagine my hesitation then, when I found out his daughter was an author. I just really couldn’t stomach another take over the world book. When I discovered her, she had already written her first 2 books. I wasn’t expecting to fall in love. I mean, they say it happens when you are least expecting it. Yep, that was me. Classic cliche. With the first chapter of Cold Tangerines, I was a smitten kitten. And I promptly bought her other book. My relief was great when I found myself tearing up over a certain chapter, or reading aloud to my hubs another one, or putting the book down to pray over the sudden conviction I just had. As I said, emotional connection is my jam.
Shauna Niequist is funny, and witty, and real. She shares emotion and life, heartbreak and triumph in a truthful way. She is a smart writer and makes me think about things I wouldn’t have. Shauna loves Jesus and loves to cook.. so do I. She is passionate about bringing her people together over a table of food and fellowship and love. Me too. There have been little bits of this passion woven throughout her first books, but then I found out Bread and Wine was up next.
The author I love has written an entire book devoted to food and fellowship, community and doing life together? Sign.me.up. Bread and Wine is set to hit stores around the first of April.. and you should definitely get a copy.
I don’t know what it is, but if an author can grab me within that first chapter, I’m a goner. Shauna has managed to do that with all three of her books. Bread and Wine’s first chapter is about blueberry crisp and family time, and how her mom used to make that for Sunday evenings in the study. You better believe I wanted to run out and buy all the ingredients and do the same for mine. It doesn’t matter that we don’t have a study, or that my boys don’t like blueberries. The immediate sense of familial community that was portrayed left me longing to create that very thing for my own. And we are making her “Blueberry Crisp” with apples next week. 🙂
The chapter that really got me was “hungry”. Oh girl.. I can relate on every stinking level.
I love this passage that says..
-I love the table. I love food and what it means and what it does and how it feels in my hands. And that might be healthy, and it might be a reaction to a world that wold love me more if I starved myself, and it’s probably always going to be a mix of the two. In any case, it’s morning and I’m hungry. Which is not the same as weak or addicted or shameful. I’m hungry. And I’m thinking about dinner, not just tonight, but the next night and the next. There are two kinds of people and I’m tired of pretending I’m the other.- Shauna Niequist, author of Bread and Wine.
Yes. And thank you. I know I don’t need permission to feed the people I love, but Shauna has given it to me anyway. And not just feed.. but enjoying the feeding of. I don’t have a cooking club like she does. (I am planning on starting one. Anyone interested??) But that doesn’t mean I can’t cook for the people in my life. Last week, my flu stricken, 2nd trimester friend and I met for dinner at her house. I was just going to run through the drive through for us, but came up with a different plan. Tomato Bisque. (Click here to see my video recipe) Simple, four ingredient, heavenly soup that did both of our bodies and souls a world of good. Creamy and rich with Asiago cheese, we laughed and dunked our bread and slurped and laughed some more. I thanked God for her today as I was running errands. Thanked Him for good soup and a friend to share it with.
Listen. You don’t have to love to cook. A plate full of rolled tacos and a cold one will work too. The point isn’t becoming the.best.cook.ever. The point is kitchen tables and community and dining together. Jesus fed people with love and fish sandwiches. Shauna’s book encourages all of us to do something similar. Check out her latest book, and invite me over when you cook one of her recipes! 🙂
Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet, and Bread & Wine. Shauna grew up in Barrington, Illinois, and then studied English and French Literature at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. She is married to Aaron, who is a pianist and songwriter. Aaron is a worship leader at Willow Creek and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Aaron & Shauna live outside Chicago with their sons, Henry and Mac. Shauna writes about the beautiful and broken moments of everyday life–friendship, family, faith, food, marriage, love, babies, books, celebration, heartache, and all the other things that shape us, delight us, and reveal to us the heart of God.