5 Questions With…Shauna Niequist

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I met Shauna Niequist entirely by complete happenstance in 2007 at a local bookstore in Grand Rapids, MI. Her first book Cold Tangerines had just come out and I spotted it leaving the bookstore after a particularly bad law school studying day. This bright orange book about celebrating the every day seemed like something I should buy and as I paid, the clerk told me that Shauna was actually doing a reading…in 5 minutes. So I sat in the back as Shauna shared what inspired Cold Tangerines while her friends and family cheered her on and I was near tears the entire time. Never have I felt such a “Me too!” feeling than when I listened to Shauna that night and over the years as I have read her books, the overwhelming feeling of connection and relatability she conveys in her writing instantly makes you feel…heard. Welcomed. Home.

In this world of picture perfect Instagram feeds and messages of “how-tos” that insinuate that you are the only person on the planet who doesn’t have it together, Shauna has created a space through her storytelling that leaves room for the shiny celebratory moments in life to co-exist with the days you are in your pajamas past noon. That a life walking in faith is worth it and possible. That a amazing dinner parties can consist of elaborate recipes or chinese takeout…and that good champagne should be popped on any night of the week because celebration, big or small, matters.

Long story short: I adore Shauna.

Without further adieu, 5 Questions With…Shauna Niequist.

1. What is your favorite thing about where you live? We are, quite literally, surrounded by family. My brother lives on our street, and all four of our kids’ grandparents are within 15 minutes. Aunts, uncles, cousins—all part of our daily life, around our table, shooting baskets in our driveway. I’m so very very thankful to live in a place where we have deep roots and relationships.
2. Here’s $50- what are you going to do with it? Straight to Whole Foods, or any gourmet grocery. Champagne or prosecco, cheese, jam, blackberries, crusty bread, maybe a bouquet of flowers—peonies or ranunculus. I don’t buy expensive jewelry or whatever, but I love to buy food!
3. What is your favorite holiday and why? Memorial Day, because it’s the beginning of summer, my favorite season. I’m crazy about flip-flops, ponytails, boat rides, ice cream for dinner, sandy feet, pink noses, strawberries, tomato sandwiches.
4. What is the best trip or vacation you have ever been on? My all-time favorite city is Paris, and the last time we were there, on the last night of our trip, Aaron and I sat on the banks of the Seine for hours, across from Notre Dame, watching people and holding hands, watching the light fade on Pont Neuf, and it’s one of my most precious memories.
5. What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Write a novel. I probably will anyway, even though I have no idea how, because the older I get, the less afraid I am of failure. 🙂

A Bowl Full of Cherries

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I don’t know what the phrase “life is like a bowl full of cherries” really means but this past Saturday had a bowl full of cherries in it and it was lovely so I have to think it means good things. I watched Forget Paris and mindlessly pitted cherries and was left with the best problem: what do I do with this beautiful bowl of summer?


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Magic and a Giveaway

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Like I said yesterday, Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table has some really wonderful recipes in it (the Gaia cookies are change-your-life good) and also, the recipe for magic. Really. Magic.

Flour plus salt plus water makes bread.

That’s right folks- the same ingredients that also make paper mâché also make fresh, crusty, fluffy bread. I took the bait a few weeks ago, mixed said ingredients in a bowl with yeast, it sat in my kitchen overnight, I mixed it with my bare hands once and after some time in the oven in my beloved blue le creuset, I had bread. Carbs, in my world, are always magic and this just proves it.

So that you can have this recipe for magic (and many others) in your hot little hands, I am doing a giveaway of Bread & Wine! Simply leave a comment below about your favorite recipe, a food you absolutely love or something you would love to learn to make and I will select a winner at random to receive a copy of the book!

The giveaway will close at noon on Saturday and the winner will be announced shortly after!

Bread & Wine: A Review

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I loved author Shauna Niequist’s Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet because reading them felt like sitting down with a girlfriend over coffee and digging into those things in life that we celebrate, those that we mourn, the lessons we’ve learned and the faith that holds it all together. In reading Shauna’s third literary gem, we’re switching from coffee to wine and shifting the conversation to the relationships that make up a life and the meals that happen along the way.

To be clear: transitioning from coffee to wine is always fine by me.

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes explores through a collection of essays what it means to be nourished on the inside and out and how through our relationship with God, we end up nourishing those around us. They say that life is what happens while you’re making other plans and through Shauna’s incredibly relatable writing, she shares the life that happens while you’re sitting around your table. While filled with some seriously delicious recipes, this is not a cookbook. The recipes act as place markers almost- the food made meaningful by the experience surrounding it. And the experiences surrounding the food are beautiful opportunities to celebrate the way God teaches and feeds us as we, in turn, teach and feed, figuratively and otherwise, those around us.

Bread & Wine feels very full circle to me. With Cold Tangerines, I shamelessly said “Me too!” to Shauna’s quest for celebrating the joy in everyday life. By Bittersweet, I needed the voice that gently reminded me that there are two side of the joy coin and I could sit with the side that hurt without having to pretty anything up; that God’s grace was more present than ever. Bread & Wine opened me up to the possibility that simply showing up and starting where I am is exactly what God created me for and how I will best serve my community, around my table and otherwise.

So, cheers and bon appetit- Bread & Wine is sure to fill you up, in more ways than one.