I met my dear friend Bekah last year. We were placed in the same group at our church’s moms’ ministry. In one of our first conversations, we found out that we both enjoyed reading and had each loved Shauna Niequist’s books. When the time came for her newest gem, Bread and Wine, Bekah and I jumped at the chance to read the book, discuss it together, and host a dinner party in its honor.
I’m usually a slow reader. A couple of pages in and I’ve either fallen asleep or moved on to something else. But my “slow reader syndrome” was not present this time; I could have devoured Bread and Wine. I had to hold myself back from reading the entire book in one or two sittings. Much like a fabulous dessert, I parceled out Shauna’s essays so I could enjoy her writing in small bits. And similar to when the dessert is gone, I was sad to read the final pages because I didn’t want it to end!
Niequist writes beautiful essays about faith, friendship, travel, motherhood, body image, hospitality, times of pain, and times of celebration. Throughout her reflections, she weaves memories of food and the most important times around the table. The book is dotted with fabulous recipes that make you want to call your friends and family, race to the kitchen, and serve them some love in the form of a great meal.
Last week Bekah and I hosted a group of friends for a night of delicious food and great conversation. Each guest contributed to the meal which included some of the recipes featured in Bread and Wine. We munched on appetizers of Mini Mac and Cheese and Bacon Wrapped Dates filled with Goat Cheese, while sipping Prosecco. Our dinner featured Maple Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin, a fabulous Michigan Harvest Salad, Goat Cheese Biscuits, and elegant Pinot Noir. Decedent Blueberry Crisp and Chocolate Mousse finished our evening as each guest was also sent home with a Breakfast Cookie for the next morning. It almost seemed unfair; so many delicious bites in one evening! But even with all the great food, the conversation among friends was the highlight.
After the party, I was thinking about the phenomenon of enjoying something and not wanting it to end. Whether a delicious dessert, a book you love, or time around the table with friends… this life has such beautiful moments. But because all good things must come to an end, we are left with a tinge of sadness and the desire for more. The best way to handle this phenomenon is to recognize it as a taste of heaven… where the goodness will never end. Shauna Niequist’s book, as with many other beautiful things in life, made me long for heaven.
By guest writer Beth Cieminis: Beth is a stay at home mom to her little girl, Leah. She has a background in teaching physical education. She and her husband reside in Orange County. You can read more of Beth’s writing here, as she has previously written for Standing on Peace.
More about Shauna…
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.
If you’d like to read more about Shauna Niequist, check out her site: http://www.shaunaniequist.com/
And if you’d like to purchase her new book Bread and Wine, you can find it at: http://www.amazon.com/Bread-Wine-Finding-Community-Around/dp/0310328179/