Jun 122013
 

Ending a special chapter in your life is never without emotion.  Never without a process of letting go and embracing what’s new.

This is my last official post writing for Standing on Peace.

In some ways I can’t believe it to be true.  In all other ways, God has been preparing me for this and I have peace.

Jillian and I birthed Standing on Peace out of the longings God put in our hearts to reach women in the lonely and difficult places in life.  To take a more than frightening step in the direction of writing and creating.

To say Standing on Peace has been a learning and growth experience over this past year would be a vast understatement.  But we have loved every. single. step.  We have loved each one of you.

SOP has changed me in deep and wonderful ways.  I have seen, in greater capacity, God’s faithfulness and His working hand in the smallest aspects of my life.  Writing for SOP has also helped me get over the fear of putting myself “out there”.  It has helped define a clearer voice for me as a writer.  Working so closely with the writers of SOP only added to the love I feel for women.  It has built a greater confidence in God’s vision for me.

As God began moving in each of our lives and pulling a few of our writers in different directions, Jillian and I committed to praying diligently about the new direction of SOP.

As I’ve alluded to in my writings, God has brought about a plethora of transition and change in my personal life.  He is actively at work in our family.  So maybe I should have been prepared for Him to ask me to transition yet again.

And that’s exactly what happened as I began praying.  He began pressing on my heart that it is time to step away from SOP.

Jillian and I both feel complete peace and confidence in the way He is leading us.  He has put two very beautiful visions and desires in our heart, about how we want to speak into women’s lives.

My longings have not changed.  I still long to write from the deep spaces of my heart.  To continue creating a space of authenticity and love.  To write about the story God is telling through my everyday life.  The joys, challenges, process of healing and everything in between.

More than anything I want to give hope to women who believe: I’m just not good enough.  Because it’s a subtle lie far too many of us fall for.  One that steals our joy and can keep us stuck.

So to be clear, I will continue to write.  It will just be on my own site, which is in the creative process.

If you’ve at all been encouraged or challenged by my writing on Standing on Peace this past year, I do not want to lose touch with you!  I would love for you to email me and let me know you’re interested in getting a notification when my site launches.  Email me at audi@standingonpeace.com

I love you all,

Audi

 

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jun 042013
 

I’ve been in the process of learning a subtle lesson for the past few years.  But recently, it has been anything but subtle.

The lesson has been in how to take care of myself when silence and alone time abound.  And I’m not talking about the “heading to the spa” kind of alone time. I’m talking about the kind of alone time you have when your husband travels regularly.

And lately, my alone time has been expanded by us moving a state away.

I wish I could say I learned quickly how to spend this time well and with a good attitude.  In experiencing more time alone than I wanted, I have spent too many hours staring mindlessly into a TV.  Or even mindlessly eating in front of the TV. I’ve spent too many hours feeling sorry for myself, that I’m alone and have to stay home so my young children can get their rest.  Or passively being angry with my husband when we talk on the phone, so he feels guilty for being away.

No, I haven’t learned this art of being alone very fast or beautifully.

In all honesty, being alone has made me extremely uncomfortable.  It has made me realize my need to fill a room with noise because silence can be all too deafening.

Now that we have recently moved, and my husband’s travel continues, I have more time with my kids.  More alone time at night as we slowly develop a “normal” here.

I remind myself that this being alone thing is a true art.  I have to cultivate it and learn to enjoy and appreciate it.  In this season of life, I desire to treat myself well and use my time wisely and healthfully.  I can use this time to just be myself.

Perhaps you are single or live alone.  Perhaps your spouse works the night shift. Perhaps your husband travels too.  However you are experiencing being alone, remember it might take some time to learn the art.

I’m still learning with every passing quiet evening.  Here is a list of things I remember in order to be kind to myself while my husband’s away, while we transition.

While I’m Alone, I can:

  1. Light a candle
  2. Turn on some quiet jazz music (or favorite feel-good music)
  3. Work on a project I enjoy (searching for or organizing recipes, organizing family photos, etc.)
  4. Make myself a lovely dinner I can enjoy in quiet when the kids are asleep.
  5. Enjoy a glass of wine
  6. Read a good book
  7. Spend time writing
  8. Read my Bible for encouragement
  9. Be thankful for my husband and how God provides for us
  10. Have a phone date with a friend I rarely get to see
  11. Do an art project I enjoy
  12. Take a relaxing bath or shower
  13. Paint my nails
  14. Watch a “feel good” movie
  15. Go to bed early for some extra rest

Have you had to learn the art of being alone too?  What are some of your favorite things to do to be kind to yourself when you’re alone?

Admin

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 282013
 

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” – C. S. Lewis

Over the past few weeks, I have found myself pouring over a few books.  Some are new to me and some old.  The three I’ve found myself pondering and encouraged by most are Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies, Leeana Tankersley’s Found Art and Shauna Niequist’s Cold Tangerines.  In each book I find myself saying, “oh good… I’m not the only one.” or tear up because their words are straight out of my heart.

As I recently found a moment to reflect on their stories, I found all these authors to have something in common.  They are the deepest and truest definition of an individual being real.

Through their writing, they share their beautiful lives with reckless abandon.  Not merely the interesting facts, but they go deeper still.  They share the truth so many of us would be too scared to tell.

All of these women have experienced times of being both far from and near to God, seeking clarity to the rawest of questions, feeling desperately alone and broken, finding God in the most unique and captivating places.

All of these women have proven themselves courageous in facing their fears and weaknesses, while defining their faith.

Among all women, these are a few of the beautiful ones.

As I went walking this morning by myself, in glorious silence, I found myself longing for more of these kinds of women in my life.  I understand, of course, not all of us will ever find the desire or ability to share our lives on this kind of level.

But this is what I crave.

I crave relationships where pretending is a forgotten way of survival.  Where we could air out our flaws, knowing judgement would not be the first response.  Where we could see how God is redeeming and making our hearts beautiful because we are honest with each other about what needs transformation.  Where we could feel less isolated and alone in facing our doubts and questions because our hearts are intertwined by bravery.

This is the beauty in choosing realness.  And it’s knee-knocking scary in the same breath.

“True friendship is a sacred, important thing, and it happens when we drop down into that deeper level of who we are, when we cross over into the broken, fragile parts of ourselves.  We have to give something up in order to get friendship like that.  We have to give up our need to be perceived as perfect.  We have to give up our ability to control what people think of us.  We have to overcome the fear that when they see the depths of who we are, they’ll leave.  But what we give up is nothing in comparison to what this kind of friendship gives to us.  Friendship is about risk.  Love is about risk.  If we can control it and manage it and manufacture it, then it’s something else, but if it’s really love, really friendship, it’s a little scary around the edges.”  – Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines, (p. 50)

To me, choosing this kind of realness in relationships is like choosing to enjoy a vase of fresh peonies on my table versus a painting of peonies hanging on my wall.  I can breath in the beautiful aroma.  I can experience God’s unique creation first-hand.  I don’t have to imagine what the experience would be like.  I get to have the real thing.

Are you desiring these kinds of relationships too?  Can you be the first to be brave and share something real with a friend you trust?

Admin

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 212013
 

When I signed up for a church ministry, I never anticipated it would bring me one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life.

“No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it.” – Peter F. Drucker

We had been attending our church for about two years after I graduated from college.  Due to college commitments I had never gotten involved in a church ministry, but now I had time.  News in our church bulletin regarding the eating disorder ministry caught my eye.

Since I was fresh out of working through my own eating disorder and had a massive heart for anyone who suffered from the same agony,  I knew this was the ministry for me.

I had no idea what I would encounter when I arrived for my first week.

My involvement began with attendance to weekly support meetings.  I was simply a background presence as all the participants came to grow, be heard, and be encouraged.

The ministry was hurting for leaders.  It seemed as though there were many more people suffering from eating disorders than those able to help.  In a hurry, I was leading half of the weekly meetings and asked to take on mentoring girls one-on-one.

I had never felt so inadequate, weak and more like a hypocrite in my life.  I wasn’t actively living in my eating disorder, but I felt far from whole and truly healthy.

Before leading each meeting, before doing each one-on-one, my knees would shake so badly I was sure others could hear them rattling.  I would sweat with fear as I arrived.  And I learned to never hold my notes in my hand, but kept them resting on my lap, so as not to let anyone see how badly my hands were shaking.

It was stretching to say the least.

As time went by, God continued to give me new and meaningful things to share with the group and my girls.  But I was also awe struck by something different than expected.  I could never be entirely sure how the participants were changing – the deep within their hearts kind of change.  But I knew God and the girls were changing me.

I didn’t feel whole or worthy when I began the ministry.  Getting involved was risky, required vulnerability and created accountability for all of us.  But God was faithful to reveal to me how He had already healed me and where I still needed growth.

The group meetings kept me in tune with what healthy looked like.  But my one-on-ones held me accountable to be honest, inspired me to be whole, and kept God in every step along my continued healing path.  I set out to help others, but in turn, they helped me.

My mom used to always say to me, “to take your eyes off yourself, focus on how you can help others”.

Serving in the eating disorder ministry and mentoring girls one-on-one was one of the most beautiful, stretching and life-giving experiences I’ve ever been honored to be a part of.  For me, it gave new life and meaning to Mark 10:45.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Have you ever set out to serve others and found it profoundly changed you?  If you are finding yourself too self-focused these days, how can you look to serve others around you?

Admin

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 142013
 

I often find myself wondering when my body image struggle and insecurities will go away?  When will I have complete and final victory over them?

Last week I shared about a negative comment I made about myself and my being pregnant, which led me to examining the true contents of my heart.

I’m thankful for opportunities to examine my heart because it teaches me and prepares me for the next challenge.

And my next challenge came quickly.

To be brutally honest, our recent move to Southern California has exacerbated my body image struggle all the more.

I remember when I came down here for college.  I was blindsided by the fact I could experience culture shock just one state away.

I’ll never forget standing in line at Starbucks, just after I’d arrived for my first semester, and overhearing two women discussing their breast implants.  Of course, I had read the gossipy magazines and seen the entertainment shows on TV, but to be bombarded with those realities in day to day life was something completely different for me.  I was used to women discussing their running times or what kinds of natural remedies they were using.

During my college years, I confronted a lot of these body image issues, grew and even healed despite the culture.

Moving back down here has not brought the same culture shock as before, but you can believe it has already challenged me and tested my roots.

Of course there are countless aspects I absolutely adore about Southern California.  I love the sun, beaches, outdoor lifestyle, flowers and adventures possible around every corner.  But the in-your-face body image stuff – the showing of more skin, body enhancements and pressure to be thin – are all things that have a tendency to shake me.

This struggle of mine has often reminded me of Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).  He was never rid of it, always had to bare it, and trust the Lord with it.  And he was used greatly by God in spite of it.

As I ponder how I can relate, I wonder if it also could have been because of his thorn in the flesh that Paul was such an amazing vessel for the Lord?  This thorn made him keep coming back to Christ for strength, truth and hope.  He couldn’t do it alone.  By his being dependent on Christ, it allowed for Christ’s power to be shown through him.

Could my complete dependence on the Lord in this area be proving the power of God in my life in the same way?

I could easily do without struggling with body image.  I’ve been known to pray over and over for the Lord to just take this struggle away, for Him to make me strong, confident and carefree.

But I’m thankful the Lord is giving me His perspective.  This struggle is actually the very thing that keeps me fully reliant on the Lord.  This “thorn in my flesh” is not a battle I can win on my own.  I need the Lord’s strength to not crumble under the voices of defeat.  I need His love to pour over me.  I need His truth to speak loudly over the lies.  I need Him to fill me with true hope.  I need Him to turn my weakness into strength.

Over and over again.

Is there a struggle in your life you’ve often wished or prayed away?  Could it be possible that Christ’s power is being shown in your life through your struggle, as it keeps you dependent on Him?

Admin

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 072013
 

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

I had an eye-opening moment.  One that has made me pause and consider doing a little soul searching as to what I’m letting into my heart.

Last week, my husband and I found ourselves sitting on the floor of our bedroom closet doing some grueling sorting for our move.  We had to decide which clothes would accompany us to our temporary residence and which would go into storage until we purchase a home.  My job was even more agonizing, having to also decide which clothes I will fit and grow into over the next several months while I finish out my pregnancy.  If you’ve ever tried to predict what size you’ll be as your pregnancy progresses, you know how difficult this can be.  Not to mention our move entails a change of climate.

It was in this moment I caught a true, unfiltered glimpse into my heart.

And it was brutally disappointing to me.

My husband asked how my decision process was coming.  I quickly explained which piles were which.  My husband pointed to a handful of my favorites clothes still on their hangers, “what about those ones?” he asked.

What was my honest reply?  “Oh, I won’t fit those ones until I’m all done being fat.”

The words came out sharply, disgustingly and with far too much ease.  I quickly covered my mouth with both hands, eyes wide with shock.  Like an adolescent who had just said her first swear word in front of her parents.

“I mean, until I’m all done being pregnant…”  was all I could muster out to correct my previous response.

I sat there, baffled as to how that could have been my response without hesitation?

My first pregnancy was a surprise.  Due to my past struggle with food and body image, I immediately began meeting with a therapist.  We worked on this very concept.  Whenever I thought, “I’m getting fat” or “I’m getting big”, I was to practice replacing those demoralizing thoughts with the truth: “I’m growing a baby.  A beautiful baby”.

This is now my third pregnancy, not my first.  How could I be back to what feels like square one with this concept?  Giving myself such little grace? Wearing blinders as to how beautiful a baby in the womb really is?

In reality, I know I’ve made progress over the past five years – I’m not truly at square one.  But my comment sure lends itself to an awakening as to what my internal, subtle thoughts are about myself, my body and my baby.

What kinds of things am I thinking deep within as I get ready in the morning?  Am I being a critique or speaking truth to myself?  I’ve learned that the things that come out of my mouth in an argument or when I’m frustrated are a good gage as to the contents of my heart.  The private thoughts we store up in our hearts, eventually come out.

This is a continuous area I am asking and relying on the Lord for healing.  I can not do it on my own.  I need His truth, His perspective, His eyes to fill up and overflow out of my heart.  My intentional step to speaking truth to myself this week is to tape these verses to my bathroom mirror.  To remind myself to let truth, love and grace saturate my heart.

“As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man.” Proverbs 27:19

Have you ever said something that reflected something surprising in your heart?

Admin

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Apr 302013
 

Amidst all the waiting and change our family has been experiencing recently, I have been completely intoxicated with Leeana Tankersley’s book Found Art.  Her writing has been the perfect companion during such a tumultuous time.

Leeana’s book begins by quoting a handful of verses from Ecclesiastes and maintains an undercurrent of resting upon these very verses throughout her story.  I have been meditating on these verses myself, especially when I’m tempted to think things are out of control or that they’ll never end.

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens;

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build up,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embracing and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil?  I have see the burden God has laid on the human race.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”  Ecc. 3:1-11

These verses remind me that the waiting and change I face today is a part of life.  There are many different seasons in life.  Many of them include a period of waiting.  To change, to heal, to grow, to move on, to rest.

As I explained in my post last week, I’ve come to realize these waiting stretches can tend to bring out the worst in me.  The anxious me.  The insecure me.  The angry or bitter me.

One thing I cannot escape through the waiting is the not-so-subtle reminder that I am not in control.  I don’t always get to call the shots or make up the timeline.  But God IS in control.  He holds my times in His hands and it is not a mystery to Him.  I find peace in this, when I let it sink into my heart.

Along with recognizing and resting in the fact I am not in control, I’ve also come to realize I can choose to not let these times be wasted. Will I allow myself to be moldable, teachable, changable during these stretching times?  The easier thing would be to give into the pull to become numb, closed off, or stuck.  But taking the harder, intentional path means being willing to take part in the story God is orchestrating in my life.

“He is making everything beautiful in its time.  While we wait, we must breathe and heal and grieve and become.  We don’t see the beauty immediately, but as we look back, we find the art in and through it all.” – Leeana Tankersley, Found Art.

I love these words.  God is in the swirling emotions that accompany waiting.  He is longing for us to open our hearts to Him.  To see the beauty in what He is doing in us.

Where does waiting find you today?  Are you open to seeing the beauty God is creating in you?

Admin

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Apr 232013
 

I’ve never done the waiting thing well.  When I think back to any major life changes, I’m afraid to say the waiting period right before, deeply affected me.  And the affect was usually an ugly one at that.

To wait: to remain stationary in readiness or expectation.

This is where I find myself today.

A few major changes have been brewing in our household for some time now.  We are moving out of state (back down to California), my husband is taking on a new role at work and we are expecting our third baby this fall.  Even though my husband and I feel at peace with our decision to make such a major move, it doesn’t come without a certain amount of pain, anxiety and grief.

We’ve been juggling my husband’s travel schedule, preparing our home to sell and then having our house on the market. We are arranging the details of getting possessions down South, I am fighting morning sickness, all the while trying to cram in quality family and friend time.  We’ve said good-bye to our regular routines: Bible study, girl’s night, preschool, play dates, gymnastics, etc.

And now, due to several circumstances, our move date has been pushed back.  For the third time.  Bringing about a serious denial of the impending change.

For this reason, I have found myself in a constant tension.  Trying to brace myself for the ground to shift beneath my feet.  But it hasn’t yet.  Not really.

This period of completely stopping our routines was a wonderful luxury at first.  Then ever so slowly my expectation, anxiety and attitude began wearing down.  Giving into negativity and a “woe is me” mentality.

Maybe it is because I’m pregnant, or maybe it is because of my past experiences, this waiting time reminds me all too much of the pregnancy process.  I spent the week leading up to each of my children’s arrivals encompassing the very definitions of impatience, moodiness and negativity.  It was bad.  I didn’t even want to be around me.

Our waiting to move has worn me down in a very similar way.

Our good-byes have gone on and on, emulating nothing like ripping off the bandaid quickly.  Living in our home, as it’s staged and ready for viewing appointments at any time, has acted as a constant reminder that our home will very soon not be ours.  Pain and grief.

I know what lies on the other side of change.  We’ve done this move before.  It is uncomfortable.  Induces growing pains.  And truthfully, brings out all of my insecurities of fear, perfectionism and shame.  Fears of being alone, not having community and making mistakes.  Thinking I need to do the actual move and emotional process perfectly.  Thinking I will not be the wife my husband needs, or the mother my kids need.

There is much to grow into and much to be processed in the coming months.  Thankfully, I have not stayed in this place of worry and repulsing negativity.  This has come through being reminded over and over again: I am not in control, He is.  He is the one who holds our times.  I share all of this, because waiting is a part of life.  And waiting is hard.  Because waiting stretches us.

When did you last experience a stretching time of waiting?

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Apr 162013
 

This past weekend, I was more thankful than normal for our family get together.  It’s a blessing when all of us can physically be together on such an important anniversary.

It’s been eight years since we lost our brother, since my parents lost their oldest son, since so many lost their friend.  Eight years.  Yet I am amazed how loss is a continual process of learning, growth and healing.

Counter to what I thought eight years ago, when it comes to loss, there’s never really this “arrival” to a permanent place of acceptance and peace.  Every year something slightly different strikes you sad, brings you hope, comes to memory.  It’s fluid, raw, heartbreaking and beautiful, all in the same breath.  Yet the one constant we rest upon is the promise and hope we have in Jesus.  We will see my brother again.

My learning, growth and healing continue to show up in new ways.  And it happens when I am least expecting it.  But I’m forever grateful for how my brother’s loss has changed me, shaped me and continues to impact me deeply.  The things which have impacted me may look vastly different from your own experience with loss.  I want to share a few pieces of my healing process.

  • I Don’t Have to Explain or Understand Everything.  My brother’s life story is a complicated one.  One that resembles a Prodigal Son story from the Bible (Luke 15:11-32).  There were a lot of painful and hard to accept moments in his life.  Many that left us wondering and questioning.  My brother’s story had a beautiful redemption in that he came back to his faith in Jesus before he passed.  Through the years, I’ve come to rest in this fact: it’s ok to not be able to explain it all.  I can trust what I know and understand: my brother had a beautiful heart and he is with Jesus.
  • My Process is My Own.  How we respond to loss in our life is as unique as we are.  There is no “one” way or even “right” way.  Some may want privacy, but I found I wanted an army of friends to rally around me.  Some may deal with the emotions of loss quickly, but I have processed these emotions slowly over time.  I’ve seen a vast array of responses even within our own little family.  Between us, we’ve done it all: lit candles, shared memories around a fire or table, written letters to him, looked through pictures together, sat at his graveside and talked to him, cooked his favorite meals.  I came to realize, whatever the process of remembering and healing looks like: It’s ok. It’s my own.
  • It Will Come.  At various points since our loss, I’ve experienced moments of enormous pressure and guilt over not being able to adequately remember and share my brother’s life and legacy.  My husband and kids will never know him.  And I long to be able to do my brother justice in how I relate and share who he was.  After crying many frustrated, hot tears over this and praying about it, I received peace.  Jesus simply reminded me it will come.  The memories of my brother, qualities of his heart and impact he had on me will come out over time. I don’t have to force it all at once, I don’t have to be the most eloquent and I don’t have to carry the burden of passing on his legacy perfectly.  Our love and experiences together were real, as is our loss. The story and impact of his life will come out in time.
  • Loss Makes People Uncomfortable.  This was one of the biggest surprises to me through our experience.  Of course, so many responded beautifully to our family.  But many people stayed away or did not fully acknowledge our loss.  Some gave unwanted opinions or advice.  It taught me alot about grace in this simple fact.  It’s wasn’t because they didn’t care.  They simply did not know what to do.  I’m not entirely sure I know what to do either.  But eight years ago I learned a couple gems: it’s important to show up, listen and be willing to sit in the loss with others, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.

This year, I learned that my mom has clung to a verse through the years.  A verse I’ve not known well and it’s beautiful.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his godly ones.” Psalm 116:15

Have you experienced loss in your life?  How have you changed or what have you learned through it?

Admin

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Apr 092013
 

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/

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