Longings & Gratitude

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I want to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude, of groundedness, of enough, even while longing for something more. The longing and the gratitude, both. I’m practicing believing that God knows more than I know, that He sees what I can’t, that He’s weaving a future I can’t even imagine from where I sit this morning. ~ Shauna Niequist 

 

::Photo by LuSarahSEAS Photography::

On My Bookshelf: Bread & Wine (A Review)

The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved.

I love that Shauna Niequist’s words do that — that they create a space of warmth and honesty for her reader, a place to feel understood, connected.

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Shauna’s newest book, Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table, is another beautifully written collection of stories that are an honest and true reflection of the way God works in our hearts and the ways in which we discover more of who He is and who He created us to be.

I read Bread & Wine in much the same way as Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet — cozily curled up with a pen or a pencil, so I could underline and star and make little notes.

Reading Shauna’s words makes me want to be braver and more vulnerable in my own writing. Her words inspire courage and a true love for life. And they softly carry grace, too, which is a gift.

As I read my way through each story and recipe, I was reminded of my own desires to live with gratitude, to nourish and nurture the community I’ve been blessed with, and to trust — really trust — this story God is writing for me.

One of my favorite paragraphs in the book comes from the chapter entitled Enough, where Shauna writes these inspiring words:

I want to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude, of groundedness, of enough, even while I’m longing for more. The longing and the gratitude, both. I’m practicing believing that God knows more than I know, that He sees what I can’t, that He’s weaving a future I can’t even imagine from where I sit this morning.

I read those words, and with a sigh, thought, yes, exactly.

How wonderful it is when an author pens the very words our own hearts could have written, the very words our own hearts need to read.

And then there are the recipes.

I’m already excited to bless my women’s group with Shauna’s Breakfast Cookies, when we gather on a Saturday morning soon with our coffee, hot chocolate, and open hearts.

And I’m making plans for some of the others, as well.

I can see myself making the Blueberry Crisp, as I finally welcome spring — a sweet taste of the summer to come. I’m sure the Breakfast Quinoa will become a staple (both for breakfast and dinner), and I’m quite looking forward to adding a few goat cheese crumbles to the pan the next time I whip up a batch of scrambled eggs.

I’m also certain this will be a book I read again and again — just like Shauna’s other books. A book that’s scribbled in and underlined and well-loved — the very best kind of book, if you ask me.

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Bread & Wine goes on sale April 9, but you can pre-order your copy, here.

P.S. If you read Bread & Wine, I’d love to hear what you think (and what you cook!).

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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.

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{Many thanks to Zondervan for providing me with an advanced reader copy.}

Insta-Moments From My Week

{1.} Apple cider and writing.
{2.} Happy Target find: the sweetest polka-dot notebooks ever.
{3.} How can you not be inspired by notebooks like these? ;)
{4.} Sunday morning coffee from a sweet new friend (how adorable is her litte note!?).

So many simple, but beautiful moments this past week. And I’m thankful for each one of them.

Live Colorfully.

Just a little reminder to live colorfully. :)

This may be Kate Spade’s branding motto, but it really sums up the way I want to live.

I know things have been a bit quiet around here, but I’m working on some blog design updates, as well as writing and designing my eBook, so my posting has been much less frequent. I’ll try to stop back in again soon to share some recent inspirations, as well as a few thoughts on the She Reads Truth Proverbs plan I’m working through.

Well, I’m off to fill up some journal pages with eBook ideas!

Happy Sunday! Hope you get out there and enjoy some sunshine!

Quotable: Make what you WISH existed.

I’m currently in the process of developing some new creative projects, so I’m thinking a lot about this great reminder from Work is Not a Job. I’m only in the brainstorming phase right now, but I think it’s so important to create from the heart and to create what reflects your own unique vision. It reminds me of one of the great quotes I heard at Weapons of Mass Creation:  “Your work comes from a deeper place; you have to define it for yourself and to the world.”

I look forward to sharing more about these projects soon!

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Quotable ~ Sharing Your Art with the World

The uniqueness of everyone’s eye and ear gets me excited about art. The way each individual chooses to see the world and interpret it. The beauty it carries, whether in simplicity or complexity to enrich everyday life.

~ Ashley Brooke Toussant, via a beautiful visual interview featured over at Kara’s blog, I Just Might Explode.

I just love Ashley’s thoughts on art. I completely agree.

I get so excited when I think about all of the unique talents and stories out in the world, and all of the ways we can all share our own unique selves through creating things that are true to who we are.

Quotes like that get me all jazzed up about making my own art, as well as encouraging others to make art, too.

If you have it in your heart to make art, to create — then you should. By creating what’s in your heart to create, you add your own unique beauty and enrich everyday life.

Be bold about sharing your creative gifts with the world.

Quotable: His Perfect Plan

If we think we are stuck in Plan B, it’s because our idea of Plan A was just that—our own idea, not God’s. God has good purposes for us, whether He accomplishes them through the goals we set or through thwarting those goals and leading us along paths we hadn’t planned on. We may not be able to discern His purposes, but Proverbs teaches us that we can rest assured that He has them and that He is overseeing the fulfillment of them.

~Lydia Brownback ~ “A Woman’s Wisdom: How the Book of Proverbs Speaks to Everything”

Some great scripture she also shares:

To humans belong the plans of the heart,
    but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue. (Proverbs 16:1)

In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,
Like the rivers of water;
He turns it wherever He wishes. (Proverbs 21:1, NKJV)

Giving Thanks

This week, my heart is thankful for:

Adventuring in New York City
Delicious chocolate samples (and that heavenly chocolate smell!) at the Brooklyn-based chocolate factory Mast Brothers
Dining outdoors (cute, quirky cafes are my favorite)
Visiting the Brooklyn Art Library (and reuniting with my sketchbook!)
Coffee and pain au chocolat (Le Pain Quotidien is amazing!)
The grandeur and timeless charm of the New York Public Library
Finding THE PERFECT pair of new specs—fingers crossed I can find them now that I’m back home! ;)
Scribbled notes while reading
Waking up to sunshine
The often hard, but very necessary practice of eucharisteo (giving thanks) and what it’s doing in my heart

P.S. These are the dream specs mentioned above that I found during my travels. I’m currently checking to see if I can order them now that I’m back home… What do you think? :)