shauna niequist

Where to Start Reading: Shauna Niequist

Some authors feel like dear friends from the moment you begin reading their words, and Shauna Niequist is one of those authors for me. She writes with a warmth that is contagious and welcoming, and she has such a beautiful, heartfelt, and authentic way of writing that is so engaging to me. I can’t wait for her to publish another book (hopefully soon!) so I can get my hands on it ASAP — she’s one of my very favorites and I hope you’ll fall in love with her like I have!

Here's where to start reading Shauna Niequist:


if you’re in a joyous season:

Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life // This book is electric, alive, fresh, and free. It's all about "celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life" and it's such a refreshing read, much like a cold tangerine would be. I fell in love with Shauna after the first few paragraphs, and knew I would be reading anything she ever wrote in that moment. This book was a delight and a joy.

if you’re in a challenging season:

Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way // Shauna's "thoughts on change, grace, and learning the hard way" was poignant, beautiful, and soulful. This book is like a warm hug from a dear friend while you're curled up swapping life stories on a comfy couch over mugs of coffee. It's warm and real and reflective in the best ways. I hang on to her every word and feel like we've been best friends forever every time I read her stories.

if you want to read a little every day:

Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are // This one combines content from Bread and Wine, Cold Tangerines, and Bittersweet, as well as new writing and recipes, and it’s the perfect introduction to Shauna’s writings if you haven’t read her yet, as well as a great way to get a little snippet of inspiring, encouraging, beautiful writing every day even if you have read her before!

if you’re stressed:

Present over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living // Shauna, I just love you. I've always loved you. I'm convinced you can write no wrong. This was as beautiful as all of your other books, and so applicable to probably everyone's life, too. Props on writing such a great book on such a relevant topic and making it heartfelt and honest the whole time. This book follows her typical writing style of a collection of essays more than a chapter-based book with a particular flow or outline, but that's what I love about her. The threads weave well throughout all of the pieces, but it's also easy to read in chunks. I did miss a little bit of her typical food-talk, but the focus of this one was different, and I appreciated that. This one just feels refreshing and real.

if you love food + faith:

Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes // This book is a "collection of essays about family, friendships, and the meals that bring us together" next to exquisite recipes, and I can't say enough good things about it. Obviously I love Shauna Niequist, but it's more than that. This book welcomes you into a kitchen buzzing with activity and full of the most incredible tastes and smells, welcomes you around the table where love overflows and real life happens.


A Words Roundup

This last week, so many things I read just resonated with me SO MUCH. And I want you all to read them all now. Here's a roundup of the best things I've read online recently! Enjoy.


"Don’t be the next anybody. Be deeply, weirdly, completely, totally you." // Shauna Niequist drops an awesome bomb with this post

"I think my generation is venturing into some seriously uncharted waters, because while we’re hesitant to label relationships, we do participate in some deviation of them." // Jordana Narin won this year's Modern Love College Essay Contest from The New York Times, and it's a strikingly true look at what our generation has turned love and relationships into.

"If we were on a coffee date, I'd encourage you to write yourself letters. Buy yourself a journal and just write to you. Dear you and Love, me are powerful things." // Amber Thomas writes these posts as if you were on a coffee date with her, and every single time, I so deeply wish I was.

"For introverts who generate ideas best without the looming presence of others, knowing the topic in advance is key." // This post on the TED Blog is GREAT. Every brainstorm meeting I've been a part of has been stressful for me as an introvert, and this post has fantastic tips for making that NOT the case.

"We desperately need someone to tell us we are going to make it. To simple say, "I'll be there when you make it", and "I'll still be here while you make your way"." // Katherine Henson could have pulled these words from my very core, they struck me so deeply. They're the words I've been feeling and wrestling with but not really knowing how to say. These are the kinds of people I want.

"So here is my suggestion: Read a bit of poetry today." // Sarah Bessey reminded me of what my heart knows to be true: I need to surround myself with beautiful words that slow me down and open my eyes to lovely things. I need to read poetry today and every day.

Loving Lately: Sept. 12

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You don't need to grow your audience. You need this instead.

White chocolate pumpkin fudge. It's gluten-free and vegan. Need I say more?

A calendar full of coffee dates with new friends=the best kind of busy.

#RealNotRetouched

This collection. Those tags in shades of black/white/grey...I'm swooning.

When an author you love already comes out with something new, you fall in love before your hands even hold the pages.

Learning how different boys are from girls. Nannying two little guys has been a wild (read: very physical and loud) adventure already!

This book. Why have I waited so long to read Anne Lamott?

The beauty of this ring (on my finger 24/7 now), this company and their values. So good.

 

Story Seeker

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In the past two weeks, there has been a consistent theme running through my conversations, my reading, my prayers. There has been a thread of continuity, a steady note playing long and clear, like a violinist pulling the bow back and forth against one string, moving and working to keep that same sound alive.

Stories. It's all been about stories. I've sat down with several different friends over cups of coffee and chai lattes and brunch, and we've talked about stories, about writing, about intentionality. I've chatted with friends online, catching up on life. From each of them, I've heard one thing: tell your story, and ask people to tell you theirs. 

My best friend has been telling me over and over through Facebook messages and hashtags on my Instagrams-- you're a #futurebiographer, you should write biographies for a living, you really like to hear about people's stories and you're a good writer, what better job?!

Then, I pick up the book I'm reading (Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist) and she has a whole chapter about stories-- there it is again! I think I underlined almost every word. 

If you are a person of faith, it is your responsibility to tell God's story, in every way you can, every form, every medium, every moment. Tell the stories of love and redemption and forgiveness every time you experience them. Tell the stories of reconciliation and surprise and new life everywhere you find them.

As soon as I finished that book, I picked up another, hungry for more truth to wash over me, eager to see if this was really from God, or if I was just making meaning out of nothing. I read Allison Vesterfelt's Packing Light in one evening, and this stuck out. (It's about stories...and this is when I'm realizing God's really telling me something here.)

This is the kind of life that makes us a worshiper. It's the kind of life where we can't help but end each day with our hands lifted high, thanking God for the ways He graciously accepts even our worst mistakes, the way He uses every experience to teach us, the way He wiggles His way into the story we're writing.

This month, with all of my New June challenges and my striving to seek Christ and purposeful living, I've seen my life blossom in a way that makes me more of a worshiper. I've seen that when I rid myself of things that are unhealthy or distracting, I see Him working so evidently. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Amen. That's true. I'm seeing Him write my story, day by day.

I've been thinking about all of this, what it would look like to share my story, what it would be like to ask people to share theirs, how those conversations would play out. It's out of my comfort zone, it's intimidating, but I think some of the best things in life are like that. I think staying in the safety of my own little bubble means I'm shying away from the ways God can work when I trust Him.

I think about writing and sharing the stories I might hear from other people, and I wonder what qualifies me to do so. I wonder if I'll do them justice, if I'll get it right, if anyone will even want to share their story with me in the first place.

I get in my car this morning, mulling this all over, and Ellie Holcomb is playing.

I don't wanna tell some arrogant story, or let myself believe I'm You. I don't wanna be a thief who's stealing Your glory, will You help remind me of what is true? The only hope I've got is You.

The only hope I've got is You. Amen again, that's so true. This summer, I'm seeking stories. I'm sharing mine. I'm taking my New June challenge of a coffee date a week seriously, and I'm stepping out in boldness to ask people to join me. I'm going to be a story seeker

There is power in our stories because they aren't just ours. Shauna said it so well: "My life is a story about who God is and what He does in a human heart."

My story is all about who God is. The story in my heart is all about how He's moved there, how He's molded me, how He has been working there to bring me where I am, how he Has been setting every beat to His perfect rhythm. Your story, whether you've never told a soul or you share it freely, is beautiful and powerful and so worth telling.

I want to hear your story. I want to tell you mine. I want to celebrate with you over conversation and chai tea and chapters of our lives and Christ's crazy glory. If you're ready to share, I'm ready to listen. Send me a message below, and let's swap stories.


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want to swap stories? let me know. want to spill it out right here? feel free. want to meet up for coffee? i'm down.
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