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Worth Repeating: Bread & Wine

April 3, 2013

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Ever since reading Cold Tangerines, I’ve been loved with Shauna Niequist’s honest, authentic and lyrical prose. I inhaled the first book, wept with her through her second, Bittersweet, and have been eagerly awaiting the third: Bread & Wine An admitted foodie, Shauna has included in Bread & Wine recipes for dishes mentioned in previous books, well as dozens of new ones, along with essays featuring the same, thought-provoking and gutsy honesty found in her first two books.

It was a year ago, just as the days started to warm and coats were no longer needed, daffodils emerging and Easter around the corner, that I found myself trapped in the LaZBoy, foot mangled and bandaged, in terrible pain, and helpless to do anything for myself much less anyone else. In a blog post I wrote:

I know there is a lesson in all of this. Surely there is. The controlling Choleric in me is not in control, at the moment, of anything. A long, gorey story short – here am I, foot up high, out of the loop and at the mercy of others for my every want and need. And the mercies have been plentiful, abundant. Indescribable generosity and friendship that goes way above and beyond. Way, waaaayyyy above.

This chapter from Bread & Wine spoke to me in an intensely familiar way. Niequist writes about experiencing debilitating morning sickness during the pregnancy of her second child – not just morning, but “Morning, Noon and Night” and writes of going from being a producer to a receiver…

I’ve long wanted to be better at accepting help, better at admitting weakness, better at trusting that people love me not for what I can do but just because they do. It would have been lovely to learn these things on my own terms, when I wanted to, the way I wanted to. But we never grow until the pain level gets high enough.

Being sick was a crash course, not one I would have chosen, not one I handled well, certainly. It was a painful education, but one I needed, one that forced me to embrace the risky but deeply beautiful belief that love isn’t something you prove or earn but something you receive or allow, like a balm, like a benediction, even at your very worst.

-Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine

Learning to receive is a lesson that often requires pain. Tomorrow I’ll share a post I wrote years ago, with a cranky, colicky two-month-old, and a husband flat on his back with a herniated disc. Good times, those. A time of pain, and learning, and receiving instead of giving.

The accompanying recipe to this essay in Bread & Wine is for baked sweet-potato fries, which, having hardly been home the last two weeks I have not yet had the opportunity to try but plan to at the earliest opportunity, (hopefully this weekend when friends and fellow Niequist-groupies come to share our table.) Others I’m looking forward to trying are Goat Cheese Biscuits and Mango Chicken Curry. In the back, she’s included helpful pantry lists and dinner menus both fancy and basic. Equally inspiring and helpful, Bread & Wine follows in the footsteps of Niequist’s first two books with a refreshing foodie twist. It would make a wonderful gift to any woman who loves food, loves life, and loves the Creator of both.

(Note: I did not receive anything in return for this review other than a preview copy of the book.)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Bethany permalink
    April 4, 2013 1:13 pm

    I’ve been dying to hear your thoughts on the book! I’m so looking forward to reading it. I find it really interesting that you chose the chapter on accepting help over anything else. Knowing you, i would have thought that her stuff on hospitality would speak to you more, but it sounds like it was even more poignant for you. I’m glad you liked it! And if we get sweet potato fries out of it, even better! Can’t wait.

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