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2015 Bookshelf: Bread & Wine Book Review

Meg Chaney

What I'm Reading 2015: Bread & Wine Book Review

Right around the New Year I decided to take part in a challenge.  I loved Modern Mrs. Darcy's idea of reading books in different categories. It sounded like a fun way to push myself to read more, to take those breaks, those "Megan" moments throughout the day. Maybe your like me, at homes with little ones, with next to zero time to yourself, or, you work long hours at a time, and honestly fall asleep on the couch if you try to read at night. I hear you, it's hard. But it's so refreshing. It's refreshing to take that 10 minute break in the middle of your afternoon, pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, and feel renewed, refreshed, encouraged by an author. And so, I'm trying harder to do just that. I'm paying attention to those pockets of time I come across, an unexpected nap time for a little one, a (rare!) moment when the kiddos are playing peacefully together. Or even just dancing silly around the kitchen. I'm also setting aside a mid-afternoon "Reading Time." I sit on the couch, sip a drink, and read, while Ezra plays with his trains and Emma pages through books, looking at the pictures. It doesn't always work well, but I'm hoping it will get better, as my kiddos actually learn how to read themselves! I want to teach them, first of all, how important resting is for all of us, and, secondly, how important reading is! 

My first book of 2015 was Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist

Shauna endeared herself to me immediately. She's a Midwest girl, who grew up within a few hours of my parent's home, and spent her summers in the same little beach town as us! (We've never met). It was fun reading about places that I've actually been to and enjoyed, totally happenstance, but fun! Her style is humorous, genuine, like she truly is just sitting across from you at the table and telling you about her life. She's honest with her struggles, frustrations, not always understanding the way God acts, but trying to be content through the process. The chapters in her book are little essays, anecdotes, moments from her life at home with a little one, dreaming and praying and crying out to God for another child. 

I want to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude, of groundedness, of enough, even while I’m 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. Extraordinary indeed. More than enough.
— Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine, p. 59

I loved this quote. I struggle being home with little ones on somedays, of having so many other dreams, and with right now not being "enough." This balance she speaks up sums up things perfectly for me. Of letting today be "enough" even while longing for other things. Of living completely in the today blessings that God has given me, doing each chore, each task, with all of my heart, trusting that God has placed me here for a reason. 

Shauna's book is about fellowship, about inviting people into your home, your life, even if it is a little messy, a few cheerios here and there, and dust bunnies behind the couch. It's about trying new recipes, reaching out to people you don't know and allowing them to live life with you. It isn't about creating something spectacular, but it is about trying new things, being adventurous, inviting people into your imperfections. In one chapter, she writes about having a special birthday dinner for a friend. At that dinner, they say around, telling the birthday guy all the reasons they were thankful for him in their life. I love what she said next:

The food was good that night. I loved being able to serve foods that were meaningful to Nathan, that represented his story and history, and we had a great meal together. But that night wasn’t about the food. The food and the table and the laughter helped to create sacred space, a place to give someone the gift of words. That’s what the night was about—sacred space and words of love. Well, that and fresh raspberry ice cream.
— Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine, p.177

Creating space. Space to invite people in, to encourage them, live this life with them. After reading Niequest's book, I was so encouraged to reach out and invite people into my space. Invite them to my table, be it for a cup of coffee, a playdate, or an evening of games around the table. Whatever works for our family in this time of our life. But inviting them in, instead of keeping them at a distance. Making that effort. Loving them. I think it's pretty great if you can say a book encouraged you that way! Food is an important thing. We all need it for nourishment, so way not use it to love others and invite them in? 

Learn, little by little, meal by meal, to feed yourself and the people you love, because food is one of the ways we love each other, and the table is one of the most sacred places we gather.
— Shauna Niequest, Bread & Wine, p.51




Interested in what I'm reading this year? Check out my Pinterest Board here. This was book 1 on my 2015 Bookshelf. Here's what I'm reading next. 

I received no compensation for this book review. I just wanted to share a book with you that I enjoyed.