bread & wine

When we were in Houston, Sam mentioned that he didn't think of himself as a "food person" and said he'd be happier if he could just healthily survive without eating (a blanket statement that only he can so smoothly execute).

And although it might have been the first time ever that Courtney has thought we were adopted, I agreed with him.

Yes, I like food. I love ice cream! But it doesn't fill me up in a non-sustaining sort of way. It doesn't bring me happiness with a lasting effect or warm my heart.

When I finished my triathalon this summer, Roomie Katie was leaving the house as I was returning home. On her way out the door, she said, "I am so proud of you! I am so happy for you! I made you a pie and it's in the fridge!"

Food is Katie's love language. When someone she loves is sad, she wants to make them dinner. When she is celebrating them, she wants to bake them a cake. When she wants to have a late night conversation, she wants to reflect over milkshakes.  Giving love through food fulfills her.

While I'm a big fan of traditional love languages, I also believe we all have nontraditional love languages, and I've never so clearly understood how fulfilling they can be until I read Shauna Niequist's new book, Bread & Wine.

Like Katie, Shauna is a food person, and this book is all about finding community and love around the table. And even though I'm more like her dad, who she says finds life around water and that "the sounds and smells and rituals of life on the water bind him to God in ways nothing else does," I get the way she finds love and life through food. I think that God is constantly showing us his fingerprints on this earth and showing us love and happiness through ways that other people don't see and feel.

I felt very fortunate to receive an advanced copy of Bread & Wine if I agreed to blog about it, and if you're familiar with her previous books, Cold Tangerines and (my fav) Bittersweet, you won't be disappointed. It is full of the same Shauna advice that I sometimes wonder how I ever lived without, all spoken in her voice, which is one that seriously makes me think we could be besties.

One of my favorite parts was her advice to start where you are. Instead of being overwhelmed by everything you are not and how far you have to go, start with exactly where you are and go from there. So you can't cook? Start with something simple. You can't run five miles? Start by walking one. Give yourself the grace to start exactly where you are.

As a notorious self-improver, I loved these words. I loved the way it reminded me to cultivate a sense of gratitude and patience with myself. To expect baby steps and not results yesterday. To remember that we are enough, just being who we were created to be, and that's the very best place we can start.

I also loved the theme behind the entire book to let people into our messes. Whether it be our messy kitchens or messy hearts - by letting people into these spaces, we're allowing them to meet us where we are, too, and provide the healing and love we need in the moment.
{listen to her talk about it below} 

Along with the life lessons, the book also has recipes in most chapters. Since Jordan was visiting me this weekend, I decided to make like Shauna and show a little love through baking.
I made the Breakfast Cookies, which I aptly renamed Thank You for Coming Jordan, cookies [recipe below].

Shauna Niequist's Breakfast Cookies {adapted from Bread & Wine}

3 large ripe bananas
1/4 cup coconut oil or olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup almond meal
2/3 cup shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon baking power
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

[Not really one for recipes, I made a few substitutions. I swapped the coconut and walnuts for chocolate chips. After reading the book, I *think* Shauna would be OK with this.]

In a large bowl mash the bananas and add the coconut oil and vanilla
In another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stir until combined
*the dough will be a bit looser than standard cookies
Form the dough into balls, bake at 350 for 14 to 16 minuts

And enjoy - Shauna would want you to! :)