Bittersweet: A Review and Giveaway
“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”
I can’t think of a better book to highlight this week than Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. As we gather around tables with friends and family to celebrate a season of thanksgiving, Shauna’s words and stories keep coming to my mind.
For some of us, thanksgiving is truly a season of gratefulness – we are full beyond measure in our lives. Our relationships are full and healthy, we have beautiful friends and family around us, our bodies are healthy, our tables and cupboards are full of good food, we have so much to be thankful for.
But some of us are experiencing more bitter flavors this holiday. There is an empty chair this year that used to be occupied with someone we love, we long for restoration in a relationship, we moved this year, we lost a job, our tummies are not as full. Whatever it is, the bitter creeps in, even on this holiday time.
In her newest book, my friend Shauna writes about her own struggles through the bitterness in life, but she finds the sweet along the way, which makes this a beautiful book – not just for those experiencing heartache, but for all of us who have been there or will be there again.
What I love most about Shauna’s writing is her attention to the small, beautiful things in life. She pays attention to things that address the five senses and writes about them in a fresh way. When I read her essays, I want to literally take the time to smell the roses.
She talks about family recipes for blueberry pie, meals she remembers with friends, and the pull of cold pizza at the end of a stressful day. In this way, she reminds her readers to pay attention to the good parts in life that we often overlook because we’re busy being busy.
Shauna walks through her own heartache in this very personal book of essays, and she comes out on the other side having grown – and she asks her readers to do the same:
“The question is not, will my life be easy or will my heart break? But rather, when my heart breaks, will I choose to grow?”
Shauna writes in a transparent way that encourages readers to examine their own lives, too. I think we are all looking for this these days. With the popularity of personal blogs (hey, I write one, too – no judgement!), we are looking for personal stories. We want to read about other people’s stories because we learn from them, we see ourselves in their lives, and we feel less alone.
Shauna reminds us that in telling our stories, we are actually telling the big story of God, too.
“God’s story was told in Hebrew and Greek, and I believe that it’s also being told in whispers and paintings and blogs and around dinner tables all over the world.”
So, keep reading other people’s stories, and keep sharing your own.
Now, onto the giveaway.
I’m so excited to be giving away a signed copy of Shauna’s book. All you have to do is leave a comment and tell me what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving – whether bitter or sweet. Let’s share our stories!
I’ll choose a winner Sunday night, plenty of time to come up with something to be thankful for!