About the Author

Robin is the author of For All Who Wander, her relatable memoir about wrestling with doubt that reads much like a conversation with a friend. She's as Southern as sugar-shocked tea, married to her college sweetheart, and has three children. An empty nester with a full life, she's determined to...

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  1. Yesterday our church had a picnic after the service. I totally needed to bail on it. The pressure of making “appropriate small talk” felt overwhelming and so while I agree that so much can happen around the table….for some like me – the experience can feel so intimidating that we don’t allow it to happen. How do we break those barriers in our own hearts so that true communion can take place.? We have been in our new community for 2 years now and I have yet to fully connect with people…on the surface yes, but in a deep, maintaining relationship way no…and I long for that! But I think my own insecurities create walls that often times prevent community from happening!!

    • Oh, Kristin,

      I’m sure there are SO MANY others just like YOU! Though I hope others who have been in your shoes will chime in, my counsel would be to start small. And before outwardly DOING anything, I’d pray specifically and privately for the Lord to change your heart to be open to others; and also for him to bring someone onto your radar who would like/needs to be reached out to.

      You realize that most people are nervous at big events, though, right? It might seem like everyone is comfortable, but I promise, they aren’t. I look very outgoing (b/c my coping mechanism is talking too much in situations like that), but I’m dying on the inside. But it’s so worth it when I click with someone, when a conversation somehow turns to a REAL convo :). It doesn’t happen every time, but when it does, it’s worth me being uncomfortable at the beginning.

      AND…I really, really, REALLY appreicate ANYONE who’s willing to come and speak to me first! So….I’m charging you to be that lady for another…soon :).

      • Thanks Robin! I shared my heart with a couple of women from church even before I left and one even asked if I would feel more comfortable if I sat w/ her…so sweet. It isn’t “them” – it is usually me! 🙂 But I believe this is something that God is working on in my life so I will have to keep praying about it! Thanks for your insights!!

        • Hey Kristin… I wish we could high-five right now (not necessary a celebratory hi5, but more, “yup”). I have wanted to run and hide at church picnics/potlucks/after&before services, etc. I feel the same at most any large gatherings where people end up small talking… usually, I end up finding a group of kids to chat with (somehow it’s easier being myself with them). I don’t like the feeling of having to try to keep an artificial conversation going. Even in a group of people I know, small talk in a big group is just not my thing. And while I’m open to what the Lord may want to teach me about being willing to reach out and stretch my comfort-zone (reaching back to where these uneasy feelings began to rear their heads), I also think if our desire is authenticity, it’s hard for many people to open up and feel at-ease in a crowd. In my opinion, crowds aren’t the best place for connecting.

          Anyway, I just wanted to let you know you’re not alone and to encourage you. Community doesn’t necessarily happen in the hundreds. In fact, if you look at Jesus’ example, he did real life with a much smaller group. True, He spoke in parable to the multitudes, but afterward, He would come together with His disciples and reveal the true message. And most of the first churches met in each other’s homes, which I feel is a much more natural environment for community. That’s not to say it can’t happen at a potluck, that you won’t find a nice group to sit with, or that the Lord won’t lead us to a certain someone in the crowd that needs a friendly word… but you might also ask God if He’s nudging you to look for opportunities for deeper conversation and true community. I think this is more the kind of thing Shauna is talking about… inviting people into our homes, or joining a small group, book club, cooking club, etc. God bless! 🙂

    • Hi Kristin,
      I found a good way to connect with other woman at church is through our Ladies Bible Studies. I have been through so many now, (even leading one!, like I would ever do that!!) and have formed so many nice friendships. Also, Home Groups/Small Group Meetings. If these are available to you I encourage you to sign up and join. Don’t let fear or intimidation hold you back.
      God bless you! 🙂

  2. The chapter “My Mom’s Blueberry Crisp” brought up a swirl of memories for me. My family had football Sunday after football Sunday while I was growing up and my mom and I would trek to the store and pick up all the fixings for make your own grinders: lunch meat, assortment of cheese and condiments, veggies, white fluffy rolls. I remember choosing the assortment carefully and with love…she always wanted the freshest of everything and when we got home we would set it all up on our tall counter in the kitchen. Everyone would gather around and build their own sandwich and then one by one we would file into the living room and start the game. I hadn’t thought of this in years, but when it came into my mind I felt just as I did then…calm, safe, content, joyful. It wasn’t a fancy meal that took tons of time and technique, but it was made with love by my mom. I have so many other memories that came up during that chapter too and there is a story for all of them: meatballs and pudgins made by my grandparents while we all gathered around the kitchen, picking wild blueberries as a little girl close to the Canadian border and bringing them home to sort and bake blueberry biscuits at our vacation cabin, family dinners gathered around my parents’ huge wooden dining table. i knew right away I would love this book after that early chapter. So refreshing to pull all of those comforting memories from their tucked away space.

    • “It wasn’t a fancy meal that took tons of time and technique, but it was made with love by my mom.” <-- Yes! And so GLAD to help you recall all these wonderful associations :).

  3. Last week I just so happened to read to pg. 39 in the book. My son slept late today. So, I’ve had just enough time to read this blog and watch the video. What you are talking about seems like true fellowship to me. So awesome! I love the book! It pinpoints parts of me that I might not otherwise recognize (shame). Let us not teach this to our children. I think it can be so ingrained in us. We learn to live with it-and even keep smiling.
    My life at the table (last night ). I was making spaghetti w/ homemade meatballs and garlic bread. My son decides he wants Spaghettios. I say no. He decides to research Spaghettios and starts a book report about them. We sit down to eat and I’m so thankful that he is being nourished. We all are. ~Marilyn

    • Marilyn,

      I love it when timing works out like this. Thank you, too, for sharing a glimpse of your life the other night; and how your son responded to your (wise) parenting. Bravo to both of you!

  4. I feel you, Kristin! I’ve been at my church for 6 years now, during a time of tremendous growth in the congregation. We’ve gone from 30 people per Sunday to over 1,000! While I love what God is doing there, I miss the time when we felt like family because we were so few. As I was watching the video and Shauna as talking about her cooking club, I kept thinking about my book club. Reading is something that I love to do, and about 3 years ago I asked a few friends if they’d like to do a book club. Some of the characters have changed but we are still 5 strong and we meet once a month. It’s more than a book club – it’s a therapy group! Yes, we still talk about the book, but we talk about everything else in our lives too. And every time we meet, we wish aloud that we could get together more often but due to all the busyness in our lives, once a month is about all we can manage. I echo Shauna – think about what you love to do, then try to find a group of ladies/people to do it with you. It’s hard. When we moved to this state I had literally forgotten how to make friends. I’d lived in the same place for all my life until then! And you have to find people who are willing to make space for you in their lives, which can be a tall order, but NOT impossible. They are people out there feeling lost and friendless who would love to be included in your life. Find those people.

    There are days when I feel lost at my own church, and yesterday was one of those days. There are hundreds of people I know but I have very few close friends there. As I was leaving the sanctuary, someone came up to me and said she’d been meaning to email me and ask me how I was doing, so we talked for a while. Then someone else came up and told me she’d been thinking about me, and we had a nice conversation. Then on my way out of the building a friend stopped me to tell me how much she loves reading my blog. I felt energized! And I realized that I have been holding back and waiting for someone to talk to me first, thinking I was unwanted and unnoticed, when in fact there are people out there who have been thinking about me. I feel like Sally Fields – you like me, you really like me! That sly voice that tells me I’m unwanted? That’s not God’s voice, and its purpose is simple: to keep me out of community. I can’t allow that to happen. We’re made for community. I don’t have an easy answer, but I am going to try to be bolder about speaking first instead of waiting around.

    And I’m tremendously excited about this book study! My cooking isn’t fancy but I love to have people over.

    • Kim – just hopped over to your blog!! Enjoyed your Coffee Break post! 🙂 And excited to see you are also attending Allume! When I was leaving church yesterday I was thinking why in the world did I sign up for Allume if I can’t even handle a church picnic!?!

    • “That sly voice that tells me I’m unwanted? That’s not God’s voice, and its purpose is simple: to keep me out of community.”

      Oh, honey. That voice speaks to me, too, and I HATE it! How wise of you to know its origin and to plan to resist it! I think Satan wants to entangle our hearts and minds and ears so we can’t hear right–but once we’re aware of that, THEN we can make choices to confound him, right?

      Great perspective and I hope you continue being bold, reaching out, being open :).

  5. Kristin- I think we all can relate to what you’ve said. I’ve skipped events before afraid of the weird uncomfortable awkwardness that I may encounter. I hate that forced feeling of talking to someone I dont know but im stuck beside. I used to make friends so easily, never hesitating, but as I have gotten older I guess I have acquired more insecurities that hold me back, being more reserved.

    I recently started a small group at church. I had gotten involved in the kids area & made a friend (we are both elementary school teachers so we hit it off) so she & I invited about 15… 11 have come but there are 6 of us there every other Wed (we meet twice a month). we’ve only been meeting 3 months- and we’ve gotten very close & very deep! We’ve laughed together & cried together. AND we always eat supper together… Around a table! We take turns going to each others houses. It’s been so great. I hope you can make some real life connections so you can make some lasting friendships!

    Special foods in my family- yes- can totally relate! At my parents, it’s homemade icecream. When I hear a churn cranking, it takes me right back to my mama & daddy’s! My grandfather had a garden next door, so homegrown veggies grown by my Papa very special. My mom, sisters, & I popped alot of greenbeans & shucked alot of corn! My granny always made us salmon patties… And cake, caramel cake! And every year she made gingerbread men and had us come by to decorate. My mema, put out a spread every month: chicken casserole, fried apples, homemade biscuits, and “two bites” (cucumber slices) not sure why we called them that lol! And the stories go on…

    I recently received some Amish friendship bread & a starter. I’ve made 4 loaves and shared with 6 friends, giving out bread & starters to friends and family. Great bonding! I love this book & topics. Thank you!

    • Emily,

      It’s lovely hearing all the memories this book and study bring to your mind; and thankful for Shauna for giving us all reason to remember our own!!

  6. I just moved with my husband to a new area and new church. We had never experienced true community together before, and were determined to change that when we moved. Several dinners and conversations around the table later, we have already found that community. It is so, so true: nothing can bond people faster than a shared meal around a table.

    • Heather,

      GOOD for you, DETERMINING TO CHANGE when you moved! I’m facing an upcoming move and I’ve got that same determination brewing…your experience encourages me!

  7. Kim- what is your blog? I am just starting mine. I am using WordPress. Is it hard to get going?

  8. I am in a very unique time in life. My husband is finishing his last year of school and we’ll be moving in year. It feels very difficult to reach out/build community because I know we’re going to move in a year. This book/discussion could not have come at a better time in my life. After reading the first few chapters, I truly felt my heart start to open up to the idea of inviting others into our home (something I just haven’t done because of crazy school schedules/kiddo schedules). I realized it doesn’t have to be fancy. Simple works! I’m so excited to reach out to folks and build community right where God has us.

    We have a few special foods in our family, but I would say our “go-to” when anyone comes over is my husband’s curry. So good! 🙂 As far as tradition with food, every Thanksgiving I make my grandmother’s chocolate pie…it’s heaven on a plate!

    Again, thank you for choosing this book. My heart needed it so badly and I truly LOVED watching the video with Shauna, Angie, and Jessica. Blessings!

    • Jenn,

      Fancy, schmancy, right? People respond to warmth and grace, whether or not its served on paper plates :).

      I can’t wait to try Shauna’s version of curry; it’s not something I’ve ever been interested in because I think of the sharp Indian spice (only) and it’s not my favorite. And your grandmother’s chocolate pie sounds wonderful–link to a recipe, please?????? 🙂

    • Sheila,

      You’re welcome to email me at pensieve(dot)me(at)gmail if you haven’t received it soon; did you order one? Receive one as a sponsored book? Just let me know your circumstances and I’ll look into things on our end (if it involves DaySpring 🙂 ).

  9. Just listened to first session, love it. We moved here from another state due to husband needing to retire for medical reasons. He is more introvert and I am opposite (yet somewhat shy) We are in a church and allittle active , not as much as i would love to be. I have made surface friends , but feel like such an outsider even after almost 6 yrs. i know its more me then them. But in reading this book I am hoping to somehow move forward.

    • Jean,

      It’s beautiful to me when so many are willing to look at themselves for why community isn’t happening; I mean, I like to point a finger at others, but the truth is always three point back at me! So…I’m praying that you take the steps to build community, even if it’s one or two new friends (because sometimes smaller is better!).

  10. I am a complete introvert. I promise that the version of me you read online & interact with on Twitter is WAY more comfortable in “social” settings than the real me – the version that forgets how to hold a conversation, make eye contact & stop rambling 🙂 But I have found that that the more comfortable I become building community online, which is what I love, and helping women chase their God Sized Dreams, which is a new passion, the easier those “in real life” situations become. I think we all desire to be included, but sometimes God puts us in a season where He’s asking US to be the ones doing the inviting 🙂

      • I’m the complete opposite. I’m super shy through social media (or at least I feel like I am) and am much much better in real life social situations!

    • Crystal, I recently had a new friend insist that I was an extrovert, and one of my longtime friends corrected her. Then I went to a workshop on introverts and heard this definition…: “I am an animated, socially confident, introvert.” from a book by @adamsmchugh

      I think that may be you… 🙂

  11. I am so happy I just got this book in from the library at the perfect time! I started it last night and I’m just now at the chapter Hungry. I love food memoirs, and this one seems to be absolutely delightful so far.
    Community is a hard thing. I love the idea of the table community, since food is something that unites everyone (mostly) in a natural way–we all have to eat! We’ve been a part of very intentional community for 4 years now, and it’s always the best and easy going around dinner when we share that together.
    It really helps if there are good cooks in the group, too! 😉
    And also–I just about squealed when I realized this was gluten-free, too. What a sweet surprise. I’ve been celiac for 8 years, and it’s an uncommon thing to read a foodie memoir that caters to that!
    Sarah M

    • Sarah,

      Chapter Hungry–that just makes me smile :).

      Community CAN be hard; and I can’t help but believe satan is so involved in that, wanting to defeat us and isolate us and make us feel like the “only one”. It’s lovely how often we see Jesus fellowshipping at the table; it demonstrates how important it was to him, which makes it important to me!!

  12. I am loving this book! It has really broken up some ‘unplowed ground’ for me. Things I’ve felt for a while but didn’t know just how deeply I have felt them. I suffer a great deal from social anxiety and anxiety in general. I have one. one. friend. and she lives in Texas, while I’m here in Arkansas! She was just in for a visit and it really reminded me just how much I miss her! I’m in a really lonely place in my life and I don’t know where or how exactly to reach out. But this post has encouraged me. For starters, I just posted a status on FB linking to your video and was just straight forward with how much I wanted this connection with others. I mentioned a few of the things I enjoy and the fact that my house is a crowded, cramped mess. I’m hoping someone will chime in/ reach back. I have several active friends on FB and while I love the way technology has helped so many of us connect in ways we couldn’t have without it, it’s just not a substitute for the real deal, IMO.

    On the topic of food. My grandmother left me one thing specifically the Christmas before she passed. It was her most used cookbook. I love it. It was a cookbook put together by several local churches and it has recipes from her, my great-grandmother, and several women I remember so fondly from church when I was a young girl. There are notes written along side a few of the recipes that say things like, “Very Good” or “Best” and you can tell they were used often because there is food splattered all over the pages. There are certain foods that will always bring her back to my mind. Banana pudding for one. And for my great-grandmother…. chocolate gravy and mince-meat pie!

    Looking forward to Wednesday!

    • Becky I can relate to how anxiety can ruin the opportunity for relationships with others (see my post below that I must have started typing when you were posting yours). I understand how hard it can be to reach outside of the comfort zone and let others in. I said a prayer for you. You CAN get beyond it, just keep reaching out and don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen the on first attempt, or even on the twentieth attempt, if you desire it don’t stop trying to create those connections. Do what you can do to make it happen in your own power and leave the rest up to God trusting that it will happen with the right people at the right time.

    • Becky,

      What…a…TREASURE! I love everything about your grandmother’s gift, the splatters, notes and familiar recipes. I can hear that you understand how special it is :).

      And good for you, lovie; baby steps in reaching out. PLEASE don’t mistake no or few replies as rejection, though; might I encourage you to take another baby step then another? Because sometimes people need multiple asks before they respond (I’m preaching to myself, too 🙂 ).

  13. I can’t relate much to the strong connection to food in this book (yes I have good memories of meals shared, but have many good memories that don’t revolve around food too), but I think we all need a sense of community to thrive. I read about the cooking club almost with envy as connections like that are something I really desire. Over the past year I’ve started to find I may have to step outside my comfort zone to make that happen. I have to be willing to say yes to opportunities I may want to say no to at first. I have to be willing to reach out to others and not always wait for them to take the first step and reach out to me. I have to open my mind, open my heart, and open my home. Sometimes I reach out and I’m rejected but that’s okay. Part of the struggle I’ve had in building a sense of community in my life is due to the fact that for several years I pushed away old friends, potential new friends, and even family due to depression and anxiety and just a plain old sinful selfish nature. When you’ve made people feel unwelcome they don’t understand the change in you when you start to open yourself and your home up to them again. Thankfully I’ve been blessed with attending a new church in the past year and slowly making some new, wonderful, friends there. I’m happy to say I’ve gone from loathing the idea of hosting others in my home and getting super stressed when I have to, to praying for opportunities to be able to and enjoying it. I’ve gone from making excuses to not attend things to praying for invitatation so I can fellowship with others. I hope the people I pushed away will give me a second change to welcome them into my life again, especially my in-laws. I have to trust it will happen all in God’s perfect time.

    • Yes! Exactly how I have felt. This year my OneWord2013 is BOLD. And I’ve taken a few steps. But I’m so ready for some bigger ones! No replies to my FB post yet :/ But You’re also right about the praying and trusting in His timing. Thanks so much for your response!

  14. Love this book! I struggle with having people into our home because I want everything to be perfect for guests, and it never works out that way. I enjoy working in the kitchen, but my skills are very limited. 🙂 I’m one of those people addicted to the Food Network, yet never gets around to trying the recipes. So, Shauna’s book is extremely encouraging to me! And the gluten-free info was a totally unexpected blessing as I’ve recently started that diet due to some health issues. Looking forward to the next video and setting some goals for myself! Thanks! What a blessing this book has been already! 🙂

  15. My family’s most special food memories would be my Mamaw’s famous tea cakes (with or without fudge icing) and my Momma’s chicken and dressing.
    Unfortunately, Mamaw never had a recipe for her tea cakes because she would just make them and know if they were right. We don’t have it written down anywhere and my sister and I have been trying to replicate them for a while. It’s pretty much our top bucket list item – to recapture the taste of those tea cakes. So many people have an emotional attachment to them. One of my childhood best friends even requested them for her 5th birthday party instead of a cake.
    As far as my Momma’s dressing – she just has an amazing knack for the moisture to bread to sage balance. It’s a gift.

    I felt like the Hungry chapter was possibly the best thing I’ve read on women’s relationship with food. I’m 5’11” and “sturdy” and was bigger than most of the guys around me until I graduated high school. I remember being afraid to go first in the youth group food line because I wanted to see how much food the other girls (which were mostly very tiny girls) put on their plates and not more so as to not draw attention to my size and appetite. I was embarassed to want or need more food than the other girls. Thank God I’m not in junior high anymore!!

    • Love your honesty here. I am the mother of three. A son who is 13 and husky (but that’s okay because he’s football player *sigh/eye-roll*) and two girls. My youngest has a different father, thus different genes, and is quite a bit smaller. And I hate how it always seems okay for her to be hungry but not for myself or the older two, because we’re ‘bigger’. I’m desperate to find a balance between our love of food and the taste of it, and being healthy, too. My husband and youngest can eat the most unhealthy food on the planet and stay nice and thin and petite.

  16. One thing I loved about our home growing up was that often the seasons were marked with special meals/foods my parents would make. I could always expect my mom to make her delicious bread in the summers topped with her own bruschetta. As soon as summer rolls around I’m craving it. One taste of Fall would be her split pea soup for the cold dreary days. In the holiday season my dad was always busy with his homemade rolls and baklava and sticky buns and tea ring. So.. those were some sweet family food traditions growing up. 🙂 It grew in me a love and appreciation for cooking and having some food “anchors” in our homes.

    Yes I have found community through common interests.. love of the outdoors/being active outside has often brought some of the sweetest bonds. Certainly it brought my husband and I together. Also bible study, books, food are some other ways I have found community. I’m encouraged to do as Shauna says and to do what I love with others and see what God would do in building community.

    I am loving this book so much. I got it last week and am already almost done with it! As a busy mom of a toddler & an infant, that’s saying something! 🙂 Thank you.. excited to dig deeper.

  17. My husband has started going to school in the afternoon and at night, so our main meal with him is breakfast. Every morning he makes oatmeal with pecans and maple syrup. I bought a little fold-down table at Walmart, and while he’s making the oatmeal, I set up the table outside on the patio and bring our dining room chairs outside to eat around it. The first thing my 2 year old daughter says in the morning is “Are we going to eat oatmeal outside?!”

  18. In June, I was asked to be a part of a “Cooking Club” of sorts. My neighbor was given Bread and Wine by one of her friends. They decided they wanted to start a group that looked like Shauna’s. So, they each asked a friend who they thought would be interested in this sort of thing (and gave that friend a copy of Bread and Wine) and also told their friends they could invite someone. We ended up with six women. Everyone knew at least one person in the group, but no one knew everyone. We were all on an even playing field. We range in age from about mid 20s up to early 40s. We are all young Christian mothers, most of whom stay at home with their children. Some of us home school and some of us public school, some of us natural birth and some of us take all the birthing assistance we are offered, some of us have struggled with infertility and some of us blink and get pregnant, some of us are from the North and some of us are from the South…but we all come together at the table. We’ve met twice now, making food from the book and discussing the first two sections, and it has been WONDERFUL! We already feel like we are becoming family. I can’t recommend this book or this concept of “life together” enough. Thank you, Shauna, and thank you (in)courage for this book club! I know it will touch many women!

  19. This book is completely “me.” I think I’ve always built community and relationships around food. It’s how I was raised–very Minnesotan. It helps me get outside of myself–to have the table to “busy” myself with while visiting/sharing. I was blessed to find a husband with a very similar wiring. We love to have people over to fill their mouths with delicious foods we’ve created while sharing meaningful conversation. One of our most “famous” traditions is homemade pizza every Friday. We both grew up with mom’s who made homemade pizzas. We’ve tinkered with things over the years and have come up with “our” recipes, not the same as either of our mom’s, but we love the roots of our tradition. I’m big on traditional holiday foods in the sense that I have created a menu for each holiday that we get excited about having each year. Those foods speak holiday to us when we have them.

    I used to come up with elaborate menus and themes including decorations but now we have 3 girls ages 4, 3, and 1. Simple is the name of the game these days. That is a challenge to me at times but this is a precious season that requires flexibility.

    When we moved here 3 years ago, we were very intentional about getting outside ourselves and having people over on a regular basis. As we’ve gotten comfortable here, we’ve gotten busy and moved away from that a bit. Now we’re feeling a sense of disconnect and I think it needs to become more of a focus again. It grounds us. Connects us to others. This book and Cold Tangerines was so helpful for me to find a way to overcome these feelings of disconnection.

    • Stacie – I can ditto much of what you’ve said! My husband & I have been making pizza every Friday for years…make that 33! We used to have elaborate gourmet dinner parties, using sterling silverware & china such as I’d grown up with. I’d read cookbook after cookbook to plan the next party, but also just for pleasure. It turns out that having people over for pizza on Fridays is our favorite way to entertain now. Using the pizza crust recipe from the Betty Crocker cookbook I’d gotten as a wedding gift, ingrained in my being. Now I make the dough before work Friday morning and I don’t need to have much anything else done before people start to walk in the door for dinner. I set them down with a cutting board & knife, or put a pizza roller in there hand and we get to it. We regularly end up dancing in the kitchen Friday nights too.

  20. After years of doing this, hosting dinner parties that close friends still bring up in conversations almost ten years later, I’m in a long season of lack in this part of my life after two major moves. I love cooking and entertaining and blessing people with all the details that make an evening fun and full of laughter but community isn’t happening for me right now. But reading the book is fanning my faith and I’m asking God what my part is in this, how I can begin to cultivate what seems like a death. Food is a big part of our family life with travel and cross cultural ministry, so I love this book. It’s comfort food for the soul.

  21. I also felt something like envy when I read the chapter about community. It actually had me close to tears. I became a stay-at-home mom when my son was born in September and, while I wouldn’t change a thing about that decision, I am missing that connection to others that I had while working outside of the home.
    I’ve become more of a foodie since meeting my husband and I’m so glad. I have great memories of what we ate growing up, but none of it was particularly healthy. So I’ve been glad to expand and change my palate and cooking styles and skills to focus on more fresh, flavorful ingredients. But I need to get brave enough to host. I think my son’s first birthday party will be that test, within the safety of family.

  22. I absolutely love this book! It hits me right in the heart. My hubby and I love having people over to our home. As Shauna states “that’s our thing”. We love to cook. It’s been difficult the past couple of months though. We are moving about every 6-8 months due to my hubby’s job. The first few years were good because we were either close to his home town or my home town, and there is something comforting about living closer to the town you grew up in. But now we are 10 and 18 hours from either home towns. At first I felt slightly embarrassed about inviting new people over to our “tiny home”. (Let me just say it is not a tiny home. We moved to a boom city so there is no where to live that isn’t outrageously priced. So, half the town lives in campers. Yep, we live in camper.) coming from where either of us lived, it’s just unheard of to live in one. But, I’m finding out it is completely normal here. Completely normal. The embarrassment is fading, as I am realizing most of the people I meet are not from here and are desiring friendships as much as I am, no matter where it takes place or what we are doing.

    Our eating traditions were a weekly thing, and when I go back to visit my folks I can always count on eating the same thing every week. Most people (my husband) would get sick of it, but I kinda love it. Every Sunday morning my dad would wake up and make a big breakfast of eggs, toast, hash brows and bacon. Every Sunday night he would grill up steak and potatoes. Every Saturday morning my dad would get McDonalds or Spangles breakfast when my mom would come home for lunch on Sat. She would make nachos and a turkey sandwich with toasted bread melted cheese and ranch dressing for all of us. Every Friday we had pizza. During the week for dinners we would have cheese enchiladas, pulled pork, tacos, Mac and cheese or go to a sit down restaurant. Sometimes my mom would try a new recipe. Every week that’s what we did, every week that is still what my parents do and I love it. But, I must say I do cook for them when I go and visit a couple of times while there.

  23. Growing up, whenever we went on vacation, my dad would make sausage and peppers, and we would have it as a sandwich with French bread. This is a big memory for me from childhood. My dad is a great cook, so we eat well… 🙂

    I taught high school language arts at the same Christian school for 17 years, so the women I worked with became family to me. I moved on from that job about 7 years ago and now realize how spoiled I was for all those years…. Since then, I would say that I connect most in community through small group Bible study (Beth Moore fans unite!). I have learned that in order to forge community I need to extend myself and be vulnerable. (Not always easy!)

    I love what Shauna said on page 36: “Being a Christian means practicing grace in all sorts of big and small and daily ways, and my body gives me the opportunity to demonstrate grace, to make peace with every imperfection every time I see myself in the mirror.” I often think about grace as something that I should extend to others, but this idea of “giving myself a little grace” is a new one to me. I think I tend to focus on the flaws and imperfections… I need to see life through the lens of gratitude.

  24. I was blessed to receive a sponsored book and absolutely love it so far. So many words and statements have just made me stop and hold my breath to keep the tears from hitting the pages. My life right now is completely inside out and upside down … I no longer have a table to eat on since I’ve had to sell all my furniture to just survive and am facing homelessness if I can’t find a full-time job soon and a way to move. BUT this book speaks to my heart and soul … about the love and life that once was around my table, and the love and life I know that God will bless me with again in the future. There are so many things I’ve read in this book that I have marked with a post-it that says “MUST PRINT AND FRAME THIS!” And recipes to try!!!! There are times when my tears compete with the temptation to drool!

    Several years ago when my father died, and soon after an Aunt and other family members, I pulled together favorite family recipes from all of the cousins and combined them into a book with old family pictures. Everyone one got one! This book, Bread & Wine, is like that for me. A book I wish I could send to everyone, but one I know I will also treasure in my kitchen forever.

  25. I just read those first three chapters. I can relate so much to Shauna already! From the introduction, I was hooked. Sounds so much like me, my life, my family, friends, faith, food, and pleasures!

  26. I have always loved connecting around the table … we spend a lot of time there when the family gets together. At Christmas time, there are a plethora of sweet treats that my mom has made every year (specifically sugar cookies, buckeyes and gingerbread). Growing up, to celebrate our birthdays, the birthday person got to pick out dinner (mine was often London Broil, rice pilaf and some sort of veggie) for the night.

    I am really enjoying the book and community is something that has really been on my heart. We love to entertain. We have moved twice in the last year and are still in the process of settling back in (actually we moved back to the area that we had moved from, slightly unexpectedly … military family). We are settling into community again, finding new friends since many have moved to other areas as well. We are back in the church we attended for 5 years, which is one of the many blessings of coming back to the area. I love stories of these types of communities and am trying to find some of these groups. Looking forward to reading more and hearing more 🙂

  27. I so love this… I love to gather… to host… to create an atmosphere – around our living room with mugs in hand, or at the table for a meal. It’s funny – I think growing up we so rarely had ANYONE over, that I must have decided to live on purpose and change that without really thinking it through! We are not overbooked – we love our family time and down time – but I know very well how Holy it is to make room for stories to unfold and lives to be shared right out in the open. The Lord has already been talking to me about this for several months – in fact, after reading a guest post on Donald Miller’s blog about a woman who had a table made for her backyard and set a goal to invite 500 strangers and neighbors and friends and family over for meals in the course of a year – I had to do more! (Yeah – whatever… I just Googled that to find the link… it was written by Shauna… go figure? http://storylineblog.com/2013/01/30/a-community-out-of-a-neighborhood/) Anyway – I had fallen into a lazy routine… I gathered a lot during the week – but it was usually in the daytime and my hubby was missing out on the magic that happens when the house is full… I decided this year – I would make a guest book (as we just bought a new table – and as much as I LOVED the idea of people signing it… well… I made a Guest Book instead!) and we have hosted gatherings… weeknights… game nights… themed parties… coffee… weekend BBQs… I have purposed to say yes to more impromptu dinners, and this summer – this book – Just. In. Time.

    Oh – and my Mom’s Potato Salad… no one makes it like her… and my MIL’s pies… Once in awhile I ask my family what they like most that I make… I’m not sure that I am quite yet ‘known’ for any one dish – but I have time, and now I have Shauna’s recipe for Blueberry Crisp sooo….

  28. I was blessed with a sponsor copy, and I truly feel blessed by it. I’m a major introvert, community is not something I’ve had much of. During the past year my husband has had major medical issues, and I’ve been amazed at how many people have recently reached out to us. And food has been part of the connection as others have helped us along the way. As things begin to settle down and as this great book is showing me I’m learning the importance of community and I’m opening up to having people gather at my table and to start truly connecting.. I’m looking forward to trying several of the recipes and inviting others into my home to enjoy food and fellowship together.

  29. I love this book as I am longing for community. I am not a cook but this book makes me want to try and open my home and heart. Community is soo important and I find this book a beautiful reminder of that!!

  30. I am loving the book…thank you so much for my free ebook.
    Loved the chapter on Hungry…I am always hungry and have lately felt less embarrassed when I say to friends…I enjoy food and I have a big appetite.

    I long for a sense of community and realize I may have to pursue it and Shauna has kindled some lovely ideas about that quest.

    As for having friends round for a meal….eeeeek it fills me with dread. I am lactose free and my meals are so bland and am I allowed to say it…I really don’t like cooking……..hope I am not sent to sit in the corner!!!

    However I have a funny feeling Father is letting me catch a glimpse of the enjoyment of gathering around a meal table…and you never know I might just explore it with Him and friends…

  31. I love this book! It totally speaks to my soul. Shauna digs deep in creating community {something I’ve lacked since moving to the town we’re in now}, traditions and the warm feelings of family around the table {one of my favorite memories + what I try to create for my own kids}, and she hits on the issues women have with weight + what condemnation we feel. All of this spoke to my heart. None of these things are from God! He wants us to live in fellowship + community freely, letting go of insecurities to just be vulnerable. That’s easier said then done, but I’m definitely praying over how what God wants me to do this fall to step out into deep community again.

  32. I am loving this book so far!! I love food and used to love planning meals, and creating the experience of time together at the table… It kinda got buried and forgotten in the time of babies and toddlers one right after another… Now that my youngest is 5, I’m ready to fall in love with my kitchen again. I think this book is going to help immensely, although I am pretty sure I will never buy dates! 🙂

  33. I’m not sure if this study is going to work for me or not. I read all of the playful banter, and all the optimistic comments, and I think, yup, that’s how it is for other people, but not me. I often feel as though there are two me’s. The one the world sees, and the one I feel I am inside. I’m not sure how to reconcile them but the advice in the book to just start where I am and to just do something I love sounds easy enough. I’m an almost 50 year old stay at home mom, I rarely engage in truly real conversation with anyone, I can’t think of anyone on Earth who knows how I feel deep inside. But, I’m here, and I love to garden. Maybe that’s enough to start with?

  34. Oh my gosh, it’s homemade flour tortillas, red chili con carne (with meat), Mexican rice, tacos, homemade beans with a side of fresh salsa! That’s Mom’s old-school way. Me and my older sister’s have not only adopted her old-school Mexican-style of cooking, but of course, mixing our own personalities in with that. My oldest sister is more traditional than us and has picked up the talent for making tamales and posole. My second oldest sister is more exquisite, sophisticated and has an expensive palate, where she dons on the three-cheese manicoti and Parmesan garlic bread. Where I’m a mix of everyone. I do the Mexican rice, home-made beans and crispy tacos, the pasta salad’s and cheesy garlic breads. What makes me different is that although I’ve learned Mom’s cooking, I’m also creative enough to make my own variations of my family’s talents and abilities in what they’re great at cooking.

    And yes, it seems with my own group of girls I have been gathering in my little dining area, that its where our lives are opened up. For instance, recently I had some friends over for a health presentation that my cousin was doing. In that, I found one of my friends didn’t like the way she looked. I never knew that about her. I always thought that SHE knew how gorgeous she was! And my mother wanting to lose weight and how discouraged and off-track she can get. It’s like a ready made support group in my house! It was incredible.

    What cemented us is that we’ve known each other quite a while, gone through stuff together, attend church together and shared prayer requests when it was hard to speak. That right there grafted us into each others’ lives. Its not necessarily a “passion” or “interest” that really cements us together, so I guess I never really thought of that as being even the focal point. But that sounds like something I can totally do! I’m all about getting people together no matter the reason. But I’m Mexican so I don’t need a reason. We just get together because we KNOW there’s going to be food! Lol 🙂

  35. The “Hungry” chapter resonated with me a bit on the level that I too seemed I was always hungry. Me and my other sister are pretty plump and have always been. We almost look identical. But it wasn’t until I had my gall-bladder removed that I started to appreciate my food. I had to be extra, extra careful about what I ate or I would get horrid tummy pains that would cost me hours in my restroom because I didn’t know what was going on from all the sweating, excruciating tummy pains, weakness and sometimes even vomiting that went on. I eventually had to take pills just so I can eat a meal, but I wouldn’t eat because of what certain foods would do to me It was awful.

    Thank God I don’t take those pills anymore but every now and then something will not agree with my tummy, and there I go again. It was a scary, not-this-again pain. Then being diagnosed with an underactive thyroid disorder that has practically forced me to drastically change how I eat.

    Before I would literally live to eat because I LOVED to eat Mom’s home-made, bacon grease-laden foods. And now, I eat to live because I not only appreciate my foods, but also how it affects me, make me feel, alter my moods and ultimately my life.

  36. Hi!

    I am so enjoying Shauna’s book. I LOVE food memoirs! I’m a home ec major (I’ve just dated myself because it’s now called Family and Consumer Sciences I believe) with a minor in journalism. My dream in college was to work for Southern Living. Instead, I taught school briefly, thank you Jesus, before our babies entered our nest.

    I”m currently spending some time alone in the mountains of North Carolina before my sister joins me for our annual sister retreat. She doesn’t know this, but I’m giving her a copy of the book. I will be preparing the goat cheese biscuits and adding a few fresh herbs to them for one of our treats together. I love preparing food for her because she’s not a huge fan of cooking and finds my feats (rather simple, I say) in the kitchen spectacular! Since God has brought a man into her life, though, she has branched out and we text often as I give her cooking tips and menu suggestions. I’m her kitchen Cyrano de Bergerac, her recipe whisperer. LOL!

    In my alone repast for dinner last evening, I reheated leftover spaghetti (not glamorous, but oh so divine a comfort food for me) and ate it on the deck as the sun set. I dined with God and talked out loud to Him as I ate. I reflected in the quiet moments. It was a special evening and although He wasn’t eating with me, recognizing His presence there as I ate and seeing His glorious phases of the sun set was so precious to me.

    So, whether I am preparing dinner for one, or two, or my huge extended family, I find great pleasure in the time to just sit and be still listening or sharing, engaging in relationship with others over food. After the bustle of a busy day, it’s as if dinner together gives us permission to be still and truly engage with others. Am I right?

    Here’s the rub. Because of that love of reading cookbooks and trying new recipes (I have a sense for knowing if a recipe is going to be good just by reading it), it is rather difficult for me to accept my mid-life plumpness that is a result of having a hard time cutting myself off from the remaining bites on a plate or testing that recipe that read really well. Eeeek! Anybody else?

    Therefore, I am relearning how to appreciate the food and all the aspects in selecting it, preparing it, and enjoying it in more appropriate portions. Shauna’s chapter that you mentioned and quoted from regarding her own love of food and her body image really struck a chord with me and I had to keep the tissues close by.

    I’m heading to the local produce stand! Have a great weekend everyone!

  37. Just finished the book last night and really enjoyed it. Now just to get this straight, Shauna’s mom who makes the blueberry crisp is Lynne, as in Lynne Hybels, as in wife of Bill Hybels, the founder of Willow Creek Church? Wow. That’s some serious parentage! My family just moved to a new city not even six weeks ago, and we’re trying to find our own version of “community”. This book reminded me to practice hospitality more often and see where it leads us.