Cold Tangerines

I feel like I could write a book about why I love this book so much and how it changed my life. I will try not to, but I might……so I thought I had better tell you up front that I am GIVING away 2 copies of the extraordinary book Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist. Oh, yeh and they are signed by her too!
Leave me a comment and let me know what makes you laugh out loud. I will pick two winners Friday June 11. It’s a great summer read!
OK now that I have that business taken care of I will fill you in on why I love this book so much. Oh, before I forget Shauna has her next book coming out in August….”Bittersweet”, it has chocolate on the cover. OK, sold. I can’t wait to get my paws on her new book and hopefully get one or two in your hands too!
March of 2009, I had the opportunity to go to the Breathe Retreat at Portage Lake Bible Camp, a short two hour drive north of my home. This retreat is specifically geared to moms that just need to get away and regroup. I knew I needed a weekend away to have some girl time. No laundry, afternoon naps, and coffee…lots of coffee. Yes naps and coffee do go hand in hand for me.
I should back up a bit and say that three months prior to this retreat I had turned 40 and was in a funk. And not a good funk. I was in a bad place. Not that anything about my life was really bad at all.
My husband is super fantastic
I have four awesome healthy kids
My husband has a job
We have all our needs met….
So what was my problem? Big deal I turned 40….. The “bad” place that I was in was partially because I was feeling ALOT of guilt over not being all super duper happy about my life, with really no reason not to be. I wasn’t depressed. Not by the definition of the word anyway. In fact many of you reading my be very surprised to be reading how crappy I was feeling. Useless. Unappreciated. Grouchy. Like there was something I should be doing but didn’t know what. I felt my life was pointless….not that being a mom is pointless. “My” life outside of being a mom, MY life was BLAH!
And it wasn’t that I wasn’t doing anything….in fact thinking back I think I was doing way too many things just trying to make myself feel USEFUL.
So back to the retreat. I went with all the intentions of getting a breather……but with no intentions of my life being changed, completely.
What I did not realize until later is that I was not expecting anything from the life I had been given. I was simply living it and trying to be happy with it not expecting it to be anything more than what it was.
Our speaker for the weekend Shauna Niequist, who I NEED to add is beautiful inside and out, and is funny, crazy smart….and one of the easiest people ever to listen to. She has a God given gift of speaking and inspiring/encouraging others. (Did I say she is a enjoyer of good food too?)

The first thing that she said that was a real ZINGER for me was this…..well truth be told Shauna had alot of zingers for me that week end, but this was the first, “If I act on my dreams what sort of chaos will ensue?” The emotion that hit me with this one sentence was overwhelming. In fact I could not breath…tears filled my eyes and I choked back the tears of realization. Realization that I was afraid to be who God created me to be. Afraid that I might ruffle some feathers if I actually acted on dreams that I had. Or even dared to dream.
My husband is the best…so I will try my darnedest to not throw him under the bus in this paragraph….but if you are married to a physician or any extremely driven human being you may get what I am about to say. I forgot that I could dream…that I too could, maybe, do what I wanted to do. That just because I didn’t have a “career”, I wasn’t allowed to do somethings that I really enjoyed. I had not even dared think about it. We were too busy with Ken’s finishing residency, and his establishing his career and then babies one right after the next. I did not dare to think that maybe I could be more than someones wife, or mother. For me to do something that I truly desired….. I would have to get baby sitters(more often than when we “really” needed them) and have my house be even more unorganized and messy than it already seemed.
And until Shauna said it, I didn’t realize that it was because deep down I was afraid, I knew it would be hard, and it would cause chaos, I may disappoint my husband and family at times, so I shoved it all aside. I realize that sacrifices have to be made in a marriage. That for our family to work, with my husbands unpredictable schedule I needed to be the one that was predictable, dependable, regular. UGH! sounds like a Metamucil commercial.
The next thing that Shauna said that I scribbled down was ” What are you willing to give up in order to do what you really want?”. WHAT do I really want….that was my question. Not a good question for someone that changed majors three times and switched colleges twice….and then never did finish. I could not decide…..what do I want to do. I did know that I wanted to get married and have kiddos. Did that. Now what….
Over the next weeks, post retreat, I decided to let myself just write down things that I really wanted out of life. It was a step….toward erasing the fears of failure. The fears that someone would think I am a ditz or foolish, because some of my dreams are quite random and out of the box. Maybe the things I wrote down will never happen….but if nothing else I dared to dream them…to admit them to myself. I guess it was a bucket list of sorts, but not really.
The next thought provoking question that Shauna asked that got my stomach in knots was, “What gives me energy and spark?”. Lord help me I prayed, immediately following this questions, because I had not felt energetic or sparky in as long as I could remember. I had helped my kiddos twirl a sparkler or two but that was as close as it was gonna get to any spark for me. (and if your mind is in the gutter, get it out we are not talking bedroom spark PEOPLE! We are doin just fine and dandy…..)
I found a verse in Psalms that was(and is) very exciting for me. “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 WOW! Yes, of course! He does….God wants to give me the desires of my heart….He knows what they are….I just needed to know what they are. AND then dare to pray for them. Dare to let myself want them.
I had heard so many people talk about life changing moments in their lives, mountain top experiences…..but this was my first. Pivotal. Needless to say I bought at least ten of Shauna’s books and had her sign them all….I just had to give one to all my girlfriends. My book is under lined, highlighted, and starred….. well loved. I came home from that weekend and devoured it. I could not read it fast enough. It spoke to me on so many levels. I know that not everyone may have the experience I did from this book….but I am positive everyone who reads it will love it. I promise….cross my heart and well I don’t hope to die…but I might stick a needle in my eye. If you want to read an excerpt from Cold Tangerines you can click here and get a preview if you go to “read a chapter” above the picture on the right hand side.
What it really came down to in the end for me after all was said and done and my dream list was written…it all came down to my attitude…my choice to be more than I thought I could be…to dream. And to act on that dream…if even in the tiniest ways.
The ripple effect of a pebble being dropped in a pond…is not a new analogy but a truthful one…it’s really not about me it’s about how what I do in this life effects the lives around me, and on and on and on.
I see the ripples of change in my life. They are smooth and clean and refreshing.
What was my list? Most of the things are things I love to do, but forgot that I loved to do them.
And amazing enough some of the craziest ones are coming to fruition……are really happening.
Most of the things I wrote down were things I needed to make a conscious choice to do. And maybe by doing them I would have to give up other things, like my house always being clean and my laundry being done. I am a bit of a neat freak….but I realized that it wasn’t really making me happy, that my house was always so tidy….so I let it go and do things that really make my boat float.
This has caused some aggitation from my family….because sometimes they don’t have clean cloths (or the clean cloths they want), sometimes we eat cereal for dinner, sometimes I almost forget to pick them up at school because I am floating in my girlfriends pool. OOPs! But it’s all good…..I believe that they will learn to live out their dreams by my example, of being a bit quirky and having fun. They now have a happy wife and mom, and I feel happier about doing more for them because I have done somethings for myself too.
The back cover of Shauna’s book almost says it all:
“I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.”
I say AMEN SISTER!
Leave a comment and let me know what makes you laugh out loud. I would love for you to have this spectacular book in our paws.
I will pick TWO winners on June 11.
Thanks for listening.
LUVya,

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** In case you wondered about how and why I do giveaways you can click here and get the scoop.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Anonymous :

    anything the grandkids say! 🙂
    Kathy J.

  2. 2
    Janet :

    I'd love to be the lucky winner–it seems like an interesting book.

  3. 3
    Kristen :

    O.K., this sounds like an awesome book! I need to read it. =)

    What makes me laugh really hard is almost anything my husband says. I think he's stinkin' hilarious!

  4. 4
    Loretta :

    This was a wonderful post, Sheila. I have been married for going on 37 years and have a 20-year-old daughter. I'm battling stage IV metastatic breast cancer in my spine, sternum and liver. There haven't been as many belly laughs lately as there used to be, but I have come to the conclusion that I'd better start LIVING instead of preparing to die, because I don't know how much time I have left. And the truth is, NONE of us knows how much time we have left! So I am determined to live my life fully, within the limitations that I'm under due to chemo, etc., and enjoy the gifts that the Lord has given me in that life. I have so much that can make me belly laugh…I just sometimes forget that it's okay to do so, despite the situation we find ourselves in right now. Thanks so much for posting this…it was really what I needed. 🙂

  5. 5
    Heather Nesbit :

    Hmmm…what makes me laugh so hard that I have had pop come out my nose…The Nesbits…all of them…my husband…his parents….my kids…they are a funny bunch and I am soooooooo blessed to be a part of their lives..( I am a Nesbit too, only by marriage and since I gained the name I think I may have become a little bit funnier too).

    Great post Shelia;)

  6. 6
    shauna :

    Oh, what a lovely post, Sheila! Many, many thanks. 🙂

  7. 7
    I'm Jen. :

    My son. He can drive me to the very edge and then pull me back with one of his silly comments.

    Also, when British people say chassis.

  8. 8
    Anonymous :

    I always laugh out loud when I am with a group we call the Z buds….we are scrapbookers and always have a good laugh on the day we are together. Marilyn

  9. 9
    Anonymous :

    What makes me laugh out loud is the B-day card I picked out for my father-n-law. When you open it says "get'r done"! I am laughing out loud now just typing it.

    Judy R.

  10. 10
    Dee :

    Sheila – you are the bestest!! You already gave me this book so I feel like I am cheating to post anything:)
    but what makes me laugh out loud is your blog (anything about the guinea pigs – especially their latest situation) and when my kids start to speak in british accents at the dinner table. They have the sentence "will you please pass the butt ah" down.
    Oh and I love Psalm 37:4 too!!!

  11. 11
    Kaloula :

    Oh gosh I need to take a look at this book, I've been in quite the funk lately myself. What makes me laugh out loud: my sister, friends, Cake Wrecks, Modern Family and Wipeout. 🙂

  12. 12
    The Park Wife :

    Oh Sheila- I am right in that place where you were. Another farmer at our farmers market told me yesterday that she was amazed at how together I had it, that caused a huge belly laugh. My husband is extraordinary too and I have wonderful kids, but my attitude most of the time stinks! I want to be joyful, laugh out loud, sing at the top of my lungs. I NEED the book or to tag along to Ree's with you. Either one would give me some perspective I think. Thanks for the post, it is nice to know that I am not alone in this funk I am in and that I need to trust God to pull me out of it. The Park Wife

  13. 13
    Krista F. :

    5 year olds. The hardest I have laughed in a while occured at t-ball practice with a little boy came running up to his mom crying because he just got in trouble with daddy. We his mom is consoling/scolding him, we hear mom say "Honey, it is not nice to give Daddy a wedgie while he's coaching t-ball" We all lost it, so much for being serious!! :o)

  14. 14
    Robin S. :

    Sheila, I just love this post! Your best one yet! I almost went and bought this book already. But I will wait. As I wrote in your other post, you do make me laugh. But my husband can really make me laugh every day and has for the past 22 years (married for almost 13). Can't wait to read this book! Thanks for sharing yourself with us.

  15. 15
    Cindy :

    What makes me belly laugh? Your "5K" story – remembering growing up in the holler: i.e., family, critters, bikes and fly paper! Seeing Emma chasing her horse across the field in my rear view mirror as I am leaving to meet a friend for dinner!!! Discussing butt boils over a burger!

    Realizing your the "invisible woman" and doing something about it is inspiring. We hold the power to our happiness in our own hands – it's the choices we make every day and the priorities we set. It's our desire to be in God's will – and recognizing that His will for us is to be JOYFUL. Thanks for the words of wisdom! =)

  16. 16
    mgermany :

    My family always makes me laugh out loud. mom, sisters, and husband – even memories of funny stuff they say and do still has the power to bring out the laughter.

  17. 17
    the ruffhouse :

    I love this book too! And I'd love to see what ended up making your list!

  18. 18
    DeeDee Bright :

    My kids. But mostly my husband and his horrible singing to annoy the kids. It's hilarious

  19. 19
    Allison :

    Making my 3 year old repeat long, complicated words make me laugh! I'm laughing just thinking of him saying "fire extinguisher". heehee

  20. 20
    Dawn :

    Love this post. Definitely want to read this book. I love to laugh. In fact, if I'm not laughing, something is seriously wrong. I think I laugh the most when I am just hanging out with family and friends. They are so weird! 😉 Actually, I crack myself up most of the time. Gotta love me, that's what I tell them.

  21. 21
    Shannon :

    Oops. True to form, I'm late. But I'll tell you what makes me laugh anyway. 🙂 (It just happened yesterday.)

    It's when I'm trying to discipline my son and we are looking deeply into each others' eyes and I'm using all the voice inflection I can muster to communicate something very weighty and serious, but my son finds a bit of humor in my message. (Such as, "Did you really think saying 'fart' in front of Grandma's friends would make her glow with pride and high five everybody?") Since I know him so well,I can see a little smirk begin to emerge… and I know he's trying so sequester it because he doesn't want to be grounded till he graduates, but then a little bubble escapes in the form of a giggle… How can you NOT laugh at a moment like that?

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