Shauna Niequist writes the way I wish I could. She writes what’s in my head and my heart in words that I’ve never thought of myself. Somehow, she is IN MY HEAD.
Just to be clear, I’ve never met Ms. Niequist. But I swear, she KNOWS ME. Or, perhaps, she knows how to express the excruciating pain and bewildering beauty of some universal experiences that the rest of us (read: me) try to bury and deny and generally hide from.
And she does it with a gentle humor that makes me wish we could be friends.
[Is that weird?]
Bittersweet is about heartbreak, struggle and failure, but it’s also about love, survival and success despite the hard parts of life. It’s beautiful, and though I read it through (So slowly! I didn’t want it to end!) this fall, I can’t wait to read it again. Here’s a snippet for you:
The idea of bittersweet is changing the way I live, unraveling and re-weaving the way I understand life. Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a moment of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness. It’s the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands. Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. Bittersweet is courageous, gutsy, audacious, earthy.
If you’ve ever experienced a life that isn’t quite what you expected – or planned – I highly recommend reading (and savoring) Bittersweet. And, even better, I’m giving away a copy!
How to Enter the Giveaway:
- Leave a comment telling me about a bittersweet (or, if you must, sweet or bitter) moment you experienced this year.
- For additional entries, leave a separate comment for any of the following: Subscribe to this blog, join my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter (@MaryCarver)!
This contest will be closed on Friday at midnight (CST). I’ll announce the winner next week. Good luck!
Well a bittersweet moment from the last year isn’t to hard to find… there are so many. We have had so many changes and it is hard to narrow it down. Probably the hardest one for me recently is being happy for the successes of my brother and his family while being discouraged by my seeming failure in several areas, especially financially and in weightloss.
I subscribe via google reader.
I “like” you on facebook!
I follow you on twitter too. :)
I guess for me a bittersweet moment (more like complete life change), was deciding to put God first in my life and knowing how that made me so different that most people I know and how it changed our relationships.
Leaving my part-time job (which was previously full-time, prior to children) in June was very bittersweet for me. I learned so much from working there, and it was very difficult to leave my friends/co-workers whom I worked with for 7+ years. But the “sweet” part was that it allowed me to spend more time at home with my boys, and start a part-part-time private practice that will hopefully grow as much as I want it to when the boys are in school!
Graduating college was very bittersweet. I was so proud of what I had accomplished. However with the how things are going I did not have a job (along with many other students I graduated with); I felt like I had nothing to show for all the work I put it. It has really given me a chance to figure out what I truly want to do and I have accepted the fact that it may not include my degree.
This year my “sweet” moment was learning to love me as I am. It’s been a struggle and I’m sure I will have many more….but, I’m loving it!!
My oldest daughter turned 13 this year…wasn’t she just 3? She’s growing into a beautiful young woman who is a God-magnet to her unsaved friends. She takes my breath away at her boldness, her no excuse attitude; she inspires me! At the same time, adjusting to mom and not mommy, not needing me, and being in her room more is an adjustment. While I’m thrilled at what she’s becoming, I’m trying to capture the memories before she’s gone!
My bittersweet moment has been a series a moments actually…my transformation into the wife I am meant to be. It has involved our finances completely imploding and our fights to get ugly…thus the bitter…but through it all I’m learning to let go and give control to God and become a better wife to my imperfect husband…thus the sweet.
oh, and I’m already a subscriber!
Bittersweet for me was allowing my 16 year old daughter spend 8 weeks at summer camp. I know it was God’s plan for her–and she has grown so much because of it, but I missed her like crazy. I guess next summer will be bittersweet again because she’s going back. :(
Bittersweet has been watching our daughter flunk out of college. She was on academic probation at the beginning of the semester. She knew what she needed to accomplish in order to “save herself.” But. She flunked the 2 classes that she was re-taking and honestly I don’t know if she took her finals in her other 2 classes.
It’s bittersweet as a parent to see her fail at college at the age of 20, yet I know God has a plan for her and pray she deepens her relationship with Him in order to follow this new path. This doesn’t define her entire future. It’s just a definition of her present. Her decisions had consequences and isn’t that a life lesson that we all learn sooner or later? Bittersweet indeed.
I follow you in my Google Reader too. Thanks for the opportunity to win Shauna’s latest book. I loved her first one!
It has often felt like I have had a black cloud over my head but in reality i would like to look at losing my job and quite nearly my career as “bittersweet”. i am a 26 year veteran of the nursing profession but I slipped & fell on a wet floor and sustained a serious injury to my back & pelvis. My life has changed a lot. From celebrating life and birth daily & supporting women during the hours of labor that precede birth in my job as a labor and delivery nurse to experiencing daily pain myself. i feel as though i am giving birth to a new self as i learn how to use my other creative talents and support my own daughters in their new roles as mothers.
I also lost a dog to cancer. I describe this dog to people as my soulmate in canine form. never have I had a dog that i felt so connected to and in my days of being home on the couch she was there by my side; until she could no longer be and I needed to be by her side as she transitioned off of this earth and toward the new realm of her existence. Birth & death are sacred passages and I consider it an honor anytime I bear witness.
This year has been very bittersweet but I have known through all of it that i am meant to learn something in taking this journey. i would love to read this book to see if it can help enlighten my way.
I am a facebook fan
I am a blog subscriber.
My bittersweet moment of the year would have to been when I sent my youngest child off to kindergarten. It’s such a milestone for him (and for me, I guess) and while I’m excited about it, I’m sad about it too.
I subscribe through Google Reader.
One bittersweet moment would be growing in my faith and putting God first in my life only to find my husband growing more distant and yet knowing in my heart that the Lord has a plan for me and my family.
I subscribe through Google reader
I am a FB fan
I took several pictures Thanksgiving night of my family and then my Grandy had a stroke the day after. I was looking through my camera the other day and ran across the pictures of all of us together and smiling and that was rather bittersweet.
I follow you on twitter.
I subscribe via google reader.
I have discovered that each birthday the Princess has is bittersweet. Sweet because I LOVE who she is becoming. Bitter because I MISS who she was. And, I experience it again each January. She seems to mature a good deal over the Christmas break. The child I celebrate Christmas with is never the same child I celebrate Valentines Day with. Sometimes I wish I could just stop time.
I like you on Facebook
I follow you on Twitter.
Feb 21st our family’s life rolled over with the truck my husband was in. At this time he is still unable to walk without the help of braces. However, we are so blessed to still have him. I believe that God had a reason for him to make it through what should not have been. My heart breaks every time I see him struggle with the pain, self worth, and the uncertainty of a normal life again. So it is very bittersweet to see him struggle, but thank God everyday I still have a husband.