Cold Tangerines

So Ellie let me borrow her copy of Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life, by Shauna Niequist (yeah Ellie, I know, it’s ridiculous that I already finished it – I kept thinking, one more short story, just one more, and then I was done). Back in February we went to a Christians young woman’s conference called After Eve. It took me a lot of struggling to finally decide to go because of the nature of churchy woman’s events. They tend to be a bit, well . . . fluffy and fake for my taste. It may just be my perception, but if I need girl time, I call up my best girl friends and we go to happy hour. Anyways, I went to the conference and it was much better than I had imagined it would be. All that to say, Shauna Niequist was one of the speakers there. She read one of the short stories out of her book and I enjoyed what she had to say and her writing style. The book was very real and honest. She was up front with her struggles in life and her struggles with faith. I related to many of her stories. Several of her quotes resonated with me deeply and I thought I would share them.

“True friendship is a sacred, important thing, and it happens when we drop down into that deeper level of who we are, when we cross over into the broken, fragile parts of ourselves. We have to give something up in order to get friendship like that. We have to give up our need to be perceived as perfect. We have to give up our ability to control what people think of us. We have to overcome the fear that when they see the depth of who we are, they’ll leave. But what we give up is nothing in comparison to what this kind of friendship gives to us. Friendship is about risk. Love is about risk. If we can control it and manage it and manufacture it, then it’s something else, but if it’s really love, really friendship, it’s a little scary around the edges.” [My friends mean the world to me. We have struggled together, gone through heartbreak together, faith struggles and many other of life’s pains. In the midst of these pains, we have had tremendous celebrations. I don’t know where I would be without the ladies that have loved me no matter what I have done or struggled with, choosing to love me in my most unloveable moments.]

” . . . Because feeding the people I love is a hands-on way of loving them. When you nourish and sustain someone, essentially, you’re saying that you want them to thrive, to be happy and healthy and able to live well.” [This may be the quote to define my life.]

“So when I’m on the edge, peering over into the unknown, trembling and terrified to move forward, devastatingly afraid to take that next step, I practice believing that full life is beyond the fear. . . God is God, he is leading my life, and that he is saying to me, as he has been saying to his people throughout history, I will never leave you, and I’ve left reminders all around, if you have the eyes to see them.” [In all honesty I am being faced with several life changing decisions at the moment and I am paralyzed with the fear of the future and the unknown. This quote was reassuring to me and kinda scary, but it resonated with me just the same.]

By far, the last two stories were my all time favorites. ‘Needle and Thread’ (which you can read on her website, here) was one story she read at the conference and I cried then, and I cried when I read it last night and when I read it out loud to Jason. Please read it. And the very last story ‘Cold Tangerines’, which I wish I could quote the whole thing on my blog so everyone could read it. It resonated so deeply with my heart that I just want to read it over and over again.

I would encourage everyone to go out and buy this book. It was honest, raw and moving.


  1. elliek
    Posted August 18, 2008 at 8:40 am | Permalink | Reply

    I think this is my favorite book. I think it’s one that I will read over and over again. She is so real and felt like it was so easy to connect with her. I read several chapters to my d-group girls last year and every time I read one to Jeremy I would cry.

    I’m not suprirsed you read it so fast. I think I wanted to, but I also wanted to savor every chapter and only allowed myself one a day.

    Jeremy picked it up off our “bathroom reading shelf” one day and read the whole thing (first book I’ve ever seen him finish!). I read the last chapter to him outloud on our way to the Setters on Saturday.

    Somehow it’s so inspiring and at the same time comforting that I’m not the only one that feels that way or the only one struggling with life…

  2. Elizabeth
    Posted August 18, 2008 at 8:43 am | Permalink | Reply


    Jason wants to read the book too. I read him the last two chapters and we both cried. I’m pretty sure I’m giving this book to everyone for Christmas/upcoming birthday. Not to mention, I need buy myself a copy.

  3. Posted August 18, 2008 at 8:48 am | Permalink | Reply

    I took this on our anniversary trip and finished it so fast because I couldn’t put it down. It quickly became one of the books that I could mark down as having a great impact in my life. She speaks on all the stuff I think, but didn’t quite know how to say it in words. I love the honesty and the depth in what are just short little accounts of her life.

  4. Posted August 18, 2008 at 9:40 am | Permalink | Reply

    Ya, I’m going to go ahead and admit to the crying. Some of the things she wrote, especially in the last two stories, seemed like God’s very words spoken to His creation. His urging us to live as He has designed us to live. To love, to dance, to enjoy Him in the fullest. I was impacted greatly, to be sure.

  5. Posted August 18, 2008 at 5:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    oh my goodness! i just wrote about this book too! jenn told me about it…i have got to get it for sure now!

  6. Posted August 19, 2008 at 7:24 am | Permalink | Reply

    Oh my, Elizabeth – you’ve suggested this book at the best time. There is so much for me to take away, but also so much I’d like to instill in my daughter. On my must read list.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Posted August 20, 2008 at 12:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    What a lovely review, and what lovely comments. You all just made my day. Many thanks. 🙂


  8. Elizabeth
    Posted August 20, 2008 at 3:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wow! Thanks Shauna for commenting on my blog – that made my day!

    We think you’re great – thank you for sharing your book with the world.

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  1. […] Score, music, Music Review, Sleeping at Last |   So I first heard about Sleeping at Last in Cold Tangerines and I recently revisited her short story, Needle and Thread (which you should read if you […]

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