About six months ago, I heard Shauna Niequist share her three essential items for getting your home company-ready in 15 minutes or less.
Her tips were too good not to share, so I promptly drafted up a post … and have been sitting on it ever since, waiting for the right time. (I’m sorry, and you’re right—I shouldn’t have waited so long!)
This is it: Shauna has a new book coming out tomorrow, March 10: Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are. It’s a Christian devotional: aside from a two-page intro and 21 recipes, the book consists entirely of 365 one-page devotions.
I’ve gotta admit: I wasn’t so excited about the “devotional” part: I’ve enjoyed her essays—Bread and Wine was one of my very favorites in 2013—and I was ready for another full-length collection. (I’ll get my wish with her next release, Present Over Perfect, but not till Spring 2016.) But I was pleasantly surprised by Savor.
First of all, the book itself is gorgeous: it’s a thick hardback, covered in linen, with navy-tipped pages. It looks way more expensive than it’s $17 list price (or $13-ish on Amazon right now).
Shauna calls this collection her “attempt at paying attention to this life,” in moments big and small. Especially small. It’s about, to use a phrase that’s tipping into overdone, living in the present, about really being here for the here and now.
I didn’t read Savor cover-to-cover; it’s not meant for that kind of reading. But I did sit down and flip to the important dates in my life: my birthday, my husband’s birthday, my kids’ birthdays. My anniversary, my parents’ anniversary, my dear friends’ anniversaries. At the risk of sounding cheesy, when I flipped to all these pages, I thought yes. This theme is perfect for that day, for me.
If you’ve read her previous works, many of the stories will seem familiar. I’m okay with that, especially since there’s lots of new content mixed in, too. And I actually appreciate the short format, which gives me the opportunity to focus on one theme for a few minutes of every day. I’m not terribly consistent about daily readings, but I’ll put this book on my nightstand (or better yet, by the coffee maker) and see what happens.
A recurring theme running through Shauna’s work is hospitality, which she believes is fundamentally about making space in our lives and our homes for true presence and connection.
She insists it’s not that complicated. Here’s your cheat sheet for hospitality prep in 15 minutes or less:
1. Pop some bacon in the oven or soften an onion on the stove so your house smells good and homey.
2. Grab an empty laundry basket to pick up all the stuff lying around. (At minimum, this means anything your guest could trip on and break a leg.)
3. Use a baby wipe to clean off anything icky or sticky.
If your house isn’t perfect, don’t sweat it: the point is for people to leave your home feeling better about themselves, not better about you. (Which is a good thing, because my house is never, ever perfect. Or remotely close.)
I’d love to hear your thoughts on last-minute hospitality, Shauna Niequist’s work, and everything in between in comments.
Books mentioned in this post: