Did you ever play library when you were growing up? Do you remember sitting in the middle of your bedroom floor with your books piled up next to you and carefully stamping the inside cover with your personal name stamp? My stamp was inked in red and had two hearts bordering my first name. After my beloved paperback was stamped I would use a pretend pen type reader (like our hometown library used) to scan the barcode on the back. Some days, when I wasn't playing school, or Agent 99 (from "Get Smart") with childhood friend Ashley (between the two of us, we would take turns playing Max, aka 86, and 99. I had this fabulous compact that served as a secret phone device and of course the perfect lip stick tube that acted as a secret microphone) I would sit for what seemed like hours and pour over my many-times-read-through books. It was the best. I remember going on family vacations and packing multiple books to read while on the car ride alone (thankfully, I didn't have to worry about a queasy tummy back then; I do believe if you dug through some of my mom's old albums you would find pictures of me laid out on the backseat of our van quite happily popping gum with a book in hand.)
Those days of endless hours of reading time have long passed. :) Since having kiddos, I have gone through spells of reading some and reading very little (other than some favorite magazines that come in the mail monthly). Sometime last year I picked up the lifelong love and haven't been able to keep my hands off of books...literally. There have been days that I have carried a book around with me to multiple rooms in an attempt to read just a few pages and then life happened and at the end of the day I might have 3-4 pages read. Hence, part of the reason that if you were to walk into any room of my house right now, you would find at least 1 or 2 of my books sitting out. Though just as intriguing, the books I find myself leaning towards are not quite like the fiction books I used to dive into, but instead, books that I feel will uplift me as a woman, wife, mother, daughter of Christ, etc. and will help me grow. I have decided that this most recent fixation must be due to the fact that I have been depriving myself of one of my happy past times for far too long. Now, if I can just work out a happy balance... ;)
Here are a few of the books I have finished thus far this year:
(and p.s. I really like each of them and would recommend them to be added to your collection. Each one has been lovingly marked and underlined in--after much debate of whether or not I wanted to start marking up all my books I finally dove right in and went to town with the highlighting! :))
One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp
Favorite! Favorite! Love Love!! Just go ahead and purchase it...
The last of the sunflowers stands tall in the kitchen garden right off of the porch. It's early, too early, really. The picket fence gate at the side of the garden lies open. I have scissors in hand and hopes for just a ring or two of fresh petals. In the house, empty vases line the counter. Emptiness opened wide for beauty filling. So I have gone looking, always looking.
The finches, yellow on wing, flit among the high leaves. The ground is damp from the night dreams. I stretch high on the toes to reach a crowning sunflower, perfect. A few lower ones, bowed, still new. I walk the rows of giants and I gather. My arms are wet with dew, full of summer.
In the house, I trim stems, shear off lower leaves, fill the open vase mouths, and I arrange. I set the vases of the golden heads out. One on the side table by the window, another at the end of the hand hewn-mantel, beam from a barn that the school bus drove past all my childhood. I bring beauty in. I take the last to the table, set its bouquet in the middle of the quilted runner of pinwheel stars that Mama stitched for my birthday, thrifted cotton ginghams, old men's shirts, faded summer work. For a moment, I bend, fingering petals.
I peer into a wide circle of sunflower, a mother seraching a child's face.
What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, by Lysa TerKeurst
I've heard it said that life would not be so hard if it weren't so daily. Yet the Bible says that each day is a gift from God that we should rejoice in (Psalm 118:24). Daily adventures with God will add an excitement to your life that will change your whole perspective. No longer is your day just one humdrum task after another, but rather a string of divine appointments and hidden treasures waiting to be discovered.
Seeing life like this opens up God's storehouses of joy. The mark of a truly godly woman is one who reveals the power of God not so much in her doing as in her being. she has opened God's treasure chest of joy and so filled her heart with gratitude and love that just being around her inspires you. She goes about the simplest of tasks, her everyday duties, and even the rough patches of life with such grace that you find yourself wanting to imitate her. She is full of adventure yet not worn out from the journey.
Finding God's Path Through Your Trials, by Elizabeth George
We view our trials from the "underside," the human side, the earthly side. All we see is a mass of unfortunate trials and tragedies that are many times ugly, confusing and disturbing. But what God wants us to understand is that He is producing works of art.
Exactly what is a stable woman, a woman with staying power? And how would you recognize her? She's one who endures whatever life brings her way. She doesn't crumble under pressure. She persists. For her there's no stopping allowed, no bailing out. There's no giving up and no giving in. And there are no excuses. She keeps on keeping on, staying to the end.
And that's not all. A stable woman is one who's steady. She's not soon shaken or easily rocked. Like my first mentor, she is a rock. She's constant, even-tempered, never fickle, and not wavering or fitful. She's steadfast and fixed. She's not a flake. She is faithful and solid.
It is now past my bedtime and as I sit here listening to Florida Georgia Line's latest song, "Get Your Shine On" I smile. For what I am about to do is crawl into my cool bed sheets, pick up a near bedside table book, and read a few pages...
May your evening be filled with only good things.