Themes in my Reading
the power of story (You are What You Love, my class)
I am not God (Adrenaline and Stress, and Humble Roots and None Like Him from last year)
Changing life by changing desires, importance of spiritual disciplines (books on preaching, You are What you Love, 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You)
Thru preaching and parenting, teaching kids and listeners to love God with all heart, soul, mind, strength, emotion... actively and passively (You are What you Love, books on preaching)
slowing down, savoring, ruminating (Adrenaline and Stress, and being forced to do so by class and what I’m reading having direct application to my life more than it has in the past)
The Mama Natural Week by Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth – Genevieve Howland
I paged through this at the library, since I had heard about it and was interested in it but didn’t want to buy it as I’m not pregnant. Mostly I wanted to see how it compared to her free internet version.
There are more topics covered in smaller bites in the book, since online she can link to other articles. The to-do’s for each week are also slightly different. Overall, though, it’s mostly the same content and things to think about.
The negative: it feels rather temporal, lots of talk on things like babymoons, maternity style, etc. – space that would have been better spent talking about PPD signs (there was only a small blurb on it). I also didn’t love the anecdotal/chatty style. There were a lot of birth affirmations, some of which I did’t agree with.
The positive: lots of recipes, info on tests during pregnancy, exercise, diet, breastfeeding, things to think about for green/clean registries, and answers to random questions like breastfeeding toddlers during pregnancy.
I think it’s a great resource for first time crunchy-minded moms, but a little long for natural birth veterans.
Preparing for Easter – C.S. Lewis excerpts
This wasn’t a bad compilation or sampling of Lewis’s writing, but stuff is taken out of context so is disorienting, and isn’t much flow and except for holy week didn’t feel Easter-related. I wasn’t reading it during Lent (obviously, in January!). I didn’t finish it because of how disorienting the lack of context was, and sometimes the editing was chopped at a place where it seemed like Lewis was saying something he wasn’t in context.
Loneliness – Elisabeth Elliot
I wrote more about this book here. Highly, highly recommended for anyone undergoing any suffering!
“The power of the cross is not exemption from suffering but the very transformation of suffering.”
“Even suffering, through the transforming power of the cross, is a gift, for in this broken world, in our sorrow, He gives us Himself, in our loneliness He comes to meet us.”
This whole chapter, “Death is a New Beginning.”
Acceptance, “ a glad and voluntary YES to the conditions we meet on our journey with Him, because these are the conditions He wants us to share with Him.”
Evidence Not Seen – Darlene Deibler
Missionary Darlene Deibler’s account of her early missions work in Papua New Guinea and her time in a Japanese prison camp.
I sometimes thought that her experience wasn’t as bad as some, but then realized that in large part that was due to her great faith and trust in God, and how clearly He was with her every step of the way. Her circumstances were horrific, but she had such a clear sense of God’s presence that it didn’t come across that way, which is amazing.
I was challenged to pray immediately about little things, continued on with thoughts on suffering from Loneliness.
And a moment the next day that was application of that –
S’s requests and questions seemed endless and I finally prayed about it (long after I had been irritated) and let God know that I was exhausted and it felt like their demands were endless and I Just couldn’t deal with it. Then 2 things:
1, the reminder (from having read it in this book only the day before) that when I can’t is when His grace is shown sufficient and His power demonstrated in my weakness.
2, the rest of our pre-nap time was sweet and fun!
Why do I wait so long to pray?!?
You Are What You Love – James K.A. Smith
Smith writes about changing our lives and habits by changing our loves, how “Discipleship is more a matter of hungering and thirsting than of knowing and believing,” and how in order to change we need to create new habits. The biggest way this happens is through the spiritual disciplines (he focuses mostly on corporate worship). That’s a very uneloquent description that doesn’t really do it justice.
I had already been thinking along these lines (see my post on discipline), but Smith’s book helped me grapple with it more, and think through the implications of shaping the habits of the heart in the home, as well as helping me think of spiritual disciplines and church in the light of an opportunity to re-orient my heart towards God and develop habits of worshiping God. He had some very good thoughts on youth ministry and family integration in church.
That said, I do have a few cautions, mostly with how ecumenical he sometimes is. Also, I don’t think he meant this, but the Holy Spirit was generally left out of the picture, giving the impression that “faith is inevitable as long as you implant right liturgy.”
Lots of gems, a few cautions. It has been very influential in the months since I finished it, and I frequently find myself reviewing parts of it, but I can’t recommend it to just anyone.
Women of the Word – Jen Wilkin
A very good introduction to the inductive Bible study method. I realized through my class that I hadn’t really been doing the inductive method, and wanted to read more on it in a way that was a bit simpler than what I had done for class, and this did that perfectly.
Adrenaline and Stress – Archibald Hart
Part of this was required for my class; I read the whole thing. It fit in well with the theme of rest in the last year, and made me realize how stressful some things are for me, even the things I do to “relax,” as well as why some things make me stressed, and some things I can do to decrease stress and adrenaline, while still channeling adrenaline at times.
Biblical Preaching – Haddon Robinson
Another for class, and probably the most helpful for me in understanding the process of studying the Word and then preparing a message from it. Not only was this important for my class, but also has helped me in how I listen to sermons and talk about them afterward.
Preaching that Speaks to Women – Alice Mathews
Also for class. The overall message was good, but it was VERY psych-heavy. Its emphasis was preaching to women as whole persons before God, with unique giftings (as individuals, not as “woman”), meant to be able to KNOW and LEARN and THINK for self. She focused on helping women love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and how certain stereotypes can be a hindrance to that.
Jen Wilkin’s talk “Raising Daughters Beyond Stereotypes” handled a lot of the same content in a way I felt was more biblical and that I had less disagreement with.
The Broken Road – Patrick Leigh Fermor
I needed an eBook for the airplane and the third part of Fermor’s walking trip from Holland to Constantinople sounded perfect. I think the final installment my least favorite, though. It wasn’t as edited, so his partying was talked about more openly, and it wasn’t quite as literature-heavy as the other ones. That made it an easier read, but less rich. His descriptions were still amazing, though, the fruit of not having a camera!
Love to Eat, Hate to Eat – Elyse Fitzpatrick
I’ve talked some before about my relationship with food in the last three years not being very good. In all honesty, I was letting food become an idol. This book was so so so good to help with that and I highly recommend it for anyone who struggles to eat healthily, lose weight, has or is helping someone who has an eating disorder, or just wants to have a biblical perspective on food!
I do wish she had talked more about enjoying food as a good gift from God, though.
Mom Enough – Desiring God
I really enjoyed this little collection of articles on motherhood from Desiring God. It was challenging and encouraging at the same time.
The Savage My Kinsman – Elliot
This was a fascinating read, to learn more about Elisabeth Elliot’s time with the Aucas who had murdered her husband. Some thought-provoking parts on different cultures, especially how we view others as more “primitive” yet they have the systems and intelligence they need for their lives just as we have those for ours.
Enjoy Your Prayer Life -Reeves
A little book prayer by Michael Reeves. I found it very helpful and inspiring, mostly in reminding me that prayer is a way of proving our faith in God.
We Crossed a Bridge and it Trembled – Wendy Perlman
Tragic and eye-opening. Perlman recorded, translated and transcribed, then organized people’s stories of their lives in Syria in the last 30 years. We hear of the violence, but their voices really showed how the bigger issue is personhood being undermined.
When Helping Hurts – Corbett and Fikkert
I read this alongside We Crossed a Bridge and it Trembled, which was a good move because it helped Perlman’s book be a little less depressing to be reading about ways to help alleviate poverty, and lined up with what I was reading from the oppressed and poor about how the issue isn’t really financial, and hand-outs aren’t what will solve the problem.
The first part of the book is spent putting forth a framework for what our goals in alleviating poverty should be as Christians. The second half is focused on applying that framework to things like short-term missions and the homeless.
“Poverty alleviation is the ministry of reconciliation: moving people closer to glorifying God by living in right relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation.
“Material poverty alleviation is working to reconcile the four foundational relationships so that people can fulfill their callings of glorifying God by working and supporting themselves and their families with the fruit of that work.”
Must-read for all who oversee benevolence in churches, or as a tool to assess who to donate to in missions or local poverty. I found it very well-balanced between addressing physical and spiritual needs. It was eye-opening to read as someone who has always had more than enough, to see how poverty affects more than just what you have physically.
I was hoping for more application on a personal level (what do I as a mom in the car do for the homeless man on the side of the road?), but I suppose they did give that just not in an easy way. It seems the thing to do is find people who are locally helping without hurting and try to connect those homeless with those people – and if those people don’t exists, be a catalyst to get something going.
If I Perish – Kim
I find myself drifting towards more and more biographies recently. I enjoy them and they are challenging to my daily life and faith while not being too heavy for evening or leisure reading. Esther Ahn Kim’s was no exception. It was interesting to read it so soon after Darlene Deibler’s biography, since they were happening at the same time.
Word-Centered Women’s Ministry – Furman, Neilsen
I skimmed this since it came up as an eBook available to borrow when I was putting Women of the Word on hold and it looked interesting and pertinent to my class. Definitely one I would refer back to if heavily involved in women’s ministry.
The Lifegiving Home – Sally and Sarah Clarkson
I had planned to go through this a chapter/month as it’s designed to be, but after the first two months decided it probably wasn’t really what I needed right now and so paged through the rest just to make sure.
I still love the Clarksons’ ministry, but am taking a break for a little bit. There is a lot of repetition in Sally’s writings and podcast. Their stuff is also very encouragement-based, which is exactly what I need at times, but I do need to keep it in proportion and make sure I am getting the “meat” of more deep, expositional teaching in my diet as well right now – but Desperate and The Mission of Motherhood were exactly what I needed a year ago, and I HIGHLY recommend them both.
CHristmas Tapestry (Polacco)
Song of the Stars (Lloyd-Jones)
Jungle Book (an illustrated toddler version)
Frog and Toad All Year
Cecily Mary Barker’s Complete Flower Fairies
The Circus Ship
Winter Trees – Gerber
The Airport Book
Thy Friend, Obadiah – Turkle
Owl Moon (Yolen)
When the Doorbell Rang
Over and Under the Pond – Messner
Stone Soup – Marcia Brown
Bustle in the Bushes – Andreae
Psalm 23 – Barry Moser
Before and After – Ramstein
On Market Street
Poetry for Young People – Tennyson, Kipling
Miss Maple’s Seeds
Meilo So (illustrator)
Flossie and the Fox (McKissack)
we have loved watching The Great British Baking Show
Goodbye Christopher Robin*
Murder on the Orient Express
Same Kind of Different As Me
*our favorites of this batch