Summertime often brings mixed emotions of wanting to do it all and wanting to do nothing at all. The warm months are short here in Alaska so we tend to over-schedule and over-exert simply out of time clock necessity. But hurrying through experiences seems to rob us of the full potential to soak up the opportunities. Plus, rushing leads to crankiness (for ALL members of the family). Enter: the wonder of a good book.
Reading is something that can be quite powerful. It forces us to slow down and look at individual words. Words that on their own might not hold the same potency as when coupled with other words. But put those many words together, and art is born. And put them in a particular order, and suddenly we can visualize the happening. Our imaginations can see and feel the text clear to our bones.
As you can tell, we’re a little passionate about books around here. As writers and readers, we love a good book. So without further preaching on the wonders of the written word, here’s an inside peek into what we’re reading this summer.
Since the new year, I’ve been trying to be intentional about reading more books. Rather than picking up my phone, tablet, or computer out of boredom or avoidance, or any other reason, I’d pick up a book. An honest-to-goodness book with paper pages. It’s been so good. Since January, I’ve been reading through the Chronological Bible (One Year). You guys. I’m HALF WAY through the Bible. It’s amazing. It’s a lot of reading every day. But good, so, so good. Leviticus was hard, and the history of the kings is confusing at times. But I want God’s word in me. I want to live and breathe God’s word. So in it goes.
I’m also finishing up Finding Spiritual Whitespace (by Bonnie Gray). I don’t normally cry when reading, but this one has had me tearing up almost every time I’ve picked it up. Mostly because of the author’s experience of rejection as a child, and also because I’ve experienced the panic and anxiety symptoms she writes about. Wow, a good and needed read for me. Finding whitespace is a huge need of mine right now in this season of motherhood. God. Rest. Yes. I’ve also just begun A Circle of Quiet (by Madeleine L’Engle). Madeleine writes words I could have written myself in this memoir as she sorts out the meaning of life and finds solace in her very own circle of quiet. Quiet — another thing my soul is desiring right now. Even if it’s just in the way I listen to God rather than do all the talking.
Understood Betsy (by Dorothy Canfield Fisher) is one I’m reading aloud to my two oldest daughters (ages 7 and 10). It’s one I’ve been wanting to read to them for years. It’s a beautiful read. We’re reading sporadically, and that’s just fine.
Reading reminds me to enjoy the simple things as it draws me away from the pull of communication with others when what I really need is rest and quiet.
With all the craziness of the school year, it has seemed appropriate this summer to grab some soothing, healing reads. Like a glass of iced tea for the soul. The first one is a Bible/book study that I’m doing through Proverbs 31 Ministries: The Mended Heart (by Suzanne Eller). I’ve never done an online study like this before, so am feeling a little bit like a fish out of water. The fab thing about participating online however is that I can do it anytime I want to — after a bike ride with the kids, late at night, or midday out in the sunshine with the birds tweeting and the sound of the wind swirling through the trees. Honestly, this book feels like a giant hug for my heart. Definitely needed.
The second book is one I’ve read before, but this time I’m tackling it with a large black pen in hand so no quote or light bulb-ish epiphany will escape my busy brain. It’s written by our friend (which we’ve never actually met, but hope to someday), Leslie Leyland Fields. It’s called Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers. Now before you start making assumptions that I have a terrible relationship with my parents, I’ll tell you plainly, I don’t. I have an amazing, wonderful, loving relationship with my folks. But the concepts of this book on confession, hope, healing, and shaking loose the chains of unforgiveness are potent. Potent indeed.
And the last one is a legacy kind of book I’m passing on the love for to my daughter: Anne of Green Gables (by Lucy Maud Montgomery). It has always been a favorite. And now the next generation is learning all about Anne and her adventuresome ways. Green hair, The Lake of Shining Waters, Gilbert, and the wonders of a bosom friend. Love it all!
Reading anything good this summer? Do tell!
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