I ended last year with some very specific goals for myself in 2015. One of those goals was to read more. Instead of waiting until the end of the year to make one gigantic list, I am going to post a monthly book report of what I’ve been reading. And instead of just listing the titles, I wanted to give my two cents while the books were still fresh on my mind.
The Precious One (Marisa de los Santos)
I first read Santos a few years ago and LOVED her book “Love Walked In.” Similarly, I adored this book. Santos is becoming a favorite author and I hope to read more of her books. “The Precious One” tells a beautiful story of an unlikely family, who through the bonds of illness and their dysfunctional pasts, comes together to make a new kind of family. The characters in this story were real, memorable, and most of all human. I love the way Santos alternated the chapters and narrative between two equally strong protagonists.
Super Mom Has Left the Building (Judith Edwards)
I was invited to do a short, homeschool moms Bible/book study this summer and this was the book we read. Short chapters, some humor (at times cheesy), and wonderful reminders about our role as Christian women. Based on the Proverbs 31 passage, this book takes a more literal approach about how we translate that hefty responsibility in our day-to-day lives. Edwards very truthfully reminds us that life is so much less about being “Supermom” and so much more about abiding in the love and grace of God. I’ve promised to pass this along to a friend, already, but it is a great book for those of us who may struggle with perfectionism and unrealistic expectations of ourselves as wives and mothers.
A Circle of Quiet (Madeline L’Engle)
I actually didn’t quite get through this entire book. I’m sort of getting a writer-crush on Madeline L’Engle and I read this so slowly and thoughtfully that I crept through it. I think I really wanted to digest not only her anecdotes about where she lives and how she makes time for writing and the writing life, but also her universal wisdom about the human heart. I renewed this twice at the library AND got a late fee on it. So I decided to return it and put it on my Amazon wish list. This is one of those books that I’ll add to my personal library and continue to re-read again and again.
101 Ways to Say Thank You (Kelly Browne)
I checked this book out in our library’s new releases simply because this month my chore/skill to teach our kids was the art of the thank you note. The book was very informative and gave quite a lot of interesting input on the history of writing notes, current contexts in which written or digital thanks is acceptable and then basically the remainder of the book was a glossary of thank you notes and samples for just about any occasion or situation you might imagine. This was less of a “read-cover-to-cover” and more of a skim and peruse. But as someone who loves her stationery and writing (and receiving) handwritten notes, I adored that someone thought enough to put a book like this out there.
It’s My Turn (Ruth Bell Graham)
This book was referenced this summer at that homeschool moms Bible/book study (see above) and after reading Gigi Tchividijan’s book, “Thank You Lord for My Home,” last year (Ruth’s oldest daughter), I was intrigued. I have developed a unique interest in the Graham family lately and am especially interested in the ways in which Billy Graham’s wife and kids faired as a result of his global ministry. In “It’s My Turn,” Ruth shares many of her entries of her personal journals through out her years beginning with her childhood as a daughter of medical missionaries in China through her empty nest years. I love her honesty, and the portrait she portrays of her wisdom and strength as a Godly wife and mother. I especially love how she finds her role alongside Billy as one of looking after her family. Ruth never let the fact that Billy was gone from home often to deter her plans for how she hoped to raise her family. Ruth was faithful in prayer and time in the Word, loving and supportive of Billy, but really the rock that provided the foundation for her home. Reading Gigi’s book last year gave me a very impressionable respect for the work of minister’s wives and my own calling to my family as a result of Ryan’s calling. Ruth’s book only confirmed that!
Menopause Reset (Mickey Harpaz, Robert Wolff)
Not to get too personal, but I have had a difficult time losing weight over the past four years. I know stress has been the root of some of it, but also I am a woman of “a certain age” where systems in my body are changing. Ahem. Anyway, after much frustration of not seeing the scale move, despite near daily exercise and calorie counting, grain skipping, sugar cutting out, and all manner of trends, this book made the most sense of anything I’ve read on the topic in the past two years. Basically, it’s a blood sugar and insulin issue and by eating a low fat, low sugar diet (not super restrictive of calories, but realistic portions, etc.) and eating something EVERY TWO HOURS, we don’t allow dips in our blood sugar and we reset our metabolism, thus enabling our bodies to burn the fuel we feed them. I’m on day 10 of this at the end of this week. The scale is moving people. The scale is moving. And best of all I feel more energetic and haven’t had any of those late afternoon crashes or moodiness. (Well, much, much less moodiness!) I’m going to stick with the plan a while longer and continue monitoring my results.