Books to feed the Soul - a.k.a my holiday reading
It's 4.37am and I have been up for hours. I am jet lagged. Literally on the other side of the world from where I was two days ago and my body is wide awake. It happened of course on the journey there too and coupled with all the traveling it takes to get to Bali, Indonesia via Sydney, Australia from Lima, Peru there were plenty of hours to get into some great books! Oh and my husband and kids stayed home as it was too far and too much for us all to go to my brother's wedding so that gave me extra time too!
At the beginning of the year I was not in a reading mood. I think a month passed where I read nothing. Nothing at all except my Bible. Had no patience for it. And then the tide turned and suddenly all I wanted to do in any spare moments I had was to read. I love to read several books at once - I try to limit myself on my kindle to just the six I can see on the front homepage, but one or two often end up creeping in. Unless it is a fiction book I can't put down, I rarely read more than one chapter of a book before I shift into another one - round and round, filling the time I have to read.
Here are the books I have been reading over the last couple of weeks and enjoyed.
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Intimacy with God:
I read a chapter a day of this book with my morning quiet time and my soul kept screaming, 'yes, yes, yes!' This book journeyed with me and I feel like I met God in it. Beautiful. Romantic. Soul-awakening.
As I finished reading 'Sacred Romance' I wanted another book to journey with and I have begun this one. I am loving it! Another book where my soul is meeting with God and I am encouraged to keep abiding in Him. (This book is currently free on Amazon.com)
I have been thinking a lot about how spiritual disciplines can help move me and others into a greater place of intimacy with God without becoming legalistic. This is a book I am going to slowly devour throughout this year as I plan to explore how spiritual disciplines can create quiet corners with God in our busy lives. Love the spirit of freedom in this classic book.
A short book of personal prayers written by writer Flannery O'Connor, an author who died young at age 39. I enjoyed the honesty and freshness in her prayers which were written in her yearly twenties before she had any of her writing published.
I loved the freshness in this book. Brian Zahnd shares his conversion within Christianity to a more genuine spirituality full of beauty, tradition and connection. A book to move your mind away from legalism you didn't even know you had and cause you to embrace a deeper relationship with Christ.
I almost didn't buy this book because the cover looked so weird, but I am glad I did! Another book with shifts the mind and engages the heart into deeper abiding relationship with Christ.
I had heard of St. Therese and her being one of the mystic saints worth reading but I had no idea she was so young and that her autobiography was written in her twenties. The earnestness in her seeking of God from such a young age, her beautiful innocence and her unwavering passion for Jesus is inspiring. (Currently free on kindle)
Inspiring Stories & personal growth:
My friend Jenny lent me this book and I have loved reading about Francis and Edith Schaeffer's ministry of hospitality, teaching and exploration of Christianity to those who God brought to them in Switzerland from the 1960s onwards. The tales of provision and God's guidance are just the encouragements I have needed in the past few months and it has also inspired me in our ministry of hospitality here too to think wider.
Testimonies and keys for breaking through shame, this book is one I need to read again to process how I can help others overcome shame.
This year has not been full of big grief like previous years and yet the small griefs have needed more care and processing, perhaps because they threaten to cry: 'I'm not important, ignore me!' This book has encouraged me to slow down and not despise but acknowledge prayerfully and purposefully the daily disappointments and griefs of life.
Wonderful to revisit again the love of the Father for me personally and others. There is so much freedom when we understand the depth of His love for us and Jack Frost's vulnerable personal testimony highlighted areas in my own life where I have lived as an orphan or demanded too much of others.
This book is so good! Chapter after chapter of brilliance and inspiration. The chapters are short and punchy but need time to process and embrace the truths. I am noticing the greater freedom and boldness in my heart as I journey with this one.
Anthony Doerr is the author of 'All the Light we cannot see' a book on my 'to-read-at-some-point' list. This book opens a door on the author's life and experience of living for a year as a foreigner in Rome with newborn twins. In some senses there is no 'story' to this book, and I would have probably hated it a year or two ago, but I couldn't put it down. It took me inside Rome, a place I haven't yet visited, and back inside the life of a parent and writer with young children. It was a feast for the senses and a book to read slowly and savor.
Visiting Bali, Indonesia for my brother's wedding I wanted to read a travel book about someone's travels there and I had no idea that this book which was on my 'to-read-some-day' list was about Elizabeth's travels to Bali (as well as to Italy and India.) The spirituality in this book played with my head a bit and I actually stopped reading and deleted the book for a day or two, but then I went back and kept reading. Elizabeth tells the reader she does not believe in the God of Christianity, but rather has a 'all-roads-lead-to-heaven' approach to spirituality. I did however spiritually benefit from her pursuit of God and her keenness for meditation - a practice that done in the right way can be a hugely impactful spiritual discipline.
This book stays on the front page of my kindle homepage and I read a poem or two aloud now and then. Poetry comes alive and makes so much more sense when you read it aloud and I enjoy the practice of slowing down, pondering and embracing the natural beauty of the world around us that poetry brings.
Homeschool & Parenting Inspiration
I have a ton of parenting and homeschooling samples on my kindle that my logical brain wants to read but my heart is uninspired. This was a cheap book I had bought months ago which I decided to dive into again. Charlotte Mason was an educational guru over a hundred years ago and I enjoy her no-nonsense common-sense approach to education and the ideas she encourages which have been lost to modern childhood. Her tone is bossy but I liked her practical suggestions on how to engage children with the natural world around them and the importance of doing so for their souls.
So now I have finished so many books I nearly have space on my kindle homepage for some new reads! What have you enjoyed recently? Any recommendations?