Day 26…What I’m Reading As I Wait…On The Bookshelf

    When I’m reading my favorite blogs, or taking time to discover new ones, one of my favorite types of posts is the book list…  When a fellow blogger/writer shares the books currently on their bookshelf/table/nightstand, I am a captive audience.  The other day I was reading a new favorite blog, and thrilled to discover it’s author was reading one of my all time favorite books Walking On Water – Reflections on Faith & Art by Madeleine L’Engle.   (I could and should devote an entire series of posts on it’s author and her expanse of work – over 60 titles!)  There’s something delectable about finding a new book to add to your current (ever-expanding) list, or smile in delight that another person in the world has found words that touched you, impacted your thoughts and views, or perhaps just messed with your soul in the best possible ways…
   I’m constantly reading numerous books at once.  While this can be a good thing, sometimes it deters my self-diagnosed-adult-ADD-ness into overdrive.   I’ll decide to read, say 8 books at once – which results in not finishing them for months.  At any rate, I think I’m getting better at juggling the mixture of titles and subjects, and it’s one of my favorite pastimes.  I’ve decided to make this type of post an at-least-once-a-month kind of event.  In light of my 31 Days of Active Waiting, I have of course had ample time to discover new delicious morsels of text, and spend a good deal of that time reading…(This is of course in addition to my quiet time and devotional reads…yet another post on it’s own. And I say I don’t have ideas for future blog posts….pshaw! 🙂

  While there have been other titles I’ll let you know about in future posts, here’s the books currently occupying my waiting journey…

Sacred Chaos by Tricia McCary Rhodes



 I found this book while doing a random search on Amazon for a different book entirely.  I have been savoring this book in little pieces.  It is intensely practical, and filled with wonderful writing and personal stories from the author’s life.   I love that there are different types of exercises to implement at the end of each chapter – everything from journaling to prayer and meditation to daily practices to integrate into your daily life.  There’s also a few very helpful appendix sections at the back of the book with Scriptures, and instructive thoughts on topics such as lectio divinia and  physical prayer, I took this book with me on my first prayer retreat experience (see days 1 -3 of this series of posts), and it was so helpful to me in turning my racing thoughts to worship, prayer and peace.

“My prayer for you as you read – whatever your life looks like right now, no matter what season you are in or how spiritual or unspiritual you feel – is that the things I’ve written will give you a glimpse of how near God is, causing fresh hope to rise up and confirm that the chaos you call your life can indeed be sacred.” – author Tricia McCary Rhodes

The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure

My best friend happily turned me on to this delightful book!  Author Wendy McClure was obsessed in her childhood (and continues to be – in a joyous, non- frightful way 🙂 with books in The Little House on the Prairie series.  She follows a lifelong dream to learn more about Laura, her world and those that also love her books.  Wendy delves into piles of research – sorting out the fact and fiction of the Laura of Little House, and Laura the real-life author – and even goes on a tour of various Little House locations across the country. She writes about her hilarious adventures of bringing the Little House world closer to her modern day life by churning butter (with an authentic butter churn!) and making the candy Laura makes in the books out of maple syrup and snow.  She’s an incredible writer, and it’s a fast and festive read.  Though the quote below is a bit somber, don’t be fooled.  Wendy’s witty and funny, and most of the read is spent laughing out loud. 🙂

“In Chapter 9 of Little House in the Big Woods, [where] four-year-old Laura fills her pocket with lake pebbles at the shore while the family is visiting town.  And then, when Pa tosses her back into the wagon, the heavy pocket rips off her dress and she cries.  For me, reading that scene never fails to bring on a brief, scalding instant of recognition in recalling exactly what it was like to be a tiny little kid, your whole sense of being so lumpy and vulnerable that the smallest things were everything, and the everything could be so unspeakably wonderful, and the wonderful could be snatched away in an instant, leaving a big ragged hole in your universe just like the one in Laura’s dress.” – author Wendy McClure

What’s It Like To Be Married To Me by Linda Dillow

I’ve only been married a very short while…I am still considered a newlywed.  When my husband and I were engaged, we (or rather, I) read so many books on preparing for marriage. (My husband is much less of a reader than I…though he loves reading aloud and discussing books together which I love 🙂   I read and loved one of Linda’s earlier books “Calm My Anxious Heart”.  The book’s practicality and insight was so helpful for me that when I saw she had a book on marriage, I had to check it out.  (Not to mention that Gary Thomas – the author of the wonderful book “Sacred Marriage” endorsed it so highly).  The book title asks  important (and as the subtitle says) dangerous questions.    Other honest and helpful questions  include “What does it feel like to be my husband?”  “Am I willing to change my attitude?” and “Is it possible to grow together when things fall apart?” Linda’s answers – as well as other women’s stories are infused with grace and wisdom.  I’m still working my way through this gem of a book, and my highlighter is getting a hefty workout.    As with most of Linda’s books, there’s also a wonderful Bible study that can be done individually or in a group on each chapter at the back of the book.  Though a somewhat typical subject for a Christian women’s book,  Linda’s unique approach is one of my favorite things about it.  Her writing is conversational and incredibly engaging.  If your turned off by the possibly slightly cheesy cover design, (as I was at first) don’t let it dissuade you from picking up this book up – you won’t be disappointed.

“A Dangerous Prayer!
‘Lord, I give you permission to search my heart and mind.  Please show me every day what it feels like to be my husband….’Lord, change my selfish heart.  Work in me so I can truly learn to be a helper to my husband.  Show me what encouragement and respect look like to him.  I want to do my part to create emotional intimacy with him.’…”            –author Linda Dillow

Holy Yoga – Exercise for the Christian Body & Soul

I was so happy to discover this book!  For many years I didn’t enjoy doing yoga.  The worst part for me was when in the midst of contorting my leg through my arms and over my head (Ok, perhaps that’s a little bit of a dramatic mental picture 🙂 I would often be asked to empty my mind and meditate.  That was the worst thing I felt I needed in that moment, and as a Christian – I didn’t want to empty my mind.  I wanted to fill it with thoughts of Christ! 🙂  Enter Brooke Boon.  She was a Hatha Yoga instructor when she became a Christian, and  began to teach and practice yoga as a Believer.   Boon felt called to eventually write this wonderful and informative book on practicing yoga that is both fully yoga (in regards to technique and physical moves) and fully Christian.  Without getting into any sort of convoluted debate over Christians practicing yoga, I have to say how thrilled I was to see a Christian woman fully on fire for Christ, taking a physical practice used by the world and using it to glorify Christ and her faith.   Isn’t that what God constantly does – take the things of this world and redeem them for His work and glory?  There is thorough and spirit-filled information about practicing yoga as a fully Christian practice with worship and meditation on Scripture as well as pages of instruction on various postures and routines.  There is also a lovely DVD in the back cover with more instruction from Brooke and a few different yoga class sessions.   (They are not set to music – I suggest making a mix of your favorite worship tunes and putting them on while using the DVD.)   I’m enjoying doing yoga for the first time in my life – with worship music that centers my thoughts on the Lord and meditation, prayer and praise that brings to a deeper connection with Christ.  (For more information, check out the wonderful website dedicated to learning more about practicing Christian yoga – it’s chalk full of resources!)

“Having an appropriate purpose in the practice of a discipline is what makes it holy or not.  It depends upon the intent, as do all disciplines. We (Holy Yoga) make the discipline holy by placing our intent squarely on Christ.  It is a discipline because it is a gift of God, a means of His grace, and a place we go to be in a position for Him to work in and through us.  Especially when practiced in conjunction with the classical spiritual disciplines, Holy Yoga is a profound tool for Christian spiritual development.” — author Brooke Boon

The One Year Daily Grind by Sarah Arthur

This book is unfortunately out of print.  I discovered it while perusing the author’s lovely website.  I found it  used on Amazon  for a few dollars, but according to Sarah’s website, the new paperback edition (with the new title The One Year Coffee With God) will be out in January of 2012.  It’s a standard devotional…one  page for each day of the year with a few short paragraphs and Scripture passage that applies to the day’s words.  What I love about this devotional is the conversational style Sarah has, as she shares her life’s day to day struggles, observations and God ordained experiences.  Some are short and light – others more profound.  I’ve been making it a practice of adding these short devotional readings to my morning quiet time, and writing out the Scripture references as an additional tool to internalize God’s Word.  Sarah is a fantastic writer, and if devotionals aren’t your cup of tea, visit her website for information on her other wonderful books.
“Maybe worship is about being distracted out of ourselves for once.  Maybe it’s about looking up, looking around at the faces near us.  Maybe it’s about seeing the world in clearer focus – the people Jesus loves and died for, the body of Christ in the middle of the aisle, bobbing and clapping off beat.”  –author Sarah Arthur
Most of my words on these beautiful books don’t do them justice.  Pick them up and let the authors do the talking…I’m so grateful for the gift of books and reading whether I’m waiting or not!
To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.”    –J.C. Grayling
This is Day 26 in a series of posts…to find other posts in the series, refer to the side bar for some of the most recent entries, or see the tab at the top of the blog for links. 

We’re linking up with Emily @ Imperfect Prose today…  I especially love her music playlist…:)

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