It’s likely I read for all the same reasons you read: to quiet my mind, to bring stillness to an often over-active day, to learn something new, to try out new emotions, to laugh, because “leaders are readers”. One day I found myself writing in the sidebars of the pages, scribbling notes or underlining a powerful thought. I used to abhor the idea of writing in a book, but now I can’t imagine not writing myself little notes, especially when it’s a book I’ve read multiple times.
I used to wonder, How would the author feel if they saw me doing this? But now, I think they’d feel grateful a reader resonated so deeply they felt called to linger just a little bit longer on a thought. If you are in my home, and if you pick up any one of these books, you’ll definitely see sentences underlined and notes scribbled and pages earmarked, book covers with tiny drips of dried coffee — signs these books have lived life with me, on an end table or in my purse, instead of sitting their entire life upon a shelf.
You may even find one with the bottom corner missing? (I’m looking at you, Bauer.)
These four books that have wonderfully changed my life, and here’s why:
1. The Lifegiving Home by Sally & Sarah Clarkson
Sally and her daughter Sarah co-authored this book focusing on neighborhoods, travel, cooking/meals, faith, creativity, reading, and tradition throughout family and home. Since finishing, the way I mother and welcome guests into our home has changed in a huge, positive way. I now view caring for my family in a totally new/better way, along with a much deeper sense of hospitality. Being a wife and mother is intentional, steady work, and our work is never “finished”. I really resonated with this book. There is always more to do within our homes, and I appreciate how Sally and Sarah share practical solutions for creating a home that will grow relationships and provide a place to rest. Not to mention, Sally has such a gentle spirit, it’s some of the most comfort-filled writing I’ve ever read.
2. A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman
Two favorite reminders shared by Emily, which have become true personal favorites, are these: we were created by a God who “makes” (Genesis 1:1), and we are all artists. This book offers encouraging freedom to think outside the box, the one same we are so quick to lock ourselves into. Highly recommend, especially if you struggle with feeling basic.
3. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Too often we forget the look up, to look around, to look within and see all that we’ve been gifted. Despite our hurts, even because of our hurts, there is much joy to acknowledge. I appreciate how Ann has challenged me to think differently, which in turn has helped me live differently. If you’ve been wanting to read this, definitely get started now. And if you’ve already read it, consider picking it up again for a sweet refresher.
4. Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood by Melissa Kruger
An 11-week devotional broken down into daily readings, which makes it great for “anytime” reading. I especially love that the scriptures referenced are written out, so if you’ve only got one free hand you can still read! Yeow! No need to try to balance your Bible and the book ;) There are also journaling prompts with each day’s reading, and over 20 pages of additional resources (verses to memorize, topical verses for children, a study guide). Here’s a quick list of the topics you’ll study: understanding your purpose, knowing God’s word, entrusting your children to the Lord, ordering your home, reflecting the heart of God, encouraging a thankful spirit, fighting against anxiety & worry, letting go of harshness & anger, training hearts through discipline, guiding in Godliness by example, and recovering from Perfect Mom Syndrome (PMS). This is a fantastic book to read with a group or by yourself.
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My mom once shared this with me: when a person knows how to read, they have the world at their fingertips. They can do anything they dream of; they can learn about all things. With the help of a book, they can change the direction of their life.
Isn’t that a powerful realization?
TELL ME: what are you currently reading, what have you recently finished, what is next in queue? And, if you’ve read any of the books listed above, what are your thoughts?