Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Unpacking: The Reading List

Do you pray over your reading list?  I don't recall that I ever use to, unless it directly pertained to my Bible study.  However, as the new year dawned and I recognized God calling me to go deeper into understanding His Story for me, I knew in my heart of hearts a very specific reading list played a part. 

I stood in front of the large bookshelf in my oddly sized bedroom.  The whole space once served as an in-house print shop!  The shelf was too large and awkward to relocate when we moved in so, instead, it houses family photo albums, reference material we only use on occasion and my collection of non-fiction Christian works.  I bowed my head and closed my eyes, truly lifting my heart and Seeking guidance.  I felt God had a plan for me with some of these carefully placed books.

After my heart-rendering I looked up and began to scan the various sections I thought held the Keys to the messages God wanted me to unlock.  By the time I was done my arms enveloped a large stack.  I brought them up to my Study, sat them on my work table, thumbed them a bit more and then waited. 

Almost immediately an orange shiny cover grabbed my attention.  It was one of the books my family had lovingly wrapped for me just a few weeks prior and sat gleefully under our glimmering tree.  I can't recall where I heard of the book from but I can tell you what landed it on my wish list: "In_Security"!  I shared some about it in my first post in this series. 

I devoured the book, feeling as though the author had secretly climbed into my life in order to write a field guide just for me!!  I didn't want to move on when the last pages were finished, but I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit, so on I went. 

More books were taken out of my pile and re-shelved as I continued to pray.  Worn copies found at thrift sales and in free piles alongside crisp new ones ordered after I had stumbled across them through articles and, in one instance, a writing workshop I attended.  As my 'keep' pile solidified, reading was snuck into every cranny of time I could muster.  As I read I kept notes, marked pages and journaled.  My life, and God's hand in it seen post-drought, began to unfold.  Hurts were being healed and I was becoming equipped to face battles God knew were coming.

I not only learned how to break the cycle of Insecurity with Anna Light, but I was also reminded how to Love God with all my Mind by Elizabeth George, equipped to avoid the Comparison Trap by Sandra Stanley, encouraged to keep on keeping on as a Homeschooling Housewife thanks to Amber Fox, I was finally debriefed post-field work as I soaked up Ellen Rosenberger's advice in Missionaries Are Real People and, best of all, my thirst was finally quenched as God's words through Mark Hall in The Well filled my cup to overflow.

Yes, I know that paragraph was one gigantic run-on sentence, but I believe it made it's point!

Books are powerful.  I am a firm believer that we should choose our reading material carefully and with a Biblical mindset.  Whether we are reading fiction or non-fiction, the mind is a powerful place where words and images should be carefully filtered to.  When the Apostle Paul writes to the Romans, a very lost and licentious society, I believe he provides just one part of a puzzle when he says;

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, 
what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2

The other part which helps to produce clarity in HOW to transform one's mind is again penned by Paul to the Philippians:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, 
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, 
if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, 
think about these things.
Philippians 4:8

This is why I often provide books in my give-a-ways here on the blog.  When something has encouraged or inspired me, I'm itching to share it with others so they might breathe in the same fresh air!

So, as I have thought and prayed over what my next drawing would be, it was only natural that the books from my period of renewal and growth this year would be at the top of the list.  As a matter of fact, I had such a hard time narrowing it down, I decided to give you options!  I don't have each package physically put together yet, but I am absolute on what they will contain.  The winner (which I will expound on in a moment!) will get to pick from one of the prize packages below.  

Each package centers around the main themes here on my website; Faith, Home, and Homeschool.  With one extra thrown in for building your bookshelf as you build your faith through reading!

Without further ado, here they are: 

Prize Package #1 - Faith

Prize Package #2 - Home

Prize Package #3 - Homeschool

Prize Package #4 - Bookshelf

Theresa and I at a Chicago area pizzeria when I visited in March this year.
In Package #1, "Peace in His Presence" is a CD written and performed by a long-time school friend of mine whom I have kept in touch with over the years.  She is a very amazing and talented woman.

So, How do you win?

First, subscribe to my newsletter.  You must be a newsletter subscriber to qualify.  The box is in the right hand column and looks like this:

Once you have subscribed I will receive a notification and your name will be entered for a chance to win.  Don't worry, I won't spam and, currently, I only send out one newsletter on the last Thursday of each month.  

If you are already subscribed and you want in on this deal, simply comment on any post on this website (or send an email) letting me know what you like most about the newsletter!

It is really that simple!

A lot of bonus content goes out in the monthly newsletter and during the school year, the newsletter will likely be the biggest source of articles.  I always try to include FREE printables in one or more  areas of interest.  I truly think you will be glad you signed up.

The drawing will be held on September 1st (That's just a few weeks away so don't wait!!).  There will only be ONE winner.  I will contact you at that time and you can select which prize package you would like.

In the mean-time, I pray your reading, both fiction and non-fiction, takes you to wonderful places as God shows you knew and wonderful things about life!



  1. I love how you prayed over your book list. I was just considering doing something similar because I want my choices to honor God. I also know I can't read everything that comes my way.

    1. Amen! I don't have a ton of time to read so when I do squeeze in a book, I want to know it counts! Ask God for Direction is always rewarding :-)