Monday, July 25, 2011

Book "Heaven"

Okay, so, I went to book "heaven" this weekend. At least it was for me. Our state Christian home educator convention was Friday and Saturday, and I've just got to say that I could LIVE in that Exhibitor Hall for quite a while! I think any avid book lover, whether mother or homeschooler or neither could have some serious bouts of hyperventilation in that room! My husband hasn't got the hang of it yet. He looks around for about 10 minutes and says, "Oh, well. I'm done."  WHAT??!! I can't wrap my mind around that. It's like having 30 bookstores in the same room...complete with discounts, no shipping costs, and Christian books of all kinds.

I always have to reign myself in a little bit, or I could walk out with a serious financial crisis on my hands. I give myself a general, reasonable limit with room for negotiation. (Lucky for me, my birthday usually falls right around that time so I might have a little extra "green" in my pocketbook.) This year I did mostly curriculum shopping. I'm going to try some new things...nature study, living books history, more variety with Bible time and more fine arts appreciation. I'm pretty jazzed about it all. These meetings always get me completely psyched to start school. Not so for my student body...this is still summer break time. But I'm hoping some of my newly acquired finds will help make this year even more enjoyable.

I wish you could visit a home school exhibitor hall no matter what stage you find yourself in life or what educational choice you have made. I have found some of the best classic books in the world there. If it's a classic, out of print, and now reprinted, you WILL find it there. A beautiful book I purchased about two years ago is called The Basket of Flowers by Christopher von Schmid.  WOW! I asked the vendor what she had that was similar in tone to Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. She recommended The Basket. Boy, did I hit the jackpot! A beautiful novel albeit tinged with sorrow that is deep and rich with spiritual insight and power. Written well over 100 years ago, it is uplifting and challenging. Can you say that about all the fluff out there today?  Don't get me wrong. I enjoy a good piece of light reading as well as the next person.

I did purchase a book solely for myself though...How to Have a Heart for Your Kids by Rachael Carman. And yes, it is written by a home school mom...(Apologia Press). So far it's great! Just a little book to help me review my direction and focus for the new year. (BTW, I got to hear the speaker for four sessions. She was a lots of fun, and loves what she does.) Amen!

Let's find those "treasures" wherever they are and get busy reading them. I don't know about you but I need to be challenged to "kick it up a notch" spiritually speaking frequently throughout the year.


*Coming soon...a review of A Love That Multiples by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Encouraging Blogs

There are so many venues for good reading in our day. And there is no shortage of good material to read. As always this is our first consideration. We can read the old fashioned way (my personal favorite), in magazines, on kindle and nook, on a smart phone, or online.

The world of blogs or websites is fascinating and new to me. I'm sure others are far more techno-savy than I am, but I have enjoyed the good reading I've found online. I thought I might share some that I have found or that have been recommended to me by others. I am always on the lookout for good solid Christian blogs. I frequently purge from my list of blogs ones that have ceased to help me on my path heavenward. A few that I read are not Christian in nature, but they are helpful and not offensive.

I don't read blogs every day (or write for that matter), but I think it's easy to get hooked. Have you ever been online doing email or facebook and realized that an hour has passed?  It is so easy to do, and what have we accomplished really. Even though the computer has a clock on it, I sit where I can see another clock so that time doesn't get away from me. And make sure what you're reading is good for your spirit. There is a lot of negative literature online. Not just the outright sinful stuff, but things that encourage griping and a contentious spirit. Be above all that. If it does help, get rid of it.

Even in our reading we must prioritize. Our Bible reading must be at the top of the list. Although other reading may encourage and uplift, the Bible can change your life like no other book.

I read blogs on the topics of Christian womanhood, parenting, ministry, cooking, couponing, and other topics. As I mentioned I'm always on the lookout for a good blog. I don't have to agree with the author's views on everything to enjoy their writing. If you have a good solid Biblical foundation in life, you can "eat the meat and spit out the bones".

Here are a few I enjoy-

I would love to hear what blogs you enjoy. The last two I listed are not particularly Christian, just fun. Be safe online. Get the good stuff, and chuck the rest.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Reading That Lifts the Spirits

All of us need good uplifting and inspirational books in our lives. These books remind of us of the important truths that we are so prone to forget in the everyday rush of living. Maybe we are struggling with difficult decisions or a difficiency in our character. Maybe it's just a plain old sin problem. I like to ask others what books have helped them in their lives. Some works are truly life changing as God uses them to give direction in our lives.

If you are like me, you don't need reading material that will depress or discourage. Maybe you know you need a change. Endeavor to "set no wicked thing before your eyes." It may not necessarily be a book with foul language or explicit content, but it might not be the best thing for you at this time. Put it to the test. For one or two months read that which will encourage you in your walk with God. Ask a godly Christian friend for a few suggestions. Ask a parent for books that have helped them through the years. Ask your pastor's wife for some books on a specific topic. I believe you're notice a world of difference.

Some wonderful books:

Classics -

*The Holy Bible...perhaps starting with John, Philippians, or Genesis. This is the best choice you can make.
The Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan
Hinds Feet in High Places by Hannah Hurnard
In His Steps by Charles Sheldon
*Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
*The Musicians Quest by George MacDonald (also other novels)
Mimosa by Amy Carmichael (and other works)
*A Chance to Die: Amy Carmichael by Elizabeth Elliot
Through Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot (and other works)
Renewed Day by Day by AW Tozer
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Modern Works -

*Safely Home by Randy Alcorn
Daughter of China by C. Hope Flinchbaugh
Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore (Note: I do not recommend everything about her)
So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore
Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
*Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver
*A Mom After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George
Sisterchicks Do the Hula by Robin Jones Gunn
Sophie's Heart by Lori Wick
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
*At Home in Mitford (Series) by Jan Karon

* These are some of my absolute favorite books. I've read them over and over again. If you're looking for something on a topic I haven't mentioned, please ask. If you have some other suggestions by all means let us know. God bless you and may you continue to "read heavenward."