I'm an avid reader. I've always loved to read. As a teenager, my cousin Sylvia and our friend Amy and I would pass around books...we would rush each other to finish reading it, especially if it was in a series. And our moms did this as well. Our libraries were huge!
I haven't been reading as much since I had kids...for one thing it's hard to carve in the time...and as much as I loved loved loved staying up late reading...I don't get to sleep as late with the little ones. (Especially right now since I'm having some pregnancy insomnia...ulgh)
But, I'd like to share some books that I have read recently that have helped me - both in my personal life and in my marriage and as a mom.
This book has changed my life. I love the subtitle...Knowing when to say yes and how to say no to take control of your life. I have taken on guilt in the past - unnecessary guilt that I bring on myself - and this book has helped me deal with it and so much more. So much more. I highly recommend this book to read at any point of your life...it brought me freedom that I needed...that I wasn't allowing myself to have. I loved this book! I'm also reading another book Dr. Henry Cloud wrote called Raising Great Kids...and there are other specific areas of Boundaries...including Boundaries with Kids (another future book I'll be reading).
2) Baby Wise by Dr. Gary Ezzo & Robert Bucknam
This book as well as the next one - PreToddler Wise - really helped me in dealing with our kids. I didn't really follow the schedule/routine with Brennan, but I'm planning on doing it with this next kid. It worked wonders with Bella. Even last night, Bella was tired so she announced, "I'm going to bed..." and walked to her room and got in bed waiting for us to tuck her in and pray with her. She does that regularly for naps, too. I attribute that to these books helping me.
3) A Million Miles in a Thousand Years...by Donald Miller
He wrote Blue Like Jazz, which was a great book...but this second one is about him turning Blue Like Jazz into a movie...and how he realized he needed to live a life that was worth telling. This book challenged Lee & me so much. A lot of why we moved to Colorado to help start a church was because of this book. We want to live a life that is worth telling...and we want that for our kids too.
One of my favorite missionary families is the Tilleys. Rodney Tilley has some amazing stories to tell...crazy things that don't happen in most peoples' every day lives. It's those kinds of stories and faith that inspire me...and this book helped that inspiration become a challenge that was even more real - and we believe that we can have that for ourselves.
4) Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
This book is not one that you can just sit down and read cover to cover in a week. There are 12 disciplines that are covered, and you should take at the minimum a week to practice each discipline. I would recommend practicing one for a month. Focusing on one discipline at a time was challenging. The first time we did this was during our Chi Alpha internship. It's something like I've enjoyed repeating. This is also a book that changed our marriage. It helped Lee & I get on the same page...and the chapter on confession brought a whole new level of honesty and openness to our marriage that we had never, ever experienced before.
There are soooo many more books that have challenged me and helped me grow. And the authors of these books are soooo different in their writing styles and techniques, but I've enjoyed reading them - and would consider them to be an "easy" read.
And for those of you who are thinking, I hate reading...It takes me forever to read a book...I have one more suggestion for you...
5) The Princeton Review has a book called Ten Days to Faster Reading. It's a book about improving your reading speed, comprehension, and retention. I used it when I taught an ACT prep class at Pineville High School. I personally increased my reading speed with this book, and I had several students increase theirs as well...even to the point of improving their ACT scores in the reading section. So, this can work for you too! It's worth the investment in the book and the 20 minutes for 10 days that it will take to go through it.
I've heard it said before, "Leaders = Readers & Readers = Leaders." God has given us the opportunity to improve our knowledge with the plethora of books available to us. I want to do my part by reading all that I can to be a better person...and help others grow along the way!