My Favorites

     It’s been far too long since I’ve written about books. It just doesn’t seem right, seeing as how they’re such a big part of my daily life. I read first thing when I wake up (after the coffee’s brewing, of course—let’s not be ridiculous), sometime throughout the day, and last thing before my head hits the pillow. I. love. to. read. My stage in life (aka constant interruptions from two constantly needy and noisy children) is not very conducive to my reading habit, however. Usually after the tenth time of having to reread a sentence to regather my train of thought, I throw in the towel. So I have to save anything that takes major concentration for when I get a little Starbucks date by myself, or when both kids are asleep.
     Lately I’ve been reading The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard. It’s one of those that requires me to be “kid-free” while reading it, so I’m only on Chapter 6, but I can already tell it’s going to become one of my favorite books. Essentially it’s a book on being a disciple of Jesus in the truest sense of the word, which is what I want my whole life to be about! I’m learning so much and I’m being challenged in new and deeper ways because of it. I crave books that will force me to grow, and this is one of those.
     I’ve also been reading Shauna Niequist, whose writing I just love. She writes about ordinary life—about pain, joy, loss, celebration, and lots about food. She’s written 4 books and probably my favorite is Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table. Isn’t that subtitle delicious (no pun intended)? I connected so deeply with it because although I loathe cooking, as all my friends will tell you, I am a firm believer in the ministry of feeding people. I’ve always prayed that God would make me, my home, and my table a soft place to land for others. I want to be one of those people and my home one of those places where people feel safe, loved, and cared for. One of the places I experience God’s presence the most is around the table, sharing food and stories and deep conversations with the people I love. The table is special and significant, and Shauna beautifully expresses why. She has such a gift of expressing things we're all feeling, but in a much more poetic way than we'd ever be able to muster. She beautifully put into words the deep feelings I’ve always had about food, community, and sharing life with my family and community. It also has lots of gorgeous recipes. (I say gorgeous because they look like they’d be amazing if I actually ever made them, which is highly unlikely given my history. But if you are a foodie like my husband and enjoy cooking, I’m sure you’d love them.)
     For Christmas, I always ask for lots of books and this year my husband pre-ordered Shauna’s newest book, Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are. It was like Christmas all over again when it arrived on my doorstep in March! It’s a daily devotional that includes Scripture and a question to ponder at the end, which I’ve found to be good food for thought throughout my day. My morning routine is as follows:
I grumpily emerge from sleep to my RUDE alarm, press snooze 2 or 3 times (my poor husband), reluctantly lumber out of bed, wriggle into my robe, and bump down the hall like a blind bat to the kitchen. I put the water in the kettle to boil, grind the coffee and dump the grounds into the french press, and then bump back down the hall to pee. (Yes, you read that right. Coffee first, peeing second. Priorities, people.) Then I make my way to the kitchen, in a slightly less bat-like manner, to the now noisy kettle, and reach for Savor to read the day’s devotional. It's a great thing with which to fill my mind first thing in the morning, when my whole being is nothing but grumpy. And bonus, it's beautiful! I keep it in my kitchen for three reasons: 1) It's easily accessible as I make my coffee in the morning. 2) It also has recipes, so if by some divine miracle I ever decide to cook, the option of delicious recipes is close at hand. 3) It's beautiful, so it doubles as kitchen decor. As I may have mentioned a few times before, making my home look put together is not really my thing in this season, but this book on the shelf makes me feel like one little corner of my house has been blessed with the mojo of Joanna Gaines (of the hit HGTV show "Fixer Upper").
     So what have you been reading lately? What is speaking to you and teaching you?