When my husband and I were first married one of our favorite places to go on a date night was Barnes and Noble. Actually, it was kind of a strange ritual because he would head off to the sci-fi, fantasy, foction section and I to the biography, religious section so it wasn’t really very date like. Even so, this place is like a haven. Normally, I like more hole-in-the-wall kind of bookshops rather than big chains but this particular Barnes and Noble is special. It has a circular Starbucks porch-like thing right in the middle of the store so no matter what section you are in you can smell those delightful beans. It’s also right near my favorite park with the lake. Something about simply being near a lake makes this Mid-West girl feel calm and at ease. Of course, the main reason it feels like a sanctuary are the rows of books. I think few things make my soul more full than the written word. That is why I want to share with you my short list (ask for the long list if you wish!) of books that have changed my life.
I read this book when I was preparing to be a licensed foster Mom. Well, we were still in the mountain of paperwork point of licensing but I wanted to be prepared! When I pictured what motherhood was going to be I imagined how hard it was going to be. I was worried about how chronic pain would affect my ability to be a Mom. To be honest, I was scared. This book gave me hope that motherhood was not only do-able but that it could even be dignified! It changed how I saw mothering before I even became a Mom.
Oh I wish I could remember when or how I discovered this book It’s honestly a main factor in why you are reading this post now. She is by far my favorite author and while some can’t quite get past the “flowery” language she has a way of loosing me in the beauty of her thoughts like no author can. Life is crazy busy and if we aren’t careful it can fly by without our permission. This book has taught me to notice-no not just to notice- to memorize the moments. To live full. To take in every breath with thankfulness and intention. This book is a sanctuary.
No books-that-have-changed-my-life list would be complete without my favorite version of the Scriptures. As a writer or a reader we desire beautiful things. My Bible is a beautiful book, inside and out. If you aren’t into the whole lettering thing, than just take pleasure in the organized space to take notes that don’t clutter up the page.
This book. This book not only changed my heart but it changed my marriage before it even go started. When my husband and I were dating I held a lot of bitterness in my heart. Difficult experiences of my past tainted my view of men and the marriage bed. With every bitter expectation the main character had about those two things my own heart was revealed. Never would I have expected that a fictional story (loosely based on a Biblical one) would lead me to a place of healing, forgiveness and preparedness for marriage.
You know that book that you go back to over and over and it gets better each time? This book is that book. There’s nothing trendy, edgy, or radical about it. To be honest the cover is kind of outdated looking but oh how my heart needs this book. It’s full of gentle honest, simple truth written as though a mother or kind mentor were speaking straight into my heart. “Worry is like a rocking chair. It keeps you busy but gets you nowhere.” –Calm My Anxious Heart
Community is something I’ve been talking about a lot lately but it used to be sort of a hard idea to nail down. This book is so important because it gives hands and feet to the idea of community. It gets down to the super practical to help with the akward that comminuty can be in its early stages. Specifically, this book talks about how to do community when a part of your community is broken, struggling or even terminally ill. I learned so much from this book about how to big love my community but as a chronically ill person I learned valuable lessons on how to receive from my community. I was recently discussing with a Bible study group how every member of Christ needs each other and as much as we need to show up for each other, we need to depend on each other. If you don’t know what that looks like, read this book.
Here are my top six but I am sure I’ve left out some other’s that are just as life changing. I would love to hear from you! What books have changed your life and why? I’m always looking for a good excuse to go back to my sanctuary B and N.