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March 9, 2014

the best kind of homework

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” Oscar Wilde

I am of the philosophy that writers must read and readers must write. The two disciplines truly go hand in hand. As you fill your mind with more and more knowledge, truth, perspective and awareness, words and ideas will spill forth from your mind onto the “pages” of your life. Your status as an author may not be explicitly formal writing, but everyone is an author of some sort, whether you scribble on notepads, daily entertain readers on a blog, or daydream incessantly, scripting beautiful scenes and painting descriptive pictures in your mind.

In order for us to create, we must have something filling our minds, hearts, souls to first create with. C.S. Lewis says it well: “Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.” Luke 6:45 says this, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Another word used for abundance there is overflow. Out of the overflow of our hearts we speak, write, live, etc.

So, go out and read! I know it comes more naturally to some than others, and some are quicker than others, and some enjoy it more than others. My challenge is for you to brew a good pot of coffee or a warm cup of tea, pick something up, and try to read one page. I really think you’ll be intrigued enough to get to the end of the chapter, but let’s start small. It is my goal this year to improve my “reading record” and read at least one new book per month, and sometimes for me that means just reading a couple pages right before I go to bed.

Here is what I’m reading/going to read if you need any inspiration:

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1. 7 Men and the Secret to their Greatness by Eric Metaxas. If biographies bore you, this is a great way to dig into the lives of 7 great men and learn from their mistakes and accomplishments. Each guy is 1 chapter, making looking into the window of their lives an achievable feat. Metaxas includes George Washington, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Pope John Paul II.

2. real food for mother and baby by Nina Planck. LOVED this book. My friend Carli Chapman gave me this book when I got pregnant, and it just confirmed everything I had already learned and suspected about food and what’s best for our bodies and more. Get ready to be challenged, though, and have social norms and conventions tossed out the window.

3. Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes. This was a suggestion at the LINGER conference hosted by Shane&Shane. Discipline marks a life of freedom, and so I’m currently working through this book now.

4. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. This is a daily devotional that I have read, and re-read, and re-read, and…you get the picture. Each entry is rich, packed with truth and beautifully crafted.

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5. A Place at the Table by Chris Seay. I started this last year at the recommendation of my friend Chelsea Williams and her post on Lent. Again with the discipline, I did not finish it, but I am hopeful this year to try to cherish the Lenten season leading up to the Cross as much as possible.

6. Disciplines of a Godly Family by Kent and Barbara Hughes. Another LINGER recommendation that I have yet to open, but since we have little Finch coming this summer, I wanted to glean whatever wisdom I could since our family is growing.

7. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. Haven’t read it yet, but I hear rave reviews. And historical fiction is at the top of my list when it comes to reading for fun.

8. Eat that Frog! by Brian Tracy. My brother read this recently and has newly-found motivation and discipline to get things done. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s high on the list, because even better – it’s free! Here’s the PDF.

So get in a book today! You won’t regret it. And let me know in the comments what you’ve been reading so I can add to my list!

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