Beautiful Day

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Intentional Reading for Mothers

Reading by the Window
Charles James Lewis

I have read several excellent posts lately on the subject of reading---more specifically, reading with the intent to sharpen our minds and hearts in order to be filled up with great thoughts out of which we give to others.  Reading has always been a very centerpiece of my life and our home.  Thanks to this great book, one of the very first books I read on educating our children, I was spurred on to adopt the philosophy that our children need the same from an early age.  They need to "engage" with heroes, well-written stories, and the very Word of God itself.  I still believe that if we do little else, our children will benefit tremendously by becoming good readers.  Not only should they become excellent and discerning readers in their own right, but we should be investing time at home in feeding their souls by reading to them.

I also know that in a busy world and with much to manage at home, the mind certainly wants to become lazy--or it seems that way to me.  I have noticed as I've grown older that the disciplines I cherish require all the more discipline.  My mind wants to wander.  It doesn't want to focus on the Bible as I read it.  It doesn't naturally lend itself to memorizing Scripture.  I find this very frustrating.  And as I have read these articles of late about reading, I am finding encouragement to keep at the spiritual disciplines.  Part of this for me is the exhortation to continue to read from great minds and to read difficult things sometimes.  It takes work.  And it would seem "work" is just what we need.

In a world bombarded with books, and may I say, so very many NOT worth the ink, it can be difficult to determine just what we should spend our time reading.  I keep reading lists in a file.  I also jot down a book in my "brain" (planning book) any time I come across what looks like an interesting title.

In future posts I hope to share some of my lists for various reading "groups"--books for girls, books for boys, theological books, family read-alouds, and books on topics of interest in keeping the home, to name a few categories.  For today, I am sharing a list for women and mothers.  Karen Andreola coined a term called "Mother Culture."  I like this expression of cultivating our hearts as mothers, both to refresh and renew our hearts and vision, and to share it with others.
 "A woman cannot give out greatness of mind if she has not invested her mind in great thoughts."~Sally Clarkson, I Take Joy
I readily admit that I have a long way to go in my reading of great thoughts and minds.  I think this is one area where the expression "it's not a destination, but a journey" is especially fitting.  I may never be as well-read as some of my friends and that is okay.  What matters is that I am making the time to read quality books, fascinating stories, and the things that will challenge my weak places, strengthen my strong points, and give wings to visions and dreams.  I want to be a woman filled with greatness of mind in order to share it with my own children and with younger women, according to Titus 2.

So here's my list.  Of course it is not exhaustive.  You may have favorites that aren't here (and I'd love for you to share them!).  You may not even like some of them.  But I share them as a launching point for your own journey.  My hope is you will find encouragement, delight for your soul, and something to take away that lifts your heart and mind to do great things in your own dominion of home and family.

  1. The Bible
  2. "The Hidden Art of Homemaking"--Edith Schaeffer
  3. "What is a Family?"--Edith Schaeffer
  4. "Homemaking"--J.R. Miller
  5. "For the Family's Sake"--Susan Schaeffer Macauley
  6. "The Mission of Motherhood" and other books by Sally Clarkson
  7. "The Trapp Family Singers"--Maria von Trapp
  8. "Stepping Heavenward"--Elizabeth Prentiss
  9. "One Thousand Gifts"--Ann Voskamp
  10. "Your Home:  A Place of Grace"--Susan Hunt
  11. "Feminine Appeal" and "Girl Talk"--Carolyn Mahaney
  12. "Mother"--Kathleen Norris
  13. "The Shaping of a Christian Family" and other books by Elisabeth Elliot
  14. "Queen of the Home"--ed. by Jennifer McBride
  15. "The Private World of Tasha Tudor"--Tasha Tudor and Richard Brown
Happy Reading!

(For other great thoughts and resources regarding reading, see Sally's post  on I Take Joy and check out my friend, Carrie's blog on reading from a Christian worldview).

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  1. I am happy to say that I have all those books and have read them and been impacted by them except for the one by Susan Hunt.

    Great list! And I love the quote by Sally Clarkson!


  2. (Friend of Carrie's...and I could never read like her!)

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am also trying to be more purposeful in my reading these days. I have only read a few of those titles/authors.



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