In the last several months, I've come across two books that I'd love to recommend.
I'm a non-fiction girl, and rarely read a novel. I like the practical side of a non-fiction book, and tend to zip through them faster. But I do love reading great novels to the kids, and I guess I like novels more than I let on. Maybe it's just that I spend so much time reading aloud to them during the school year, that my own personal reading time begs for something different.
My sister, Jen, recommened Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth to me a few months ago, and I just finished reading it a couple days ago. The Amish are always intriguing to me, I love learning about them and their ways. This book takes a variety of topics including hospitality, posessions, finances, media, etc... and compares the way our modern culture views these issues and the way the Amish do things. At so many turns, our culture has things so backwards. We have a lot to learn from the Amish! There are a few things we've already put into practice - reading this book has made us rethink a few things that were already weighing heavy on my heart.
We now take a break from all things with a screen on Sundays. We're just two Sundays into it, and boy, is it a breath of fresh air around here! Not that we are logging crazy amounts of screen time anyways, but it takes away the pull of the computer for us all, and turns our minds to more worthwhile pursuits. No computer time for the kids, no computer, email or facebook for Jeremy or I, and no family movie, etc... The last two Sundays, I have completed several small projects that have been on my mental to-do list forever! But it's sad how often the pull to jump on the computer "real fast" comes into my thinking. I find myself on it less and less nowadays, and that's a very good thing! We play board games, spend time outside, visit with family and friends, work on indoor/outdoor projects, and just spend time together. Which we've always done, but it's so freeing to be free from technology. And it's so funny to me that it feels so wonderful for a whole day to not do something that I have the choice to abstain from each and every day! She can be taught, folks!!
The other thing that we've decided, that was confirmed by reading this book, was that we'd have a designated night of the month to open up our home to a family, couple, or person that we don't know very well. We love having people in our home, and like to do it often, but usually it's with the people we feel completely comfortable around, and who are already our good friends. I guess it's sort of selfish hospitality in a way. Extremely enjoyable? Yes. But too far inside our comfort zone to stretch us at all, and we're feeling convicted to be stretched some more!
I'd highly recommend Almost Amish to you - let me know if you end up reading it, I'd love to know what you think!
A Love That Multiplies is the second book written by the Duggars, who have nineteen children! I own and have read their first book, which is the "why" of what they do as a family. And this second book is the "how" they do things as a family, and it starts out detaling the extremely premature birth of little Josie. So much of this book applies whether you are the parents of two or twenty kids, and I really enjoyed this one even more than the first. I bought it before I read it, so I was glad it was worth the money spent!
What a wise family with outstanding parents! Jim Bob and Michelle aren't just scrambling aimlessly through their roles as parents, they are following God's word, teaching it to their children, and doing a fantastic job of managing a LARGE family.
My favorite quotes from the book:
"Admittedly, we often felt overwhelmed, but we had given this area of our life over to God, and in faith we kept going. We are so thankful we didn't stop, because then we had Josiah and Joy-Anna. Then after the birth of our tenth and eleventh children, twins Jedidiah and Jeremiah, some of the very people who had been so critical started complimenting and encouraging us as though we were having our first child. We didn't know if they gave up and decided they just weren't going to change our minds, or if they finally understood that we consider each child a blessing from God and saw that our older children were turning out okay!
We dedicated ourselves to training our children to love God and serve others. Now, as we look into the precious faces of our children, we often think about how different our lives would have been if we didn't have each one of them. We are thankful for each child, and each one is grateful to be here." pg. 81
"The fact is, sometimes God asks us to do something we don't want to do. We try to teach our children this concept about life's choices from the time they are young. When we ask them to do something, they always have a choice. They can choose to obey and do what is right. Or they can choose not to obey and face the consequences.
As adults, we have the same choice when we feel God directing us. We can trust that God knows what is best and do what He's asking us to do. Or we can choose what we want to do - and face the consequencs." pgs. 84-85
"Consider this: Christ did not command us to go out and make friends; He told us to make disciples (see Matthew 28:19). We tell our kids, If your goal is to win friends, you'll probably end up doing a lot of compromising to keep their friendship. If your goal is to love and disciple others, people who hang out with you will be challenged to follow God's vision for their life, and you will have true friendships where each encourages the other to live for God!" pg. 231
A Love That Multiplies is a book I revisit often for encouragement in my life as a mom, I'm thankful the Duggars are willing to share their lives with all of us.