Thursday, December 10, 2015

What Book Has Changed Your Life?

I've spent the last couple of days deciding what books I want to read in 2016. This was sparked by The 2016 Reading Challenge on Tim Challies' blog this week. I printed off the challenge, taped it in my bullet journal, and started marking it up with the titles I would like to read.

My husband and I have an embarrassing number of books on our shelves that we have not read yet. We have always been readers, but have slowed down quite a bit (with the adult reading, anyway) since having children. Somehow our book acquisition rate has not slowed with our reading rate. The truth is, we still want to be avid readers, and are not willing to let that image of ourselves go. We need a plan.

Given our shelves full of books, I populated most of the list with titles from our bookshelves. Books we don't own will hopefully come from the local library.

Here are some of my picks so far:
A book about Christian living: The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis (on my shelf)
A biography: The Personal Life of David Livingstone by William Blaikie (on my shelf)
A classic novel: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (already started, will finish in 2016)
A commentary on a book of the Bible: I Wish Someone Would Explain Hebrews to Me by Stuart Olyott (on my shelf)
A book with the word "gospel" in the title or subtitle: The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler (on my shelf)
A book more than 100 years old: Kept for the Master's Use by Frances Havergal (on my shelf)
A mystery or detective novel: Arthur & George by Julian Barnes (at my library) or something by Dorothy Sayers (also at my library)
A book with at least 400 pages: George Whitefield Vol. 1 by Arnold Dallimore (on my shelf)
A graphic novel: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller (at my library)

One recommendation stopped me, though. "A book someone tells you 'changed my life.'" So I decided to turn to you, dear readers. What book has changed your life?

I can't exactly return the favour, because I don't really tend to think in dramatic terms like that. Usually if a book has come close to "changing my life" it's because it was at the culmination of a long process of life or thought change anyway. Other books have changed my life for a few years or a decade, but the change has not been permanent. But I will give you a list of a few of the best books of my life, if you like. (Amazon links included for your reference. I am not an affiliate. If you're buying, I'd suggest supporting someone who is.)

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
A Sacrifice of Praise: An Anthology of Christian Poetry in English from Caedmon to the Mid-Twentieth Century ed. by James H. Trott

When Grace Comes Home: How the Doctrines of Grace Change Your Life by Terry Johnson
Dynamics of Spiritual Life: An Evangelical Theology of Renewal by Richard F. Lovelace

Christian Life:
Each for the Other:Marriage As It's Meant to Be by Bryan Chappell
Family Vocation: God's Calling in Marriage, Parenting, and Childhood Mary Moerbe and Gene Veith

Home Education:Training and Educating Children Under Nine by Charlotte Mason

There. Now I'd like to hear from you. What are the books that have changed your life?

Cookie Day 2015

Yesterday I declared a holiday and and we made some cookies.

We made chocolate-dipped shortbread, chocolate chip cookies with M&M's (red and green, of course!), date-filled stars, raspberry almond thumbprints, almond crescents, and gingerbread nuts (kruidnoten).

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Beginning our Picture Book Advent Calendar 2015

The Christmas picture books have been coming in quickly at the library. I wrapped a stack of them on Saturday.

We've been unwrapping them one by one at tea time this week. (Tea time doesn't always look like this...often it's just snack and a poetry book or two.)

The boys have been taking turns choosing the wrapped book from the stack and unwrapping it. JJ(5) had the first turn on Monday.

The book turned out to be Shooting at the Stars: the Christmas Truce of 1914. This was a new book for us, and while I probably wouldn't have chosen it for our very first Christmas picture book (we're choosing at random), it was a good bridge from Remembrance Day a few weeks ago to Christmas a few weeks in the future.

We wrapped up our tea time with some poetry by Christina Rossetti (who has wonderful Christmas poetry, by the way!), and then finally got to the part my boys had all been waiting for...

...the Jacquie Lawson Victorian Advent calendar a friend gave us for the computer. Each day has a special little activity, and the boys love it. (Thank you, Christina!)

We normally have no screen time before 4:00 PM, so having a bit in the morning is a special treat for them.

That's how our lesson time has begun each day so far this week and hopefully continuing on until Christmas. Homeschooling is fun! :)