I feel like the month of June is always completely packed with things to do and places to be. There’s so little down time. Due to that, I read only 6 and a half books and one novella this month; of those, five I had read before.
I started off by borrowing Tom’s copy of Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley. Andy is our preacher at Northpoint Community Church, and we love to hear what God uses him to teach us. He is a great communicator, and I was looking forward to finally reading one of his books.
No disappointment. This book is all about when and how you have to make the choice to cut back in your work life in order to give more in your family life. And it also addresses the spouses who sometimes turn themselves into martyrs so their spouses can spend the time they should be with family elsewhere.
It’s a quick read and a great guideline for staying out of the trap many fall into of committing more of themselves to work than they should. Andy does repeat himself a little bit, but I told Tom that it kind of reminded me of when he does a sermon series at church. There are a few things he will say enough times during a series that when you hear the title of that sermon series, those phrases immediately come to mind. Those are the key phrases that drive home the point, so I can understand it. And because of that, I can forgive the repetition in the book.
The second book I read in about two days. It was The Duggars: 20 and Counting! by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.
I first heard of this family several years ago, long before they had a show on TLC. My mom had heard of them and visited their site. She was encouraged by what a loving and godly family they seemed to be, and she was especially interested in how they managed to stay organized (or maybe she was just looking for tips on how to get me to be more organized as my room was the bane of her existence when I was a teenager). Regardless of my mom’s impression of them, I just thought, “why would anyone want to have that many kids? Is that even safe to have that many kids and keep going? How can they even have a relationship with their parents? And why are all the kids given names that start with J? This family is kinda weird.” And then I saw that they all usually dress the same and wrote it off as an out-of-touch with normality group of people.
So I was surprised this last year when I found myself being drawn in to watch their show on TLC. At first, I was merely curious and trying to understand them. But then it became more of appreciating something wholesome and uplifting in a real family. They genuinely love each other and the Lord. These kids respect their parents AND these parents respect their kids. They don’t humiliate them or make fun of them or exasperate them. They encourage the good and weed out the bad choices their children make with love. It’s fascinating to find something on tv, reality tv, no less, that doesn’t make me sorry I turned it on in the first place.
Eventually, I borrowed this book from my mom, who owns it. It answers a lot of questions as to why and how they do things in their life. I won’t be doing things the same in all respects (less children, more variety in clothes, updated hairstyles, etc.), but I found myself really impressed with this family. The parents married quite young, and they have learned to be great stewards of what God has given them. They have all those kids and absolutely no debt (no, not even a mortgage), and they make wise decisions about how to use what they have. They even share how they came to be financially independent and tips for how to stay that way. I fully intend to try out their recipe for home-made laundry detergent. Once I’ve made it and tried it, I’ll review it on the site and post the directions if it’s good.
The next four books were the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer.
I already covered my opinion on these books, so I won’t repeat myself. But it was just that I was feeling the urge to read them again. I just finished them (that’s the third time I’ve read them) and picked up The Host (again). Stephenie Meyer has a knack for writing books a reader just can’t put down. I hope she writes something new soon.
Which leads me to my next read, the novella. I was looking on Stephenie Meyer’s site to see if she had any new projects coming out, and I saw that she had a short novella about Bree Tanner, a vampire that is briefly part of the story in Eclipse, the third Twilight book. And that’s when I saw that she wrote a novella about Bree. It made me wish her story had a happier ending.
If you like Twilight, check out (for free and with the author’s permission) this short novella: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. I actually read this (and the next thing I list) before diving into Twilight again.
And then there was the half book I read, Midnight Sun. I only read half of it because that’s all there is to it, but this was my second time through it. Stephenie Meyer was in the middle of rewriting Twilight from Edward’s perspective, and it got leaked online. She stopped writing it. So sad about that because I actually enjoy reading it from Edward’s perspective more than from Bella’s. There’s no picture to go with it, but there is a link. You can just try to imagine this dude telling it to you, k?
Yikes. He looks a little p.o.’d. Not good for a vampire.
Oh cheer up, Edward. You’ll get your turn to tell your story if Mrs. Meyer ever gets back around to it. We’re just as disappointed as you are.
Until then, happy reading!
Update on my Nana:
Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and kind words and prayers. It’s been a rough week. They finally were able to get Nana where she could breathe on her own without a ventilator, but she’s not very responsive in general. My mom and her siblings had to make the decision to move her to hospice care. This hasn’t been easy for them.
On Sunday, my dad called me and asked me to talk to her. He said when she heard my brother and sister on the phone talking to her, she seemed to smile a bit, though she couldn’t respond. Of course, I was happy to have the chance to tell her how much I love her and that I am glad to talk to her and that she’s out of the hospital and how I want to come visit her soon. She couldn’t talk back to me, and I could hear her labored breathing on the other end of the phone. That was much harder than I expected and it’s hard for me to think about it without getting upset. Tom and I are making plans to go to Savannah next month to visit her.
At this point, I’m praying that if she can’t improve that she’ll at least live long enough for us to get to go down to see her. But of course I don’t want her to suffer any, so if God takes her early, I’d rather His will be done. Please continue to pray for His will and for comfort. Thanks, friends.