Monday, March 14, 2011

My Lifetime Reading List

    What is it that would make a creature as fierce, majestic, and powerful as a lion is, subject itself to the intimidation of a man, a whip and a chair? The lion has forgotten who he is.

    That saying opens Iyanla Vanzant’s new book, Peace from Broken Pieces. Her meditation books, titled Faith in the Valley, and Until Today, have always been favorites of mine. She has written many other books too, and I was happy to see her back on Oprah’s final season.

        Books and Music are my “things”. I know the words to so many songs, I surprise myself!  No wonder the hard drive in my brain has no room for other stuff, I really should remember! And books, like music, have saved me from depression and anxiety, and kept me afloat in life more than once.
      I can spend hours in a Barnes and Noble store seaching for a potencial new book. The front cover of the potencial new book is a huge hook for me, as well as the print size, the texture of the page, and how wordy or flowery the story is written. I like an accurate picture painted for me of course, but not overly so.  Part of the fun of reading is what you conjure up in your own mind to fill in where the author leaves off. I have a Kindle and I like it for travel but I prefer the actual book with the color and texture etc.  
     I especially like memoirs and self- help books. I’ll share some book titles that have been my saving grace over the years.  Have You Felt Like Giving Up Lately, by David Wilkerson is a book I think all young people should read. I read it in my twenties and it is about asking questions we all seem to ask at times. He uses biblical scriptures to answer commonly asked questions like why me? He says, everyone has a cross to bear in life, different crosses but it’s our job to pick up our cross and struggle with it if we have to…Jesus did.

     Another of my favorites is Why Am I Crying, by Martha Maughon. I got more from that book than any counselor or doctor could have given me. Her husband worked for the Billy Graham ministries and she was racked with post-partum depression. If you know me you know that I was hospitalized with post-partum depression after Shelbey was born. That book is a really good one for anyone suffering from depression and anxiety. Everyone is different, and I only write from my own perspective but the only thing that made sense to me when I got to the end of my own rope was believing in something stronger that I was, and the bigger picture. This book was my saving grace.

     Sarah Van Breathnoch wrote several books, my favorite being Simple Abundance. I was lucky enough to see her at the Oprah show when I went in 1997 with my friend Toni Evans. We were given the book as audience members. I spent many hours after the kids were in bed, in the bathtub, a candle lit, and reading my daily dose of Simple Abundance.

      My favorite memoir is A Glass Castle. It is the family story of Jennette Walls, who today is a writer for MSNBC. The story is about herself and her three siblings, who lived a neglected, dysfunctional, and nomadic lifestyle. Their father was a brilliant, charismatic alcoholic, who when he was sober was able to capture the imagination of the kids and teach them geology and physics but mostly how to embrace life fearlessly. The mother was an artist and a writer that could care less about tending to a family, when she could be painting. What I loved about this book, is that rather be written from a place of anger, it comes from love.  It’s the epitome of unconditional love and triumph against all odds. Shelbey loves this book too.

 Kerry gave me my New International Version Bible for a gift one Christmas when I was struggling with post-partum depression. He took the time to write in the front cover of it and I cherish that book.

My Mom was never a reader. Sonny and I were the readers in our family, but Mom gave me a book for my birthday one year before she died. It was called a Return to Love. Upon giving me that book, written by Marianne Williamson, Mom said, “I saw her on Oprah and this book sounded like you, so I found it”.  This book is kind of over my head in spots, as her writing is really new age,  and she’s too smart for me ha…but in a nutshell the book is about that God LOVES you, is not out to punish you, and only has your happiness in mind. It’s spiritual, and is about cultivating your mind and thought patterns. I love that book because I got it from Mom more than what I got out of it.
     My love of books started early. Mom was a busy farm wife and we didn’t have lap time to bond with Mom…she never sat down ha! But she always read to us at bed time so it was special time for us. I loved Little Golden Books and Rand McNally Elf Books. I have a collection of them in North Dakota. Some of my favorites are:
      Goldilocks and the Three Bears (A Mattel Music Maker book). This book has a little crank on the right side of the book and you sang along in the story and turned the crank to accompany yourself. Kathy had one too; hers was titled, Oh Where Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone? These were our absolute favorites!!

I also liked Lazy Fox and the Little Red Hen, about a hungry fox that steals the hen but after she gets heavy he decides to rest on the way home. While hes sleeping she takes out her sewing kit in her apron pocket and cuts a whole gets out and puts a rock in the sack and sews it up. He is killed when he dumps the rock in boiling water thinking its the hen!  

Timothy The Little Brown Bear. This was a story about a little bear who didn’t want to go to school. Because he couldn’t read he misunderstood what he tried to read- even a birthday party invitation! He finally decides he needs to go to school after he missed the party.

Helpful Henrietta was a story about Farmer Flinders not wanting to tax his young horse that was pulling the buggy to town on her first trip with the milk and butter. His wife wants to come, then further on down the road they meet the Boobledink family and one by one they get in the buggy. The story ends with Henrietta the horse being able to carry them all.

Me Too was a story Kathy and I loved because there was a dark haired sister and a younger blonde sister like we were. The little sister wanted to do everything the big sister did. I was happy to be the big sister in the story. 


           Fraidy Cat is a story of a kitten that was scared of everything until a Dr. finally gives him a paper heart to wear on his coat. The paper heart gives him courage to do what he couldn’t before.

       My very favorite childrens book these days is My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza. It’s the cutest story about a pig who outsmarts a hungry fox. Just adorable! I give it for a gift a lot.

      My niece Heather is a real reader, she never goes anywhere without a book and her children are the same way. I don’t even fit in that category of readers; I just like to read as one of the things I enjoy in life. I have learned so much from a good book. Books help me be my best self and keep the sparkle campaign going. I have been a little slow with this blog lately as Kerry has been here and we have been running around a lot.
      Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.  ~Charles W. Eliot

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