It’s Spring! And the Feeder Is Full.
Why do I read…
- I read to have hope.
- I read to comfort my own heart that I am not the only quirky character on this spinning planet. God designed robins and sparrows but he also glittered the world with peacocks and gooney birds. (Whew)
- I read to grasp what I don’t know and what will expand the content of my narrow experience.
- I read because my taxed brain needs a vacation…sometimes from myself. Some tomes make me laugh out loud, which is its own kind of holiday…all expenses paid.
- I read because I love words, especially those that sing with a zesty language that fits inside me and at times, they even knit the inner ragged spaces back together, with silk threads of wisdom.
Isn’t one of the reasons we like our closest friends is because they get us? Or at least they have the capacity to abide us and us them? With books, their pages are unlimited in friendly availability, even if we bend corners, highlight phrases, underline quotable material, and leave them on a footstool where the puppy gnaws at their cover (oops).
I’m not suggesting we replace our friends with a book, well, there may be a rare few, but that would take a talk with Jesus to discern. What I am saying is reading for me often correlates with my sanity. Just about the time I’m ready to sell our puppy, raffle my husband off, or give up on my tilt-a-whirl emotions, the right book shows up to nudge or at times shove me in a better direction.
Many, many years ago in a land called “My Life,” my husband and I were struggling with each others peculiarities. Some dear soul put the book (long out of print), “To Have and To Hold” by JIll Renich into my hands. I devoured it. I wrote scribbly thoughts alongside her insights. I memorized hopeful steps I could take. I tried to answer the questions at the end of each chapter. It became for me in that unsteady season of my life a handbook. Like a Girl Scout manual only instead of teaching me how to build a campfire Jill taught how to rekindle the embers of love with kindnesses, respect, and a listening heart. It made a significant difference in me and for our couple-ship. We are still our own versions of odd but with boundaries and gratitude.
Speaking of gratitude I love the book of Philippians in the New Testament. Paul sets an example of the absolute power of a thankful heart when he writes, “Rejoice and again I say rejoice. In all things give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Paul writes this mind you, while imprisoned. That’s not natural. Some historians believe he was under house arrest chained to a guard. That’s at the least aggravating and certainly not ideal for a writer, especially a thankful one.
I too was imprisoned, under house arrest, chained to agoraphobia, surrounded with heavy bars of fear. So you can only imagine how hope-filled I was to read Philippians dozens and dozens of times allowing the story to sink through my resistance and into my empty cup. Paul penned hope.
Reading can be revealing, which can make it initially rigorous, since change is hard work, and truth can be super scary…just…before…it…liberates.
I don’t know why you read…or don’t, but I really, really, want you to, because I know what it’s done for me. And there’s nothing more compelling than a satisfied customer. (I read that somewhere.)
Select your book from a library, an audible list, a bestseller table, or at the back of a dusty garage…so you can by reading, know, grow, and then sow into the lives of others. Come gather little sparrows, fine robins, and wonky gooney birds, it’s Spring and the feeder is full.
Here’s What’s on My Bookshelf This Month
The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen
You always lighten my heart and scripture fills my soul. Thank you Patsy my friend for making us all feel as though we are sitting on your front porch rockers. Passing the time learning from you and laughing till it hurts. Makes for a good day.
It’s like you were looking into my soul when you wrote this. I love to read also…for many of the same reasons you do. Thanks Patsy for being you! Keep on keeping on…and here’s to the next good book.
Thank you Patsy. I am reading Ruth Bell Graham’s book “Prodigals and Those Who Love Them” and I think I’d like to check out Henri Nouwen’s as well. Books are very helpful reading. When you read a book that you can relate to, you ARE spending time with a friend who “gets you”: the author! I’m reading the Graham book to help me relate to and be more empathetic/less judgemental with some prodigals in my family.
BTW I’ve been to some of the WOF conferences in Washington D.C. in the past and always enjoyed you and the other porch pals.
I read Ruth Bell Graham’s Book at least 3 times when I didn’t know if my son was dead or alive. He finally got back in touch many years ago & has been a tremendous help & strength to me, especially after my husband’s death. He & his dad talked nearly every day on the phone. He lives in another state & still is a prodigal as far as salvation but that book was a tremendous help to me.
Patsy, I’ve loved you since “Cracked Pots” many years ago on Focus on the Family. Have been to 6 WOF in Dallas.
Thank you for always bringing a breath of fresh air into my world. I have listened to you for years through ‘Women of Faith”. I love your honesty, clarity and your ability to lead me into the Father’s presence through your words. Have a blessed week!
I agree with you about reading on my list is The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp and 1000 gifts by Ann Voskamp. Reading The Word also
I’m reading I Am by Michele Cushatt. It’s one I’ve scribbled in all the margins, highlighted phrases and turned into a prayer journal. Thank you for encouraging us to read.
You inspire me. Thank you.
Thank you for sharing this, I so needed it today. It lifted my heart & set my mind in a new direction.
Thank you, Patsy. Reading is a passion of mine. I am a widow now, so my books are even more dear to me. I am reading (again) Prayer the Ultimate Conversation, by Dr. Charles E. Stanley”, my Bible and a novel by Karen Kingsbury and I review “You Are More Than You Know” often.
Interesting, Patsy, that you should mention Philippians as a favorite book of the Bible. I have just started leading a Bible study on Philippians 4:4-8 entitled “Anxious for Nothing” by Max Lucado. That passage gives us a “Prescription to anxiety.” We are memorizing it. Thank you for your blog. I enjoy it and have read several of your recommended books. They have all blessed my heart.
Oh, by the way, I have invited ladies into my home once every three weeks for six years. We listen to a Women of Faith video and follow it up with prayer and then a fun game of Train Dominoes together. We will be listening to your video on Monday. This is the third time we’ve gone through the Women of Faith videos. I only wish you would make more!! Thank you though for those you have made. They have been an inspiration to us. Ilene for Firth, NE
Thank you! You truly are inspiring! I love reading your emails and listening to your your videos. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you Patsy for reminding me to pick up a book and read. I’m reading the Bible through but I may just take a jog from that plan to read and reread Philippians because I need some hope. God bless you and your ministry. 💕
Thank you for your encouragement to read. I enjoy reading autobiographies, ‘self-help’ books, Christian novels & I have a fetish for devotionals. Have had several pastors put down reading self-help books – for example, Me, Myself & Lies by Jennifer Rothchild or In the Middle of the Mess by Sheila Walsh. Soooooo I have had guilt when I read anything other than my Bible. Personally, I glean wisdom or help in an area I struggle with when I read the self help books. It is refreshing to know you enjoy books of all kinds & encourage others to read.
I love to read too, Patsy, and am currently reading your book, Twirl. It is already on my list of favorites! You make me laugh, and you touch my heart by revealing your feelings & challenges…..resulting in your readers realizing their own lives are not so crazy & may just be “normal😊.”
I love to read too! My Mom and Dad instilled the importance of reading when I was nine or ten years old! That’s been many years ago! I miss sharing books with my mom so much! We read your book ‘God Loves Cracked Pots’ and loved it! I’m currently reading a book by Susan Branch and the next one will be by Edie Wadsworth. Love receiving your emails! Blessings to you and yours sweet lady!
My mom passed away to Heaven three years ago. I miss her a lot. She loved books too and passed that love of books on to me. When I read, it helps fill that empty space of not being able to talk with her. I love your books, Patsy, and your encouraging words. I think us book lovers are very special people.
I love you, Patsy! You are an inspiration!
Hi Patsy, I really enjoy reading your blog and reading everything I can! Thank you so much for your thoughts and books you recommend. You make me smile! Thanks for your encouragement.
Patsy, I feel the same way about books! Thank you for sharing this! Lately, I’ve been thinking of starting some kind of women’s club that would provide a Christian book library with resources on all kinds of women’s topics. I have so many women friends who are searching for answers to life’s stresses and sorrows and I would love to share with them some spiritual resources and emotional support so they can tap in God’s strength instead if relying on their own strength. Not sure, if God is leading me to do this, but I’m praying He will show me.
Sweet Miss Patsy – thank you for the prompting. I adore you and am grateful for your quirky, thought-provoking person ! I bought five books this week, and feel rich.
Now, I desperately need off my tilt-a-whirl life so that I can write my own. Looking to escape to a writer’s shack somewhere and follow your wisdom from Shaking My Tree.
The way you write and communicate draws me in…you share so personally and with great wisdom with touches of humor sprinkled here and there and I’m always so inspired and refreshed after reading your emails, blogs, and Instagram posts. Thank you Patsy, Love and hugs!!
Thank you, thank you, Patsy, for the inspirational thoughts you gave me during our short, one hour session about my writing a book about my experience with Bipolar Disorder type II. I am so grateful for the analogies you gave me of the seasons involved! I’ve not started yet, because my Lyme symptoms have increased tremendously. Vertigo and hand tremors are out of control. But you know what I can do? READ! Thanks again for the inspiration. I think I’ll begin with C.S. Lewis! Move back on to Ann Voskamp. And go from there….
oh God speaks to my heart thru you <3