Checking in on that book list as we wrap up May and enter the frenzy that is June <3

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So it seems another month has passed and when I looked back to the end of April, beginning of May post I realized I totally didn’t report on my stack of reading that I shared at the end of March.

Then I checked our calendar where I keep a list of books finished for the year and noticed that I didn’t complete any in April…ahh…that explains a lot.

So as a refresher, here was the March stack (which some of you noted to be a rather eclectic mix…and that would be my life…eclectic to the nth degree)

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I did read a few of these in addition to an extra thrown in for a book club. If you are fan or just curious about the Enneagram, we read “The Path Between Us” by Suzanne Stabile.

In this book, Stabile discusses the various numbers in relation to the other numbers. I, being a relational peace-keeper, loved it. I am all about understanding what makes other people tick so that I can hopefully care for them and get along with them and not drive them too crazy with my own wiring.

As for the others that I did finish in the stack, here is my little book report.

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This is me, driving the golf cart and reading whilst on vacation in April.

What a difference to read about the life of Elisabeth Elliot as you rest in the beauty of the Ozarks.

This biography of her early life with her own family, education, following God’s calling on her life, courtship with Jim and short marriage, his tragic death and her life following that is nothing short of incredible.

I cannot possibly summarize for you how much I respect her and learned about true discipleship from this book.

I also cannot express how surprised I was by who she was. I had formed a viewpoint of her character and integrity from a few quotes and the general background I had of her, but she was a woman ahead of her time in many ways.

She had a clear-eyed perspective on some of the parts of the institution of the Church that is refreshing while having a private devotional life that was deeply introspective and raw.

Because the author had access to her private journals, we are given a glimpse of what it is to love Jesus with all our hearts and yet live in the reality of what following Him costs.

I am also convinced Elisabeth was a Four on the Enneagram and I felt a kindred spirit with her for that <3

Her husband being brutally murdered was not the first time she lost something precious. Early in her ministry before she married Jim, she spent countless hours doing linguistic work translating with a friend from the Colorado people in Ecuador. She worked with him painstakingly learning the language.

This man was shot and killed at point blank range near her hut and a short time later, all the notes, journals and work she had poured into were lost in a friend’s luggage.

For the rest of her life, Betty remember the sad losses of 1953; they would presage other, more terrible deaths for her. But she began to learn the mystery and secret of her ancient faith..it was not about outcomes, inspiring results, personal fulfillment, or even coherent answers. It was about obedience to the One whose stone she carried.”

Becoming Elisabeth Elliot, Ellen Vaughn; B&H Publishing Group, 2020, page 112

I highly recommend this book for both men and women and for young people who love Jesus, but haven’t realized yet what it means to count the cost of following hard after Him. I would actually like to read it again as I feel I missed much the first time.

After that intensity, I decided to read The Hobbit.

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Doesn’t this little bit of Woodland charm remind you of something out of such a world as J.R.R. Tolkien might have drawn for us with his pen and pad?

I loved this book.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of The Lord of Rings trilogy movies, and am quite certain the cinematography helped me fill in some of the details, but honestly the author’s words painted pictures that were such a delight.

While the battle scenes in the films still make my heart palpitate at unhealthy extremes, the reading of them was much more manageable for my overactive emotions.

Since fiction can be a problem for me as I can move quickly into a story and have it overtake and become my reality, I limited myself to fifty pages a night. It was the perfect dose of entertainment for me and I loved the characters and the story…all of it.

I am definitely considering finishing with the rest of the series this summer.

So what about the other books and new additions?

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Well, I am still working my way through White Fragility. As you can see from the binding, she subtitled it “Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism.” You might assume that she is correct since this is a book I do not choose to sit down and devour as I did the three other books. However, I struggle reading it more because of two issues – one is that she quotes a lot of studies and outcomes and no matter what I am reading about, this type of writing is hard for me.

While I love to study, I do not do well with statistics and analysis of these to draw conclusions that do not allow for any kind of variation from place to place or person to person.

Second, I struggle because she is a white woman telling me how I am because I am also a white woman. While I appreciate some of the insights that she has provided, I also feel an overall sense of defeat before I begin as she continues to bring up that even people who are trying very hard to recognize the signs of racism are still racists.

I will say that reading the book is helping me seek black voices especially in the Christian community and to listen to their experiences and insights and thoughts. I am reading what their thoughts and experiences are like to help me understand that not every believer sees things the way I do nor has experienced life in the atmosphere of the church as I have experienced it.

If you are curious who these might be, I recommend Jackie Hill Perry and her husband Preston Perry, Dr. Tony Evans, Priscilla Shirer and Jessica Mathisen for starters.

As for new books, I added the J. B. Phillips book to the stack recently and I struggle with his writing for the same reason as I do Diangelo’s.

Isn’t that interesting?

As Phillips outlines the various ways we have tried to downsize God and make Him manageable, I am constantly soul-searching myself and questioning if that is me. I do that with both of these books, and it is exhausting.

I personally do not do well with criticism or even perceived criticism. It makes me shut down and withdraw. I know this isn’t mature, but I understand it is part of my wiring and something I am at least aware of, right?

I am that person who when anyone is in general being corrected in a group setting, assume they are talking to me.

I think both of the authors are intelligent and well written, and so at times what they are saying is over my head. I approach both books with the prayer that God will use the material to teach me how to be more like Jesus right where He has placed me. I pray that what is not mine to possess or understand would fall away, and what I need to grow and stretch and learn would not be pushed off by me but embraced.

I confess a tendency to read things that delight me, inspire me and don’t make me feel uncomfortable.

That is not a place where transformation and growth happens…so wish me well as I continue to read with discernment.

And yes…I will be busting open that lighthearted little Jan Karon book with a fifty page per day limit as I journey onward …. <3

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