I finished eight books in four weeks during the month of February. All but three were books I’d read before. Of the new titles, My Tech-Wise Life by Amy and Andy Crouch was my favorite.
You’ll find my impressions of all eight books below, listed in the order I read them.
How Do I Love Thee? by Jennifer Flanders
How Do I Love Thee? is a devotional journal for wives that I created several years ago. I pull my own copy out every February and August, so I can work on in the days leading up to Valentine’s and my wedding anniversary.
I believe that happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of chance as it is a matter of choice. Choosing to be happy means choosing to think on things that are good and noble and right and lovely and pure. That includes thinking about your spouse’s most positive, admirable, and endearing qualities.
Our marriages can’t help but benefit when we discipline ourselves to do this. And that, in a nutshell, is the whole reason I created this little journal to begin with. Verses on every page prompt you to meditate on God’s Word and allow it to shape your life and marriage.
Whether you’re writing, drawing, pasting, or coloring in it, each page, prompt, and verse is designed to help you recall and record the things you love most about your husband, to reflect on your most cherished memories, and to recognize God’s hand at work in your relationship. I hope other readers will find these exercises to be as much much a blessing to their marriages as they’ve been to mind.
My Tech-Wise Life by Amy and Andy Crouch
I also read and thoroughly enjoyed My Tech-Wise Life by Amy and Andy Crouch last month.
This book was written for teens by a teen, together with her dad. Amy penned the chapters, and Andy wrote a response at the end of each in the form of a letter to his daughter.
I found it both timely and personally convicting — especially the chapter on how high-tech distractions tempt us to procrastinate on the more important work we should be doing. The book contains a lot of good food for thought. It might foster some great family discussions with teens (and parents) who are learning to balance their time online with the rest of life.
Sounding Forth the Trumpet by Pete Marshall
I read Sounding Forth the Trumpet aloud years ago to my older children when they were young, and last month I finished re-reading it to the younger set.
My children and I were struck by how many parallels we saw between nineteenth century America and the age in which we are living ourselves.
It’s as if our daily history readings are describing the current events we see unfolding before our eyes, especially when it comes to deeply divided beliefs, problems with election integrity, and attempts to silence dissenting opinions.
History is such an important study. As George Santayana observed, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”
Because He Lives by Jennifer Flanders
Once Valentine’s Day was behind me, I swapped my How Do I Love Thee? journal for another of my own titles, Because He Lives. I revisit this journal every year during the season of Lent.
I’ll complete several pages a week in the days leading up to Easter, just as I’ve done every year since it was first published. I’ve finished about 14 (so far) this year, and still have two more weeks to go.
I’ve been trying to keep Sundays screen-free this year, sunup to sundown. You might call that my attempt to live a tech-wise life. So Sunday is the day I do the bulk of my Bible journaling. I find that reading through the pages of my journal and meditating on the scriptures listed is a great way to focus my thoughts on Christ and on His finished work on the cross.
Teach Us to Pray by Gordon Smith
Prayer is such a vital part of the Christian life. One cannot over-stress our need to be in a constant attitude of prayer.
It is impossible to abide in Christ without spending regular time reading and meditating upon His Word and communing with Him through prayer.
In Teach Us to Pray, Gordon Smith discusses three aspects of prayer for Christian: Thanksgiving, Confession, and Discernment. A life characterized by such prayers are a mark of Christian maturity.
The Green Book by Jill Patton Walsh
We spent several days last month without electricity and with only a trickle of water — courtesy of “Snowmegeddon.”
So I picked those long, cold, unplugged days to read The Green Book aloud to my kids. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
It’s a quick read, only 80 pages, but very satisfying. It tells the story of a young girl whose family had to start life over on a new planet.
Reading about how they managed with so few comforts from home made us even more appreciative of our own running water and electric power once those services were restored.
And it made the interim time seem more like a grand, new adventure than an unwelcome inconvenience.
Christmas Playlist by Alistair Begg
I listened to Alistair Begg’s Christmas Playlist on audio last month.
Why a Christmas book in February? Because Easter is right around the corner, and — as Begg notes — we must fully grasp the heart of Christmas before we can understand the meaning of Easter. And vice versa.
This book covers four songs recorded in the New Testament related to Christmas. My favorite was the fourth, the song Simeon sang over the Messiah (Luke 2:25-35), which underscored the fact that Jesus was born to die.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
We also re-read Animal Farm aloud as a family last month. The kids who are still at home were either not yet born or too young to remember it from the last time we read it.
They were annoyed and upset by how the pigs repeatedly changed the rules to suit themselves and constantly rewrote history and misrepresented past events.
But even more distressing was how many of the other farm animals accepted without question whatever the pigs told them — even when it contradicted their own clear memories of how things actually happened.
As you might imagine, this political fable is every bit as relevant now as when George Orwell first penned it more than 75 years ago.
And my children have continued to ponder its message, even at play. (See proof on Instagram.)
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