- Homemaking & Creativity
- Books to read: I can’t help it. I’ve got to get the reading in there somewhere, and if it can help me reach my goals, well, more power to me!
I have gone through this Goal & Plan process before, but it’s been years. I should dig through my old ones (I think they were written on yellow paper, and they are somewhere in one of my archive notebooks) and see whether I actually accomplished much of what I dreamed. Yes, I know I did. I mean, I survived all the toddler years of 10 kids, and my teenagers and adult children live pretty productive lives and still like me most of the time. If that isn’t a worthy feat, I don’t know what is!
Speaking of notebooks… Yes, I have a wonderful little iPod touch that helps me turn my life from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) to ADO (Attention Deficit ORDER). When I got this lovely little digital friend, I abandoned my old paper To Do lists in my notebook and transferred them to an electronic app that sorts and prioritizes and beeps at the schedule time and makes it easy to procrastinate (er… readjust the schedule) by tapping the “Put Off Till tomorrow” button. Anyway, back to notebooks. I still love mine and use it as a mega-journal-extra-brain-of-sorts. I stash all sorts of goodies in my notebook, which is a full 3-ring model with a sturdy blue canvas cover. Lots of reflections on life, personal Bible study & sermon notes, letters from loved ones, articles I find intriguing, outlines of projects, rough drafts of poems, and copies of whatever I have written for public consumption. Right now, I have a hefty section set aside for my goals and plans. Later on, I’ll type them in and e-mail them to the iPod for instant handy access. And maybe a few well-timed beeps. I have other notebooks, too, but I'll save that tale for another day.
Now, since you have read along so patiently, I will share a tiny bit of my spiritual plans (the only ones I've written out so far) as well as my book list for that area. I hope it will be worth your eyeball-to-brain time.
First, I have really been lagging in systematic Bible study, so I want to commit to finishing up my study of the four gospels, in which I am reading similar passages from each on the same day and comparing them. I wrote a list of the next 16 sets of verses, figuring I can complete one of them every 3 days or so. Time to read, time to reflect, time to respond. Maybe I’ll even print out some Read ~ Reflect ~ Respond Scripture note pages for this endeavor. (That brings to mind Dave Abney’s sermon at Lake Baldwin Church on the habit of meditation from last Sunday. “The life that abounds is centered on the story of redemption.” Scripture is a mirror of our souls, a window into God’s heart, a gateway to prayer, a path to obedience.) I also want to take the plunge and memorize Scripture again, since that is such an aid to meditation. (If you can remember it, you can dwell on it even when the page isn’t in front of you. It seeps into you and becomes part of you, shaping who you are and what you do.) Ann Voskamp, one of my favorite bloggers, is recommending the whole book of Colossians as a 2011 goal, and even provides links to a booklet to help us along the way. (See here: Colossians in a Year: 2 Verses a Week.) I’ll bite. I guess that’s one way we actually can borrow someone else’s goal. I memorized it over 2 decades ago and I’m still quite familiar with the general outline, wording and concepts, even though I can’t quote large chunks of it anymore.
“Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-2That much I can type “by heart” since my younger children and I often sing it into our souls, memorization and meditation by melody. Those words themselves capture the spirit of why I want to saturate my mind with Scripture. I just downloaded a free NIV Bible app to my iPod to make it easier to find the verses I am going to memorize. (I already have the ESV on it.)
Oh, the book list! I’m not to going to give you all of it because some of the books I’m thinking of reading I need to investigate a bit more closely before I even mention them in public. But here is enough to keep you busy for a long time, especially if you’re not a fast reader.
Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief by Bruce Milne ~ a book of systematic theology for normal people like me, and a means to carrying out the above call. We’ve had it for a while, but I need to dust it off, crack the spine, and let the words spill out into me. It’s so easy to make assumptions about theology based on what we hear and feel, but how well are we thinking it through? How Biblical are our beliefs anyway? How skewed have we allowed them to get, even in our churches, not to mention culture at large? Can we “Be Bereans” and search it out with our minds fully engaged? For more theology, I also might dabble in my vintage 1918 copy of A History of the Christian Church by Williston Walker. I have found that if I try to look up some curious sect or belief, I invariably have to keep paging backwards, farther backwards to set the stage on the page. It’s all a thread, often tangled, but somehow still woven into a tapestry we won’t see the beauty or even the sense of until eternity. Nearly a hundred years later, I recognize that my life story is part of it, too. Thus my desire to live well, with worthy goals and plans.)