Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Tea

This week's ponderings have actually been going on for a few weeks. While I love a good cup of coffee in the morning, feel I can't live without my afternoon and evening tea, and hope my writing encourages you to "put back" some essentials for the future... those are not the passions of my life.

No my friends, it is the subject of books that light up my eyes and cause my fingers to tap away at the keyboard for long periods of time.

My recent ponderings have been about... summer reading. Yes, that most delightful time of the year when books take on a life of their own (and not at the local theater!). I love to look at summer reading lists when they are given in books and online.

A couple of books I have (which were written by pastors) show lists of deeply theological books as well as those written to help them counsel their congregation. Both say summer is their best time to read so their lists can be quite, uh... challenging.

I have read at least two of Chuck Colson's summer reading lists... both sound like a seminary or graduate student's year long book list with Russian authors, deep theological volumes, books about politics and law... and an occasional "children's" book like the Narnia series.

As for me, summer is the time I read books which feed my soul for the most part (winter reading tends to be deeper and meant to go straight to the brain cells). It has long been the season for reading good fiction. When my kids were younger and we'd head off for the beach, a pool, to picnic, or just an hour at the playground... I would usually take along a paperback copy of a work of fiction easy enough to look up from once in awhile... just to make certain said child was not being lured away by a "bad guy", drowning, or bleeding.

Summer reading... those books on my stack from May through August... quite often contain re-reads of favorite authors. Right now I am re-reading a few Elizabeth George books (two of the titles are in the sidebar). I also plan to re-read the C.S. Lewis Space Trilogy which had a profound influence on me in the mid 1990's. I can't believe I haven't re-read them, yet. I also plan to re-read some favorite "getting organized" books as that is where much of my thinking is right now.

I own only two Gladys Tabor books, one being Stillmeadow Calendar. I plan to re-read it this year. There are three books on my reading list that will be new (two of which I didn't get to last summer as planned); Susan Wittig Albert's The Tale of Hill Top Farm and The Tale of Holly How. I also plan to (finally) read Galileo's Daughter, which should at least cause my brain cells to work a tad bit more than Albert's mysteries (based on Beatrix Potter's characters). I also have a few Grace Livingston Hill books set aside, perhaps they will find a way to my stack of books (or in my purse) soon.

During the years we were homeschooling, I used the summers to read books about homeschooling by favorite authors (Sally Clarkson, Karen Andreola, Diana Waring, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, etc.) to sharpen my skills as well as soak in encouragement. These books are great for non-homeschoolers, too. Then I would also read up a bit about the period of history we would be studying. I set up our curriculum with history as the bulls eye and all other subjects (except math) proceeding from those studies.

I love the term Karen Andreola uses... Mother Culture. One must feed themselves with good books as well as healthy food to be able to give to others. That's also why I like good fiction in the summer, it gives me a mental vacation for only the cost of a book... as opposed to a plane ticket. I don't like to fly... which my husband and son-in-law cannot comprehend.

Although I prefer to read "deeper theology" in the quietness of winter, I do take advantage of the early morning sunshine to crawl out of bed (easier than on a dark, cold, winter morning) to feed my soul God's Word. When possible, I take my Bible, my journal (which includes a prayer list), and one of the devotionals out to the front porch rocking chair with a hot cup of coffee.

I do get distracted by the singing of birds and the antics of chipmunks at times... but I come back to the Word. There are so few days in the year that I can take advantage of my porch (or my deck) for early morning reading. Perhaps if I lived in say... Texas, like my pal Carrot Top... or Florida like my sister... such times wouldn't seem so precious... but it is May and still cold here.

Summer reading... doesn't it just sound delicious?


Suze said...

I love Grace Livingston Hill books - they are total escape and I love how the gospel message is incorporated into the story. It all started about 16 years ago. I was in a bed and breakfast in Mount Dora, FL. There was a Grace Livingston Hill book in the room as decoration, but I picked it up to read - and was hooked. When I discovered she had written about 100 books, I set about collecting them and looking for them whenever I was in a used bookstore. I'm still collecting, bit by bit. When I want to totally escape and be comforted, I read one of her books - it's like comfort food....

Quinne said...

Hi Brenda :) A very happy Mother's Day to you, too! I love the bag your sweet young man chose for you - that sassy red is wonderful.
Love, Q

Carrot Top said...

I love being able to visit with you on Sunday afternoons! It's as refreshing as a good book! :) I'm taking down some of those authors' names that I wasn't familiar with. You're so right about taking the summer in order to catch the vision for a new school year. If I'm not renewed and excited, then my kids aren't either.

Happy Mother's Day!!

freetobeme said...

Thanks for the Sunday
Afternoon Tea. I missed it last Sunday but was so glad you got some time away. I love books too and have my favorites.

Anonymous said...

I read fiction much more often when I was younger-I have such a hard time reading it now.
Last summer my goal was to read thru as many L.M. Montgomery books as possible, and only finished one! Have you read all the Anne books, Brenda? They are so good. I haven't read them for many years. I think I'll try again this year to read at least one more.
I read my first GLH book only last year-The Honor Girl. I had a hard time getting into it since it was fiction but as I persevered, it became hard to put down. I know I'll re-read it someday.
A weakness I have is that I read lots of magazines. Maybe I use them as an escape? They take away alot of my book reading time.
Hubby bought me a patio swing for Mother's Day. Now I can spend time outside like you, with a comfy place to sit. I think I'll head out there now....
Have a wonderful week!

Brenna said...

Nothing is so wonderful as sitting down with a good book and a hot cup of tea. I read Elizabeth George's book (on the sidebar) and few months ago and found it very enjoyable! Bren