Got Books?

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My former Pastor, Rick Warren, says that every leader is a reader. Pastor Rick is a voracious reader, and consequently, knowledgeable and well versed on a variety of topics. I understand and share Pastor Rick’s passion for reading as evidenced by visitors to our home: walls of bookshelves overflowing with books, and books and magazines bookmarked or dog-eared in every room. I never want to find myself without something to read, so I’m often reading many different books and articles in different rooms of the house, at the same time. I had to laugh when my 7 year-old granddaughter asked why I had a magazine rack in the bathroom! That seemed normal to me J.

Sharing a Love of Reading and Writing

This past Saturday, I enjoyed spending the day with others who share my love of books. I presented my authored books at the Pacific Northwest Church Librarians annual conference held in Nampa, Idaho. Many local authors were there with their books too, and we all enjoyed a keynote presentation from the delightful and prolific Lauraine Snelling, author of 70 books and still writing.

Lauraine asked if we could remember a librarian who had influenced us as a young reader. Since her audience was comprised of librarians and authors, all our hands shot up! Lauraine mentioned that when she was a child, the librarians at her local library and the bookmobile fostered her love of books.

Lauraine’s question prompted memories of my childhood and the bookmobile that parked in our neighborhood every other week. If you’re too young to remember bookmobiles, they were libraries on wheels. The closest thing I can compare them to is a very large, gutted out motor home with bookshelves full of books lining the walls. The local neighbors could check out and return books.

As a kid, I would ride my bike to the bookmobile and check out my limit of books—the library limit or the limit I could fit into the basket on my bike, whichever came first. When I was sixteen and could drive, I spent countless weekends at the library doing research for class projects. I would pack a lunch and spend the day. Just walking into the library gave me the same rush as walking into a bookstore does today. So many books, so little time, as I’ve always been a slow, but persistent, reader.

Fostering the Love for Books in the Next Generation

Today, I live in a tiny rural town—no bookmobiles, but we have a brand new library where my grandkids love to go when they come to visit. We check out their limit of books, DVDs, and backpacks full of fun activities—going to the library is actually right up there with going to the pool and the river—well maybe a close second. But I love it when one of them asks if we can go to the library!

Many of our eleven grandchildren have their own library card at their local libraries, and Grampa and I often choose books for birthday and Christmas gifts for the grandkids and their parents.

How Can Reading Change Your Life?

I did not set out to be a writer. I have degrees in Food Administration, Business Administration, and Christian Leadership, but not writing. I’ve always been in awe of those who could engage a reader by mastering the art of conveying and organizing thoughts, ideas, research, and words into a book. I never thought that would describe me someday. Then in 1997, without me seeing it coming, God asked me to put into writing how to start a mentoring ministry. Still I didn’t consider myself an author; I was just writing a manual for how to start, grow, and maintain a mentoring ministry. Then those who used Woman to Woman Mentoring How to Start, Grow, and Maintain a Mentoring Ministry to start their mentoring ministries wanted to know how to train, and offer mentor and mentee handbooks. More “resource” writing.

Next, it was my husband suggesting I write Bible studies for the mentors and mentees to study together and the Face-to-Face Bible Study series was born. Then, I had breast cancer and longed for a book not yet written. God prompted me that the purpose in my breast cancer was to write that book, and Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer was written out of my pain and desire to provide my breast-cancer sisters with the book I wished I had: a mentor, friend, record keeper, love letter from God, snippets of other women’s stories, and places to write my own story.

Now, here I am seventeen books later and working on the next book. Had I not been an avid reader, I couldn’t have started and lead the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry. I read every book I could get my hands on that dealt with mentoring—starting with the Bible. I could have never written Bible studies without reading the Bible, commentaries, and researching how to write Bible studies.

Reading may not prompt you to become a writer, but it will expand the horizons of your mind and your world. However, let me encourage you to be selective with what you read. Not all books are equal, and not all books are good for our minds. Many books, like many movies and television shows, are actually detrimental to our mental, emotional, and spiritual health. There’s power in the written word: for good or evil. Be selective in what you read. Remember: trash in, trash out.

I recommend selecting reading material from Christian bookstores and Christian book sites like christianbook.com. Of course, the best book to start with is the best seller of all time—the Bible.

I would love to hear what made you a lover of books and what books you’re reading now. Please leave a comment and let’s share with each other. I’m reading Congo Dawn by Jeanette Windle and really enjoying her knowledge of the Congo and the story line. Ok, now it’s you’re turn.

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