Five Books We Love

Living in a rural area, where bookstores are few and libraries are limited, amazon.com has become a kind of saving grace. When a new book arrives, I wait until I'm all alone to savor its unveiling…the creak of its binding, the clean scent of its pages, the promise of its insight.

A new book is like a wise woman holding her breath. She waits for me to find a minute here or there where I can steal away to another place, a place that offers fresh inspiration, fresh insight, fresh ideas to inform and empower my life. Dramatic? Probably. But I do get butterflies in my stomach when I think about all the wonderful books that I have yet to discover.

Every so often, when I finish a book, I want to tell everyone I know about it. These are the books I give to new moms, beloved friends, people who need a little something. These are the books I have discovered in the past year (other than my own, of course) that have, in however subtle a way, changed my life:

1. Believing it All: 
What My Children Taught Me About Trout Fishing, Jelly Toast, and Life

By Marc Parent
You know you've got a good book in your hands when you have the urge to read passages aloud to total strangers in a coffee shop. This is such a book.
Each chapter is a prose poem - elegant, wise, and funny. The book portrays parenting as something to be savored, celebrated, and enjoyed. From the infinity every parent glimpses in the darkness of a newborn's eyes to metal trikes and dead squirrels, Believing it All captures the essence of what it means to be a parent.
Read more about Believing it All:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0316690155/vglnk-c84-20

2. The Joyful Child: 
A Sourcebook of Activities and Ideas for Releasing Children's Natural Joy

by Peggy Davison Jenkins,
This is a resource I find myself referring to again and again. Included here are songs, stories, games, art, even puppetry, all designed to inspire joy and to nurture a child's soul. Jenkins even tells us how we can get our young ones to slow down long enough to meditate.
This book is packed with wonderful centering tools for kids (and parents, too) that will surely trigger your own ideas.
Read more about The Joyful Child:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0944031668/momscape

3. The Four Agreements: 
A Practical Guide to Personal Wisdom

By Don Miguel Ruiz
So brief. So simple. So powerful. I once read the entire book aloud to my husband in a single car ride. A serious embrace of the first agreement alone ("Be impeccable with your word") can change your life. The Four Agreements is a straightforward and accessible guidebook for understanding and implementing four simple and powerful fundamentals. This is, in the words of my husband, a guide to life.
Read more about The Four Agreements
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1878424319/vglnk-c84-20

4. 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting: 
Nurturing Your Child's Soul

by Mimi Doe and Marsha Fayfield Walch
This mother-daughter team brings us a book that is positively packed with practical advice and inspirational ideas on weaving spirituality and a sense of the sacred into everyday family life. From the simple to the sublime, the authors have compiled real ways to make the ordinary extraordinary. (Mimi Doe's latest, Busy but Balanced is another good read, but I find 10 Principles to be her masterpiece.)
Read more about The 10 Principles of Spiritual Parenting
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060952415/vglnk-c84-20
Read more about Busy But Balanced
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312272219/vglnk-c84-20

5. Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
by Richard Foster

I ordered this book after hearing my minister quote from it (and because I found the title so intriguing), and it has become one of the most beloved on my shelf.
This book offers a compelling outline of the central spiritual practices of the Christian faith, including the "inward disciplines," of meditation, prayer, fasting, and study, the "outward disciplines" of simplicity, solitude, submission, and service, and the "corporate disciplines" of confession, worship, guidance, and celebration.
Foster explains each of these spiritual practices with intelligence and depth, as he demonstrates how the joyful embrace of these disciplines result in a more balanced life and unending spiritual growth. (This book has launched me on a "Richard Foster kick." His book Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home is, like Celebration of Discipline, as compelling as it is instructive.) 

This is a useful tool for those spiritual tune-ups we all need from time to time.
Read more about Celebration of Discipline
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060628391/vglnk-c84-20

Read more about Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060628464/vglnk-c84-20
 
What are your favorite reads?
Let us know, and we'll post them here.
Teresa says: 
My latest favorite is Soaring Solo.
Teri says: 
My most favorite books are by Robert Fulghum:
Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
It Was On Fire When I Lay Down on It

Uh Oh
(Yes, the book's name)
Also, the following by Neale David Walsch:
Conversations With God Book I 
Conversations With God Book II
 
Conversations With God Book III
They are all worth their weight in gold!