Summer reads

Before I immerse myself in the textbooks and journal articles associated with grad school, I thought I would write a bit on the books I have read this summer for enjoyment...something that unfortunately often gets pushed aside while I'm in school. BTW, my first week of school went pretty well. I'm excited about most of my classes and have some great opportunities this year. I'll do a post about one of my internships called TIPS for Kids soon.

The first book I had the opportunity to read (again) was Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. Some dear friends of ours, the Shanks, gave us this book at our wedding. I started reading it on our honeymoon, but as a naive young wife I set it aside and didn't think it was applicable to our relationship. Oh, how I was wrong! I'm thankful for the opportunity to re-read the book with a little more marriage experience under my belt. The basic premise of the book is that men need to feel respected and women long to feel loved. As husbands and wives, we have been commanded by God to give love or respect to our spouse unconditionally -- no matter if our personal tanks are being filled. It's so valuable to realize that Sean and I do not feel fulfilled in the same ways! If one of us is not being loving/respectful it becomes very easy to get stuck in what Dr. Eggerichs calls the "Crazy Cycle" where: if I act disrespectfully, he reacts unlovingly and the cycle repeats until we deny our personal needs. What I love most about this book is that it not only tells us what to do, but also gives ideas of how we can get off of the crazy cycle and onto the energizing cycle. I would definitely recommend this book to any married/engaged couples I know!

A friend of mine who is one of the leaders of our Twenty-somethings Bible study loaned me this book about financial decision making for young couples. Although the book was written about 30 years ago (and the number figures in the book reflect that) it does have some good information on how to view your money from an eternal perspective and also gives good insight on the concept of budgeting. Neither Sean nor myself are budget people. We like to spend responsibly, save a lot, and know where we stand financially, but sticking to strict budget isn't our cup of tea. (at least at this stage of life) The author gives good examples of common mistakes that young couples make, often influenced by the fast-paced culture we live in. Young couples today try to acquire in 2 years what took our grandparents 15! As Sean and I begin the very early stages of purchasing a home, it was helpful to read about various types of loans and the benefits of paying more than your mortgage each month. It's an easy read and has some good info if you're a beginner in the financial world.

I also read a book entitled "The Strong Willed Wife: Using Your Personality to Honor God and Your Husband." I actually purchased this book when Sean and I were engaged and never read it....until now, I guess. If I were to give this book a grade, it would probably get a B-. It does start off with the importance of recognizing our strong willed tendencies instead of downplaying them all of the time.Guilty. It also talks about how being strong-willed is typically a good thing - it's what makes me a hard worker, persevere through difficult situations, and seek out the next challenge. However, it's very easy for my strong-willed nature to turn into something harmful - when I have to win an argument, don't value others' opinion as much as mine, and overtake conversations and important decisions. Later chapters discuss the important of letting our husband lead despite our desire to do so. The book grade is a little low because it gets pretty repetitive. If you're strong willed I would give it a quick read, but it may not tell you anything earth-shattering.

Right now I'm halfway through Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. Love it! (If you read this Teresa, I promise to mail it back soon!) I've wanted to read this book for a while and finally got my hands on it a couple of weeks ago. I have always been a busy-body, thriving under the pressures of never having enough time. This book, though, explores our desire and need to have an intimate relationship with God, which requires discipline, quiet, stillness...all that are complicated by our busy lives and to-do lists. As Mary sought after Jesus in the living room, listening to his every word, her sister Martha is busy preparing the meal and cleaning her home for her unexpected guests. Martha gets a bit frustrated and acts Jesus to tell Mary to help her out -- but gets the response that Mary has "chosen what is better." I totally relate to Martha in this story -- c'mon, help a sister out! But God wants us to do a little less doing in the name of a little more listening and obeying. I'm looking forward to the second half of the book as it is one of my favorites so far!

Sean is re-reading Wild and Heart right now. I don't know a whole lot about it, but know that it tries to get at the core of God created masculinity. One thing Sean did share with me is that there are many references to Braveheart/William Wallace...so guys have to like it, right? I will hopefully read it myself when Sean is finished.
Well...it was good to reflect through some of these books. It's a goal of mine to increase my leisurely reading time. I've never been a big reader, as I usually equate it with studying. I'll let you know how it goes....
This weekend was wonderful...full of naps, sleeping in, and movies. I'm looking forward to another week of school to help establish a schedule again and am hopeful for a fulfilling, challenging, and rewarding semester ahead.

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