When I get a little money, I buy books. If any is left, I buy food and clothes.
I'm a self-acknowledged bibliophile.
When I was young, I studied the art of "practicing the flute" while reading a book.
At night, if the book was exciting and it was past my sister's bedtime, I read by the glow of the nightlight. Sometimes I read by moonlight. Eventually I learned that I could prop my alarm clock right up against my book and read by the meager light of the red digits. If only they'd had Kindles with lights back then. . .
Yes, I wear glasses now.
That's the price I pay for thousands of books.
My parents used to say that they could shut me in a closet with a stack of books and I would come out educated.
Stuck in a closet? With books?!? That sounded like heaven on earth to me.
Then I got married and started having children. All of a sudden, time became a premium. I tried to read while cooking (not a stellar idea). Soon I learned that nap time and bed time for kids was prime reading time for mom. I devoured books on "my" topics: books which taught me how to be a better wife, a better mom, a better daughter of the King.
Those are the ones I want to share with other people. I was recently asked what my list of top ten books would look like. What kind of books, I wondered. Theology? Biography? Non-fiction? I got the same glazed-eyes feeling that a musician gets when you ask him what his ten favorite songs are. I probably have at least ten favorite books on the topic of time management alone. Another ten on homemaking. And yet ten more on marriage.
But that gets too complicated. So here are my top ten life-changing books that are ***DISCLAIMER*** non-fiction, non-biographical, non-theological in nature. (Those other types would each get their own list.)
1. A Woman After God's Own Heart. By Elizabeth George
A heart-to-heart talk about the basics of womanhood by an excellent author. For the first five or six years of my marriage, I read it annually.
2. Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman. By Anne Ortlund
My mom gave this to me to read when I was a teenager. I loved it then, and I still love it now. I can't tell you the numbers of times I have read this book, but it probably tops twenty or more. I love to laugh, and I love to learn. This author delivers on both counts! If I could persuade you to read just one of these, it would be this one.
3. Changed into His Image. By Jim Berg
I'm cheating on this one a little. It belongs more in the "theological" category. But it is practical enough that I will list it here. Our whole reason for change is to be more like Christ, so a list of life-changing books (for me) has to include this one.
4. Confessions of an Organized Housewife. By Deniece Schofield
Wow! Chock-full of tips for organizing your home. What was most impacting about this book was not the specific suggestions, but the revelation of how an organized mind thinks.
5. Babywise. By Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam
Flexible parent-oriented baby scheduling? Learn it here. I understand the concept of nursing on demand. Go ahead, if you want to. I myself prefer a happy mix. But if you are new to babies and want peace of mind in your parenting, read this book.
6. The Complete Tightwad Gazette. By Amy Dacyczyn
Again, it is not any one tip (sometimes they are hilariously horrendous!) for saving money. The value of this book is the revelation of the way a frugal mind thinks. Take the ideas and apply them your way. One memorable article is "The Anatomy of a Muffin." Worth reading!
7. Sink Reflections. By Marla Cilley
I don't advocate her form of spirituality, but I do love the way she cleans house. This is THE BEST housekeeping manual for the un-organized homemaker. Find her also online at FlyLady.net. In fact, you don't need to buy the book. Just browse her website.
8. The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management. By Hyrum W. Smith
This book was a game-changer for me. After reading it, I bought myself a Franklin Planner. And used it. And became a much more efficient person. (I also talked my husband and my mother into getting planners. That is how excited I was about it.)
9. Living Well on One Income. By Cynthia Yates
Did I say I love to laugh? You can read this book as comedy or you can read it for your own personal financial makeover.
10. What is a Family? By Edith Schaeffer
A family is a door with hinges and a lock. But that is not all. This book looks at the family through many different lenses. This is a great pick for a new mom settling her own philosophy of family. Although it is dated, there is still much to learn.
Well, there it is. My list of top ten life-changing books. Your list will be different. Are any of these favorites of yours? Do you have some fabulous reads to add? Let me know in the comments below!
It goes without saying that the Bible has impacted me far more than any other book ever will. I read it daily and it changes me constantly.
Read what I think about the Bible here.
Tim and Laura
Timothy and Laura Berrey are missionaries with Gospel Fellowship Association. They share a passion for missions which has taken them to several countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe. They currently minister in the Philippines.
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