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I read one of those special books this month. Honestly I’m not even done yet. But it’s good, I’m liking it, feeling challenged and even affirmed at times. I’m glad to be reading it.

Why is it special? Well, I guess it must be special since it has been on my shelf for so long waiting for it’s golden moment — the moment I actually read it. Yup, one of those.

You know them, the ones someone you trust recommends and so you rush out and buy it? You don’t stall because you’re not sure about the title or author or that recommender’s opinion. I mean the ones you jump on, you really rush. You order it quickly online or snatch up the last copy in the store and feel a sense of accomplishment. Sigh, got it.

And you put it on your bookshelf.

And it sits there, on your shelf. You know which shelf it’s on. Might be beside two or three or ten others like it that you bought because you need/want to read it. Maybe it’s the only one like that on its shelf because you organize your books by author or theme. But somehow you pass it by. Over and over, you read something else. Something more urgent or more attractive to your mind in the moment gets chosen.

And the book sits, waiting. It’s like a sad puppy at the pound. But you know it’s really you who’s waiting. Some of those books you wait for and wait for. You hesitate. You don’t want to commit. And some of them you get rid of in a purge of books when your shelves become too full. The books are standing up and others are lying on top of them. And soon some are piled in front of them so you can only see part of the shelf. 

Or the shelf starts to buckle with the weight of knowledge you’re missing out on!

And the books I really feel sorry for are the ones that even come off the shelf to your bedside or your suitcase. They make it into the green room of the theatre of your reading. But they don’t get read. You put them back. They would sigh if they could. Oooooh, so close.

And some of them sit a little too long and then a purge of the shelves happens. And that fateful statement comes, “Am I really going to read this?” And out go some books, unread. 

But last month, one of the books made the cut. The coach put it in for the crucial play in the big game. The understudy got her moment in the spotlight. I picked up the book and started reading. Ta-daaaaaa! And it’s good. I was pretty sure it would be and it is! 

Why didn’t I read it sooner I ask myself? I have to laugh because there are so many books in the same situation. They sit and we wait. And that moment will come, I hope. Because mostly the books are worth reading. Maybe you’d even say they’re worth the wait.

“Alright kids”, he says to his other books, “that one made it. Maybe next time it’ll be you so don’t give up!”

So Choose Already!

Picked up a neglected book last month. One that has sat on my bookshelf waiting to be picked for a few years. No real reason I delayed, no slight to the author or subject. I only ever heard good things about it . But this one of those books I wanted to read sometime or felt I ‘should’ read and so they wait, and wait. But finally I am reading PRESENT OVER PERFECT by Shauna Niequist.

This is not a review. It’s my own exploration and reactions. But I find it an excellent book! Thanks to my friends who recommended it. The subtitle describes it well— “Leaving behind frantic for a simpler, more soulful way of living”. As I was reading, praying, thinking and meditating about being present this past month, I thought it was a good one to dive into.

The author describes her life of achieving as a student, employee, writer, speaker, wife and mom in terms of rush, and busyness. Overload is a theme. She struggles with image and acceptance. She has to be somebody and striving in all areas. She worked hard and looked strong to the point where she missed time with those she loved and God. But she comes to the point of wanting something different. She tells it well with brief chapters and personal moments that draw me in. 

Busyness, needing to be seen as responsible, achieving, being admired, frantic, and a life of constant running are a characteristic for so many people. Niequist sums up her experience when she describes her “nearly four year journey from exhaustion, multitasking, frantic and frayed living, into peace, connection and rest.” 

Good book to help me (and you if you’re game) to re-examine life and what we really value. I identify with her statement that “the no I said today is making space for yes, something I haven’t had space for in a long time.”

Being present is about choices. What to do and what not to do. What do we value in our lives? Not what we think we should value but what we actually do. 

Looking forward to finishing the book, thanks Shauna!

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Books & Being Present