We took an impromptu beach trip over the first part of this week, thus the delay for my next post. Aaron received some extra time off work this week, so we are enjoying some rest as a family!
Every month that I post my reading list, I get the question: how do you find time to read so many books? Today, I’d like to share some of my ideas for incorporating reading into your lifestyle. Without reading, I would never be able to learn new things about natural, simple, and creative homemaking, nor would I be inspired to press on in my role through the struggles and weariness of everyday life. It is my source of inspiration on a daily basis! Reading the Word of God is my first priority as it enables me to find my daily strength in the One who is able. Beyond daily striving to abide in His Word, I aim to read another book to help stimulate my mind and strengthen me in my role.
I strongly encourage each women to cultivate the habit of becoming a reader. Make it your hobby! Each year I strive to read a godly title addressing all of my roles – womanhood, motherhood, wife, and missional homemaking. These four books – Womanly Dominion, Mission of Motherhood, Sacred Influence, and Practical Hospitality have been my top yearly reads and are essential for inspiring me further up and further in while pursuing daily faithfulness to the Lord. Beyond these titles I love selecting a few biographies to read to provide godly examples to model my life after. I like to read titles on natural living, creative homemaking, and Christian inspirational titles. As much as I would love to read more history and modern titles, I have to prioritize my limited reading time to those that will really build me up in this season of life.
Being a wife and mother who reads is essential for passing on that love for learning and reading to your children. They learn by example. What you love, they will likely love.
If you want to grow in your role as wife, mother, homemaker and follower of Jesus – please don’t neglect the art of reading!
1. Make a reading goal and seek accountability
Every year I make a reading goal. For me, I aim for 25 titles completed by the years end. I post it here on my blog and begin marking them off as I complete them. I add to the list throughout the year as I hear recommendations, but I often scratch out other titles if I loose interest. Make your list and seek a friend, spouse, or relative to help keep you accountable.
2. Set a weekly family reading night
Having Tuesday night reading night has been a challenge to maintain but it certainly has been our goal to have one night a week to read together or individually as a family. This encourages reading as a family exercise from which we can all find enjoyment.
3. Carry a book with you
Carry a book with you is a valuable way to make use of time while you are in the restroom, waiting for an appointment, waiting for the kids from piano lessons or sports, etc. Having a portable reading device is also very helpful in this way (Kindle for iPhone or iPod touch, or iBooks are great new additions to the portable world). I can read from my phone making it easy never to forget a book and easy to pack.
4. Read before bed to wind yourself down
I love to take 30 minutes before bed to just read to my heart’s content. This helps wind me down from the busyness of the day, or help relieve my mind from stress. Don’t read anything too stimulating at this time, as it could keep you up. This is my favorite and most productive reading time of the day because there are no distractions and the house is peaceful and quiet.
5. Don’t be afraid to put a book down
The key is not to get bogged down. If a book is not really interesting to me, I glean what I can and then move on. Even John Piper, one of my favorite theologians, explains that he rarely reads a book from cover to cover. He picks out the meat and leaves the rest behind. In this manner you can get a lot of reading it.
6. Get into the habit – read a page a day!
One of the key ways to start reading more is to just start with one basic goal – read a page a day! You will often find that you cannot stop after one page, but making the daily habit will far surpass your expectations. I often take a few moments after I lay the kids down for a nap to read a book and take a short rest myself. Yes, there may be many other tasks calling my name (clean the dishes, or organize something), but I deliberately stop and take a short rest to rejuvenate myself for the tasks ahead when my children rise up and hubby comes home.
7. Guard your internet usage and other distractions
Many people don’t have time for reading because they are using their free time for the internet or television. The average American watches over 4.5 hours per day – no wonder we don’t read! One of the reasons we don’t have a television is for this reason – too distracting for me. I still have to guard my computer time by setting a timer or using parental controls as a safeguard, so I have more time for more productive pursuits.
8. Read while you nurse – multi-task!
Reading while I nursed my littles ones has been the perfect time to read a book.
9. Take advantage of audio books
Subscribe to Audible or borrow audio books from the library to enjoy while you travel, houseclean, or prepare meals. I love to use these times to listen to my favorite podcasts - Revive Our Hearts or Homemakers by Choice – but it is another opportunity to listen and glean from books.
You always find time for that which you prioritize! Make reading a priority for your day and you will always be blessed with fresh inspiration for your calling!