Contentment in the Midst of Chaos

This is my life right now.

Boxes, boxes, everywhere! Due to some family needs, we are moving from our home in Michigan to live near family in Pennsylvania. We are in the process of selling our condo, which is stressful, as anyone who has ever bought or sold a home can attest to. At the same time we are also packing up in preparation for movers to come at the end of December and put most of our stuff in storage. We will live with family temporarily while looking for a new place in Pennsylvania. So there are decisions as to what to put in storage, what do we think we’ll need in the meantime, not knowing how long it will take to find and buy a new home.

It’s easy (and probably natural) at times like these to look ahead and think, “Oh, I can’t wait until we have our new place and can be moved in and settled again, with life back to somewhat normal.” Until then life is chaotic and uncertain, living half out of boxes and suitcases. It’s hard to feel relaxed and content in the midst of all that is going on. But we are not meant to live our lives in the “Oh, when such and such happens, then I can relax and all will be well.” We aren’t meant to live in the future “someday”. We are called to live in the here and now, the everyday chaos, the half packed boxes around us. What better picture of this life being temporary? This is not our final destination. A new heaven and earth await us, where there will be no more chaos, no more stress, no more sin. Even when things settle down and there is a new normal, this is still not our final home. We are to hold this life loosely, ever realizing that this is temporary. We are sojourning between worlds, as this blog is called. So as I live in the midst of chaos, God can use this to remind me not to be looking for a future settled home here on this earth, but a future home in the new heaven and earth that awaits me when Christ returns. Until then I must live each day to glorify God and proclaim Jesus Christ.


Books and Multiplication

My to-be-read list is out of control. And they keep publishing interesting looking books! I think I will need to stop reviewing books, even though it’s a great way to get free books. I really need to plow through the massive pile I already have! And part of the problem is that I get interested in different subjects, so then I start looking at books on something different and ignore the ones I already have that are on different topics. Too much of a mood reader. My no-book-buy ban doesn’t seem to last very long. I would like to re-institute it but have trouble sticking to it. What will help is that now I have a budget for each month, so if I want to buy a book, I have to have enough money saved up in my hobby account. If not, I must wait. Good discipline!



In case you haven’t heard of it, there’s this wonderful book-swapping site called Paperbackswap. Now the name is slightly misleading because it’s not just paperbacks that get swapped, but hardcovers and audio books as well. You list the books you’re willing to mail out on the site. When someone requests them, you mail it out (paying for postage). When that person receives it and marks it received, you get a credit that you can then use to request a book from someone else.

This is a great way to get rid of unwanted books (or books you’ve finished and want to get rid of) and obtain new ones relatively cheaply (cost of postage and a swap fee of 49 cents). You can also add books that aren’t currently available on a wishlist so that if someone posts that book, you get a notification so you can request it if you still want it.

So I broke my “no-book-buy” freeze and bought 2 books. This was after I requested several books through paperbackswap. And then I requested 4 books from inter-library loan – Funny Story: So part of my no-book-buy freeze was to not request any library books as the whole point of the freeze was to get through my own physical books. My local library requires you to renew your library card annually on your birthday. I forgot to do that this year and as I was trying not to request books it hadn’t really been an issue. Until Thursday when I decided to request a few and remembered that I had forgotten to renew. Well, it was snowy on Thursday and I didn’t really want to go out, but I couldn’t renew over the phone. So after a brief try at using my old library card from where we previously lived, I ended up going out to renew my library card. I think I officially qualify as being addicted to books!

The good news is that I have been able to read through my own physical books for the last couple months, so I was making progress. After this library request, I will go back on my no-book-buy freeze and try to go longer this time. 🙂


Physical or Ebooks?

I much prefer physical books to ebooks. There’s just something about the feel of a book in your hands. And it’s much easier to flip back and forth or to skim ahead in a physical book. But the benefits of ebooks and having a Kindle include free or low cost books, space-saving and the ease of highlighting and sharing quotes.

This year I have put myself on a no-book-buy freeze to try to get through books that I already own. I’m still allowing myself to get free Kindle books and books through paperbackswap, but am not buying physical books or borrowing books from the library in an attempt to dwindle my own huge pile. Along those lines, while there are some books I have on Kindle that I’d like to read, I’m focusing more on physical books this year in an effort to free up space and to better see the accomplishment of getting through the pile. I’ve also been trying to get through some of my shorter books since they can be finished quickly and make it appear that I’m getting through the pile faster. 🙂

We shall see how well this goes this year and if I’m able to make significant progress in the huge to-be-read pile that stares at me.

Reading Resolutions and Reading Lists

I love to make reading lists and goals. But I tend to not stick to the lists. So as people are posting their lists for the year of what they want to read, I’m toying with making a list myself. But do I want to make a list if I know I’m not likely to stick to it? Oh, the quandary! 🙂

So then I go back to the fact that just making the list is fun. Even if I don’t stick to it, it’s fun to go through my books and see what jumps out at me. And this year I am hoping to focus on reading my own books and getting the ever-growing pile to dwindle a bit. So I’m taking a break from doing book reviews and borrowing library books to concentrate on reading books that I already own.

Some books I’d like to tackle this year:
Finish Michael Horton’s Pilgrim Theology
Several of the Let’s Study series put out by Banner of Truth (currently reading 1 Timothy)
Alone with God: Rediscovering the Power and Passion of Prayer by John MacArthur
Bible Overview by Steve Levy
Escape from Reason by Francis Schaeffer
The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology by Pascal Denault
Peacemaking Women by Tara Barthel
The Enemy Within by Kris Lundgaard
Faith Undone by Roger Oakland
When People Are Big and God Is Small by Edward Welch
Gospel-Centered Teaching by Trevin Wax
Beyond Seduction by Dave Hunt

Housewife Theologian by Aimee Byrd
The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges

Contentment and Books

I always seem to struggle with contentment when it comes to books. Yet I already have way too many that I want to read and already own. Instead of thinking about the book I want to read that I don’t own yet, I need to concentrate on the books I already own and haven’t read yet. This time of year makes it hard with all the advertising for Christmas and the sales and specials that places have. But it doesn’t change the fact that I have plenty of reading material already at my disposal. So how would contentment with my books look? Perhaps instead of buying “just this one more”, I could pick up one I already own and decide that I don’t need to read every book out there that piques my interest. I currently own between physical and Kindle books enough reading material for a couple years at least. Especially as some of them are rather large volumes such as Michael Horton’s The Christian Faith.

Every Crooked Path by Steven James

This book releases today.

Sojourner Between Worlds

Every Crooked Path (The Bowers Files #8)Every Crooked Path by Steven James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another suspenseful page-turner by Steven James! This is another book in the Patrick Bowers series taking place after the book Opening Moves but before The Pawn. I typically give a caveat in recommending these books as they are not for the squeamish and are suspense thrillers dealing with murder. For this book I would add an additional caution for the subject matter is heavy and dark, dealing with the issue of child molestation and human trafficking and the dark underworld of child p*rn. The author does a good job of not getting too graphic or detailed but it still could be a trigger for some to read so I would caution readers for which this could be an issue.
The plot moves along quickly and the book is fast-paced and easily read in a day or two…

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When It Comes to Book Reviews

Earlier today I posted a book review for Rediscovering Discipleship over at my Sojourner blog as part of a book review blog tour. I’ve been doing “formal” book reviews for quite a few years now where the publisher sends me a copy of the book (whether the physical book in the mail or the ebook via Kindle) for me to read and review on my blog and Amazon. This has been a great way to discover new authors as well as get free books. But sometimes I end up requesting too many at once and feel a little panicky on getting them all read in time. Or I feel pressured to continue reading even if I don’t like the book. I keep telling myself that I need to stop requesting review books, especially since I have so many of my own books that I need to read. But publishers keep coming out with new and interesting-looking books! How am I supposed to resist this? 🙂

I am hoping with this latest review post to take a break from formal reviews in order to spend more time on my own reading. Another book was posted for a blog tour but I am not allowing myself to sign up for this one. I need to get some of my own books read. Also by reading my own (or library) books I won’t feel pressured to necessarily review a book if I don’t want to or have a hard time expressing what I thought of it. It does mean not getting free books, but really, do I need any more at this point?