I am reading five books right now. FIVE! I can’t help myself. I would rather read a little bit of each one in a day than have to put one of these excellent topics off. I just completed Fully Alive by Ken Davis, which I recommend especially for men. As a woman, I liked it a lot, but Ken presents concepts about self-care in ways that I think most men would accept.

The second book is The Beautiful Tree by James Tooley about his discovery of small private schools in some of the poorest areas of the world. I see it as a book about passion, passion for teaching and for children. No matter how good an educational system is, if your teachers lack passion you don’t have anything. I don’t think I have to finish the book to get this, but for some reason, I want to. It is a rarity that I start a book and not finish it. I suspect I could count unfinished books on one hand over my lifetime.

The third book is the January pick for my spirituality book club. It is called Eearth by Bill McKibben. It is about what is happening to the planet right now. I just read the intro this morning. I don’t want to read glum and hopelessness and I don’t think this will be like that. I heard McKibben speak on Public Radio the other day and he sounds like a pretty level-headed guy. I look forward to this read.

I am continuing to read Bill Moyers Journal, a collection of some of his most interesting interviews. Each interview is about the size of a magazine article. I read these whenever I am eating alone, usually during breakfast and lunch. Moyers is a great interviewer and much easier to understand than another of my favorite’s, Krista Tippit, whose vocabulary is way over my head. I can only listen to her if I’ve had a good night’s sleep.

At night before I doze off, I usually have a novel going. Right now it is Nowhere Else on Earth by Josephine Humphreys. It is about a family who lived in North Carolina near the end of the civil war. I read another about this time period a few months ago. Both bring home to me the violence and despair of war for those who  live in the midst of it. Sometimes I will read children’s books at night. Reading them always makes me want to write one.

Reading gives me stuff to write about on my blog. I love sharing with others what I am learning. Reading feeds my spirit. I sometimes feel the writers are my personal mentors. They help me see myself and my world with new eyes. They often give me direction when I am struggling. I try to avoid writers who are angry. Anger is not useful to me. Even if I agree with what a writer is saying, I won’t read one that speaks from a position of anger. I am the same way when it comes to having face-to-face conversations with people. I want to say, “Do something about that resentment, dude, and then maybe I will listen.” Anger makes my blood pressure rise. I also don’t like pessimism. Pessimism saps my energy. No sense in doing anything constructive if there is no hope.

Central Minnesota had its first good snowfall of the season. We will have a white Christmas. I enjoyed watching the buckets of snow weighing on the pine trees in our yard. All of a sudden, one snowflake too many and the branches dump the snow into a soft avalanche of white fluff. It is beautiful to watch. I am happy that the earth has some moisture and that our drain field is not likely to freeze this winter.

Have a warm day. For those of you in Minnesota, drive carefully.

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