09 May 2013

30 Days - Day 9 - Books! Who knew?

Guess what time I woke up this morning?

5:01 am.

Without the alarm clock, too.

Typical.

After yesterday's efforts I couldn't ignore the time and I got up.

It's now 6:20 am and I've been reading my Bible and other books. That's how I approach my Bible reading - I read my Bible, but also other books, because I like to read how other people apply God's Word in their own lives.

The other books I have on the go at the moment are Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst (It's about raw emotions - no surprise there) and Grace - More than We Deserve, Greater than We Imagine by Max Lucado. Interesting, huh?

I've always thought you can tell a lot about a person by the books on their bookshelf. The titles are a dead giveaway as to who they are, what they're interested in, what they want to learn about and what they're struggling with.

My current titles?

Unglued

and

Grace 

Hmmm - see what I mean?

If you don't want people to know where you're at (or where you've been), hide your books!

I remember being in someone's lounge room once and their bookshelf was right there, so I scanned it just out of interest.

It was then that I realised book titles are pretty telling of someone's journey through life - weight loss, marriage help, parenting guides etc.

I remember the feeling of, "Wow, this is quite personal" when all I was doing was looking at someone's books. I moved on because it seemed intrusive to keep looking.

Okay, so bookshelves are personal IF you're a reader and you've got books!

What if you're not a reader and you don't have books?

Doesn't matter. For the sake of this discussion, what would some of your book titles be?

  • Coping with Stress in Everyday Life by I. M. Happy
  • How to be Happy When You're Sad by I. M. So Happy
  • Great Holiday Destinations by A. Traveller
  • I Love to Bake by Mrs Miele
  • Going With the Flow by Miss Wing-It

You know, what are your books?

Your themes?

Your interests?

Your roadblocks?

Your needs?

They're all reasons I go to books. Sometimes it's for the love, comfort and simplicity (Roses for Mama by Janette Oke that I'm reading now) and other times it's to find commonalities and answers. Sometimes it's just to read someone else's story, or hear what they have to say on a specific subject.

I love books - but I can't look at them all the time. 

I don't want to see all those different titles every time I walk through the house, it puts me off.

I'm not denying anything. I'm just arranging them, so I can live with them every day.

We have two sets of bookshelves in our house. The lounge room one is the one that everyone sees, and I've specifically arranged the books, so the aesthetic is pleasing. I don't want anyone (including myself) to be jarred with self-help titles and 'journey' books when we're in there, or walking by. Oh, too much!

Luckily, the shelf has a cupboard I hide certain books in. It has stained glass in the front, so I can't see them properly, but I know they're there.

The bookshelf in other room has just had a clean-out. It was one of those clean-ups that I had an urge for, so I went with it.

My number one policy with house cleaning (and any other job/cleaning/sorting) is that if I find myself doing it with a sudden flash of inspiration at 11:30 pm, or any other completely odd time of day, I just go with it because I never know when it'll hit again! I can't make myself iron at the completely normal time of 10 o'clock in the morning sometimes, you know?

Anyway, sudden inspiration to do the bookshelf hit and I pared down and moved stuff out. I breathe deeply when I see it now because it looks better and is tidier than it was.

And it suits me where I'm at in my life with books now. 

I kept what I wanted to keep (out-dated or not) and moved the rest out. That made room for some new books and left some breathing space on the shelf, too.

(Breathing space is always a good thing, is it not? Not room to grow, just breathing space)

Just out of interest - what do I have on display? And what's hidden?

Lounge Room Bookshelf (it's actually a sideboard with open shelves)

On display on top because I'm reading them:

  • Unglued and Grace plus a Bible, notebooks, pens and a highlighter. 
  • A Survival Guide for Life by Bear Grylls (Andrew and I read together)

On display in the shelves:

  • Lots of Janette Oke books (Christian Fiction) - They're a real favourite of mine. I'm reading Roses for Mama now. 
  • Lots of other Christian romance novels by Liz Curtis Higgs, Lori Wick and others. 
  • She Who Laughs, Lasts by the Women of Faith (compilation of funny stories). I have two others from the same series.  

What else is on there? I have to lean around to check...hang on...

  • Pride and Prejudice/Sense and Sensibility/Emma by Jane Austen (these were my grandmother's)
  • Three little books about teddy bears

Hidden:

Okay, gotta get up to go check these out...

  • The Way We Work/Every Child Can Succeed by Cynthia Tobias (from teaching days)
  • The Love Languages/The Love Languages of God/Love as a Way of Life by Gary Chapman
  • A Love Worth Giving by Max Lucado
  • Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst (weight loss)
  • Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge
  • Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman
  • Teach Your Dog 100 English Words by Michele Welton
  • Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli
  • Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo
  • Battlefield of the Mind/Seven Things That Steal Your Joy by Joyce Meyer
  • Men Are From Mars Women are From Venus by John Gray

and leaning on them facing out (so it hides the gaudy book spines) is...

  • Anne's House of Dreams by L. M. Montgomery

On display in the other room

  • Tracie Peterson fiction
  • The rest of the Anne of GG books
  • The Little House on the Prairie series (apparently they were mine back in the day, but I don't remember reading them. I read a lot of Enid Blyton)
  • Cardmaking/Scrapbooking books and magazines
  • Real Living/Australian House & Garden/Home Beautiful magazines
  • Story books for children (from teaching days)
  • A couple of parenting books (that my mum had and I read as a teacher)
  • The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Sue Bertwhistle & Susie Conklin
  • Dictionaries

And a few of Andrew's contributions:

  • Stamp Albums (he used to collect stamps)
  • Blood, Sweat and Tears by Bear Grylls
  • A harmonica music book
  • A high school year book
  • The Quest annual (1977) with a very young Kurt Russell on it! 
  • Oh the Places You'll Go by Dr Suess (given to him at work)
  • The Opal Bard - Verse of the Outback by John Perham (some photocopied sheets stapled into a book? Not sure where it came from)
  • Custom Utes/Camper Trailer Australia magazines

and I think that's it!

My goodness, why did I write all those down? 

I guess I wanted to show our life...our journey....through the books we have. 

Some are current favourites, some we haven't read in a while.

Some are yet to be read and passed on. I want to read Bear's Blood, Sweat and Tears.

Some are nice to look at, some aren't.

Some are out of date (the scrapbooking ones), but I still keep them.

Some are Andrew's, so I can't touch 'em!

What I'm saying is that they're there. They're ours, and it's our choice how we display them. We choose what we put on display for ourselves and for others.

The book titles tell who we are; the way they're displayed does the same.

They show:
  • I'm more of a reader than Andrew because I have a billion more books. 
  • I have more needs in that area. Whether it be for information, comfort or relaxation; I have more of a need for books than he does. 
  • I like them to be contained and pleasing to the eye. 
  • I like them to be accessible and neat. 
  • I like them to be on hand to refer to, or re-read in the future. 
  • I also need them to be relevant in some way. I keep what I want to keep. The rest goes. 
  • I like my bookshelves in carpeted rooms, so I can sit on the floor when reading.
  • I like some books to be hidden, but still available. 
  • I need a lot of bookmarks!  And I make them using washi tape :o)
  • Andrew doesn't need a lot of storage. 

As I was typing that list, I was thinking, I'm noticing the huge correlation here between my books and my emotions. How I deal with them. How I store them. How I display them. How I live with them every day. How I re-assess them often. How different Andrew and I are. How I go back and re-assess  my emotions to see what's relevant and what's not. How he doesn't really because he doesn't have them in the first place! How I move my bad attitudes out and get rid of the clutter. And sometimes how I leave them on the shelf for a while and then get a sudden urge to clean up!  

Need it, use it, love it, otherwise get rid of it. That's an organiser's motto. Not always easy, but I work from that.

In going through my books of course I thought, Do I want to keep all these? The lounge room bookshelf didn't get a clean-up like the other one did, but maybe it will soon. Feels like some things need to go.

The problem is - It's all well and good to have a clean-up, but what do you do with your books when you don't want them anymore?

We put them downstairs and Andrew takes them to the markets with all the other junk I put out for him. I mean, I know why we put them down there, but sometimes I just want them gone, you know. GONE! Outta here! Outta my sight! That's the whole purpose of a clean-up - to get rid of stuff - and it annoys me when I've gotten rid of stuff, and yet it's still here!

Well, I can't get rid of the household stuff as quickly as I'd like to sometimes...and it feels the same with my emotions.

It's kinda like I've just walked into the room and thought, Man, this area needs a clean-up!

I guess I'm in the process of working out exactly what I've got first.

After that I'll be working out what I want to keep and what I want to toss.

And I'll tell you, what I'm tossing will be going straight into the bin with no market stop in between. And no storage in between! Please, I've got no time for that. I don't want to store stuff I don't want to keep.

I don't want to store stuff I don't want to keep!! 

It takes up too much space!

There's no breathing room!

It makes me feel anxious and tired and heavy.

I want to feel light, easy and solid (for lack of better words!).

I've just got to see what I've got first. 

I know I've done a lot of paring down over the years, but I've still got too much. And some of it may not be wrong necessarily; just irrelevant.

Not everything we get rid of is junk, you know.

Sometimes it's just irrelevant because it no longer fits.

I've got emotions that no longer fit. Made me breathe in deeply, that did. Yep, organising to do.

Anyway, BOOKS, who knew?

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