Permaculture for the Mind, Uncategorized

My (Evergreen) Book Recommendations

In full transparency, this blog has become a catch all for the information I am personally passionate about. I write posts about stories I want to remember (my birth experiences), I write about health protocols, anecdotal experiences, or about people I am learning from as a sort of online journaling space. While much of my writing has been personal, so that I could recall as needed, increasingly, I find myself writing posts that I hope my kids will read or learn from, someday.

At this stage of motherhood, I have a 4.5 & 2.5 year old, who LOVE books. We read books morning, afternoon and evening. As we are enjoying these various picture books, rhyming books, counting books, or educational books, I find myself excited about the day when my kids can choose a title for themselves, and get excited about their own reading adventures.

This list is a compilation of books that have made an enormous impact in my life. They have created foundations and fostered growth, physically, mentally and spiritually. I can FULLY recommend them to every single human being, and many of them I have read multiple times.

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In order of personal preference…

1. Desire of Ages  -Ellen G. White

Simply put, this is the inspired story of the life of Christ. This book is one I return to often. I can remember traveling to Arizona with my dad, and him picking up this book for the first time. Whether we were poolside, or eating a meal, or flying, he was reading. He was riveted. He read this book with a reverence and awe that I had not witnessed in my father, up until this point. It would be a few years later that I actually read it for myself, but after a few readings this book remains one of the most important books in my library. This is a book that has transformed my portrait of Christ, established my faith, and inspired a more committed relationship with the Biblical writings.

A wise purpose underlay every act of Christ’s life on earth. Everything He did was important in itself and in its teaching.”
Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages

I am a big fan of this book, “The History of Redemption”, which has a whole compilation of Ellen G. White books.

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2. Mere ChristianityC.S. Lewis

Of course C.S. Lewis is here (spoiler alert: he makes the list a couple times). You would be pretty safe to pick up any book authored by this man, and find profound depth and inspired creativity. Mere Christianity is another book that needed multiple reads in my life, and I recommend it to anyone who appreciates a logical approach to theology. As my children grow, I will lean on this book as part of their philosophical foundations to faith.

A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity 

3. Celebration of Discipline: The Path the Spiritual GrowthRichard Foster

This book is AMAZING. We live in a hyper distracted state, and this book reminds me to be aware of the habits that surround my days and my seasons. God is always there, whether we have these disciplines or not, but the habits we cultivate can allow God to be heard and seen more clearly. This book is a must read for anyone who says, “How can we hear from God?”.

A farmer is helpless to grow grain; all he can do is provide the right conditions for the growing of grain. He cultivates the ground, he plants the seed, he waters the plants, and then the natural forces of the earth take over and up comes the grain…This is the way it is with the Spiritual Disciplines – they are a way of sowing to the Spirit… By themselves the Spiritual Disciplines can do nothing; they can only get us to the place where something can be done.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth

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4. Switch on Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking and Health  -Caroline Leaf

I am obsessed with the way our brain works. This book was recommended to me after I was married and I was fascinated with the science and subsequent realities this book presented. Dr. Leaf makes a strong case for the power of thought, and I have been building the strength of “catching my thoughts” and making more positive grooves in my brain, ever since I finished this book.

Thoughts are real, physical things that occupy mental real estate. Moment by moment, every day, you are changing the structure of your brain through your thinking. When we hope, it is an activity of the mind that changes the structure of our brain in a positive and normal direction.”
Caroline Leaf, Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health

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5. Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World  -Bob Goff

Just thinking about this book makes me smile. This book is so full of positivity and inspiration for living a more abundant life, that I am thinking it’s time for me to read it again. Bob Goff is one of those human beings that does “larger than life” things. As a fully committed Christ follower, he makes a difference on the world-wide scale, while also impacting the lives of his family and neighborhood. He says yes to BIG things, and he trusts God in a way that makes me want to shout and dance! I am happy to call this man a brother in Christ and I pray to live out my faith like Bob Goff.

I used to think you had to be special for God to use you, but now I know you simply need to say yes.”
Bob Goff, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World

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6. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life -Donald Miller

This is very similar to Love Does, in fact Bob Goff and Donald Miller met during the writing of this book in a serendipitous way (but I won’t give too much of the excitement away here!) I am a fan of the way Donald Miller constructs a story, and this book happens to be about exactly that. Our lives are meant to be lived as though they were a good book, because we have a BRILLIANT author. This book reminded me to make the movie/book/manuscript of my life a really fantastic story!

And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can’t go back to being normal; you can’t go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.”
Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life

7. Call of the Wild & Free: Reclaiming Wonder in Your Child’s Education  -Ainsley Arment

I never pictured being a mother. I also never pictured being a homeschooling mother. But I experienced the call…the call of the wild and free. This book sits on my desk, and it is my constant reminder of my “why”. I know there are great teachers, and I also know that the schooling system is a “good fit” for many, yet I am a firm believer that the vast majority of us are missing something in our parenting journey. If children go from school, to extracurriculars, to homework, to bed for the first 18 years of their lives, I fear for the wonder, whimsy and true relationships we are forfeiting. I sincerely pray that every parent can hear that still small voice that challenges us to “do things differently.”

A magical childhood isn’t about having the best toys, gadgets, and vacations. It’s actually the opposite. It’s about simplicity. A magical childhood is about freedom. Freedom to explore, discover, and play.”
Ainsley Arment, The Call of the Wild and Free: Reclaiming Wonder in Your Child’s Education

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8. Becoming a Supple Leopard -Kelly Starrett

This is one of my go to books for understanding movements that heal and augment the human structure. It is more of a textbook, but when someone tells me they have knee, elbow, ankle, back pain…this is my book.

You can’t just tune out and do the work. Sport, combat, and life don’t work like that. You have to train smart and hard, with consciousness. This is what training is for. Resolve now to change your criteria from quantity to quality and judge your movement based on form, not on how many repetitions you can complete.”
Kelly Starrett, Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance

9. Deep Work  Cal Newport

This was one of the books that convinced me to get off social media. Cal Newport’s extensive research and practical stories helped me to become more aware of what a diet of short attention spans does to my brain and my life. We don’t train deep work quite like we used to, and we are losing a lot of brain power, mental health, and productivity because of it. This book will be a must read for my children as they are learning how to learn and work.

To simply wait and be bored has become a novel experience in modern life, but from the perspective of concentration training, it’s incredibly valuable.”
Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

10. Cross Examination  – Subodh Pandit

This book compares the major religions and offers an excellent case for why Christ is the way the truth and the life. We have multiple copies of this book, because we love it so much! If you are interested in a free copy, email the contact page and let me know, and I will send you a FREE copy (for as long as my supplies last ;))

No, I do not demand that you agree. All I ask is that you carefully weigh the evidence and then think, ‘this person (me) does have a justifiable ground to stand on. His belief does appear reasonable and evidence-based.’ And once you’ve said that, then let me challenge you to ‘Go and find your reason to believe

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11. The Ministry of Healing -Ellen G. White

A book that has inspired my health and my passion for healing. This book is like a textbook for healthy living. It doesn’t only discuss food and physical principles, it discusses spiritual and social principles of wellness. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to bring health into their own life or share it with others.

Christ loved to gather the people about Him under the blue heavens, on some grassy hillside, or on the beach beside the lake. Here, surrounded by the works of His own creation, He could turn their thoughts from the artificial to the natural. In the growth and development of nature were revealed the principles of His kingdom.

12. The Happiness Advantage  -Shawn Achor

I am an optimistic person, so it is possible I am biased toward this book! However, this book has SO many great studies explaining how we can build our brains and bodies into happiness-experiencing machines! (Very similar concepts to Switch on Your Brain.)

Each one of us is like that butterfly the Butterfly Effect . And each tiny move toward a more positive mindset can send ripples of positivity through our organizations our families and our communities.”
Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work

13. This Present Darkness/Piercing the Darkness  -Frank E. Peretti

These books come in a series, however, even if you just read one of them, it would be worthwhile. These are fictional books, but I believe they brilliantly show the way spiritual forces are interacting with the world. The visuals from these books are seared into my brain, and I often find myself considering the way angels, both good and fallen, are interacting with us on a moment to moment basis. Piercing the Darkness also has an especially interesting focus on our education system, and I believe it is exactly what we are seeing taking place in our education system today!

I’m here, Satan,” he said. “I can’t see you, and maybe you can move faster than I can, but I’m still here, and by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit I intend to be a thorn in your side until one of us has had enough!”
Frank E. Peretti, This Present Darkness

14. Screwtape Letters  -CS Lewis

This is another book that portrays the battle between good and evil. It is an eerie conversation between two demons about how to successfully “take down” their subjects. I don’t watch horror movies and I avoid all things “scary”, but this book is a profound reminder that evil forces are working intelligently, all around….and on us.

Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,…Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.”
C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

*This list may continue to change over the years, but these are books I find myself hoping my children read, as they grow. If you have read or decide to read any of these books, I would love to hear your thoughts!! Prayers as you embark on a journey toward greater education, truth and above all else, love.

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