We welcome Bridgette Boudreaux today as she shares about her reading life as a mom.
To start is great, to finish is divine
In the middle of 2015, I realized I had a problem, a serious problem. I was great at finding and starting great books. So good at it in fact, that I had 5-7 books I was reading at any given time. But here was the problem: I seldom would push through and finish a book!! Instead I would see a new shiny book and start another while neglecting the ones I had already begun. Now, sometimes books aren’t worth finishing, but that was not the case for most of these books. My habit had gotten so bad that I even started a bookshelf on Goodreads for the books I “started but never finished”.
After finding Tim Challies’ reading challenge in December of 2015, I decided to set a goal and develop the good habit of finishing books! That first year I challenged myself to finish 26 books in 2016. The results were encouraging, but not perfect. For the first time in years I consistently finished books! I fell one book short of my goal, but it was a victory for me since I don’t even think I finished 10 books the year before.
Ever since that first year I have continued to use Tim’s list as a skeleton for what books I choose and I’ve kept a running list in my bullet journal of my goals. I have also used Goodreads to keep track of the books I am reading currently, as well as the books I want to read for the coming year. I have a bookshelf there for each challenge year of books that I am reading. This serves both as a book tracker as well as a planning venue for planning out the books I want to read in the coming year.
As moms we can sometimes neglect our own personal and/or professional development. Book challenges can be helpful in that they keep us focused on a goal of finishing more books. This year I was part of a private Facebook group that my friend ran. She posted a few times a week, asking us what books we were reading and what, if any, books we had finished. It was great to see what other ladies were reading and a great accountability tool since the notifications reminded me throughout the year of my goal.
Focus on Vocations
In 2019, I plan on reading books that align with my vocations/areas of responsibility. I have made this tracker that I have placed in the back of my planner. I plan on reading one to two books per the following vocations/areas of interest: biblical counseling, wife, mother, diabetes manager, home manager, personal holiness. Of course some books will be a mix of more than one area, and I’ll have some fiction books thrown in, but my main focus for 2019 is to grow in the areas where I am already serving my family and my church. I especially feel like my time as a mom is ever shortening, and I want to do the very best job that I can to mother well in the coming teen years.
Just a sampling of the books I want to finish in 2019 (some I have already started) are:
- Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D. A. Carson for personal holiness [affiliate link]
- A Theology of Christian Counseling by Jay Adams for biblical counseling [affiliate link]
- Give Them Grace by Elise Fitzpatrick and Age of Opportunity by Paul David Tripp for my role as a mom [affiliate links]
- Sugar Surfing by Stephen Ponder and Think Like a Pancreas for my role as a diabetes “manager” [affiliate links]
In addition to these nonfiction picks, I also have some fun fiction books on deck for 2019. One is the yet-to-be-released Return of the Thief by Megan Turner. I’m also re-reading the Harry Potter series ahead of my son, so I’ll probably have book three and four to read this year. I always enjoy re-reading these books as I remember what it was like to read them for the first time and I look forward to the conversation opportunities they will create with my oldest.
Keep your eye on the prize
Although challenges can be helpful, never let them discourage you! This year I picked out a bunch of topics from Tim Challies’ book challenge, but I only ended up reading 4 or 5 from that original list. Instead I did a ton of read alouds with my kids, and at the beginning of the year, I read the Bible in 90 days. Can I just say that was a wonderful and strenuous experience? It took the place of all of my reading from January – March. So as I look back over the books I read this year, I could be disappointed that I don’t see more meaty titles on the list, but instead I choose to remember that I read the Bible through in a short time and spent more time reading to/with my kiddos. That has to be worth more than crossing off the boxes in a pre-made list.
When she isn’t reading books, Bridgette stays busy by serving at her church, homeschooling her kids part time, and working at their university model school as the Technology Assistant. Bridgette is also one of the admins for a Facebook group for women that is for those diving into Tim Challies’s Reading Challenge. Bridgette is a long-time reader and supporter of Redeemed Reader–thank you, Bridgette!
Moms (and dads and teachers and grandparents and…), are YOU considering a reading challenge for 2019?
We highly recommend Tim Challies’s 2019 Reading Challenge if you need a good place to start. You are more than welcome to tackle our own Annual Reading Challenge if you want to read alongside your kids!