Welcome to my eclectic journey of my life and delights. This year my theme is surrendering my writing pen to the true author, Jesus Christ, while looking forward to the future, reflecting on the past and dancing through my journey.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Need to Exercise My Brain

Now I have decided if I have to give up my morning Chia Tea....then just give me a shovel and I will dig my own grave....giving up my tea isn't gonna happen.  Since I am also a Native Texan...living just miles from the original Dr Pepper factory...well an occasional Dr Pepper (I take mine with sugar cane please) is also on my list of "guiltless pleasures".

We are all learning to continue to watch what we eat...organic, whole grain, no fat, lean meats, more fiber...etc. etc., while pushing ourselves to exercise on a regular basis.

As  a Christian I know I can't add a day to my life...God has already determined my home coming, nor can I totally decide the quality of my health.  Our pastor who ate only organic, exercised, supplemented and  kept his body is tip-top shape reminds us that even with all that human effort he still came down with brain cancer, as he declares God's sovereignty each week through his sermons.  I can be faithful to the temple God has given me and leave the rest to Him.

So I was knocked off my bike peddling legs when I read this comment.

It's amazing to me that our culture can be so smart and deliberate about physical nutrition and so mindless about the  spiritual, intellectual, and emotional content of the ideas we consume. We're so casual about what goes into our minds and then end up in therapy desperately trying to change what's in there.  I'm convinced that if we took half the care to guard our minds that we do to guard our bodies, in about five years we would be amazed at the transformation that has taken place in our heart and relationships.   Chip Ingram from Good to Great in God's Eyes

Wow!  Now I have to confess I put the book down... pedaled a little harder, to get rid of more calories and just mediated on that thought.  Now if I am going to get up early each morning to work-out and invest in my health...I need to also invest in my brain....Some Stinking Thinking Needs to Go!

photo bucket
Ingram goes on to admonish the reading of  scripture...meditate and memorize.  I know that fact...but have I been faithful to realize that I need my spiritual muscles more than my physical muscles?

After the Word of God he explains how Great Books expand our minds and change us.  My loaded down bookshelves testify to the readings which have affected my life, yet I was challenged to see how I need to do more.  It is time to make a list and start exercising my brain more.  It is time to enter fall with a dream to expand and grow mental muscles.

So today I am asking you to give me some of your favorites.   What book has changed your life?  What is your favorite "just for fun" book?  I am not a fiction reader...so I am trying to expand my limited knowledge of books in that area. What is the most inspirational book you have read?

If you could only take five books with you and you could never have any more....what five would you take?

Thanks for sharing....I am excited about this re-newed zeal to work on my thinking.

43 Joining in with more words:

Debbie said...

Good morning! Some really good thoughts here. And again, is this EVER true. It made me think of the scripture that we WILL reap what we sow. If we put nothing but "junk" into our minds and spirits, then we will reap nothing but junk as well. Which will leave us with empty spiritual accounts so to be speak. I think of some of the mindless TV I've watched, or music I have listened too right along with those books. I think some of the best fictional books I have read that really had a BIG impact on me were the Karen Kingsbury books on the Baxter family series. I think there is around 15 of them or so in that particular series....I LOVED them and she is a very gifted Christian writer. She has many others of course that are also good, but the Baxter family series are the best in my humble opinion. I am going check back here tonight and see what everyone else has read as well. Have a wonderful day Janette! HUGS

Kathleen said...

I have often found Chip Ingram's insights to be very wise and challenging.

The scriptures tell us that we are changed/made new because of the transformation of our minds (2 Cor 3:18). That's where the battle rages (Rom 7:23). Jesus scolded his antagonists for having worldly minds (Matt 16:23); and why the mind features so prominently in both the Old & New Covenants.

Like most, I allow waaaayyyyy too much junk to filter in and through my thoughts. Learning to guard my mind has been a lifetime endeavor. TV is the worst.

I can recommend books by Madeleine L'Engle. Anything she writes has my vote, especially "A Circle of Quiet".


Shanda said...

Randy Alcorn: Safely Home
Where does a Mother go to Resign by Barbara Johnson
Forgotten God by Frances Chen
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Mark of the Lion series by Francene Rivers
I took the ones that came off the tip of my tongue first. You've probably read them all but some of my favorites: ones that kept me thinking for a LONG time.

Unknown said...

ok girlfriend.. to start.. TEA is very good for ya.. especially GREEN tea..so if you have to change..go green..lol.. I recently did.. I am a avid ice tea drinker.. (hince Glass of Sweet Tea..lol.) but I am changing to green tea,,hot and cold.. it is so much better for us..
now to my books..
#1 Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.. (need, need ,need that one )
#2 Power of a praying wife , woman, mom,,, any of those 3 ..
#3 The Noticer by Andy Andrews.
(Actually,, I would move that one up to #2...awesome book)
#4 Secrets Transforming your life and marriage by Kerri Clawson..
#5 You matter more than you think. by Leslie Parrot..
Those are my top choices..
Great post.. keep on peddling..xoxo

Canadagirl said...

Sweet Janet,

I wanted to let you know I read your post and you got me thinking! I will come back and comment more.

Till then....Blessings and ((HUGS))!

Vickie said...

Janette - I must say, you convicted me this morning with your post. I've not been exercising my mind lately. I wrote down some of these suggestions. "Jesus Calling" was recommended to me awhile back - have I bought it yet? No, so now I'm going to make sure that I go get that one and get started on something. Love Francine Rivers, too, and they are always good stories, but I need something more constructive. Thanks for posting this today. I'm convicted.

Farm Girl said...

Great questions and that is a really mind blowing quote and so true. Oz Guinness said it once too in a book called Fit bodies, Fat Minds.

I am always trying to decide if I could only take this thing what would I take?
Well if I could only take 5 books they would be:
1. The Bible
2. Elisabeth Elliot Keep a Quiet Heart.
3. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.
4. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
5. Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer.

I think a good thing to take would be the little cards that the Navigators put out on scripture memorization. I still carry them with me and when I am waiting I sit and memorize.
The other book I might take would be Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan and The Seeking Heart by Francois Fenelon
I use the Daily Light and Streams in the Desert for my devotional stuff every day.
I prefer the older writers to the writers of today. I think our gospel has been a bit watered down with advent of Psychology that has filtered in today.
I seem to be as I get older, "Just give me that Old Time Religion." :)
Once I was lost and now I am saved.
Great post!

Vee said...

Oh my goodness...what a question. It would take me a week to figure out the final four. It goes without saying that the first would be the Bible. Yes, I do think we must guard our hearts and minds and I do think that some things profit little/a little? I figure that when my body is screaming at me from lack of exercise and overindulgence, I should listen. Now you've got me wondering about my brain.

Susannah said...

Aha! An excellent question... name five books you couldn't live without?

I tackled that Q in a blog post a bout a year ago... but I picked 10(non-fiction). I still think these are the 10 essential books I'd want to have if I was stranded on a deserted island. Take a look if you have time:


Blessings, e-Mom

Anonymous said...

Janette - Good for you! As a Literacy Enrichment Artist, you are coming to the conclusion I hope for all - expanding the mind through literature - good literature - literature that makes tangible the Biblical worldview.

Now, I know that you mention not being given to fiction - and all the suggestions so far are non-fiction inspiration - but I find great inspiration in STORY - 19th century writers wrote from a Biblical worldview. I know it's heavy - but Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Anthony Trollope - all fallible humans coming from the pervasive Biblical teachings of their time, shaped by the political nature of their time, and writing human nature in story that - when I read - I see God's Word played out on a stage - the consequences of human choice. My heart enlarges to understand history (His Story) and the diversity of humanity in greater dimensions. I am able to gain so much because I read novels - story - via the filter of God's Word. Metaphors of God's wisdom come alive - and I grow in depth of understanding and my ability to understand God at work - in me and in the lives and situations of life.

Don't discount the power of story.

Miss Kathy

P.S. You can not know how your story of the Methusalah Tree has been ministering to me - and as I have shared with her - the music teacher at the school where we work and are currently in the furnace of trial. Hardship - Silently Adapt. Lord, helping us, we will find balance so that we may live . . .

Debbie said...

This is an absolutely wonderful post!! I love the part about worrying about what goes into our brain.

Now, as to your question. That's really hard for me because of my love of books. I decided to just list what I consider to be my five my favorites of all time.

Here's my list.

The Bible (really and truly, it is my favorite thing to read.)

The Long Winter (yep... a children's book)
Great Expectations
To Kill a Mockingbird
Little Women

Sorry not to be more current and intellectual, but those are my five favorites of all time.

I haven't read a book this summer since "The Help" kept me up half the night. That's one of the best new fiction books out there.

Debbie said...

And yes, I know that books shouldn't be in quotes, but I didn't know how else to do in within the confines of this comment box. Ugh.

Unknown said...

I will have to think about the 5 book question a bit more. I love to read both fiction and non-fiction but other than my Bible I think I could probably get along just fine if I didn't have them. I do love the book Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers though. It is fiction but it is based on the biblical account of the story Hosea and it is really written well. It is one I have read more than once and it made me cry every time. It just really brings home the love of Christ and when we follow it true obedience to Him and what He has planned for our lives (even when we can't see it or trust what is happening) that He is blessing our lives abundantly. If you haven't read it, you should even though it is fiction-it is very well done. Matter a fact I might have to pull it off the shelf and read it again.
Non-fiction that I read (on the whole getting healthy issue thing too) is Lysa Terkeurst 's book Made to Crave. It is not a diet book, she talks about getting healthy and why she did it but it is more about how we are all made to "Crave Something" and that something should be Him-and when it is everything else will come into place. I saw her two weekends ago in Midland and she was an awesome speaker too-made you laugh and cry and just be ever so thankful of your relationship with Christ. Really good book too.
I love DP too and it has to be with the cane sugar. It is really the only soda I like to drink even though I am trying not to drink it at all. I like tea but really sweet and cold! Not good for me either. sigh! I think the reason I don't care for hot tea is mom always made us drink it when we were sick and so my mind associates it with that. :)
Hope you have a great day-my physical and spiritual muscles need a work out I am afraid. Been on auto pilot for awhile and I need to get busy doing what I know is best in both areas. I always tell my kids-junk in equals junk out! If you fill you mind with bad things they have to come out and it will show up in your attitude and your actions and speech without you even seeing it, just how the devil wants it.
Love ya

Sue Anne McKinney said...

1. John Maxwell books. The Difference Maker
2. The Path by Laurie Beth Johns (read this one about 10-15 years ago...loved it when I was going thru kids leaving for college, etc.)
3. Christy by Katherine Marshall (read this as a young girl and then re-read it about 5 years ago. LOVED it)
4. The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer
These are in no particular order...just what came to my brain! Even though I'm in a book club that reads and discusses current fiction, I have found very few books that equal these as far as keeping forever! I love a simple sentence that speaks volumes.
My goal (now that I realize I WILL wake up at 4:30 every morning) is to read Bible first, then follow with either a good book or read the news. I can get lots into my brain at that time of day. Not so much after 1 pm!

no spring chicken said...

A mental workout along with your physical workout? Lead the way Janette, I'm watching to see how we are going about this whole thing. ;)

My Utmost For His Highest
The Hidden Art of Homemaking (Edith Schaefer)
Uncle Tom's Cabin
The God Smuggler (Brother Andrew)...

I could definitely go on and on. These are just the first that came to mind!

Blessings, Debbie

Sandy said...

I love to read but rarely read any
fiction. I think my favorites besides
the Bible, of course, would be:

Christ The Healer--Bosworth
The Power of the Blood of Jesus--
Blessing or Curse--Prince
Mere Christianity--Lewis
Streams in the Desert--Cowman

Hugs and Happy Reading!

http://bitsandpieces-sonja.blogspot.com/ said...

What a good blog Janette. It has me thinking for sure.

5 favorites... that is hard. Other than the Bible, which is always #1...

anything by Tozer, C.S.Lewis, Spurgeon and so many others I can't even think of. I love to read, and most books I've read give new insight and teaching.

And one more category that blesses me over and over, the stories of great men and women of faith. They are so worth reading. I'm about to start the life of Mueller.

Good blog girl!


http://bitsandpieces-sonja.blogspot.com/ said...

p.s... I just read Sandy's comments and I can't believe I forgot Andrew Murray, and also Streams in the Desert...

Patrice said...

Hi, Janette!
I'd like to personally invite you to join our chat on my porch sometime. I know you follow precious, Kim at My Field of Dreams. I just wanted to drop by, introduce myself and let you know there's always room on my porch for another friend!

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Challenging thoughts, thank you Janette.

Lisa said...

Love this post Janette! I too have been trying to monitor my self-talk. It's amazing all the junk your mind not only takes in, but continues to meditate on. Yuck!

Petra said...

My favorite would be the Holy Bible. Aside from that life changing book, my next all time favorite is John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, but not the watered down, abridged or modern translated copies. No siree! Next, I'd have to take Holiness by J.C. Ryle, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, and The Phantom Toll Booth by Norton Juster. It's a children's adventure novel everyone should read, regardless of age. Now if stay in this comment box any longer, I'll wind up changing my mind. There are just too many great books! :-)

But you're totally right, the feeding (and care) of our brain is as important, if not more, than what we feed our bodies. You'll have to excuse me, I hear a sweet potato pie calling my name. ;-)

Theresa said...

Does the bible count as one?
2- Trusting God by Jerry Bridges
3- Womanly Dominion: More than a meek and quiet spirit by Mark Chanski
4- Attitudes of a Transformed Heart by Martha Peace
5- Loving God With All Your Mind by Elizabeth George

I would love some Dr. Pepper with real cane sugar :) Only with high fructose corn syrup here ;(

Tanna said...

Man, this one is GOOD, Janette. And, I couldn't agree more about the junk we allow into our minds. I see most of my favorites already listed and a few new ones for me to add to my reading list. The Gift of the Blessing is probably one of the books that made the greatest impact on my life. I would highly recommend it. Great post. blessings ~ tanna

Cecilia Marie Pulliam said...

You hit it right. We do pay more attention to the external than the internal. As far as fiction books, one of the best I have read this year is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Excellent, heart melting story than could so easily be the absolute truth. I'd have to think on the other five. Too many favorites. To Kill a Mockingbird is right up there as well. These books didn't change my life, they enriched it. However one book that had a profound effect on my spiritual life is He Loves Me! by Wayne Jacobsen. This one I will read over and over again.

moreofhim said...

I'm going to have to think about all the books that I want to share with you, but one author I highly recommend for that "just for fun" reading, would be Jan Karon. She has a wonderful series of books that feature "Father Tim" who is an Episcopalian minister. It's absolutely a wonderful series and would be a definite must on that desert island. :)

Blessings - Julie

Sue said...

This is my second attempt at finishing reading and to comment Janette, got a call from dd, last night while in the middle of savoring your thoughts, it was so late I didn't get back.
As always you, through the Holy Spirit challenge, inspire and motivate me, to be the best I can be.
Until I found ,blogland I was an avid reader, always looking for a moment to pick up a book, but since 2008, that has changed. just gotta blame something.~smile~.
Besides the Bible, anything Elizabeth George or Emilie Barnes, and my favorite Beth Moore, have written is what I read, and like you I would rather read non-fiction.I also read books about health, Don Colbert, I could go on and on, let's see Evelyn Christenson, Corrie Ten Boom, and girl you are going laugh at this one, I recently started, just for fun..."How to become a Sweet old lady, instead of a Grumpy Old Crouch.".
Enjoy your day,
I am glad I waited to come back this morning as this post, has started my day off right.

Maryann said...

We do tend to pay more attention to our physical body more than our spiritual. I feed from a trough of junk food way too often when it comes to my spiritual life
Some of my favorite books
1. Trusting God by Jerry Bridges
2. The Gospel for Real Life
also by Jerry Bridges
3.Instruments in te Redeemers Hand by Paul David Tripp
4.Discipline the Glad Surrender by Elizabeth Elliot
5.When Life is Hard by James McDonald
I am actually looking forward to some of the suggestions you get, maybe I can add to my own reading list
Blessings to you

Canadagirl said...

Some of my favorites are

The KJV Bible
Little Women
Little Men
Charlotte Mason Companion

I have to add a tid bit. I would put out a word of caution in being careful of reading to many others insights to the Bible than to read the Bible itself. Spend time asking the Lord what He wants you to see and hear. Bask in this time and you will be blessed beyond your dreams.

Blessings and ((HUGS)) my SSiC

Canadagirl said...


I to am learning so much about our Lord and the Bible through the Jewish Biblical Holidays. If you have books you really like anything Jewish History that you like I am all ears. I am glad I learned you are interested in this too! What a blessing and love learning more and more about you.

If you ever want to e-mail I am at j rawick at shaw dot ca [o=

Angel said...

You have touched on something that God has been challenging me with for some time now. Great post!

I'm not much into fiction either so here are a few non-fiction books that come to mind that have inspired me: The Traveler's Gift, One Thousand Gifts and The 4:8 Principle.

Catherine said...

Dear Janette, What an excellent post. I think you have everyone thinking! I think that TV is the biggest culprit for corrupting the mind!! Reality Shows! I feel so bad for the kids that watch such mindless mush! Well, I hope that someone is saying, "no". Anyway, wonderful post. I didn't forget to write 5 books down, but I will think about it and get back...Blessings my friend, Catherine

Sharon said...

What a thought-provoking post! It's so true (and so pathetic really) that we do indeed often concentrate on our outsides, while woefully neglecting our insides. No wonder we have our priorities all mixed up.

As believers, we are to have our eyes and hearts firmly fixed on eternity! And that means we must carefully guard what we think about, what we read, and what we watch. Garbage in, garbage out.

Among my top favorite books are these:

1. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
2. The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis
3. The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey
4. The Journey of Desire by John Eldredge
5. The Science of God by Gerald L. Shroeder

Now, the fiction books that influenced me the most were The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I read them when I was about 21 - and they completely changed my idea of Jesus. In the character of Aslan, He became more real to me than ever before.

Some authors on my "To Read" list - Dallas Willard, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Frederick Buechner, Frances Chan. Also want to read Randy Alcorn's, Heaven.

But, if I had to pick ONE book, of course that would be my Bible. I actually carry one around like a friend, so it's always near me. Somehow just having it along keeps me calmer...

Can't wait to hear what you read...there's just so much great stuff out there to stuff our brains with! Out with stinking thinking - in with brain gain!


A multi-dimensional life said...

Oh, what a wonderful, rich post...and so so true! I love what Chip Ingram said too! I also think about the fact that we really, really need to pray on the armor of God daily and to really think about what we mean when we say pick up the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God (and weild it agains the enemy & his emissaries warring against us). We need to carry that with us!

That said, I do love so many great Christian authors...my favorites: C.S. Lewis (Mere Chrisianity; Elisabeth Elliot ("Finding your way through Loneliness" & "a Quiet Heart); Nancy Lee Demoss "Lies women believe"; and John Eldredge "waking the dead & "the sacred romance".

I'm not a fan of fiction either. Biographies and Autobiographies are interesting to me. I'm going to start an autobiography with my neighborhood book club: "Tender at the Bone, growing up at the table" by Ruth Reichl" (a book for foodies) Ha! Great tie in here! :) I'll let you know. I don't always join in on the book clubs since I really want to be selective about what goes into my mind. You know...with the mind as well as the body..."garbage in, garbage out"! ;)


Really just five . . . impossible. But I will try.

1. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

2. By Searching by Isobel Kuhn

3. Madeline L'Engles 4 part autobiography (The Croswick Journals)

4. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Szecerro)

5. Living a Beautiful Life by Alexandra Stoddard

And Little Women, and . . . and ... and ... and ...



Lisa said...

Visiting from your comment over at Mary's Little Corner...

You've got me thinking here. We certainly live in a culture dominated by image, BUT not the image of holiness, to be sure. Even in Christian circles -- sad.

So difficult to select only five books, but here's mine:

1. Holy Bible
2. Encyclopedia of Country Living
3. Putting Amazing Back into Grace
4. Chronicles of Narnia
5. The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings Trilogy (counting all four as one as I have a boxed set). :)

Thanks for the inspiration! Blessings, ~Lisa

Lisa said...

PS: I know Narnia is a series, too. I cheated, didn't I? :)

Stephanie said...

Oh boy! Now I'm a little embarrassed because I've read tons and tons of books and I'm trying to think of the ones that I have really enjoyed or have inspired me. The ones that I would go back to again and again, besides the Bible of course, would be:
1. The Power of a Praying Wife--Stormie Omartian
2. Created to be His Helpmeet--Debi Pearl
3. Hide and Seek--James Dobson
4. Literature classics--Jane Austen books, Bronte sisters (especially Jane Eyre)
5. God Came Near--Max Lucado
Happy reading!

Life on Lemon Lane said...

Ilove this post. It has been so much fun reading others faves and starting a new list for myself. I agree with the quotes from Chip Ingram...too much emphasis goes into our physical appearance and not nearly enough emphasis is on the heart and mind. Going way back...books that shaped me besides the bible.
Anne Ortlund The gentle ways of the beautiful woman.
Kay warren Dangerous surrender.
A.W. Tozar The Knowledge of the Holy
Oswald Chambers My Utmost for His

I'm inspired to pull a couple of my favorites down again.
Great post my friend, Patty

Amy @ Make me a Mary said...

Well. I'm a librarian, so a limit of five is very difficult. But I think I could make it with:

The Holy Bible
Come Away, My Beloved
Redeeming Love
The Thornbirds
The Help

Thank you for this wonderfully thoughtful post. I've been feeling for a while now that I need to let some things go in order to make more time to spend with Him. He used you to provide me confirmation of this. Thank you!

People Who Know Me Would Say: said...

The bible, Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, Angela's Ashes by McCourt, The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker, My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult and any pop-up book by Robert Sabuda.

I've read oodles of Christian fiction that I think you'd enjoy. If you're interested, email me and I will send you some titles/authors.

Trisha said...

Great post, Janette, full of truth. Some of the books I'd recommend are Holiness by J.C. Ryle, The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs, All Things for Good by Thomas Watson, and Spiritual Disciplines by Don Whitney. Oh, there's so many more, but you only asked for 5. :)

And I won't be giving up my tea, either!

Rebecca said...

I came late to this post and have enjoyed reading the 42 responses. However, after reading them, I realize how impossible it would be for me to limit a reading list to 5 books. Different seasons of my life would have found me selecting different books. Through all seasons, I've enjoyed Oswald Chambers (My Utmost), Gift from the Sea (Lindberg), books by Elizabeth Elliot, Ann Ortlund, Karen Mains, and Edith Schaffer. Secular fiction? Joanna Trollope & Maeve Binchy are favorite authors. I also enjoy reading books of travel & life in Provence and Italy.

I DO like to read!

And I like Chip Ingram...

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