Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Five Books that Changed Who I Am

I've been tagged! Amy of Veritas at Home has invited me to participate in a meme, reflecting on the "Five Books that Changed Who I Am." I've read some pretty good books over the years, but to have a book change you is indeed special. In her list Amy wisely put the Bible "in a category all by itself, off the list," so I am going to do the same. Clearly, some of the books on my list wouldn't be there if I hadn't already been changed by God's Word.

Here is my list, in no particular order:


Goodnight Moon

Really? After much debate, I decided to include Margaret Wise Brown's children's classic on my list because it is the first book I remember reading, or rather having been read to me. My mom took time to read to me as a child, and when I was in my early twenties and needed to buy a baby gift for a friend for the first time, Goodnight Moon was the first baby necessity I thought of. I also bought a copy for myself, even though it was another year before I first got pregnant. This book symbolizes my love of reading to my children, one of the defining elements of my parenting years.

The Out-of-Sync Child

This book makes the list, not so much for the content (although it is a very helpful book), but because it was the book that made me realize we were about to face the struggle of our life. The book is about coping with sensory processing disorder, and I originally bought it to help me understand Anna better. A mom at Vacation Bible School told me about her daughter's extreme sensory issues, and I recognized that Anna also experienced some of these challenges, although on a much smaller scale. The mom recommended this book, so I quickly purchased it and . . . let it sit on the shelf for the next couple of years. But after Ryne's second birthday, when we were really struggling with his behavior, something prompted me to finally pick this book up. As I read, I was amazed at how perfectly the author described some of Ryne's issues. I knew it wasn't the whole story, but I finally had some information to take to my doctor to back up my claims that something was not right with our son. The Out-of-Sync Child by Carol Kranowitz started our autism adventure, and in effect lead me to a never-ending line of life-changing books as we continually sought new ways to help Ryne.

The Well-Trained Mind

I've already seen this book on a few lists from this meme, testifying to the impact Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise have had on the homeschooling community. Ryne and Anna were happily enjoying attending a Christian school, when I first found The Well-Trained Mind at the library. Marc and I thought it was time to research homeschooling as a back-up plan in case Christian school didn't work out for Ryne. As I read the book, however, I was sold on the idea of classical homeschooling -- not as a back-up plan, but as the best plan for us. And not just for Ryne, but for all our children. Talk about life changing! We didn't even wait until the end of the school year to pull the kids out of school.

The Five Points of Calvinism

The night I met Marc we talked quite a bit about faith issues, including our church background. Marc found out I had grown up Catholic and I found out he had grown up Reformed. I had never heard of the term and my confusion grew even deeper every time he tried to explain it to me. All I knew was that he was passionate about it and I loved him and his family, so it must be okay. It wasn't that Marc was doing a poor job of explaining doctrine to me. The main reason I had trouble wrapping my head around it was because I was so new to the Bible in general. A decade of attending Bible Study Fellowship fixed that. In fact, I learned so much in my years at BSF that I was starting to become prideful of my knowledge. That all changed when our ladies Bible study at church decided to read The Five Points of Calvinism by Edwin Palmer that had been recommended by our pastor. Oh, how God opened my eyes with that book! I finally began to grasp just how amazing God's grace really is, and realized how little I really knew. I'm sure there are many fine books on reformed doctrine that could have been just as life-changing, but this little volume is what God used to take my faith deeper. And I'm excited that there is still so much for Him to teach me.

Through Gates of Splendor

It must be the Charlotte Mason tendencies in me (living books as opposed to dry textbooks), but usually missionary stories have had a far greater impact on my spiritual growth than Christian non-fiction books. And I couldn't have picked a better missionary biography to start with than Elisabeth Elliot's Through Gates of Splendor, the story of her husband and four other missionaries who were killed trying to minister to the Auca Indians in Ecuador. Her other books about Jim Elliot and her own experiences in Ecuador are just as impactful. I may never serve Christ in a foreign mission field, but I can learn much from these great heroes of the faith. Incidentally, closely similar in style to a missionary biography is one of my favorite books of all time that I wrote about here -- I won't mention it by name since I'm trying really hard to keep my list to five books!

Okay, now it's your turn! The rules of the meme say to (1) tag between three to five people, (2) link back to this post, (3) call the post "Five Books that Changed Who I Am," and (4) enjoy!

I'm tagging the following bloggers, but anyone is welcome to join the fun (just leave a link to your post in the comments):

Dawn of Olive Plants -- I tag her hesitantly because I almost always buy everything she recommends. Be easy on my budget, Dawn!

Melanie of Graceful Ornaments -- Although I'm not sure a meme suits the purpose of her blog, I admire her heart for the Lord and am eager to see her book list.

Heather of Goggles and Grace -- This is a shameless attempt to pull her out of blogging hibernation. I miss your gratitude journal and beautiful pictures, dear. : )

Andrea of Heritage Academy -- I imagine life is a bit busy with a new baby, but I miss you too, Andrea.

Thank you, Amy, for tagging me!


  1. Oh, Kellie, you are too sweet!! Your kindness means more than I can say...

    As for your list, I confess I've only read 2 of them-- Goodnight Moon, of course (it's been a favorite here for many years, too!) and The WTM... worth it's weight in gold! Thanks for sharing-- I'm getting ready to order a few more books from the library... looks like I've got my "shopping list" all set!

    Hope you have a delightful rest-of-the-week, and thank you again for your thoughtful words! YOU are a gift, my friend... truly!

  2. Kellie, your comment about me made me laugh, and I needed a laugh just about right now! :)

    Are you sitting down for this...I've never read The WTM. Shocking, I know.

    I'll put a list up soon. Michael and I are volunteering at 4-H camp the rest of the week. Yee Haw! When I write it, I will do my best to be thrifty with my choices, though. ;)

  3. Kellie, thank you! I've read four on your list and can concur how life changing they are. I can't wait to start my own list!

  4. Thanks so much Kellie! love 'moon' book, and am so interested in the others on 'your shelf' that changed your life. I love hearing about other women who serve God. Nothing more telling than the books they read. It is inspiring to know how others learn & have searched out to strengthen their own faith. Thanks for sharing. I will definitely look into these books you've mentioned!

  5. Thanks for your list Kellie. I was expecting one thousand gifts to make the cut as well, given many of your posts of late. TWTM almost made my list as well.

  6. Here is my blog post for my list of five. ~Melanie


  7. ok i wasn't tagged LOL. but going to do this anyway. what a great MEME

  8. and how did you do that cool picture w/ all the books?