Friday, March 13, 2009

Redeeming time...

Recently a friend remarked that she was amazed at the number of books I read. I was, in turn, quite shocked. I am a slow, plodding reader, and don't consider myself a very "good" reader, though I love books and reading. When I started to think about it, I realized that there are many ways I chip away at reading, and over time, the little chips add up to quite a mound.

One thing I do is download an audio book on my mP3 player to listen to while I walk each day. This means 30-50 minutes of listening most days. I can chip away at some longer books that I may not otherwise complete that way. Right now I am enjoying Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy as I walk. And sometimes when I want a little break from Hardy, I switch over to Scripture Memory Songs, or just listen to the world around me and the reflections of my heart. However, at times, I need to discipline my own thoughts, and listening to something helps with that!

I also download an audio book onto the computer in the office to listen to while I sew. Currently I am being awed by the prose of Augustine in his Confessions.

When I am doing busy-work in my room (dusting, or cleaning my bathroom or floors, or organizing closets or drawers) I often listen to sermons or lectures on the computer in there. That is how I am chipping away at Dr. David Calhoun's lectures from Covenant Seminary on the Institutes of Calvin. I'm not sure how flattered Dr. Calhoun would be to know I listen to his excellent lectures while I clean the bathroom, but I am enjoying them and finding them profitable.

I also take time each morning to read scripture and pray. I am currently going through the bible in two years, and my dil Elsa is joining me in that journey.

I set aside a little reading time most afternoons. This is rest and refreshment time, and my body and mind need it.

Dave and I read aloud together for a few minutes at the end of the day most days, as well. Currently, we are reading through Calvin's Institutes that way, though we have read a variety of things in that time, and it has been a great way to finish the day together.

I also never leave the house without a book. This is how I chip away at some of my non-fiction reading in particular. I can read a few paragraphs or a chapter while waiting in the doctor's office, and it adds up over time.

This year as I have completed my cancer treatments, I have found it a particularly necessary spiritual discipline to keep my mind fixed on good and true and beautiful things. These are some of the disciplines that have helped me to do that. I hope they will encourage you, Gentle Readers, and if you have other suggestions, I'd love to hear them!


Jenny said...


This is helpful because it reminds me that reading take discipline. And I bet Dr. Calhoun would be humbled to know that you listen to his lecture, even while cleaning.


Jenifer said...

Maybe you wouldn't be a slow plodding reader if you weren't "chipping away at" 6 or 7 substantial publications at once:) We are obviously related, as I know no one else who reads Thomas Hardy for fun! Or perhaps that is more a comment on those with whom I spend my time...whichever, Dear Sister, I am increasingly grateful for this laptop which finally allows me the pleasure of keeping up with your blog!

MagistraCarminum said...

Jen (the sister): Hardy was Elsa's recommendation to me, and this is my first by him. Elsa says there is no more Romantic figure in all literature than Gabriel Oak, and I had to move this to the top of my list, so I have dutifully done so. I am really enjoying it so far. Hardy's ironic sense of humor is wonderful, and his descriptions beautiful, and so far I'm enjoying the characters, though I'm not far enough elong to see much development in them yet.

But Elsa is also prodding me to read Middlemarch, and I am slightly more resistant on that one, I'm afraid...

So glad to touch base here-- hurrah for laptops!