So, when I moved back in with my parents, the amount of bookshelf space available became limited. This meant that most of my books ended up in a storage unit (along with my dishes and dining room table and other odds and ends that aren’t needed when your parents have their own dishes and dining room table). Still, I couldn’t part with all my books, so I came up with a super creative way of dealing with my lack of space – I’ve stacked them on the floor.
Yes, that is a piggy bank you see. And yes, that is a Santa suit its wearing. One of my friends and I have a joke about Santa Pig that came about one night driving around looking at Christmas lights. It makes no sense to anyone else and that’s okay, because I really love that dumb pig.
The blue notebook that shares space on the Santa pig shelf there was my grandmother’s. It’s chock full of Bible study notes in her own scrawling hand, and it was gifted to me, the only granddaughter, when she passed a couple of years ago. If there were ever a fire, that notebook and that black Bible, which belonged to my aunt, are what I would grab.
Also, how cute is that boy? The framed print was a bday gift from the BFF’s mom.
Also, that tube is doggie toothpaste because I care about Harley’s oral hygiene, like the good dog-mom that I am.
Shelf two is all my Jesus-y books. Some are books I’ve had a long time (like the Handbook of Evangelical Theology, which was the text for the theology class I took when I was nineteen, and which I don’t think I’ve opened since). Others are newer and have met me in places of questioning and brokenness – like anything Shauna Niequist or Lauren Winner have penned, and Brennan Manning’s Ragamuffin Gospel, and Anne Lamott’s Grace Eventually. These are the books I keep going back to when my faith starts to feel even just a little bit shaky. I pick up these books and I ask the authors again to tell me about God and grace and hope, and why it all matters.
The mug of markers, with the tennis ball, is leftover from my days as a Sunday school teacher when I wrote notes on a white board, less for the students and more for myself because writing always helps me stay on track. The tennis ball I confiscated from one of the boys and never gave back – oops!
And the roll of film — who knows how old that is! I haven’t used a film camera since college, so I’m betting there’s some real gems on there. To be developed soon.
The fiction shelf, which is seriously so sad now. But, my C.S. Lewis stays. He and Flannery O’Connor always stay. (I haven’t read the dragon books, but I will.)
Welcome to my grad school shelf! The psychologist part of my heart has a serious crush on the brilliant Mark McMinn, who teaches out of George Fox. You will find on my shelf every single book and pamphlet the man has ever written, because I love him. He gets grace, and he gets the place that it has to have in the relationship between counselor and client. Also, I have chick crush on Mary Pipher. She said in a letter to her grad student (in the purple book), “Being a therapist is less about making a living, and more about living my life.” And this makes more sense to me than anything I read in all my years in school.
Most of my counseling/nerdy books have to be on the floor. Since I don’t need to get to them super often, it’s okay that books on termination sessions and how to conduct a good first interview with a client stay somewhere in the middle of a stack like this. (Beautiful Boy is one of the best books I’ve ever read, as Sheff tells the story of his son’s addiction. It’s so very human, and I like to think that even if I hadn’t read it for a class that it would’ve had the same impact.)
The owl was given to me by one of my girls when I graduated from my Master’s program, who had been done with youth group for a couple of years and was youth leading alongside me at that time. It’s a crocheted toilet paper cozy, which she made simply because she thought I would find it hilarious. And I do.
The stack in the front with the Harry Potter books are books that I have borrowed from people and need to return. Although, I should probably make it through books 5-7 before I do that or my friend Amy will disown me. True story. Our friendship hangs in the balance.
If you move the need-to-be-returned books, you find more of my nerdy theology books. I fell in love with Thomas Merton when I was in grad school, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer has my heart. When I read “Life Together,” my world shifted in the best way. Church, then, became for me about befriending people and listening and finding God in the lives we’re living side by side.
So, there it is – my bookshelves…and my floor. I have tons of stories I could share about every book, where I got it from or how it met me in a place where I needed to hear a good story. I think maybe that’s why I love books like I do – because they breed connection.
And if I borrowed a book, I promise I’ll get it back to you. It’s in the stack.
*** I wrote this as a link-up with Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy, where other people are sharing what’s on their bookshelves. It’s open for a few more days, so you bibliophile types should go share what’s on your bookshelves too.