What the Books on My Shelves Say About Me

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One of my goals during this homeschool sabbatical, is to declutter our home. Fifteen years in the same house, 11 kids, 30 years of marriage, have added up to too much stuff. Emptying our garage in preparation for remodeling was just the impetus we needed.

We are a book-loving family. We also have 23 years of homeschooling experience, which means packed bookcases in many rooms and boxes overflowing with curricula for each grade. I’m working my way through them, acknowledging that some of theses books are no longer needed.

Last week I tackled the bookcase in my bedroom which primarily held my personal books – faith, parenting, organization, family life, marriage, and some favorite fiction. As I looked at each book, I asked myself if I truly planned to read it again, and if not, it went into a box.

As the process went on, I found myself feeling sad. The books in the box represented a life that is gone. Some of that is due to the natural course of life; I no longer need books on childbirth and breastfeeding. More notably, books about parenting and raising well-mannered children seem trite in comparison to my life. They’ve been replaced by books like, The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog (great book, by the way), Adopting the Hurt Child, and Wounded Children, Healing Homes.

The books on our shelves say a lot about who we are and what matters most to us. I’m happy to say that our shelves are still loaded with fantastic children’s literature, loads of nature books, wonderful read-alouds, classics, good fiction, and faith.

The process of letting go of the other books was tinged with some grief. We’re not the same family we were eight years ago. I’m not the same mom, my children’s needs and interests are vastly different, and our priorities have changed.

I paused as I reflected on this, then I closed the box and carried it out of my room.

Are there small moments when you realize how much your life has changed? Do your books reflect that?

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Lisa

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

11 Comments

  1. Laura
    December 12, 2014

    Lisa, I was just looking at the bookcase in the hall upstairs this week–you know the one at the top of the stairs with the cd player and few beanie babies? I doubt we need those, but it is also filled with all the "college bound" high school reading books we bought that our kids were required to read in honors English and AP English in high school. Seeing as our youngest is graduating from college in June, I was just realizing I needed to clean out those shelves and pass those books on to someone else. It is truly a process I should have done years ago, but it is also acknowledging a passing of time that is sometimes difficult to process even though it is all good and happy.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      December 12, 2014

      I probably need some of those books! Let me take a look before you get rid of them 🙂

      Reply
      1. Laura
        December 12, 2014

        Guess you are giving me an excuse to leave the bookcase alone until your visit!

        Reply
    2. Mary
      December 12, 2014

      What a wonderful way to sum it up–time passed is difficult to process even though good and happy. I feel that way going through an attic of baby clothes to pass along. Your heart gets ripped out when you fondle all of those onesies, but you are also grateful for where you have been and are going. You helped me get back in the attic again to pass along treasures :).

      Reply
  2. amy
    December 12, 2014

    Living the same life in west Alabama.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      December 12, 2014

      It's good to know we're not alone 🙂

      Reply
  3. Molly Kitsmiller
    December 12, 2014

    One of my griefs over books is looking at all the books that I want to read on my shelves, that I don't have time to get to because I am reading books on trauma, adoption etc . . . So I keep holding on to them, thinking some day I will have time to read them!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      December 13, 2014

      Me too, Molly! Thankfully I've been able to begin reading with my bookgroup every other month or so.

      Reply
  4. Laila Papin
    December 12, 2014

    Same thing going on here in Arizona. I just love this blog! It is truly a Godsend to me. Please don't ever stop writing.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      December 13, 2014

      Thank you, Laila. I'm so glad my blog is helpful to you!

      Reply
  5. Laurel
    February 25, 2015

    Exactly what I am walking through right now. So many books . . with no one interested in reading them. I am thinking about setting up an online account where I can sell my used books through Amazon. It will be really hard to say good-bye to so many good books, though.

    On the plus side . . . one of my daughters-in-law recently asked me to set aside homeschool books for her boys because she said that they are "definitely planning to homeschool". Oh my heart rejoices! (By the way . . . in April we will have our 7th grandson in 3 years. Crazy!)

    Reply

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