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Home Columns Lesli's This & That Books to Inspire

Books to Inspire

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Lesli NolenBy Lesli Nolen
June 2009

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad May is over. I have completed another semester at Angelo State University, my daughter and my husband celebrated their birthdays, and Mother’s Day is history as are graduation and end-of-year school functions. I’m ready for summer.

Since finishing up the semester, I have read two wonderful books and I’m halfway through the third. Each book has given me a little more inspiration, made me really count my blessings each day, and has given me more of a perspective on the term “slow to judge and fast to love.”

Gary, our editor, handed me the book “Twopence to Cross the Mersey,” by Helen Forrester. I came home and began reading. I was captivated by her writing. I truly felt as if I was that little girl in the book. She faced more challenges in one day than I had my entire life. It is a story of a family living during the years of the Great Depression. This book is the story of “riches to rags” describing the heartache these children faced each day and the selfishness of formerly well off parents and their lack of knowledge of how to survive “real life.”

The family went day after day with little or no food, no soap to wash themselves or their clothes, no coal to keep them warm, no medicine to fight off disease and infections--no nothing. Can you imagine how blessed I felt to be reading this book in the comfort of my own home, wrapped in a blanket and a full glass of water beside me and food in my fridge? At that moment I stopped and thanked God for every little thing I had. I had never felt richer.


Three books that will inspire you.



The next book I read was “Same Kind of Different As Me,” by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. It is a true inspiration of no matter how different you think you are from someone, you’re more likely to be the same. The story is based on real people--a slave and an art dealer—and set in Fort Worth, Texas.  This novel brings together two very different personalities. Love shines through this book bigger than the sun itself. All it took was the unselfish gift of time and love that ended up changing the lives of these two characters forever. A gift that still lives in these men today and is still being “paid forward,” the gift of love and unselfishness is one we can keep giving, just as our Lord does every day. What a difference it can make.

After reading these two books and being so inspired to be better, I didn’t know where to go from there. This past weekend my mother-in-law handed me “The Shack,” by William Paul Young. I’m just halfway way through the book. I know God is working in me and that my inspiration to do His will, will continue. In this book the protagonist is just about fed up with God, due to all the circumstances he has had to go through in life. After losing his daughter, he thought that was the final straw. But he must face his fear and return to “the shack” for the most revealing test of faith ever. I can’t wait to finish this book. So far it’s giving me a new perspective in viewing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It’s a revival for the soul.

I hope I have given you a little inspiration to pick up a book and read. And if you have read these feel free to share your thoughts with me. I am always looking for a good book so if you have any recommendations please let me know.

I look forward to being just a little better tomorrow than I was today.



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A woman walked up to a little old man rocking in a chair on his porch. “I couldn’t help noticing how happy you look,” she said. “What’s your secret for a long happy life?” “I smoke three packs of cigarettes a day,” he said. “I also drink a case of whiskey a week, eat fatty foods, and never exercise.” “Why, that’s amazing!” the woman exclaimed. “How old are you?’ “Twenty-six,” the man said.