FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Summer Reading for Adults

with Barbara Rainey, Tracy Lane | June 2, 2017
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Most readers have more than one book going at a time. Gain insight into the value of reading no matter what the age from authors Barbara Rainey and Tracy Lane. Discover why reading opens your world, while social media narrows your world to focus on self.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Ever Thine Home® Blog - 6 week study on the Holy Spirit
    Summer Reading List from Ever Thine Home®

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Most readers have more than one book going at a time. Gain insight into the value of reading no matter what the age from authors Barbara Rainey and Tracy Lane.

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Summer Reading for Adults

With Barbara Rainey, Tracy Lane
June 02, 2017
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Bob: You ever find yourself just sitting on the sofa with the remote, mindlessly jumping from one channel to the other?—or sitting with your device in your lap, or in your hand, surfing from one social media site to another, just vegging out? Tracy Lane says that’s okay, but—

Tracy: Sometimes, we need a little mindless release; but that’s not going to get us where we want to go and grow as a person. Being able to incorporate book reading in our lives—those outside ideas / that inspiration—to become better people and think of things we wouldn’t think of on our own—that’s worth it! I think that’s what books do. They’re going to push us and take us somewhere where we wouldn’t naturally choose to go. That’s not what a Facebook® news feed is going to do.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, June 2nd. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Stop and ask yourself this question, “When was the last time you read a book?”


It’s been a while? We’ve got some encouragement for you today. Stay with us.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. A lot of people this time of year start thinking about vacation, and they will start putting aside books that they hope to read when they’re on vacation. It’s kind of like, “I’m finally going to get to that book.” I usually walk out with three or four books, and I’m lucky if I got one of them read by the time I get back.


Dennis: Yes; right.

Bob: There is something about a week off and just the opportunity to read that a lot of people look forward to.

Dennis: Yes; I take too many books as well. If I can finish one—like recently, I read just a great, great story from the Depression era called The Boys in the Boat. It’s about something I knew very little about.

Bob: You typically have a book going at all times; don’t you?


Dennis: I do.

Bob: Something that you’re plowing your way through. How long does it take you to go through it typically?

Dennis: Don’t ask me to answer that. [Laughter]

Barbara: Especially in front of his wife. [Laughter]

Bob: There’s an eyewitness!

Dennis: I mean, sometimes, I go through pretty quickly.

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: Other times—

Bob: —as in a couple of days / a couple of weeks?

Dennis: Oh—not days!

Bob: Not days—okay; alright.

Dennis: No; no. The eyelids become heavy. [Laughter] I read another book called The Emerald Mile, which is the history of the Grand Canyon and a story of a guy, in a dory / a homemade wooden boat, where he ran the Colorado River down through the Grand Canyon, over 150 miles, at flood stage.

Bob: Yes.

Barbara: Set a record for speed.

Dennis: Yes; set a record. But here’s the thing—the literature was rich in terms of its writing—it was not just merely an adventure. That’s what we want to expose—our children to, our teenagers, our own lives— to broaden our minds and keep them alive with something other than an electronic screen.


Bob: It’s clear to our listeners that your wife, Barbara, is back with us again today. Welcome back.

Barbara: Thank you Bob.

Bob: We also have Tracy Lane joining us again—Tracy, welcome.

Tracy: Thank you

Bob: Tracy is a part of the team, here, at FamilyLife and works with Ever Thine Home® and is an advocate for reading as well. We’ve talked this week about reading to our kids and the importance of getting our kids to read. They’re not the only ones that need to be reading. Barbara, you typically have a book going at all times too; right?

Barbara: Yes; I do.

Bob: You get through yours a little more quickly than your husband?

Barbara: Well, we had a little bit of a fight about The Boys in the Boat book.

Dennis: I started it, and she took it away!

Bob: You started the fight?

Dennis: Can this marriage be saved? [Laughter]

Barbara: We have very different reading styles. When I get a book that I really like—like Boys in the Boat or Emerald Mile / both of those books—

Dennis: I just kind of wave “Good bye,” to her.

Barbara: Well—[Laughter]

Dennis: She just kind of goes away into her bedroom. Tracy, you’re grinning—you too?


Tracy: Yes; for Christmas, right before my husband and I went on our babymoon—we were pregnant with our first—he got me The Hunger Game series. Well, that’s what I enjoyed on our babymoon. He’s like: “Babe, are we spending time together; or are you spending time with The Hunger Games?” [Laughter] “Wait! I just have this next page.”

Bob: “One more chapter.”

Tracy: I couldn’t put it down!

Dennis: I’ve never heard the phrase “babymoon.”

Tracy: Oh yes!

Bob: Oh yes; babymoons are big things. Really, you’ve not heard of them? [Laughter]

Dennis: I had not. Sorry!

Tracy: You guys should have another baby and go on a babymoon. [Laughter]

Dennis: I don’t think Barbara and I are going to do that.

Barbara: No; we’re not.

Tracy: You could do a babymoon.

Barbara: But I read that way too. When I get a book, I don’t want to put it down—especially if it’s really good like these two books he just mentioned. I wanted to read them first; because I knew it might take him three or four months, because he travels and so he won’t take it with him. So, I read first.

Dennis: She gets real possessive of her books, Bob.

Bob: Right.

Dennis: I mean—she really does. I tried to read this one book—she said: “Are you going to lose that book? [Laughter]


Barbara: I do!

Dennis: “I really love that book. I’ve got a lot of my notes in that book.”

Bob: Do you have a history of losing books?

Dennis: I don’t think so. [Laughter]

Bob: Maybe once or twice? [Laughter]

Dennis: She’s got a book called The Evidential Power of Beauty. I admit—I started this book; and she took it away from me and then, I think, got me my own copy.

Barbara: I did.

Dennis: There we go. So—

Barbara: Well, that was one book that I didn’t want him to lose; because I have underlined it heavily. It’s sort of a reference book to me, and I didn’t’ want him losing one of my favorite books.

Bob: Tracy, you mentioned Hunger Games. I know we’re going to talk about grownups reading today, but Hunger Games is one of those books that grab the attention of a lot of young people. A lot of Christian parents, wondering, “Should I be letting my kids read Hunger Games?”Harry Potter was the same way. How does a parent make a judgment without actually reading the book himself or herself; or is that the best way to make a judgment on whether you are going to let your kids read these books?


Tracy: I would say read it yourself. You want to be involved with what your family is reading / with what your kids are reading. And, just as Barbara and Dennis are talking about, then you can have those conversations. It’s such a great starting place for questions / ideas—answers that you can offer, as a parent. Your kids are thinking about those things anyway—it doesn’t take that book to introduce it. They’re going to be talking about it with their friends. You’d rather be, and better be, talking about it at home too. If you’ve read it, you can address it appropriately and have the discussions that you need to have inside the home that you know are happening outside the home.

Bob: Barbara, that’s not happening—there are not a lot of grownups who are reading books.

Barbara: Yes; I found this quote—it’s actually from the BreakPoint Commentary—but Eric Metaxas quoted a literacy project foundation that discovered that 44 percent of American adults don’t’ read a single book in a year. That is just staggering to me.

Dennis: Did you say 44 percent?

Barbara: Forty-four percent—so that’s just less than half. Then the report also states that six out of ten households don’t even buy one book a year.


When I saw that, I thought, “How can that be?” I mean, I just can’t even imagine a life without reading. I can’t imagine not enriching my life on a regular basis with books / with good books.

Bob: Do you think audio books are the same? I mean, somebody says, “I like audio books.” Is that just as good?

Barbara: I think they are. We listened—every summer, we listened when we drove to Colorado in the summer for Dennis to teach this class he taught. We listened to The Chronicles of Narnia on audio books all the way out and all the way back, year after year after year. I think it had the same effect because, again, you’re hearing the words of the book. We’re all listening, and so we’re imagining the fawn, and the white witch, and the—all the things that happened. I think if it’s read well—and most audio books are really read well—I think they work.

Dennis: Tracy, you nodded your head. Do you listen to audio books?

Tracy: Yes; I think, in our busy day and age, everyone’s rushing here / rushing there. As a mom of young kids, too, we’re rushing to the next practice / to the next something—


—we’ve always got something going on—that’s a way for me to make time for it. I don’t have time in this season of life to sit down with my novel and just enjoy that for hours at a time. But I do have time—going from here to there in the car / during exercise in the morning—to turn on an audio book. That is still the way I can carve out a little bit of time for that creativity and imagination that this season of life doesn’t always lend itself to.

Dennis: You’re a young mom. What’s been a favorite that you’ve listened to recently?

Tracy: Well, one that I’m reading right now is Ann Voskamp’s, One Thousand Gifts. We just really try to focus on gratitude in our family and enjoy the time that we have with our kids every day. That can be hard sometimes—it’s definitely challenging in this season of life. Reading that helps me remember—when it’s hard / when it feels impossible—there’s something to be thankful for.

Bob: A lot of our listeners will make a part of their regular rhythm of life some time in God’s Word. Maybe, they’ve got a devotional book that they read alongside of that.


If they’re couples, they may be using the book you guys have written, Moments with You or Moments Together for Couples. And then, on top of that, they think, “I’m supposed to add a book here?” and “Should it be fiction or nonfiction?” “Should it be Christian/non-Christian?” How do you determine whether you’re going to read something that is spiritually-focused or something that’s just history, or literature, or whatever?

Barbara: I don’t have a formula, because I’m not very good at keeping that kind of a rhythm going in my life. I do know that I need some variance in whatever I read. I like to read books that teach me—and that I underline and I get ideas and things I need to put into practice in my life—I enjoy books like that. But if I read too many of them in a row, then I just begin to feel like I’m under this load of: “I’ve got to do this,” and “I’ve got to do this.”

So, every once in a while, I need to read a book that is completely outside of my normal life, that takes me to a place I would never go, which is rafting on the Grand Canyon.


[Laughter] I probably will never raft the Grand Canyon, but I have read that book—and just the way he wrote the story, it took me to another place. It allowed me sort of an escape in a sense—it allowed me a nice break from my normal life and my normal routine. I think books do that. I think they take us to places we will never be able to go, as human beings—that, in and of itself, is refreshing.

Bob: Tracy, I know what has replaced book reading for a lot of younger people / maybe even some older people—and that is Facebook reading. We don’t read books anymore, because we’ve spent half an hour or forty-five minutes catching up with everybody, here and there, on Facebook, and the links that they’ve posted, and the cross ref—is that okay?—I mean, that’s reading; right?

Tracy: Not exactly the same. I like how you said, Barbara—even a fiction book is going to take you somewhere that you wouldn’t go. I think that’s what books do. The nonfiction books—they’re going to push us and take us somewhere we wouldn’t naturally choose to go.


That’s not what a Facebook news feed is going to do—that’s mindless. [Laughter] Sometimes, we need a little mindless release; but that’s not going to get us where we want to go and grow as a person. Being able to incorporate that book reading in our lives—those outside ideas / that inspiration—to become better people and think of things we wouldn’t think of on our own—that’s worth it!

Bob: Yes; most Facebook posts are not great literature; are they? [Laughter]

Barbara: No; they’re not. [Laughter]

Tracy: No; emojis are not in the dictionary. [Laughter]

Bob: Our vocabulary is not being expanded / our thinking is not being challenged, typically, in significant ways. But good books, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction—good books—I remember reading—I think it was Ken Gire, who made the statement, years ago—he said, “Good literature or good art is like a stool that you can step up on so you can look out a window that you couldn’t look out of before and now you—

Dennis: I like that.

Bob: —see things you didn’t see before.”

Barbara: Yes; it’s true.


Bob: I think that’s the value of the arts for us—is it causes our thinking, not just our thinking, but our emotions to develop in ways that our own lives may not cause that to happen.

Barbara: Here’s another thing that I think it does. I think it models for us, when we—especially when we read about other people—it models for us courage, or boldness, or faith, or all kinds of attributes that we want to grow in our lives anyway.

Dennis and I read the book, Endurance, the story of Ernest Shackleton’s trip to the South Pole. I have never forgotten that book because of his courage, his unwavering faith in God, his ability to rally his men / to cheer them on, to say: “We’re going to make it. It’s going to be okay. We’re going to get out of this.” And then, the risk he took to sail to this little island that—I mean, the odds of him finding that island in the middle of that storm were almost zero.


So, just reading about somebody else’s life, I think is such an inspiration to our own lives. It calls us up—it’s like standing on the stool—it calls us up to another level: “I want to be courageous like that,” “I want to have faith like that.” I think we all need inspiration, because that’s what faith is. We’re inspired by what God has called us to, and I think good books help us do that.

Dennis: That book is a great book on leadership without being—

Barbara: —without being titled: “A Book on Leadership.”

Dennis: Exactly; exactly. I just encourage our listeners—if you read that book or the book, Into Thin Air—which is the story of a group that went to the top of Mount Everest—if you read one of those books, going to the South Pole or Mount Everest, make sure you have got plenty of clothing on. [Laughter] I nearly froze to death, in the summer, reading those two books. [Laughter]

Bob: Explain for our listeners—you’re hoping to prompt some reading this summer—hoping to rally women for a—it’s a book club without a book. Is that what you’ve got going on?

Barbara: It’s a book club without a book.


Tracy and I have put together a series of blog posts that we want to invite women to read. In those blog posts, we’re encouraging women to grow in their understanding of who the Holy Spirit is, what He does for us, and how we can live the kinds of lives that God’s called us to live because of the power of the Holy Spirit in us. I have a personal conviction that we don’t talk about Him enough. We don’t know who He is and what He does. We think of Him as just this ethereal something out there; and yet, the Bible talks a lot about the third person of the Trinity, The Holy Spirit.

We want to challenge women to get together with other women and do a short little six-week study. Read these blog posts together; then talk about what you learn, as a group, about the Holy Spirit.

Bob: So, the blog posts, Tracy, are they going to take you 15 minutes to read?—less than that / more than that?

Tracy: I’d say once you get together in your group, you could plan for about an hour to be together. The blog post reading would be, probably, the first 10 minutes. Then, you can have some lively discussion and prayers for each other in your group.


Bob: So, you said get together in your group. This is not something you do, as an individual, and then hop online.

Tracy: Right. We’re actually planning that it’s more fun to do something with a friend. We want to encourage our listeners to invite their friends over to their house / to the coffee shop one night a week. We think Thursdays are usually a good fit in most family’s weekly schedules that we’ve talked about; but make it work for you. Get five or six friends; subscribe to the blog: Ever Thine Home. You will get these six weekly posts. Then you guys can read them together, and talk about the ideas, and really grow in your understanding of the Holy Spirit and your relationship with God through that.

Bob: We’ve got a link on our website at so the listeners can get the information about how to get the blog posts. You’re going to send these out, once a week, so listeners will have access to them. If you can’t get a group, I guess you could do this on your own. Is there some online interaction going to happen?


Tracy: Yes; it will be up on our blog, live. What we’ll do is have the questions there, and then we’ll have our comment section open. What we’d like to see is—some of that engagement through our social community—comment there with some of your thoughts and ideas. We’ll be having a conversation through that comment section on our blog posts as well.

Dennis: So, it’s going to start June 8th.

Tracy: Yes.

Dennis: But you can do it anytime; I guess?

Tracy: Right. That’s when the first post will be live—is on Thursday, June 8th. Once the posts are live, you can do them anytime. It will run for six weeks, where we’ll post a new one each week for those six weeks. Just get your group of women together anytime you can over the summer. If those six weeks don’t work for you—again, it will be online on our blog—and so make it work for you. We just want it to be a time of encouraging you to read and making it fun—do it with your friends.

Dennis: I just want to make sure—are you doing a video with this, where it’s live / a live video?—because you’ve done some live videos with Barbara—is that going to be live video with Barbara—

Barbara: That’s a good idea! [Laughter]

Dennis: —at our house? [Laughter]

Tracy: Maybe we should. [Laughter]


Dennis: Well I just want to know—

Tracy: That’s a good idea.

Dennis: —because every time she does one of those, I have to pitch in and help clean the house. [Laughter] I just wonder if I need to put that on my check list here—

Tracy: You probably do.

Dennis: —coming up next week. [Laughter]

Bob: Let’s talk to the 44 percent of those, who are listening, who are saying: “Last time I read a book was college. I didn’t like reading in college; and honestly, I’m hearing you guys talk; but I’m really not all that motivated. I’m more of a Netflix guy than a book. I’m just going to go home and watch Netflix tonight.” Here’s your last chance to say to that wife or that husband, “Read a book this summer, and here’s why.”

Barbara: I would say: “Read a book this summer. If you don’t like reading, and I understand that there are people who don’t like reading, then we’ve talked about audio books—get an audio book. Listen to it as you drive back and forth to work. Or if you have kids, that’s a great excuse for picking up a book and reading; because you need to do this for your children. Moms and Dads need to be reading to their kids, no matter what the ages are.”


Bob: Reading to their kids or reading apart from their kids?

Barbara: Both—well, both! But if you don’t like to read, and you haven’t read a book in a whole year, read a book with your child—that counts.

Bob: Start there—okay; alright.

Dennis: Tracy, Bob’s talking about people who don’t like to read or who—they got a lot of resistance against it anyway. You believe in incentivizing yourself to read. Talk to me about that. That sounds kind of interesting that you can reward yourself.

Tracy: Yes; it works with our kids / it doesn’t stop working with adults. Something that I’ve done—when we were growing up, we’d do the Pizza Hut® BOOK IT! lists.

Bob: I remember that; yes.

Tracy: Did you guys do this? That was so much fun. I mean, who doesn’t want a personal pan pizza? I’m 32, and I still would love a personal pan pizza—[Laughter]—knowing those things work if it’s important to you. Sometimes, it is a discipline that you have to put into your life—and those disciplines are worth it—but sometimes, you do need a little extra pep to get there.


I like to do that—I like to pay myself $5 at the end of a finished book. My husband will say: “Hey, you can go and have a special shopping day. I’ll keep the girls if that’s what you want me to help you work toward.”

Think of what that is to you: “Do you get some time alone to go read?” I mean, as a mom of young kids, that’s an incentive enough—[Laughter]

Dennis: Right.

Tracy: —to have some time alone to go read. What is it that’s important to you? Reading needs to be something that you’re implementing into your daily life. So, find ways to make it worth it.

Bob: Is bedtime when you read?

Tracy: My eyelids get heavy, like Dennis. [Laughter]

Bob: You get maybe five minutes and you’re out?

Tracy: Right. Really, when I like to read is when the girls have their naptime in the afternoon.

Bob: Got it.

Tracy: They’re resting—the house is quiet. We try to all have that discipline in our lives of quiet time in the afternoon. I could find a lot of chores to do; but even for me, to have energy to make it until my bedtime is just to have some quiet time. A book is a good place to do that.

Bob: And if you have to travel and fly, airplanes are great places to read—take a book along. It makes the miles go by quicker; doesn’t it?


Dennis: So, Bob, what would incentivize you to read a book? I just was sitting here, wondering. I was trying to guess. I have a guess—I want to see what you say though.

Bob: A trip to my 101st Cheesecake Factory® location. [Laughter] Is that what you were thinking?

Dennis: Cha-ching. [Laughter]

Barbara: Is that really what you were thinking?!

Dennis: I was thinking it! [Laughter] If you wanted Bob to read a book, you’d offer him another Cheesecake Factory experience.

Bob: One I haven’t been to already.

Barbara: So, you’re up to 101.

Bob: I’m up to 100—I haven’t hit 101 yet.

Barbara: Wow!

Dennis: So, I want to know—our engineer, Keith Lynch, out in the control booth—so, Keith, what would motivate you?

Keith: It’s the RCA receiving tube manual.

Bob: There we go! [Laughter]

Dennis: Oh my goodness!

Barbara: That does not motivate me.

Dennis: He has a collection—

Bob: I’m not sure that even counts.

Dennis: —of RCA tubes. [Laughter]

Keith: Hey, they count. [Laughter]

Bob: Here’s the—kind of the conclusion to all of this—we’re hoping that many of our listeners will join us on Thursdays over the next six weeks— 


—it starts next week—join us on Thursdays. There is going to be a new post each week in an ongoing study about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We’ll do it over a six-week period. It’s kind of an online—it’s not a book club, because there’s not a book. It’s just a study we’re going to do together, where all of us can be interacting on this subject.

You can find out more about the summer reading plan that Barbara, and Tracy, and the team have put together at the Ever Thine Home blog. We’ve got a link on our website at that’ll take you right there. If you’d like to join us and sign up for the Thursday reading group, over a six-week period—again, go to and click the link for the Ever Thine Home blog.


If you’re looking for resources—things to read to your children this summer—stories that will inspire them to be courageous, or to forgive one another—things like that—Barbara has written a series of books, The Growing Together series. You can find out more about the books in that series when you go to Or you can call to order at 1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”

As we wrap up our week here, I want to make sure we have said an appropriate, “Thank you,” to the many listeners who have generously supported the work of FamilyLife, particularly last month, as we were seeking to raise a significant amount of money. We appreciate all of you who contributed toward that end. FamilyLife exists because of folks, like you, who believe that this radio program, our website, our resources, and our events are all important; and we need to be reaching more people—


—that’s our goal / that’s our burden here. When you invest in this ministry, you make it possible for us to do just that—to reach more people, more often, with practical biblical help and hope for their marriage and their family.

If you’re a regular listener and you’ve never made a donation to support the ministry, can we invite you to do that? It’s easy to do—go to to make an online donation. Or call 1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life and then the word “TODAY.” You can make a donation over the phone. Or you can mail a donation to us. Our mailing address is PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; and our zip code is 72223.

And with that, we hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together in church this weekend. I hope you can join us back on Monday. We’re going to talk about how we can tell, as parents, whether our child’s faith is the real deal.


I know you may have a child who has prayed a prayer with you or who has been baptized—and those are significant events in a child’s life—but does that mean that child is genuinely converted? How can we tell? We’ll talk more about that with our guest on Monday, Terence Chatmon. I hope you can be here for that.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. Have a great weekend. We will see you Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas; a Cru® ministry.

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