Volumes of choices: Pick your prize

 In family, The Plan

You enter a bountiful bookstore … what section do you head to first?
Answer that, and you’ll reveal so much.

This weekend our family ventured inside the largest independent used and new bookstore in the world – yes, the world! Spanning an entire block in the middle of downtown Portland, Ore., Powell’s is known as The City of Books – and what a wonderful city to be lost in.

Hand-in-hand we entered the much-loved “city gates,” and were greeted by this definition on the wall:
“Smellbound (adj): held as if under a spell by the scent of books”
… yup. That about sums up this scent-sational place.

Since we’re out-numbered by children, we headed directly to the Orange Room {kids’ room}. One child dove into juvenile fiction – specifically adventures. One comfortably slipped into happy-ending books featuring animal characters. And my son, well he lit up over LEGO books {to my chagrin} … and then redeemed himself by drooling over dinosaur and animal encyclopedias.

We piled pages for an hour or so, and ended up sprawled on the floor, trying to make the “tough decisions” about whose stories would come home with us. Did you know more than 300,000 books are published in the United States each year? … and did you know, between 100 and 1,000 titles compete for each shelf space in the average bookstore? … and even more daunting {especially to me, as a first-time nonfiction author} the average U.S. nonfiction book sells less than 250 copies each year. {enter groan here!}


With that all in mind, how do you pick which books get the privilege of coming home with you? How do you decide which words to welcome into your heart and mind? As a book lover, I know there are so many phenomenal options and I can’t get to all that I yearn to … but then the Spirit guides my thoughts to the inspired rule of, “Good, Better, Best” given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks.

“As we consider various choices, we should remember that it is not enough that something is good. Other choices are better, and still others are best. Even though a particular choice is more costly, its far greater value may make it the best choice of all …. We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.”

Oh, how I need to rely on that rule … It’s His rule … His guide for decision making – and it applies to so much more than books! Volumes of voices call constantly call to us; and we must make a multitude of choices each day … there are so many life-changing reads/experiences available in this world!

Powells 4
So, we thoughtfully weeded the good ones, sorted out the betters, and held tightly to the bests.
Then we weaved up and down stairs, through the block of books, until we wound our way to the cashiers’ counter … and I couldn’t help but grin when I noticed we actually traveled full-circle, as we faced the clever “smellbound” definition once more.

There we stood, back where we started … but now clutching our cherished prizes: our choices.

That’s when the Spirit prodded me with a spiritual symbolism lesson based on our mortal journey. See … We had entered a new place, oriented ourselves, were drawn to certain areas (based on our talents and personalities), made hard choices, and then eventually checked out and headed home.

Likewise, each individual on earth has entered a new-to-us mortal sphere, we get opportunities to orient ourselves and experience this life, and we’re often drawn to certain people, passions and occupations based on our talents and personalities … we all make hard choices … and eventually, we all return to a heavenly home with the prizes we picked: the choices we made.

… so what books/choices will you bring home?

… here’s to holding onto the best ones! 🙂

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  • Jamie

    Beautiful!! I love your analogy! So poignant. 🙂

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