This time of year, people are posting like crazy on social media the number of books they read in 2018. There are even some pretty cute videos and memes that you can use to illustrate what a productive reader you were last year.

While it’s perfectly fine to tally up your reading year, I don’t happen to keep track, nor do I want to know how many books I read. On the one hand, the number would be interesting. On the other, I will more than likely be depressed at the low number of actual books.

I read…a lot…like the newspaper every morning (yes, in print—my husband and I both trained as journalists and print’s in our blood!), weekly and monthly magazines, and fiction and nonfiction books, as well as all the reading I do in my crit group and blog writing.

Rather than focus on a number, this year I challenge you to focus on the ideas and thoughts of the books you read. I like to reflect on ideas that challenged me, that inspired me to change, and that moved me to look at the world differently. Both fiction and nonfiction books can give us much food for thought.

As we ease into 2019, by all means, keep your tallies of books read. But also, jot down what reached down into your heart and gave you a different perspective, an outlook, or a calling.

Sarah Hamaker is a writer, editor, and parent coach in Fairfax, Virginia. Connect with her at www.sarahhamaker.com.

(Illustration courtesy Pixabay)

 

 

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The holidays are soon upon us and so are the inevitable changes of the new year. Crazy as it is, change is all around us.

A wedding. A new baby. School. A heart attack. A honeymoon. Retirement. A new home. Death. A promotion. Divorce. A big inheritance. Cancer. A new career. Remarriage. Each of these situations—and a zillion more—bring change into a person’s life.

Some changes are good; some are bad; some are just plain ugly. Some of these changes we choose; others we do not. But change happens, so it’s wise to learn how to respond to those changes well and move forward.

The challenge in all this is to grow through it and allow the change to do its work in you. Whether you’re a tweenager on the cusp of puberty or a retiree trying to figure out what to do with the rest of your life, we must continually deal with change. Though change is a natural process of life and growth, few of us really know how to go through it well. There are times it can be downright overwhelming!

The reality is that the adventure of change isn’t usually comfortable or fun. And in today’s culture, life is moving so fast and changes happen so quickly that we hardly have time to adjust or respond before the next change comes. How many of us just got used to the iPhone and along comes an iPad with all the new changes? Just buying clothes for my granddaughters slaps me in the face with the reality that they are changing every day.

Change can make us feel disoriented, confused, even annoyed. If we know it has a specific purpose, we can usually hang in there and work through the change. But if we can’t see the reason for the change, we can feel distressed, frustrated, even fearful. So we revert back to old and sometimes bad habits to find our safe places to get our balance—our old routines or activities or comfort foods—and that’s okay for a season. But we can’t hide in them. We must move on.

In my first novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, the main character has six small children when she immigrates from Ireland to Canada. I cannot imagine how hard that must have been. Many, many Irish immigrants took the perilous journey with little ones in tow. And with each child comes lots of challenges and changes every day.

I think most of us have a love/hate relationship with change. And life is full of change! We love how the seasons change but often hate how our lives change with it. Just when we settle into a routine or get a handle on something, life seems to turn our world upside down, and we are forced to adjust to it.

Susan G. Mathis (CO), CAN VP, Topics: Writing * Marriage * Remarriage *

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is vice president of Christian Authors Network, founding editor of Thriving Family magazine, and former editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

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