2017 in (book) review

I fell in love with reading when I was a kid. I devoured books from the school library and used all my allowance money each month to purchase the next Baby-Sitters Club book in the series until I had almost the whole collection. Later, as a teen, I discovered the book section at our local Goodwill, a store I still frequent today. Back in the mid-90s, paperbacks there were 50 cents each (now they’re $1). Through my purchases at the Goodwill, I discovered Stephen King and V.C. Andrews novels (the ones she actually wrote before the “trust” pirated and diluted her memory—another story for another day) that I was probably too young to read at the time.

At the beginning of 2017, I set a goal on Goodreads to read 52 books or one per week. I wasn’t sure I would make it, because from 2008 (when my son, Drew, was born) up until the end of 2016, I averaged two to three books per year that didn’t have illustrations or animal characters in them.

Well, I not only met but exceeded my goal. I read 59 books in 2017. Most of them, I enjoyed (three to four stars), and a few changed my life (five stars). I discovered some great indie authors and some traditionally published work that moved me in some way. I’m actually reading another indie author book right now (by someone I used to know) thanks to my Kindle Direct 30-day free trial. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to reveal what book it is, but I’ll think about it.

Top two (out of six) independent authors I read in 2017:

  1. Brad Carl, The Grey Areas Saga: Books 1-4. A set of novellas following the adventure of a mysterious man who moves to a small town and gets enthralled in illegal activity.
  2. Rebecca Yelland, Dancing at Midnight and The Other Side of Midnight. A set of beautiful novels about a woman’s journey learning about the past pain of her mother through a diary she discovers.

Top ten traditionally published work I read in 2017: Continue Reading “2017 in (book) review”

Christmas, Truth, and Childhood Innocence

Childhood innocence eventually becomes a thing of the past. If we’re lucky, it becomes fond memories and reason for nostalgic reflection when we’re adults or the need to keep that innocence alive in our children for as long as possible.

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Last week, my almost 10-year-old son asked me two innocence-ending questions. The first was about the existence of the tooth fairy. He doubted it and said he was pretty sure we put money under his pillow and took his tooth after he went to bed. Jonathan and I had already agreed to tell our kids the truth when they ask questions like that, so I told Drew the truth—that he was absolutely right in his assumptions about the tooth fairy. He thanked me for telling him the truth and moved on. I knew that more questions were coming, especially the most dreaded one about Santa.

Five days later, all hell broke loose at my house when I was asked the dreaded question. I countered Drew with a question back, asking if he really wanted to know. He claimed he did, but I was still reluctant.

Continue Reading “Christmas, Truth, and Childhood Innocence”

Being Thankful in Life

Something I always stress to my children is to be thankful for what we have.  My family is not without struggles, but we are truly blessed. My husband and I have good jobs and enough money to provide for our family and pets. We have a lovely home where we are sheltered from bad weather, safe, and near beautiful scenery.  We work hard and appreciate what we have.

Now comes the struggle: teaching humility, humbleness, and appreciation in our children, who have never gone without anything they’ve needed. I talk to my children about the charities and nonprofits to which we regularly donate. I explain the reasons why it is better to give than to receive. I just hope that some tiny nuggets of wisdom about those things transfer from me to them as they grow.

When I asked my children to tell me what they were most thankful for at our Thanksgiving table, they each said they were most thankful for their family. That made me smile because it was exactly what I wanted to hear. I didn’t want to hear them say they were most thankful for their video games, tablets, or toys. While they have many things, my children don’t always get what they want. Continue Reading “Being Thankful in Life”