Reading has saved my sanity! (Plus, where I’ve been these past months…)

So, friends, I wrote this post back in mid-November, right after I returned to work after bedrest/maternity leave. I never got around to editing it and actually clicking “publish,” apparently, but I still wanted to share the sentiment that reading saved my sanity so I decided to just publish as-is!

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What happened to me after my last post on September 3rd?!? If you follow me on Twitter (@theedifyingword), you’ll know I didn’t disappear off the face of the earth.

I had a baby!

He’s wonderful and adorable and precious and I’d love to share pictures but I don’t post identifying info about my kiddos… so, just know that little baby E is healthy and happy and immensely loved!

Having a new baby and being on maternity leave from work gave me LOTS of time for reading on my Kindle (and NONE for blogging or reviewing those books) — in fact, it saved my sanity. A nursing newborn = a ton of time sitting in a chair, much of it in the middle of the night. If I did not read, I would have fallen asleep (this is still the case, though now I only nurse twice-ish a night and for shorter periods of time). So, I started reading so I wouldn’t pass out and drop the baby. It was really just practicality, and it works so well that I can’t believe I didn’t do this with my other kids (well, at least with #3 – I didn’t have a Kindle for the first two).

Maybe I should have, but I totally didn’t expect the added benefit – in a time when I was by necessity giving so much of myself, physically and emotionally, to my new baby, with any minuscule leftover bits going to my other three kids and my husband, reading while nursing gave me some semblance of “me” time. I was able both to do something I enjoy and to engage myself intellectually. These are both things I definitely lacked after having my first two, and did slightly better with after my third. This time, though, I rocked it. By the time he was six weeks old, I had read 17 books. 17!!! To think in January I thought I was being ambitious when I set my Goodreads goal at 20 books for the year!

I’m hoping to pop in and actually review some of those books now, but life with four kids is CRAZY so no promises… ๐Ÿ™‚

 

2018 Reading Recap and Welcome, 2019!

2018 was… busy! Most importantly, my family gained a new member in my wonderful son, who is now three months old. His birth and the many, many hours spent nursing (and my stint on bedrest) enabled to me to read A TON, but not review a whole lot. Here are the stats:

Goodreads Challenge: Goodreads tells me in one place that I read 75 books, and in another that I read 79. I’m not going to go back and recount so… I read somewhere between 75 and 79 books. I had set my goal for the year at 20 so I far exceeded that, go me!

Reviews here on The Edifying Word: Out of those 75-79 books, it looks like I reviewed somewhere around 20 books, and some of them I had read in 2017… yikes, that’s a poor showing for a book blog! I’m going to try my best to get more reviews up this year – though I’ll have to start by backtracking to some of those 2018 books!

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So what’s in store for 2019? Well, I’ve already read two books! Granted, one was a kids chapter book and one was a short story – but that’s still two books. I’m thinking this year that I’m going to include kids chapter books and middle grade fiction in my Goodreads total because I read A TON OF THEM aloud with my kids. If I included every picture book I read, though, it would be an overwhelming total so I think I’ll hold off on those (unless they’re picture books I’ve received for review or that I just found to be amazing). Hmm…maybe I should rethink my Goodreads Challenge goal of 30 books. I’ll have to recalculate what I think is reasonable now that I’m including the reading I do with the kiddos…

I’m also thinking about some more thematic posts and some shorter reviews. Thematically, sometimes I read a bunch of books in one genre that would be better suited to discussing as whole on the blog and reviewed separately via short reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Shorter reviews because 1) I want the reviews to actually happen, and 2) I usually only read short reviews on those sites. Actually, I’m more likely to pick up a book based on a compelling tweet than a drawn out review, which has me rethinking my strategy here… So, hopefully 2019 will bring more frequent posts and a few positive changes on the blog side. The editing/betareading side is another issue altogether ๐Ÿ™‚

This year’s books both earn five stars, and deserve posts of their own. For now, just take a look (pictures link to Goodreads)! I hope to be back soon with more to share. Happy New Year, everyone!

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Book Review: Letting Go and Letting God by Kathleen Atkinson, OSB

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Letting Go and Letting God: 21 Centuries of Faith by Kathleen Atkinson, OSB

I received this book as a gift several years ago but hadn’t gotten to it until recently. I am currently working as Parish Secretary at my church, and occasionally I have some time at work that I can use for spiritual reading; this was the first book I chose. It was honestly not what I expected from the title, though the cover should’ve been a clue! I was expecting a book about how to let go of your day-to-day anxieties and focus on letting God guide you, and there certainly is an element of that. However, what Atkinson does is choose one saint from each century from the beginning of Christianity through the present and chronicle his or her life, offer suggestions for connecting with said saint, a prayer, and a few questions for reflection.

Overall, I learned a bit about some saints I hadn’t encountered previously and some more about some holy men and women with which I was already familiar. I am a bit skeptical about some of her choices for inclusion (one of which was named a saint by the anti-Pope at one period of Church history and is no longer considered a saint…questionable choice?), but overall she aims to present the saints in such a way that the reader can grasp how that person let go and let God work in his or her life. She summarizes this in her final chapter, which is, I think, the best writing of the book and serves to really tie the whole thing together.

I tend with books like this to skim the reflection questions and prayers, probably to my detriment, and I did so for most of this book. However, I had the opportunity to finish reading it during my hour of the parish’s 40 Hours Devotion (40 hours of Eucharistic Adoration leading up to the Feast of Corpus Christi) and I found praying the short prayers in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament to be quite powerful. Something for me to keep in mind in the future!

So, would I recommend it? Sort of. I definitely learned, but it wasn’t amazing. 3 stars!