Schedules have finally slowed down for our family a bit. It has been nice to be back into the routine of school. I’ve gotten a lot of reading done in the past four weeks, finishing six books (including Ray Comforts’s How to Battle Depression) and nearing completion of several others. Here are my impressions of the titles I read in September:
How to Battle Depression and Suicidal Thoughts by Ray Comfort
A classmate of one of my children died by her own hand last month, and our family has had many long and tearful conversations in the wake of that tragedy. Ray Comfort’s book, How to Battle Depression and Suicidal Thoughts, provides a Biblical framework for discussing such matters. He underscores the need for a new perspective — and provides it, along with practical suggestions for dealing with depression swiftly, before it develops into anything more sinister.
Our friend’s death made our whole family sad. But it also made us mad. Mad that we have an enemy who comes only to kill, steal, and destroy. Angry that his crafty lies sound so believable when they echo through the pit of despair. Furious that we live in a culture that so relentlessly chips away at the sanctity of life, because that viewpoint puts more than the unborn at risk.
We’ve learned, through this and similar past experiences, that a person can seem to be doing great on the outside while simultaneously fighting an exhausting inner battle against hopelessness and despair. September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, but don’t wait until it rolls around again to have a frank, age-appropriate conversation with your children about what to do if they are ever confronted with Satan’s lie that life isn’t worth living. Suicide is a permanent, irreversible solution to a temporary problem. So keep those lines of communication wide open. And if you struggle with depression or self-destructive thoughts yourself, please seek help.
Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman
I’ve had a hard copy of this book in my “to read” pile since it was first published. But I actually ended up listening to the audio version christianaudio.com offered as a monthly freebie earlier this year. I found it very insightful, and found myself reaching for the print copy after several chapters to add notes to the margins.
Freeman argues that “real life” happens in small moments. Moments like those we’d encounter on an ordinary Tuesday. Isn’t that the majority of what makes up most of life? Not grand, monumental acts but small, seemingly insignificant ones.
The author encourages readers to embrace such times. To savor and appreciate them. To use them to glorify God to the best of our abilities. As a stay-at-home mother who spends most of her days grading math problems, reading story time, serving snacks, washing dishes, and refereeing squabbles, I appreciate Freeman’s reminder that what I do matters, as does the attitude with which I do it.
Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray
This book was yet another free download from christianaudio.com, and am I ever glad I got it. I doubt I would have found it on my own, but it was very timely for me last month. And I loved hearing the author’s thick Scottish brogue as he read the audio version himself.
As with Matt Jacobson’s book below, this one was intended for a male audience. It’s especially applicable for men in ministry. But I didn’t know that when I first started listening, and gleaned enough beneficial advice for my own present circumstances that I continued listening through the end, even after I realized I didn’t belong in the target audience.
Murray writes using a car analogy, “driving” through one repair bay after another. Each chapter tackles a different aspect of life that may benefit from a reset, including rest, relaxation, recreation. After an initial reality check, he encourages readers to rethink, refuel, reduce, and relate. In the introduction of the book, he mentioned the fact his wife was writing a companion book for women called Refresh. That one is out now, too, and I ordered a copy this morning so I can read it next.
100 Words of Affirmation Your Husband Needs to Hear by Lisa Jacobson
Not only have I followed Lisa Jacobson’s blog, Club31 Women, and her pastor-husband Matt’s blog, Faithful Man, for years, but I’ve also read (almost) all their books.
So when I found out they were releasing two new books (and re-releasing two old ones) in October, I jumped at the chance to be on their launch team. Biggest perk: I got advanced reader copies of all four titles.
The Jacobsons share my passion for strengthening marriages and providing Biblical encouragement to couples of all ages and stages. So I knew their message would resonate with my readers.
As in all of their previous publications (and in their new weekly podcast), Matt and Lisa share with humility and candor the lessons God has taught them in more than 25 years of marriage. I throughly enjoyed reading Lisa’s 100 Words of Affirmation Your Husband Needs to Hear. It’s a good reminder of the power every wife possesses. The power to encourage her husband. To bless him. To build him up by choosing her words wisely and seasoning them with grace and gratitude.
100 Words of Affirmation Your Wife Needs to Hear by Matt Jacobson
Matt has a companion volume to Lisa’s called 100 Words of Affirmation Your Wife Needs to Hear . Although he specifically wrote it for men, I devoured the advanced reader copy of that one, too.
Fortunately, my dear husband is every bit as generous with his affirming words for me as the author is with his wife. And reading through all Matt’s suggestions for verbally blessing and encouraging one’s spouse made me appreciate that fact all the more. But I can see how, for a wife who doesn’t hear such words of praise often, reading the book intended for husbands might stir up some resentment. For that reason, I’d recommend men stick with reading the book for husbands and women read only the book for wives.
A couple of Matt’s suggestions seem somewhat redundant. But that’s not a criticism. I’ve never yet met a wife who would complain about hearing the same tender words of love and appreciation from her husband more than once. 🙂
Blogger to Author by Dr. Beth Brombosz
Both the Jacobsons’ books began as blog posts. I remember reading a less detailed version of Lisa’s on her blog when she first posted it. So it was inspiring to see how she and Matt developed and added to and expanded that original idea into not one, but two beautiful new books. In fact, those simple, 100-point lists eventually led to their signing a four-book deal with a major publisher.
Their example got me brainstorming (again) new ways I might repurpose content from my own blog. That’s exactly what the book Blogger to Author discusses. It’s a beginner’s step-by-step guide for doing what the Jacobson’s did: organizing, expanding, and converting blog posts (or any other writing you’ve done in the past or would like to do in the future) into a traditional book format. It starts with choosing a topic and testing your idea. Then it walks you through the process of designing, outlining, writing, editing, formatting, publishing, and marketing your book.
Does that sound too simplistic? From somebody who has published a couple of dozen books myself, I can attest the process truly is much easier than you might suspect.
This title was one of many resources included in last year’s edition of Genius Blogger’s Toolkit. An all-new version of this toolkit is on sale now (but only for a few days). If you are a blogger interested in honing your craft — or maybe even repurposing old content into books, videos, podcasts, etc — the 2019 Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is an incredible value. It’s packed with ebooks, ecourses, and other resources that will take your blogging to the next level. Check it out here.
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I could never read all these advice and ‘encouraging’ type of books like this. The amount of other folks’ input would make my head explode. I love reading, but I find the access we now have into other peoples’ lives is overwhelming and damages my ability to think for myself. I know other people don’t feel the same, but I find I have to limit my exposure to lifestyle and advice material. Blogs like this one are scrolled through carefully, and articles cherry picked.
Jennifer Flanders says
I feel the same way about broadcast news and social media, Suzanne. The amount of information and the access to other’s lives (or the portion of their lives they post for public consumption) available these days makes my head spin. It’s good that you understand such things about yourself and act accordingly. I’ll keep reading books and avoiding too much news or social scrolling; you keep cherry-picking blog posts and avoiding the self-help section at the library. I think those are valid options for both of us.