Flying Time

by Sandra Ardoin

As I look at my calendar, I can’t believe 2017 is almost three-quarters gone. Where did the days disappear to? The weeks? The months? Why must I look back at the first half of the year and wonder why I’m not further along in completing the plans I’ve had since January?

At the beginning of each year, for my writing, I create a business plan. I come up with numbers I would like to see by the end of December for website followers, newsletter subscribers, and social media connections. I ponder possible marketing promotions and, most importantly, writing projects I’d like to complete. My plan gives me direction—it provides a guide that keeps me from staring at the computer with “Duh?” running through my brain. It’s something to consult when I’ve finished one project and am ready to start a new one.

Still, it’s odd how I can sit at my desk in the morning to begin work, then get so absorbed in all the non-writing tasks to be done that I suddenly find my day is over. The next thing I know the weekend arrives and I’m lamenting all the word count I didn’t achieve during the past week.

Do you find yourself overwhelmed by your to-do list, too, or wishing the day had thirty-six or forty-eight hours? Maybe the week should come with ten days instead of seven?

I suspect, no matter what you do for a living, even if it’s being an all-important, stay-at-home mom, you’ve probably had seasons when you’ve grown impatient to accomplish something and found time slipping away for one reason or another. Little things break into our moments to steal those intentions and wreck our plans. Distractions rise up like sea monsters to swallow our minutes and hours.

Guess what. I have no magical answer to recapturing lost time. Sad, but true.

I only know it’s possible that those distractions, those time stealers, can be a call to slow down and focus on something other than myself and my to-do list. They can be a reminder to pay attention to my surroundings and those who inhabit my little world, like friends and family.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be working hard when someone pops into my office to talk. I want to ask, “Can’t this wait?” I don’t. Instead, I stop what I’m doing. That doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated and grumpy when my work is interrupted. I fight releasing a rude huff. But relationships are important. I never know how much longer I’ll be able to talk to that person. Because, as Proverbs 27:1 says, I don’t know “what a day may bring forth.”

Sometimes, distractions are a way to discover I’m on the wrong track. Maybe what I’m working on is the wrong project at the wrong time and adjustments must be made. That’s okay, as long as I don’t confuse being led to the right project with an inability to focus that carries me down to-do rabbit trails.

There are days when things crop up that I can’t ignore—like a recent emergency dental appointment. Ick! And, sometimes, distractions are just that—intrusions into what I need to accomplish.

I only know the days, the months, and the years rest in God’s control. So, the next time I think I’ve accomplished nothing when it comes to whittling down my to-do list, I need to remember I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, and God can take that “nothing” and turn it into something I’d never planned.

Are you the type who can roll with the punches, or are you like me and get clobbered by flying time?

(Click to Tweet) Distractions rise up like sea monsters to swallow our minutes and hours. #FlyingTime .@SandraArdoin


Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. She’s the author of the heartwarming novella, The Yuletide Angel and the award-winning novel, A Reluctant Melody. Rarely out of reach of a book, she’s also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out. Visit her at http://www.sandraardoin.comSubscribe to receive updates and specials.

Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and BookBub.

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Click the meme above for more information about the book (Amazon). You can download it free today and tomorrow only! (September 21 & 22)

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Music for the Soul, Coffee for the Brain

Hello! Thursday Morning!

I am well into my second cup this morning as I worship with one of my favorite bands via YouTube — yes, I also own their music. I like to test out new music before I buy, so this is a good way to do it.

And, this is how I usually start my day.  A short devotional, a chapter or so of the Bible, while filling my heart with praise via music.

I’m not wasting time, it’s the equivalent of mental and spiritual exercise. It gets me ready to face the day and whatever comes.

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. — 1 Timothy 4:8 NIV

Most mornings, as weather and work permits, I’m out walking early. A great start to anyone’s day, if you can do it. All things, done in a good and proper order.

  1. Feed the spirit
  2. Feed the mind
  3. Feed the body
  4. Tackle the day.

It just feels good. Do you have a morning routine? How do you feel when you accomplish your routine in proper order?

It’s like making your bed as soon as you get up. You’ve finished something. If you can’t finish anything else the rest of the day, you done one good thing.

So who am I listening to this morning? Elevation Worship. Love their music!

What am I studying? Learning to pray simple prayers. Wait, what? Why does anyone actually need to learn how to pray simple prayers?

Well, it’s like this. I’m a writer and I tend to try to create beautiful passages, and outdo others when I compose (yes, I’m competitive).

But know this: when praying, simple is often best. You don’t need to worry about grammar or spelling, or sentence construction. Just speak from your heart. Sometimes it’s as simple as: “Lord, please save my daddy.”

That heartfelt prayer preceded a day when my dad ended a long career of binge-drinking. He finally started on a journey that led him to a better life. Not that I had anything to do with that, but I was hurting so badly for him, I had no words. I just prayed what was in my heart.

We truly saw God move that day. There was no other explanation for the sudden turnaround.

So today, I’m enjoying a cup of coffee, listening to great music, and getting ready to read and study. Looks like the rain has stopped, so I’ll hit the pavement afterward and breathe in the fresh morning air.

Thanks for stopping by. May God bless your day — that’s my heartfelt prayer.

[Click to tweet] Music for the soul, #coffee for the brain. What’s your morning routine? #HelloThursdayMornings

Next week – Author Sandra Ardoin is my guest. So grab a cup of your favorite morning beverage and pop by for a visit.

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This is in progress right now! Write Integrity Press (my publisher) has a fantastic sweepstakes going on. If you’d like a chance to win an 8″ Kindle Fire, along with $100 and many more prizes, you can enter the sweepstakes by clicking this link (or click the picture above): Write Integrity Press.

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Another Movie Review

I don’t really have a schedule yet for Hello! Thursday Mornings – but I think it’s time for another movie review. This one is fun, cute and endearing, and I love the title.

In-Lawfully Yours.

I had no idea what to expect, which is probably a good thing. But I was delighted, and laughed out loud several times.

Actually, I know someone who used to be a lot like Jesse, the main character. Though I didn’t know how to take my friend in the beginning, I soon came to love and appreciate her unique outlook on life. It’s the same with Jesse’s character. One critic found her irritating, but I liked her immediately.The story begins with a totally unexpected scene and provides several more unexpected scenes within the first few minutes of the film.  I believe these scenes reveal Jesse’s character well.

Jesse’s short-lived marriage is at an abrupt end, but the death of her almost-ex’s father sends Jesse to the aid of her mother-in-law (Marilu Henner). Along the way, Jesse meets a different sort of salesman, a pastor with a dwindling congregation, and a cafe-owner who repeatedly sabotages Jesse’s coffee. When all she really wants is a good cup of coffee.

“You know, I could get used to this churching” — is one of my favorite lines in the film, as Jesse settles into a new way of life.

The very sweet and pure love that grows between the two main characters is just my style. The conflict that comes as a result of their attachment is natural and believable, though a few of the extenuating circumstances were a little fantastic. But I was not put off by them–this is comedy.snack, popcorn, movie

Jesse’s antics almost get the pastor ousted from his church. Her ex-husband has an ulterior motive for trying to win her back. And of course, there’s a toxic character in the church who completely disapproves of her.

I liked the characters in this movie, even some of the unlikable ones, because they were real–made so by the talented actors. I loved the fact that these people formed a family who loved and cared for each other through difficult circumstances. And I loved the humor that threaded its way through the story.

What I liked best about this movie is the journey the two make from the beginning to the end. Their roads intersect, then part. But Jesse’s road leads home.

In-Lawfully Yours is a romantic comedy with an inspirational theme. It’s a project of Regent University’s film school. One of the producers is Corbin Bernsen, who makes a cameo appearance in the movie.

I just watched the movie again, and loved it just as much the second time through. I gave it five stars on Netflix.

Have you seen a really good faith-based film lately?

(Click to tweet) Hello! Thursday Morning’s review of In-Lawfully Yours. #FiveStars #romcom


NOTE: If you’re interested, I’m at two different blogs this week. I was interviewed by Hallee Bridgeman. Interview with Author Betty Thomason Owens.

And, I’m featured this week at the ACFW blog! You can find that one here: ACFW

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Therapeutic Writing

Therapeutic writing. What thought pops into your mind when you read or hear those words?

As an author, I often write to cleanse my heart and mind of painful things. I’ve found it therapeutic. So, I was not surprised to hear this discussed in a writer’s meeting.

Not only did the exercise help a young woman process the pain of loss, but those writings helped her form a scene in her work-in-progress, as her main character dealt with the loss of a loved one. In the finished product, the character’s emotions are raw, her actions and conversations, achingly real. Readers will fully engage with the scene and the character.

What about non-writers–ordinary folks looking for a way to ease their emotional suffering?

I’m not a professional counselor, but I would suggest it to anyone. When I journal my feelings, I’m not writing for others, so I don’t have to worry about grammar, spelling, or sentence construction. I just pick up a pen, or open a new document on my preferred electronic device, and start writing. I write out my pain, shout my anger, tell a deceased loved one how I feel. All the things I didn’t have the chance to say when they were still alive.

Then what? I keep it hidden away. Shred it. Burn it. It’s up to me. Most writers will definitely want to keep theirs, and remember the depths of pain and despair, so they can write from their heart and bring a scene to life.

But what if someone can’t, or doesn’t want to write? Talk. There’s an app for that. Find a free, or inexpensive speech-to-text program and use it. Sometimes, seeing those words in written form–repeating them out loud–promotes healing. Sometimes.

I love to go for long walks. And those seem to be the times when my creative processes are flowing. I have all kinds of ideas. So I get out my phone, open a note, and start dictating. Sometimes I throw them out, but many times, I find good material that I can use in my work.

Mom, please write down your memories! How many times have I heard this? One of my sons wants me to write down the stories I’ve heard all my life. Stories about long-dead family members. Stories that will be lost, unless someone writes them down. Telling those stories is a quick and easy way to store them. Then I can transcribe them or use a speech to text program to bring them into a word document.

This process is both therapeutic and healing for me, because some of these memories bring up old hurts and painful losses. Talking them out, writing them down, can help me deal with the pain and restore my hope.

Though I’ve barely tapped the surface here, I hope I’ve encouraged a reader or two, or at least given you food for thought. If you’d like to study it further, there are numerous articles written on the subject of therapy writing or journaling. It’s important that you resist guilt feelings over delayed or prolonged grieving. And never assume to know exactly what someone is going through (even if you’ve suffered a similar loss or trauma).

Everyone processes emotion in their own way. This is why I believe writing therapy is a good thing, because it is so personal.

How do you process grief?

(Click to Tweet)  Everyone processes trauma or loss in their own way. #WritingTherapy #journal


Who won last week’s book giveaway?

Congratulations, Sandra Ardoin! And happy reading. I hope you enjoy the book!

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Read A Book – The Revisionary

As far as titles go, this one’s probably not perfect, but you can read it two ways. Past tense – I read a book, or it can be taken as a command: Read a book!

Either way, I’ve just finished reading a book. You might say I stepped out of my “comfort” genre a little on this one. The Revisionary by Kristen Hogrefe, is a dystopian novel. If you’re not familiar with the word, the dictionary describes it as:

…relating to or denoting an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.

A dystopian novel explores social and political structures in a dark, nightmare world.

Hmm…some of you may not like the sound of that. But Hogrefe’s novel has an inner light shining. The world she created promises that light will come. In this first novel of the series, the promise is dim, the light far away. But the evidence is there—you want to go after it. Like that thin thread of romance she dangled in front of me. Just enough to keep me wondering. And guessing.

train, locomotiveThis dystopian world is real as we see it through nineteen-year-old Portia Abernathy’s eyes. I feel her pain and fear, sense the ebb and flow of hope as she struggles through her difficult but sometimes chosen circumstances. She’s a brave young woman who sets out to rescue her older brother, but may end up helping to save her world and gain her own redemption in the process. These are all my assumptions as I read (present tense) this book.

document, parchment, billInto the mix, Hogrefe supplied tempting morsels of our own national history. She made me want to go back and read the constitution and bill of rights. She helped me remember important facets from our glorious past. Let’s not take our present freedoms for granted.

I won’t go into too much detail or add spoilers here. Instead, I’ve included the author’s book blurb below.

So, why would you want to read a story about a nightmare world that has lost important things like personal freedom and electricity, whose leaders seek to keep many in darkness, and enslaved? Because, in the end, it’s entertaining and quite interesting. Those of you who read (past tense) and/or watched those other dystopians will be pleased to find this one, especially if you’re a fan of clean/inspirational fiction. Action, adventure, suspense, and plenty of drama! I give it five stars.

The Revisionary is Young Adult (YA) fiction, written in first person, like other popular series–The Hunger Games and the Divergent trilogy. The end of the story left me yearning to know what happens next.

FREE BOOK! If you were here last week, you’ll remember I promised a giveaway! Read the information about the book (below), and if you’re interested in winning a copy — either paperback or Kindle — please let me know in the comments section. I’ll announce the winner here next Thursday Morning!

CLICK TO TWEET: The end of the story left me yearning to know what happens next. #TheRevisionary reviewed. #YA


THE REVISIONARY by Kristen Hogrefe

A Revisionary rewrites the rules. A Rogue breaks them. Which one is she? Nineteen-year-old Portia Abernathy accepts her Revisionary draft to the Crystal Globe with one goal: earn a Dome seat so she can amend the satellite rules and rescue her brother. Her plan derails when Head Gage Eliab brands her as a suspect in a campus Rogue attack, and in a quest to clear her name, she questions if the vigilante Brotherhood responsible might be fighting for a cause greater than itself, a cause championed by the last civilization. But the current leaders have obscured history’s pages, and if she dares to engage the past through her training technology, they might wipe her own memory as well. Her shifting loyalties pit her against Luther Danforth, her Court Citizen ally who believes in reform, not revolution. Joining the Brotherhood makes a future with him impossible—and Portia must decide if it’s better to rewrite the rules or to break them.


Kristen Hogrefe is a young adult fiction author and teacher. Her books include The Revisionary (Write Integrity Press) and the Wings of the Dawn trilogy. She has written for a variety of publications and blogs regularly at kristenhogrefe.com where she challenges young adults and the young at heart to think truthfully and live daringly. A few of her favorite things are coffee, sunshine, and good books—and she loves sharing them with friends.

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