The Incredibly FAST Passing of 2015…

When the calendar flipped to October 1, I had a panic attack.

How was it possible that my favorite season—fall—which always proceeds my two favorite holidays—Thanksgiving and Christmas—could be upon us already? How indeed, as it was not conceivable that nine months of this “new year” had expired. Surely it was only June, certainly not later than July in this year of 2015.DSCF8153

The flowers on my front steps had never looked better. The weather was nice—not hot—but warm and very pleasant. Too many items remained on the summer to-do list. How could it be fall already? Where had the summer gone?

Simply. Not. Possible. ¾. Of the year. History.

Most of my adult life, I’ve declared the passage of time to be swifter with each passing year. You know the old adage, “The older you get, the faster time flies…” True, for sure. But this year had simply vanished.

Panic gripped my mind and emotions. So much to do in preparation for my favorite season. Buy pumpkins and other interesting fall produce, haul the saved-from-last-year fall decorations from the attic and then actually decorate. Other fall rituals needed to be worked into an already hectic schedule. Important  things like traditional fall recipes to make and share with family. I resisted the slight dread that accompanied my thoughts about this favorite season and vowed not to let the sneaky nature with which it descended upon me this year rob us of this most special of seasons.

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Okay, you got this, I chanted repeatedly until my nerves calmed. However, the calm was short-lived as I remembered that mental Christmas prep normally begins in October. Mental only, you understand, as the rule in our home is no Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but then we pull out all the stops and do Christmas BIG.

My internal chant changed to, One holiday at a time…you can do it.

Ever since I got serious about writing, the matter of time has taken on a new dimension. Once writing became a priority in my life, my “time habits” changed dramatically. I once joked that I gave up sleep for Lent. It became a sort of year-round observance. Why sleep when there’s so many amazing writing related things I could be doing? Like …

  • Immersing myself in the characters and storylines of my YA 3-book series – the immediate goal being to finish book #2 ASAP and then indie publish book #1 with the second book following not-too-far behind

    Pieces of a Life storyboard

    the storyboard for my series characters

  • Composing the next post for my “Waiting Matters… Because YOU Matter” abstinence/renewed abstinence themed blog
  • Compiling this month’s sets of weekly web content for my business clients
  • Reading a YA book
  • Connecting with my writing partners via our email loop OR private Facebook page
  • Studying the craft of writing through any number of means
  • Critiquing the work of my awesome, talented writing partners
  • Networking & marketing to build my author platform
  • Reading a popular or award-winning or classic tale for the purpose of dissecting it’s greatness
  • Creating posts for the group Scriblerian blog
  • Dipping my toes into the sea of editing
  • Reading a book just for fun

Yep, it just happened again. As I finished typing the above list, an understanding of why this year has whizzed by washed through my mind. Just as it did the first week of October, as I tried to figure out why this year in particular seemed to have vanished in the wind, a sense of, “See, that’s why,” followed by a wave of relief.

My life took an unexpected turn earlier this year when the part-time job I’d had for 9 ½ years came to an abrupt, unforeseeable end. Poof, it was gone, due to circumstances beyond my control. Over the next month, I couldn’t shake the deep sense that this was my chance to for-go a “regular” job and just write. To establish myself as a “real” writer.

Let’s jDSCF8152ust say I’ve learned not having a “regular” job opens the door for a lot of things. Good things. Worthwhile things. Certainly not all writing related things, though. Actually, a lot of not-writing-related things. As I try to get used to the new “normal”, I’ve found myself issuing a rather firm warning to myself, repeatedly. “Do not waste this opportunity. Get that series finished and published.”

I’ve given my writing partners permission to get tough with me, to push and nudge, even badger, to keep me moving in the right direction. And I’m extending that same privilege or responsibility, depending on how you look at it, to you Scriblerian followers as well. Take me to task, if you feel so led. You have my blessing.

And now I’m off to finish a set of business blogs before diving back into the fictional YA world of Preston and Maggie. I’d love to hear any “keeping on task” tips you’d like to share!

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RIGHT AND WRONG

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Author Chuck Colson rekindled my interest in the classic story of Pinocchio when he mentioned the experience of a children’s lit professor. Vigen Guroian, author of Tending the Heart of Virtue, moderated a discussion between his students at Loyola College and his daughter’s fourth grade class after both groups had read the book. The fourth-graders demonstrated a better understanding than the college students. How was that possible?

If you have never read Pinocchio, check it out. The story is all about making moral decisions. Should I work hard in school or skip it and have fun? Should I do what my parents say or do what I want? Carlo Collodi wrote in a simple style, easy for kids to read, and it makes a great read-aloud book for parents and kids together. Pinocchio was first published in Italy in 1882. Once you get used to the old-fashioned writing style and the Old World atmosphere, you’ll get more and more involved in urging Pinocchio to go home!

In the last one hundred thirty years, children of every era have understood that Pinocchio is a very disobedient puppet, and he can not get his heart’s desire if he continues to please only himself, instead of caring about other people. Kids know that if you are mean or if you break the rules, there will be consequences. Bad consequences. The fact that the college students of today don’t understand such a basic truth tells us something in the soul was lost as they grew up.

We are born with the knowledge that God is great and powerful and divine,* but we live in a “what’s-in-it-for-me” culture. Advertising, television shows, popular music all convince us that “we’re worth it,” and “we can have it all.” Those who buy into that message get mad if someone tells them God may not want them to have everything they desire. The more time they spend insisting on their own way, the more excuses they make as to why it’s okay. Eventually, they no longer remember what is right and what is wrong. In the case above, it took a group of ten-year-olds to jolt the twenty-year-olds back to spiritual reality.

Whenever it’s my turn on Scriblerians, I’ll continue to mention classic books as well as modern books that help us remember what pleases God. Which classics would you like to see featured? Which would you recommend? The Bible is our textbook, first and foremost, as we learn about Him, but authors who love Him are able share Biblical truths through story. And everyone loves a good story.

* See Romans 1:20-21.

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