One-of-a-kind event to be held in Halstead

Disappointed that Halstead’s Halloween Howl has gone virtual? Looking for an opportunity to do something fun, and a little scary, with the kids?

Can you say haunted house?

Saturday evening, October 24 between 6 and 8, everyone is invited to the Halstead Hospital to help me celebrate my new book, a cozy mystery entitled When the Time is Right. I will have books (obviously), snacks, a haunted house, and goodie bags for the kids.

I’m thrilled to announce that Zone 33 youth ministries in Halstead has agreed to run the haunted house. They are super excited about it and I know will do a fantastic job. The haunted house will be set up in the front lobby area of the hospital. We’ll send one group through at a time to maintain distancing. The haunted house will be appropriate for most ages. And it’s free!

Harvey County Independent’s editor Jared Janzen has offered to make cookies, so we’ll have snacks.

At 7 p.m. I will have an author presentation. I’ll share about my new book, answer any questions, and may read a passage from the book.

Of course, I will have all of my books available for sale, but the highlight will be the newest one, When the Time is Right. The book is fictional and is set in Halstead, with the mystery centering around the abandoned hospital. That’s why holding the book launch at the Halstead Hospital is such a perfect location.

The book retails on Amazon for $11.98 (not including shipping), but I will sell it for $9 that evening. Plus I’ll sign it (if you want).

When the Time is Right is a cozy mystery, which means it’s a murder mystery that centers on story and characters without the gore or heavy police procedures.

Since we are so close to Halloween and we’ll be at an empty hospital, the atmosphere on Oct. 24 will be intentionally eerie.

If you want to know more about the event you can check out my Facebook page, the Facebook event page, or my website, billbushauthor.com.

I would also encourage you to watch the book trailer on Youtube.

Here is a little blurb about When the Time is Right.

Eden didn’t peg bribery, kidnapping, and murder for summer activities

For eighteen-year-old Eden, her court-mandated community service is set to be every bit as punishing as prison. Sent off to work at a pizza joint while living with her grandmother in a little out-of-the-way town, at least she can appreciate the peace and quiet.

But the town is hiding its own secrets, and pretty soon peace and quiet will be very hard to come by. She might not realize it, but between the spiteful neighbor, the enigmatic mayor, and the calculating owner of the abandoned hospital, Eden’s 90 days in Halstead are set to be the most exciting of her life.

Follow Eden’s unexpected adventure in this strange and entertaining tale of mystery.

Read When the Time is Right now, before someone spoils the surprise!

Come join me Oct. 24 for one of the most unique events in Halstead in a long, long time. And pick up a great book!

 
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Book Launch!

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Shine Jesus Shine

Recently I listened to an old worship CD (that’s a compact disc for the younger generation) and heard the song, Shine Jesus Shine. As I sang along, I couldn’t help but think about the state of our country. We are so divided. I can’t seem to watch the news or spend more than a few minutes online without seeing/hearing anger and hatred being spewed toward some perceived injustice or against other people. We can’t seem to agree on anything right now.

I listened to Shine Jesus Shine over and over because it reminded me that we serve and worship a God who is not limited by the deceptions of man. The first verse particularly spoke to me and reminded me of God’s love.

Lord the light of Your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness, shining
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us
Set us free by the truth You now bring us
Shine on me Shine on me

Matthew 5:14-16 says this: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Jesus told his followers to let our light shine before others. That means we have a unique opportunity. With so much darkness, our light should shine and should be easier to spot. If it isn’t, we’re not shining as we should.

We may not understand why we see so much evil right now in our society. Maybe things are getting worse; or maybe God’s allowing us to see what was already there. I think the point is not to argue about why we’re seeing so much division, anger, hatred, and evil. The why doesn’t change the Christian’s response in the sense that we are to love God and love others, and to let our light shine, so that others can see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven.

Instead of focusing on what politicians, the media, and our friend on social media think, our challenge as followers of Christ is to let go of our own anger, disappointment and divisive thoughts and to focus on what God is doing in the midst of chaos

The chorus of Shine Jesus Shine goes like this:

Shine Jesus Shine
Fill this land with the Father’s glory
Blaze, Spirit, blaze, Set our hears on fire
Flow, river, flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth Your Word, Lord, And let there be light

Lord, let us be the light you’ve called us to be.

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Habits – September 2020 Update

My word for 2020 is habits, so each month I select one habit that I want to stop and one I want to start.

So far in 2020 I’ve given up:

January – Watching shows for entertainment
February – Soda
March – Chocolate
April – Chocolate
May – No hitting the snooze
June – No hitting the snooze
July – Avoiding the national news
August – Avoiding the national news
September – Soda

I gave up soda in September. I slipped early but have been strong since. I quit drinking soda because I’m training for a half marathon. As you would expect, my running stamina and overall energy improved.  My race is in mid October so I still have two weeks of no soda. We’ll see what happens after that.

I haven’t had time to put much thought into this and I’m struggling to come up with what I want to give up for October. The only thing I can come up with is football, which isn’t much since I’ve only watched three games this year, all were the Kansas City Chiefs. But I guess I’ll go with that. Why not?

My starting habits for 2020 include:

January – A daily devotion using the YouVersion Bible app and a ten-minute writing timer (TMT)
February – Read a list of truth declarations (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
March – Twelve minutes in prayer (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
April – Twelve minutes in prayer (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
May – Two minutes of prayer after devotions (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
June – Two minutes of prayer after devotions; Two minutes of core after running; (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
July – Three minutes of prayer after devotions; Two minutes of core after running; (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
August – Four minutes of prayer after devotions; Two minutes of core after running; (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
September – Five minutes of prayer after devotions; Two minutes of core after running; (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing);  read truth declarations every day

I missed a day of devotions in September, which reset my YouVersion streak. On the plus side, I increased my prayer time to five minutes. Like I said last month, one minute more wasn’t noticeable. I also added reading a list of truth declarations to my devotion time. It only adds a minutes or two to my routine, but helps to focus my mind on truth instead of the lies I tend to believe about myself.

I had my best month in regards to doing regular core workouts after running. I think I only missed once. It’s getting easier to remember and do, but honestly, I still never feel like doing the workout. Any time I skip doing my stretches after a run it feels odd. Not so with the core exercise. I hope that changes, eventually.

For October I’m going to try to do one ten-minute core workout a week, in addition to the two-minute workouts. My thought is if I see/feel improvement it might encourage me to continue. We’ll see.

I have successfully written for at least one ten minute timer (TMT) session every day of 2020. That’s 274 days in a row. In nine months of writing TMTs I have completed 994 TMTs (yes, if I had been watching the numbers I would have pushed for a thousand), which is 9,940 minutes (166 Hours) of new writing in 2020.

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The Storm and its Purpose

I recently woke in the middle of the night for my regular visit to the restroom. Before I drifted back to sleep, I heard light hail then strong rains. The storm didn’t last long; finished before I returned to my dreams.

Storms are curious things. Some are short, like the one I encountered recently, and others last for hours or even days.

The morning after I heard the storm, the ground was wet, puddles full of water, but by midday there was no sign it had rained the previous night. The storm and its aftermath were history.

Last year we had frequent and heavy rains around my home town that caused multiple floods. Schools were canceled, roads were blocked, gates were locked to keep the river from flooding the city, cars got stuck, and crops were ruined. The results of those storms affected things in our community for weeks and even months.

We constantly deal with storms in our lives. Some are short, quickly forgotten within hours or days of the experience. Maybe they water our character much like last night’s storm watered the grass but had no other lasting effect.

Other storms will come and go but their impact will remain for months, years, and sometimes for the rest of our lives.

Our current storm, COVID-19, will continue for some time. Although it will end, at least in a significantly-impacting-the-world kind of way, it will live with each of us for the rest of our lives.

No matter the size of storm in your life, you can take comfort that God is in control—no matter how things look.

That doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily understand the reason for the storm.

In Genesis, God was the cause of the storm, bringing his judgment to the Earth, but protecting Noah and his family.

In the gospels, Jesus rebuked and stopped a storm that threatened to destroy a boat transporting him and his disciples.

In Job, God allowed Satan to use a storm (a mighty wind) to kill Job’s children.

God’s role in each of these situations was different, yet they have one thing in common: God was in control.

So whether we’re dealing with a minor storm that comes and goes or a major one that floods and destroys, God has a purpose for that storm in your life.

We can’t know God’s purpose for COVID-19 on our land, but we know that God has a plan in the midst of this storm that has upended our world, nation, state, and local communities.

We know that God is with us in the midst of this pandemic. And we know that God is in control.

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A phone call changed my Labor Day Weekend plans

This year has required a lot of flexibility. And let’s be honest, most of the changes have created anxiety.

I don’t know about you, but most of the news I’ve received this year has been bad. I’ve had little to get excited about.

The Friday going into Labor Day weekend I finally got some good news and it radically changed that weekend’s plans. In fact, it’s changed my plans for several weeks.

Some background.

The current story I’m writing is a sequel to a murder mystery I completed last year. I’m about half way done with book two and had hoped to finish the rough draft by mid September. Thus, I had planned to spend most of the three-day weekend working on that novel.

The first story in the series is a murder mystery set in Halstead, Kansas and centers around the empty Halstead Hospital. I can see the hospital from my front porch and walked by it nearly every day when I wrote the rough draft of the murder mystery nearly four years ago.

The story is complete and has been for a long time. I hadn’t decided what I wanted to do with the story, but then had an idea. I called Azzy Reckess, who runs the company that owns the hospital, and asked him if I could have a book signing inside the hospital. He was gracious with his time and we talked for several minutes. And he said yes!

Even though the story was done there is still a lot of work to do before I can publish it. So I spent most of the weekend contacting the people I need help from to get it published, writing the extras that go with the manuscript, and researching potential cover ideas.

Now for the next several weeks most of my free-time attention will go toward getting ready for the book launch/signing. 

And for once this year I have something to look forward to.

If you made it this far I want to reward you. For the first time publicly, I’m announcing that the book signing will take place on Saturday, October 24 from 6-8 p.m.  I’m still working out details, but I will be inside the main entrance at the Halstead Hospital.

Please plan to stop by. Even if you don’t purchase a book, come help me celebrate an exciting achievement!

Follow author Bill Bush, his blog, upcoming book releases and events by subscribing to his newsletter.

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Author Interview: Jared Vaughn (Another Time)

I met Jared Vaughn at my first Comic Con (Little Apple Comic Con in Manhattan, KS) in 2017. We traded books (Vetrix/The Longest Time). I loved everything about his book! His characters grew up in the same time period I did and the frequent music references are heavy on the Beach Boys, my favorite musical group. I have been one of his many fans waiting patiently for him to finish the sequel, and quickly volunteered to beta read the story so I wouldn’t have to wait until he published the book. Another Time is a great sequel and I encourage everyone to consider reading both books.

I’m thrilled to have Jared as my first author interview and hope you enjoy some insights into the author, the cosplayer, and the publisher that is Jared Vaughn. At the conclusion of the interview I include a short bio for Jared and he graciously shared an excerpt from his newest book.

Share a little bit about The Longest Time

Charlie is 5 years old when Lisa moves in next door. They quickly become best friends and experience a lot of good and bad times growing up in the ’70s. All this time, he’s too shy to tell her that he loves her. As time goes by, they go in different directions. There comes a time when Lisa’s in trouble and Charlie is the only one who can truly help her… and that’s when the twist comes in.

Tell us about the inspiration behind The Longest Time and Another Time.

It was originally a movie idea in 1999. I just imagined someone who’s in love with this perfect girl who’s also his best friend, yet can’t bring himself to tell her for fear of ruining it. He misses his opportunity and lives to regret it until he finds a certain way to fix it. It wasn’t based on anything real, but Charlie is a lot like me and the situation is believable. I guess you could say that the inspiration comes from so many thoughts and conversations in real life when I or a friend would say, “I wish I could go back and change that.” We all have those things that we wish we would’ve done differently, and I think that’s part of the reason why people like this story so much. We actually feel what he’s going through because we’ve been there and we cheer him on to find his peace and happiness.

Why did you choose to make music such a significant factor in your books?

I love it so much that it naturally found its way into my writing. Musical talent runs in my family, and I used to write songs all the time. Still do once in awhile. Some of the best scenes in the book came from hearing certain songs. Since it’s also set in the ’70s and ’80s, I chose to use references to the music of the era (or earlier) to help you feel like you’re there. Music has an unparalleled ability to bring back memories and stir the emotions. I even have carefully selected soundtracks to go with the books, which you can find on Spotify. Listening to the songs that go with the scenes as you read just takes it to another level and makes it more meaningful. The music tells the story.

Do you have an interesting writing quirk?

Most of the dates mentioned in the books are actually birthdays or anniversaries of family and friends. Sometimes I also use names or other identifying characteristics that they will notice and hopefully bring a smile. I also sprinkle in a lot of movie references, especially Back to the Future. Another Time even shares a universe with two movies and a certain influential TV show.

What is your favorite time of day, and why?

I think it’s late at night. Before I was on my current work schedule, I would stay up late, almost like I just didn’t want to give up. I still do that whenever I have time off. I think it’s because it’s quieter and I can focus more on writing.

Jared Vaughn as Marty McFly and his friend Shaun Fogg as the DR. Emmett Brown meet Thomas Wilson (Biff) and Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown).

A lot of people know you as much for your cosplay as they do for your writing. Where did your interest in cosplaying originate?

We were coming up to October 21st, 2015. That was the futuristic year of Back to the Future Part II. Everyone was excited about it becoming a reality, and being the fan that I am, I also saw a unique opportunity. I put together a Marty McFly costume that I started wearing to cons and it was a hit. By the time I published my book in 2017, I was already known for the costumes, they just didn’t know that it tied in with my book also. That was the icebreaker. What was once used as a tie in and marketing technique turned into a true love for the artform and another way to express creativity. I’ve added many more characters to my repertoire since then, and do as many group cosplays as I can.

What is your next project?

After a short break, I’m going to dive into Part 3. The kid’s book I’m publishing, Tobias’ Travels by Shoshanna Aaliyah, is getting closer to being finished. Ray Gordon and Alli O’Neal are working on the art, and there are only a few more pieces left to go. So that’s pretty exciting. I’m also thinking pretty seriously about publishing a book of humor possibly as soon as next year. I have a lot of material from the past twenty plus years already. It will be a great way to stay sane and balance out the more serious material of the third Time book.

What are your long-term goals as an author?  More books? Movies? Publishing?

I started out with movie making aspirations, but with the uncertain state of the industry, I’m not going to get my hopes up. I still have this book series to finish, then the spinoffs. That will include a stand alone book about Sammy and three other series. It’s what I call the Longest Timeverse. That can include other forms of media including a planned scripted series for my YouTube channel. I also have many more books by other authors to publish including Tobias sequels, a kid’s book by Shaun Fogg, and several others who were included in the short story collection, Free Time Tales. I’d also like to make more of those books at least once a year. So basically, my long-term goals are to keep coming up with new ways to be creative and help others along the way.

Anything additional you want to share with readers?

I have a lot of goals, but honestly, sometimes I feel like giving up. This is a tough gig. It takes a long time to write a book, even harder to try to convince people that they need to read it. For those who do read my stuff, I can’t thank you enough. Knowing that there are people who like what I do and want more, who tell me how much my writing has affected them personally, that is what keeps me going. It’s more encouraging than you think. I don’t just write to entertain, but to put something positive out there. As long as I have an audience, I’ll keep giving you the best I can give. Knowing what I have planned, the best is yet to come.

Biography:

Jared Vaughn is the author of the acclaimed novel, The Longest Time. It’s a nostalgic story about a unique boy named Charlie, whose love for his childhood friend, Lisa, leads him to fulfill a heroic purpose. Readers of all ages have unanimously agreed that they “couldn’t put it down,” and eagerly awaited the sequel, Another Time.

He loves to encourage dreamers in his writing workshops and panels at conventions, libraries, and schools, with a special emphasis on the youth. Jared’s vision extends beyond The Longest Time series with his company, Time Honored Productions. Other published works include the short story collection, Free Time Tales and the upcoming kid’s book, Tobias’ Travels by Shoshanna Aaliyah. The company of artists and writers also perform in group and individual cosplay with characters from Back to the Future, The Princess Bride, The Addams Family, DC Comics, and many more.

Whether he’s riding a hoverboard or writing a story, Jared Vaughn is always looking for innovative ways to express his creativity and share the Power of Love. He encourages you to take Doc’s advice–“The future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one.”

Excerpt: (from Another Time)

“Whoa. Dude,” Lisa said. “This is like next level, adventure book, Harrison Ford kind of stuff.”

He chuckled. “Yeah. Pretty awesome, huh?”

She smiled. “Yeah, it is.”

They peeked into the darkness, then turned back to each other.

Her face became more serious. “What are we getting ourselves into, Charlie?”

He put his hand on her shoulder and looked into her eyes.

“The adventure of a lifetime.”

She smiled again. “Well, when you put it that way…”

“If you really don’t want to continue, then we don’t have to. I think that whatever we find is going to change everything. There’s no going back after this.”

“We didn’t come this far only to come this far. We’ll find what we’re looking for.”

He smiled and took her hand. “Let’s find out together.”

They turned off the blacklight and returned to the regular flashlight. They slowly and cautiously stepped into the entrance. Each step was taken carefully. Every inch of their surroundings was fully considered with their flashlight. Their footsteps were the only sound in the darkness. Slowly they made their way forward, compelled by curiosity, driven by the desire for answers. Answers not only to the mysteries of the notebook, but to the strange feelings that urged them. They could almost hear their names being called aloud, practically begging these explorers to press on. It didn’t take long until they found something unusual.

Book Locations: TimeHonoredProductions.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords

You can learn more about Jared, his writings, and his production company at his website, Time Honored Productions.

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Habits – August 2020 Update

My word for 2020 is habits, so each month I select one habit that I want to stop and one I want to start.

So far in 2020 I’ve given up:

January – Watching shows for entertainment
February – Soda
March – Chocolate
April – Chocolate
May – No hitting the snooze
June – No hitting the snooze
July – Avoiding the national news
August – Avoiding the national news

For August I didn’t give up the national news as much as moderated my intake. And compared to months prior to July, I listened to significantly less. I had a good balance in August of paying attention to the news and maintaining inner peace.

I want to give up soda September. I did this in February because I thought it would be challenging and good for me. I’m doing it now because I want to. I’ve increased my running mileage and am considering running a half marathon in the fall. Adjusting my diet is a natural step in the training and so it will be my next step in my habits journey as well.

My starting habits for 2020 include:

January – A daily devotion using the YouVersion Bible app and a ten-minute writing timer (TMT)
February – Read a list of truth declarations (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
March – Twelve minutes in prayer (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
April – Twelve minutes in prayer (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
May – Two minutes of prayer after devotions (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
June – Two minutes of prayer after devotions; Two minutes of core after running; (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
July – Three minutes of prayer after devotions; Two minutes of core after running; (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
August – Four minutes of prayer after devotions; Two minutes of core after running; (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)

I upped my prayer time by a minute in August and it didn’t feel any differently. I think that’s the key is making changes small—they’re rarely noticeable.

I broke my streak of daily devotions this month. Ninety percent of the time I do my devotions first thing in the morning, but one morning I didn’t do it and my day got away from me and I didn’t pause for quiet time. So I started a new streak. I ended August at 8 days and counting.

I was hit and miss with the core work in August. Though I did it more often than not, it still takes effort and does not feel natural. Maybe it takes longer to feel normal since it isn’t an every day activity. Or maybe it’s hard because I don’t like it. Either way I will keep at it.

I increased my daily writing for at least one ten minute timer (TMT) session to 244 straight days (since January 1). In eight months of writing TMTs I have completed 902 TMTs, which is 9,020 minutes (150 hours) of new writing in 2020.

I have a set of truth declarations I wrote some time back. My goal for September is to read those every morning during my prayer time.

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Be careful, not fearful

My church is going through a sermon series titled emotions. It’s appropriate as there seem to be a myriad of emotions that people are experiencing in our country, out state, and our local communities. I know I’ve been through quite an array of emotions lately.

But I don’t want to write about emotions in general; I want to address one specific emotion that I believe is too prevalent and unnecessary. Fear

It’s natural to look at an unknown virus like COVID-19 and freak out a little bit. We all did in March as few resisted the extreme measures we took to protect ourselves from the invisible germ that had survived and thrived its way from China to our local neighborhoods.

And while there’s still reason for us to be careful and take thoughtful precautions, we have enough data now to show that most of us don’t need to live in daily fear.

Let’s start broad and work our way closer to home.

One of the reasons (and I understand there are lots variables that I don’t have time to explore now) that we continue to see cases of positive COVID-19 tests as we open things up is that we have chosen this path.

What I mean is this: last spring we chose to shut things down so we didn’t have a ton of coronvirus cases all at once. We didn’t want to risk overwhelming out health care facilities and chance running out of ventilators and ICU beds, which could have caused extra and unnecessary deaths.

Those precautions didn’t mean that in the long run the United States would have less cases, it meant that we chose to spread them out. Stated another way: we didn’t prevent the spread of COVID-19, we slowed it down. If our goal was to have lower numbers in August than in April, we could have left everything open and I guarantee our numbers we be lower. I’ll leave it to others to decide if that was the right decision or not.

There are 331,002,651 people in the United States and so far 5,682,491 have tested positive for COVID-19. A total of 176,223 deaths in U.S. That’s 3.1% of those infected by the coronavirus died and .05% of the population. Tragic? Yes. Catastrophic? Not by historic standards.

The Spanish flu a century ago killed between 17 million and 50 million people. That’s when the world’s population was at 1.5 billion. The equivalent death toll today would mean that between 86 billion 253 billion people died. We’re currently around 815,000 deaths.

The population of Kansas is just over 2.9 million. As of Sunday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment had reported 419 deaths as a result of COVID-19.

Harvey County has a population of 33,804. According to the Harvey County Health Department, we’ve had five deaths. That’s less than one death a month since we started shutting everything down on March 12.

To put that in perspective, a month ago Harvey County had three young persons (ages 22, 21, and 33) killed in automobile accidents in less than a week.

The average age of death from COVID-19 in Kansas is 79. Ninety-one percent of deaths (381) have been age 65 and older. Zero deaths have been reported under the age of 18. I repeat—zero. Only two deaths in the 18-24 age range, 5 for 25-34, and 7 for 35-44.  That’s according to the Kansas Department of Health and environment website on Friday, 8-23-20.

That’s a lot of numbers and I’m sorry, but I think most of the fear has come by looking at one number every day—the total positive cases. A narrow focus can lead to irrational and emotional conclusions that are based on fear and are untrue.

My purpose is not to talk anyone out of being cautious by social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing your hands. By all means, partake. But you can be careful without be fearful.

My purpose in writing is to calm some nerves because no one is better off by living in fear.

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Habits – July 2020 Update

My word for 2020 is habits, so each month I select one habit that I want to stop and one I want to start.

So far in 2020 I’ve given up:

January – Watching shows for entertainment
February – Soda
March – Chocolate
April – Chocolate
May – No hitting the snooze
June – No hitting the snooze
July – Avoiding the national news

I have to give myself a C+ or B- on giving up national news. I avoided my usual news sources for big chunks of the month, but did listen to a little talk radio on a couple of longer drives, and checked out a few clips online. Overall, cutting down significantly I think helped in my mood, attitude, and peace.

It seems like the stopping category each month is harder to succeed at than the starting. I think for the third time in a row I will duplicate my stopping. This time I’m not doing it to help solidify a habit as much as I don’t want to go back to a big dose of national news, so keeping the goal in place should help me to at least keep my intake moderate. Ultimately, I would like to find the right balance for me to intake news and keep my sanity.

My starting habits for 2020 include:

January – A daily devotion using the YouVersion Bible app and a ten-minute writing timer (TMT)
February – Read a list of truth declarations (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
March – Twelve minutes in prayer (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
April – Twelve minutes in prayer (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
May – Two minutes of prayer after devotions (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
June – Two minutes of prayer after devotions; Two minutes of core after running; (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
July – Three minutes of prayer after devotions; Two minutes of core after running; (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)

Starting my day with devotions and prayer now feels normal. I’m doing it consistently and naturally. I no longer think about doing it so the excuses like I don’t have time, I can do it later, I’m tired, etc., never enter my mind. As soon as I get dressed I sit down. The habit is there! For August I will increase it to four minutes, and if I’m having a good prayer time I won’t make myself stop.

The core work is still hard. I missed a handful of times, but in the middle of the month remembered a quote from James Clear. It’s probably in his book but I remember it from one of his interviews. He said never miss twice in a row. Simply doing that will guarantee you do something at least half the time.

So, In August I will continue the two-minute core workout after running for and see if another month will help it start to feel normal. I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s still hard as this is the first month I succeeded most of the time. But at least it was an improvement over June.

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I have successfully continued my year-long goals of daily devotions and daily writing for at least one ten minute timer (TMT). My hard drive crashed on my computer, so I don’t know how many TMT’s I had in July and in total for 2020, but I did write every day and have done so for 213 straight days as of July 31.

Looking back on my original goal for the year, maybe one habit a month (for both starting and stopping) wasn’t enough time. I’ve often repeated my monthly goals. At first that discouraged me, but now I realize that 30 days just isn’t enough, usually to even establish a routine, let alone get it to the point of feeling like habit.

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