If I Had One Year Left to Live… (~A Time to Die Blog Hop~)


…I might stop writing.


My heart shreds into confetti at the very idea, but one year isn’t very long. I’ve thought quite hard over this concept. Let me explain, for a moment, why I’m even blogging on it.

Today I’m kicking off the blog hop to promote my book, A Time to Die. Over twenty bloggers will be joining this hop to answer the prompt, “If I Had One Year Left to Live, I Would…” Hopefully this also prompts you to think about what you’d do with one year left to live.

Once the question enters your mind, it gets pretty sticky. Trust me, I know. I think about it all the time.

You Have One Year

In order to answer this question, I need to step back and examine what’s important, get to the nitty-gritty. Yes, writing is important because it’s my passion, but what is even more worthy of my complete devotion and sacrifice of time? Of course, it’s my Savior, Jesus Christ and I would fill my last year with things, actions, and choices that I believe He calls me to. But, since I’m playing crystal ball and trying to predict my future actions,  here are some things I would do with one year left:

Either stop writing, or speed-write. 

Don’t take this the wrong way. I do not want to stop writing. Writing is my passion. BUT, if I knew for sure that I would die one year from today, I would really ask myself how much time I could devote to writing without sacrificing time better spent elsewhere.

Another thought that crossed my mind is committing some hard-core writing months (about three or four) to completing the Out of Time series. For the sake of my readers (yes, for you!) If I couldn’t finish it in that time, I’d start looking for authors who could finish it/polish it for me.

I would go to Russia.

Going to Russia and interacting with the people there has been a long-term passion God has placed on both my and my husband’s heart. It’s a long story that I won’t get into now, but we would travel there to live for the majority of my last year. Hey, maybe I could keep writing while there! 😉

I would write intentional letters.

Words are my passion. I would make sure I had a stack of letters to be given to each person I love after I passed on, hopefully encouraging them to pursue life and God full-speed and to REJOICE at my joining Christ in heaven.

I would visit my relatives.

I grew up away from most of my relatives so I didn’t build the relationships with some of them that I would have liked. I would take at least two weeks to a month and road trip (with the hubby, of course!) around America, visiting them, having intentional quality time with them, and — with some — trying one last time to share the importance of Christ.

I would pray and fast more.

This is one of those things I already try to do, but I’m a spiritual wimp. Praying is the more tough side of relationship with Christ for me. I would love to devote hours — and I mean carpetburns-on-the-knees hours — to praying, fasting, and communing with God. The one time I intentionally fasted and pushed myself past my human desires, it completely changed me. And that was just one time.

I would tell my story.BLOG - Story

This one would take the most courage. There are very few people who know my full life story, but recently God’s been urging me to share it — the nitty gritty, the mistakes, the spiritual doubts…all of it. But it’s hard to completely bare our souls to others, especially if we’re expecting disapproval.

So…I would suck it up and either start telling my story (verbally) or through book-form. I already know God can use it to touch many other lives. I just need to push through my own insecurities and trust Him in my weakness.

Some little things:

I would go skydiving, sleep on an overnight train (preferably the Trans-Siberian Rail, which — if I go to Russia — would be very doable.), ride a tandem bike, and send up a desperate plea to J K Rowling (who probably won’t even see it) asking her to let me treat her to a cup of tea.

But, these are little things. Inconsequential things. Not big enough to be labeled as dreams, they’re just desires that would provide me with temporary happiness and then a good story.


My real goal in my last year would be to live as passionately as my weak, shy, cowardly human body allows for God’s glory. The point of this blog post is not just to dig into my dreams and last-minute pursuits. It is to show me (and you) my deepest desires — the things that are most important to me — and hopefully inspire me to pursue them as best I can right now, whether I have one year or ten years left.


So how about you? What would you do/change/think/stop doing if you had one year left to live?


Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system.

But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall — her people’s death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her Clock is running out.

This is the first book in the Out of Time Series. Releases September 23rd from Enclave Publishing.



In celebration of the September 23rd release for A Time to Die, the blog hop includes a giveaway!

You have several chances to win — many entries can be repeated every day. Below is the giveaway and the list of other bloggers who will be answering this same prompt (“If I had One Year To Live…”) on their blogs. Mark your calendars!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

9.03.14 – Nadine Brandes
9.08.14 – Ashlee Willis
9.11.14 – Caitlin Schesser
9.15.14 – Jennette Mbewe
9.17.14 – Heather Fitzgerald
9.19.14 – Kristen Stieffel
9.22.14 – Rebekah Gyger
9.25.14 – Lydia Thomas
9.26.14 – Ashley Olson
9.27.14 – Angel Roman
9.28.14 – Rosalie Valentine
9.29.14 – Aubrei Crooke-Adams
9.30.14 – Sarah Grimm
10.01.14 – Jon Del Arroz
10.02.14 – Amy Brandes
10.04.14 – Kathrese McKee
10.07.14 – Karen DeBlieck
10.09.14 – Bethany Jennings
10.10.14 – Angie Brashear
10.12.14 – Hilarey Johnson
10.13.14 – Adam Collings
10.15.14 – Bree Courtney
10.20.14 – Gretchen Engel
10.24.14 – JC Morrows
10.30.14 – Lisa Godfrees


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About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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  1. Hurray! That’s a fascinating agenda you have there…you’re adventurous to want to spend the bulk of your last year in Russia! Have you never been there before?

    I shared this on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter!

    • I went there when I was 13 with my dad. He worked for Operation Christmas Child and we got to give out shoebox Christmas gifts to orphans. I was a goner. Ever since, I’ve been waiting for God to send me back. (Actually, He’s recently shown hubby and me the next step in our Russia vision, so I’m kind of on fire right now. 😀 )

      Thank you for sharing!

  2. Hmmm… I agree with several of your thoughts. If I knew I had 1 year left to live, I would spend more time with my family. I would share the gospel with every person I met. I would spend more time in God’s word and in prayer. I would write meaningful and long letters to the people I love. I would likely do some crazy adventurous things that I otherwise would be too afraid to do. I would NOT waste time on the internet or even watching movies. I would do everything I could to glorify my God in the short time I had left on this earth. I’m sure there are more, but that is what comes to mind immediately.

    I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and encouraging us to think about these things. It is true that thinking about it this way really reveals what is truly important and how much time I spend now pursuing things that are totally inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.

    • All great goals. Thank you for being open. After I write out my own goals and hopes, I have to ask myself, “So why am I not doing that right NOW?” It’s a very transformative question.

      Praying for you! 🙂 What are some of those crazy adventurous things you would do? I’m curious.

  3. Spend more time with my family – here and with my parents/siblings back in Florida. Go to Japan and Taiwan.
    Finish my two books I am working on (sleep would be very, very low priority! 😉

  4. I would try to save all of my unsaved family members and leave a daily video and writing journal for my two daughters. <3

  5. Wow I love how much you share! Very eye-opening! I would definitely limit my time on all electronics to 30 minutes and spend a lot more time hanging out/calling friends as well as family!

  6. DeVorah Bynes

    I’m mostly a homebody, so I would travel and see The Seven Wonders of the World. I would also make a video explaining why I had shut people out of my life.

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  9. I’ve actually thought about this subject a lot, ever since I was a little girl. (The Little House books kind of started a fascination with the dreadful, I guess… I used to pretend I was blind Mary, just to see how that would be. ‘Till mom forbade it… 😉 )
    The sudden losses of almost all my extended family didn’t help things, I’m sure. (Grandparents, uncles… my youngest uncle died in an accident at 30 years of age. I was in my mid teens.)
    I kind of went through each day as if I was only separated from the grave by a hair… which definitely is a realistic view, and kept me concentrating on the important things, such as my spiritual walk, and relationships with my family.
    But it was a rather oppressive life perspective, and I’ve been able to grow into the view of being given an infinite amount of time, who can tell when my time will be up? It could be long and lengthy! 😉
    Anyway, I kind of put my life on hold even as a teen, I felt unsure of being able to finish any big project, and so just kept “to the ruts in the road” kind of thing.

    So, now, I’ve concentrated on living: I want to take my mom and sis to Florida one winter, and visit the Disney park there. (My parents went after they got married, and Mom has always talked about wanting to take us kids there. Now that we’re all grown, I’d like to take her, instead. 🙂 )

    And I want to finish my books. I’ve got a second series started this year, (3 ms. completed, 2 more to go! 😉 ) and I want to clear out the WIPs on my hard drive from the past ten years. 🙂 I’ve come to the “finishing season” of my writing career, and so I’m anxious to get those unfinished jewels cut, polished and complete. 🙂

    I have a year to live… and many more after that! But if I should wake up one morning and have that be my last there is nothing I’d regret. I am safe in the hand of a King much more capable and important than anything I could ever do, say or think, so if He’s okay with my going home…. I’m WAY more than okay with it!


    (P.S. Wrote you about the blog hop! )

  10. Actually, I WAS told I only had a few months to live. Which was not bad news at all since I knew I was headed to my Papa God (Yay!). I just wanted to spend the rest of my time here with my family and friends. And on the way to the hospital in the ambulance one night, I thought, “I’m headed to heaven, and this might be the last chance I have to try to get someone else there, too” and started sharing my God with the EMTs. They were a captive audience–it’s not like they could jump out if they didn’t want to hear it 😉 God clearly told me that I would not die from the illness, and I’m still here–with no medical explanation for the fact that I’m still alive–but my perspective is very different now than before I got sick. I’m most focused on things of eternal value for as long as He keeps me here. (My testimony, if you want to hear it from me–https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-vPwFArV34)

    • God knows everyone’s plans and must have something special in mind for you to still accomplish here. Prayer i a wonderful testimony to talking with God!
      If I had a year only–I would visit relatives, travel with hubby more, try to be less worried and enjoy life better and mend fences with children better. I would also be trying to reflect and be more spiritual knowing that I would see Jesus soon.

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  13. Russia would be lots of fun. Annnnd International letters—swoon. Be still my heart. 🙂 Great job, N! Can’t wait to read it!

  14. I’d definitely travel! Going back to Iceland would be at the top of a very long list! I’m often sad that I bought into “the American dream” and am now tied down with a house, job, responsibility… Doing things over, I’d live much differently!

  15. A Young Adult, Christian Dystopian Novel? YESSSSSSSS. FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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