Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Yule Tidings

Christmas is over. Too soon. Too sad. We had a great time in Tallahassee with everyone. I didn't take near enough pictures, but will post a few. Beka and Chuck came with Josh, Caleb, and baby Elizabeth. Pete, Julie and Asa were there. Danny. Me and Tony. Joel, Kim, Kendall, Kyler didn't get to come - Joel lives the retailers life - but most of the family was there. For the record, we missed you Joel Hayes family!

We had Christmas from "one to ninty two." Ninty year old Grandma to 4 month old Asa. Mom gave Dad a puppy for Christmas. A blue merle Sheltie. He's beautiful. See picture. We named him Buckeye figuring Dad would go along with that name.

We arrived on Thursday and immediately took Mom to the wood chuck, chuck pile and loaded up with back of Tony's truck with firewood. Rushed home, unloaded (enlisted help of Josh, 11, and Caleb 8.) Rushed back to the wood pile and filled it again with firewood for our at-home fireplace. Man, the truck was loaded down. The man who sold us the wood wanted to know how Tony got his wife to toss wood. He said, "She wants the fire."

I laughed. More than getting his wife to toss wood, Tony got his mother-in-law to toss wood.

The weather was cold. Very cold. That made if feel more Christmasy, but Christmas Eve and day were grey. Tony, Danny and I stayed at Grandma's house, but walked across the street for present opening at Mom and Dad's. The kids were so excited - me, Josh and Caleb. Ha!

Tony got lots of clothes. Needed items. He got me a new chain for my diamond cross necklace and a finally set the tanzanite stone in a beautiful ring. He got me a few other nice things, so it was a good day. Joel's gift of the Ohio State football jersey was great!

Me with Elizabeth (LillaBeth 6 mo) and Asa 4 mo.

Sunday morning we went to Church with Mom and Dad. All of us. We got to see old friends; the Hamiltons, the Mitchell's and others. Chatted with Florida Surpreme Court judge, Kenny Bell. We knew him when he was in law school. Seeing Joe and Ann Mitchell was so fun. We haven't seen each other in seventeen years. They have four kids now, 23 - 10, all beautiful. Funny how Ann seemed so much older than me when she was 21 and I was 17.

I wanted to get with some other Tallahassee friends, but didn't want to take time from the family. I plan to go back in February for a longer visit. Chuck brought Texas Hold 'Em so we played poker all weekend. It was fun. Josh and Caleb were fun to play with - never knew what they are going to do.

David Hamilton stopped by. He lives on Mom and Dad's street, and is an old friend from the Homestead, FL days. He played Texas Hold 'Em with us that night. At the end of the game, all the men were out and it was Women and Children. Then just Julie and me. We played like girls, "I'll bet $75 thousand," when we had millions in chips. Finally, Danny dealt a single hand, best hand won. I had three sixes. Julie had nothing. I won.

We ended the night with a few rounds of Euchre.

Monday we went to Danny's business. Prayed over it, asked the Lord to bless it. We were going to drive home on Monday, but we decided to stay an extra day. Danny came in from work and said, "Joe called. Want to meet him and Karen at the Salty Dog?"

"Sure." Joe is another old friend, David's brother in fact, from the Homestead days. I hadn't seen Joe since he and Karen married four years ago. It was awesome to see them. It was the first time I got to spend time with Karen. She's really cool.

Seeing Joe felt so poignant since I've been reading my diary from '76. Pages and pages of it contain news and thoughts about Joe. The summer we were sixteen and fifteen feels so far away from being forty-four.

Dan and I thought we'd only stay at the Salty Dog for about an hour, but three hours later we left. It takes time to catch up with good friends. Thirty years have passed since we met in Homestead, and you know, in another thirty years we'll sit some place over a Christmas holiday and remember.

Mom, Elizabeth, Dad and Asa

We're home, now, in Palm Bay. Unloaded all the firewood and are settled back into our home and routine.

Dad and Buckeye

Check out my new blog spot gear for teens and young women: www.chicrevolution.blogspot.com. If you're interested in writing for this blog, let me know.

Christmas from "1 to 92"
Grandma, 90, with a happy-looking Asa, 4 mo. ;)

Grace & Grace
Grandma Grace with Elizabeth Grace

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Now, all I have to do is be brilliant

YEAH, pretty much. Genius. Become brilliant. That's all I want for Christmas. But lookit. The Bible tells me the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, and oh by the way, created the universe, lives in me. Brilliance, genius, unknown and unmeasured creativity lives in me. Now all I have to do is tap into it.

Anyone got a drill?

Sure, I know. Prayer. Communion. Intimacy. I'm working on it. Far be it from me to EVER say prayer and reading the Word doesn't work. I hate when people say that. To them, I snark, "Ha! Posh!"

Mostly, we forget to apply the Word. Believe it. Live it. Like hey, lay hands on someone who's sick and pray for healing. Jesus did. He tells us to do the same. In fact, He tells us we'll do greater works than He did. Or, hey, the same creative genius that conceived of earth and the human existance lives in you, fellowships with you - believe it!

Do we really think Tony Robbins and like motivators have some kind of mystic, unique formula for changing peoples lives? No. All he does is supply affirmative principles, then tells people to do them and believe them. Tony Robbins changed his life becasue he started believing in himself, his ideals and didn't let go.

What can Christians do with the Holy Spirit's wisdom? Ah, the souce of my soon-to-be revealed genius.

I recently read Steve Martin's Shopgirl and The Pleasure Of My Company. I said to Tony, "the man's a genius." Then I read several reviews online. I was right. He's a genius. Perhaps one way to become a genius is to study genius? Can genius be taught? Sign me up for Genuis 101.

Why do I need brilliance or genius you ask? I need another story idea or two. I have about a dozen rattling in my head, but they need genius. Brilliance. Something tells me I'm going to have to sit down, pray, think, pray, think, pray, write, think, pray, write... Well, you get the picture.

THE ROOF - The roof is NOT on fire. The guys are here "tearing off" getting it ready to be reshingled. The dogs are going crazy trying to figure out who's up there and what in Sam Hill they're doing. Tony finally closed the gate and let Pal out. Tony's now telling me he's going to cut a hole in the kitchen wall to run a wire and I think I'm going to go hide in the office.

JUST REMEMBERED - I got a prophetic word years ago from a man who said, "The Lord says you have a good mind. Whatever you want to do, do it. Want to go to law school, go to law school. Whatever you want to do, do it."

I've decided, I want to be brilliant. Hum. Guess I'm still stuck on that. Now seriously, it was a good word and I understand the Lord's heart toward me. I love the prophetic for that reason.

LAMBERT'S CODE - I heard from the copy editor and the content editor on Lambert's Code and they both love it. I quote: "Wonderful. Great writing. Believable characters."

Man, I praised God for that, so relieved. I guess my career isn't over. LOL. I promise you, when we were at Mom and Dad's during hurricane Frances, I laid awake at night going, "That's it. This book stinks. My career is over."

"Anywhere But Here" was at Steeple Hill and I hadn't heard from them yet, and wow, I was getting beat up. But I have the source of the universe as my friend and comforter! Whoo hoo. Man, if you don't know Jesus, ask for an introduction. He's so cool!

EXERCISE - I think I'll do some and take a shower followed by a nap. Just found out I'm teaching at youth tonight.

STU - Also just learned out I'm going to lunch with our friend Stuart who's in town from Kansas City House of Prayer. Cool. I'd better get going.

FROM the book of totally useless information - The first scientifically planned slimming diet was devised in 1862 by Dr. Harvey an ear specialist, for an overweight undertake (incidentally, dieting was initially something that only men tended to do - women didn't start dieting until htey stopped wearing figuring altering corsets.)

To this I say, "Bring back the corset!"

Quote from my diary:

May 19, 1976 - "Went to church. Danny, Jerry, Pam, Sue and I sat together in the back. We had fun. We passed notes back and forth. I was sure Ron was going to say at any minutes, 'Would that back table please straighten up!' Boy, I would have died."

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Low rise jeans

I bought a pair of jeans for my birthday. Well, Tony bought them for me but I picked them out. I didn't see any markings on the tag that indicated "low rise." But sure enough, I got home, tried them on, they were. Yeah, no I don't want to hear about how I didn't try them on at the store. I have a method to tell if they'll fit without trying them on, and it works, so leave me alone.

Anyway, back to the low riders. I came out to model for Tony and Cassie. "Very cute," said Cassie. I'm hitching and pulling. "They're so low."

Now, if I had a flat, flat tummy I might consider them wearable, but sitting down reveals a whole new cleavage and that I can't abide. Besides, my underwear sticks out.

So, I took them back and bought "sits low on waist." They are comfortable, but not really much better. I can sit comfortably, but must wear long shirts. Underwear still sticks out.

It's hard to be hip.

I finished my chic lit edits. Chris Lynxwiler (www.christinelynxwiler.com) is critiquing. She'll get as much done as possible before I have to mail the manuscript tomorrow. I'm happy with the story.

Tony and I chatted about Christmas gifts. We haven't had time to do much shopping yet. Normally, we shop a lot on line, but we are coming down to the wire and running out of time. We don't have as much to buy this year, but still want to get nice presents. I'm really excited to spend Christmas in Tallahassee with the family. Everyone will be there but Joel and Kim, Kyler and Kendall. (We'll miss you guys!)

That's all for now.

Quote from my diary when I was fifteen:

September 29 '76
Only thing is, he's all Joy ever talks about. Call her up, talk twenty minutes. Nineteen of it is about Mike and no commercials. Oh well, guess I can't blame her. I feel the same way about Pete."

Monday, December 13, 2004

Santa Mouse is not real, and by the way, Merry Christmas

Driving to church yesterday I thought I'd listen to a radio station that's playing Christmas Carols. I tune in to hear a very smooth, tenor voice singing about Santa Mouse like Frank Sinatra singing a love song to Ava Gardner.

"Santa Mouusse. Santa Mouuusse." Who, I ask you, is Santa Mouse? The song was more than rediculous and I tried to picture someone like Frank or Bing Crosby or even Donny Osmond stepping up to the recording mic and giving his heart and soul to "Santa Mouse."

I'm a little urked that some small faction of this country has managed to replace the greeting Merry Christmas for Happy Holidays. What holidays? What's wrong with Happy Hanukkah during Hanukkah? Merry Christmas during Christmas, or Happy Kwanzaa (which I won't comment on) during that season. If we have to be so PC, then be PC all the way. It's hypocritical otherwise.

Cassie moved out today. Sad. All evening, I kept waiting for her to come home. But Carrie is home from FSU for Christmas and they only have one car between them, so Cassie had to go back home. We loved having her here and it's treasured time we'll always cherish with her.

Yesterday Shawn Bolz spoke at New Covenant. It was wonderful. If you ever get a chance to hear him, or read any of his books, do! He's probably one of my favorite people. Partly because it's a God thing, partly because he's so cool. He makes the Father real, heaven real, life in Jesus real and edifying. I felt like my spiritual palate was cleansed yesterday. It was what I needed. Tony and I got good prophetic encouragement. What we needed to press on and press in.

Carrie came over last night. I opened up the living room sleeper sofa and Carrie, Cassie and I curled up and watched "Young at Heart." Tony watched too, but I think he fell asleep a quarter of the way into it. I wasn't sure they would like the movie - Doris Day and Frank Sinatra, but they loved it. You guys loved it, right? We sang along with Doris which got us laughing pretty hard.

Me, Carrie and Cassie

I finished the other book I was reading. Stayed up until 3:00 a.m. Got up around 10 a.m., chatted with friends, then went to the library to work on Anywhere edits.

Now, it's time to go to bed. Is December flying by or is it just me.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Yule logs, baking cookies and man, I'm tired

Turning forty-four is like the Equator of age. Clearly, the middle of agedom. Double it and you've got eighty-eight. Another odd thing about forty-four is if you transpose the numbers, you still have forty-four. After this, I can't transpose the numbers 'cause it only makes me older. Forty-five transposed is fifty-four. Up until Tuesday, I could have been thirty-four instead of forty-three.

But I ramble. I think being in the southern hemisphere of life is already getting to me.

We skipped the In The Mantle II conference today. I was wiped out. We slept until eleven. But even more than needing sleep, the house needed cleaning, laundry needed doing and I had to make 4 dozen cookies for Tony's staff party.

Let's talk about that for a minute. How is it that I, the wife, have to make dozens of cookies for Tony's staff party? I volunteer all year long, and I end up supplying goods for his party? This does not make sense to me. Not to mention, I don't want to cookie swap four dozen other cookies to bring home. We do not need that many cookies.
Never once did Tony have to bring "a side" to one of my work Christmas parties. Makes you go, "Hum..."

I read a Fanny Flagg book, "The Redbird Christmas." Very good. Now I'm reading Steve Martin's "Shopgirl." I was reading Kate Chopin's "Awakening" but I have to confess... I skipped to the end and read the last page. I liked her style, but geez, get on with the story, eh?

Back to this weekend. A couple of take aways from Bob Jones of White Dove Ministires (not the university.) Wisdom whispers, don't ignore the slight impression in our spirit man, pray, pray for the president, pray for our troops and the end of this war. We've got a tiger by the tail and we have to complete the fight. Pray now for the next president, keep a short account with God, rest and abide in Him during prayer - our Daddy wants to talk to us. Be vocal, in love, about righteousness. Condoning sin binds the sinner.

I'm hungry and if I'm not hungry, I want to be. Not for food, but for the will of my Father.

I wish I could write more deep thoughts for you all to read, but I'm tired and my mind is fried. Hasta luego.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

What I did on my Saturday Vacation

OK, so it's not really a vacation, Saturday. But it could be considered a mini-mini vacation at the end of the week. After getting my hair done this morning, I came home and read a good book. Yum. I started it a few days ago, but finished it this afternoon. Now that is a good day. Tony had a budget meeting and Cassie had a orchestra concert. Now we are eating pizza and enjoying a fire in the fireplace.

I am still fighting this cold. I needed a do-nothing day. I woke up yesterday and today, so tired. I should have slept until longer, but I couldn't. Maybe Monday. I lead worship tomorrow. I hope my voice is up to it.

I'm working on Macy's story. I've finished the first rewrite/edit and am on my second pass. It's shaping up nice, I think. I've made some major cuts, but beefed story lines my editor wanted - and rightfully so. It's so weird, as a writer, I think something is good only to find out it's not that great. LOL. I'm a little scared to come up with a new idea cause I'm not sure it's good enough. But I must. I had a fun idea the other day, but the next day I realized it's the same plot as an old movie. So, I'm not sure.

Busy week next week. Sunday night is dinner and Euchre at the Stebbins, Tuesday my birthday, Wednesday youth, Thursday the start of In the Mantle 2 Conference with Bob Jones, Shawn Bolz and Paul Keith & Wanda Davis. I have an online ACFW meeting Thursday and a Friday morning meeting with the conference speakers, which is ALSO Tony's birthday. Friday night and Saturday night I'm singing on the worship team for the conference. Soooo, it'll be busy.

Click on the Photos link to see some new pictures. :)

Friday, December 03, 2004

Friday, it's Friday 12.3.04

I was going to write something but Tony just came in and said it was time to go to Fire Dweller prayer meeting. So, more later. It's going down to the 40's tonight.

Monday, November 29, 2004

The Tree is Up

The Christmas tree is up. Bryan Duncan sings from the stereo... "And everyone would have a friend, and right would always win, and love would never end. This is my grown up Christmas list..."

I'm tired, hot and blurry eyed. We had a time with the tree lights this year. Picking the tree was easy. Found one we liked almost right away. Got it in the stand right (oh, now Johnny Mathis is singing, "I'll Have A Blue Christimas") on the first try.

Then the lights... the dreaded lights. I get them on only to find out half of one strand is burnt out. Tony took them off while I went to Walgreens to get new ones. You know, that should be the rule - just spend the ten bucks and buy new lights every year.

I'm moving away from my designer Christmas tree. I still use the burgundy and gold ornaments, but have also started collecting specialty ornaments from Hallmark or wherever. I haven't done any other decorating and the way I feel now, the tree is enough.

I'm tired and going to bed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

A Heart of Thankgiving

It started this morning. I braved the scale. I did not gain weight! Amazing. A miracle. After all the Guate food. I felt for sure I'd put on ten pounds. But yeah, I'm didn't!

So, I took a long walk this morning, cleaned house, did laundry and edited today. Actually, today was a scene rewrite so that's a little slower and tedious. I'll reread tomorrow to make sure it's a sane scene.

Dog Injuries abound - I let the dogs out the back door this afternoon for their usual romp at 3:00. But Pal did his "I'm in trouble" crawl, so I knelt down outside the door and called him over using my sweet voice. He's such a weird dog. He comes over, I love on him and he goes out. I stand to go in. The screen door swings toward me and catches the back of my heel. Yeeeooww. It hurt like the dickens. It's a nice cut. Fortunately, no stitches this time.

Thankfulness - Thanksgiving is less than two days away. I'm thankful for so many things. The love and grace and peace of the Lord. The blood that covers me. The Cross. The Father. The Lover of my Soul.

I'm thankful for Tony, Dad, Mom, my brothers and sister, and their families. Grateful for Christmas songs and the memories they invoke. Who knew Johnny Mathis would forever tap a distant place in my heart? I'm thankful for sunny days, for after hurricane generators and ice. For the Pinky Promise gang, and for friends like Joan, Cassie, Carrie, Laura, Jer and Ezra, and Renee whose phone calls start and end the same way they did twelve years ago. For Sheree who for sure is living a future chic lit or romance by Rachel Hauck.

I'm thankful that I get to do what I love for a living - no matter how many times my confidences crashes and burns. I hear it's a sign of greatness. (ha!) Yeah, sure there's the odd occassion where someone's blog lands them a Random House contract, or where God downloads a story idea to someone, but for me, it's the flash of inspiration followed by hours of loving persperation. I'm thankful for my own writer's journey.

I'm thankful for Publix and convertible Cabrios. For the chance to always have a ten or five in my wallet to buy a Diet Coke. For the power of God's Word that never fails. For the fragrance of His sacrifice.

More tomorrow....

Monday, November 22, 2004

Random thoughts

Did you hear about Breakup Babe getting a book deal with Random House just from her blog? Her blog!

And here I am straining and planning, digging deep, thinking, praying, trying to come up with a new angle for my next story while editing an existing one I want to really shine. Add to that a testimony from a friend who told me she woke up one day and saw this ticker tape thingy pass over head and bam! just like that God downloaded an 8 book YA series.

I'm happy, really happy for these people. I'm starting a new blog though. Confessions of a Boring Boggger. Or, how to blog when your life is plain, every day, ordinary. I have it too good, I think. Really. My marriage is great, my family is great, my health is great, my friendships are great, the Lord is great and good to me! I mean, no angst, and pardon me, but I'll keep it that way.

Aren't their millions of other out there like me who would want to read about it? LOL. Probably not.

Ohio State Beats Michigan - Did I mention that the college football season is over and I MISSED it! I think I've seen three games this year. Whaahhhhh! I was so hoping the Ohio State, Michigan game would be this coming Saturday. But on the drive home from Miami Saturday night Mandy told me Ohio State beat Michigan. Poor Mandy, a Michigan fan, showed character by telling me. Disappointed, I think, "Okay, I'll catch the Florida, Florida State game." But , oh, no. That game was played Saturday too! Between hurricane's, conferences and mission trips, most Saturdays were filled. I'll have to catch the bowl games.

I Peter 1:2 - I have my favor answer. Peter writes, "... may grace and peace be your to the fullest measure." Grace is unmerited favor. I mean, think about it. Jesus dying on the cross for my sins is unmerited favor! Every thing about God the Father points to unmerited favor. God becoming man, God making a way for man to come to Him, God appeasing Himself with Himself. It's awesome. So, I have favor, unmerited favor in the form of Grace. I'll take it to it's fullest measure.

Editing - Did a good bit of editing today. I stopped when I had to rewrite a scene to include Macy's friends. I'll do that tomorrow when my head is clearer. I was reading some interviews by chic lit writers on www.faithfulreader.com an am really humbled to be joining them. I'm in great company, especially among the Steeple Hill Cafe authors. Wow! I'm excited. Tracey Bateman quoted me in her chic lit interview. Cool, eh?

Around the house - I got no housework done today. But I will tomorrow. Tis the plan. Cassie is still here which is super-duper fun. She can stay as long as she likes. Oh, it was so fun last night. I played the keyboard and sang, she played her upright bass. It has such rich, deep sounds. I will miss her when she goes to KC in January.

Well, I'm not feeling so great so I'm going to bed. Something I ate, yesterday, in America. Not Guatemala, America!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Dorothy was right, there's no place like home

Home! Wide, paved roads, air, carpet, real Diet Coke, my own bed, ability to flush toilet paper, my dogs & cat, Cassie and I talking until 3:00 a.m., ah, home.

Santiago - Our time in Guatemala went very well. We shopped twice! The hardships of modern missionary life. We spent Monday and Tuesday up in Santiago where the people are direct descendents of the native Indians. They still live much like their ancestors. Tuesday afternoon we had a blast flying kites on a hilltop overlooking several moutainsides and villages. It was cold and windy. The local children ran and played with us. I gave my kite over to the cutest little guy named Victor! He could fly that kite. Of course, I couldn't resist launching into a loud version of "Let's Go Fly a Kite."

We gave up kite flying when the sun set and my Dr. Martens were covered with dust to go back to the missions camp. After Pat Black prepared a wonderful meal, Mike built a bonfire and we sat around, reflecting on our time in Santiago. After everyone shared, we payed for Mike, Pat and their team. That was really good.

Peronia & CasaVerde - Wednesday and Thursday we did VBS at CasaVerde. Long, exhausting days but the kids packed the House. We probably had a hundred kids each day - Wednesday the little ones, Thursday the preteens. The kids are so cute, enduring, living in squalor, torn, dirty clothes, but smiling, always smiling. I met this one little boy named Franco. I can't describe his cute, bright smile as he wondered the streets with his brother and cousin.

Variations on a theme - Greg wasn't feeling well Wednesday afternoon, so I went back to the missions house with him after lunch. With several kid free-missionary free hours ahead of me, I decided to take a steam and get a massage! Yes, right there on the missions field. I shopped on Monday, knew I would shop on Friday, why not a mid week pamper? All for fifteen bucks! Relaxed, I was ready to go back for the evening meeting. Meanwhile, Tony became a human jungle gym for the kids, and after we got back to the room, we had to ban his clothes to the bottom of the dirty clothes bag. I'm sure our missionary forerunners are turning over in their graves. Ha!

Wednesday & Thursday night we ministered to the youth of the Terrazas church, and at their childrens crusade. Again, good nights. The teens love us, hung around to talk to us, gave us gifts. Amazing. The pastor of that church is visiting New Covenant in January.

Friday we shopped more and visited the Presidential palace and the city square. There were pigeons every where which gave me opportunity to launch into another Mary Poppins number, "Feed the Birds."

That night we had a wonderful reflection dinner with Chris Schoff and the team. Here are my thoughts:

I went to be obedient to the Lord. But pieces of my heart do not remain in Guatemala. I'm not connected other than to the missionaries who serve there. I love coming along side of them, helping them in their ministry and reminding them we are for them. They are not forgotten. Of course, it's always good to laugh with the children. They are worth the trip.

We ate, ate and ate some more - Lots of Guatemalan food. Good, good food. I could fast for a week. I'm still full. I did get a great recipe for guacamole.

Photos - I'll load up photos. Check them out.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Hola, desde Guatemala!

It's a beautiful Monday morning in Guatemala City. The weather is fantastic. Cool and breezy, sunny, like a fall day in Kentucky or Tennessee. But the tree leaves are still green and lucious. Chris says this is the dry season and soon everything will be brown.

We arrived Friday and set up at the missions house. A very, very nice missions house with a pool, sauna, steam room and massage therapist. Welcome to missions life in the twenty-first century.

Saturday we did a children's ministry workshop all day. I stood-in for a team member who didn't come and taugh a fifteen minute workshop on story telling. That was fun. Greg introduced me as a famous writer. WhatEVer.... (Well, not yet anyway....;)

That was a long, very tiring day of mostly sitting around on hard metal chairs. We prayed for the people at the end which was good. Tangible presence of the Lord.

Sunday Gary, Greg and the kids headed up to Santiago and Mike Black's ministry. Tony and I went with Chris to Terazas to speak at Mario's church. We had a four and a half hour church service, so I guess it went well. The Lord opened up the prophetic during worship. It's weird 'cause it's so subtle and my emotions and head didn't seem to connect, but my spirit was awake and in-tune. The Lord was able to by-pass my human systems and use me to bless His Guatemalan beloveds! I found out two of the words given, that seemed rather generic, were in fact very specific.

One man and his wife were told by the Lord to pray over a financial situation for seven days, then He would give them the answer. Sunday was the seventh day, and the Lord gave them their answer. He said he would give the man ideas on how to make money, and how to teach people to make money. He would bless the man financially for the Kingdom of God and for his family. Amazing! Truly God is an awesome God!

Tony did a great job speaking, as always. Very good word on Christ dwelling in us! Col 1:27.

Sunday night I spoke in Peronia. Such a different type of environment than we are used to in the States. Fire crackers going off outside the window, children fussing, people talking, but I kept right on preaching.

Omar interpreted for us Saturday and Sunday morning. We met him over eleven years ago and now he is almost thirty and a successful professional. He'll be in Orlando next week with friends, so we invited him over for Thanksgiving dinner. They thought going to the Parks during an American holiday would be a good time - no people. Hahahahaha. We had to warn him.

So, yesterday Tony and I were with Chris without the rest of the team. That was nice because he's an old friend and we don't get to spend much time with him. So, spending a day, without all the others, renewed our friendship. I'm grateful to the Lord for this time.

Today we head up to Antigua for "tourist" day. We'll meet the team at the Blacks, then head out. We will stay in Santiago until Wednesday morning, then return to the missions house. We'll do VBS in Peronia. Friday is another tourist day. Tony and Greg think we should hang around the missions house and get massages. What a testimony for the kids to share. lol. Seriously, we're probably going to go to the city market to shop.

I'm grateful to be here. I didn't want to come for several reasons, but I know the Lord wanted me to be here - if for yesterday alone. Not for my sake, but for the Kingdom's sake. When I said "Yes" to the Lord and agreed to partner with Him to establish His Kingdom on earth, I did it with my whole heart. Not with conditions. Not with clauses I would go if the time was convenient for me. I said, "Yes!"

So, the timing wasn't ideal on this trip. But the Lord knew my schedule and needs way before I did. I am confident He will see me through, successfully. He's given me all I need to do the task at hand.

Well, better get cleaned up and ready for the day. Continue to pray.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Sometimes a wasted day is a good day

What, you say? A wasted day is a good day? Lemme explain. I spent the afternoon in the library editing my chic lit. Reworking, rewriting, thinking, digging deep. When it was time to leave, I walked out to my car thinking, "Well, it's okay, but not great. Have to keep working."

Then, it hits me. I know what the story needs. Yes, of course! It's perfect! I email my editor and she liked it, too. Yeah, I'm on my way. So, the afternoon is wasted in that I have to undo some of today's work, but now I know what to do.

So, you want to be a writer? ;)

I led worship tonight for the Healing Service. It was good, but my voice doesn't last as long as it used to. Singing for two to three hours used to be no problem. Now, my voice gets gruff and tired after two hours. We sang Arms of Love as the closing song and I could not get the volume I had during practice. I haven't been singing as much during the week, so I'll need to do that.

Tomorrow, is our Fire Dweller leadership meeting, then I guess I should get ready for Guate! I'm going to bed now so I can get up early and write. I was going to fix my edits tonight, but am too tired. I don't want to goof 'em up.

Peace out.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Day after day

This week is going by fast. I missed the RWA meeting tonight cause I needed to stay home and take care of stuff. Wow, just remembered. Dishes are in the sink! I had lunch with CJ and picked up my Premier Jewelry order.

Before meeting CJ, I ran an errand and was talking with a friend, Rose Marie, who told me she was leaving for California tomorrow to meet her son for the first time, ever! She gave him up for adoption 39 years ago. The son got in touch with her this spring and one thing led to another. Rose Marie was really nervous and I just put my arm around her and prayed. To my knowledge, she does not know the Lord, but she was crying when I said Amen. I know the Lord will be with her.

It rained today, so I built a fire in the fireplace and edited. It was nice and cozy. Greg came by to borrow the truck so he and Chris could get a new washing machine. Between the hurricanes and one of their sons leaving the water running in a plugged up sink - thus the flood - they are getting a new kitchen. Woo hoo.

I finished Confessions of a Shopaholic. Very good. Now I need to get the sequal. I love Sophie Kinsella's style.

I'm going to bed.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Today, we celebrated

Signed - I signed my Steeple Hill contract. Big smile. Tony and I celebrated by going out to dinner at Texas Road House. First time I've really celebrated a contract. I'm so grateful Karen, Krista and Joan believed in me and this book.

Speaking of... worked on edits today. But, it's going well. I feel good about how the story is shaping up.

Still Boarded Up - Driving down San Philippo tonight, convertiblized, I marveled that some houses are still boarded up. I don't know how people can stand it. I mean, the front windows are boarded. Not the garage windows, or the back windows. The front windows. It's like living in a cave. When we came home after Frances, it was midnight and raining, but we took the boards off.

Football - I have not had near enough college football this season. Not one Ohio State game, nor Big Ten. So sad. Between the hurricanes and busy Saturdays, I haven't had time. Plus, OSU stinks this year, so we are not getting any of their games down here. I don't have ESPN and even the love of football won't make us buy a bigger cable package.

Guatemala - Leaving Friday for 8 days. Tony and I speak Sunday twice. We are going to team teach for the first time in awhile, and with a translator! Should be interesting. We will help with the kids VBS and ministry times, of course. But we don't have any other specific chores. I'm looking forward to seeing Chris Schoff and spending time with him. I'll try to blog before we go, but we shall see.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Art of Hearing God

I attended Streams Ministries (John Paul Jackson www.streamsministries.com) 101 Course, The Art of Hearing God Thursday night, Friday and Saturday ALL day. Literally. While much of the course was basic, it was great to be reminded of every day things we forget in our walk with the Lord. The biggest "every day thing" we must have? Character! Character, Character. Character matters.

The big take away for me this weekend was a reminder to Listen to others. Really pay attention to people's heart and words. Also, to watch for my response, maybe even "fast" words. Our culture is so used to venting, speaking, emoting when we should really just be silent. One of the instructors gave a great example on listening. Had me laughing even today because it's so reflective of our society. He said, "You're talking to a friend at church who's telling you he really had break through with his boss this week, and as soon as he stops talking you say, 'Did I tell you about my Throne Room experience?'"

I laugh because it's so true. I used to call it Spiritual Olympics. Everyone telling their stories and after awhile it just sounds like one-upmanship.

At the end of the seminar all the Streams people prayed for us. I had dinner Friday night with three of the instructors, so they knew a little about me, but their prayers were good. But this one woman did not know me at all. I think I said "Hi" to her. When she prayed for me she prayed for "the stories and the music." Pretty impressive. God is so good.

But the consistant word I got during prayer sessions this weekend was relax, rest, and that God's given me all I need to do what He's called me to do. I know this will surprise some of you (ha!), but I'd been fretting over my next chic lit. I have a lot of ideas, but I'm not sure they are good enough. But, driving up to the church for Saturday's seminar, I decided, "Lord, you are in control. You can give me stories, contracts, whatever. I just want to be faithful to You." I don't want writing or any "thing" to steal my peace and take away my passion for Jesus.

Oh, that was another take away from the weekend: Peace is the potting soil of revelation. We have to be rooted and grounded in the love and peace of the Lord.

A few laughs - I had a few laughs sitting next to Tina Z and Helen.

Reading - I'm reading Confessions of a Shopaholic. Very funny. The British terms make it even funnier.

Editing - Good headway on my chic lit edits last week, but I'm still on the first part of the book. I'm ironing out some plot and timing issues. I definitely think the story is stronger, but am a little embarrassed I submitted it with the weaknesses. But, I'm learning and next time will be better. I'm learning the balance between trusting God and leaving my writing career up to Him, and "doing" the work. I have to do the work, sure, but He has to lead the way. :)

Hello to my son, Eric. I love you and miss you. Thanks for calling the other night.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It's official...

... I'm procastinating. I don't know why, if I did I wouldn't be procrastinating. I am a little tired. I stayed up until after 1:00 a.m. editing and checking on the election. Then got up at 6:30 for prayer. Does that qualify me for sainthood?

My confidence is a little low. What is it with writers and low confidence. Some one send me an e-slap: rachel@yourethebest.com. ;)

After I came home from prayer, I had some ACFW stuff to do, and a friend called. Then I felt grody from being up so long, so I took a bath. (Though I did pop into the shower this morning at 6:40.)

Now I'm eating low fat potato chip crumbs. Can you say desperation?

I'd better get going before Oprah temps me at 4:00. We have youth tonight. Then tomorrow night through Saturday night I'm at the John Paul Jackson 101 "Hearing God" seminar. I'm looking forward to it. I'm taking this so I can qualify for his 201 and 202 seminars on dream interpretation.

Ok, okay, I'm writing, I'm editing, I'm writing, I'm editing....

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

A writer, a geek, and a coffee house

I went to House of Joe's after prayer this morning to check email and work on Anywhere edits. Planning to meet CJ for lunch, I didn't want to go all the way back home. As usual, someone is sitting on the couch next to the outlet, so I sat at the counter.

I order an Irish Breakfast tea from A.J., plug in and boot up. A few minutes later, this guy comes breezin' in. He sets up with a nice new Mac. He tells me about grabit and other down load programs. "Wow," I say, sorta interested.

"I'm a geek," he says without turning red faced. He was a pretty interesting guy. Lived all over, in London and Japan. I'm trying to write between conversation bits, email and IM's. CJ IM'd to determine a lunch time and place.

Lesson learned. Writers should not go to places where their might be Geeks.

After lunch with CJ where I choose $100 worth of free jewelry from my Premier party, I stopped by Barnes -n- Noble to use Tony's gift card. Twenty whole dollars for books. I totally went in the buy Bridget Jones Diary 2, but remembered I wanted Shopaholic, and then I saw Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love and put down BJD 2. I mean, after all, I do live in the USA, and I do live in the South! Though, I do love BJD's voice.

I voted on the way home from lunch and Barnes -n- Noble. The poll was busy, but I didn't have to wait in line. I'm happy to note the President is leading in Florida. Apparently, the I-4 corridor voted this year - Daytona to Tampa. Yeah, baby. Redneck country. I wonder how many pollsters call "Bubba"and ask him how he was votin'?

Cassie came over to use the "prayer room." Our guest room. She's praying and preparing for her teaching tomorrow, and watching the election results with us. I think I'm going to go into my room to edit Anywhere. Watching too much news is bad for me. Fogs up my rose colored glasses.

I walked again to night. Third night in a row! Ain't ya proud? It was dark on my way home, again. I've got to leave the house by 5:00 to beat the night!

Well, Presidential election aside, the edits must go on!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Put your left hand out, no your right hand, no left

I'm not used to the time change yet. Twice during my nightly walk, (ok, not every night, but some nights), it's been dark by the time I turned toward home.

Tonight, a car goes by when I'm on Weldon, almost home. The car stops. YIKES. Backs up, DOUBLE YIKES, and a guy sticks his head out the passenger window. But I'm not afraid. I'm carrying a twig for defense.

"Hey, can you tell me how to get back to San Phillipo?"

Sigh. Sure, I can do that.

"Turn around," I said, "go to the second stop sign and turn left." Now, I'm motioning with my left arm, telling him over and over, turn left. "The road curves around into San Phillipo."

"Got it. Go to the second stop sign and turn left."

The driver turns the car around. I watch them drive away and realize they need to turn right! Facing the opposite direction, motioning with my left hand, I said left. But it's right!

"Turn right," I yell. They keep driving. "Hey! Turn right." I run after them, sorta, two steps, maybe three. "Right. Hey, turn right."

They turned left. I ran the rest of the way home. Tony say's I should wear a sign around my neck, "Warning, can't tell her right from her left."

Sunday, October 31, 2004

This Weekend All Hallow's Eve

October 31 - Martin Luther posted his 95 Thesis on the Wittenberg door 487 years ago today, October 31. He preached salvation by grace and the error of the tradition of indulgences. I wonder where are the Martin Luthers of our day? The men and women with a zeal for the truth of the Word, fearless of tradition, yet honoring of authority. Luther's letter to the Pope asking him to do away with indulgences was humble, and full of honoring words to his spiritual authority.

Look at how one man's spiritual appetite changed the "modern day" church. He not only bucked church tradition, but social norms.

This Past Week - I have no big news. It was a good week. I finished Lambert's Code edits and have emailed it in. The hero and heroine are married and that was a tougher situation than I would have imagined to write. I want the reader to like both of them, but yet they are the ones in conflict.

I started edits on my chic lit and have a good idea of what I need to do. Just want to do it well. The writer's life is an interesting life. Elation mingled with insecurity. But, I'm determined to find my hope and inspiration in Jesus.

Our Country - That condition of our country burdens my heart. There is no integrity, not sense of right or wrong. Cheaters trying to win at all costs. Losers claiming they are winners even when the are not. It's like the King has no clothes. No one will speak up or conceed! Winners apologizing to liers, and excusing away their beliefs. We live by our appetites and decide with emotion. It will bring us down. I said to Tony, "I feel helpless to do anything."

But I have prayer. I have the ear and the attention of the Father. I can shake the earth by bending my knees and crying out, "Mercy! Truth! Oh, Father, give our wise men wisdom!"

In my dream - I had a dream the other night. Actually, I was in a half awake, half asleep state. I saw a black and white progress bar and the Lord spoke to me in the dream and said, "I will pour out my glory, then I will come." The black and white bar represents the assuredness of His word. He will do it. There are no gray areas. He will pour out His glory. Then He will come.

We have been praying for His Glory for many years. Isaiah tells us that darkness will cover the earth, but the glory of the Lord will arise! What a great day - to see the dead raised, the lost saved, the blind see, the hungry fed. We may go to bed with our cupboards bare, and wake up with food in them. Miracles upon miracles. Salvations by the thousands. God's glory! Then our Beloved will come. And we will reign with Him.

When will this happen? I have no idea. But God is true. He will do what He says He will do. If you don't believe me, read Joel 2, Isaiah 40:5, and 60:1, 2.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Monday and so on

Tony and I hauled the dogs to the vet this morning. What an ordeal. It's like, I don't know, nothing you've ever experienced. Though I must admit, after two hurricane trips, they do ride in the truck better than in the past.

Pal only yipped and barked half way there. But he was so bad while the vet examined him, the vet gave up clipping his claws, (which is badly needed) and told Tony next time, Pal gets a sedative first. Both of them wrangled out of their muzzles. Pal twice and the vet said he was the fast muzzle getter-outer he'd ever seen.

That's my boy. Right...

While Tony paid for this pleasant expereince, I walked Jack and Pal over to the church (next door to the vet's office) so they could get some water. On the drive home, Tony stopped at a lumber store to look for something. There was much yipping. Thank goodness he was only gone for a minute. Literally.

Grocery shopped, did some ACFW stuff. Tony is doing his edits on Lambert's Code. He's a good one for edits since he reads every word. Louise Gouge is also doing a great job editing for me.

I start the chic lit edits tomorrow. Today slipped away. How does that happen? Sheeze. I'm off to bed, and read until I fall asleep.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Seeing with the eyes of my heart

I've probably sung "Open The Eyes of My Heart Lord" a hundred times. Friday night during worship at Freedom Christian Center, I saw the Lord with my heart's eyes.

Worshipping on the front row next to Tony and Ted, all of a sudden the Lord "appeared" and He walked right up to me. I started to weep. He stood in front of me for several minutes. It was so real. Though, in the natural I couldn't see Him or touch Him, my heart did. He wore what I would call robes, and had long dark hair, and a beard. I could not make out the features of his face, but His eyes were bright and intense. He spoke to my heart, and I know that He loves me.

Paul Keith Davis (www.whitedoveministries.org) was the speaker Friday and Saturday night. He's so down to earth, but alive with the realities of heaven. Not for the sake of men, but for the sake of Jesus. He inspired us to believe for God encounters.

Tony and I prayed for people last night during ministry time. Tony told this one young woman last night that she was called to sit at Jesus' feet. Tonight (Saturday) she told us that those were the exact words given to her three years ago. How awesome is God?

I went to tonight's meeting in a "sour" mood. Not sure why, but I pushed through. One of the things I got out of Paul Keith's message was we have a Destiny in the Lord. We can ask for revelation and wisdom from heaven for life issues. He met two men who were caught up in heaven and given new architectural knowledge. How real is what they learned? They are both applying for patents.

I've been asking for wisdom from heaven on how to write. I know I have to study, pray, write and work hard, but I know there is some facet of writing that is hidden in heaven and God wants to release it to the earth.

In Daniel 1:17 it says, "As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams."

In the midst of life in Babylon, Daniel and his friends were excellent in literature and wisdom! We live in an age when God is doing what He did in the days of Daniel, and more! That's my prayer; to have knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom. Able to understand visions and dreams.

I don't always ask God for things from the revelatory or heavenly realm because I want to have a pure heart in asking. But, we have not because we ask not. He is able to guard my heart from greed and pride as long as I stay in the place of intimacy - sitting at His feet. Knowing me, I can't go long without sitting at His feet. I love Him and have to experience His love for me! Being devoted to the Lord is also an attribute of Daniel and his friends.

It's late. Time to sleep. I lead worship in the morning.

Sunday afternoon - We did pizza and games with the kids this afternoon after church. It's a beautiful, cool day so we played outside for awhile, then came in and "hung out."

One girl went around anointing people with chocolate whipped cream. Yes, yuck! One of the guys she creamed came into the kitchen after washing his hair out. There were about 4 or 5 of us in there, yakking. Robert looked at us and said, "Smell my hair. Does it smell like chocolate."

Ok, who wants to smell his hair? No one. Since we didn't jump at the chance, his sister shrugged, leaned over and breathed deep. Immediately, she jerked back, "Ooooh, oooo, gross!" She gagged and declared she might puke.

Her face was so incredibly funny, I'm laughing as I write. But the funniest part was when Robert rubbed his fingers through his hair and sniffed. He wrinkled his nose. "Ooo, bad guy smell mixed with chocolate."

I fell off the counter laughing. Stinky guy with chocolate hair smell. That's what Holly inhaled. Too, too funny. But never fear James Exley, it does not compare to you.

It was a beautiful day. Came home and collapsed. Tomorrow we have errands in the morning, and I have an online gathering, but will start my chic lit revisions in the afternoon. I'm very excited about it. I hope and pray to do a really good job. I'm asking the Lord for knowledge and wisdom. Tony will start reading Lambert's Code. It's due a week from tomorrow! Wow!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Beauty & Favor

Driving to church with Cassie this morning, we talked about beauty and favor. What does it mean to know the beauty of the Lord? Mike Bickle defines God's beauty as His emotions. He has emotions, you know, and they are toward us. But in His Holiness, He cannot be controlled by them like we are. I can't wait to live in the realm.

Psa 27:4 One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to meditate in His temple.

I must continue to pursue and understand the beauty of the Lord. I'm not sure how, but I know it begins with prayer and contemplation; sitting at His feet. When Martha complained about Mary sitting at Jesus' feet instead of helping her in the kitchen, Jesus said, "...but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Mary had the ability to shut out the world and focus on her True Love. A skill I desperately lack. I want what cannot be taken from me - time with Jesus. I know one of my life verses is John 12:3. I think that's one of the reasons I often smell the fragrance of the Lord.

On favor. This is a puzzler for me lately. What does it mean to have favor? How do you obtain it? How do you know you have it. In the natural, I look about (which is wrong, I know, don't scold me) and say, "That person has favor. Do I have favor?" After the Fire Dweller leadership meeting on Thursday, Tony and I were talking to Ted and Javier. Ted said, "Rachel, the Lord says you're cool." If you know Ted, you understand that phrase.

"Thanks, Ted, for sharing that with me," I said, then asked rhetorically, philisophically, "Do I have favor?" Javi choked on his Cuban sandwich. "Girl, you have favors. Tons. Don't you see it?"

If I did, would I be asking? LOL. Tony's mentioned that I confuse favor with hiddeness. I think he's right. Anyway, I've been studying favor, trying to understand God's heart and the realm of favor.

Ralph and Connie prayed for me this morning during worship. It was good. Ralph verbalized the issues of my heart in his prayers and shared encouragement from the Lord. I am so grateful for the Body of Christ and the Holy Spirit moving in us and among us so we encourage one another.

This afternoon... I read. Sunday's will be my reading day, I've decided. What am I reading, you ask? The Whitney Chronicles by Judy Baer from Steeple Hill Cafe. So far, I'm loving it. My chic lit will be a Cafe release, too. Reading Judy's book stirs my excitment, and brings knowledge into reality! I'm so honored and humbled to be with this publisher and have my book in the Cafe line. I can't put it into words, really.

Insurance and FEMA - we've received our estimates for damage from both organizations now. Looks like we will have coverage for all of our damages, including a new roof, with no out of pocket money. That's great. We didn't budget for hurricane damage this year - twice over.

Cassie is napping. Jack and Pal are napping. Tony is rocking and reading a book on his PDA. Julia, Larkin and Spring return from Orlando in a few minutes with my car. Yeah! I'm so glad they got to have a convertible for their Florida vacation. It's been a gorgeous week, ah....

Tis all. Blessings.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Oh What a Night, Late September back in '63

So the night was October '04, but oh, what a night! After the birthday dinner for Elizabeth, a couple of us came back to the house to watch a Doris Day, Rock Hudson movie - "Send Me No Flowers." We had a good time, but it was late when everyone left.

Then, we had an episode. Jack and Pal. Our loving dogs. At 1:15 a.m., we head for bed. Tony takes Pal off the bed, then Jack. Not liking this, Jack growled at Tony. (They were upset 'cause we made them stay out all night while we watched the movie.) Pal decided to see what' was going on and joined the growling. Tony stepped on the tip of Jack's furry tail. He growled more. Pal growled more.

"Pick up, Pal, Tony," I said. He did and headed for Pal's cage. Jack ran over and got in front of the cage door. Can you say Ziklag? It was so Ziklag. On the verge of a fight, Tony held them each at arms length and I stepped in to remove Jack. Still keyed up and upset, he snaps his head back and BITES MY CHIN.

I dropped him. "He bit me!"

At first, I thought he just grazed the skin. Nope, I had two gashes. Not big, not too deep, but we decided to go to the ER. Julia, Larkin and Spring were up, so they prayed with us before we left. One thirty in the morning and off we went to the ER.

Ziklag! Jack knew he'd done something. We arrived home about an hour later, seven stiches in my chin, and he looked guilty. Poor thing. He followed me around, his ears at half mast. We decided we have to get rid of one of them, but man, it breaks my heart. They are both good dogs. They just don't do well together. Pal would be great with a family, or single person who loves dogs.

Julia and Larkin told us how they had to get rid of one of their dogs. It broke their heart, but like our two, their dogs were fighting. But the Lord provided a good family for the one they gave away. I believe the Lord can and will do that for us, too.

In the mean time, I'm changing the nightly routine here and Pal goes in his cage first thing. I'll keep Jack out of the room, get Pal settled, then let Jack in.

Seven stitches. Geez.

Sunday - We spent the afternoon talking with Julia, Larkin and Spring. They are really great people with such a testimony of God's goodness. Julia is writing and I encouraged her to join American Christian Fiction Writers. She can literally write the anti-Harry Potter books since she is a former psychic. She has such a great undestanding of the Father's heart, and the love of the Lord.

She's fun to talk to because she prophesies in mid-sentence and you don't know it unless you're listening. She asked me about my writing, and I gave her the latest. She said, "Keep writing, keep writing." But the words carried more weight than a standard encouragment.

We played Euchre at the Stebbins with the Olinski's and Bartholomews. Bonnie and I were partners again by the luck of the draw. We won one and lost one. We beat Evelyn and Shannon, and it's hard to beat Ev.

I had a thought about the Lord, but can't remember it exactly. I'll have to ponder and write it later. I will say this - He likes me and I look good to Him! He is with me!

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Saturday at the House

Ah, a good day. My kind of day. It's lovely outside, and I'm watching college football. Though no Ohio State game. I got Ga Tech verse Maryland instead.

Got up and washed the car so Julia, Larkin and Spring could use it next week in Orlando. We met Julia in the summer at the In The Fire Conferene. She was one of the speakers from Kansas City. We hit it off with her and the Lord worked it so we could give them a week in our time share. Their daughter Spring has always wanted a Florida vacation - and since God is a good Father... She got her heart's desire.

I edited some on Lambert's Code, watched Oklahoma beat Texas, and took a nap. Talked to Susie Warren on the phone. That was fun. She's a good friend and encourager.

Tonight we are celebrating Elizabeth White's birthday. She's 24 on Tuesday, and in all the years I've known her, I don't think there's ever been a party. Yet, she sends cards to all her friends, even for Valentine's Day, and throws parties for others. Cassie is picking her up what she thinks is a dinner with just the two of them. We are meeting at Carabbas to surprise her. I'm excited for this. Hehehehe. She's going to be so surprised! Oh! I have to get a present. Bye.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Friday Fables

Friday fables? Do you think there are really Friday fables? There are not. Ha!

Our internet returned yesterday. I went into the office to look for something and noticed the lights on the modem box! The cable ligth was flickering. Oh, we were so excited. So life after Jeanne has returned, more or less, to normal.

This has been a hard week. Just hard. I'm reading about David hard. But like David, I strengthen myself in the Lord.

Good time at the Firedweller prayer meeting.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Internet, oh internet, where have you gone??

How often we don't realize we rely on something until we don't have it? Getting our power back Tuesday felt like Christmas. We jumped for joy.

But, alas, we have no internet. The network in our area sustained enough damage that we can't get online. We have cable, but no internet.

I miss it! It's my lifeline to the outside world! My friends, my dictionary, ACRW.... I drive around town looking for internet connections. I'm an internet Hobo!

Tony and I are doing well. Firedwellers on Friday night was so sweet. Cassie did a great job leading worship. There was a strong fragrance of the Lord. I walked behind three of the girls and through a perfume cloud. But not like a human fragrance. It was thick, like oil, like pure oil. Song of Solomon 1:2!

I did what I needed to do on Sunday - slept and read, slept and read. I came away from the conference with a resolve to read more. But when time is limited, I write. Yet, reading is important. So, I'm reading!

God is good - all the time. Remember, as I am remembering, He is in control. He will accomplish what concerns me. What concerns you.

It's a beautiful day. Blue skies, but warm with an October nip in the air. I'm am driving with the car's top down! We are entering my favorite time of year.

Better get to work. Procrastination will get you no where. Just feels like it does. :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Yes, Virginia, there was another Hurricane

Wow! Another hurricane visit. I'm am all hurricane partied out! Jeanned passed through five miles north of the Frances path, and one hour earlier on a Saturday night. Tony and I hunkered down at Jeremiah and Laura Gonda's house, along with their baby Ezra, Cassie and another couple and their baby.

We lost power around 9:00 p.m., but we had our neighbors generator, so we were able to have fans. The noise of the generator, along with the fans, actually drowned out the sound of the hurricane.

Gotta go..... more later. Tony is waiting for me and we are at Pastor Gary's getting the email, etc.

OH! My agent called today. Steeple Hill bought my chic lit! I'm very excited about working with them.

Monday, September 20, 2004

To Denver and Beyond

I'm home from Denver and the third annual Write From The Heart conference. What a great week. Tiring, but good. I flew out on Monday to avoid any Hurricane Ivan delays, bunked with Allison Monday night and moved into my room with Tracey Bateman on Tuesday.

Friend Susan Downs came in on Tuesday. We hung out and watched a really bad movie. Troy. I recommend watching it when it comes on Mystery Science Theater 3000 and three little heads in the front row keep a running comedy commentary.

Tracey came in on Wednesday and we had dinner with Susan, Susie and Chris Lynxwiler. Lots of ACRWers were coming in for the conference and we had a good time greeting everyone.

One of the funniest nights was when Susie needed a new title for her chic lit. For two hours, she detailed the theme and plot of her story trying to come up with a title. I fell asleep. When I woke up, they were still talking and I hear Susie say, "It's all about Josie." Bam! It hit me. That's the title. So, from what they thought was a dead sleep, I spoke. "That's your title. It's all about Josie." Dead calm, then rip-roaring cheering. "That's the title."

Laughing, Susie jumped on my side of the bed. So, we accomplished much at the conference.

Francine Rivers was our keynote. Most excellent, classy lady. I really enjoyed meeting her and hearing her speak.

I'm home again. It feels good. September has been a really weird month. Bugging out of Frances's way, returning home with no electricity for eight days, flying out to Denver for a week. Just a weird, off balance kind of month. I need to connect with the Lord in a deep way. He's so good to me. He gave me four words for people while in Denver, so that was cool.

Asa came home from the hospital without having to have a pacemaker. God is sooo good! I can't wait to see the little guy. What a trooper he is.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Through the eye of the storm

I see things differently after a week of viewing life through the eye of Hurricane Frances. Less is more. Looming mountains are more often crumbling molehills.

I can live five or six days without air conditioning, electricity, phones, and all the other appliances of modern convenience. I can sleep on top of the sheets on a hot muggy night with the windows open. I can survive a six hour drive to Tallahassee with Jack, Pal and Red. (They key is doggy tranquilizers.) Email does not define me. Writing can be set aside for a few days to put life on it's right side.

Our stay in Tallahassee was nice. Mom traveled to Nashville with Pete and Julie, so Tony and I, Danny and Grandma celebrated Dad's birthday on Saturday. Later that night, I crossed the street with Grandma and in her quiet little house, we watched 50's television while I edited Lambert's Code. Then, we watched "The Way We Were" on some movie channel. It was very pleasant, and for me, a lasting memory.

Sunday Tony saw that Frances moved toward Tampa and decided we could drive over the northern edge of the storm by going I-10 East to Jacksonville. So, after some discussion, we packed up and headed for home. Turns out, the northeastern rainbands, the worst of the storms rainbands, were going over Jacksonville the same time we were driving through. I told Tony I thought that they were going to see some weather, but in his mind, the storm had passed. We watched the same weather channel, but saw something different. He felt pretty bad when we were driving in rain and wind, but we decided to keep going. Around Daytona, trees littered the left lane of south bound I-95. Very dangerous, especially at night. But we made it home safe and though all of the radio voices we heard said, "Stay home. Stay off the roads if at all possible" we were not the only crazies on the road.

Home around mid-night, we took the boards off in some wind and rain. But we needed the air in the house. Pal rode home in the extended cab and acutally slept. He didn't sleep much on the way up. We gave him his doggy drug, but let him run around in the yard and get all keyed up. Sheez. When we got to Mom and Dad's, we let Pal get up on Mom's beautiful new quilt so he would settle down and go to sleep. That's when the doggy drug kicked in. I woke up asking, "Why is the bed wet?" He peed! I felt terrible!! But we got it cleaned up and all is well.

Anyway, I stressed out over my book the entire weekend. I kept thinking "this books stinks," and "I'm not going to have time to fix it." But taking some great advice from a good friend, Tracey Bateman, I knew I needed to take a break and set the story aside for a few days. Looking at Lambert's Code through the eye of Frances benefited me nothing.

I'm happy to report I took a break from the work and this moring at 2 a.m. when it was too hot to sleep, I figured out how to "fix" the story. God is my great editor!

Monday we cut up fallen tree parts, cut down a leaning tree and cleared debri out of the yard. Lance and Shannon don't have water, but we do so they've been walking down for showers. We had dinner with them last night. They grilled the meat that is finally thawing. Steak and chicken nuggests. Yum.

It's fun to sit in the light of candles and hurricane lamps, talking, without the noise of television, phones and computers. We've lost the art of neighborly affection. Because of this hurricane, we finally met our next door neighbors after a year and a half. Carlos, who lives behind us, hopped the fence with his ladder and chainsaw to help Tony cut down a leaning pine. And of course, our fellowship with Lance, Shannon and the kids.

Life can't stay like this. Like the hurricane's eye, this lull in life only passes over for a short time. Then the winds and rain start again. We are in that calm, eye-of-the-storm right now, but life will resume it's pace again. Noise, "wind" and "rain." Commonly known as busyness, stress and the job-at-hand. But from the calm of the storms center, we can learn to be at peace no matter what's going on around us. Jesus is always the eye over us. Our peace.

Cassie's here. She must use my computer now. Blessings!