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!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Asa, Hurricane Frances and Another Title

Asa Montgomery Hayes came into the world Monday night. His oxygen levels were low, so they did some test to find his heart is wired wrong. They transported him to Nashville. Today they did angeoplasty today to enlarge the hole in his heart so the blood would circulate better. His oxygen level is up now and he's stable. They will do surgery to fix his heart in the next few days. Pete, Julie and Mom are going to Nashville today and will stay in the Ronald McDonald House. I'm so glad I dump my change in those buckets. Please pray for the little man. Julie and Pete are doing well, but this is not easy or ideal. Pete sent pictures and Asa looks like Julie.

Hurricane Frances is tracking for us. This is deja vu of '99's Hurrican Floyd. A category five, he came on the exact same path, and the experts predicted land fall in Melbourne. But, after the Bahamas, he turned north and weakened. Nevertheless, we are boarding up and leaving tonight for Tallahassee. We wanted to visit the folks this weekend anyway. Dad's birthday is Saturday. Mom is with Pete and Julie.

Tracie Peterson emailed me today and wondered if I could get Lambert's Peace done by April 1.

This summer has been very distracting, but I'm learning to write under all circumstances. :)

Tony is home. My guess is we will board up soon and head for Tallahassee this evening. We got doggy drugs so Pal and Jack don't yip and bark the whole time.