Friday, December 30, 2005

Stuck on a theme

About pursuing Jesus. Taking a walk today under a deep blue sky and a golden sun, I thought how we spend time with God so much out of duty. Ok, well, I do. I don't mean to, but I'll spend time in prayer and the Word then sorta be like, "That's done. I don't have to feel guilty."

Sad. We so easily get into a religious rut. Or feel if we spend time with Jesus, all should go well. And if we don't, look out. What a crock. God is good all the time, faithful even when we are not. On the good days and the bad.

So, how do we get out of the "quiet time/devotional" mind set? It's so duty oriented and well, religious. Twenty five years ago I read Brother Lawrence's "Practicing The Presence of God" and it impacted me then, and all these years later, I still feel on the other side of his philosophy. Basically, Jesus is with us all the time and we can fellowship with Him any time we want.

Colossians 1:27 says that's this is mystery of the ages, Christ in us, the Hope of Glory!

It's not about spending 15 minutes reading through a devo book, or 30 minutes reading the Word, it's about a heart connect. And as He fans the fading flames of my heart, I want to spend time with Him. Then as I go about my daily tasks, I'm aware of His presence. Of His hand on my heart.

Look, I'm a start-in-the-flesh-and-end-in-the-Spirit if need be. I do honestly believe we have to set apart time to spend with the Lord or it won't happen. And the only way to go deeper, to swim in the River of Life is to BE. Eating of the Tree of Life is a planned, determined pursuit.

Yet, we cannot boast in our schedule or our regular times of prayer and fasting. Then THAT becomes our source and not Him. We are so quick to go to the rules and not the Ruler.

Why am I on this? Cause a lot is happening in the world. And I do not want to be offended at God when it all comes down. When more and more of His judgements are unleased on the earth. I do not want my heart to grow cold. The Bible is clear. End time judgements will cause the nations to rage against the Lamb. Think about it. The Tsunami, the wave of hurricanes. The Iraqi War. The Civil War of Ideas going on in our nation right now. All could very well speak of judgements. Judgements designed to grab our attention and bring the prodigals home and cause the wicked to repent.

You ask how could a good God do such things? Simple. He sacrificed His own Son for us. Such a great sacrifice deserves such a great wrath against those who refuse to surrender to Love. Think about it. What if you gave up your kid for the salvation of, say, your neighbors. Never mind the entire human race. And when it came time for you neighbors to accept the price of the sacrifice, they scoffed and said, "Naw, we got a better way. Your kid didn't do anything for us." Off they go, on their own way. Imagine the movements of your heart. First, you would say, "Please, please accept while there's time."

But then, eventually, if they neglect so great a salvation, they have to pay the price with their own life.

So, we pursue Him because His love is immeasureable, never ending, unconditional. Our cold, weak human hearts need His fire. We want to endure to the end. And it begins now. Today.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

We're home

We flew home from Indiana yesterday. I listened to songs on my new IPod on the flight home. Santa was kind to me.

We had a great time with our family and it seems like the time went by so fast. I miss everyone already, but am happy to be home. I still need to unpack, but gee, the stack of cards and gifts that came while we were gone needed my attention.

I've been thinking more about living full on for Jesus. Surrendering more and more of my life, heart and mind to him. This is what I conclude. Get as close to the Fire as I can. Set my heart before Him, knowing He will take care of the rest.

Psalm 90 says He will accomplish what concerns me. This is my prayer. Take my weak, cold heart and fan the embers that smolder there. Turn my simple desire to be more like You, to know You more, to become a deep, deep well into a roaring passion that cannot be quenched. It's impossible for me to want Him more unless He draws me. So, I beg Him to draw me. Otherwise, I cannot run.

My goals for 2006 are simple. Pursue Jesus. Write. Hopefully get a new book contract since my second WestBow book will be turned in July 31.

Man, do you ever just feel so inadequate? Sheez. Thank goodness, Jesus is completely adequate and He lends Himself to me.

I also want 2006 to be a year where I abound in love. Do the First Corithians 13 thing. Love is patient, kind, keeps no record of wrong, bears all, believes all, hopes all. Never fails. It's the greatest.

Grace and Peace to you all.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Eve, Eve

We had a nice day. The sun warmed the day to a brisk 46. Snow still covers the ground in patches, but I hope I get to see some snow fall before we head home on the 28th.

Two of Tony's brothers, Dave and Jim came over tonight with their spouses, Sandy and Vickie. And Jim's grandson, Lucas. We ate. Yep. We ate. Mom made gumbo which was fab. And Vickie made corn chowder that was fab, fab. She also brought chocolate dipped strawberries and apricots.

It's always good to laugh and reminisce with family, isn't it?

Wrapped Tony's presents. He got quite a few from Santa Me, but they're boring. I can't help that. He requested boring stuff and could not come up with any exciting gift ideas. I'm going to have to remedy this next year. He's done this two years in a row, so next year, he's getting a new PDA or something. Oh, an electric guitar!

I've been thinking a lot about my life. Realistically, I've lived half of it. I'm 45. I'm not disappointed with my life up 'til now. I've been very blessed by the Lord. But, I really want the last 45 to count.

Luke 2 tells the story of Anna, a widow, who gave herself to prayer and fasting.

"And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem."

Somehow, I want to be in that place, to have an eternal mind set. It's about living not for this life, but for the one to come. This life, as we say among our friends, is an internship for the next. Yet, it's so easy to get caught up in day-to-day pursuits. Good pursuits. But, what is there value in eternity?

Look, I'm not talking about quitting my job and sitting in the church sanctuary for eight hours. I mean, I'd do it if the Lord called, but I know I'm a mixture of a contemplative and a writer.

I'm talking about frivolous things like television or movies or hamburgers. So I miss a few shows or miss a few meals to fast, so what? So what? In all of eternity, so what?

What if I bite my tongue and don't defend myself, or don't give my honest, yet negative opinion of others. What if I esteem others higher than myself? What if I give up sleep to spend extra time in prayer, or choose to give that hundred dollars instead of buying DVDs or shoes?

I have so much. I am so blessed. If I had half of what I have, I would say the same. Yet, I am desperate to exchange my stock in this life for stock in eternity. Finding "eternity bucks" wherever I can.

I have control over my affections, money and time. How am I spending them in this life so they are not utterly destroyed in the next? Will the things I'm spending them on withstand the fire of God? Are they imperishable.

Paul understood this. First Corithians 15:53 he says, "For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality."

I think he's saying, "Stop thinking in temporal terms, but eternal terms." How do I do this? I'm not sure. Prayer. Dialog with the Father. Asking. Discipline. Starting some where, knowing I'll end up where I want to be. Not of myself, but because He's faithful.

So, 2006 will be that focus. More prayer, more Word. Fasting. Budgeting my expenditures of affection, money and time. And words.

All to Jesus, I surrender. All to Him I freely give.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A friend went on to be with Jesus today

Mom just called. A long time family friend passed away, Bill Hamilton. A family man, a military man, I first met Bill the fall of '74 in Homestead, Florida. His wife became one of my mom's dear friends, his sons long time friends of my brother's. And of mine.

I can't think of those days in Homestead and not remember Bill. He taught me to drive stick shift Thanksgiving day, ' 76. We were having a big church family picnic in our yard and some how there arose a yam emergency. Bill was tasked to run to the store for more.

Firing up the old, old, really old church truck, Bill asked me to tag along. Not many, if any stores were open on Thanksgiving Day, and the south Florida streets were quiet and barren. We found a convenient store, bought the needed yams, and headed home. Only with me behind the wheel. Bill had a wild idea to teach me to drive stick shift. In the old, old, very old truck. With three on the tree.

Fifteen and unsure of driving, let alone clutching and shifting, Bill's patiently taught me the basics of manual transmission driving and in a reasonable amount of time, I got us home. Though, I did sit at one traffic light for about 15 minutes. No traffic. No hassle, but I was sweating a little.

Bill treated my brothers, sister and I with kindness, always generous and encouraging. I'll miss him. But he's with Dad now, in the Cloud of Witnesses, no longer in pain, but in glory.

David, Joe, Nancy, I'm thinking of you and praying for you.

Tony and I are in Indianapolis. We flew the long way, by way of JFK, but we are hear. Our leg from Orlando to JFK was on Song Airlines, a Delta Operation. Normally, my policy is I don't fly airlines that sound like fast food chains or the latest brand of butter.

Air craft carriers should have technical, sceintific names that bolster confidence. " Yes, this bucket of bolts will stay in the air."

Or at least. "We can make it from one cost to the other," like Eastern or American West.

Or, "We can make it to the contenients." Conteniental.

Airlines that sound like fast food, Taca Airlines, or a componant of a music course, Song, or like the next Crayola Crayon color, Jet Blue, don't inspire confidence. Am I the only one?

But Song was great. Little TV monitors in front of all the seats. Nice food selection, though you have to buy it, at least you have a choice.

Indianapolis is cold, but the snow is melting. At least we got to see some. Can you believe Christmas is 3 days away?

Blessings to you all.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Brother Yun, the heavenly man

Lest we think our lives are hard, lest we doubt the grace and power of God...

Here's an excerpt from Brother Yun, on trail in China for "opposing the government" for preaching the gospel. The time is the early 80's, and Yun is in prison and now facing a judge.

The judge fell into a furious rage. His eyes bulged as he banged the bench and pointed at me. "I order you to kneel down before me and repeat the prayer you said on the tape."

Several guards with batons came and beat my legs to make me kneel down. They screamed, "Kneel down! Kneel down!"

At that moment, the power of the Lord filled me (RH: sounds like Mathew 10 stuff.) A voice spoke to my heart. "Dont be afraid! Be srong in the Lord. Even if ten thousand enemies surround you, rest in Jesus. Be bold and courageous in the Lord!"

As the guards continued to beat and kick me, I suddenly shouted at the judge in a louds voice, "By what authority do you order a servant of God to knew down before you? You have no right! Your questions are unreasonable. Now, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth I command all of you to kneel down. I will lay hands on you and ask the Lord to forgive your sins."

They didn't kneel, and Brother Yun knew his struggle with the courts would be a long one. He writes, "They had used the most barbarous tortures their minds could invent, but had not been able to make me say a single incriminating word (to confess his crimes.)"

But miraculously, Yun was only sentenced to 4 years in prison, hard labor. Not life or death as he was told.

Brother Yun's story is full of heart breaking tales of hunger, torture, seeing his wife and children suffer. Even his mother suffered for Yun's "crimes." His only crime was preaching Jesus. But yet, let me say. Brother Yun saw and experience many divine things and miracles. Fasted 74 days without food or water. Revival in the prison camps. Healings and demonic deliverances. The book of Acts.

In 1989, I visited Toledo, Spain and one of the ancient churches had chains and shackles nailed to the outside wall. It was a visual reminder to the early Christians to remember to pray for the brothers and sisters in Christ who were in chains, suffering for Christ name.

In our American world, we bark about this liberty or that, but in reality, we have all liberties. People may not like us, but we pray when we want, talk about Jesus when we want, and freely move about the nation. I haven't heard of anyone being beaten and told to bow before a court office and pray a prayer of worship.

I'm so thankful to the Lord for our liberties. Oh, please, may they remain. But if you have the heart, please pray with me for the Lord to continue to give grace to our brothers and sisters in chains. And to work might miracles on their behalf.

Paul wrotes to the Colossians, "Here is my greeting in my own handwriting--PAUL. Remember my chains. May the grace of God be with you."

Friday, December 16, 2005

I need a support group

Clearly, I'm laundry challenged....

This is a load I started on Saturday, topped with the load from last night. It's clean. It's dry. It's just booorrrring! I'm trying to talk Tony into taking laundry back again. Time to pray and fast...


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Today, I did Christmas stuff

I'd planned on starting edits today, but woke up realizing I needed to get Christmas shopping finished. I headed out early to avoid the rush.

Around 11:30, I finished at the mall and drove over to the beach to get my nephews some cool surfer dude trinkets. Had a slice at Bizzaro's pizza, sat on the boardwalk in the wind and sun, watching the surfers and Yankees sunbathe.

It was a beautiful day here today.

I finished shopping online, went to Spinning class, addressed Christmas cards, wrote a Christmas letter, stuffed it in the cards, stamped and sealed them, wrapped a present to mail and oh, cleaned my desk!

You know, I still have a problem with cards and paper and notes I want to keep. What do I do with those?

Hope all of you are having a wonderful Christmas season!

Peace out.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

DONE! Oh, so done

I'm done, finished, type the last line of Lost In Nashvegas's first draft! Yahooooooo! 84,962 words, not including the roughly 10K I deleted after Nashville.

I'm so glad. So relieved. So excited to start editing tomorrow. I can get four good days in before leaving on the 21st for Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas. Beka called me yesterday and said twelve-year-old Josh said, "I can't wait for Aunt Rachel to get here. I'm going to give her a big hug. I miss her."

I'll be so busy with family stuff I don't think I'll be able to visit friends, which is sad. But the holidays are busy for everyone.

Cheek out the photo's page. New photos!

Peace and ahhhhhh! It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Seven Sevens

I'm tagged, like wild bear. Author Kristy Dykes tagged me for seven sevens. Seems I'm to address the following scenarios.

Seven Things to Do Before I Die
1. Pray for someone to be raised from the dead.
2. Preach the Gospel before hundreds of thousands.
3. See millions praying and fasting for Jesus to come again.
4. Be on the NY Times best seller list. And the CBA.
5. Be so consumed by the Love of Jesus I can't find myself.
6. Go to California on vacation.
7. See young women raising the bar and not living according to feminist standards.

Seven Things I Cannot Do:
1. I can't sing and clap on beat for more than one or two measures.
2. Can't do calculus.
3. Do twelve back flips into the fullness of an oak tree.
4. Make homemade pizza dough.
5. Write computer code.
6. Play the drums.
7. I can't forget the love of Jesus.

Seven Things that Attract Me to My Husband [romantic interest, best friend, whomever](not necessarily in this order!)
1. He loves Jesus with his heart, mind and soul.
2. He loves me.
3. He's funny and very smart, and handsome. Doesn't have a pear shape.
4. He is a very wise counselor.
5. He is an excellent Bible teacher.
6. He can do calculus.
7. He supports me in everything I try to do.

Seven Things I Say Most Often
1. What?!
2. What kind of crap is that? Mostly relating to politics and the media
3. Wow.
4. Amazing.
5. No way.
6. Hey.
7. What's up?

Seven Books I Love (in no particular order except for the first one)
1. The Bible
2. Little House Series
3. The Best Christmas Pageant Every
4. Anything by Belva Plain
5. Anything chick lit or lady lit.
6. Anything character driven.
7. Anything with good history back drop.

Seven Movies I Would Watch Over and Over Again
1. Remember the Titans
2. Back to the Future.
3. Send Me No Flowers.
4. Knotting Hill.
5. While You Were Sleeping.
6. It's A Wonderful Life.
7. Any Christmas movie.

Seven People I Want to Join in Too:
1. Heather Diane Tipton
2. Christine Lynxwiler.
3. Hope Willbanks
4. Scott Weberg
5. Tracey Bateman
6. Will Donaldson
7. Joel Hayes

Saturday, December 10, 2005

For 2006... here's a thought. Also, Happy Birthday, Tony.

This was on my heart all day yesterday. Words. What we speak over ourselves as much as what we speak over others. Words mean things. Witchcraft is just speaking curses so that spirits of darkness can agree and move, influence, reek havoc.

God spoke and the world was created. Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!" And a dead man, lived. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh.

Last night at Fire Dweller we opened with exhorting the name of Jesus - who He is. Not what we need or want. Not calling on Him to visit us or change us or have His way, just Jesus, this is who you are. Living Lord. King of Kings. Righteous judge. Lover of our souls. The list goes on.

I felt the Lord say he wanted to cleanse our words. And as we lift up His name, declare who He is, truth washes away the lies of our own speech and we grow in grace. We need to guard our words. The Book of James says from our tongue comes both cursing and blessing.

We ought to only speak blessing and truth. As we do, those very things begin to reign in our hearts and minds.

For example, do you get down on yourself? Prophesy failure over yourself. I'm no good. No one likes me. I'm a failure. I'm never gonna or I always.... Then you're mad or surprised or disappointed when things go exactly as you predicted them.

See, it's human nature to prepare for the worse so we are only disappointed, not devastated when life fails us. Or, we walk in such false humility we never honor God for the good He's done. We think highlighting our weaknesses is doing God and ourselves a favor. Then, when things work out well, "Woo-wee," aren't we surprised! But we have no idea if and when it will ever happen again.

I think we need to build up a history in our souls, in our spirits, that God is for us, who can be against us. We need to prophesy and declare good things over ourselves and our families. And if you're nervous about getting in the flesh, and we all should be, declare the Word of God over your lives.

Like, Romans 8:28 "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

Or, Ephesians 2:10 "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."


Love this one. Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

God has a plan and destiny for all of us. If you're struggling in an area, go to the Word and find scripture that will uphold you. Pray it, write it, memorize it, sing it, live it.

Don't declare failure over yourself. Declare who you are in Jesus. Get out that big soul stirring spoon and scrap the muck of self pity and depression from your soul. You are a Holy Priesthood, a Royal Nation.

You are the one who ravishes His heart with a single glance of your eye.

I'll use myself as an example. When I started writing, my prayer was always for God to confirm this pursuit. Cause, if He didn't call me to it, or didn't want me doing it, then I did not want to be accountable for all that wasted time. Writing is very, very time consuming. Never mind the mental and emotional energy it takes to create worlds and people.

Once God confirmed it, I had to walk in it even though I didn't see immediate success. Now that I have a few books under my belt, there is still a tendency to think, "Well, this is my last one. All the others were a fluke." Or, "The publisher is going to be disappointed they bought this one."

Now, it may work out well. But why should I be surprised, if I let that attitude over take me, that I am a fluke (a fluke, NOT a flake, come on, ya'll) or that my writing stinks.

But, I say, "God, you called me to this. You opened the doors. I'm walking in Your way. You will see to what concerns me. You will take care of me. You will give me ideas and help me hone my craft. I will be faithful. Give me dreams, visions, understanding on how to do this well!" Then, I've set myself up for success. If for some reason it doesn't go well, I know that I walked in faith and that the Lord has something else for me. But my goal is always, always Jesus. My identity is in Him, not writing.

I declare, "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is established in heaven." He will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory.

My chief calling is to enjoy God and worship Him, and to be faithful. He'll take care of the rest.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Writing and Christmas

Wahh! It's difficult to write in December. My birthday, Tony's, Christmas, Shopping, Parites, Weddings. Never mind the regular stuff - Fire Dweller, Youth Church, Big Church...

But, don't cry for me Argentina, I'm cool with it all. But my laundry is having a hard time. Still in the basket, in the laundry room, the clean clothes wait. This morning I finally moved a drying rack from the front hall that was draped with sweat shirts and my jean jacket. Know what's weird. The rack stood in the hall so long, when I went around the corner after I moved it, my body wanted to swerve in order to walk around. All ready, in a week's time, my muscles were trained.

Think about that. Our bodies, our minds, our emotion are subtly trained to respond or react to the obstacles in our lives. And even after they are removed, we still want to swerve. Or jump, or react in some way. It felt good when I realized swerving was not required.

On Writing. I feel bland. Very bland and very boring. I'm about five or so thousand words away from being done with Lost in Nashvegas. Whoo hoo. I am praying hard for a creative finish. It's weird, I don't feel writers block or like I don't want to write, I do. I just feel boring. I need some inspiration! :) I need a keyboard so I can sing. I need to stir my soul. Soul stiring is hard, you know. But, I must.

Off to get a big spoon.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Girls Christmas Lunch and Ornament Exchange

About ten years ago, the ladies at Harris Publishing Systems started a tradition. I like traditions, don't you?

Every year, we go to lunch or dinner to fellowship and exchange Christmas Ornaments. We always have great fun, and even though some of us don't work there any more, we are still invited. I love seeing familiar faces and hearing the latest in old friend's lives.

We play the "white elephant" game for the ornament exchnage, though the gifts are not gag, but beautiful ornaments. I drew Number One this year. Yay! My first pick was stolen from me, and many times over, but in the end, I got it back - a beatiful snowman ornament. It dangles from my tree as I write.

Click on Photos to see more pictures. Start one of your own traditions. Invites some girlfriends to lunch for an ornament exchange.

And Julie, I put up a picture of the tree. Happy? ;)

Love Jesus, ya'll. He's worth it.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Last night at the Fire Dweller...

... prayer meeting I "blew" Jim Maher's expectations. Picture me, one raised eyebrow. Here's the story. I cut my worship teeth under Jim when he was our senior pastor and worship leader. He's reminiscent of Kent Henry if you need a comparison. Yet, all the while I knew Jim, I was only a singer.

When God called him to Kansas City to the International House of Prayer, I became a worship leader at NCF. That's a God story I'll save for later. Actually a pretty cool one. Frustrated with not being able to play an instrument, or understand how chords progress, or how a song key works, I learned to play the keyboard on a little Yamaha I bought from a guy at work for $50. Little by little, I learned some theory and people like Laura, Cassie and David gave me pointers. Now, I can play and lead worship at the same time. Whoo hoo. Apparently, it's not easy to sing and play at the same time. So, all glory goes to God.

So, last night at Fire Dweller Jim thinks he's getting a keyboard player, maybe a singer, but NOT a antiphonal singer. Gotta admit, that's a little harder cause you gotta keep the chord progression going and make up something to fit into it. Half way through the set, Jim leans over to me and says, "Man, you're playing and singing! I'm impressed. That's great!" LOL. Then, I like, you know, hit a bad note.

Being busy. I heard a little sermonette on the radio today which it unusual cause I don't normally listen to Christian radio. Anyway, the man said modern electronics, as great as they are, can be a hazzard to the Christian life. Why? Because it's a distraction and we become addicted or accustomed email, television, music, movies, etc., that we don't take time to contemplate before the Lord.

Take time to shut off the noise. Close the door. Still your heart and focus on Jesus.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I'm so IT

Tracey tagged me, so I'm up, chasing her around the circle and just might tag her back. LOL.

Fifteen things about myself that are book-related? Here goes nuddin'.

1. Where the Wild things are is my favorite children's book. I ditto Tracey here. When we went through family things after my father died, I found my childhood version of this book. I loved it, though I thought it was slightly creepy. I mean, I was eight!

2. I hate to read or listen to books outloud, except on CD, but even then it's hard.

3. In refute of number 2, I read "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" out loud to Tony one year on a drive from Indiana to Florida. We laughed uproariously.

4. Sad note on number 3. When I was about 12 or 13, my Grandma Hayes gave me an autographed copy of Pageant. She knew Barbara Robinson. I cannot find that book to save my life. Some where in the moves, college and life in general, it got lost. I'm sad over my loss.

5. I wrote a poem in fourth grade that was so fabulous, my father started telling me I should be a writer. The poem went the way of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Nevertheless, in fifth grade, I started my first novel. It had a horse. Imagine, a ten year old girl writing a story of a horse. How unique.

6. I love, absolutely love the Little House books and have read them a dozen times. I got my first paper back series in 1973 and have since collected the original eight in hard back, plus The First Four years and other writings of Mrs. Wilder.

7. I love chick lit. And Tracey Bateman's mom lit, Claire. She's hilarious. And real.

8. I love Belva Plain books.

9. I plan to sit on Oprah's couch some day and talk about books and Jesus. I'm taking Colleen Coble and Tracey Batemen along as my homeys.

10. If I could write funny like Calvin & Hobbs, I would.

11. I'm gonna buy the book "TISHA" 'cause Tracey said so.

12. I love the smell of new books. When I go into a book store, my stomach gets all swirly and excited.

13. My first finished novel was a honkin' 400 pager with two plots and two romances. It was well rejected by many astute editors.

14. I used to dream and talk about writing books with my Aunt Carol and Grandma Hayes.

15. I'm so honored and humbled to be writing fiction for Jesus. It's hard some days and I bore myself, but the Lord is so good and faithful. Writer's blocks are few. I'm almost 45 and I wish I'd started writing sooner, but I was doing the corporate career thang. But God willing, I'll write until I'm 85.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A quote. And a story about my dog

During prayer one day, the Lord said to a great woman of God I know. "You deny my power to transform your life by your undue and unrelenting focus on your own weakness.

How true is that? What a great word? We focus on our own weakness, our powerlessness and decide God can't do anything for us.

There is no im in His possible. Believe God. He is willing. He is able.

So my dog, Pal. Many of you know him... um, yeah, the crazy little black & brown dude. While in my writing room this morning, Pal suddenly tries to climb into my lap. He scratched and clawed, trembling, and refused to sit like I told him. He acted scared and I'm not kidding, he kept looking over his shoulder to where he normally naps while I work.

"What is it, Pal?" I asked, shoving him back down to the floor. He wouldn't have it. Wanted in my lap desperately.

I think he saw an angel. He's done this before, but today was really obvious. People have seen angels around here. Maybe Pal saw one today. My little "seeing" dog.

I finally passed the 60K word mark. And, this after spending the month of November researching and rewriting, editing. Oh, please pray this story is good. I really appreciate it.

Oh! Matt and Jodi are here! They moved into their apartment today and came to the pot luck. They are going to work with us at Youth Church. They'll be here until next September, unless God says otherwise. Please, Lord, please!

Peace out, ya'll.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A writer's life

Jer, Laura, Ezra, baby Avi
I love the writer's life, though it is solitary and isolated. So much of the work resides in my head, and my soul, and until it's on paper, I'm alone. But it's the process of getting it from my mind, down through my fingers, onto the page that is fun. Okay, it's also frustrating, but when it all comes together.... sue-weet.

A funny thing happened to me last night at the gym. I'm in the sports cardio class, running around the workout room when I get this great line for a scene I'd written earlier. "Need paper. Need pencil." I just run out the door and up to the front desk. Sweating. Panting. "Need paper. Need pencil."

Never know when a good idea is gonna strike. Came home and added my thoughts to the scene.

We put up our new Christmas tree. A faux fur. I just couldn't deal with stringing lights this year, so we caved and went with store bought. Apparently, we chose the popular tree 'cause Home Depot sold out and I talked them into selling me the display. There were two more people wanting the same tree. Glad we got there when we did. I love the Christmas season. It's so beautiful.

Well, better get to work. Sorry I don't have more to say. Well, I do, but I'm not sure I want to bleed all over my blog. Ha!

This I know - God is good, great in kindess and mercy. He will see to what concerns me.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Boasting and being thankful

Here's a great verse and thought... 1 Corinthians 1:31 "so that, just as it is written, "LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD."

So come on, let's boast in the Lord. I'm on my way to turkey dinner, but will post more later.

Peace out.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lambert's Code Response

Hey ya'll, I've had some response on Lambert's Code. I'm happy to report. All good. A friend just called and said she finished it this morning and loved it. She cried at the end. And she thought the lesson of Lambert's Code was so good.

I was worried about this story. Not sure I'd done a good job, but it turns out a few people liked it.

Well, I realllly neeeed to vaccum my house. So, talk at ya later. Peace out.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Where did November go

Hey, somebody stole November. Where has this month gone? Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving. I love this holiday. I miss Dad.

We are staying in town. Tony's back is healing and I'll be working. But, I'm having so much fun with Lost.

I went to the library to write today. It's a good place for change of pace and not so easy access to the internet.

I went to a karaoke bar Friday night after Fire Dweller. My character is going to karaoke to try to get over singing in front of people. I went to watch and learn. It was interesting. :)

I'm tired. Going to bed.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Song of Solomon 1:13

"My beloved is to me a pouch of myrrh which lies all night between my breasts."

Myrrh is a costly embalming fluid that often speaks of death and suffering. The Bride (you and me) announces that she gets the depth and meaning of her Beloved's suffering at the Cross.

A pouch of myrrh between her breast indicates that she is meditating on extravagant expense the Father paid for us - the abundant suffering and death of His Son. The price of love for us was the death of His beautiful son. She is meditating on this in a quiet place, on her bed. "What kind of love is this?"

The myrrh lying all night next to her heart permeates her spirit. The revelation of Jesus captivates and fascinates her. "At night" speaks of her encountering her Beloved in the midst of her own weakness.

In our darkest times, our weakest times, we often run from Jesus. We don't meditate on Him, or grasp His suffering-cross-love, we run and hide. Instead, we need to meditate in these night seasons on how great He demonstrated His love for us. The cross qualifies us. It doesn't disqualify us.

Nevertheless, in the midst of this great revelation, the Bride is a tad self focused. She's saying, "My Beloved is to me..." It's about her and her enjoyment of Him, and how He can bless her.

Unfortunately, many believers never leave this realm. We stay in a "bless me" place and when things don't go our way, we become angry and wonder if He loves us, or where He is in our life.

As we go through the rest of the Song, we find her inheritance declarations begin to include His inheritance in her. She realizes His inheritance in her is first, and she is filled with the reality of her love for Him, and His ownership of her. Yet, it's servant, lover ownership. He paid EVERYTHING for her. He is not asking her to give up or do anything He has not already done.

Notes on awakening your heart with this Song: Write down the verses that stand out to you. Meditate on them, say them, pray them, sing them. Make them apart of your daily dialogue with God.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Song of Solomon 1:12

While the king was at his table, My perfume gave forth its fragrance...

We have watched the Bride grow in the revelation of her Lover's love and affection for her. Jesus is in love with her. With you and me. Remember, the Bride is us. Both corporately and individually.

But, she's still a selfish lover. Jesus is a means, not at end. She sees Him as the source of her happiness, not the embodiment of her happiness. He will help me get where I want to be. She is still immature and trapped in weakness. She understands that Jesus is her inheritance, but must learn the deeper revelation that we are His inheritance. Isn't that amazing.

While the king is at His table...

Jesus the King expresses the affection of the Father's heart. He's answered the brides question in verse 7, "where will you feed me?" He's saying, I'll feed you. I'll provide for you. You don't have to worry. He's revealing the authority of His Kingship. She, we, can trust His affection for us because He's king.

We must see that our lover-redeemer is a glorious King, sitting at a banqueting table, waiting for you and me. Pouring out His love and affection on us. He's saying, Come into this intimate communion with me. His table

Speaks of a place of revelation. Speaks of the marriage supper of the Lamb at the end of the age. It speaks of the Cross. The table of salvation that we all come to when we first know Him. He's prepared a way for us, to the affectionate heart of the Father, a feast, by going to the Cross and conquering sin and death.

...My perfume gave forth it's fragrance.

Some translations say spikenard gave forth it's fragrance. Spikenard or perfume speaks of her spontaneous worship. She's sitting at the King's table, feeding on the truth of the Cross (salvation, deliverance, provision, affection, healing, unconditional love...) Her heart is overjoyed and she releases her worship to the Father. It is a fragrance before Him.

The Lord loves the fragrance of our heart, of our worship. When we focus on His provision, our spirits emanate with a sweet fragrance. We are to God the fragrance of Jesus.

But many of us are overcome with condemnation and accusation. We are not confident in God's love. We release a fragrance of fear instead of worship. Is He going to reject me? When we are not secure in our place before Him, we cannot open our hearts in true worship. We cannot present ourselves for fear of rejection or judgment.

So, hear what the Lord is saying. He's sitting at His banqueting table. It's already laid out for you. He's saying Come! I see your weakness and immaturity, but I love you. Come, be secure in my love. See what I've done for you.

Then, we worship Him freely, our spirits a beautiful, costly perfume before Him.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Song of Solomon 1:9 - 11

You remind me of Pharaoh's well-groomed and satiny mares.
Pendant earrings line the elegance of your cheeks;
Strands of jewels illumine the curve of your throat.
I'm making jewelry for you, gold and silver jewelry.

I love horses. When they run, they are beautiful and powerful. Jesus uses the beauty and power of horses to give us a picture of His love for us. He sees our willing and sincere heart. When I watch horses race, I almost always get teary-eyed. I feel their willingness, sincerity and eagerness to run. They want to please the rider.

When Solomon wrote this verse, Pharaoh's horses were the best in the world. To be a mare in his stable, she had to be of the purist breed, strong, capable and beautiful. Jesus likens us to the best of the best. He calls us "my love." Some translations say, "My beautiful one." He wants us to see ourselves as chosen, selected, and beautiful. Anyone, anyone who leans on Him is beautiful and loved. Remember John 7:37 says "if anyone comes to me... out of him will flow rivers of living water." We have to see ourselves as beautiful and loved. He says so Himself.

... Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments.

How often have your cheeks flushed with emotion or born the trail of tears? Cheeks reflect or hold our emotions. Cheeks speak symbolically of our emotion throughout this Song. In this verse, Jesus sees that our emotions are toward Him. As we allow His love to transform us, it reflects in our emotions! Bye, bye PMS. Bye, bye fear and anxiety. Bye, bye depression. Jesus' love transforms my emotions and stirs my heart more and more toward Him. And, He in turn, responds as Lover responds to lover. Ornaments are skillfully crafted. God skillfully works to beautiful us and our emotions. Though we struggle with lust or anger or jealousy, He sees the YES! in our heart to grow in Him, to be changed. Just say YES!

...Your neck with chains of gold.

The neck speaks of our will. Don't be stubborn or rebellious, but be of godly submission. Chains of gold speak of royalty and authority. Back in the day, only royalty wore gold chains. Gold indicated divine character being formed in us as we seek him, cry out to Him even though we stumble.

... We will make you ornaments of godly with studs of silver.

This is God's divine promise to complete the good work He began in you. As we partner with Him, He will transform us, make us Christ-like in our character. We will be extravagant worshippers of Jesus. Gold is purified with fire. So are we. But He promises us a complete and beautiful work. Silver speaks of His redemption. He will use us to redeem and deliver other people. You are not a failure if you stumble. God is for you, working to transform you. You are only a failure if you harden your heart or quit.

Hang in there as He refines you. Keep saying YES! in your heart.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Going home

Well, the whirlwind week in Nashvegas is coming to an end. I'm meeting with my lovely and gracious editor, Ami, this morning, then heading home.

Yesterday I met with songwriter Karen Staley with my friend, Lisa Young. Had a blast. We just hit it off. She was great. She's had songs cut by Faith Hill and Trick Pony and others. By the time we left Karen's, it was late afternoon. We fought the traffic across town to pick up Lisa's car that was in the shop. While waiting for her, I checked my voicemail and had a message from Chris Oglesby who owns a songwriter management company. He'd graciously hooked me up with songwriter Barry Dean of God's Will and Moving Oleida.

I met Barry at the NSAI building, enticed a very tired Lisa to tag along, and sat through his workshop. Then we three went for coffee. Very nice, creative, kind man.

And, very exciting, I got to say Hi to my friend and traveling Man of God, Shawn Bolz, on the phone. He's in Melbourne at a conference and was with Tony when I called. I always look forward to seeing Shawn, and I'm missing him this year! If you ever get to hear Shawn speak, do it! He is so practical about the things of God, but also very challenging. Stirs the heart to go deeper. He's had amazing experiences in the Lord and had incredible revelation. Yet, he's every day, real and relatable. :)

Well, I'm off to seize the day. Peace out.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Lost In Nashvegas

My new title! I love it. I do. It's so Robin, my character. Lost in Nashvega. Nashvegas is a nickname for this great town, but Robin will find her way.

I'm having a great time, but am exhausted. Yesterday I spoke with Ree Buchanan of Wrensong Publishing. One of her writers has 2004's song of the year, Brad Paisley's Whisky Lullaby. She was very kind and gracious.

After that I went where... oh, to Centennial Park and walked around there, then downtown to the Hall of Fame and the Ryman Auditorium.

I entered into legend, ya'll. I sang on the stage steps of the Ryman where hundreds have gone before. I sang "This Little Light Of Mine." :)

I loved the Hall but information overload. There is so much great history to country music. The Ryman was great - incredible history. Built by Colonel Ryman after attending a revival tent meeting by an Evangelist, Snow. "Something in the sermon touch the Colonel..." hum, wonder what that was? (wink, wink) He took his gambling and drinking earnings and build Snow a building so he wouldn't have to preach in a tent anymore.

I see the Ryman preaching the Word of God again someday.

Went to the Bluebird with Lisa Young. Very fun night. All the singer/songwriters were great. Loved Wynn Varble. His songs were clever, funny and touching. Even his in between song chatter was hilarious. Redneck to the bone, too.

Today I went by WestBow's office and said hello, then to Noshville for lunch. Saw Ree from yesterday's appointment there. Didn't say hi, but saw her. Had another appointment with a songwriter manager. That went really well and he had some great ideas for my book.

Now, I'm going to go to another songwriter thing with Lisa. Having fun, but tired in Nashvegas. Traffic is a mess... er, blessing!

Peace out.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Pancake Pantry

I'm into pancakes lately. Bad habit, I know. But Rebeca Seitz picked me up this morning and we went for a hearty breakfast, then for a drive around the city.

It's a beautiful day in Nashville. Beautiful blue skies hovering over the perfect temperature. The leaves are still changing. Many reds and golds still left to see.

My drive up was nice, though long. I probably stopped seven times and still made it in 13 hours. My days of driving from Columbus to Tallahassee in 12 hours (55 was the speed limit) are so over! I can't sit that long. My legs and hips start to cramp up. But the drive was very nice. Again beautiful weather. I wanted to put the top down, but then realized all the highway dirt will settle right on my beige interior.

I listened to Ray Blackston's Dilerious Summer on CD. Well, almost all of it. Probably half. I'm enjoying it. He's a lovely writer. I'm learning a few dos and don'ts.

Right now, I'm off to see more of the city and then meet Christian singer/songwriter Vicky Beeching down in Cool Springs. Check out her web site at

Today's wisdom. This is awesome. Psalm 19:8. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

Need a little joy in your heart? Need some radiance in your eyes? Dwell for some time today in the precepts of the Lord! God's Word is so cool.

Peace out.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Off to Nashville

Off to Nashville at 4:00 a.m. I'm driving so all prayers are appreciated. I have a good week planned with plenty of room for just touring around the city."

I got some CDs for my drive. Now, if only I could nap while I drive.

I'll catch up on blogging later. Still need to do Song of Solomon 1:9 and 10. (They go together.)

I had a good week in Orlando writing. I wrote 19,800 words. Not as much as I wanted, but a good effort and pushed through the tough middle. I am really loving this story. Robin Rae Buckner is spunky, yet vulnerable as she works through her fear that keeps her from achieving her dream. Find out more in a chick lit coming soon to a bookstore near you. October 2006.

Well, it's later and I'm off to pack and to read for awhile.

Blessings. Rachel

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I'm writing, I'm writing, I'm writing

Nothing else to say, guys. I'm writing.

I did do a heartfelt blog on Faithchicks. Check that out:

The Vistana's is lovely and beautiful. A resort, no doubt.

Oh, I have my own CD. LOL. Tony recorded my Fire Dweller set on Friday night with my awesome band, David and Alyssa. For a live, unmixed set, without any practice time, it's really good. I was so surprised. It's a great CD to put on and get warmed up for a prayer time. I told Tony we should start making all the Fire Dweller CDs available. Javi, Jake, Matt, Jer and Laura.

Well, off to work. I have to come down to the lobby to use the internet, so it's back to my room. Peace out.

Hey to my Pinkies!!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Go Buckeyes!

Tough game, tough game against Minnesota, but we are winning! 45 to 24 here in the 4th with less than nine minutes. It's been tense at times, shew, but the Fourth Quarter has been good to us.

I love Buckeye Football. After this, I'm leaving for Orlando for Power Write Week. I'm really looking forward to it. I think I can get about two-thirds of the book done, then go to Nashville and get more info, then come back and finish it off. Then have December and January to edit, edit, edit. My critters, Tracey, Chris, Susie and Susan, are just waiting with bated breath. Ha! Gosh, I hope this is a good story.


I have to say this about my husband. He is so awesome. I can't tell you how incredibly faithful and true he is. Every week, he hooks the trailer full of sound equipment to his truck and drives over to His Place and unloads for the Fire Dweller prayer meetings. He sets up with a few young men helping, then packs up the same way.

He gets up faithfully four mornings a week for seven a.m. prayer at church and maintains the vigil until nine. I go with him most of the time, but made an adjustment to my schedule while on deadline.

He does his best to tithe his day to the Lord. Two and a half hours in prayer and reading the Word. He says he wants to be a man of prayer. He says he believes prayer is the way to bring revival to our city. He says he wants to build an atmosphere of prayer in our city. And, he puts his money where his mouth is. He gives himself to prayer. He doesn't care if he's the only one in the room, he shows up and prayers as if there were a couple hundred.

I see these things about Tony in the natural, but I feel the Lord's heart toward him. It's weird 'cause it seems like I'm a wife bragging about my husband. But I'm not. I'm honoring a brother in the Lord. The Lord watches. The Lord sees. He will respond.

Tony embodies the Song of Solomon 1:8 lesson. He is following Jesus along with His other sheep and watching his "goats" in the shade of the Shepherd's tent. Encouragement and approval of man is nice, but Tony doesn't need it to keep going. He has the eye of His Lover and he cannot quit.

He carries the reward within.

Tony, don't give up, man. We've said with the others we are on this mountain until... I'm with you, babe, camped on the mountain, keeping the fire burning. Remember my dream? I "woke up" and the fire in the fireplace had burned all night. The Lord is keeping the fire burning.

Ohio State wins!!! Off to Orlando.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Song of Solomon 1:8

"If you yourself do not know, Most beautiful among women, Go forth on the trail of the flock and pasture your young goats by the tents of the shepherds."

Jesus, the great Bridegroom, is talking to His Bride in this verse. Now, remember in verse 7, she is wore out. Excited and full of zeal after being saved, then filled with the Holy Ghost, she was ready to take the town for her Lover.

But, day-to-day got in the way and she turned into a curmudgeon. The other curmudgeons made her. She's mentally and emotionally exhausted and a spiritual desert. So she does what most of us do. Quit. "Jesus, from now on, it's just you and me, right? You I love, but Your people? Drive me crazy."

But ah, Jesus comes back with such a sweet answer. "Ah, you are so beautiful!" He says this to a woman who claims her vineyard is overrun with weeds. Beautiful? Jesus sees her sincere heart. He sees and loves her desire to serve Him in the Body of Christ. He understands her human weakness and frailty. He understands that she's spent the last five years trying to please man and it's pretty much gotten her nowhere.

So He tells her. "Look, stay connected. Don't quit fellowshipping with my sheep. Go with them, follow them, stay under the authority of your pastors and leaders (shepherds), but keep your eyes on Me. Only do the things I'm calling you to do. Seek me among them, with them."

Let's put this in real life. For a season, the Lord called me to serve American Christian Fiction Writers as Vice President, President and Conference Chair and Liaison. It was hard work and time consuming, but I had grace. I knew He'd called me. But this year. He said to lay it all down. It was hard. I loved working with the conference and our current president, Tracey Bateman, but the Lord said, "Not your goat this year."

And you know what? He was telling my authority is ACFW, Tracey, the same thing. "...In the shade of the shepherd's tent." It was hard for both of us to make the change, but the Lord will shine all the more and new people step into place and make ACFW shine!

Here's what we learn from this verse. We are beautiful to Jesus - even in our weak, burned out state. Two, part of fully finding Him comes from Body Life, ministering to others. We cannot complete our journey in Jesus without each other. While we cannot accept responsibility for every need that comes along, we are called to manage those things Jesus entrust to us.

Finally, don't run form authority. It's hard 'cause many of us have been wounded and misunderstood, but we must be open to His leaders. We must work in the shade of their tents, their protection, their guidance. Leaders are imperfect. We are imperfect. But as we yield our hearts to the perfect Lover, He will guard us with His peace.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Oh, the beauty

The last two days have been beautiful. Cold. Crisp. Clear. The memory of a hurricane far away now. Fall has finally come to central Florida.

I'm home from youth church via Checkers via the Tapper's house. Now I'm blogging and watching the World Series. I haven't been following it but tonight's game looks interesting. White Sox are up three games to none. Its the top of the 8th and Chicago is at bat.

Writing is going. I'm looking forward to next week. Had a good brainstorm session yesterday with me pals, Chris, trace, Susan and Susie. I'm looking forward to power write week in Orlando. I'm going to write my heart out, or at least try. I just need to settle down, think and write. Some days, just when I'm getting it going, feeling the groove, it's time to go do something like youth church. It takes time to settle down and listen to the story within.

White Sox's just scored. It's one nothing, bottom of the 8th.

Anyway, note to self: don't read writing books while writing a book.

Wouldn't it be fun to be a sportscaster, or the person who calls the game. I think that would be fun. We were talking at Checkers and one of the girls goes, "I don't like football."

I'm like, "What? How can you not like football?"

She so needs to go to a University with a great football team. My brother would roll over in his grave, if he were dead and in a grave, to hear me talk about liking football, and watching the World Series. LOL.

How many childhood arguments were launched over what television show to watch? At least every Sunday. He wanted to watch sports, I wanted to watch a movie or something. We only had three channels until I was probably 14, then cable entered our world. Four or five channels and still, only one family TV.

White Sox's Won!! Whoo hoo!

Good night.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Hurricane Wilma

Hurricane, hurricane, go away, come again. . . never! It's predicted that the storm will pass under us, with the strongest winds on the south side of the storm, but still, rain, wind, tornados, rain, wind and tornados. Fun. Please keep the southern half of the state in prayer.

I'm blogging now in case we lose power tomorrow for a few days. I may be writing with the old pen and pad.

Lead worship this morning using the youth band, David on guitar. Very good. Very fun. David is just so phenominal. It takes a lot of pressure off of me as a leader because David is so good at playing-on-the-fly or knowing where I want to go. While I'm on keys, he's the lead instrument and drives it all. Anyway, we had a good set this morning, glory to Jesus. I'm nothing, NOTHING without Him.

Tony's parents are here, weathering the hurricane with us. If we lose power, we figure we'll just light candles and play cards. Ah, this bring back such fond hurricane party memories from last year. Laugh-out-loud. They are leaving on Tuesday after the weather dies down.

I'm reading Kristin Billerbeck's book, "She's All That." A great read! Buy it! Read it! Kristin is such a wonderful storyteller with likeable, real characters.

Our resident brain at church, Monte, preached this morning. He's a math genius and computer whiz. Anyway, he talked about Thomas Harding and his false assumptions about evolution.

Like a million monkey, with a million typewriters, over a million years will produce a Shakespearean play.<\p>

First of all, apologies to Shakespear on behalf of Thomas Harding. Second of all, computation whiz Monte did a small calculation to see the probabilities of this happening. This is so awesome.

Task 1 - A million monkeys, a million typewriters and a million years to produce, "IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED HEAVEN AND EARTH." The typewriter has all the right keys, all caps, only commas and periods.

Task 2 - A moth hitting a rock as large as the planet, Earth, with the tip of it's wing and knocking off one molecule every 1000 years and whittling the rock down to nothing.<\p>

Which is more like happen? The moth will whittle down 12,500 rocks the size of earth one molecule at a time before one of the million monkeys can type anything remotely close to "IN THE BEGINNING..." There's a one in a million chance of it ever happening.

Isn't that astounding? But, it's proven, calculated math. Yet, the "great" minds of our time still believe in evolution.

Let's open our hearts and minds and believe! God is the creator and He loves us!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Song of Solomon 1:7

"Tell me, O you whom my soul loves, where do you pasture your flock, where do you make it lie down at noon? For why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?"

Have you ever lost that lovin' feeling? Tired of doing, tired of being busy, sick of whinny people who are never satisfied with your work, weary of never hearing a thank you? It's do, do, do and never time to be, be, be.

The Bride in verse seven relates. She's sick of her brothers and sisters in Christ working her to death. She's painted the nursery, volunteered for the finance committee, visits the sick, cooks extra chicken for the pot luck dinner, rises early three times a week for morning prayer in the sanctuary and recently agreed to be a deacon. Dang, she's tired. And while having a form of Godliness, her own spiritual well is running dry.

Her weaknesses and issues rise to the surface in the midst of her busyness and she has no time to lean against her Beloved.

Finally, she cries out. "Hey, Jesus, I love you but my heart is so far from you! Where are You? Where do you hang out with all the other believers who seem to be doing so great? I'm sick of my sin. I want to be with you!"

She's looking for intimacy. She wants to return to her fist love that's been snuffed out by the busyness of church and the noise of the world.

She wants to "lie down at noon" satisfied with the pleasure of knowing Jesus loves her and that his love is all she needs to be fulfilled.

Why should she be veiled before Him, hiding her sin and weakness? Veiled ones cannot see, or be seen. She's been to the intimate place, if not recently, when she first met her Beloved. She doesn't want to return to a place of hiding.

We have to guard our time. Let busyness distract us from our Beloved, Jesus. We cannot let our weakness and sin overshadow the reality that we are lovers of God who struggle with sin, not sinners who struggle to love God.

Carve out time to be with Him. Look at all you're doing and ask the Lord, "Is this what you want me doing?" Don't let your heart be over grown with stuff that doesn't draw you closer. Bitterness and hurt and feeling unappreciated will drive you out of the place He's called you to be.

It's both-and: Being with Him, Being with those who love Him.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Conversations with a Songwriter

I met with an NSAI songwriter this morning and had such a great time. She was such a great help, and confirmed my research and helped with some of my scenarios. Turns out she is a Christian, too, and we prayed a blessing over each other's work before I left her home. Isn't that too cool! Only God, only God!

She is like my character - a Christian writing country songs. I'm getting more and more of a feel for this, but still need a deep brainstorm. Ha! I'm jotting notes, thinking and plotting. Monday I'm talking to my editor and will run some things by her to see if they fly. Then, I have a session with my writer buds for brainstorming, so I should have a good idea of where the story is going by Monday night. Just in time for Power Write Week!

I really feel God is moving in me and through me with the story. So very odd, I know, to read, but it's like He wants to tell this story. For example, I needed a new name for my heroine. During toss-n-turn night, I thought of a name. It seemed so clear. Perfect. But in the light of day, I went back to another name I liked. Well, I was praying yesterday afternoon and the other name came to mind and I knew I needed to use it. Hum... Okay, Lord, this is Your story. I'll name her what you want. Robin.

Doesn't this sound so great? The thinking up is the great part. The writing is the HARD part.

This verse in Romans 4 blessed me. Verses 6-8 "Just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. Blessed is hte man whose sin the Lord will not take into account."

Blessed! We are blessed when our sins are forgiven. Not just in the blessing of we avoid judgement, but we are honored, of good fortune, supremely blest, well-off, happy! Blessed. Isn't that cool?

Rejoice that your sins are forgiven and you are blessed! Walk in it.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

My, how the horizon has changed

I'm on the road again. I leave the 29th for our time share in Orlando for Power Write Week, then I'm going to Nashville from the 6th - 11th to get the sights, sounds and smells of the city. Do more research for Country Princess. Please keep me in prayer as I navigate this story and make some changes to the original plot.

My friend Tracey Bateman gave me a great scripture encouragement today, Isaiah 50:4. "The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple."

Isn't that good? Yay, God!

Last night was the first restless night I had over my story, but I am surrendering it to Jesus and letting Him take the lead. I know He has good plans for me. In fact, right after I talked with my publisher and decided I needed to return to Nashville, a friend stopped by for a visit. While talking, he humbly offered money toward my trip. Covers almost all my gas up and back. Isn't God good!?

Tony's parents arrived last night with their dog, Molly. Tony let Jack and Pal meet her in the back yard, and shew, all is well. I'm mostly concerned about Pal and Jack getting worked up and start scrapping. I knew Molly would be fine. Pal's just like a kid, though. He went to his cage 3 times last night. The moment he starts acting up, in he goes. I'm trying to teach him it's not acceptable to growl and bark like he does. Believe it or not, he's getting it. Little by ever so little!

I promise to get back to Song of Solomon in the next day or two. Isn't it a great book.

Blessings, Rachel

Monday, October 17, 2005

I've decided...

... I'm pulling a Scarlet O'Hara. Not thinking about it, after all tomorrow is another day. Man, my schedule can get packed and what can I do about it? Life happens. Gotta surf it.

I say no to all I can, but somethings I can't. Like family visits and stuff like that, you know, the stuff that makes the world go 'round.

It's Monday morning and I'm good to go. Ready to write. Yesterday, I was busting with ideas and creativity. Wrote a bunch of stuff down on sticky notes. Couldn't write 'cause the day was packed with other stuff (see my world spinning 'round) so now that I'm sitting down, at my computer, the creativity pool drained and the winds of the Mojave are blowing across my mind.

Thank the Lord for sticky notes. And for books. Reading inspires me. Prayer inspires me. Listened to this awesome CD from IHOP-KC where Kirk Bennet leads the worship team through Revelation 4 & 5. Amazing. I'll post some stuff on that later.

More Song of Solomon, too.

Peace out.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I'm home and staying home

I'm home from the Spirit Led Women's conference in Orlando. Heidi Baker cancelled due to illness, and she's the only reason I wanted to go. I'm not big into women's conference. But, the church graciously paid for me to go, so I went and hung out with my pastor and elder's wife-buddies.

I'm not sure why the Lord had me there. I didn't get much out of any of the sessions, though others were being blessed. And to be honest, I didn't want to have the "what's in it for me" mentality. Too much of that going on in Christiandom as is. I respect the conference sponsor and host, and all the speakers, Kim Daniels is awesome, but this afternoon I had to ask the Lord, "Why did I come?"

He reminded me of what He spoke to me in the first ten minutes of the opening session yesterday afternoon. And I knew. He took me all the way to Orlando to tell me I'm in a new season. Going up higher. Which means less of me and more of Him.

He has me in a good place and I'm grateful. I'm going to keep pressing into Him. He loves me. It's all about YOU, Jesus.

Two other things impacted me. One was last night when Jill Austin was ministering. She called out two college age girls and told them how God would use them on campuses. They were balled up, on the floor, crying and interceeding. I looked back and one of them groans, "Revival!" I immediately teared up. The anointing and heart of God was on her cry. "REVIVAL!"
The second was today. I prayed with Bonnie, our senior pastor's wife, and saw the new thing the Lord is doing in her life, and it really blessed me. She's such a Godly example. We need her voice.

So, that was my weekend. I'm anxious to get back to writing. Next week is POWER WRITE WEEK. Although Tony's folks will be here on Thursday, I only lose one weekday, if that. So, I'm going to keep it as Power Week. Then, Tony is going to get me a week over in Orlando at the time share for DOUBLE POWER WRITE WEEK. No interruptions, no internet, no meetings, no dogs, no whatever. :)

So, guess I'm not staying home after all.


Friday, October 14, 2005

Off to Orlando

I'm off to Orlando to a Women's Conference. I'll be home tomorrow night, late. Don't wait up, but leave the light on for me.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Song of Solomon 1:6

...Do not look upon me, because I am dark, Because the sun has tanned me. My mother's sons were angry with me; They made me the keeper of the vineyards, But my own vineyard I have not kept.

This is a constant human condition. We stay so busy. We work to please others, but do not take the time to look after ourselves. Especially those of us who labor in the church.

The Bride in this verse is fed up with laboring for her brothers and sisters in Christ and never seeming to please. All the while, her own spiritual life has sunk into the pits! Her worship ministry to the church is flourishing (though there's always someone who's not happy) but her private time with the Lord is nonexistentt.

She started out serving with such zeal, because she discovered the unquenchable love of Jesus. "I'm dark, but oh, so lovely," she declared.

Being young, and zealous, she pressed her shoulder to the wheel and signed up for every committee at church, was first in line every time the doors opened and guess what, it left her tired, poor and unsatisfied.

Her brothers in Christ did not appreciate her, not compliment her, nor affirm her like she thought. Now, she's burnt out, tired and unfulfilled.

She's not kept her life hidden in her Beloved. She's not discovered that He is her exceedingly great reward. (Gen 15:1)

So goes our journey in Jesus. We cannot expect for men and women to approve us. We cannot serve because they want us to serve, or because we want their praise and approval. We must only do those things, in right order and under authority, that Jesus calls us to do.

For me, I know my primary ministry is with Tony and the youth, Fire Dweller, and prayer. So, when there is a couples event at our church on a Friday night, we don't go. Why? Because we are committed to Friday night prayer with five other churches. There is peace. There is understanding among our "brothers" that we are called to do something else. But, we love and support them.

What has God called you to do? Are you doing it? Are you doing things out of obligation, or for the praise of men, that God is not calling you to do? Does your soul feel overwhelmed and weedy?

We must take care of our own life in God or we will be spiritual statistics. Once in love, but now scorned and burned because we put our identity in what men think of us, not what Jesus thinks of us.

Now, lest you think you can run away and hide from the Body of Christ and go it alone, Jesus and Me, stay tuned for tomorrow and verse seven and eight.

Church was good last night - Power, Passion and Praise night. Youth bandleadss worship and we were rocking. LOL. It's great to have David on guitar cause he does such great rhythms and we can easily take a standard "oldie but goodie" and jazz it up. One small chord change and the song's fresh.

Put in my 2000 words yesterday. Wrote a funny scene that makes me laugh and when I told it to Tony last night, we both laughed. Faith, my heroine, hears her landlords son come home. She lives in the garage loft. She can't see him, but she can hear him.

"How dry I am. How dry I am."

He's funny. I originally thought he would be like Joe Jr. in "While You Were Sleeping" but he might be more like Tony Randall in "Send Me No Flowers." Also, I was thinking of keeping him "off stage." And what that means, I'll keep to myself. (wink)

Well, better get to work. Fire Dweller leader meeting today, and I want to go to Step tonight cause tomorrow I leave for Orlando until Saturday night. I thought this was my last weekend of stuff to do, but found out the in-laws will be here the following weekend. I love my in-laws, but I also have work to do. It's not like a regular job where you take a vacation day and set work aside. If I don't work, nothing gets done and there's no one to back me up! LOL.

I love my job, though. Would NOT want to do anything else.