Saturday, January 29, 2005

Rebel without a blog

You gotta blog, you know? Really, everybody is doing it and for once, it's OK to be doing what everyone else is doing.

No blog? Get one. What a great way to blah, blah, blah your life for the rest of us to yadda, yadda, yadda about. For writers, it's critical, IMHO.

Readers love to know more about their favorite author, or the author of a book they just read. Bloggin gives them reason to visit your site over and over. Then, when a new release comes out, they have car keys in hand, on their way out to B & N, or zipping over to

I've been a blogger since I was a preteen. I had a little girl's diary at the age of seven which I wrote in often. By the time I was a teen, I blogged, ooops, journaled several times a week if not daily. Now I have opportunity to share my life with the world. Yippy for you.

I wouldn't have wanted to cyber blog during my teens and twenties, really. My personal thoughts and feelings out there for everyone to read. Yowza.

But really, get a blog. Don't be a rebel. ;)

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! My mother-in-law called up the stairs this morning, "Rachel, look outside." Big white snowflakes were coming down. I shoved Tony out of bed to the tune of "do I have to?" and made him boot up and go outside for a photo op. I haven't seen snow since November of '97 when Laura, Esther, Cassie and I trekked to Poughkeepsi with woman named Judy. ("Hey, can you tell me how to get to Broadway?") Oh man, too funny. We laughed so hard. Anyway, we lead worship at a Woman's weekend at the River Church. It snowed one afternoon. The ladies blamed me. I didn't mind, but if you actually think I have that kind of power... ha!

Meeting Beka. Tony and I drove down to Shelbyville to meet with Beka, Josh, Caleb and Elizabeth for dinner. Chuck didn't feel well, so he stayed home. We missed him. But the kids are doing well. When I first held Elizabeth she looked at me so intent like, "You seem familiar, but you're not my mommy." Anyway, we had a nice time. Drove home in a fresh snow fall, stopped at Barnes & Noble 'cause I needed a new writing-ideas notebook and now we are home.

The writer's life. It's a hard life, but a good one. So full of doubt, but I have to believe that the Lord is leading me. Amen and amen. Blog that.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Gosh, it's it Friday already

Vacation weeks go by so quickly, don't they?

I had a great time yesterday visiting with Colleen Coble and Diann Hunt. We talked, ate, talked some more and laughed a lot. We have the same agent, so we took a picture together. I told Colleen to send it to her with this title, "Your favorite clients." I'll post the picture as soon as I can edit it down. It's too big right now.

Not too much else to report. All's still fair in love and war in case you were wondering. Although I wonder about that statement. Like is murder fair for the sake of love? Not really. Is adultry fair for the sake of love? Not really. So perhaps that should change. All is NOT fair in love. War, different story, I suppose. But being as I'm not experienced in war, I'll refrain from commenting.

We are going over to see Tony's sister today. She has a bunch of barn yard animals. Then we are going out to dinner. I should write, but am enjoying being in vacation mode. I guess I'll have to write tomorrow.

Oh, let me tell you what is true about love: it is patient, kind, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures. Love never fails. God is love. Pretty cool, eh?

Well, off to do something, perhaps nothing, but I'm done here. :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Vacation, Day II

It's the end of day two. We flew in yesterday and spent the evening relaxing, dining with Tony's sister Sally and her husband Jose and son Che.

The cat's run from us, but the dog, Molly wags her tail and whines. She loves us. The weather is beautiful. Sunny and cold. The snow is melting, but hopefully it'll snow again before we leave.

I feel rested. I've been writing off and on all day. Wrote two synopsis. One romance, one chic lit, just hammering out ideas. Both ideas came so consise and clearly, I couldn't resist writing them down. But they need polishing, of course.

I finished a chapter of Lambert's Peace and am starting the next. I'd like to write on it more before going to bed. Thursday I'm driving to Wabash to visit my writing friends Collen Coble and Diann Hunt.

A word about Johnny Carson. I was sad to hear he died. Though I'm only 44, he was apart of my growing up. In the summer, it was a big deal to stay up late and watch Johnny Carson. I'd check to see if my favorite stars would be on. And yes, I'm not crazy. The show used to be an hour and a half. I thought so. When did it change? Johnny, a loved icon of American entertainment. I hope he knew Jesus. Better Him than all the stars in the sky, or Hollywood.

Well, I'm thirsty. Hi to Alison and all who've stopped by recently. Sign my guestbook.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Just call me Eva Knieva

I drove the mile over to Publix this morning without my seatbelt! Daring! Gutsty! I know. Breaking the law, yeah, well sorta. Sorry about that. But I confess it's my own little passive agressive revolt against the idea that lawmakers think they are doing society a favor by requiring them to wear seatbelts, all the while burying their head in the sand over the thousands of unborn babies aborted each year.

If abortion is protected under the guise of a "woman's right to do what she wants with her body" (never mind the baby's) then why can't I drive down the road without my seatbelt? Isn't it my body? Who am I harming? Can't I do with my body want I want?

Geez, now I've done got on my soapbox. It must be the Eva Knieva in me. Climbing down. As I do, let me say this. Abortion is a tough issue. I have compassion for woman who've had to choose. Jesus has compassion for them, too, and offers grace, forgiveness and peace.

Look, He didn't go to the Cross to for the right to condemn us with our weakness and sin. He went to the Cross to purchase us from the evil one, the one who does condemn us and continually accuse us before the Righteous One. In John 3:17 Jesus tells us He came not to judge but to save. Those who believe in Him are NOT judged.

The Cross, Life and Resurrection of Jesus is about qualification, not disqualification. He's glad over you! He sings over you! He's not mad or disappointed. He knows our frame, our weakness. Abortion or not, His arms are waiting for you.

You know what Jesus told me once? Maybe I've blogged it already, but it bears repeating. I was singing to Him one day after a hard phone conversation with someone. I played the keyboard, pouring out my heart, trying to get the slim off of me, and He sang back. "I've searched the whole earth, the whole earth, through all of time and Rachel, there is no one like you. No one." I burst into tears, feeling, thinking, "No, that can't be. I'm nothing. I'm ordinary." But the truth is, in all of human history, there is no one like me. I'm unique. Song of Solomn 6:9 "But my dove, my perfect one, is unique."

That's me! That's you. The King of King, Lord of Lords wants you. He must have you. There is no one like you. He loves us so much He bore the Cross to prove it. No Mohammad, no Budda, no Maharishi, no Confucius, no religious zealout, leader, guru took the thorny crown, the whipping with a cat-of-nine tails, the fist beatings, the pulling out of the beard, the nailing to the rugged, wooden Cross, the spear in the side, the pain, shame and rejection for you to have life abundantly. No one but Jesus! It's only our arrogance and darkness that keeps us from seeing "what kind of love is this?"

All the religions of the world are about man becoming like God, man making a way to God, man appeasing God. But faith in Jesus is about realizing God became man, God made the way for man to come to Him, and He appeased Himself with Himself. Mind blowing.

Wow! I didn't know the soap box was so tall. I'm down now.

Exhortation. I started reading the book Bonnie gave me about the life of writers/authors. Several impacted me deeply. I felt God whisper over me after reading several this morning. I've really carried the burden of being told I'm not great, and have a lot of work to do. I don't want to dismiss the counsel, 'cause I know I'm not "great," but it's made me want to give up. So, the Lord said to me, "Rachel, you're not great, but the One who is great lives in of you."

Tears, of course, the tears came. I'm not in this writing biz alone. I know I have work to do. I want to get better, grow in my craft. Pull out that deep story inside of me, but I don't have to work, walk, write alone. The Great One lives in me.

I said it before, I'll say it again, Jesus rocks! My Father in Heaven is kind, loving, full of mercy and compassion. He loves me.

We go on vacation tomorrow and I need to get cleaning the house. I have the windows open and it's freezing in here, but once I get cleaning, I'll warm up. Tonight is Javi and Brenda's ordination at Rapha Christian Center, so we are going to that.

Grace and Peace.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

I did a thing today

Yeah, a thing. Spoke at the Ladies Winter Luncheon at church. Small crowd, but we had fun. We dressed Styrofoam Snowmen with items from our purses. It was so funny to see what people came up with.

Sheree, Chelle and I worked together to dress our Snowman. Gum box hat, money belt, shredded paper skirt, velt bag cape, gum buttons, foil eyes, ear plug ears, asprin feet. Too cute.

I spoke on life's currency that has eternal value - words, time and money. These are the commodities that store up treasure in heaven. What we do with our words, what we do with our time, what we do with our money.

Oh, driving to church, I had inspiriation on a chic lit idea. I've got about 10 of them, but this one keeps coming to the surface, getting deeper and more developed.

Now I'm home, trying not to fall asleep. We went over to help our neighbors, Dave and Ilene, with the trusses for their room addition. Tony glanced out the Florida room window and sees little tiny Ilene trying to hoist a truss over her head and he was moved to help. LOL

It's a nice night here in Central Florida. Cloudy, but not too cold. I have a fire going. It's nice.

Bonnie gave me a nice gift bag for speaking today. One of the items was a collection of stories about Christian authors and how they made it in publishing. I'll keep it around for the hard, dark days of writing. I know writing is my calling, part of my calling in God anyway, but I've yet to see the big picture? New York Times best seller. In Rachel's dreams, yes! In God's heart, not so sure?

I know He gives us the desire of our hearts. I know He wants us to dream big all the while pursing Him with our whole heart. I don't dream big enough. A friend encouraged me in my writing a few months back, well, I think thats what it was supposed to be, but it ended up discouraging me.

It's that economy of words thing. We never know how our words are going to effect others. I think this person meant to spur me on, but the net result has been the blaaas. So, I decided I can use God's words to challenge my friends words and rise above, or use my friend's words to doubt God go nowhere. I choose God's words.

I may have to fight my way back into the Ring of Confidence, but I can do it. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Fire Dweller has been good the past few Fridays. Last Friday we got into this song of the Lord, crying out to Him. I kept singing, "tremble at His Word" and "fear of the Lord is wisdom." My words were weaving with the electric guitar. It was cool. Jer lead last nigt and it was good. Good prayer time at the end.

Oh my gosh! More of my clothes are shrinking. Help. Need new dryer.

Words of Wisdom from The Carrie. She called from FSU looking for ideas on a story she's writing for class. Due Tuesday. Little brainstorming can make all the difference, ja know? Anyway, I asked, "Any more thoughts on what you want to do after you graduate?"

"No, but I made a new goal for myself. Spend a half hour a day on my future - looking for jobs, investigating my options."

Wow! Light bulb over Rachel's head clicked on. What a great idea. Spend a half hour a day on my future. Researching story ideas. Writing on a story idea. Thinking of characters and backstory.

Carrie called for help from me, and ended up helping me.

Well, it's dinner time. I need to cook something. Grace and Peace

Friday, January 21, 2005

The Bullet, the Bull Dog and the Gun

The summer of '77, we moved from south Miami-Homestead area to Tallahassee. I worked at the Cutler Ridge Publix and the Saturday night before we moved, the entire store threw a party for me at Denny's. Even the Manager came. Now would that happen today? Not!

My then boyfriend, Pete Ramirez, had a couple of friends, Kevin and Bob. They called themselves the Bullet, the Bull Dog and the Gun. Don't ask me which was which. Anyway, Pete and I showed up at Denny's for my surprise party. I wrote this in my diary....

Pause for real life interjection. I was reading this in bed last night and started laughing so hard I couldn't talk to Tony. I wanted to read it to him, but I couldn't. When he read it for himself, he smiled and goes, "Guess you had to be there."

Guess so.

Quote from July 9, 1977:
"Kevin and Bob came over (to where Pere and I were sitting.) We all sat around talking. The Bullet, the Bull Dog and the Gun! The trio. Though Bob looked more like the Bull Frog with his hair parted down the middle and all."

Hahahahahah! Still makes me laugh.

From the summer of '76 to the summer of '77, I laughed so much. My friend Lorena and the Bull Frog, er, Dog, used to argue all the time. They liked to argue. I'd sit up listening to them until 2 a.m., laughing hysterically.

It's odd to see my teenage wisdom scrawled across lined notebook pages. I had some, actually. I just lacked experience. Now that I have experience, I need some of that sixteen year old wisdom and zeal.

Ah, life's a quagmire.

Tony and I are doing well. Going on vacation Monday. I'm so looking forward to it! I have to write, but I'm always writing on vacation.

Tomorrow I'm speaking at the ladies Winter Luncheon so I need to prepare for that today. At 11:00, I'm lunching with Laura, Jer, Ezra and Laura's mom, Lois. Then Fire Dweller tonight.

Youth Church was good. Before worship, I prayed to get us settled down and focused. God showed up, and we never sang or played background music. In the silence, He came and ministered to us. It was pretty cool. Around 9:30. I got on the piano and sang softly. One of the girls started crying. Later we found out Jesus came to her, literally, either in physical or heart eyes, but it was real. He took her face in His hands and kissed her. She cried for twenty minutes. Jesus rocks!

Chris went home yesterday. It was good to have him here. We miss him!

Last night, I held my final board meeting as ACFW President. I'm sad to be leaving the position. Sad to be out of the decisions and leading, but I'm also relieved. I can already feel the weight lifting. It's been a good two years, but it's time for me to move on. The next Board will take ACFW even farther. I had a great board, and made some great friends. Well worth the sacrifice. Thanks, Lord.

Well, better get to preparing my teaching. I'm talking on Money, Time and Words - life's currency that has value in Eternity.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Too early on Monday to think, but...

I woke up at 5:21 this morning. No, take that back. I got UP, as in out of bed, at 5:21. I woke up before that, tried to sleep, but couldn't so I decided to get up, make tea, pray, (ooh, house is cold. Change blanket for robe and flannel pants), drink tea, read Bible, fry an egg, toast a muffin, pour a Diet Coke, and finally, boot up computer.

It's now 8:25, I'm sleepy again. The day is dawning clear, sunny and cold. It's in the 40's, but "feels like" 30's. Chris Schoff is here from Guatemala. He just left with the Phillips' for Universal. Tony is sleeping. Smart man.

We had a bonfire last night with several other church. Javi lead worship. Ahhhhh! He's so fun to sing with. It was a good night to have a bonfire since it was so cold. Julie Roper Sumner was there with her neice. Yeah! We talked the whole time. It was good to catch up with her. She's one of our kids from the '90's. She's a mom now with two boys.

I pulled on my freshly laundered painter jeans when getting ready to go up to the fire. They are feeling tight these days. Dagum if the dryer isn't shrinking my clothes again!

Speaking of tight clothes. I saw some show about the latest diet fad. Eating like the French. LOL. It talks about how you can eat whatever you want and lose weight, you just eat less and drink leaks soup. Whatever. You know what? There is no perfect diet plan. Not Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Dr. Phil, Atkins, pick your poison. All diets require the same thing: life change and discipline.

I was successful with Weight Watchers. But I've heard people pan it, and other plans, saing they don't work becuase they tired the plan and failed. Or had some success, then failed. The problem is not the plan. The problem is the planee. The person. The one not sticking to the discipline of eating right. If you try to dunk a basketball and miss, is it the ball's fault? The hoop's maybe. Ah, no, it's your shoes. Yes, I can't dunk a basketball because my shoes are all wrong.

Diet plans don't fail. People fail. I had a friend who under went gastric bypass surgery and even he had to watch what he ate or he would gain weight! There's no miracle cure except close your mouth and run outside and play.

That's it! The perfect diet plan. Record your mom's voice saying, "Click off that TV and go outside and play!"

However, in my case, it's that I need a new dryer. One that doesn't shrink my clothes, especially my jeans. Seriously, new dryer.

Sheree. Remember my dear Sheree. She wrote the guy an "after" email. Wrong move. Now he's got hand, as in the upper. She bid him good-bye, farethewell, totally controlled the upper hand. Now she's done gone and given it away. I told her so, but yet, in all reality, I understand. It's hard to say good-bye to a close friend. One to whom she committed her heart. But we ladies make the classic mistake. "I closed the door so hard, he'll never come back, even if he wants to! Hurry, go open it a crack."

Truth is, if a guy really misses you and wants you, he'll kick the door in and sweep you off your feet. Until then, ladies bar the door. We settle too soon, too quick. Guys have it made.

To Sheree's dude, I say this, "If you don't want the old girlfriend, as you've told my Sheree, then break the soul tie and move on. Ask the Lord to show you why you're so connected to someone you claim you don't want. If you really do want her, fess up to Sheree so she can go on with her life. Apologize for being a weeny and lying about it."

Did I say Chris was here? It's good to have him. He's such a good friend. Wow, I'm really getting sleepy. Maybe it's time for a mid-morning nap.

Hey, wanna bet I can stay in my pajamas all day? Oops, no, sucker bet on my end. It's too gorgeous outside to stay inside.

Quote from He's Just Not That Into You: Don't waste the pretty.

Quote from Shakespeares Merry Wifes of Windsor: SLENDER: Mistress Anne Page? She has brown hair, and speaks small like a woman. (we speak small?)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Finally warming up

I've noticed lately that I'm not cold all the time. Finally. Five months after leaving Harris Publishing and the refigerator they housed us in, my body has adjusted. I can no longer ride in the car, sun beaming in, windows rolled up and the air off and my sweatshirt on.

I can go into a restuarant without hauling in my parka! It's marvelous.

Update on my friend Sheree: Well, the dude was a dud. He made the leap, but turns out he was bungy corded to an old girlfriend "back home." It's been hard for my dear Sheree, but you know, she's free to find the good man that is out there, waiting for her.

The Randy Clark meetings went well. Lots of faith building stuff. He said something so cool last night. When he asks people "what they want" when he prays for them, they answer, "Whatever God wants."

"No, what's on your heart?"

"I don't know."

Randy insist we do. We have to be confident that the desires of our heart, cause we seek Him, are His desires. He's not an ogre who sends us places we don't want to go, make us do what we hate or be who we are not. He's loving, kind and gives us the desires of our hearts. Psalm 34. If we don't want to go, do or be something He's calling us to be, He will give us the grace and desire.

We've got to take the responsibility off ourselves and let God be God. He's a wonderful Father. Of course, if you're stealing from the supply closet at work and have no desire to quit, well now, that's a different matter.

Quote from He's Just Not That Into You: "When it comes to men, deal with us as we are, not how you'd like us to be."

Well said, well said.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

It's Tuesday at 6:45...

Tony's gone up to the Randy Clark meetings at Our Father's House. I'm home writing Lambert's Peace.

Actually, I'm writing my blog, but shhhhh...

I luncheoned with Allison Wilson today. We reviewed the 2004 conference manual. It's bigger than War and Peace. I'm still in the process of hiring a coordinator. I've probably spent 40 hours on that this past week alone - Conference and ACFW stuff.

I have a potato in the oven. One loan potato because I didn't have two. Later, I'll do something miraculous with chicken strips, green beans and yellow squash.

My friend Sheree's in a quandry. A guy friend of hers called at 6:30 in the morning last week and told her he wanted to pursue a more serious relationship. Until now, they've been friends. He lives in another state, so it's long distance, but sometimes those are the best "get to know you" deals.

So, I think pretty cool, good for Sheree. She deserves a good guy. I asked her the other night how things were going, mind you it's been a week since the wake up call, and she said she hasn't really talked to him. She finally called him on the weekend. He said he couldn't talk and would call her later. Last I heard, no call.

Sorta makes you go, "Hum." So, should she call him and ask what's going on? Or should she just wait for him? Or should she take a hint from the book "He's Just Not That Into You" and move on? Why would a guy do that? Call at 6:30 in the morning, declaring his intentions to have intentions and then not call for days?


Lookit, I have got to get to work. Oh, looked over edits on Lambert's Code today. Looking good. The editor is pleased.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Procrastination, the name of the game

What is it about starting a new story that breeds procrastination like pollen in the spring? Dang. I am dragging my heals on this Lambert's Peace story, but I want to write it. In fact, I already have a chapter by chapter outline, so it's not like I don't know where to go.

Christmas tree is still up. That should tell me something.

I feel tired. We've been getting up early for prayer this week, but not managing to get to bed early enough. Better than we were pre New Years, but still not when we should.

It's all excuses, though, isn't it?

Here's a great exhortation for waiting on the Lord in prayer: Isaiah 64:4. "He acts on behalf of those who wait on Him." You wait - braid yourself together with Him - and He will act on your behalf.

But it's true. Waiting is the hardest part.

I need a Diet Coke. 7-11 run.

Yeah! My sorority Big Sister visted my site. Yeah! Hi ya, Tish! Love you. ;)

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Spirit of Adoption

Pastor Gary set aside some time in church this morning for open prayer. Prayer for the new year, prayer for the tsunami victims, prayer for our county and church.

Eighteen year old Katie came to the mic and prayed out of 1 Peter 1:6 for the people living in or near the Bay of Bengal. Her prayer was full of authority and power, but when she prayed, "Father, release over them a spirit of adoption," I knew the voice and heart of heaven had been spoken.

The people of south Asia are hurting, dying and devastated. Life will never be the same for them again. Many have been left alone, orphaned, wounded, but the heart of the true Father is open to them, full of compassion and grace. He is waiting to adopt them into His family through the blood of Jesus.

I pray in this hour that the Bride of Christ shines with the reflection of her Beloved. May we be a mirror in which the world sees Jesus - not judgement or condemnation.

See, this is the beginning. Who knows what trials and disasters will follow this one? If our hearts are not steadfast. If our foundation is not on the Rock, Jesus. If we are not rooted and grounded in love, when judgements and trials begin to devastate the earth, we will be offended at the living God. And forbid that our hearts should grow cold. We must carry the reward within. We must know that He is our exceeding great reward. Genesis 15:1.

For me, the coming year is about contemplation - prayer and fasting (with grace. I need it.) Pastor Gary reminded us this morning that the one commodity we have that we cannot redeem is time. If we squander time, we cannot earn it back. If we lose money, we can earn more, make it back. If we lose possessions, we buy more. But time? If we squander a day, we cannot get it back. The Lord, of course, can redeem our time. But January 2, 2005 will soon be gone and I'll never have this day again.

What did I do with it?

Another commodity we cannot take back once it's been given is our words. Once they've been said, they've been said. We can apologize and repent, but spoken words cannot be taken back. They are forever out there on the wings of time.

That being said... I want to invest my time and words in the Kingdom of Heaven this year. More than I have in the past. I am weak. I am poor, but I want to give myself to prayer and intimacy.

Also, to writing. I'm reading "Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life." It's full of Snoopy's writing cartoon strips with advice and musings from famous authors like Danielle Steel, Sydney Sheldon, Fannie Flag ( you must read "A Redbird Christmas") and Ray Bradbury to name a few.

You'll be glad to know these famous, experienced authors agree with me. Writing is hard work. They confess to spending years writing one novel. Of course, with their pay scale they can stil live. But, it's work. If I'm called to writing, committed to writing, I have to give myself to it like any other career and work it. (Work it, baby!)

So, those are my goals for '05. Prayer and writing. Of course, there are the cursory goals like losing twenty pounds and keeping up my exercise. And, keep in touch with friends and family. There, that should keep me busy.

I have three speaking engagements already. One in January and two in February. That will be fun. I'm looking forward to those.

Randy Clark will be here next week for a week of renewal/revival meetings up at Our Father's House, so I'll be going to some of those, but I don't want to overload. After having Paul Keith Davis and members of The White Dove Ministries here three times this year, and the In the Fire Conference, I'm "special" meetinged out, ya know. I've heard, heard, and heard. Now I want to do!

Happy New Year, everyone! Many blessings and may the Father release in you a spirit of adoption.

Quote from Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life: "Dear Editor, Why do you keep sending my stories back? You're supposed to print them and make me rich and famous. What is with you?"