Thursday, July 28, 2005

How Many Days

OK. I'm keepig a blog on how many days I'm keeping the top dropped on my VW Cabrio. That's the new term now, you know. Not convertible, but drop top. Ha!

This is day 4. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. It rained a little today, but the car was garaged. By the time I went to step aerobics, the sun was blazing. Now this is the Florida summers I remember.

So, Day 4 of Drop Top.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Wouldn't you like to meet Gabriel?

Luke 1:19 says this, "And the angel answered and said to [Zacharias], "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings."

Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God. That's amazing... stands in the presence of God.
A few verses later, he shows up to tell Mary she's going to bring forth a Son from the Most High and His name will be Jesus.

This is the same Gabriel who appeared to Daniel about 600 years ealier! I thought, "Hey, Gabriel, what are you up to these days?" I mean, I haven't met anyone who can say, "Yeah, Gabriel visited me last night."

Wouldn't that be incredible? Gabriel who STANDS in the presence of God stopping by for a visit. You know, through Jesus, we also are in the presence of God. In fact, He lives IN us, but I would love to have a visit from Gabriel. I'm not sure my life calling merits a visit from a this messenger of the Throne, but yeah, that would be amazing.

I do know people who have angelic visitations, people who see, people who've been caught up into heaven. I'm pretty sure Gabriel has visited our generation, but I wonder what he said.
But this is incredible too. Luke 1:38. Mary finds out she's going to be a pregnant virgin. Even in today's world, that would be weird. But for her day, it was disgraceful. But Gabriel tells her she found favor with the Most High. He hailed her, "Highly favored one."

And her response to this incredibly strange event in her life is, "Let it be to me according to your word."

There was a Yes! in Mary's heart to the Lord. Despite the oddity and embarrassment of her calling, she said Yes!

How many times do we say No to the Lord because it's not what everyone else is doing or because we don't feel like it.

Oh I want there to be a Yes! In my heart. "Lord, I say yes! Help my weakness!"

..... I've been editing galleys for Lambert's Peace. And will finish Hurricane Allie this week and start shipping it off for critting.

Youth church tonight, then I'm leading worship Friday night for the Space Coast Prayer Gathering. We're doing strong Harp & Bowl so I brought in Jeremiah and Laura to help me.

I'm reading the biography of Vivian Vance. Next I'm reading Gilead or The Living End by Lisa Samon. Not sure. I'm in a little group of writers who are trying to read the same thing so we can discuss it. But we haven't picked a new book yet. So far, we've read The Mermaid Chair and Shem Creek.

Ok, better get to work. Sorry I haven't posted any new pictures, but I can't get them to upload!


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Still turning heads

I forgot to tell you all this story. About two months ago, the weather was really beautiful and I was cruising around town in my "drop top" Cabrio, the top dropped.

I was playing Todd Agnew in my CD player and was jammin', I mean jammin' to "Grace Like Rain." I had it cranked and for my standard-issue car stereo, it sounded pretty good.

Waiting at a stop light, a big ole F250 pulls up in the lane next to me, three teenage guys in the cab. I am rocking to this song - singing, drumming, bobbin'. You get the picture.

The driver of the truck pops his head out the window and looks at me, smiling. Then he speaks to his buddies, jerking his thumb my way. I... am still jammin'. I love that song.

Blonde dude looks at me again, grins and backs up the truck. He nods his approval.

My light turns green and off I go, waving at the young men who understand the rockin-out needs of a '70s child.

I mostly thought it was cool that they recognized Todd Agnew and Grace Like Rain. Must be church boys.

Busy day today. Pastor's prayer followed by the Fire Dweller leadership meeting. Then ran errands with Tony and came home for dinner. After that, I couldn't get motivated for much.

But lots of little things are on my plate and I need to get them done. So, the next week will be busy.

Today we decided that I'm speaking at the In The Fire conference. I think I'm going to do one of my practical teachings. You know, how do you do all the things we're exhorting you to do?

So, I'm going to talk about how to organize life so you have time for 1. Prayer and the Word and 2. Achieving goals.

Many people talk to me about writing, but they never set aside time to write. You'll never get published that way. Or, wanting to learn an instrument. You'll never learn if you don't set aside time to practice and play with others.

Growing in God is so much like that. If you don't set aside time to develop a life in God, you never will. Plus, there are keys to going deeper that happen if we just stick to them - basic things. You know, most people really think prayer is boring, and reading the Bible is just about as boring. But! What if you combine the two together? Pray using the Word. Read a chapter, talk to God about it, ask for insight or understanding, or how to apply it to your own life and ta-da, you're praying and reading the Bible!

So, that's my thought for the day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

No Place Like Home

I love visiting family and friends, but it always feels so good to be home. I slept so soundly.

It was back to the grind as soon as we got home. I had mail requesting I trim Lambert's Code by 7 pages. The printed version came out too long. I did that last night, but wish I could change more than a few lines here and there! Is a manuscript ever completely done?

I like the writing in this book, but wish I could rework the story a little. Oh well. It's good, so buy it! Hahaha.

I have Lambert's Peace galleys to do and finishing Hurricane Ally. Tony's niece and her family are coming today to check out the area. They want to move here. So, the house will be busy. I can always go to the library or coffee shop to write. Better, Barnes & Noble. No internet there.

You know a great place to write? My Grandma's house. So quiet and peaceful. She has about the most peaceful house. I love going there. She lives across the street from my Mom, who also has a peaceful house. But lately when I've been there, it's full of people.

Well, off to hang with Jesus for awhile. Peace.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Merry Christmas, everyone

I can't believe it's only a few days before Christmas. I love this time of year. The house is decorated and cozy, twinkling lights dancing in shadow against the walls. The aroma of baking cookies fills the house and as soon as the sun goes down, I'm going to light a fire in the fireplace and curl up on the couch with a few cookies.

Most of my shopping is done, though I have a few things left to buy Tony. We like to open, okay, I like to open lots of things Christmas morning. What a great time of year, isn't it?


It's not Christmas, it's July. It's hot and you all know it had to be a fairytale when I wrote, " the aroma of baking cookies fills the house" Puleeze!

I'm in Tallahassee this weekened with the fam. All the kids are here and we are helping Mom with more yard work. While Dad's health declined, they never got things done on and in the house that they wanted. The garage needs organizing and Dad's office cleaned out and organized, pictures need hanging.

The house is beautiful and the furniture so nice. It will be good for Mom to have things in place.

Pressing forward - I've been impressed lately with Phil 3:13 - 14, "... forgetting the things that are behind and pressing forward to what lies ahead." I've posted this before, but it's worth remembering. If we go through life looking over our shoulder, we'll eventually wreck. We cannot revel in our failure, neither can we revel in our success.

We have to press on to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus! High calling. We have a high calling! What is that calling? To be the Bride of the Prince of Peace!

What makes forgetting the past and looking to the future more promininent in my life lately is that my Dad is in a box on the fireplace hearth. Is that wierd or what? I walked in yesterday afternoon and there he was. The most influnential man in my life is in a box.

While I miss him, still, my life goes on. My work is not done on this earth. I so want to stand before the Lord and hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Even more, "Come to the dance of the Bridegroom."

Life is good. God is good. Peace out.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Left, left, LEFT!

I've learned I'm a conceptual person. No surprise really, but here's how it plays out in my life.

I'm at Step aerobics last night and the class, for once, is small. I figure good chance for me to get this stuff down. I'm still klutzing my way through. Thursday night, I had to set up in the FRONT of the class which was humiliating.

OK, so Friday night I set up behind the instructor so I can learn the Step moves and lingo. The other three in the class were experienced Steppers, so I figured this was my chance advance my skill.

Things are going along fine... I'm Stepping away... and we do this move where we "power over" the step and now everyone is facing the back and facing me. I'm suddenly in FRONT.

Instructor says, "We're going to power over the step and into left V step." Translation: move to the other side of the Step bench, then step up beginning with your left foot.

Cool with me. I like powering over. So, we do the move and I hear her go, "Start left."

Fine. I can do that. I step up on the left three times, then power back over and am now facing the front of the room and I'm back in the back where I belong. We do some more routines, then wham! Power over again and we're all facing the back.

Instructor says, "Left V Step. LEFT! LEFT! LEFT!"

OK, gotcha. I'm V-Stepping left.

We do it again, later. She says, "V-Step. LEFT! LEFT! LEFT!"

I think, "Wow, why is she saying LEFT! LEFT! LEFT? Someone must not be getting it." But, I can't see behind me, so I figure they'll get it sooner or later.

Um, yeah, it was ME! I was the one not getting it. I'm telling you, I don't know my left from my right and now all the women in that class know, too. They were all looking at me when I was V- Stepping right instead of left!

You guys, I was the reason she was yelling, "LEFT! LEFT! LEFT!"

Ahhhh! But in my mind, I was V-Stepping left. Why? Because when we were on the right side, shall I say, correct side of the bench, facing forward, that's the left side to me. Just because we powered over doesn't mean left moved to the other side. Well, not in my mind.

Does this abnormality disqualify me from being like, er, a Navy Pilot or something?

Hurricane Dennis - The storm is passing by us about 275 miles west, but we are getting wind gusts and rain. This is a massive storm. Mom, Grandma and Danny will get lots of wind and rain in Tallahassee.

Tony tricked me into working in the yard with him today, but we had fun. We're all mulched for another year.

I'm STILL reading Shem Creeek. Can't seem to get it finished, but I'm almost there. I have so many other books I want to read - and they are here, in my house, waiting.

Talked with my bud, Tracey, today. And praying for my other bud, Chris, to feel better. Love you guys.

Long lost friends - A friend from long, long ago, Dennis Stricklin, called the other night. We talked for about an hour. It was great to catch up with him. He was in Homestead, Florida when we moved down there in '74. He lives up in Cocoa and called to first say how sorry he was about Dad dying, then to catch up on the last twenty-five years. I was fourteen when I met him, he was twenty-four. Good talking to you, Dennis.

Writing - Off to write.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Five things I miss about my childhood

My brother Joel wrote: You've been tagged! Now you have to write a post about 5 things you miss about your childhood. and then pass it on! Love you.

Ok, I'm game.

One, it's obvious. Dad. I miss my Dad. When he died so much of my childhood died with him.

Two, I miss playing and exploring the Shawnee State Forest in southern Ohio. The sound of gravel popping under car tires as we drive up Grandma's drive way.

Three, Christmas with the Hayes's, Taylors and Fausnaughs.

Four, playing with a bunch of friends, then running home to a warm house and Mom's cooking.

Five, 45's and long play albums.

I'm sure I could think of more. Snow days, living with my brothers and sister, etc. But you know these days are the best days.

On Writing...

I've been reading a lot lately. Thinking and reading. Reading Dorthea Benton Frank, Sue Monk Kidd, Kaye Gibbons, LuAnne Rice, and Melissa Senate. I took a whack at Faulkner, but I drooled and ruined the book. (wink)

This process always leads me to some navel gazing while reading the authors' bios.

"What kind of writer are you, Rachel? What kind of writer do you want to be?"

Kaye Gibbons said this about her success, "To be able to write literature that sells taks an almost surreal amount of stubborn persistence; imagination; the ability to forego distractions (ah-hem. be gone internet!); and a willingness to lock oneself in a room and submit oneself to constant, ruthless, self-criticism."

That's the crux of it, isn't it? Hard work? Digging deep. Going beyond what I think I'm capable of doing. I'm not claiming to be a literary. I don't want to be a literary writer. I want to be an excellent author. As excellent as I can be.

I've got a few notes for Ms. Gibbons, though. Shorter sentences! Reading her is hard work. Great story, nice writing, but sentences that rival the Apostle Paul. No wonder her book Ellen Foster is now used in colleges. Gotta make it hard to earn those A's.

Truth is to find my stride and keep working hard. I've gone out on a limb here and exposed my heart. Forgive me, please don't misunderstand me. I am, after all, emoting.

Speaking of fun, excellent writing. I've also been reading/critiquing Tracey Bateman's "Claire" mom lit series. It's fun, fabulous and witty and to be honest, I'm amazingly honored to be a part of this series.

Tracey's one whom I envy in a good way. When great stuff happens in her publishing career, I am as happy as if it happened to me personally. She's worked hard to gain her success. I love and admire her. What a great friend and soul-sister.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Humbled and challenged

Several writers met in Orlando this morning for fellowship and writin' talk. We met at in the home of a woman who has been blind for 20 years. Ya'll, I could NOT tell. Louise Gouge had to tell us that Jan was blind.

She was bubbly, beautiful and most of all, so self sufficient. I was humbled and challenged. How can I complain about anything in my life when I'm so free to do the things I want because I can see? Jan is hungry to learn about writing and has several published articles and a self published book.

We are going to meet once a month to learn and talk. I might try to get a few writer wannabes from here to go over with me next time.

Oh, we had another attendee, Jan Weaver. She's in her 70's (I guess) was Miss Senior USA in '86. She writes poems and songs, even sang one of her songs about Fathers. It was fabulous.

What a great morning.

Yesterday I played racquetball and went to prayer in the morning and evening. Good day. Good presence of the Lord during morning prayer. The evening Fire Dweller meeting was harder for me. I went in a little worried about something so I had a hard time focusing.

It's hard to let go of things that tug on the soul, but I am learning. Especially when I can't do anything about it.

About to go to Twisty Cone with Tony to meet Sheree and Brett and Becky with their kids for ice cream.

Be cool.