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.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Random things on my mind

I'm taking a break today from the Song of Solomon study to just give random thoughts. Things that make me laugh, things that make me go "hum...."

At the gym Monday night and our instructor has us stepping for 3 minutes, then jump roping for one. You cannot imagine how hard it is to jump rope for one minute. Six year old girls are heroines to me. One of my "classmates" was having a hard night. Do this wrong, that wrong. Like we toss this little pointy ball around for fun, but it bounces all over the place if you don't catch it. We're supposed to toss under handed, but she's tossing over hand, just little things.

Finally, we get to working on abs, which calls for sitting on those huge, colorful balls. You've seen them on comercials, right. Well, Leigh, I'll call her, gets this real squishy green one. Instructor says, "there's not enough air in that one."

"That's ok," says Leigh.

All's well until the end of the ab workout. We're stretching our backs over the ball, hands over head, leaning out those ab muscles. I hate that exercise, so I'm sitting up, watching and waiting.

Suddenly, Leigh rolls off her ball. THUD! and rolls around the floor, hands still stretched over her head. OMG, it was so funny. She gets up, smiling and the girl on the other side of her laughs.

I laugh. Ok, she's fine, has a new ball, we're moving onto pushups. I CANNOT stop laughing. I duck my face to the floor and will myself not to see her rolling off the ball, hitting the floor and rolling a few more times.

Snort. Suck it up. Ten minutes later, class is over. I walk with Leigh out to our cars. Get in mine, crank the engine, crank the air and let 'er rip! I laughed all the way home - ten minutes, maybe more.

It still makes me laugh. She was so cute and funny. Oh well, guess you had to be there.

What's up with McDonald's these days? I stopped in for a hamburger on my way to the RWA meeting last night, after Spinning, and there was a posting on the regitster: "Average service time, 45 seconds."

In what universe? I waited two minutes just to be asked, "May I take your order!" Waited three more minutes for a hamburger! How does that average to 45 seconds? I didn't see any one waited on in less than 5 minutes.

How does the register know, btw? I didn't see her punching buttons when she stopped and started my order.

This is what gets me most. Person in front of me orders and the food is not ready. The counter person doesn't go ahead and take my order, get it in the system. Nooooo. She stands there with her hands on her hips waiting for the first order! Stands there. Waiting.

Now, I'm a McDonald's alum! We were never, ever allowed to stand there and wait.

McDonald's, listen to me! Go back to the bin method of serving food. Have it all ready. Forget the microwave method and just cook it, serve it up and have your people run and get it. Now that the drinks are out from behind the counter, you should be able to have record service times.

I simply don't see how this new method works. Go back to the bins! I'm done with that rant now. Sorry.

Off to write. Pray for me. ;)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Song of Solomon 1:5 and an update

... I am black but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, Like the tents of Kedar, Like the curtains of Solomon.

I am dark...

The Bride has an acute awareness of her sin. She realizes before the only One who is white, she is dark. Even her best deeds on her best day does not make her white enough to stand next to her Beloved. She has a reality check on her own weaknesses. But, she possesses a willing spirit. A willing heart. She's not rebellious toward God, but a sincere one with weakness. Recognizing her own humanity begins the journey of humility so when her passions are ignited she's not caught in pride.

... but lovely.

Her willing spirit, the "Yes!" in her heart confirm her sincere intentions towards God. She's lovely to Him because of the righteousness of Jesus, her Beloved. She doesn't have to be perfect or mature to be lovely before Him. Just willing, unable to continue in sin once she recognizes it in her life. "Yes!" I want to do your will, Father. I want to take my place as Your Son's bride.

... Like the tents of Kedar, Like the curtains of Solomon.

The tents of Kedar were grayish black and common in the areas outside of Jerusalem. They were made from the dark skins of wild goats. So, in the Bride's cry to the Father about her humans condition, she recognizes that her own "flesh" is dark.

But, she's grown to understand the inward working of God's grace. Solomon's curtains were bright white, and hung in the holy place in the temple. They were not seen in the outer court, but hidden from the common person. This speaks of the beauty that is in the Bride, in YOU, that only God sees. There's beauty in the hidden places. Don't be afraid of the hiddenness. People will see the outer, dark part of you. Of me. But God knows and sees the inner beauty. He will take care of the rest.

You are not defined by your weakness, nor your strengths. You are defined by Jesus, the worthy one.

. . . Dark, but lovely am I. Dark, but lovely... dark by lovely.

The weekend "Raising the Bar" young women's conference went well. The Lord visited us and blessed the young women and set a plumb line in their lives. We really challenged them to set there standard by Jesus, not by the world. Be who He says they are, not what the world says they are. Let's respect ourselves. Let's overcome this two cleavage society. What's up with that? Let's be woman, real woman, and fulfill our destiny. All of creation longs for us to be who He called us to be.
We are not wanna-be men. Let's stop trying to be like them and be us! We are naturally modest. Naturally nurturing and loving. We love our babies. We don't abort them. "And ladies," I said, "We got it, they want it, let's keep it lock up for a ring, date and wedding vows!"
Cassie led worship and was wonderful. Saturday she started a contemplative time at 8:30 and the anointing was so strong my eyes watered when I walked in the sanctuary.
So, all in all, a grand time. I love my young teen girls. I'm just getting to know them, but they are a good group and I'm excited for what God has for them.
Well, I need to get writing. Be blessed.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Song of Solomon One thru Four

The Song of Songs, which is Solomon's. May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine...

The Beloved is crying out to the Father, I want to know the intimate touches of Your Son's Word on my heart. In today's terms, I want to have a fresh revelation of Jesus. I want to read the Word and find Him there, daily. A new kiss, a deeper touch on my heart, mind, will and emotions.

The love of Jesus is ultimately better than wine, or in our case, the riches of this world. Better than fame and recognition by men. We must know the love that is sweeter, more desireable than our greatest ambition. The love that is worth it all. This is the love of Jesus. It changes us inside and out, even our emotional chemistry.

...Your oils have a pleasing fragrance. Your name is like purified oil poured out. Therefore the maidens love you.

The Beloved, you and me, declare Jesus is the fragrance of our lives. Pure oil is soothing, healing and takes away the roughness. It has value. What are the things that have value in your life? The love of Jesus is far above, far greater.

No wonder people love you. Jesus, you are worth loving! Rightly do they love you, those who love you!

...Draw me after you and let us run together! The King has brought me into His chambers.

Jesus, draw me into the intimate place you've already prepared for my by the cross. I cannot run, I cannot DO unless I first learn to be still in your presence. Unless I am comfortable in the secret place. Draw me, woo me, I will go with You. You can see and have all of me. Even the dark places of my heart.

And when I'm ready, so the word and I'll run with you. I'll partner with You as You do the Father's will to see His kingdom established on earth as it is in heaven! But, I must run from the chamber. Otherwise, I'll grow weary and fail. Otherwise, it will be all about me, my name and my fame. But, it must be about You! Only You.

... We will rejoice in you and be glad. We will extol your love more than wine (or whine in some of our cases.) Rightly do they love you!

Yes, Lord, I want your love to sustain me, to make me smile, to make me happy, to be the source of my inspiration and peace. You love me. So I love you. Oh, good going all you who love the Lord. Never give up. Never turn back. His love is the treasure worth pursuing!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Dark, but lovely

I saw this woman at the 7-11. Long beautiful blonde hair, slender build, nice figure, smartly dressed in a cute skirt and strappy mules, French manicure on her fingers and toes. Observing her while I filled my gas tank, her hair shielded her face, but I thought, "She must be really pretty."

Then, she turned around. Her face was plain and her features uneven. I had to fight staring because the face did not fit the form. She reminded me of the type of people I'd seen on Extreme Makeover.

It's so odd how we define beauty. I expected a Christie Brinkley face to go with the Jennifer Aniston body (sans the fake boobs.) How often to do judge by outward appearances? How often do we see in part? The Bible says man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.

Don't you wish we could really see hearts, I mean clearly see?

We love the beautiful people, yet how many of them have fake, puffed up hearts? And how many of the not-so-beautiful-people have simple, pure hearts?

Every whip lash, every fist to the face, every thorn pushed into His crown, every hair of his beard plucked out, every nail, the weight of anguish was endured for love! For the sake of real beauty. He did it for the unlovely inside, for the unlovely outside. Don't we all find ourselves in an unlovely place some time in our life?

Yet, Jesus said, "You are worthy." And He proved it. But we can't have worthiness or beauty or freedom outside of Him. It's impossible. He's the only one EVER who died for sins, who died for love.

"I am dark, but lovely." Song of Solomon 1:5

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I'm My Beloved's, He Is Mine

This verse jumped out at me as I read Song of Solomon this morning. "I'm my Beloved's and He is mine." I'm not going to comment. Just say the verse to yourself over and over today, let it soak in, go down to the depths of your soul. There is NO force like the force of one who is confident in love.

"I'm my Beloved's and He is mine!"

Writing is back on track, thanks to all who prayed. I spent the weekend editing and rewriting, then caught up with it yesterday. But, I still struggled with doubts. Am I on the right track? Am I bogging the story down? Do I need this scene? Is the story even funny? It felt so serious to me. So, a friend said, "Send it to me." She knew I just wanted an overall critique, not a line by line crit. This is the first and a half draft after all.

She emailed me this morning that she loved it and it was very REAL (another concern) and hilarious. She's having her sister read it, too, for feedback. Thank you, Chris!

Went to Spinning last night, then home to work some more and watch Gilmore Girls. You know, I'm wondering if they are going to wind the show down, maybe this or next is the last season. I'll be really mad if Rory breaks up with Logan, or Logan breaks up with her. He is rather impetuous, though. (What was my post the other day about wasting time and emotion on things that don't matter?! Hum. . . )

Tony is doing well, thanks for asking. The dogs are also doing well, but Pal is annoying as always. For those of you who know him, big surprise, eh? But, he's cute and loyal and loving so we endure. Red is still a fat cat, but a cutie.

The Young Women's conference "Raising the Bar" is Friday and Saturday. I've been reading Song of Solomon to prepare for my message on Saturday night. Chapter 2 verse 15 is going to be key. "Catch the foxes that spoil the vineyard."

This is a cry of the Bride's to her Beloved to catch the lies, deceit and craftiness of the world that takes away from her wholehearted devotion. Young women today are being led astray by the lies of the world, the media, Hollywood, feminism. Our heart cry is, "Lord, catch these things in our lives. Expose them. We want to be true women of virtue and integrity."

Anyway, that's the spring board for my message.

Well, must work. Lunch with Allison today and need to shop for my baskets for the conference. Peace.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

This was so cool. . .

Walking into the gym last night, completely NOT feeling like 80 minutes of sports cardio, but pressing on, when a guy on the ellipticals calls out to me, "Ohio State."

I stopped. He wore a Beat Michigan shirt in Ohio State colors. We start chatting.

"When did you graduate?" I ask. Like I never meet anyone who graduated in my time.

"Eighty-five," he said.

"Me, too! Were you in a frat?"

"Fiji," he said.

"OMG, I was a Phi Mu! I knew Bill Gamble pretty well." He married one of my sorority sisters, Twila. In fact, she was instrumental in me joining Phi Mu in the first place. When I got my bid, she came up to the apartment to give it to me. I think she was with Maureen O'Brien. Mo - was that you???

"Yeah, Bill. He was a friend."

Then we started talking about Ohio State, football, a few people we knew, then about what he does, what I do, etc. His name is Patrick and he's an anesthesiologist at Palm Bay Hospital. Isn't that weird? An engineer I would expect in these parts because of Harris and Gruman and Rockwell, but a doctor?

Maybe not a big deal to you, but Ohio State is a big place, the Greek system is big, or was in my day, and it's been 20 years! I thought it was pretty cool. God kissing my heart. . . cause He knows I like stuff like that.

Great story on Oprah yesterday how Faith Hill heard songs from a new songwriter, a 36 year-old stay at home Mom and fell in love with her songs! Her album was done and she said, "Wait, we're going back in and recording three of this woman's songs!" The title song, Fireflies, is the woman's song. Pretty cool.

Go for your dreams. But really, keep you heart close to the beat of Jesus. The days are dark. The time is drawing near to the end of the age. Think eternity, think eternity.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."

Monday, October 03, 2005

Late Getting Started

It's Monday, going on one o'clock. I'm late getting started today! I had to blog for Faithchick, so hop on over to and check it out. I can't remember what I wrote, but I'm sure it's brilliant!

Writing today, Sports Cardio at 5:00, then more writing. The Young Women's conference, "Raising The Bar" is this weekend, so I need to prepare for that. Someone gave me $200 yesterday to make two baskets for give aways. I was excited and very grateful to this generous family!

I'm speaking on Saturday night, doing a walk through Song of Solomon. We need to get a hold of how much we are loved, how much God is for us, how rooted and grounded we can be. Getting a grip on this amazing love does help us with our earthly appetites that can be out of control, and our emotions. The love of Jesus can actually change our emotional chemistry. I know it's done that for me. But it's more than just knowing it, it's pursing it, dwelling on it, meditating, singing the Word, going deep. Takes time. . . I think I've said that before.

But everything good in life takes time.

So, I have a busy week and want to keep up writing. I did a no-no and started back with chapter one and reworked my story. I just needed to be assured of my foundation cause I didn't like where the story was going. I had someone tell me the story had structural problems, so I let that bother me for awhile, but shoved it out of my head. It couldn't be too bad if it sold, right? Well, I'm plowing ahead.

I have this verse taped to my computer desk, "The things impossible with men are possible with God!" Luke 18:27. Man, I love that and to know that POSSIBLE God loves me!

What a great day to be alive!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Living at the foot of the cross

Tony and I went to lunch with a new, young couple at church, Mattthew and Elisa, 23. They are getting married next month, but are down here working. She lives with his parents and he's holding down their soon to be newlywed apartment.

Over stromboli's and hot subs, we talked about the Lord and what He's doing today. Shared our testimonies, in brief, and I remember thinking how odd it is that I feel so comfortable with "kids" half my age. It felt completely normal and perfect to be with them. I'd rather be with twenty-somethings most of the time than people my own age.

But you know, it's not the age. It's their heart. Their passion. They want to go for Jesus. Their idea of a fun time, hanging out? Worshipping and praying. That's awesome. That's what Tony and I want.

As we left the restuarant, Tony said to me, "That's what we need, their zeal."

They need our wisdom and experience. Without each other, what we have is half as effective. Zeal without wisdom and experience (these two had a lot of wisdom, but at 23 you only have so much experience) can be dangerous. Wisdom and experience without zeal is a waste.

I'm so glad the Lord brought them to NCF! They have such pure, hungry hearts. Another thing for us older, more experience ones to note. We get weary and bitter. How many times have I heard myself or others who've been around say, "Yeah, we tried that, didn't work."

I'm going for Jesus. I want to be like Mary the Devoted.

Worked on the Country Princess yesterday and last night. I just have to slow down and think, weave my story, trust in Jesus. When I was coordinating a big confernce in 2003, I'd wake up overwhelmed and panicked. I'd pray, "Lord, this is Yours. If You don't do it, it won't happen." Peace would wash over me and so far, Houston 2003 is my favorite conference. Thank you, Jesus.

So, I pray the same about my books. Jesus, if You don't do it, it won't happen. I mean, I'll type, You write. (grin.) Think I'll do a little of that now.

I leave you with this phrase from The Dixie Dictionary: living at the foot of the cross - phr - religious conversion after a narrow escape from death.

Tell me about it. . .

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Walk On The Water

Last night, I was reading my new release, Lambert's Code. I got my author copies in the mail yesterday and was really excited. How cool!

I always read the printed copy, so started it before Step, then read more before bed. Lambert's Code was a hard book to write, and I had anxiety attacks over it. So, I'm reading away, catching a few mistakes - mistakes to me - like why didn't I edit out that line? Or she asks that question three times in one page, why didn't I catch that?

I was so disappointed in myself. It's a good story, and moves pretty quick, but I kept thinking of how much better I could have done it. So, in the middle of the night, anxiety attack! Yep, I woke up SURE I couldn't finish The Country Princess or if I did, it would be blech! What was I thinking signing a contract with WestBow.

Talked to Tony and tried to go to sleep again, thinking of Jesus. But I didn't sleep well and kept thinking of what a horrible storyteller I am. When I finally got up around 9, I put on Kent Henry's Deep Worship CD and the first song is about walking on the water with Jesus.

Suddenly the words washed over me and I started to cry. Jesus was saying walk on the water with me, Rachel, but I started looking around at my circumstances, my limited ability and sank fast! Let me tell you! I felt Jesus extend His hand to me. I reached up and grab hold!

I know I'm going to have to work hard, and I can do that, but I can't do it when I'm anxious. Jesus is right, what will it gain me to worry or fret? Please pray for me if you think of it. Thanks!

My friend Chris Lynxwiler is about to have a trade book deal. Congrats, Chris! You deserve it!
Meanwhile, my optical mouse is on the fritz and that really irritates me, but it's a small annoyance.

Today, I'm working-writing, though the house needs vacuuming, and dusted if I looked close. But I won't.