Sunday, February 27, 2005

Rainy Day Feeling Again

It's Sunday afternoon, and raining. I like it. Kind of cozy. Rocky V is on the WB and for some reason, I'm watching it.

I actually cooked Sunday dinner. I know, I know, pass the smelling salts, revive the masses. Rachel Hauck cooked a whole meal! I smooshed together hamburger, onions, egg and A-1 sauce to make a meat loaf. Then mashed a few potatoes and steamed up a bag of broccoli. Tony kept going "Yum, good, babe!" A real meal. Such a rare treat in this house. Last night it was a salad and pop-out-of-the-can biscuits.

Church was good this morning. Pastor Gary talked about Moses. God shows up, calls Moses to deliver the Israelists, turns a staff into snake, makes his hand leprous and then heals it - all this after the burning bush encounter. Guess what Moses says? "I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." In the common vernacular, "Me, God? No way. I can't do it."

So God had to draft Aaron to help Moses. Gary's point: "God wanted to use Moses alone. But because Moses refused to abandon his weaknesses, even the Lord's glory was impacted by Moses' fear. And Moses had to share his glory with his brother."

How often do we do that? "God, me? Really? I can't do it!" We deprive God of an opportunity to glorify His name. We deprive God the privilege of giving us glory (for His name sake.)

I am bound by my weakness. But He is not. I want to learn from Moses and say, "God, me? Really? Okay, let's go!"

Too often we fear God leaving us high and dry, and place full confidence in ourselves. He's a gazillion times better! He never fails. He is faithful. He is willing and able.

Fire! Fire! Fire! I decided to burn a fire in the fireplace last night since winter is really about over in Florida. "Last time for a fire, Tony," I said.

Thirty minutes later, a lovely fire flickers from the fireplace. Then a knock on the door. Tony answers. It's our neighbor. Smelling smoke, and thinkng it was too warm (duh!) for a fire, he came over to make sure every thing was okay.

Tony laughed. "Yeah, we're fine. My wife is weird, but we're fine."

Son of Pale Face - Watching the old Bob Hope movie, Pal hops up and starts barking, looking out the window.

"Pal! Hush." I glance out to see "what now" and there, in the road, are two little white puppies, drenched. It'd stopped rainy, thankfully. Tony and I went out to rescue them. We live by a busy road. They were hiding in a wooded lot, and so cute. I coached one of them out of the brush. He'd run toward me, sit up on his hind legs, then run away. Finally, he ran up, licked my hand, then ran away. But third time is a charm and I captured him.

We couldn't find the other puppy, but I had a feeling they belonged to the neighbors next to the empty lot. They have two white dogs. Sure enough, when we walked over, there was Mom, Dad and brother. The little ones escaped through the fence which is six feet tall. Tony had to get a ladder to drop them over the side, then we had to figure out a way to block the escape route!

They were so cute. I was sorta hoping to keep them. Which would have turned our house upside down. LOL. But for once, Pal's bark alarm accomplished something!

Hi Mom.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Way down upon the Suwannee

Or in my case, way up to the Suwannee. I drove to Live Oak, Florida yesterday and spoke in the evening to the Glowing Embers group at the Advent Christian Community. It's a beautiful retirement community tucked away in north, central Florida.

I had a great time. There were about 100 people at the Glowing Embers dinner, and I stayed the night with a wonderful woman named Fran Brunner and her sweet dog, Spooky. This morning, I met with several ladies interested in writing. I could talk about writing and Jesus all day.

I drove home this afternoon, and am now... at home. Tony and I are having an evening together.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

That's what I like about you

We celebrated a friend's birthday last night. Since it was his "day", he got to choose the game. We went around said what we admired or liked about the person next to us.

Then, we said what we liked and admired about the people not sitting next to us. So everyone received about eight encouraging words. It's interesting to see how other's perceive you, the first things they share.

Funny the first things we say about others. I told Tony he was the "coolest guy I know." Among other nice things.

But, isn't that a great game. Not a game really, an great evening with friends. Even the six and three year old participated. It was cool to hear what brother said he loved about sister.

Try it with your family. It will make a difference. Plus, this is my thing this year. If I don't have love, I'm nothing. If I I can't say anything nice, I'm not going to say anything at all.

Had a good day writing on Lambert's Peace. Was worried about being under in word count, now I think I'm going to be over! No, just kidding. It will be just right. I'm actually making this story a strong romantic, relationship story. The best parts are when the hero and heroine are on stage together.

Off to dinner.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

If I have not love...

I've been thinking a lot about love lately. The kind of love Jesus demonstrated by leaving His rightful and privileged place in heaven to make recompense for man's sin. Some times when we sing antiphonally, we ask, "What kind of love is this?"

Not was, but is. A continual, unconditional love. A love that qualifies us to walk in the domain of light!

Jesus prayed in John 17:26 " that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." He's asking the Father to love us as He loves Jesus. How can we stand under such love? How can we not love others? I've spun my wheels trying to love the unlovely. I've had very limited success. But Jesus prays further to the Father and says, "I'll be in them."

It was this kind of news that rocked the world of the Jewish leaders. "What? God living inside of us? Impossible." Colossians 1:27 says it's the mystery of the ages, but here it is, "Christ in you, the hope of Glory."

So if Jesus lives in me, and the love of the Father is in me, then I should love others as the Father would love others. Hum... still working on it. But, it is my heart. Heidi Baker has practically taken over Mozambique for Jesus by loving. "Love the one in front of you," she says.

Then it hit me. If I don't have love, I'm nothing. I'm a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. In fact, I'm down right annoying. Ever heard a noisy gong or clanging cymbal? Shiver! So what if I write best selling novels, speak to thousands, earn millions if I don't have love. I am nothing! If I pray for the sick and see them recovered, but don't have love, it means nothing.

Do I stop writing, living life, pursuing the things of God? No. But it means I pursue love first. How different the world would really be if we pursued love, if we pursued Jesus with abandon.

You know, the disciples saw Jesus perform wonder after wonder, miracle after miracle. John the Beloved said the books of the world couldn't contain all He did. Jesus even told them to go out and do greater works that He! Remember that in John 14:12? If not, look it up. ;) Yet, the disciples didn't question Jesus about the miracles. They didn't question Him about how to perform wonders. They questioned Him about prayer.

"Lord, teach us to pray." They understood the power and importance of communion with the Father. They understood the profundity of Jesus came out of intimacy with the Father. Jesus even said, "I don't act on my own initiative, but I do what I see the Father doing."

And so should we. Loving others comes out of being confident in love ourselves. We must meet with the Father, cry out of the kisses of His Son's words on our hearts. Cry out to be changed, to love like He loves. Then, love the one in front of us. A neighbor, or friend. Perhaps a co-worker. There is no room for unforgiveness, bitterness and hate. No room.

I want to love like He loves. I'm tired of spending my prayers and energy on myself. I want to be like Jesus.

Prayer Retreat - We went on our annual prayer retreat with the teens. Four churches went up to Teen Missions in Merritt Island. It's a great place to go - lots of trees and paths to walk. God did some dynamic stuff with the teens on Friday and Saturday night. My intimate encounter came Saturday morning. I was sitting in the meeting room, worship was going on and Jesus called me to Him. I stood outside this cirlce, and His gaze caught mine.

"Come here," He said. I started to cry. In many areas of my life, I see myself just outside the circle. I"m good but not great. Playing the game, but second string. A wife, but not a mom. I won't bore you with the details, but this is a heart issue I need Him to change. Fearlessly, I stepped into the circle. We danced - Jesus and me. He can have all of me.

I am nothing without Love. Nothing.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

A boo-boo

Tonight Tony and I were putting the top up on the Cabrio, and my finger got caught in the mental hinge. Tony was trying to lock his side down and I'm just screaming! Good bit of pain for about 20 minutes. My finger had a metal bar imprint and there's bleeding under the nail. It hurts to type.

Poor finger. I kept thinking, "How do you get the pain to stop?" Wow! Not fun, but I'm better now.

Good call with my Steeple Hill editor, Krista, today to discuss final changes on my chic lit. There aren't many. She's liked my rewrite. (huge sigh of relief.) I'm about to finish reading Bad Heiress Day. Very good story, and another Steeple Hill Cafe release.

Writing Lamert's Peace now and finding I'm a little short on my word count. I think. Not sure yet. I hate that. I didn't write myself into a corner, but need to add more emotion I think. Lambert's Code, I was over on word count. Go figure. And I thought that book was hard to write. LOL

The trip to Nashville went really well. Sydney, our new conference coordinator will do a fabulous job. The Sheraton is beautiful. The conference will be grand.

My friend, Ted, blessed me today. He said, "Rachel, I'm going to pray the joy of the Lord is your strenght always. That your radiate joy, impact others with the joy of the Lord."

I said, "Hum, I'll take it."

Well, we are going to watch Raising Helen.

Monday, February 14, 2005

My favorite men

Dad and Tony are spending Valentine's Day with me. I'm blessed. Dad had some business in South Florida, so he stopped for the night at Hotel Hauck. We are having fun talking about the Lord, and trying to understand the depths of Luke 24:31.

We went to the gym this morning. It's was couples day and we didn't know. A little after noon time, there were about 10 senior couples working out together! Too funny.

Neighbors just came by and brought us a present from their cruise to Mexico. How nice.

For Valentine's, we went to dinner at Outback. It was nice.

Off to watch a movie. Tomorrow I'm going to Nashville to visit the conference hotel and meet Sydney our coordinator.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

A booksigning, and fried chicken

Lynn Coleman, Lousie Gouge and Eva Marie Everson and I had a booksigning in Orlando at Long's Bookstore today.

What fun! I roped Sheree into going with me. She took the pics. We met a lot of really nice people and had fun talking about writing and publishing.

Eva, Me, Louise, Lynn

Talking with a new friend

On the way home - Traffic was bad and we were starved. I wanted to go to Uno's Pizza but they were packed! Saturday night at 5:45. Hum.... go figger. So we whipped into Wendy's. I ordered a Number 5 combo meal with salad instead of fries though I was jonesing for some fries! But I unwrapped my sandwich to find a "Number 4" which is a double bacon cheeseburger. Definitely not Weight Watcher's friendly. So, thinking they made a mistake, (isn't it usually their fault) I kindly went over and told them I wanted a chicken not beef-n-pig. She fixes me up a new sandwich, I return to my seat to see it's not the grilled chicken I wanted-but-never-said, but the fried. Forget it. I bite.

I realized I ordered a Number 4 by acccident. Here's what happened. I know you're wondering. In line, I said to Sheree, "I'm getting a Number 5."

She said, "I'm getting a Number 4."

So, what do I do, step up to the counter and order a Number 4. Bottom line, it's Sheree's fault. Wink, wink.

At home - I kissed my hubby and got down to editing the galley's for Lambert's Code. Chatted with Tracey, Chris and Eric on line and sat in front of the fire. It's cold tonight. But I want to enjoy it while it last even though the house smells like the aftermath of a forest fire. Not quite, but you get my meaning.

Yes, the time stamp is correct. I have to go to sleep or I won't be awake enough to lead worship in the mornig. Be sure to click on the name of my fellow authors and visit their sites!

Peace Out.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Day in the life of a writer, well at least this writer

Write two lines, stare out the window, write two more lines, look up and think I'm sure so-n-so and so-n-so would write this story better than I am.

Let one of the dogs out. Write a sentence, pause to worry about next book. Let the other dog out. Write more. Throw a log on the fire. Wish I was Tracey Bateman or Kristin Billerbeck. Focus! Focus! Back to the story. Let dogs in because the scratching at the door is irritating.

Make a cup of tea. Wonder if it's going to turn my teeth some shade of yellow. Did I mention I think my hair is thinning on top? I promise! My part shows much more scalp that it used to! And my bangs fall funny. What will I do if I go bald on the forefront of my head? Wear a bandanna? Oh law.

Back to the story where the heroine has lucious blonde hair...

Monday, February 07, 2005

Cathy Got Married

Sitting in IHOP Saturday morning, Tony and I did the "old married couple thing" and sat at breakfast reading. He, a Sci-Fi on his palm, me, the Florida Today (which I read once a year, maybe.)

Waiting for my eggs and 'cakes, I flipped to the comics. What? What's this? Cathy got married! Cathy, the single, career woman's comic icon, the original "chic." Bridget Jones' predecessor. The first to make fun of our obsession with weight, shoes, and noncommital boyfriends. (See "He's Just Not That Into You.")

Saturday's comic was her wedding day! She married Ivan. I can't believe it. Since I haven't kept up with the story line, I have no idea what lead up to it, but Cathy Got Married.

I heard this is the year the Lord is blessing people with marriages. Maybe Cathy is a "sign." Ha...

Super Bowl - The Super Bowl is always fun. Big screen TV at church, lots of food, Greg with a microphone. The night of Super Bowl XXII, Tony and I talked for the first time. Back in those days, we had Sunday night church and while I had Super Bowl plans with my friends, they fell through hours before the big game. I got in my car to go shopping, but the Holy Spirit kept tapping my heart, "Go to church."

"I did, this morning," I said. But I couldn't shake the proding. So, I went home, changed and went to church. Tony and I stood in the back afterwards and talked for an hour. Seventeen years later, we're still talking.

I guess Super Bowl XXII has to be my favorite. Don't know who was playing, don't know who won. Maybe the Broncos? The '80's was their heyday right? Or the Redskins.

Anyway, I guess you could say I found love because of a Super Bowl. LOL! Mostly I found love because of a Super God. There's no one like Him.

Sling Back Chair - Years ago, before we were married, Tony's parent's bought him this sling chair that he could rock in. It's really comfortable. My backside sits lower than my legs. It's a great laptop writing chair. I've pulled it into the living room and spent time today writing. Got stuff done. :) I think the chair is now an official part of my writing life. My writing chair.

Joined the Gym - Oh yeah, joined the gym tonight. Tony went to another place last year, but I wanted to start lifting weights again, so we joined Pro Health together. I loved it. I'm excited. I've gained flghdut number of pounds (that's me with my hand over my mouth) and want to get it off and get down to my goal weight. No more fooling around. (Bill Cosby: "You've fooled around long enough.)

John 3:27 & 29: Great revvy today. Disciples of John the Baptist complained to John that Jesus was baptising people. John responds with, "A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven." Then in verse 29, he blows us away with, "He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice So this joy of mine has been made full."

Basically, it's all about Jesus. We can't be jealous of each other because a man can receive no-thing unless heaven gives it to him. And, the bride (hint: the church) belongs to Jesus. He's the bridegroom. We can't covet the Bridegroom's bride. "Hey, Jesus, mind if I use the ones you love for my own gain?"

No, only He's earned the right to call us His own. I didn't die for the Bride, you didn't die. Only He gave up His life for love.

You belong to Jesus. I belong to Jesus. We can't be jealous over each other, or covet what the other has. We should point to Jesus, point to the good in each other and remind ourselves "you are the Beloved."

"Rightly do they love you, Jesus."

Well, off to do other things. Maybe sleep.

Oh, see below. My boy Eric, Wheaton grad, with a friend in Chicago.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

There's no place like home, really?

We're home from vacation. Got in this afternoon. I've already vaccumed and mopped, unpacked, emailed, and am now blogging. (This one's for you, Chris.)

It's simply a beeeaauutiful central Florida day... not! It's cloudy and raining... and what IS that smell in my house? I cannot figure it out. Part musty, part stank. Anyway, I cleaned (sorta) so I'll have to figure it out later.

We have youth church tonight. Talk about hitting the ground running. Tomorrow is Fire Dweller leaders meeting and Mary Hogan's funeral. I need and want to be at both of those, so I plan to write in the morning and then in the evening. I have several things to be working on in February, the short month. Plus a trip to Nashville to view the conference site and a prayer retreat. And one speaking engagement. No two.

I read this in my RWA chic lit newsletter. Interview with Stephanie Lehmann, author and agent. She said, "I would never write from anything but the heart." I love that. I have to keep that in mind. Yes, their are publishing trends and demands. Do it. But write my story from my heart. Write my voice.

Does anyone know how to renew my RWA membership? I don't and I think it's due soon.

My tenure as ACFW President is drawing to a close. I'm both sad and excited. Sad to be leaving a position I love and a Board I adore. Excited to give more time and mental energy to writing. ACFW is an exceptional organization. I thank God for the ladies who founded it on a wing and a prayer: Lynn, Andrea, Tracie, DiAnn, Gail and Brandilyn. Thank you!

A cute little girl sat across the aisle from us on the airplane ride home. When we landed in Orlando and while taxing in, Tony unclicked his seatbelt. "Um, tellin'." So the little girl does the same and hops out of her seat like, "Woo hoo, we're here!" Her mom snaps her up and buckles her back in the seat. The little girl looks at her mom, then leans way over and looks at Tony, then looks at her mom again. I laughed and nudged Tony, "You're setting a bad example." The look on her faces was "sumptin ain't right here." But hey, she's spending the week with Micky. Her worries are over.

Click on Photos to see new pictures!

Happy Birthday, Maureen! LIOB