Thursday, June 30, 2005

So, I'm sitting at the coffee house...

... House of Joe, writing on my novella. Of course, it was all for naught, but nevertheless a pleasant exercise.

Anyway, this man comes in to buy coffee and asks in a loud voice if there is a newspaper around. I knew there was so I said, "Yes, there one there." (Picture me pointing.) He comes over to pick it up and said to me, "Do you see the President's speech last night? Man, I had to turn it off. He mentioned God three times in the firs ten minutes."

What? God? Oh. My. Who does he think he is? I replied, "Aren't you glad the leader of our nation is trusting in the kind, loving God of the universe to lead him?"

That launches a fifteen minute dialog from pressing the red nuke button to the Iraq war to gay marriage to who is control the world's oil. I refuted most of his argument easily enough because they are all emotion based. But finally, he said, "I tell you what. In the end, it's he with the most oil who wins."

I smiled. "Actually, he who knows Jesus in the end, wins."

"Well, nice talking to you. See you." End of conversation.

Fun, eh? I was nice, calm, cool, giving the man his due on the points he did try to make. But really, nothing matters because at the End of the Age it's all about Jesus and His Kingdom. Read the Book.

I am redirecting my novellla. I had to stop, think, work on my characters. I did that today and wrote a chapter by chapter outline.

Then went to Step aerobics and rethought the story some. I need a new starting place. I want the hurricane to be more prominent. Aren't ya'll just waiting to read this story. Ah, the writer's life. Actually, I wouldn't want to do anything else.

Tony and I watched Miss Congeniality 2 tonight. V. cute but the plot had some holes.

Want to say hi to Judy and Bob Mumford. Thanks for stopping by! You have a deep place in my heart.

Missing Dad today. I cried a few times. I don't know what about today hit me so hard, but I just missed him. I was reading something in Matthew 26 and wondered what he would think about it, and that started it.

Most of his death is dealing with missing him, but then there's the part about knowing life is forever changed. My memories have all faded, the emotion of them changed. A picture of Homestead, Haskell, or Lexington may float across my mind and I know instinctively I can never relive those days again, even in my mind. They are not simply faded memories, but now, almost like tainted ones. It's not like a chapter in my life has ended, but a book has been written, ended, read and closed. Forever.

Psalm 116: 15 - "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His godly ones."

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A funny thing happened at the gym last night

Our Sports Cardio instructor does something different with the class each Monday. It's like Jr. High PE, but harder! However, I'm not in Jr. High any more, so it's actually fun!

However, she did have us jumping rope for two, four minute segments. I wasn't happy. But, I kept jumping.

Our Guatemalan guests left today, Anibal and Claudia. Very lovely people. We had a nice time with them, but mostly saw them in the morning and evening.

It's good to have Tony home even though he brought home a Guatemalan crude or something. He was sick Sunday and part of Monday. He's feeling better and is at church today.

Tonight, I went to a Spinning class, then musicians practice. I'm gearing up for four intense workouts a week, hoping to keep the calories down, too. But I get so hungry. LOL. It's amazing.

I have more to say, but am too tired. Catch me later. Love to all the Pinkies!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I've moved to Seattle

Toto! We're not in Palm Bay any more. We're over the rainbow in Seattle!

It's been raining here all week. I thought, "Did I fall asleep in Palm Bay and wake up in Seattle?" Gray days with heavy clouds , only a few glimpses of the Florida sun.

I want my sunshine!

Gymed myself today even though I have a cold. I went to kick boxing aerobics, then sat in the sauna trying to sweat this thing out of me - stuffed nose and soar throat. I have a funny story from the class, but I can't tell it because it wouldn't be nice.

Tony and team are doing well in Guatemala. He comes home Saturday and we'll have a Guatemalan guests at our house until Tuesday - Anibal and his wife and children. They are really nice family and speak English. My Spanish is rusty.

I've been meditating on John 7:37 lately. Get this, Jesus stoods up on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths) and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

Ok, several beeeeauuutiful points here. One, Jesus said if ANYONE wants to come to Him, the can. No one is disqualified. It doesn't matter about our backgrounds, our family history, our strengths, weaknesses, who wounded us, who we wounded, Jesus is available to everyone. I mean He stood up in front of the leaders of Israel and yelled, "If you want, come to Me! I'm available!" Isn't that awesome?

But wait, it gets better! Then He promised if we merely believe in Him as the scripture says(hint: read your Bible, then talk to Him about it,) we'll be like riverS (plural) of living water. Think about it. Rivers of living water are rivers that flow, have life, are fresh and clean. They refresh others, they give lift to everything around them. Fish and animals can drink from living rivers.

We can be like that with the true word of Jesus living in us. We can be life to those around us. We can be alive inside, rooted and grounded in love, fresh and renewed. We can forget about our pasts and flow toward the future, toward the good things God has for us.

Isn't that awesome? Man, how does any one not want to know a man like Jesus. Wholly God and wholly man. Wow!

Writing - I'm writing on my novella. Still on chapter one. It was too serious, so I'm trying to lighten it up. I'm going to try to get the cover on my books link in the next few days.

Peace out.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Dear Dad, it's Father's Day

Dear Dad,

On earth, it's Father's Day. Well, at least in the part of earth where I live. It was a beautiful, sunny, hot Florida day. You know the kind. I went to church, participated in the service, worshipped the Lord and exhorted others.

I thought of you and how I always called you on Father's Day to say how much I love you, and to thank you for being a such a great dad. Remembering made me smile. My heart was a peace, and my emotions steady and joyful. I called Tony's dad, since Tony is in Guatemala, to wish him a happy Father's Day.

Later in the evening, I played you a song, "Dear Daddy." Did you hear it? I made myself cry, but the Father's kiss of peace remained on my heart.

I keep thinking about that time in Trapp, Kentucky when you left the house early on a Sunday morning to pick up some of the rural kids for Sunday school. I wanted to go with you and ran out of the house as you drove down the gravel drive.

I hollered and waved, "Dad, I wanna go! I wanna go!" But you turned right and headed away. As only a little girl can do, I sank down to the rocks and cried. About ten seconds later, I heard the putter of our old VW Bus, and the crackled of gravel as you turned into the driveway.

You came back for me. Remember? We talked about it a couple of time in recent years, but I can't remember now what you said about that day. With my eight or nine-year-old memory, faded with time, I can't recall the tiny details, but that you came back for me I'll never forget.

Sometimes, a flash thought and picture of you invades my mind and I wonder what life would be like if you were still here? We'd be planning to get together, I know. You would have stories from Aunt Betty's birthday weekend, and news about Uncle Dave, Uncle Phil, Steve and Sandy.

Seems like forever ago that we had the picnics at Lake Roosevelt, and the Indian Burial Grounds in Columbus. Was that the name?

If I close my eyes, I can picture the sun streaming through the tall, green leaf trees of the Shawnee, and smell the rich scent rising from the forest floor.

Was there really a time in life when we gathered to eat, play and laugh on Aunt Ginny's lawn? A time when you and Mom hung out with her cousin, Lee and his wife Erma?

I still hear Uncle Porky's big, rolling, raspy laugh. The smell of cigarette smoke reminds me of him, and Grandma. Days gone by, yes. Days that layer upon my being, fashioning me into the person I am with the wearing of love and time, like the purple rocks of the Rockies awashed with rain and sun.

I remember Thanksgiving in our yard at the Homestead house with your home group. Driving from Ohio to Tallahassee with you, Peter-John, Tim and Joel. Sheeze! I had to drive because you hurt your eye, remember?

Christmas treasures are buried deep in the lining of my soul, sewn together by the lingering melodies of Johnny Mathis and the Ray Coniff singers. I don't think I'll ever be able to listen to Glen Campbell's "Gentle On My Mind" ever again. Too many memories of "the farm," as Steve called Grandma Hayes' place.

I see shadows of holidays and vacations at Grandpa and Grandma Fausnaugh's home in Bexley, and hear the echo of Uncle Curt's laugh, feel the creak in the floor boards under the carpet. You were there. You know. You remember, too.

But better days ahead. I cling to my Beloved. David wrote in Psalm 27, "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD."

So, I wait for the Lord. I take up where you left off, determined to remember how you pursued Him. I will pursue Him, Dad, because you taught me. Because He grips my heart as He did yours. Because you understand fully now, He is all we need.

Funny, writing this, I realize you will never read it. We won't discuss it, but I'm writing it with every ounce of my being.

I'm not sure it's fair that you died at 68, and sometimes it still doesn't seem real. I wake up from a nap and sense something is wrong, then I remember you are gone. Yet, I am confident God took you on your day. The day He planned for you to see His face from the foundations of time. As you are now a part of the Great Cloud of Witnesses, I am comforted.

I love you, Dad. Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Grump, Grump, Grump

(singing) Oh, I'm a grump, grump, grump. Don't bother me, I'll thummmmpppp...... yooouuuu!

Wow, I've been grumpy lately. I'm tired and hungry, and just found out Tony is flying to Guatemala on an airline that sounds like a fast food!!! TACA airlines.

"No, no, no, you can't fly on TACO airlines! Fergitaboutit!"

That's my rule, you know. Do not fly on any airline that sounds like food, laundry detergent or a strange disease.

Anyhoo, I'm laughing at myself. I'm going to aerobics classes which make me tired and hungry, but I'm still not losing weight. Grrr. It's a Commie plot, I tell you, a Commie plot. They are infusing my food with extra fast grams.

I'm sure it's not my french fry cravings or that I looove potato chips. Hehe! Seriously, I don't eat them all that much. Maybe once a week. Guess that's enough to shoot 4 hours of aerobic exercise in to booty.

We had a really great Fire Dweller prayer meeting last night, so I should be feeling grand. I know I will. God is good! The meeting ran until almost 11 p.m., then a few of us prayed with a couple and ministered to them for over an hour. So, by the time we got home, had a bite and wound down, it was 3 a.m. before we went to bed.

I suppose the Lord is getting at deeper issues with me these days. Issues of self. Issues of loving others no matter what. I can take a lesson from my Dad on this.

I need to dry my hair so I can go to lunch with Tony (no fries!) and drop him off at church.

Love and peace to all!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Power Of A Focused Life

I'm listening to Mike Bickle's CD series on the focused life. It's incredible! I cannot recommend it highly enough.

I'm so amazed at Mike's insight and simplicity in presenting it. Also, so amazed that this CD series was one Dad ordered, not knowing he would never hear it. Yet, I know at the age of 68, he would have tried to employ the truths of Mike's teaching.

Hang on, now! Don't leave yet! I'm not propigating another method of Christian living or some solve-all-your-problems-self-help teaching. Mike is talking about the basics, developing a life in God through the Word and prayer. He gives 4 keys to help us do it.

Now listen, I know this man. I know people who are intimately aquainted with Mike. He's a voice not an echo on the subject of prayer and the Word. He's been there, lived the life. He hated prayer and Bible study as a new believer, but thirty years after committing his life to those two aspects of his walk in God, he can testify of how prayer and knowing Jesus through His word has impacted his heart, his emotions, his life.

If your heart's cry it to know God, experience His emotions toward you, to know the fruit of a life in Him, you must order this series. I know so many people who try prayer and Bible Study and it just doesn't seem to change anything. Errrt! Wrong. God's word is living and active. It's for us, today! Mike addresses these issues.

Go to and order The Power Of A Focused Life by Mike Bickle. It's the best money you'll spend this year.

Just do it!! ;)

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Grieving is a process

The grieving process at this level is new for me. Dealing with the memory of my dad dying. Seeing him in the casket. Remembering I went to a funeral for my father.

Death stinks. I don't wish it on anyone. But how can we pass from this life into the eternal without dying? How can we see with our own eyes and heart the transendent beauty of the divine without slipping through the veil of this life's time and space?

In this life, Dad was ruined for anyone but Jesus. He pursued the God-man with his whole being. Yet, now he knows. He's seeing with an unveiled face. He's viewing the radiant glory of God the Father, understanding fully the magnificent splendor of Jesus and His love.

This life, I know, pales in comparison.

But here I am. This side of the veil. Looking through a glass dimly, trapped in the pale view. I know Dad is better off. Extremely better off. But we miss him.

Death has taken on a whole new meaning for me. And in that light, so has life.

That being said... I'm learning from Dad even now! He'd ordered a CD series from Mike Bickle called The Focused Life. I'm challenged to make sure my time is guarded and I'm spending it on things that matter!

We took today to relax. I got up and went to the Ladies Breakfast. But I'm still very tired. Last night we went to Fire Dweller prayer, which was good, but hard at times for me. Memories of Dad come floating through my heart and mind. A few of us went out afterwards, but I was so exhausted it almost hurt to talk.

Well, I press on toward the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

At the reception after Dad's service. L to R:

Joel, Danny, Uncle Phil (Dad's younger brother), Steve (Dad's nephew), Rebekah, Me, and Peter-John.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

It comes and goes

I was fine all day yesterday until right before dinner. It just hit me that Dad is never going to walk through the front door again. I'll never hear his, "Hey, Rach," and know the comfort of his embrace. I finally ended up walking down the road, crying. I know I looked pitiful, but I had to get it out.

My brother Danny came driving past. He stopped to ask what I was doing. Didn't take long for him to figure it out. I got in his truck and cried. He drove me around the neighborhood so we could talked.

The next time I visit Mom, Dad won't be here. That I won't get a call in the middle of an afternoon from him as he's driving by our I-95 exit on his way to Stuart, FL. Or, he won't be stopping by for the night at Hotel Hauck.

In ten years, I'll still be here, but we'll be remembering the tenth anniversary of his death. It just became overwhelming. I miss him so much.

I used to say that missing someone or something is good. Otherwise, that thing, that time in your life or that person didn't mean anything. I guess I should listen to my own advice, but death is so different than moving on in life - graduating from college or moving away from the old home town.

Death is permanent. The person never comes back. I suppose I'll be wrapping my heart and mind around this for awhile. My dad is gone.

It was good to talk with Danny. He's a great big brother. Then, last night, Mom recounted the events of last Wednesday and Thursday leading up to Dad dying. He never, ever complained. But when Mom came home from work on Thursday and Dad said, "You better take me to Emergency Care," she knew it was serious.

I woke up this morning with the notion that God the Father is my Dad now, more so than ever. He's Husband to Mom. The bar has been raised. God is a father to the fatherless. Husband to the widow. He has to take care of Mom, be our father ALL the more cause he can't deny Himself.

Today we are cleaning up around the house, doing some yard work and putting away Christmas ornaments, hanging the stuffed 17 lb Northern Pike Dad caught in Canada a few years ago. He was the only one who caught a fish that day.

Thanks to everyone who's commented on this blog, emailed me and called. Thanks to Steve and Uncle Phil for coming, for all the people who came from out of town for Dad's memorial service. All the people in town who came.

To my family, I love you all! Let's have a reunion soon. Dad would like that.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Wednesday, the day after

Dad's memorial went well yesterday. Very well. Mom felt joyful and refreshed afterwards. About 300 people came to rejoice in Dad's home going.

Dad was reconciler in life, and in death. Many people came from our old church, men who had not seen each other in years. It was good to see them. Good to be reunited and remember that the pursuit of Jesus is the Main Thing in this life.

I spoke on behalf of the family. I just couldn't see the day go by without talking about how great he was. I basically took my earlier blog post and fixed it up and read it. It went well.

Many people got up and spoke about Dad. One thing message prevailed. He loved his family and he loved His Lord. He impacted many people.

It was good to see Dad's brother, Phil and his oldest brother's son, Steve. Dad loved them both a lot.

After the service, the church sponsored a reception where everyone went for great fellowship. We looked at pictures and slides of Dad. It was good. He would have loved it.

We came back to Mom and Dad's where the kids went swimming, and well as the uncles. We've had a ton of food brought in. Between the church and Mom's office, we have been fed well.

I will miss Pop. It still doesn't seem right that he's not here. I keep thinking, "Not my Dad. My Dad didn't die." It doesn't seem like it's my time in life to loose a parent, yet death comes unexpectedly. Mom said Dad told her, "I think this is it, Hon." So, he knew. I think he was ready to go. He was tired.

He's enjoying the undeniable, unshakeable love of Jesus. He's healthy and he knows now, just as he has been fully known by the Lord.

We are hanging around until Friday morning. It's been fun to see everyone and get to play with all the babies: Elizabeth, Allie and Asa. And we get to see the big kids, too: Josh, Kendall and Caleb.

Life will not be the same without him. I'm comforted by knowing I'll see him again, but I'll miss him. Always.

Friday, June 03, 2005

John Charles Hayes - September 4, '36 - June 3, '05

My dad died on a June day. It was raining where I lived. Tears from heaven. The day seemed rather ordinary, like nothing unusual would take place. I had plans to write on my novella, fix brownies for Eric and practice "Amazing Grace" with him to sing at another saint's funeral on Friday.

At 10 p.m. I said good-bye to Eric and clicked on the TV to watch a "King of Queens" rerun. At 10:25, Mom called. She'd taken Dad to the hospital, and it didn't look good.

On a June day, my dad died. 12:10 a.m.

He was a great man. One of principles and ideals. He loved to reminisce and remember the good ole days of his idealic boyhood in Portsmouth, Ohio. A child of the '40s and '50s, he grew up in a time when you walked the streets of the town at midnight without fear.

He had a great laugh. When he laughed, you knew the joke was funny. I can still see his face, and hear his laugh, the first time we listened to Bill Cosby's album, "Roland and the Rollercoaster." He laughed so hard at the car-with-an-airplane-engine bit he couldn't breath. "The best car was owned by Charlie Wayne...."

Dad made people feel safe, like everything would be all right. My Great Aunt Lillian used to say that about him and it was true. More than once I called him crying and stressed from Ohio State claiming, "I can't do it. I just can't." But he always talked me down off the ledge and assured me beyond a shadow of a doubt I could do it. And I did.

I'm a writer today because of him. "You should be a writer, Rachel," he would always say to me. You know, he only read a few of my pieces, but something inside his father's heart knew - she's a writer. He never told me I couldn't, only that I could.

Don't get me wrong, he disciplined us. But always in love. We reveared him, had a healthy fear of him, but we were not afraid of him. I always knew I could run into his arms.

But the greatest thing about my dad is that he loved Jesus. A man betrayed by friends in the body of Christ, he never, ever gave up his Hope. He pursued the Lord despite let downs and disappointments, he never blamed God. So great was his love and desire to serve the Lord, he gave up a very successful architectural job to pursue the ministry. He did not store up many earthly treasures, but stored them up in heaven where moths and rust cannot detroy.

I remember Dad taking us on drives through the Shawnee on warm summer days, listening for bird calls, and fishing over the low bridge of Turkey creek, and the sound of Grandma's gravel driveway. I remember frozen Snicker bits in the freeze at Christmas, and the year he played a hand game with me until he was laughing so hard he couldn't continue.

I can't imagine the burden he felt when he moved us to Oklahoma from Ohio to got to seminary, yet so confident God had called him. Then from Oklahoma to Kentucky to Florida. Always pursuing what God, always wanting more.

I remember the Sunday in Tallahassee when he shared about giving up the riches of this world for the riches of the Kingdom. How he turned down his brother's offer to join him in his architectural firm. He chose the eternal over the temporal.

He loved to study, and worship. He believed in the beauty and revelation of Jesus. Even in his weakness, he demonstrated the love of the Father to his children.

Life will not be the same without him. I'll miss his occassional mid-week calls just to talk and say Hi, or maybe discuss something of the Lord. Once in awhile he stayed over night while driving down to south Florida to check on a state building. He was an architect for the state.

He bought me my first Bible, King James, when I was six. He played the hand bone and did a little trick with his thumb to make it look like it was missing.

When my brother, Danny, and I were real little, kindergarten age, he'd drive to the corner store in that old white Chevy and have us run in to buy his cigarettes 'cause he was in his stocking feet. Can you see a five year old going, "Can I have a pack of Camels?" It's funny really. Innocent in an odd way.

Every night Mom had us pray for him, "Please help Daddy give up cigarettes." One day, he went for a smoke and it tasted bad. He tried another cigarette, and it tasted bad, too. Next, he opened a new pack, and it tasted bad. God delivered him from cigarettes and he never craved them again.

He loved Shelties, Cleveland Browns and the Ohio State Buckeyes' Football, ice cream and cookies, chip, (I get it all legitimately!) He loved his family and friends, walks in the woods and Boy Scout Camp. He loved me.

On a June day, my dad saw the face of the One he pursued his whole life, Jesus.

See ya in a few, Pop.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Another thought on Oprah, then on to rain and writing

The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
for His compassions never fail. - Lam 3:22

I posted a few days ago about Oprah's Legend's Luncheon. I deleted it because a commenter felt it disrepectful to those who'd really overcome hardships like Lena Horne or Cecily Tyson. My intent was to never, ever belittle or be disrepsectful to those who overcome social and personal difficulties to achieve their dream. I don't mean to gloss over those who rise above. I, too, applaud them. But never mind, I don't want to rehash. :)

Rain, rain, go away...
but come again tomorrow. It's been raining most of the week. But we need it. So...

I've been writing...
and restarting. I'm always this way with the beginning of a story. I write the first five or six pages several times. I have to get the jump of the story. Originally, I started at the beginning of the hero/heroines relationship, but figured out real quick I'd never get to the end of the tale before the end of the story. In all of the "Get Me To The Church On Time" stories, we have to go through to the wedding because that's the hook: will the wedding take place? So pretty much, our characters have to be engaged or becoming engaged at the start of the story.
I have to think a lot about...
the characters before I can get them down on paper. Writing helps me do that, but they sound surfacy and fake at first. Then I get to know them, and understand them and can write about their lives with some level of heart.
But let me say this...
I tell my characters what to say, how to act and what to do. They don't surprise me. I surprise myself, maybe even the characters, but I don't let them take the story where I don't want it to go. I am the writer, they are the clay.
Tony is coming home tomorrow...
and it will be really good to see him. I miss him. My best friend. He's pretty tired from camp, and tomorrow night we have Fire Dweller.
I got a call last night...
from my sister-in-laws sister, Taren, which makes her family, right? Right! Tony and I see her almost every week at Publix. Anyway,her mother-in-law died and she asked me to sing Amazing Grace at the funeral. I called Eric, my sweet son, and asked him to play guitar for me. So, we are doing that Friday at 2:00. Pray for me. I don't want to be nervous. Being a little nervous before speaking is one thing, you can always steady your voice. But singing is very different. You can start out off key, off pitch, off rhythm.
Well, better get to work...
Eric is coming over to practice tonight. And I have some romancing to write! I'm still reading Nicholas Sparks book, The Wedding, and it's in first person and really messing me up! I want to write the novella in first person. I love that voice.