Saturday, September 30, 2006

Summer love, con't 6 - Spring '77

"So, where do you want to go?"

Pete had this saunter-sway to his walk. Shoulders back, wide smile.

I look up from where I'm blocking down the candy. My heart grinned. "Are you serious?"

He stood me up twice. What makes today, April 23, any different?

"A hundred percent serious."

"Do you want to see A Star Is Born?" I was ready with a suggestion.

"Sounds good."

We talked for awhile while I worked, but the moment the candy aisle looked blocked and even, I ran out the door. Pete waited for me in his v. cool '69 Mach 1 Mustang.

Meanwhile, none of our friends know where we're going. They don't know we're "going together." While I was getting ready, Bob Brown called. Wanted to know what I was up too.

"Nothing." Standard 16 year-old girl answer.

When Pete picked me up he told me how nice I looked. Melt, melt. Our movie was sold out, so we decided to eat at the Black Angus.

He held my hand. Wooo! I wrote in my diary. Sometimes the simpliest things are the best things!

We talked and talked and talked. I asked him about all the mean things he said about me. He confessed they were true, but only to get people off his back. "I didn't mean them. I had a crush on you since last summer."

But, he'd told Kevin and Bob he would never take out a girl two years younger than he, so they hasseled him pretty bad.

Guess love got the best of him. Or a crush, or something. Or me being so stupidly persistant.

After dinner, he held my hand as we walked out to the car. Suddenly, he stopped and looks me in the eye. "I want to kiss you, Rachel."

I started laughing.


Okay, I'm tying something new. Hang ON!
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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Free Thinking

The music coming over the McDonalds speakers transported me to a different time in my life. A different city. A different era. A different me.

Music is such a powerful medium. It transports. Moves the heart. Stirs emotions. Like the time I was in a Spinning class and she played techno-disco. I wanted to punch the instructor. The music made me so angry. She'd urge us to pedal hard, push, don't give up. And my heart responded, "Don't tell me what to do."


If you think music doesn't impact the heart and mind, think again.

So, today, the music took me back 30 years in my mind. I wondered about my old Cutler Ridge Publix friends. I kept in touch with Lorena for years after. Until recently, we exchanged Christmas cards.

Though I'm very tired from an all night editing session, a new story started forming in my heart. A girl trying to recapture her past. Wanting to go back because the future seems so bleak.

At 4:45 a.m. I crawled into bed, physcially hurting and thinking I might never write again. By 1:00 p.m. when I woke up, I knew I would.

There is something about writing that completes me. God and I are together in this. There's the completion.

Sunday morning at the Dallas ACFW conference, Liz Curtis Higgs prayed a closing prayer. When she did, I went to this unique place where I truly felt I was His favorite one. I couldn't perceive it any other way.

In some ways, I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. In other ways, I know my destiny. I have a sense of where my writing is going. Which is hard because I look around at all the wonderful, fabulous authors - published and unpublished - and wondery "why me?"

But, "why NOT me?"

There is a laying hold of in this world Christians have not always grasped. We either do nothing, sitting back waiting for God to do it all, or we run completely ahead of Him and live our life our way on our time and don't consider His heart.

We take His name in vain. Like a bride who takes her grooms name, then walks away. "Check ya later. Give me a call when you want to get together. Oh, I'll need some money from you. Can you just send a check?"

Doesn't work that way. We have to participate in the relationship - face to face, eye to eye. Think about it. What will HE not give us? He freely gave us His Son. How will he not freely give us all things? Romans 8:31-32.

BUT, you have to be in the relationship. If you can't grasp it, picture a marriage you admire. What's going on there? Apply it to your relationship with God.

On the flip side, there's the set that goes, "well, I'm just waiting on God," and next thing you know, their dead. What happened? You did nothing for God.

Let's not be in either camp - the one that runs too far ahead in their own strength, nor the one that sits on their hands, um, in their own strength. Both are flesh.

ACFW Conference - So many wonderful things about this conference. It's right up there with Houston 2003. Liz Curtis Higgs was fab. Seeing my friends, meeting new ones. My giant 3 room suite. (Hint: President if fun at conference time.)

Seeing the elcetic worship band come together. I'm SO proud of them: Denise, Gail, Scott, Kristin and Cynthia. Of course, my boy Dave. :) Thank you all so much.

Sitting in on a GirlsWriteOut brainstorm session. Very fun, then getting some help from the for my next story.

Sunday afternoon brainstorm with Susie and Chris. I loved they way we interact with each other. "No! Wait! Stop!" We got a lot done for Susie's story, and a good start on mine. Thank you guys!

It was wonderful to be with the Board and the Advisors. Great to spend time with Sydney, our coordinator.

Salad with my sweet friend, and publicists extraordinaire, Jeane Wynn!

Dinner Friday night with Amanda Bostic from WestBow and her WestBow girls: Diann, Colleen, Kristin, Denise and me.

The fabulous awards banquet. What a great idea Tracey and the board had to pimp up this event! We're never going back now!

My take away? Keep writing. Keep serving. Keep loving Jesus. He has some really cool friends!

But, at 4:00 a.m., I wondered why I write. I'm horrible. There are so many with talent out there beyond mine! What am I doing here? I felt dull, flat, uninspired.

Yet, God is so good to revive.

The spring of '77, I was a young, beautiful, in-love, full of hope lover of Jesus. Almost thirty years later, I find I haven't changed very much at all.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Summmer Love 5, Con't

Sat., April 23, '77

You're not going to believe today! Fantastic! But first, let me write about last night. Lorena and I went to Don Carters (bowling and pool.)

Pete and Bob were there. At first, Pete ignored me and I started feeling really bad. I went with Bob to get a drink (soda, y'all, I'm only 16 here) and Pete looks over at me.

"Makin' ya mad?"

I laughed. "No."

So, we talked for awhile, then Bob came over to join us and Kevin showed up. Pete told Kevin to finish his pool game, the leaves! Just great.

But today, Saturday. . . I went into work early with Lorena since she started at 9:00 and me at 10:00.

Waiting in the break room with my head on the table (spent the night with Lorena, I'm tired) I felt someone watching me. I look up. Pete's standing on the stairs. Smiling.

"Your hair looks nice."


"You looked great last night, too."

Me, beaming.

"Are you going to Kendall Lanes tonight?

Me, shurgging: "I don't know, are you?'

"Well, if I cam by, I won't go there."

"What? Come by where?" I asked.

"Come by your house."

I couldn't believe it!

"Maybe we'll go to a movie or something."

"O-o-okay." I'm stunned, but not about to say or do anything to scare him off. By now, it's time for me to punch in, so I go downstairs, clock in and get out to a register.

At lunch, Pete asks, "Do you need a ride home?"


"Get off at 7:00?" Hint: he knows my schedule.

"Yeah." I tip my head to one side. "Are you sure you want to take me home?"

"Yeah, and I'll pick you up later. We'll go to a movie or something."

Well, scrap me from the ceiling, cause I'm flying high.

I have a bonifide date with Pete!!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Faith Trumps Worry

Well, I'm at the ACFW Conference and things are gearing up. . . tonight is Opening Night! So many great friends and ACFWers.

Here's a blog from my husband. It encouraged me.

He writes:

I had two or three fairly large concerns on my mind, and had prayed about them, but was also trying to hear God regarding any actions I needed to take.

I’d spent about half an hour just walking, praying in the Spirit, and listening, but I hadn’t heard anything. Just when I was about to conclude that God wasn’t going to say anything to me today, He started speaking.

But He wasn’t answering my questions. He didn’t address anything I was worried about. Instead He began speaking vision to me for an upcoming ministry trip in February. As I was wondering why He was talking now, but ignoring my questions, He reminded me of the story of Elijah in I Kings 19.

Elijah had just called down fire from heaven on Mt. Carmel, then fled from the threat of Jezebel to Mt. Sinai, where he was telling God about how bad things were and how he was the only one left serving Him (see verse 14).

Romans 11:2-4 refers to this as the time Elijah interceded against Israel. In a weak moment he lost faith and saw things only from his human perspective. Basically he was ready to quit. So how did God respond? He gave Elijah something to do (three tasks to be exact), and reminded him that he wasn’t alone (I Kings 19:18).

He changed Elijah’s focus and perspective. By giving him tasks god was restoring faith and vision, and not accepting his resignation. So what was my take away? Don’t worry about those concerns I had. They’ll work out. Just focus on what God has for me to do.

So I did.

Great blog, babe!

The Conclusion of Summer Love to come soon. . .

Monday, September 18, 2006

Summer love, con't 3 - Spring '77

By now, my summer of '76 flirtmance with Pete Ramirez has weathered fall, winter, the dawn of a new year, '77, and entered into spring.

I lived for Saturdays. Once in awhile I saw him on a weekday. Thursday was pay day, so my friend Kay Lynette and I would go up to the store after school to pick up our checks.

There was a lot of nodding, smiling, winking and flirting between Pete and me, but our so-called relationship stalled.

I decided what ever comes, comes. For a sixteen year old crazy for a guy, I wrote some profound thoughts. "I just won't worry about it. Can't fix anything if I do. God help!"

Oddly enough, this lesson of patience in love would come into play twelve years later when I met a handsome pastor named Tony Hauck.

One Saturday in April, the store had inventory and in those days, the employees counted. I closed off my register last, which needless to say, ticked me off. I need to be free, out on the floor, wherever he was.

In the middle of counting those tiny packets of Koolaide, (was that five hundred and six or five hundred and seven? Well, I'm not starting over. . . ) I glanced up and he stood at the end of the aisle, watching me.

My heart jumped out of my chest, waved and winked, then sunk back down to my toes. He sauntered down the aisle smiling his wide white smile and started teasing me.

He'd call me ugly or something then ask, "Am I making you mad?"

"No, you can't make me mad," I said, turning my nose in the air.

We joked around a few more minutes, mindful not to be caught by management. They didn't mind our storemance, but kept a close eye on disturbing the help.

Then he drops asked, "Do you need a ride home?"

Typically my best friend Lorena drove me home, but I dumped her in a heartbeat. "Sure."

"Okay, I'm punching out. I'll wait for you outside."

I stared at him. "Are you sure?" Guess I was waiting for the punch line or the change of mind.

"Yes. Hurry."

You never saw a girl count Koolaide so fast. We didn't tell anyone our arrangement. I punched out and ran out to the parking lot.

Pete had the coolest car. A blue with yellow stripe '69 Mach 1 Mustang. However, tonight he was driving his Dad's Cadillac El Dorado.

So we cruised down US 1 to Perrine where I lived.

The house was dark. My parents were in Tallahassee. Little did I know there vist there would change the summer of '77 forever.

"Are you sure it's safe down here?"

I laughed. "Yes." The road was very dark.

"Maybe I could give you a ride home next week, then we could go out."


"Maybe I'll see you later at Don Carters."

"Yeah, Lorena and Dwayne are coming to pick me up."

He smiled. "You really are beautiful, Rachel, you know that?"

Gulp. I do now.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Summerance Part III (March '77)

(... We join our characters-in-the-past already in conversation)

"Joanie, what did you say?" There's a knot in the pit of my stomach.

"I told him, 'Rachel really likes you. Why do you keep playing games with her. Your breaking her heart. This is the second time you've stood her up."

His response? "I'm not playing games. I do want to take her out."

Now what am I supposed to think?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Summer love, con't 2

"I don't know how to tell you this. . ." he began.

"You're chickening out on me, right?" I said.

"No, I just gotta do something tonight. I just can't make it, Rachel." He stood aways from me, saying my name over and over. "You just have to understand, Rachel. I don't want to hurt you."

My heart was breaking. Hurt, mad and sad, I tried to be brave. He couldn't see my tears.

Finally, Pete asked, "Don't you have anything to say?"

I stood. "I have to get my head on straight, Pete. I'll be back." I walked out, feeling his eyes watching me.

Away from him, I burst into tears and ran out to the parking lot. My dear male bosses tried to help me (can you believe I sucked them into the drama) but what could they do? They listened, and counseled. But certainly couldn't make Pete keep his word.

Pulling myself together, I went to find Pete. (Yeah, I'm going to have to punch in somewhere here and get to work. But please, the soap opera first!)

I tried to tell him how I felt, but he insisted I could do better than him. "I'm too crude for you, Rachel. I'm too selfish. I need to stay focused on becoming a millionaire."

(Yeah, he had a lot of B.S. in him.)

But when he confessed, "Rachel, I don't want you to be upset, or to hurt you. I never meant for it to go this far," my tears sprang up again.

The confession cut deep. I tried not to cry. Finally, he said, "Look, if you want me to take you out-"


His big brown eyes held me. "Look, I'll take you to lunch and we can talk about it, okay? So hang loose."

I agreed. (Hey, I'm 16 what do you expect? At least I said no to the mercy date! I had some savvy.)

He went back to work whileI cried, cried and cried.

By the time I punched in, all the males of the store and most of the females were completely on my side, (poor Pete) and coddled me. One of the manager let me make sales signs instead of working on the register.

When it came time for lunch, he drove me over to McDonalds. At first we just stared at each other or in opposite directions, but finally started to discuss the problem.

"I'm too selfish, Rach. I'd rather drive golf balls. See."

I didn't buy it. "Well, maybe I'd like to drive golf balls, too. Ever think of that?"

Anyway, sitting in Cutler Ridge McDonalds, we talked for a long time. About our families, our lives, dreams and goals. We really had a great time. Maybe I had my date after all.

He went home and I went back to work. The heart break eased, a little.

Then my friend Joanie caught me in the back hall and said, "Rachel, I talked to Pete before he left."

I could feel the blood draining from my face. "Oh no, you didn't."

She nods. "I did. Here's what I told him. . . "

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Summer love, con't

Love sick. There's nothing worse than being love sick at fifteen.

I worked at the Cutler Ridge, FL Publix (0086) and every summer evening when I went to work, an anxious, excited flutter ran through my middle when I walked through the door.

Pete was seventeen, dark, handsome, with a wide white smile. Just about a glance of his eye captured my heart. I couldn't eat and he was all I could think or talk about.

Our drama involved the entire store, practically. They all knew I was head-over-heels and he was jerking me around. Flirting, drawing me close, then pushing me away.

On Saturdays, I'd go in early so I could sit upstairs in the breakroom and wait for the part time stockmen to come up on break.

One morning, I was sitting there alone, reading. Suddenly, I felt eyes on me. I looked up. My heart stopped. There he was. Dark eyes watching me. He smiled and I might have said, "Take me now."

Just kidding. It was fun, sweet, innocent, but very real. My heart was definitely engaged. Pete was the store hunk and to have him looking at me spiked my confidence level a hundred percent.

So, all summer I pined and pained. Loved and lost. At fifteen, I couldn't go out with him anyway, but I so wanted him to by my boyfriend.

Summer ended. School started. I went into tenth grade, he went to his first year of Miami-Dade Jr. College.

I worked at night. He worked in the mornings. "Ahhhhh! My life is over." Like a crazed girl, I reworked my school and work schedule, switching from the afternoon shift to the morning shift so I could work some time where I might see him. If I went to school in the afternoon, I'd never work mornings. But If I went to school in the mornings, I could leave early and go to work, and maybe catch him for a few minutes.

Oh yeah, I was flipped.

Mostly, I lived for Saturdays. He'd catch me alone in the back hall and tell me I was beautiful, and breaking his heart. But he'd never take it beyond the work-day flirt.

Meanwhile, since I was only a fifteen/sixteen year old girl, I freely feel for the cute dark-headed senior at school.

That fall he turned eighteen, I turned sixteen. I so wanted to spend my sixteenth birthday with him. But instead, went out with my mom, dad and brother. A nice fancy dinner place with dancing. On my sixteenth birthday, I danced with my older brother.

Every girls dream, at sixteen, right. Ha. (Thirty years later, thanks Mom and Danny.)

Finally, Pete asked me out. The date was set for next week. That Saturday I walked on clouds through the Publix doors. I'm going out with Pete.

"Hey, Rach," he said when I walked in. "Can I talk to you."

"Y-yeah, sure..."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What? Summer's almost over?

Wait, I'm not tan.

I haven't been to the beach.

What happened to the week I planned to lay in the sun and read.


What happened to my summer vacation? Oh, yeah, what summer vacation?


Remember summer vacations. How much fun it was to wait for the last day of school? Going to little league games and the community pool, seeing all your friends.

The summer I was 14, I got a job at Publix. So I worked a little bit every day. Made a whole $35 a week!

The next summer, I "fell in love" with Pete Rameriz. What a flirt. Called me all kinds of mean things like, "Beautiful" and "Blue eyes."

He and his friends actually convinced me it was true. Later, in the fall, we...

Oh my gosh. Look at the time. I have got to get to work on these edits.


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Toilet Seats

I know, weird blog title, but some things just need to be said.

This one is for the laaadiees.

Please, please, from the bottom of my heart, if you are one of those women afraid to sit on a public toilet seat because you're paranoid of germs, please, please from the bottom of my heart, DON'T PEE ON THE SEAT and leave it there.

I'm SO flabergasted this. I walk into a public restroom and find a flushed toilet but with pee dribbles on the seat. How? How does this happen? Do you not see the residue when you turn around to flush. Wipe the SEAT down for crying out loud. THEN wash your hands.

How can you not sit on a seat because you're afraid someone of someone else's germs, but have no qualms leaving behind a few of your own?

Look, I'm somewhat of a germaphobe myself, but I wipe down the seat and cover it with TP. I make sure everything is tidy before I leave.

Okay, rant it over. Shew. Thanks so much.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

End of an Era

Last night was our final, final youth church. The end of an era. Thinking about it made me tear up a few times, and in some deep place, I wondered what will happen with me and Tony.

Last night worshipping with only teens in a darkened, stage-lit sanctuary. Last night to bond with a new set of teens coming up. Last night to join them all for Checkers afterwards.

I'll miss them. The music. His Presence.

But, it's Matt and Jodi's now. Their's to run with. Their's to hear God about and impart a deeper, broader vision. I'm excited for them.

Last night also made me sum up all the changes this year, and while I've emotionally rolled with most of them, some sorta make me sad.

The Olinksi and Ganda moves. Losing Jack. My mom selling her house in Tallahassee. She's moving to Tennessee. I'm really happy for her, and my grandmother, but sometimes it feels like there's no "home place."

Being without children, it's hard to feel like my home is the home place, and while 3 of my 4 other siblings have lived with me in adult life, none of them are here now. And we live the farthest away. (No, please, this is not a pity party. I hate those.)

Dad being gone. I miss him. I feel like, "Okay, you've been dead long enough, time to live again so we can talk to you."

Anyway, just some random thoughts. But I was comforted by this verse in Job this morning. (yeah, truly, a verse in Job comforted me.)

Job 22:25-26; "Then the Almighty will be your gold and choice silver to you. For then you will delight in the Almighty and lift up your face to Him."

No matter what, He is my exceeding great reward. My shelter. My comfort. My lover. My home. My heart. The lifter of my head. He will never leave or forsake me.

I don't have to worry.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Big Brother All-Stars

I confess. I've been watching Big Brother All-Stars this season. Oh no, oh no. This is only the second Big Brother show I've watched, but boy, the drama drew me in.

I went to Spinning tonight. Then lifted weights. Starving when I got home, but I resisted pigging out. I have to lose at least 15 lbs by the time we go on vacation in November. I can do it.

Mulling over a new story idea. Next deadline is March 1st. i received my editorial emails today. Haven't opened them yet. I will in the morning. I have two editors reporting in so I'll compare notes and go from there. They both loved Diva NashVegas.

Now, can I write another solid story. Did I accidentally raise the bar too high? The insecurities of a writer never end. But wait, my God will help me! He said.

I wonder what the scripture will be for next book?

Grace and Peace.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Long Day

Led worship.

Ate pizza.

Band practice. Actually, we recorded a CD so I can send it to the ACFW conference worship team. It was fun.

Three women showed up at church right after "the recording" and wanted prayer. I prayed with them for a while. The Lord met them. How cool is He? One woman came in not knowing God cared for her. She left KNOWING how much He does CARE for her. Should have seen the smile on her face. Actually, her countenance changed. It bears repeating. How cool is He?!

Bone tired. Came home. Fixed a light dinner. Watched Big Brother.

Am now reading. Well, fixing to read.

No edits from my editor on Diva NashVegas yet, but her Friday email said, "The manuscript is in GREAT shape. I'm so pleased."

My heart skipped a beat. God told me He would help me, and He did. The book was hard to write, but my God is faithful. He promised me Isaiah 41:13, and even though I doubted, He never waivered.

I'm humbled. How much He loves me!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Blustery Day

It's a stormy and blustery day. I'm sleepy. Going to take a nap.