Tuesday, October 31, 2006
I drove down Robert Small Pkwy. I was looking for a Christian bookstore to see if they had a copy of Lost In NashVegas, but no luck. Well, to be honest, I couldn't find the store.
So, I drove toward Burton over the Parris Island bridge. It's so beautiful here. The water is glassy, though shallow and the foliage is just now starting to turn. Not meaning to drive so far, I turned around and ended up heading toward Ladys Island and Hunting Island. Very beautiful. Beach and live oaks dripped with Spanish moss.
I met Catherine, my chamber of commerce liaiason, and went to lunch at the Shrimp Shack. I had a fried shrimp burger. Yum. Most awesome. We dropped the convertible top and drove back toward Hunting Island with a stop off at Gay's Shrimp something place. I interviewed Charles Gay. Very funny. We had a good time talking shrimping. I mean, I asked the questions, he answered them. Not going to deny I got a couple of odd looks.
Came home and worked on my WIP, then tried to watch Gilmore Girls but it was a rerun. Bummer.
Doing my best not to be discouraged. It's so much a part of the journey. But starting a story is dang hard. I worked all evening on the story. I highly recommend Noah Lukeman's, "The Plot Thickens." I've been going through it page by page because he ask good character questions.
Tomorrow is my last day here, then I'm going up to Helen, Georgia for a retreat.
Monday, October 30, 2006
I took a carriage tour of the historic downtown area first thing this morning, then stopped in at the Chamber of Commerce to meet Caroline Hipp, who's been most helpful to me. She's young, hip and v. cool. I had a great time getting a feel for the city from Caroline and he co-worker, Kristin, both 20-somethings like my heroine.
We ate lunch with Catherine's stepmom, and I ended up on another carriage ride later in the evening. The Ghost Tours. Yeah, not 100% my thing- Halloween - but the tour raises money to fight child abuse, which is my thing, and it was fun to tour the city and old homes at night.
No real ghost, just actors coming out of the dark in 1860's costumes and telling us stories.
Walked around downtown some after the tour and met the singer I heard Saturday night, Branan Logan. And go figure, he knows Craig Monday, a songwriter I met in Nashville. Lisa Young introduced me to him. What a small world. Craig has two songs on Branan's CD. I told him about Lost In NashVegas and he wanted to read it, so I'm giving him a copy Wednesday night.
I'm getting a good feel for the city and area, though there is so much to see and know. I'm going to focus on Beaufort for my setting.
Walked around in the afternoon, just thinking and taking pictures. I have to just give up thinking soon and get it going.
God is in control, right? Of course.
Came home from the Ghost Tour and downtown around 8:30. Did some online stuff then worked on the book's first chapter. Just have to get her voice and tone down.
Caroline feels sort of serious to me, but I want her to be fun yet deep.
It's hard to come up with a new character after Aubrey James in Diva NashVegas. To me, she's such a powerful character. But, I remember how hard she was to capture at first.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Woke up. Always a good start to the day, no? Slept well so I felt ready to go for a run. Which is stupid because I so hate running, but didn't want to let too many days go by without exercise.
Ran right down the main drag, Boundary Street. Did I say run? I mean plod. Came back, showered up and did some computer time. then hung out with Jesus. Got something to eat, then drove downtown.
It's really beautiful downtown. Historic, right on the Beaufort River. Very quaint but also modern. Lots of people downtown today. Motorcyclist. Retirees.
One art shop owner told me the summer was tourist on a budget, the fall and winter was tourist without a budget. They liked the fall tourist the best. Go figure.
I was browsing in a bookstore when my phone rang. It was Jess Dang, one of the Food Networks next star contestants. She was way cool and talked to me about being on the show, gave me some ideas for my story. Thanks for talking Jess.
Hung up with her, called Tony with an update, then went to Luthers just to see what was going on in there. Last night they had country singers. Oh, ran into Buckeye fans! We are everywhere!
Sat by myself in Luther's half watching football, half observing people. Two men came in and I figured they were military. I wanted to talk to them about life in Beaufort from the military view, but I felt really stupid walking up to them. Plus, it looked like they were talking and having fun.
But, oh well, what the heck. All they can do is say "get lost." So, I walked up with some lame opener like, "Are you guys military?"
Both Marines. One in maintenance (jets) the other an F-18 pilot. They endured my questions - and I ask a lot - then invited me to sit with them. I found paper - I was no prepared - and sat there for an hour or more talking to them about military life, Beaufort and what concepts might work well for my story. It was fun. Thanks Jason and Aaron.
I mean, how lame is it? "Hi, I'm a writer can I talk to you?"
I have no proof. but my sincere face and the favor of God.
Then, took a drive to . . . PUBLIX. How great to find Publix in Beaufort. It's beautiful. Red brick. Live Oaks with Spanish moss swaying in the breeze in the parking lot.
Day was cool and sunny. Boats on the water. People milling aorund town.
Called my hubby a gazillion times. I miss him. Love you, babe.
Grace and peace.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
"Rachel," it said, "take I-95 to US-278, then SC-141 to SC-170, to SC-170N and turn right and there's your hotel." Each one of these exchanges were noted to be about 4 miles long - each.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Couldn't be any more wrong.
Nevertheless, I found Beaufort, South Carolina and my hotel no thanks to Google Maps. Those computer directions are always so whacked.
I'm glad I came up tonight. I ended up downtown, ate at a great restaurant, and discovered live country music in several of the downtown haunts. A couple of them traveling back and forth between Beaufort and Nashville. Works great for my next book.
Also talked to a sweet young woman, Bonnie, who's lived her most of her life and she gave me some great insider info. We are going to get together.
Confession: Driving 5 hours by myself is quite comical. I talk to myself.
I am excited to discover more of the beautiful city.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's update.
Friday, October 27, 2006
For a couple years now I've been forcing myself (against my will) to add an evangelistic component to my life.
It started as a two hour commitment on Tuesday nights sharing the gospel at the beach, and evolved into our downtown outreach. I thought I would continue to give a couple hours a week to evangelism, but something has happened, and the evolution hasn't stopped.
We've been going to the same neighborhood, ministering to the same people for months, building relationships, and I recently realized this isn't evangelism anymore. Its become a missions outreach. I can't contain it to a couple hours a week. My responsibility to them is growing. What started out as a simple ministry is threatening to become a fairly significant part of my lifestyle.
Once again Jesus has lured me in and tricked me into spending more of my life than I'd planned on His Kingdom. I'd say more, but I have to go. Two of my friends from our neighborhood are in the hospital, and I need to go visit them.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
He spoke at two of our summer In the Fire conferences, and comes to town with White Dove Ministries once a year. So, we've built a once a year friendship. He travels and moves in signs and wonders, and is working on a cool talk show with his friend Paula. The Shawn and Paula show.
I gave him a fresh-off-the-press copy of Lost In NashVegas last Thursday. We were talking last year and he said, "Name a character after me." So, I did.
He gave me a copy of his book "Keys to Heaven's Economy." You have to check this book out. www.streamsministries.com.
Off to write.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
So, anyway, I'm procrastinating and refuse to give any more of my heart and time to it.
Oh, saw Lost In NashVegas in Barnes & Noble. I signed them. What a treat. Then visited with one of my first authors heroes, Davis Bunn. I'm so blessed. I count some of my favorite authors as a friends.
Peace and Grace.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Been hearing a lot about angels in the past two years. And have been aware of them on occassion, especially when I'm writing or leading worship.
We had a confernce in our region this week with the team from WhiteDove Ministries. One of the speakers was Randy Demain and he shared his testimony with an angel named Breakthrough Revival.
One of the fascinating things that stood out to me was how we all have angels assigned to us personally, to our churches, to our region and they act and move based on the Word of God which we speak.
So, there's a two-fold lesson. Angels are all around us. Angels who watch, who gather, who record what the son's and daughters of God are saying about Him.
Second, we have to know and speak the Word. Far too often we pray from our own desires and souls. Our beliefs and thinking do not align with God's truth. But if we pray and speak the Word of God, angels attach themselves to it and make it happen.
Like, overcoming fear and anxiety. Or depression. God's Word says His love cast out all fear. He gives us joy for depression. Commands us to be anxious for nothing. As we pray those truths, we have the power of God and all His angels behind us, working on our behalf.
Psalm 91: 11For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
Heb 1:14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?
We have to start believing God's truths and not our experiences. I've heard respected men of God say, "What do you do when prayer and the Word are not enough?"
Pardon me, but. . . we're screwed. What's left? Man's wisdom?
What a thing for a man of God to say? It sends out hopelessness. No wonder the church looks so much like the world.
I understand the heart perhaps. Sometimes really hurting people, or wounded people can't settle down enough to believe God. Or, their belief system is so wrong, it takes counseling to get them right.
But again, only prayer and God's Word can do it. Better yet, praying God's Word.
So, if you imagine angels are standing by to help you. . . wow! What can get in your way if your heart is sincere toward God?
Man, He so rocks!
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I'm not against Dell. I love Dell computers. Kudos to Mr. Dell for creating such a great company. But it's the whole third-party, bunch-of-software-I-don't need with mean party guests like Avenue A and Double Click that I can never seem to get rid of.
It's the fact Microsoft allows pirates and such to store software code in the registry so no matter how many times you delete a worm or virus or spyware, it comes back.
To those who create such evil things. . . Grr.
I will miss my Dell computer, and have to admit, I'm having a few second thoughts. But, I'm willing to give the Mac a try and besides, I spent the money already.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
The F word. Faith.
We detest waiting. We loath the process. The ten second version is too long. The two second, too short.
Can't God conform, transform, reform me in six to eight seconds? A Hollywood sound bit is only 4 seconds and the world is ready and will ask their Doctor about a drug they don't need.
Jesus said this in Matthew 23:12, "And whoever exalts himself shall be humbedl; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted."
Humbling is hard. It takes a process to ge there and stay there. But look at the promise. The humble will be exalted.
This is a constant battle for me in the publishing world. How much do I promote myself? How do I avoid feeling left out or the notion I have to "get my name out there?"
I could spend thousands of dollars and thousands of hours on promotion and marketing. Neither of which I have. Even hundreds. I try to do what I can, but unless God goes before me, it's all for nothing anyway.
One word from Heaven, and I'm on the bestseller list. Truly. So, with that in mind, what is my responsibility.
Well, in Matthew 22:37 Jesus tells the Pharsees the greatest commandment. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind."
He concludes with the second commandment in verse 39, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
What is blaringly obvious is that I spend more time worrying about my books and place in the writing community than I do loving God and loving my neighbor.
If I really want a place in life, in eternity (which is a lot long than life) then I should fix my mind on loving Him with every ounce of my being and out of that overflow, loving my neighbor as myself.
The books will take care of themselves. He will take care of them. God has this unique economy. "Lay down your life. Surrender. Don't think or worry about yourself. Take up your cross and follow me."
And in the midst of our surrender, He takes care of all our needs. All of them.
"Lord, once more, I give you my life - my heart, my mind, my soul, my strength."
Grace and peace.
Monday, October 16, 2006
But first, I ordered a Mac on Saturday. I've switched from PC-ville to Mac. I'm excited. See my post about it on faithchick.com
Tony and I ran errands and ate at IHOP. I had a grilled chicken salad. Yum.
Stopped to say hi to Wayne who walks his dogs on San Filippo and ended up taking this girl Tracey to her friends house on other side of Palm Bay. Got to pray for her and talk about Jesus. It was good.
Came home, filled out birthday cards for big brother, Danny. Went to mail box and tripped over box of books.
My copies of Lost In NashVegas has arrived!
Worked on my next WIP. Have the first few chapters outlined.
Had a prayer and Bible time.
Went to leadership meeting at church. Those are always fun. Good snack food.
Made reservations for my research trip to Beaufort, SC in a few weeks. Can't wait.
Time for bed. Want to get up for Spinning at 5:10.
Peace and Grace.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
It was innocent enough, and reading back over the pages of my '77 diary, I can see how new this was to both of us. Having feelings for each other, feelings we called love, but not mature enough, or able enough to do anything about them.
Pete liked to tease and give me a hard time. He could be negative and sarcastic. One Saturday he broke our date and later said, "I told Bob I went out with another girl."
I never knew if he really did or not. "How can he say he loves me, then go out with someone esle?" I wrote. Even then, truth in actions was a factor for me. ;)
By now, it's late June and our relationship seems to be solidifying. We decided to date only each other and talked about "our future" which 30 years ago included each other. Thank God His plans supercede teenage zealousness.
I finally had to tell Pete we were moving to Tallahassee. I cried. He sniffled. We made projections and promises.
Back in the day when stores closed at 7 p.m. on Saturday, employees could get together
so Publix 0086 threw a going away party for me. Every one came. Even the manager.
Pete picked me up in his '69 Mach 1 Mustang and drove me to the surpise-but-I-knew-it party. All kinds of people and presents. We sat with my friends and his, Kevin and Bob.
Pete was Pistol Pete, Kevin was The Gun and Bob was the Bull Dog although the way his hair was styled - parted in the middle with wings - he looked like the Bull Frog.
We laughed and joked, all with a twinge of sadness. I was leaving. A year after I first laid eyes on Pete, this was the end. It'd all change.
But at 16, I had a spirit of adventure. I knew I wanted college and a career. I bore the usual confliction of having my heart in one place, my mind in another.
By now, Pete is calling me in the middle of the week and we developed some what of a real relationship - all in time for me to go. In a way, the most perfect ending.
He was conflicted as well. Drawing me close at times with words like I love you and want to marry you followed by "we can't know what the future holds" or "Well, that's life. Things change."
He told me he was sorry he waited so long to ask me out when he really liked me the summer before.
The family spent our last night in Homestead at our friends, the Hamilton's. Pete dropped me off, kissing me goodbye with continual promises to visit and write.
On Sunday morning, the Hayes caravan started north up the Turnpike to Tallahasse. Life had changed. Forever.
At first, I was lonely for him, but loved our new city. Many families from our church had moved from Homestead/South Miami to Tallahassee so we had friends. Not my friends, but friends of the family. Church was full of familiar faces.
I wrote Pete and then ran to the mail box every day desperate for a letter from him. It was well over two weeks before he wrote me back. I was ticked. But his letter soothed my anger.
He even called, but was sarcastic and negative. Rude. Made me mad. By August, I'd gotten a job at McDonalds and started making new friends.
My friend Lorena came for a visit and Dad let me go back down to Miami with her. I saw Pete and while he obviously missed me and felt the same way toward me, my feelings had faded. The magic dissipating in only a few months time.
Our love did not stand the test of time. In late fall, I visted again and didn't even call him, but hung out with other friends and guys who liked me "back in the day" of which I would not give them the time. I heard he'd moved on as well.
That was the last time I ever saw Pete. I think he called once or twice, but we had nothing to say. I wonder at times, reading over my diaries, if I broke his heart and all the negative talk and sarcasim was his defense.
Or, if like me, the magic just faded and he moved on with his life. Our love sincere but shallow.
One thing I've learned over the years, guys feel things very deeply. They get a bad rap because they are more physical than women, and can have sex without becoming emotionally attached, but recovering from a truly broken heart is way more difficult for men than women.
From Pete until now, a lot of life has been lived. Mistakes made. Forgiveness sought and given. God's amazing love and grace so prevelant and real in my life. I'm sorry I ever wasted one moment worrying or chasing other "loves."
I'm grateful for my true love, Tony. He is really the better half of me in this life.
As for Pete, I wish him well, wherever he is. His birthday is coming up next week. He'll be 48 and a long way from an innocent, green 18 year old instilling a lifetime of confidence into an innocent, green 16 year old.
You convinced me I was beautiful, Pete, and for that, I'll always be grateful. I pray you know Jesus.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Another great blog from my hubby:
I had talked to Ryan several times during our downtown outreach, and he'd been polite, but never really opened up.
I'd invited him to our bible study, which he had assiduously avoided. But last Tuesday night he followed me around, so I made a point to spend some time with him. He asked me for a Bible. So, I hooked him up with a New Testament.
Why the change? He was having some significant conflict with his girlfriend. God uses difficulty to get our attention, but believe it or not, it's not His preferred method.
(Psa 32:8-9) I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you.
That's why I'm trying to come near to God every day. I don't like being harnessed.
As a side observation, I find it interesting to stand on a porch talking with someone about God while another guy sits three feet away drinking a beer and smoking a joint.
They must finally believe we're not cops. We are there because we love them.
So why was Ryan talking to me and not the beer-drinking-pot-smoking guy? Because most people know that they need help from God in tough times; they just don't know how to find Him.
After four months of shining my light in the darkness, Ryan finally saw. And the truth is God is a lot easier to find when His people are out in the world acting and loving like He does.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Went to 5:50 Spinning followed by prayer at church then a quick errand. I get in line with my Diet Coke, by passing the donut and cookie display, reminding myself being this tired to get up THAT early to exercise is all ruined by one lousy donut.
Who set the economy on this calorie in take verse calorie burn up ratio?
The woman in front of me sipped a tall coffee and held a giant cruller type donut. She was shapely, thin, not a pinch of fat on her. Her legs smooth and tan, her mid section flat.
Sometimes, life is just not fair.
Monday, October 09, 2006
We had occassional telephone calls during the week, but kept most of our dating to Saturday night.
Real old fashion date night.
May melted into June. Things were changing. Not for me a Pete. We were young and so-called in love.
My parents had made several trips to Tallahassee that spring. They came home after the last one with a bit of news.
"We're moving to Tallahassee in July."
From my diary entries, I seemed to take it all in stride, planning to return to Miami when I graduated high school and marry Pete.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Prom night, but I wasn't going. My dates' brother got me off the hook and I was elated. I'd have more time with Pete. But when I saw him at the time clock Saturday morning before punching in, I knew something was amiss.
"Hi," he said. "I think I'll be able to get off at 2:00." His eyes didn't sparkle at me, and his bright smile didn't light his face.
"O-okay." I'd planned to get off early because of the prom, but when that changed, Pete and I made plans to have an early evening date. Since he didn't bring up plans, neither did I.
At 2:00, Pete drove me to my friend Lorena's. She was going to prom with Ronny and I was helping her get ready.
On the way he said, "I saw my competition in golf and I have to start buckling down." Immediately, I knew we weren't going out. "I hope I didn't ruin your plans."
Oh no. Forget you told me we were going out every weekend, especially this one. That you loved me and loved spending time with me. You knew I broke the date with Mike because I wanted to be with you instead. All of this I said to myself.
So, as we pull into the driveway and I get out of the car, he leaves me with, "See you later."
That's it. Not an "I'll pick you up late. Or we'll go out tomorrow." Only I'll see you later. Creep.
Oh Lord, please don't let it be over. We had 2 good dates, didn't we? (LOL) Lorena comforted me by surmising Pete was too inexperienced in dating to play games.
Sure felt like a game to me. I'm confused and hurt. I thought he loved me.
Lorena looked lovely in her prom dress and her date, handsome. He wore a brown and blue tux. As they drove off, I curled up at Lorena's, wondering what Mr. Rameriz was doing with his evening, and what changes the next week would bring.
The next day, Sunday, was mother's day and I woke up worried. What if it's over? But as the day wore on I decided, "It's not worth it. There's a lot of life and living ahead of me. I'm only 16. Why die over someone now? I'm too young to get engaged or married. So, why worry?"
I felt better after that. . .
Thursday, October 05, 2006
What would you think if I told you that three people we prayed for this Sunday got miraculously healed? Would you consider that a good church service? Well, no one got healed this Sunday that I know of, probably like most Sundays in most churches. And that leads to my point. I was reading in Mark and two verses stood out to me.
(Mark 6:5-6) Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.
I thought, we'd be ecstatic if a few sick people got healed. Do you know what that means? It means a bad day for Jesus is still more than most of our expectations. Does Jesus marvel at our unbelief?
So then Jesus went about the villages teaching. I guess that's all He could do, since He could do no mighty works. I wonder if that's why the church is so full of teaching and so lacking in power. Maybe that's all we have faith for.
Well I don't want to settle for just good teachings. I'm determined to stir myself up, press in, and connect with the Jesus I read about in the New Testament.
Who's with me?
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
"Me, neither." Giggle.
He kissed me again. I giggled more. Sixteen, ah, sweet giggly sixteen.
I'm not sure I was his first kiss, but certainly a kiss he meant.
"I want to go out with you every week, Rachel."
"Really? O-okay." Gulp, smile, giggle. Swoon.
The entire drive home, he held my hand and I saw stars.
But the next week, a kink forms in our love line. See, before Pete got up the nerve to ask me out, another guy asked me to his prom. I said yes.
Diary entry April 27, '77
"Mike called to outline his rules and ideas for the prom. Not only do I have to be with him physically, but mentally. Oh, I feel awful. I have to hold his hand. What if he tries to kiss me. Oo, yuck. I'm going to talk to him and tell him how I feel."
Certainly he knew. His brother was Pete's best friend. But what did it matter? I had Pete and we were going out again this Saturday. The prom was over a week away. Certainly something would work out.
Still, only seeing and talking to Pete on Saturdays. By the time we are out of work, and I go home and change, we don't go out until 8 or 8:30.
This Saturday he was picking me up at 8:30, but 8:35, he's not there. 8:40, no Pete. By 8:45, I feel sick. He's not coming. He stood me up. I just know it.
Then the phone rings. I jump to answer it. Please, please, please. Sure enough. It's him.
"I got tied up. I'll be a few more minutes."
Oh, Jesus, thank you.
When he arrived, he came in and greeted my parents and their friends, told me I looked nice in front of them.
On the way out to the car, he whispered, "My first lady is a classy lady."
Sigh with delight. We went to Black Angus again for dinner. As we were walking inside, he pulled me aside. "I love you. Do you love me?'
He flashes his white smile. His brown eyes snapped.