New Year’s Musings

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Hello, and Happy New Year! Welcome to my first post of 2016.

Like a lot of other people, I’m still getting back in the swing of things. Hubby went back to work, and the kids are back in school, so now I have some time to myself to get back on track with writing. Oh, and housecleaning. But most importantly, WRITING.

We spent a week in Florida over the holidays, visiting my favorite Florida spot, St. Augustine, and then heading south to Fort Lauderdale for a couple days. My husband likes to fill our days when we’re away, so I didn’t have a lot of down-time to think, much less write, and since our internet availability was limited, I wasn’t able to keep up with anything in social media. I suppose being disconnected was a good thing, although now I feel as though I’m behind on a lot of things, like blogging and keeping up with other authors.

Anyway, this post is just a little bit of musing and decompressing, an attempt to capture some of the thoughts that rambled through my head on the long drive between Pennsylvania and Florida.

 

St. Augustine

As a general rule, I am not a fan of Florida. The heat and humidity just leave me feeling like a wrung-out dish cloth, and so many of the places I’ve visited there are expensive, touristy, and over-crowded. And some of that holds true for St. Augustine as well, but I have felt such a deep affinity for the place since the first time we visited a few years ago. I believe our main intent in visiting that first time was to see the lighthouse—my husband is a certified lighthouse addict. After seeing the lighthouse, we did a quick spin around the downtown area, and I was quickly drawn in by the history and the many things there are to see and do there. Without question, I said one more visit was necessary.

Well, if I counted correctly, this was our third visit, and I still don’t think we’ve seen everything this beautiful little town has to offer. There are so many little side streets with their own shops, inns, and history that we have yet to discover, and I still have a strong desire to get inside the Huguenot cemetery.

Something that has me scratching my head a bit is the feeling I got as we traveled up I-95 on the way back up north after Fort Lauderdale. As we passed the exits for St. Augustine, I felt a very strong tug in my spirit. Had I been traveling alone, with no one else’s agenda to consider, I would likely have hopped off and spent another day or two there. There is only one other place I have ever had such a connection with, and that is Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, where I went to college. That’s another place that I spent time in but still feel as though I’ve only scratched the surface of the history and the real soul of the location.

 

Writing Life

Always, always when I travel, I carry at least one (but usually two or three) notebooks to record thoughts or story ideas that come to mind. I almost never get much if any writing done because of our habit of cramming every day with activity, and usually till we get back to the hotel for the evening, I’m too tired and the kids are too wound up, so I don’t really get time to write as much as I’d like. I tried to write some while we were at the beach; the kids were occupied “wave resisting” (a game my older son came up with, basically trying not to let the waves knock them over), and Mike was taking pictures and video or wading in the ocean. However, it was way too windy there, and I preferred watching the waves.

Inspiration did strike a few times, giving me some partial scenes for several WIPs. I’ve been working on a bothersome scene in Witch of Willow Lake, the third in the Kyrie Carter series, and I worked through a slight block there. A few ideas came to mind for the fourth, as-yet-untitled book in the series, so I jotted those down as reference for later. I also wrote out a piece of a scene for my Storybook House novel that is still taking shape.

And a character who introduced herself and then disappeared just before Christmas stopped by to say hello. I’m still trying to coax out her story, but I do have more of a visual on her. Her name is Persephone, and she is a teenager. She favors vintage clothes, which I can’t imagine makes her very popular with her peers. If anything, she seems to be a bit of a curiosity, an anachronism of sorts. I can’t wait for her to start talking to me to tell me what she’s all about and what story she has.

 

My Spiritual Side

For some reason I began thinking about my spiritual life as we traveled around. Being away from our home church made me take a look at things, I guess. I’m a lot more involved at our church than I was in the church I grew up in, and that’s saying a lot because I was very involved with the kids at that church. What I have noticed, though, is that I feel really disconnected from God, even though we’re in a “Spirit-filled” church. Yes, I know that that’s mostly on me, since I’m responsible for my own relationship with God. But still, it made me start thinking about ways I can reconnect, ways I can reclaim my faith. In some ways, I think the places we visited—St. Augustine, the beach—are spiritual in their own unique ways, something I feel I’m missing. I don’t have my own practices as much as I used to. I feel I need to make time to explore that side of myself again, to find what works for me to get back into a routine of devotions, prayer, meditation, or whatever. A lot of areas of my life would benefit from that.

And just putting this out there, because this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this voice speaking, maybe it’s time to unplug from some things. To unclutter my schedule and my spirit.

 

Well, I think that’s enough for now. There’s still a lot rattling around in my brain, but that’s fodder for another day. Again, Happy New Year, and I hope for us all that this year will be blessed, busy, and bountiful!

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