Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall at sunset

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Genesis Contest Final!

Early this spring I entered one of my historical manuscripts in the Genesis contest. American Christian Fiction Writers is one of the biggest Christian fiction organizations in the country, and this is their yearly contest for unpublished writers.

The top 20 highest scoring entries made it into the semi-finals, which were announced in April. Only 3 manuscripts would be selected from those to become finalists. The finalists were to be named on May 13, and I spent that day talking to the Lord, telling Him I wished it didn't matter so much to me, and trying to prepare myself for disappointment. I told the Lord that whatever happened, I would take it as coming from Him, and either way it would be OK.

And then when I got the phone call that I was a finalist - well, after the word "Congratulations!" I didn't hear anything else the ACFW representative said. I had to replay the message later and listen to it again.

The winners of each category won't be announced until the national conference in St. Louis but I feel as if I've already won. I'm blessed and grateful. Unpublished writers as a whole are very insecure. We are constantly asking ourselves if we're "good enough".

The affirmation and encouragement that finaling in the Genesis has given me is wonderful. I'm reminded again to keep going, keep writing, keep learning the craft, and above all ABIDE in HIM. He is the one who holds all the days of my life in His hand and I can trust Him.

Thank you, Lord. It's all You.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Old Apalachicola Cemetery

I love visiting old cemeteries. So many stories waiting to be told! People who lived in past centuries had a different take on death than we do today. Life expectancy was shorter and many babies didn't live to see their first birthday.

I'm always struck by the evidence of people's faith engraved on the stones. Little Clarence Goettinger was two years old when he was taken away from loving parents. They erected an angel to watch over his tomb. You can read the verse they had inscribed on the stone below.

Apalachicola's old cemetery had Confederate graves, victims of shipwreck and yellow fever, and many monuments to dearly loved children. Even across the centuries you can still feel the pain of losing a loved one.

A child's gravestone with Scripture.
Spanish moss, white sand, and seashells everywhere.
One creepy grave. When I was a kid, I would've wanted to look in there!
A family grave. Four infants  lost. The tiny stone slabs that
mark the grave's outlines are heart-rending.

The stone at the foot of Clarence's grave.

Clarence Goettinger closed his eyes in death,
and flesh and spirit severed.
When earth and fatherland and home
with all their beauty sank in gloom
say, Was it to be forever?
No, not forever.

Clarence's angel.

A Confederate grave. 2nd Florida Cavalry.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Apalachicola, Florida

I finally had my beach day.

My husband and I spent five days in beautiful Apalachicola on the Florida panhandle, just where the coast turns south.

It's also called the "forgotten coast" of Florida. No main interstate goes directly to or by Apalachicola. Therefore it has never been developed like the rest of Florida's beach communities.

No high rise hotels or condos. No McDonald's. Just a sleepy Florida town with bungalows and historic homes that probably looks much the same today as it did fifty years ago.

The beach in the photo is on St. George's Island, a barrier island on the gulf of Mexico. There were very few people there. You can see the closest ones in the photo above. My kind of beach. And it was pristine. That famous white sugar sand and the water was so warm! Tons of shells. It was heavenly.

Of course, with my penchant for history and graveyards, I had to visit the historic cemetery draped in Spanish moss that stood across the street from our bed and breakfast. It had Confederate Civil War graves and memorials to people who died of yellow fever.

I will be doing a post on some of the graves and the unusual statuary I found there.

If you'd like to have a look at The Coombs House Inn, here's the link: www.coombshouseinn.com.