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LOVE NOTES has been released and let loose in the world, and I am ready to move on. But to where? And to what? I am lost and don’t know where to go.

To Scotland?

To Florida?

To Denmark and the Faroe Islands?

Do I revisit Anders and Bjorn, Jensen and the Christiansens in Daybreak in Denmark?

Do I get to know Rose, who is wild, and Ted, the vicar, who is not, but so wants to be, in Wild Rose of Scotland?

I have plenty of inspiration to write about a host of quirky church ladies, should I decide to visit St. Conan’s Kirk on Loch Awe.

Or should I finish Blue Belle of Scotland? I already know Aileana, the blue belle from Virginia, lost, like me, in Tobermory, Scotland.

I know Damen and his secrets. I know Micheal St. Dawndelyn and his. Believe me, he has more than a few. Not as dark as Damen’s, but shady enough. Blue Belle of Scotland scares me. Too much nakedness, too frightening, too close to home.

If I go to Florida, I have my setting, the sand swells of the beach, the Pink Palace rising up from sea level like a treasure chest half swamped in sand, but overflowing with gems.

I know the Everglades – birds of every color, plants, water.

Alligators lurking everywhere you look.

But that is it. This book has no name. I have a plot, a conflict, and I know who the characters will be, but I don’t know them. They are also nameless.

I don’t know what they’re like, what they like to do, what they like to eat, if they’re on Facebook, what they wear, what color hair and eyes they have. They are strangers to me.

So do I want to spend some time with strangers, and hopefully, make some new friends, or do I want to see what my dear old friends are up to. There is comfort in the familiar. Do I feel brave and gregarious, or timid and shy?

I am lost. I have no idea which way to turn. The friendly folks of Embarrass, Minnesota have opened their arms to me in a warm welcome, but I cannot stay there. I must go out into the world, explore new places, see new things. It is what it is.

Will it be warm, balmy Florida, cool ocean breezes, palm trees and swamps, sand and seashells?

Or is it the stiff winds and nippy breezes, rhododendrons and wild roses, bluebells and cool, deep, waters of the highlands that call out to me?

Hairy coos and tidal pools, stolen loot and whiskeyed-up fools. Kilts and bagpipes and monsters lurking in the depths. That’s what Scotland is made of.

But then, there are those tall, magnificently blond Danes with sun-washed eyes of blue, oceans and time, still keeping lovers at bay. Babies and boys and a whole new world… Denmark calls me. It is the land of my ancestors.

Each place has its allure. So many stories waiting to be told. I don’t know which way to turn. I need more time, an extra set of hands, a spare brain.

I know Cristina wants to go to Florida. She loves it there. We were there, together, when the plot hatched.

Helle and Villiam want me to come to Denmark. They know me well. It is where my heart is. Ancient ties.

Mark wants to go back to Scotland. It’s golf. Always has been, always will be. His mistress. And I so loved the tea houses, the castles, the history, the shoppes. It is the perfect place to be with Mark, so appealing to each of us.

So what will it be? At the moment, I just want some Swedish meatballs, with a big old scoop of mashed potatoes and gravy. Hold the Lingonberry jelly, please.

But a good Scottish breakfast sounds good, too. Cumberland sausages, and that wonderful smoked haddock pie with mashed potatoes and shredded cheese on top.

Or some chocolates, hand made in Tobermory.

But Florida has healthy, Whole Foods. Key Lime Pie. And fresh oranges.

It all sounds so good! Can you see why I’m confused?

Please share your thoughts. Where, oh, where, should I go?

We recently returned from a mid-winter’s vacation to sunny Florida. I can’t tell you how fun it was to see water that was unfrozen, grass that was green, and flowers that were blooming after living in an all-white tundra for the past three months.

While we were there, we made a trip to the Everglades, which was described by our tour guide as a microcosm of life on earth. If all is well in the Everglades, all is evidently well on earth. Walking among the alligators and seeing hundreds of water birds living in the shallow swamp that is the Everglades did inspire many allegories in my mind, and my husband’s. So for my blog today, I’m borrowing a page from my husband’s sermon (he’s a pastor). He used my photos in his power point earlier today; I’m using his idea.

In this picture, the focus is on the leaves. They’re pretty, they’re green, they’re alive, they’re good, but as you can see in the second photo, they’re not what’s really important in this picture!

So often in life, we focus on the little things, to the detriment of what’s really important. As Christians, we may focus on squabbling denominations, political and religious issues, rites and rituals, and forget about what’s really important – grace, forgiveness, atonement, serving a Savior sent to die for our sins.   As people, we may focus on Facebook, checking our email, fixing dinner, getting our errands done and our bills paid and doing a million other things that may be good and well in their own right, but are distractions nonetheless. As writers, we may focus on promotions, classes, conferences, sales statistics, and current industry trends, and forget to write the best book we know how to write.

In today’s lesson at church, the Apostle Paul was so busy focusing on what he thought was important – sticking with the program, defending his religion against the new Christian zealots who claimed that Jesus was the Messiah, trying to keep things the way they’d always been – that he almost failed to see the alligator looming front and center, refusing to be ignored.

What are the leaves in your own life? What’s keeping you from seeing the alligator? If we open our eyes and look past the leaves that are cluttering our view and distracting us from seeing the bigger picture, we will be able to focus on what’s really important.

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