Kelsey and I got away for a few days for a long overdue retreat that was part writing binge, part sightseeing, all glad-we-escaped-the-blizzard. It was the perfect convergence of being able to land our schedules, find enough help for the kids, and open doors thanks to frequent flier miles on Southwest Airlines and the loan of a cottage in fabulous Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.
Carmel-by-the-See is a four thousand resident town just south of Monterey Bay. It is nothing short of gorgeous. Our cottage was two blocks from the beautiful coastline and had everything we needed – especially an abundance of silence.
We flew into San Jose and drove the 90 miles south to Carmel, arriving after dark, which was quite the experience given Carmel’s staunch ‘No Streetlight’ policy. The next morning, we settled into a rhythm of work/fun/work, with Kelsey writing in the mornings while I took Piper out for some dad time.
In the afternoons, We’d all go walk the cliffs near the beach or drive down Highway 1. From Carmel south, Highway 1 winds tight against the mountain on one side and the sea on the other. One day we made it all the way down to Big Sur. The journey was amazing. After our excursions, Kelsey would take Piper in to the late afternoons and I’d write into the evening. Late nights, we’d both write.
We got a tremendous amount of work done. I got about 12,500 words into my next book, “Jesus Killed My Church”, including one 3,000 word burst in less than 2 hours. The nature of the book has me telling a lot of stories from our past, so I kept interrupting Kelsey’s flow by asking “Am I remembering this right?”. Strangely, I remembered a lot more right than wrong.
Kelsey is writing about living with eternity in mind, and while I was telling historical antedotes, she was dropping bombs like “The seal of the Holy Spirit in us is not only a guarantee for our own sake, but a declaration to the world of eternity & the coming kingdom.” One of us is profound, and the other is the husband.
We finished our work Thursday evening, packed up Friday morning and drove to Cupertino, where we checked into a hotel, took a quick peek at the Apple headquarters (geeks we are), ate one more round of In-n-Out, and stopped by Ikea. We were scheduled to spend a second night there before flying home but decided we were happy with what we’d accomplished and we missed our kids, so we switched our tickets and flew home on Saturday.
I had an amazing week. It was fun to spend extended times with Kelsey – especially when we only had to compete with the noise created by one child, not seven. I also loved watching her work on her book There is a lot in there, folks, and it’s finding it’s way out.
We’re very grateful for everyone who worked so hard to help make this happen – the person who loaned us the cottage, the people who shuttled the kids around, helped with food, even the neighbor who plowed our driveway after Snowmageddon. We are extremely blessed with good friends. Now we hope we can continue the work pace to deliver a couple of good books later this year.
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