And so I journeyed to Denver and the annual American Christian Fiction Writers conference not knowing what would happen. On a rainy and dark Thursday morning I head to the car and the airport to catch my flight, only to miss a step and fall flat on my back. I tore up my right ankle (I had JUST finished rehabing my left ankle from a sprain on a hike in August) and received a bruise that is about ten inches in length on my forearm. Crying, I barely have time to go and find some ankle braces to throw in my carry on. There isn't even any time to ice it.
Reality sinks in quickly. I am going to the conference bruised, in pain, and unable to walk. What does that bode for this journey? It ain't lookin' too good...
But I will find out in a whole new way...that when I am weak, He is most definitely strong.
- on the airplane, an old gentleman helped me put my carry-on up above and then took it down. And the ice the flight attendant gave me on the airplane and the nice bag of ice a guy made up for me at a McDonalds in Dallas.
- at the hotel in Denver, limping down halls that first 24 hours to see friendly and sympathetic faces offering encouragement and support
- my wonderful roommate, Cindy, who stood by me at my low point on Friday, when I was wondering why I even write or why I'm even here. She saw the highs and lows of a published author. It is not all fame and fortune. It is tough all the way.
- the gathering of Barbour authors Friday night. What a turning point for me. I met some great friends, laughed a lot, but it was the contact with my editors JoAnne and Becky, that were highlights for me. Especially when Becky made the suggestion that I write fiction about the Appalachian Trail, and they would look at it. That could not have been a greater uplift to a downtrodden spirit and a confirmation that God has me exactly where He wants me.
- mealtimes. Each table I sat at gave me unique and interesting experiences. An overwhelmed writer looking for encouragement. Laughing with a good friend, Deb. Another writer who prayed with me about family matters. My former editor, Tracie Peterson, who sympathizes with family matters, and we plan to pray for each other. It was all good.
- Editor appointments. The first one on Friday was a disaster for me, which led to my low time. But I had one left - on Saturday with the editor of Bethany House whom I had been in e-mail contact with four years ago. And she remembered me! It has been a long road trying to find a book they will take. But there is still hope as I have resurrected an idea they rejected five years ago but are willing to look at again. So we'll see.
- Graduation. I attended this fiction clinic for advanced authors and at the end, you receive a diploma and a gift. Wow, I had not graduated in over 25 years, so this was extra special! And the diplomas were beautiful, hand done by one of the editors. It was these encounters with editors at private functions and at the graduation that made me realize how much these busy people truly value their authors and make us feel special.
There are more fascinating things that happened, which I will likely address as I blog. But God met me in Denver. I knew He would, but I didn't know how. But He did it in the most perfect way possible.