Somebody told me before I came to Maranatha that this was considered the best small conference for Christian writers. I confirm that recommendation.
One of the best things about attending conferences is meeting people. Running into old writing friends is always a joy. Gail Gaymer Martin insisted she get a picture of the two of us, I handed my phone to someone so I’d have proof of our encounter, too. Yes, I have my arm around a multi-award winning author. Our paths first crossed about four years ago at a small conference in Texas. We also met at ACFW.
New friends are always a bonus, too. Len and Mike Blaha, a father/son duo, are now FB friends and real-life friends. They’re both new to being bitten by the writing bug. I can’t wait to see how God is going to use them to reach folks to further His kingdom.
As you can tell by my attire the atmosphere is a bit more laid back here in Michigan. The flannel shirts were a natural for me to wear in my home state.
I made another multi-award winning author, and more, connection at Maranatha this year. When I stepped into the dining hall for the first breakfast there was a tall man sorting through the diced fruit. He looked up and said, “I feel like we met at some point a long time ago and far away.”
I told him it was a far distance away, but not that long ago. At last month’s ACFW conference I made eye contact with the keynote speaker as he was pacing at the back of the huge room he was to speak in. We never got a chance to carry on a conversation at that event. I knew Bill Myers would be at Maranatha so I didn’t worry about getting a chance to connect here.
Later in the day, after one of the sessions, Bill approached me from behind and asked me to become a visual at an important part of his presentation. I said, “Sure, I can stand still.”
I went up and represented God the Father while a married man stood for Jesus the Son who brought His bride to God. It was a powerful display and a sincere privilege.
My writing may never win any prestigious awards, but I can now lay claim to the fact that a Hollywood movie producer hand-picked me to play the role of God. That puts me right up there with the likes of Morgan Freeman and George Burns. This is my blog. I can have my moments of grandeur here.
Bill and I did share a few meals together along with conversation. The sanitizing of the Christmas story was a mutual agreement between us.
The theme of this year’s conference was MISSION:Possible. Yes, the theme song to a classic TV show is bouncing around in my head as I type this, too.
One of the main reasons I went through the arduous task of driving 1,109 miles to attend such a small conference was to make contact with the tremendous publishers in the Midwest. I did get two requests for a proposal for my Christmas devotional book. Both publishers have been on my wish list of ones to work with in my career.
Moody was one of the Colleges I played soccer against in college. With such a rich heritage I would love to be a part of their future.
Discovery House’s association with Our Daily Bread Devotional booklets is another dream publisher. Andy said if I had approached him one year ago he would have flat out told me they don’t touch anything using biblical fiction. But, now they’re thinking about using it as long as it’s dealt with properly.
Timing is crucial in this business. God’s timing is impeccable. I’m excited about the potential with either of these houses.
My word for the year did show up on the screen during the conference, persevere. It’s such an important trait to build for every Christian.
The worship times were incredible, so were the times we gathered to sing praises to God. I hadn’t been anywhere where just a piano was used as a musical instrument in a long time. Some songs from last week’s men’s retreat sounded just as glorious coming from a mixed audience of men and women, all children of God.
I walked out to the beach twice; once when I first arrived and again just before I left. God spoke to me both times.
I knew it was only because of His command all that sand wasn’t washed out into such a vast expanse of water. If He has that under control He can write my life script, too.
The two of us have a quaint “fleece gesture” for Him to confirm I’m where I’m supposed to be in His will for my life. When I find a coin, usually a penny, in an unusual place I find solace in that. As I walked away from the water for the last time a bright penny was setting on top of the sand. The date on that coin is 2014, the most difficult year of my life. I persevered and am still trudging along my road with a cross to carry.
I took the time to swing on the sturdy swing set on the beach before I left. When I was ten I dreamed twice that I could fly. That swing was my way of feeling like I was flying. I’ve been braced for God to use me in a way I never imagined possible. Yes, I’m optimistic about this writing journey I’m on.
I was hoping to bring a free book back from the conference as I did from last month’s conference. There was a drawing for some gift baskets made by one of the agents in attendance. I won one of those baskets. I don’t have enough time to read the books I own already, but I know a special red-head who loves to read and has time for it in her life. I’m planning on using these books to begin to woo Barb back.
God’s timing is impeccable. Did I mention that, yet? Fleece comes in many varieties, too.
Prayer support is encouraged and needed. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and lifting me up to the throne of grace. It’s so good to be a member of such a loving family.
Keep smiling. Wade