Friday, October 01, 2010

How Are You Doing?

I'm back from a wonderful break. First the ACFW conference. What can I say? Once again, it was a very much needed time of refreshing, a time of reconnecting with old friends, meeting blog buddies for the first time and making new friends. I got to hang out with an amazing group of ladies, drank in some profound teaching, waved to my agent as she dashed by in a whirl of frenetic activity as is always the way for agents and editors at conference, and I sat back and watched God work.
One of the really cool things about this year's conference for me was just being able to rest in His presence. Most conferences I have gone to usually start out this way:
"Hi, God. Okay, here we go. First, I have to take two flights, and you know how I feel about flying. So please, don't let the plane crash. You know I don't want to die in a plane crash. Second, please don't let me have forgotten my one sheets. Or the sample chapters I just know all those editors are going to ask for. Third, don't let me act like an idiot in front of anyone. And finally, God, please, please, please, get me a publishing contract."
Wait, why are you laughing?
Anyway, this year was different. Except for the praying about the plane crash thing. This year I didn't go to conference to pitch. I didn't have to worry about bumbling over my words and coming across like a borderline schizophrenic in front of anyone. (I'm sure I did anyway, but whatever). This year, I just had fun. And boy did I need that.
Although I didn't go in with any specific prayer requests, I did have a bunch of people I wanted to see. Not that I specifically prayed like dear God, please let me see so and so. I probably should have though, because when I arrived and found out there were over 600 people in attendance I began to wonder how in the world I was ever going to run into the people I wanted to. Especially since I would be hiding in my room most of the time. Crowds are so not my thing! And Jenness wasn't there to boost my confidence - usually we drag each other around, but she stayed home this year, so I was on my own.
Well, I didn't hide in my room. I forced myself to get out there and...deep breath...mingle. And one by one, God placed each of the people I really wanted to connect with right in my path.
After I arrived I went down to get something to eat and Lena Nelson Dooley prolonged her time in the restaurant to sit and chat with me so I wouldn't have to eat alone. What a sweetheart that woman is, and I was so grateful to get to spend a bit of time with her! The next day my friend Trish was free for lunch, so we hung out. I met blogging buddies Wendy,
Heather, Katie, and so many more! We had a blast and I really enjoyed getting to put real skin on names and faces that I've only known through the blogosphere until now.
I got my hug from Deb Raney, which is a must at any conference. She just makes you feel good! I really wanted to connect with Meredith Efken, she's such an amazing editor and gifted writer, and I just happen to run into her, pretty literally, at lunch one day and she graciously invited me to her table. It was great to spend a little time with her! I even grabbed a few moments with my good friend and ACFW vice pres. Becky Yauger, which was a miracle in and of itself because she was so busy! My agent Rachelle was pretty much run off her feet, but I was fortunate enough to sit next to her at the awards banquet, so we did connect, even for a little bit. And as if all these blessings weren't enough, I got to ride in a limo to the airport with Georgiana, and then hang out with Susie Warrenand a bunch of other ACFW'ers while we waited for our flights.
As is always the case, I came away enormously grateful for ACFW, for all the hard work the organizers and Board put in to make these events so successful, and for the wonderful teaching, encouragement and fellowship this group provides.
To top it all off, after that I flew to California to spend a week touring wineries with my awesome husband of {almost} twenty-five years. (Don't ask, there's a story there, but that's another blog).
I came away from all this knowing without a doubt that God is definitely pretty amazing. I didn't ask, but He knew what I needed, and He provided.
How quick I am to forget that. It is so easy for me to choose negative thinking over positive. Right now, as I sit here writing this, I'm waiting for some news on a particular manuscript that I've gone full circle with a few times now. I've received some really positive comments from an editor, and I'm waiting for the next email.
And that voice inside my head is telling me to forget about it. It's not going to happen, why get my hopes up, it'll be just another rejection, just like the rest.
I'm really trying hard to drown out that voice and trust God.
He knows the desires of my heart. He works all things together for good.
He loves me.
Yet it's still a struggle to believe in myself.
Which is why I'm so grateful for all the aforementioned people that God has brought into my life. Because I know they are right there beside me, praying for me, standing with me as I wait, and cheering me on. And even if the news is not what I am hoping for, they will still be there, and that's more important than any publishing contract.
I am feeling very blessed today for my friends and family.
So how are you doing?


Wendy Paine Miller said...

Yeah, your house is okay and you had a good trip!

So fun to meet you!

I felt like I crashed after I got home from a blessed writerly high.

But I'm back to it now. Already excited for next year.
~ Wendy

Richard Mabry said...

So good to connect with you, although it was brief. Glad it was a great conference experience for you, and apparently well worth the travel involved.
(Uh, is there any significance to the word verification for this comment being "psyco"?)

Sarah Forgrave said...

Welcome home, Catherine! Wow, you did quite the U.S. tour, didn't you? :-)

Catherine West said...

Wendy, I know what you mean! I am pretty tired still, but I'm looking forward to new projects!
Sarah, thanks, yes we did a lot of traveling but it was a lot of fun!!
Richard, haha! Hope you had a great time even though you had to leave early. Looking forward to next year already!

Terri Tiffany said...

I'm so glad you had a great time! Looks like you and I have the same blogging buddies and you got to meet them!! :)))

Georgiana said...

Like you, I didn't go with specific prayer requests either (other than the plane not crashing) but WOW God was so faithful to provide exactly what I needed this year!!! Yes, good times in the limo. Hee hee!

Cindy R. Wilson said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the conference (and the trip afterward). It was great to meet you!

Katie Ganshert said...

Loved getting to meet you in person, Cathy.

Heather Sunseri said...

It was incredible to connect with you, Kathy! Can't wait to do it again! That was an amazing time.

jenness said...

A limo ride with Georgiana, eh? Guess I'm going to have to step it up next year, considering we only shared a Super shuttle van...

Missed being there with you, but glad you had an amazing time. How could you not? :-)

jenness said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Julie Jarnagin said...

Conference seemed like such a whirlwind to me, but I had an amazing time! Glad to hear you had a great experience too!

Rosslyn Elliott said...

I like reading about the conference from your POV! And also, I'm *really* glad that someone else shares my borderline phobia about planes. I'm working on it. I guess in Bermuda, you don't have much choice but to fly. It would take a long time to cruise everywhere. :-)