Ah...Now THIS is what I imagine Heaven will smell like. I just plugged in a new Wallflower room scenty thing called Caribbean something-or-other. All I know is that it smells like vanilla, pineapple and coconut. I can practically hear the ocean! (Might be my cat, though. She's making all kinds of weird noises this morning.)
I just got back from my first book event. It was a blast! I met up with the wonderful folks from Guideposts/Summerside/Ellie Claire down in Atlanta for the International Christian Retail Show at the World Congress Center. I had NO idea it was such a big deal. But that's like a book publisher's version of the Super Bowl. They put in SO much work putting that together and getting ready for it every year. Hats off to the crew I worked with! Suzi, Lindsay, Carlton, Jason, Joanie and the whole bunch. They really did a great job and had an awesome booth! It was such a good experience. :)
For my part, I just showed up and did the easy stuff. All I did was stand behind a little counter, sign books, and talked to people about the message of it. That was cool! People really are drawn to the faith stories of their favorite athletes and coaches, so this really is shaping up to be an awesome ministry and message-bearing tool. I am SO stinkin' blessed to be the one God asked to write this! Holy cow! What an honor!! Thank You, Lord!!
Anyway, because I'm a writer I could blog about all different kinds of things that happened on the trip. From almost missing the flight out (um, Delta...Need I say more? Oh, but I will...), to the emotions that I wrestled with regarding "selling" Chrisitan material, to the hot run downtown around Phillips Arena, to the encounter with the homeless man on Monday night, to the nightmare travel coming back to KC (again, Delta...Makes me SO thankful that KC's main airline is Southwest. Praise God for them!). But I'll just pick one and roll with it.
Alright, I was going to whine about Delta, but I think that would defeat the purpose of encouraging anything or anyone today. I'm just going to let it go and take the opportunity to say thanks to the wonderful folks at Southwest who have blessed me over the years with awesome travel. Yesterday, your excellence was just absolutely magnified in light of the alternatives.
What I will blog about was wrestling with the book promotion. Man, that is hard!! From two points of view. One, of course, is pride. Balancing the fact that this is the Lord's and not allowing myself to bask in the fact that I wrote a book. Um...I didn't do ANYTHING. The Lord filled me with words, and I obeyed Him by writing them down. Whatever good messages come out of this are His. Whatever typos are from the fact that we're imperfect humans. :)
The second thing, though, which I wasn't prepared for, was the idea of selling it so much. Yesterday as I was in the trade show environment, I really really struggled with how much Christian retail we have. Man! That is a hard inner battle! Because, for the most part, I just gravitate to a Bible, a notebook, and maybe a good devotion book. (Oh, and a strong cup of coffee, of course.) The rest is just extra.
At first, I was appalled by the number of products we produce that bear the name of Jesus. And the fact that we sell it and turn a profit. All I could think about was Jesus turning over tables in the temple when He saw people selling things in His house. I spent most of my quiet time yesterday morning talking with Him about that emotion.
But here's the thing. . . These things DO have purpose. God has gifted so many people in so many ways to bring Him glory and to share His message. I'm living proof! As are the hundreds of authors, musicians, artists, etc. who were displaying their work at the show yesterday. Yes, it was a retail environment, but the end result was the bookshelves where people who needed to see these things would have the chance to pick them up.
How did this hit me? Well, when I realized that my favorite running music was my Mandisa CD, I kind of realized that someone had to promote it and I had to purchase it in order to benefit from it. Every time I run to that CD, I am encouraged in the Lord. It really does have purpose! But someone had to sell it and promote it in order for it to get to my iPod. (Oh! That's another story. Busted iPod and lost phone charger. Interesting trip, I tell you.)
So, at this point, I'm at peace with selling the book. It has to be promoted in order for people to get the message that God is sharing through these devotions/faith stories. Maybe, just maybe, that one Josh Hamilton or Colt McCoy fan will see it on a shelf somewhere, pick it up and be totally changed for Christ through it. Now, that would be worth all the promotion in the world!
Thanks to everyone who is reading this or has made positive comments on Facebook! :) You guys are blessing my socks off! And I'm just hoping and praying that I can encourage you through this. Know you are a blessing today! And if you doubt it, read Psalm 139.
Hugs, everyone! Ciao!
P.S. I *think* the books will be available soon! Click the link on the right side of this page to go order it on Amazon. Last time I checked, it was preorders, but it might be available by now. Not sure. But I know it's soon if it's not up yet!