I had the most wonderful and wild weekend and I have pictures galore to share. However, since we’ve gotten our new desktop, I don’t have my Creative Memories software installed yet. I’ll add pictures soon. Actually, as soon as Mike installs everything I need. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  In the meantime, you’ll just have to picture it all in your imagination.

Friday I left for St. Paul to pinch hit as a retreat speaker for the White Bear Lake United Methodist church. I shared with a sweet group of ten women on Friday night and Saturday morning. The event was held at the St. Paul Monastery and I had the funnies sister who took delight in harassing me. Oh, it was all good natured. I’m quite certain she’s the “Maria” of this order. Ha! Hope she’s reading this and just in case she is … I counted my shoes twice and made sure my laptop was in my bag when I left. So there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then I went to the Mall of America to be a panel moderator for a huge event hosted by the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. They had 127 Christian fiction authors at the mall selling and signing their books. We filled an entire wing of the mall. Then in the Best Buy rotunda, Susie Larson was serving as a panel moderator and I was in the Bloomingdale’s court doing the same thing. Every twenty minutes we would get a different group of authors up on stage and we’d interview them. It was a blast! Here’s who I interviewed:

Susan May Warren, Jill Elizabeth Nelson, and Rachel Hauck (writing with attitude)

Sharon Hinck and Donita Paul (Christian Fantasy)

Virginia Smith, Margaret Daley, and Gail Martin (Multi-published cozy mystery, romance, etc.)

Tamera Alexander, Kim Vogel Sawyer, and Nancy Moser (Historicals)

Mark Mynheir, Terri Blackstock, and Brandt Dodson (Suspense / Police Procedural)

Can I just say that it was a blast?! Okay, so our stage was kind of tucked back and we didn’t get the largest crowds as a result, but it was fun nonetheless.

(I”ll insert pictures pictures here later!)

Then I attended the ACFW Banquet with several friends, including two of my critters!!ย  (Critterย = author speak for “Critique partner”) It was too much fun getting to see friends whom I typically email daily. I was thrilled to watch my friend Erica Vetch win first place in the Genesis contest for her book “Pam on Rye.” I’ll look forward to hearing if this book gets picked up now. Erica also was offered her first contract for a historical that will release November, 2009. More on that later! My good friend Sharon Hinck also won book of the year for “Restorer’s Son.” Oh, there were so many more. Go to the ACFW website for the details!

After pulling in at 12:30 a.m. and falling into bed at 1:15, I was up and ready to do the Join the Journey Breast Cancer walk for my friend, Emma, at 7 a.m.! It was an amazing experience waling with 963 other survivors and supporters. It was a 10 mile walk. I did 6.5 miles and Mike did the entire 10. Frankly, I was exhausted!! The organization made $115,000! I’d call that a success.

Monday the kids and I dragged our weary selves to the school room. We survived and did accomplish everything on our lists, but we were all a mite crabby, sorry to say. Today was a banner day! We cranked through our school day. Kadi’s new math curriculum arrived (we have decided to save our other curric. for next year) and we still go done in record time. I had an hour long visit with my fabulous literary agent and we did some vision casting and serious planning. She’s the best! This afternoon I was blessed to be picked up for representation by a wonderful talent agency for my speaking. This is going to be a tremendous blessing to me, the family, and our ministry.

Now, I have homework to do and a proposal that needs my attention, so I must sign off.ย  I’m going to leave you with these words. Every so often I share this verse. It’s been a while, and today I’ve been reminded again how true it is …

This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message.
It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details.
When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God’s way,
I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians.
God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities.
And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head,
the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ.

Ephesians 3:7-8 The Message