Speaking and booksignings...
Last Saturday, Randy drove me to Toledo, Ohio, for a booksigning at LifeWay Christian Stores. I thought you might like to see the set-up they had for me with yours truly posing for the camera - something my artsy sons would prefer had been taken without the posing. But oh well...I'll just admit to not being artsy!
The booksigning went well, though I'm told that bookstores don't see as many customers on sunny days. This may have been true for this Saturday as the weather was great! Though it was their "Fiction Day" they didn't seem to have a lot of people looking for fiction. But I was only there a few hours. They did have a nice display and I was tempted to buy even more than I did. I found my friend, Deb Raney's new release Almost Forever on the main display, but my picture of it on the shelf didn't come out close up enough to post here. I bought the last copy though and can't wait to read it! I also picked up Deeanne Gist's Maid to Match, Cynthia Ruchti's They Almost Always Come Home and my friend Kathy Fuller's novella An Amish Gathering. My to-be-read pile never goes down...
Today was a new adventure for me. I gave my first "keynote" speech, which meant I was the only featured speaker. The widow's ministry at my church asked me to speak at their luncheon, and while I had never spoken to a crowd like that before, the idea had long intrigued me. I've been asked if I spoke a few other times, but nothing ever came of those questions. This time, I told the Lord, if I was asked again, I would say yes.
I got ready this morning, going about my usual routine (which takes longer with each passing year!) (Who knew?) But when I headed down the stairs to eat breakfast, I looked at the clock and discovered I only had half an hour before I had to leave. I seriously think someone changed all the clocks to make me late...but I got there with time to spare. (I didn't speed, I promise.) The luncheon was put on by a local restaurant - they did a fabulous job - and then after some singing, the coordinator introduced me.
For years I have sat at tables with various authors, editors, agents, and even keynote speakers feeling so privileged to meet them. To sit at a table knowing others were wanting to meet me was absolutely weird! Nice. But weird.
I've never enjoyed being the center of attention, and yet there was something truly fun about speaking to a group of people interested in what you have to say. And of course, I love to talk about the wives of King David and the writing journey I've known for 20 years. God has done so many amazing things and allowed me to witness them! It's a privilege to get to share those stories - particularly the stories of the women in the Bible - with other people. And I got to give those present a sneak peek at the cover for Bathsheba! It's still not post-able here yet, but soon!
After the speech, the church held a booksigning and gave a discount to the ladies who bought the book. They ran out of Michal so were going to order more to have me sign on Sunday. It was truly a blessing to sit and talk to the women who came through with books, to learn their names, and have a few minutes with them. One had the most lovely German accent. And two women told me they visit my dad in the nursing home through the ministry at their campus (same church, different campuses.) I'm so glad to know that God is sending such people to keep my dad company now and then. How blessed to be part of a church family that cares for one another in such a way.
I felt that caring in the prayers people had sent up on my behalf as well. Last night before the speech, I suddenly felt like I was getting sick with a cold. I think I might have been reacting to cleaning fumes from earlier in the day. (Never clean bathrooms the day before you are doing something important.) I asked for prayer through our Adult Fellowship Group (AFG) and my Facebook friends. This morning I felt totally fine.
After the speech, I drove to a fruit market nearby and while there a woman stopped me and asked me if I was Jill. I said yes. She told me she used to belong to our AFG and still received the emails and had been praying for me. Wow. Does God know how to surprise us or what? I cannot see the prayers that have been given on my behalf, but I appreciate every single one. Someday, I wonder if God will tell us just how many prayers he received from various people in our lives, praying and caring for us? I'd love the chance to personally thank each one!
In any case, the prayers for today were answered - at least as far as I'm concerned. I hope my talk blessed those who listened. There is something wonderful about studying the people God has immortalized in Scripture. Talking about that to these women, made my day!