I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, September 24, 2012

What Missing ACFW and Washing Great Grandma's China Dishes have in Common


 Confession: This past week, I had a pity party for myself. ACFW is the Superbowl of Christian Fiction. Everyone is there. Everyone is getting requests for manuscripts, winning awards, and landing agents. And I missed it. Again. I’m tired of being benched.

Instead, Hubby, Haley and I went to visit my Great Aunt Nancy. I love my great aunt, and any other weekend, I would have been delighted to visit her. She lives a couple hours away, so we don’t see her often, and she hadn’t yet met Haley. But during the drive, all I could think about was the fun y’all were having in Texas.

Walking into her townhouse is like stepping into a museum full of family history. Pride in our Norwegian heritage is everywhere, and stories of the past pour of Aunt Nancy like dear friends. Although Aunt Nancy had hip surgery in May, she still embodied the graciousness of her generation, serving the equivalent of a Christmas dinner, complete with party favors, on my Great Grandma Rose’s finest china.

After dinner I helped put away the abundance of leftovers and started loading the dishwasher. “Oh no,” Aunt Nancy said, “the china must be hand washed.”

I groaned (inwardly, I hope). Why would a person serve a meal on dishes that needed to be hand washed? Especially if you’re going to use salad plates and serve twelve side dishes. This was going to take all afternoon to clean up.

Aunt Nancy neatly stacked the plates beside the sink and looked at me. “I’ll do them later.” I knew the way the conversation was going to go. I would argue. No, no, I’ll help. She’d relent, and we’d end up washing the china. As any polite guest would.

She gazed at me and I tried to shutter my thoughts from her discerning eye. “Amy, do you know why your great grandma served her guests on her finest china?”

Easy. “Because she wanted them to feel special.”

"Your Great Grandma Rose always said after the guests had gone home, washing the china gave her time to reflect on their conversations and treasure the memories.”

Later, heading home, the conversation with Aunt Nancy echoed in my head. I realized that missing ACFW is like washing the china. Instead of being upset I missed the 2012 conference, I could choose to reflect and treasure the memories of past years.

And so I did.

Now that my pity party is over, I’d like to hear all about your conference experience. What was the best part of ACFW for you? How did you see God working in your life?  I know we’ve got some Ponderer stories about God moving in their lives at the 2012 conference…share with us so we can celebrate with you!

Haley and Great, Great Aunt Nancy





12 comments:

  1. That is the most gorgeous baby I've ever seen! Oh, Ames, you were so missed. But I know your time is coming.
    It was a great conference for me. An editor who'd just passed on my ms told me what she wanted changed and to send it back to her...happy dancing here. And that was just one great thing that happened!!!

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    1. Yay, Pat! I'm so excited you had a great conference and the editor requested you resend. That's amazing! I'm praying for wide open doors for you. Blessings!

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  2. Ames, your baby is adorable. A time to treasure. They grow up so fast. Pat, I was so disappointed we didn't get to cheer for you in the Genesis. But it was awesome to be able to cheer for Lisa and Susie--loved both their speeches. Congratulations on the request! I shared my conference highlight on my blog today. :)

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    1. Oh, Sandra, I'm definitely going to go check out your highlight!

      Thanks, yes, I can't believe she's already 7 months old.

      And congrats to Pat, LJ and Susie!

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  3. Amy, you were missed. I love how you turned disappointment into a beautiful perspective. You have a sweet way of doing that. What a great picture of Haley and your aunt!

    I think my highlight was getting to meet so many writers and to celebrate with those who won contests or had great appointments. Looking forward to celebrating you one day soon too.

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    1. Jeanne, I'm so glad you had such a great experience. I know our time is coming! Miss you!

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  5. Great blog & neatest treasure photo--absolutely adorable. Three major houses want plural proposals from me, one wants 3 (current book isn't yet finished), so had some great encouraging conversations and I'm hopeful there will be some results. Also thrilled for our Ponderer friends and highest highlight was seeing Teri Dawn Smith & lovely dtr. Sarah at our Wild West MBT Pizza Party--tears, laughter, hugs--lots of them!!! That alone may have been worth the trip!!!

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    1. Aww, thanks, Delores! It was great to see you. My next post will be about what it was like for me!

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  6. Delores, congratulations on your requests! I'm praying your hard work will be richly rewarded soon. Oh, I wish I could have given Teri a real hug and met Sarah!

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    1. We missed you, Amy, but when I see your precious daughter, I know you have the greatest treasure of all!

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    2. Teri, yes, my daughter is the greatest treasure I can imagine. I can't wait to hear about your experience!

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