Thursday, May 24, 2007

2007 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer's Conference

"When friends re-enter our lives, the blessings we received the first time are doubled."

One of the best things about blogging is the opportunity to post whatever you like. Pictured with me is my wonderful friend Gina Holmes. If you know Gina, there's no explanation needed. For those of you who don't know Gina or me...well, trust me. We're just goofing off. (Which is something we do quiet well when we're together.)

It's wonderful to have the chance to visit with the friends that God allows into our lives. I met Gina four years ago at the Blue Ridge Mtn. Writer's Conference. It was a friendship which bonded immediately and has remained faithful since. She has mentored me in writing, taught me, guided me and supported my writing. She's the greatest and I'm fortunate to call her friend. Gina started Novel Journey which is her personal ministry to promote Christian authors and their work. Novel Journey has blossomed into one of the premier blogs in the country, earning respect from major agents and publishing houses. To quote Gina, "God blesses what He blesses when He blesses and He has blessed us. The work that Gina Holmes, Ane Mulligan and Jessica Dotta do is completely selfless.

The writer's conference allowed me to renew my friendship with Alton Gansky who was recently featured as one the "Heart of a Servant" interviews. Al is a wonderful mentor, friend and a superb author. His heart is truly one of a servant as he reaches out to guide aspiring writers. (Don't worry, your eyes aren't blurry...I let Gina take the picture. She's obviously a little shaky when she takes pictures!)

I met Candy Arrington two years at this very conference when we shared a fiction critique class taught by author, Gayle Roper. Candy writes for Focus on the Family and also has a book entitled Aftershock which deals with ministering to families who've been struck with the reality of suicide. She is a wonderful teacher and I keep some of her work by my computer as "the perfect example." Once again, this conference brings old friends together again. Candy reads the Mountain Breeze devotions and when I saw her at the conference her first words were, "How's Tim?" She'd been one of the many praying for God to heal him and her prayers (along with mine) were answered. I encourage you to visit her website and get to know her better.

Name one person who could walk past four laughing women who are spouting joke after joke, and not laugh? There's not one. When the four of us got together at the conference, we consistently drew a crowd. There's Chris Egbert (writing mentor to all of us), Ane Mulligan, Gina Holmes and me -- a recipe for silliness. Oh, what fun! However, when the rubber meets the road, these women proved to be the ultimate support system. They are wonderful. So wonderful that when it came time to announce the winners for the 2007 Blue Ridge Mountain Writer's Conference, they stuck close to see who would win the Writer's Contest. That means when the devotions, poetry, Bible study, and non-fiction winners were announced, these girls sat close at hand waiting to see if my entry in the fiction division would place.

When they announced my name as the winner, I nearly fell over. Yvonne Lehman, author and founder/director of the conference presented me with a certificate, and what a thrill -- Not only to win a contest, but to share it with wonderful friends. Since I was a little girl I've always wanted to be a writer. It's taken years to develop and learn the craft. Though I am far from being the greatest writer, I am improving with each year that passes. More so, allowing God to use me as a tool has been equally, if not more rewarding.

A special thank you to my wonderful writer friends who encourage, support, teach and work with me; who set the example that when God is in the lead, abundance will follow.
Thanks to Yvonne Lehman who works so hard year after year to offer this opportunity for me and others, to learn to be a writer. It's that "heart of a servant" which shines.