Monday, October 1, 2012

2012 ACFW National Conference

The conference this year was September 20-23 at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport Hyatt Regency hotel. Since I live only about fifteen minutes from there (when there's no construction), I was thrilled. Even when the conference is so close, I stay in the hotel. So much goes on outside the times of the sessions.

James took me over to the hotel on Wednesday, September 19. My agent, Joyce Hart, hosted the dinner for her clients at La Hacienda Ranch restaurant in Colleyville, which is just west of the airport. We had a lovely buffet and got to know the people we'd only been in touch with online. Here's a picture of the clients and Joyce.

The Conference itself was amazing. Michael Hyatt was the keynote speaker, and his sessions were extremely helpful. You can order CDs of the sessions on the ACFW web site.

Since it was only six weeks since my knee surgery, I took my walker. I had asked for a handicapped room near the elevators. I was in a handicapped room, but it was all the way at the other end of a long hall from the elevator. The first day, after I had been up to my room several times, the last time I looked down that long hall, I thought I'm not going to make it. I did go a ways down the hallway and then sat in the seat of the walker for awhile before I started again. It took four times.

Joyce had rented an electric scooter. Before I could find her and get the phone number of the place she rented it from, James called me. He was out and about, running errands. I asked him to go see a friend of ours who owns a store that sells walkers, wheelchairs, scooters, etc. I told him to let John know the predicament I was in and see if he could put me on a scooter for four day. He did. John did. And I ended up on a very large scooter. But it saved my conference experience. Praise the Lord!!

I had two mentoring appointments on Friday and enjoyed them immensely. One evening, while trying to find a place to sit for supper where I could park the scooter nearby, I found only one empty seat along the back of the room. I took it and sat beside a woman wearing a First Timer ribbon. As is usual, I tried to make her feel welcome. She told me this conference would determine whether she would be a writer or not.

I mentor a number of people in a critique group that meets in my home. There are several things I tell newcomers. One is about writers, athletes, musicians, etc. being created in their mother's womb. I explained what I meant by that. She began to ask me questions. I answered the best I could, often using things from my personal testimony.

After about thirty-five minutes, I finally leaned over to look at her name on her name tag. She did the same and began to cry when she saw my name. I wondered what I had done to hurt her feelings. I asked her what was wrong. She told me that she almost made a mentoring appointment with me, but she didn't think she would know what to say to a mentor. She told me that before she went down to eat dinner, she had been praying. She asked the Lord that if there was anyone at the conference who had something she needed to hear, would He please send that person to her. I was near tears then and goosebumps danced up and down my arms.

I had been a little exasperated that I couldn't find a seat at the back of the room. I had to keep going and going before I finally found one. And all the time God was setting up this divine appointment. That was a high point in my conference this year.

Other exciting things: A woman I had mentored before found out she was going to receive a contract right away. Another woman I've been wanting to get published for a long time was told she would receive a two-book contract.

I heard a lot of good news like that. And some of the DFW Ready Writers members also had very good appointments with editors requesting full manuscripts, etc. Here's a group of the DFW Rady Writers having a little fun.

I had six back-to-back paid critique appointments on Saturday. They were all special to me. There's a lot of talent being developed by ACFW.

My daughter, Jennifer, who is a hairdresser, came out to the hotel and made my hair look really good for the banquet. Here I am with Chip MacGregor. I like to have my picture made with him in his kilt tuxedo. This year he wore the Black Watch one.

As always, worship was amazing. I always love having so many people (about 700 this year) from different denominations and churches in one large room really praising the God of the universe. It's a tiny prelude to how we'll be praising the Lord in heaven.

If you went to the conference, please tell us some of the highlights for you.

1 comment:

Jillian Kent said...

Hi Lena,
Thanks for the post. I didn't get to conference this year but I'll be in Indianapolis next year, God willing. I only live 2 hours away. Sounds like you had a wonderful time despite the knee issue. Glad you got that scooter. Love the pics. Does Chip ever change? He looks the same every year. Love those kilts. :)
So what's one bit of advice you heard from the sessions this year? I've ordered the MP3s. Can't wait to listen to them.