Women of Faith Conference Review: Laughter and Tears

Bonnie received free tickets for the Women of Faith conference in exchange for writing a review on her blog. In this case, they get a two for one deal.

Friday morning I arrived at the arena early, shortly after the doors opened.  I had no idea how long it would take me to walk down from Capitol Hill in my stylish high-heeled-but-comfy boots, so I left early.  The first two sessions were general admission, so I snagged a great seat, and some sweet and chatty neighbours.

Seattle Women of Faith ConferencePatsy Clairmont and Andy Andrews each spoke three times on Friday.  The first thing Patsy–a stylish and funny dynamite of a woman–did was assign homework.  Step 1: First thing in the morning, say YES to God’s plan for the day.  Step 2: Say THANK YOU for the day and what He’s done.  Step 3: Say NO!  To people, obligations, and other things that take away from what you should be doing or want to be doing.  I’ve been trying to do that over the past few months already, but it seems when one has kids and attends a church, obligations keep piling up!  I need to get better at saying NO.  Later, Andy Andrews backed that up, saying “God wants you to live your life on purpose.”

Sandi Patty, Brenda Warner, Lisa Welchel, Marilyn Meberg, Patsy Clairmont, Mandisa, Kathleen EdwardsBonnie joined me for the Friday evening session, which introduced all the speakers, then Patsy and Andy spoke for the third time each.  The last hour was an energetic concert by Mandisa.  To sum up Friday: Laughter

Women of Faith ConferenceSaturday’s sessions had an hour earlier start.  We arrived just a little late. I particularly enjoyed Lisa Welchel’s message about Friendship for Grownups.  I’d like to read her book.  All the speakers’ different messages seemed to weave through each other’s.  Selah sang beautifully and shared some of their life stories too.  One word to sum up Saturday: Tears.  I didn’t actually cry, but each speaker had me near tears at some point.

Women of Faith Conference SeattleOverall, the conference was organized and well planned.  Well, except for lunch lineups on Friday.  But they sorted that out by Saturday’s lunch.  I would go to a Women of Faith event again. I was uplifted and encouraged as a Christian, a woman, and a friend.  It was a great experience!

The Women of Faith Worship Team. These women wore amazing outfits...and awe-inspiring shoes!

Book Review: J. R. R. Tolkein, by Mark Horne

Mark Horne’s J. R. R. Tolkein biography is part of the Christian Encounters series published by Thomas Nelson.  Horne details Tolkein’s life and faith in this beautifully -bound little paperback.  From his orphaned childhood, through his school years and the first world war, Tolkein transforms into an intellegent young man, with a love of literature and languages.  As a student at Oxford, and later a professor, Tolkein found ways to indulge these interests, which eventually lead to the creation of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which are considered by many to be the forerunners of modern fantasy literature.
I greatly enjoyed this book.  I don’t often read biography, and I only requested this book because there was nothing else on Booksneeze at the time that I was interested in. The writing was fresh and interesting, keeping my attention through all 130 pages of the little book.
My favourite parts related Tolkein’s struggles as a writer, because they mirror my own.  He wrote to his publisher that it was “only too easy to write opening chapters” (p.98).  I can relate!  Tolkein, a perfectionist, was never satisfied with his work, constantly revising and editing.  He took twelve years to write The Lord of the Rings.
If you’re looking for an insight into the writer who created hobbits, but don’t want to crack open a large intimidating tome, I recommend this book.
My copy of this book was provided free from Booksneeze.com in exchange for an honest review. The opinions noted are mine alone.  

The first time I met a Real Live Author.

When I was a kid, some of my favourite books were the Accidental Detectives series, by Sigmund Brouwer.  I wanted to be Lisa.  When I found out that the author lived only one hour away, I was thrilled!  I always hoped I’d meet him.

Shortly after my thirteenth birthday, I found out that he was doing a young writers course in Ponoka.  Although it was only supposed to go up to age 12, somehow, two friends and I were able to attend.  I think my friend’s mom had a lot to do with that.

I learned so much that Saturday.  I’m sure I still have my notes somewhere.  Or maybe I don’t, because they always reminded me how I embarrassed myself.  One of the exercises was to solve a mystery that went something like this:

A prisoner is in jail.  The only thing in his cell is a bed, a sink, and a 2-foot-tall bucket.  There was one window, hight in the wall.  It was about four feet higher than the prisoner could reach.  One morning, after a freezing cold night, the guards discovered that he had escaped!  How did he do it?

After we had some time to work on the problem, Mr. Brouwer called on me to give an answer.  My awsomely clever idea was that maybe the prisoner was a high-jumper and just jumped up to the window.  I was so smrt.  The real answer involved ice frozen in the bucket.

After the class, my friend and I browsed the book tables and got a chance to talk to Mr. Brouwer.  He mentioned that it had taken him eight years to get his first book published.  Like a dork, I further embarrassed myself by saying, “Well, I’ve been writing since I was eight!  I only have three years left!”

I hope I have developed better social and deductive skills since then.

And that is the story of the first time I met a Real Live Author.

PS: I still love Sigmund Brouwer’s Winds of Light books that we discovered that day.  They introduced me to medieval fiction other than fairy tales.  I’m currently reading his book The Canary List.