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!

Seattle
The Women of Faith Worship Team. These women wore amazing outfits...and awe-inspiring shoes!
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Seattle, Day 4: The Tourists

On our final day in Seattle–half-day for Bonnie–we let ourselves sleep in.  The conference was over, so we stayed in bed until just 45 minutes before the end of breakfast service.  We couldn’t miss even one delicious meal cooked by the Inn.

11th Avenue Inn B&B

Once we finished our breakfast burritos and coffee, we headed out.  Walking, of course, and talking non-stop.  Our plan was to visit the famous Pikes Place Market.  First on our list of things to see was the original Starbucks.  Bonnie and I both love lattes and other fancy coffee.  The day before we had sneaked our coffee into the conference arena where no outside food is allowed.  But we figured if we were going to pay $4.00 for coffee, it had better be good!

Seattle

The service at the original Starbucks was amazing!  In spite of the queue that went out the door, the baristas all took the time to chat and be friendly while still moving the line through quickly.

Pike Place Market was great.  Exactly as I expected it to be.  If I lived in Seattle, I’d buy a gorgeous $5 bouquet of flowers every week!  The fish, fruits, and veggies all looked fresh and tasty.  I debated buying a leather-bound journal, but decided I need to use up all the journals and notebooks I already have first.  I really really wanted to buy myself a crochet wool hat, but by that time, I didn’t have enough money left.

Seattle

We bought some gifts and books (mine were The Moonstone, and Tom Sawyer), then we headed further south and east to check out the public library.  We had heard it had some interesting architecture and views.

We also stopped in a store called Watson Kennedy.  It was a sweet gift shop that mixed new and vintage items.  My kind of store!  I wanted to get some of the jewellery made from vintage pieces (like keys and pocket watches), but they were of course way out of my price range.

Then we looked at the clock and realised that Bonnie needed to be at the airport!  So we rushed to a bus stop and fished out enough change for her to make it there.  She arrived just in time!

Meanwhile, I continued to wander downtown.  There was an antiques market I wanted to find.  It is located behind Pike Place Market, near the aquarium.  I walked down a ramp and through a sketchy alley past the infamous gum wall (EW!  I tried not to look.  It was gross.)  Eventually I found the place.  It wasn’t as great as I was hoping, having mostly furniture that I couldn’t take home (but for decent prices!).  I bought a couple of skeleton keys.

Seattle

After that, I felt like I was ready to head home.  I walked back (up hill!) to the B&B to sit and relax and figure out my route to the airport.  It was actually quite easy to find my way there.  Bus 43 to Westlake Station, then take the train to the Sea-Tac airport.  The transit station was the oddest thing!  It was underneath a downtown mall, but both busses and trains passed through it.

I arrived at the airport two hours early.  I didn’t want to risk messing up the transportation and being late.  By that time, I really wanted to get home.  But waiting in the airport is boring!  Even with the brief excitement of having security search my suitcase because I had a mini screwdriver on my key chain.  For supper, the options were Great American Bagel Bakery, or Burger King.  I was not hungry.  I wasn’t hungry at all during the whole trip.  But I knew I should have something because I could feel a headache coming on.  I went with a simple bagel with cream cheese and was not impressed.  I think they used four ounces of cream cheese on my bagel.  Where is good old Tim Horton’s when you need it?

Finally–finally!–my plane boarded.  It was a little Dash 8 plane like the one I was on between Edmonton and Calgary on Thursday…it was so small it had propellers on the wings.  And so loud.  But at least I didn’t have a migraine this time.  The flight attendant was giving out drinks, and had just handed me my water when turbulence started.  I couldn’t set down my cup or it would have spilled everywhere.  It reminded me of practicing for the water-glass class on horseback when I was 12.  I was good at that.

Vancouver’s airport was confusing like Calgary’s.  But at least Calgary’s had signs!  After passing through customs, I followed the signs for connecting flights…to doors that were closed, locked, and barricaded.  So I had to exit the secure area, make my way around to information and ask there.  And then pass through security again, where the screwdriver didn’t cause any problems.  Once I got to my gate, I looked for a bathroom.  No signs.  So I went wandering and eventually found one.

I was so relieved to finally arrive in Edmonton!  One of my wonderful friends, Heidi, was waiting to drive me home at 1am.  I was just planning to take a taxi, but she insisted, since she worked ’til midnight anyway.

Finally home, I dug out my keys and sneaked into the house.  I had to steal into the kids’ rooms to give them each a kiss.  Then, it was quite a relief to snuggle into my own bed with my own husband.

The End

[PS: stay tuned for posts on the B&B and the Women of Faith Conference]

Seattle, Day 1: The Angel of Seattle

I did it! After 28 years of wishing to do something adventurous on my own, I finally have! I am currently in Seattle by myself. It took a good half-day to get here, most of which was spent waiting around in airports.

I am staying at a beautiful bed and breakfast which I will post a review of once I’m home. I don’t need any internet stalkers exactly knowing where I am at the moment. Who am I kidding…a stalker would have to be pretty desperate to target me and my little blog.

I started out my trip with a killer migraine that just wouldn’t go away. My lovely lovely friends babysat my kids and drove me to the airport. I have wonderful friends.

As I waited to board my first flight, a young-looking man in a suit attempted to start a conversation with me. I replied as usual with the barest of polite answers, and he gave up. After which, I gave myself a talking to. I have determined to be more outgoing and open to new things on this trip. Not that I particularly want to strike up conversations with cross-eyed businessmen (I couldn’t really tell if it was just my imagination or if he really was), but I still need to work on being friendlier in general.

That first flight was torture. I’ve never been in such a small plane for a commercial flight (I’ve flown in a Cessna before…quite a thrilling experience). It had propellers on the wings. And it was oh so loud! And my head hurt. But other than that, everything else on the flight was fine.

[Oh my, I just heard someone yell the F word somewhere in the distance outside]

Once I arrived in Calgary, and walked a mile through patchy concrete hallways, out past security, around to US Customs, through customs and security again, I bought a chai latte (my current favourite indulgence…until they bring back the eggnog chai latte) and settled down in the waiting area of gate 27.  After a few minutes, actor Mandy Patinkin sat down.  Ok, so maybe it wasn’t him.  But it looked enough like him to induce a repeat of “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You kill my father. Prepare to die!” to run through my brain for the entire time he sat there.

I made it to my seat for the next flight (front row, window seat), which was next to a guy who I knew was traveling with a woman.  I was just about to offer to switch seats with her, when her seatmate arrived on the plane and offered to switch.  So my new neighbour was Esther.  She asked if I live in Seattle and we began chatting.  For quite a while as our takeoff was delayed.  Before the plane even started moving we had gotten to know each other a bit and she offered to drive me to my b&b on her way home.

Now, I am normally very very cautious about strangers.  I don’t look at strangers.  I don’t talk to strangers.  I teach my kids about strangers.  But I agreed to go with Esther.  I am quite sure Kevin would NOT have approved!  So I didn’t tell him.  In fact, unless he reads this, he still doesn’t know!  But I arrived safely, and got to know a perfectly lovely new acquaintance.  Getting here from the airport is the part of the trip that most worried me, so Esther was an angel for solving that problem for me.  Providential, I’d say.

Once she drove me home and I got checked in, I took the innkeeper’s recommendation to walk a few blocks to find something to eat.  I browsed a lovely independent bookstore, but their cafe was closed.  So I ended up sitting at the bar at Oddfellows.  That’s another thing I’ve never done.  I ordered iced tea, completely forgetting that what Canadians call iced tea is actually sweet tea to Americans.  Good thing I love American iced tea too!  It could have been a little stronger though.  I also had roasted carrot soup, which was pretty good.

So now I have a question.  When sitting at the bar, do I tip?  I could see that no one else did, and when I asked for my change, which would have accounted for the tip, he didn’t keep the tip.  And I didn’t have the right change that I need for the bus tomorrow.

So I went back to the bookstore and bought a book.

The Write Track, by Betty Jane Wylie

How to Succeed as a Freelance Writer in CanadaI’ve just started reading The Write Track by Betty Jane Wylie.  It’s been such a long time since my magazine writing class that I needed a refresher on freelance writing.  I came across an interesting little parable in the book.  It is about a poor baker and his wife who shelter a beggar, sharing the little they have.  Before he leaves in the morning, he tells them “Whatever you do first, that you will do all day.”  Of course the baker and his wife start baking cookies, and the flour never runs out and they have more customers than they can serve, and they make lots of money.

I love the concept of starting each day with the thing that is most important to you.  Most of the time, my day starts with my daughter yelling “Mom! There’s a seven for the first number!” Meaning, it’s after seven o’clock and she wants me to get out of bed already!  Then I have to feed the kids breakfast, and somehow squeeze in a workout (I love my Wii Fit!) and a shower.

Wouldn’t it be nice to start the day with writing instead?  This morning, I got up early, when my husband got out of bed for work.  I turned on the computer and attempted to write for half an hour.  I think I was still a little too sleepy.  I didn’t get much done.  But then I was able to exercise before getting the kids up!  It was nice!  No toddler grabbing the Wiimote, or getting in the way of my leg twists.  I did miss my daughter’s high-fives after each exercise though.

Ok, this is supposed to be about writing.  Right.

I feel great, and I’m still thinking about my story, even though I only managed to get two sentences typed.

I may try it again tomorrow.  Or maybe not.

Finding a Writing Family: InScribe Christian Writers Fellowship

Back in 2009, when I originally posted Simplicity and Priorities,  my grandmother read that post.  She sent the link to one of her quilting friends, who was a writer.  That friend was Elsie, who left me a sweet comment on that post inviting me to InScribe Christian Writers Fellowship‘s Fall Conference.  I surprised myself and went, taking my 5-week-old baby along.

I soaked in the teaching of Kathleen Gibson and Bonnie Grove, and by the time I arrived home after the last day, I decided to join Inscribe.  Over the next few months, I actually managed to plot an entire novel start to finish (which I’d never done before), and began writing again, all while doing an intense edit on a client’s book.  But then fear and complacency set in again and my writing efforts trickled back down to nothing.

So that’s how it was for a year.  I let my membership to Inscribe lapse and decided once again to focus solely on editing.  In January of this year, I got an email from Bonnie Way asking me if I would help out with editing FellowScript.  Of course I jumped at the chance!  Editing a real magazine!  Bonnie also asked me if I would write an article about editing.  I said yes, and happily renewed my InScribe membership.  It took me six months to write that article, as I battled the fear.  I told myself, “If I can write a college essay and get an A, I can write an article!”

I finished that article a couple of weeks ago.  Oh, it was exhilarating!  I wrote something!  I finished it!  I was going to be published!

Through it all, even when I wasn’t a member, Inscribe members have encouraged me, both directly, and indirectly through FellowScript articles or posts on the list serve.  I highly recommend this family of writers.

This is my contribution to InScribe’s Blog Tour.  I’ve been greatly enjoying the other posts in the tour.  Go check them out!  You could win!

Leave comments on the blog posts to be entered in our GRAND PRIZE DRAW: an
Inscribe book bag with a free annual membership and a copy of Inscribed: 30 Years of Inspiring Writing.  The more blogs you comment on, the more entries you’ll get in the draw—e.g., if you comment on 10 blogs, you’ll get 10 entries in the draw (but one comment per blog, please).  Contest is open only to non-Inscribe-members (members are free to comment on blogs but will not be entered in the draw).