It’s been over 20 years since I graduated from college. This past weekend, I felt like a college student again.
I was the newbie. It was my first time to attend the AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and ICRS (International Christian Retail Show) conferences in Atlanta. But unlike my college experience at Biola – where I needed a few months to feel at home – I was among friends right away.
What a welcoming group of speakers and authors!
Isn’t it great when women can get together and not compete and compare, but unite and collaborate! That’s what the weekend was like for me. I met the most amazing authors face to face. Although emails and Facebook posts are great, nothing compares to meeting someone face to face, hugging in person, and settling down for a good talk.
My dear mentor Pam Farrel was there. Carol Kent who is the consummate speaker and a hero to me. Sue Badeau who adopted 22 children with her husband. Grace Fox whose missionary heart blesses me so (she also has “Tuck Me In” talks for kids). Of course, my hilarious and wonderful friend Kathi Lipp. Gwen Smith and Sharon Jaynes who are my forever Girlfriends in God. Linda Evans Shepherd, AWSA’s founder with a passion for prayer and Jesus’ name. Laura Petherbridge who is the Smart Stepmom. Sue Heimer, a great friend and speaker who’s been at Hearts at Home. Jennifer Kennedy Dean who is an example of prayer in action. Rhonda Rhea and her spunky smile and book Join the Insanity: Crazy-Fun Life in the Pastors’ Wives Club. Martha Bolton who wrote a hilarious parody for Gwen Smith to sing. The delightful Becky Harling and Kathi Macias and the list could go on and on.
I got to meet Jerry B. Jenkins, Cecil Murphy, and Don Piper (90 Minutes in Heaven). It was amazing!
I was very honored to receive the AWSA 2014 Golden Scroll Member of the Year. You’ll laugh to know that I ducked out to go to the bathroom, and was literally sitting on the toilet when someone came in and yelled, “Arlene, get in the room right now! You are needed!” God knows how to keep us humble!
I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to speak and write books. I will long remember this wonderful weekend of hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones.
Please check out the resources of these wonderful women that I have mentioned today and be blessed!