Journal Entry (5-22-11) From Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and thanks for coming by. I was going to post more on our current series but after spending the vast majority of this weekend at the Iris Festival to promote CPM and our new book, I’m thinking it’s time for a journal entry. Besides, it’s been over a month since I’ve posted one. Grab your coffee and come on in.

I don’t know what I was expecting out of this weekend, but certainly not what we experienced. Actually, I do know what I was expecting: Lots of people. After all, the festival committee boasted to potential vendors that over 20,000 people came through the festival every year. Well, that’s all I knew, was there would be a lot of people and to me that spelled opportunity to get our merchandise with a message and the book out there.

I was pretty calm about getting ready for it until Friday about 1:00 in the afternoon when I realized I really wasn’t ready for it. I couldn’t have pulled it off without my dear friend who is also our MC at our CPM functions, Kim, and of course, there’s no way it would have come together like it did without my husband. Kim and I combined our creativity and within an hour, we had the E-Z Up decorated chick-style with shirts hanging behind some sheer bright pink valances, our cute totes filled with beach towels and the book. The bag was packed for the beach. Then we put  books in our cute merchandise bags and hung them from the top support poles of the E-Z Up with colorful ribbon. It really did look cute and we were ready to greet and meet at 5:00! 🙂

Wow, all kinds of people passed right on by and the ones that did stop long enough for us to give them our “Destination? Joyful!” luggage tag, which also had our website address on it, were meant to stop but most of them just walked right by, not wanting to take something for free. Many people just walked right by, not even noticing us. 🙁 It was crazy and yet, they were probably overly sensitized with all the booths and products. We really had to work at not taking their rejections so personal.

Anyway, we did have a couple of divine appointments that night. One in particular was the lady who was in the booth to our right. After a couple of hours, I was overhearing some of the things she was saying and it was so obvious that she was so discouraged and bordering on the ledge of being angry.

Well, me, being the encourager that I am, I went over and began to share with her some things that I thought might make her experience a little easier and more positive. She sat there rather petulantly as she told me she had worked her butt off and nobody appreciated it; nobody was buying anything. I knelt down so we were on more common ground and I called her by her name and suggested that she not look at this event as a way to sell her merchandise first but to look at the opportunity to be a smile for someone who needs one, or to meet people. I suggested this was a great way to get her name out there and be a bright light in a dark world. “If we put selling merchandise second and encouraging/meeting people first, we may be pleasantly surprised.” Little did I know I would have to wrap myself up in that same blanket of encouragement the next day.

Her husband who was sitting right there with us nodded his head up and down in agreement and smiled, which sparked a smile from her. We talked for a few more minutes and I returned to our booth.

A little later, a new friend I met at a book signing in Redlands was at our booth and she had brought her friend Ann. I was so excited to see her, and her friend turned out to be a cup of encouragement for us because she was actually the first to buy a book that night. It always feels a little better after the first one sells. 🙂 [Thanks so much for the sweet fellowship, Janet and Ann.]

The night flew by. Looking back on it now, I see how He strategically placed us where we were for more than one reason. One of the vendors across from us invited us to their church, and it’s a church we’ve actually planned on visiting. They were another confirmation and we feel as though we have a small connection there now with these great people.

Another cool thing involved someone I’ve known and been doing business with since last year’s Iris Festival. She’s who we turn to for good and healthy supplements and natural kibble for our four-legged kids and she was a vendor this year as well. I love how He orchestrated the fact that we were literally in the same aisle only a few booths apart. Because of that, she came back to our booth a few times, and I to hers, and we had a few opportunities to talk and I found out we had something and someone very important in common: CHRIST! 🙂 [Shelly, I’m sending you a big hug for being a bright spot in our vending experience.]

Saturday was really rough, though, especially the first part of the day. There were so many people who really didn’t want any form of encouragement, but we still handed out those tags to anyone who would take them, and engaged in conversation with those willing to listen. There were moments when I was silently crying out, “Lord, I don’t want to do this anymore. Why do I have to have so much stock in Spandex? All I wanted to do was write a book.” But then I’d snap out of my pity party and swallow the words I gave to the vendor next door.

Now, I don’t want to in any way sound self-righteous, but wow, there are a lot of dark and depressed people out there. That alone should have sparked me into evangelical mode and gotten my focus off of how difficult it all was, but I have to admit, it didn’t right away. It took several attempts and there were many times I had to be re-ignited. Funny, years ago, I’d just put on my happy face and pretend I was having fun, but I actually have a hard time in a sea full of strangers now.

By 6:00 Saturday night, I had decided I wasn’t coming back on Sunday and then an hour later people began to come into our booth. “Okay, so what was He trying to tell me? “ Well, He spoke through my husband who said that we couldn’t just not show up on Sunday. I was already beginning to tear down some of the stuff and stopped. Then another dear friend who was there almost the entire weekend encouraged us to come back. So I put a few things back up and half-heartedly agreed to come back the next day, despite feeling that we had done what we had come to do. I was over it. I just wanted to leave, run away to home and get behind my computer and write and not feel so challenged and stretched.

Sunday came in with a migraine headache for me, but by 9:30, it was gone and I had a queasy stomach instead. We made it to the booth a few minutes after 10:00; thank God for Pam – thank you girlfriend – who was already there and had opened up.

Within 30 minutes we found out why we were supposed to come back. A young mom of two showed up and I recognized her immediately. She had been by two times on Saturday, once with her and one of her little ones, and then with her hubby and both their children. I remember her so well because each time she came, she eyed our tote bag and the book and the shirts like a little child eyeing candy in a candy store and commented on everything. She was so sweet and loved the merchandise and you could just sense her hunger for positive messages.

Well, there she was, back at our booth and looking like she had just accomplished a great mission. Listen to what she said: “I am so excited that you came back today.”

I’m thinking holy moly, she didn’t hear me complaining yesterday, did she?

She continued. I was going to come back last night, but my daughter got sick. I’m so glad you guys are still here.”

Need I say any more? Reaching one heart at a time is what it’s all about!

Humbled, party of one, your table is now ready. 🙂

Be blessed,



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3 Responses to “Journal Entry (5-22-11) From Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power”

  1. Thank you for the well-written post. I greatly valued your generosity and support you offer through the absolutely free tips on your blog, especially the ones provided by means of this article. I know that Alice would love to read more of your blog post. We’ve sent your website address to her. We love your thoughtfulness in this difficult time.

  2. Jan Bachelor says:

    I am sooooooo PROUD of you and Kim V. and Pam S.! You are troopers for God. I too would have been in the mind set of “forget it city” and probably would have folded up the “big top” and said, “hello” to discouragement. But you hung in there and a friend of mine has said to me, “What God orders He pays for.” It’s a wonderful thing to touch just one heart that might ignite thousands of others. We just never know the rewards of our obedience do we? Love Ya

  3. Shanell Loser says:

    There is visibly a bunch to identify about this. I feel you made some good points in features also.