Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ramblings and Musings From The Faithwriter's Conference

I wanted to start this post with something brilliant, witty and of course, incredibly memorable. *sigh* Obviously, this was all my poor brain could spit out. The past week has been a whirlwind of reality and murphy's law at work, a stark contrast from the most wonderful weekend of the year-spent at the Faithwriter's Conference in MI. But before I further scramble my brain (and possibly your own as well, my apologies, dear reader!) I'll make a short list-the extent of my brainpower at present-and possibly attach several tags of randomness to them. I should also add a disclaimer somewhere, right? LOL. Simply my opinion from the first night of screaming/squealing greetings, bouncing in my flip-flops everywhere I had to run, eating brownies and playing games until the wee hours of the morning. This is my take on the 2009 Faithwriters Conference, and again, apologies for being less…formal, than usual. Rock on!

On a slightly personal note, I took the digital family camera along, only to find it dead on the first night of the conference. A very special THANK YOU, to everyone who was kind and gracious to take not just one, but several different photos for and with me. It meant so much to know that I really would have some of the shots I wanted-for keeps! (and it was great proof to have that y'all were real. Lol)

And so, without further rambling, here's my conference list of…whatever. ^_^

Lynda Schab looks just like her avatar. She also has very pretty toenails-lol-I am jealous of the cutesy happy, smiling sun on them. Props to her daughter for being super-creative. ^_^ She also graciously autographed a FW anthology for me, on the margins of the story titled "Set the Toilet Paper Free" Ah. Fun memories.

Sunny is…um, sunny. LOL. She laughs. So I laugh. Then we're all laughing, just because…Sunny laughed. ^_^ If you were at the conference and didn't meet her, I'd say to think again, because you probably did-you couldn't miss that mega-watt smile and voice. The ability to say something hilarious with a straight face? Sunny's got it. Not to mention when I couldn't eat my pizza in a paper napkin, I got a carboard box top. Ahh, Sunny!!! <3>

Vonnie! (Yvonne Blake) never gets tired of giving hugs or my constant bouncing up and down on my toes. She's also shorter than I'd expected and it was so fun to watch her play chuzzle. And she understands a lot. *smile* 3rd "FW hug" of the day.

JJ (Joanne Sher) really has curly hair. LOL. And it's dark brown. And she looks just like her avatar and is soooo incredibly amazing-and doesn't stop smiling at all. Oh-and yeah, she's taller than me and let me stand behind the book table even though I wasn't doing anything at all there.

Peej is just as tall as JJ. She seems so serious, but is so random, you can't help but really, really like her. And she likes to play chuzzle and let me play it for a few minutes on her laptop. I now know what chuzzle is. LOL.

Josh is incredibly gracious and understands the need for chocolate NOW-when he allowed me to cut in front of him in line during an unfortunate brownie emergency. ^_^ He's also quite fun to watch when he's in game mode against Scott playing "Things". Very funny.

Cat!! (Catrina B.) was also on my team for "Things" and is soooo very funny-and didn't mind my randomness at all-and she does look like her avatar-only nicer in person! ^_^ I feel blessed to have met her in person and to have her wonderful personality to tag to her name.

Scott is um…shorter *ducking* than I expected, and WAY more fun. He was really good at "Things" and just has a knack for making everyone feel welcome and happy. He also autographed my conference program for me. Props to Scot!! (I also love his new netbook.)

Lisa M. does not look like her avatar-she has nicer hair in person. She was the first FW "hug" that I walked into, straight out of the airport and into the arms of a friend. ^_^ I wish I'd had more time to spend laughing with her, but she was amazing to meet in person-especially to get a voice to match to her face.

Speaking of voices, Beffy (Beth LaBuff) sounds like Indian Movie star, Rani M. and does look like her avatar. She also doesn't mind talking about virtual farms and houses. I quite possibly chewed her ear off, jabbering on about barns and mansions. LOL. Love you-Beffers!!! (and glad I got to meet Tilman!)

Aunt Jan (Jan A.) is amazing in real life-she sounds just like I thought she would-and she graciously autographed a piece of um…exceptional…writing for me. ^_^ I wish I could had more time to spend chatting with her as well. Some day, right?

Leah Orcutt and I could pass each other on the street and walk right by. LOL. Well, we'd do a double take now and then turn back and exclaim at the same time. Leah was the recon member of my 'welcoming committee' and the second "FW hug" of the day. We passed each other going back and forth in my airport adventure and well, she's just plain awesome. Love her sense of humor too…see, there was this joke about-oh wait, you don't want to hear it? Oh all right. Ask her then. :P

Dee looks (Dee Yoder) just like her avatar-and is SO sweet! I bet she got tired of everyone telling her that, lol, but really, she IS! Her voice, smile, hugs and accent! I also loved every moment spent with her and was glad I also got to meet Arlen and Joseph. ^_^ What a neat family!

Hally and Mari are long lost twin-sisters from a um…hold on, I'll think of something brilliant…tomorrow. LOL. Marita T. & Laury H. were wonderful!!! And they are really very much like twins and didn't mind my hyper-self, talking about nail polish or just being silly. And they do look like their avatars. Same great smiles. ^_^

Sonya L was not at all like I'd picture in my head-but I must say I like the real-life version a whole LOT more! I wish I could have spent more time visiting and hearing a few of the interesting stories, I know she had with her. ^_^ Thank you sooooo much for taking a picture with me, Sonya-and making me feel so special. You are truly a gem! <3>

As for Amy (wiley), I was waiting to see exactly who this behind-the-scenes-mastermind was and Amy is WONDERFUL! She's probably tired of hearing people say how sweet she is and what a great personality she has, but I have to repeat it. I had so much fun at lunch, visiting with her! I wished I could have snuck her home in my suitcase-to be the sister I never had. <3>

I absolutely adore Deb, who graciously gave me autograph and also included me in a few of the group photos. I also really, really liked her accent. *dreamy sigh* I am SO glad I had the chance to meet her in person. Noel-who kindly let have a picture with him and took the time to chat for a few minutes. I was so amazed when he said he actually recognized my name and knew who I was on FW. ^_^

David Ian had an extremely enormous reputation to live up to, after hearing about him through the FW boards on the threads from the last conference, I wanted to see if he really was like that in real life. Long story, short? He is! I was laughing right along with everyone through his sessions and during the game night. What a truly wonderful, creative person, who gives credit to God and is still down to earth enough to chat with a new writer. Truly a wonderful memory now stuck in my head.

Ohhh and Shari Armstrong-who really isn't as redheaded as I was expecting, but still was so much fun and had such a wonderful smile! It was such fun to sit next to her during David Ian's workshop and running into her at various moments throughout the conference.

Pat Turner-my airport buddy-lol. It was such a pleasure to meet Pat in person and to share lunch with her at Applebee's. It was wonderful to finally put a face to the name on the comment boxes. (and thank you, Pat for being my 'airport buddy'.

Allison really does LOVE ladybugs. And I do mean it with the capital letters. I did see her famous ladybug PC set up. So adorable! I don't know that I could be that dedicated with my favorite "thing". Allison was also a ton of fun and looked exactly like her avatar!

I also had the pleasure of meeting the wonderful Karlene J. who graciously ferried me back and forth to the airport. It was such a pleasure to put a personality to the face and wonderful writer within. Karlene was also one of my first FW hugs! <3>

Kathy Bruins does not look like her avatar. Lol. (as you can tell by now, my brain was in overdrive matching up all the avatars to the actual, current person) and was the wonderful person who rescued us starving people (Leah, Pat, Kim Russell and myself) to Applebee's on that first afternoon I arrived. She has such an interesting voice! (and is a really good driver!)

Sheri G. is a really amazing person in real life. And though she did not look like I picture her (it was kind of hard with an eagle for an avatar...I had to use my imagination, lol) but she did sound just as I'd expected. I really loved getting to chat with her for a few minutes.

Kim Russell-a great lunch buddy and also an extremely interesting person! I loved just listening to her talk and hearing so many different stories!

Stephanie(crankycow) does not look like her avatar. LOL! But is just as vibrant as her writing. It was fun putting a face to her name. ^_^

Chely-Michele R. gave me a moment of deja vu. When she was introduced as "shelly". I was completely not expecting her to look so um, normal. *ducking* By the time it really sank in who it was, I was so excited to think that she was sitting just in front of me! I wish I'd had more time to chat and visit with her as well.

Linore Burkhard-who graciously autographed both of her novels(truly wonderful books!) and put up with my questions during her workshop. An amazing writer-I learned so much from her workshop and am loving putting it into my writings.

There were a lot of August birthdays. We could've had a cake somewhere. Lol. Loved the fact that everyone sang "happy birthday" with such joy and enthusiasm, it was truly beautiful!

Where writers travel, so does Chocolate. The best food break was the Chocolate afternoon snack with everything chocolate possible. I was floating on cloud nine with the best brownies I've had yet. (such lovely thick frosting!) and chocolate milk. And nearly everyone I met, had some form of chocolate close at hand or in their room. I tried several chocolates I'd never heard of before and also enjoyed the sweet treats during the game night. I was amazed at the simple appearance of chocolate-and the rate at which it swiftly disappeared. Certainly a writer thing, yes?

Now, I'm going to end here, mainly because it's almost 1 AM and I can't get my brain to recall much more. I had such a wonderful time at the Faithwriter's Conference, it was truly the best event of the year. I am sure I will never forget what an amazingly exhilarating experience it was. If for some reason I've forgotten someone-I really didn't! You're in my head somewhere and fairly close to my heart as the wonderful "FW Family" is. It's just 1 AM. That's all. ^_^

Thank you for reading my belated rambles, my apologies if half of them do not make as much sense as I seem to think they do. I'll edit it-maybe-someday.

P.S. Acck! I did NOT forget, Cori! (Cori S.) I didn't really! It was 1 in the Cori is the unsung writer you don't really hear much about. But when you do-WOW, she can write! And I did mean the wow with the capital letters. Such an amazingly versatile writer, and an excellent speaker. I especially loved chatting with her, getting her autograph on a FW anthology-and a picture! So blessed to have met her in person-Cori, you're awesome! ^_^


Deb said...

Oh my goodness! Sara, I can't believe you actually caught the flavour of just about everyone who was at the conference. It was the most amazing weekend and gone all too soon. The memories are with us forever though. I thought I loved everyone before, but that's multiplied. The thought of your wonderful smile still makes me smile! Love, Deb

Joanne Sher said...

Oooh - I LOVED reading this, sweet Sawa!! Brings back WONderful memories, and so YOU, sweetie. Love you, punkin! your JJ

Sparrow said...

I wanted to take you home with me, too! How fun to know it was mutual. It would be so cool if you could come visit sometime. Then you'd have three adopted older sisters! My family would love you. But then, I think everyone loves you.

Deb's right that you caught the essence of so many of the people there. :-)


Cheri said...


Oh, so very sad I am now! I couldn't make the conference. =( *sniff*

Glass House Ministries had its first speaking engagement that week. Don't get me wrong, that was wonderful too, because God is moving and we're hanging on for dear life! Where is He taking us? But to read your descriptions of everyone... oh my... such fun. Maybe next year.


Lynne said...

~sigh~ after reading this, I am all the more miserable that I didn't get to go to the conference. WAAAAAAH!!!

I wish I had a teleport :-(

love, hugs and blessings