Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Day Three - July 11, 2007

Wednesday morning Ted and I boarded the shuttle from our hotel to the convention center where we met up with Bryan's van and Christopher and Jennifer's car. Since Bryan is a prolific author of a half-dozen books, and travels with boxes of all of them, I was impressed that he was able to wedge my suitcases in the back as well (one for clothes and books, one for door prizes, gifts, cards to store staff, bookmarks, etc.) I also had a bag of food along for in-car snacking. For some reason, none of the guys seemed excited about rice cakes or raisins or granola bars. Cheetos and Pepsi and double-stuffed Oreos were the nutrition of choice. However, Bryan VERY kindly demonstrated his ecumenical heart by also stocking the cooler with Coke for me. I decided to encourage young Amanda in healthy eating - and later in the trip was rewarded with moderate success when she informed me she had included a leaf of lettuce on her cheeseburger. Veggies! Yes!

Saying goodbye to my hubby was difficult, but there was no time to dawdle. Soon we were navigating out of Atlanta on our way to our first booking in Manchester, Tennessee. In the car (and via cellphone with Christopher) we discussed the topics each of us planned to cover in our 22.5 minutes each.

Happy spiritual goosebumps rose on my arms as I listened to my teammates at that Heart and Hearth Home Education Support Group event. Bryan spoke with great logic and shared useful information and a beautifully constructed PowerPoint presentation about making choices in literature. Wayne delighted the audience with his dramatic reading and fake accent. Christopher poured out his passion for each young person and his conviction that God would empower them to make heroic choices. I spoke to the parents about the heroic role they fill, and how God is able to pour grace out to others through even weak and broken vessels. I think we all felt impressed with the way God had woven our messages together.

Soon we were packing up and back on the road to Nashville. We began to share our "God stories" and on the way to grab supper, I learned that Christopher grew up as part of a Christian community that had profoundly influenced me during my high school days. We were delighted to find this kinship and shared spiritual heritage.

Also, at a large Christian conference back in the mid 1970s, I'd watched Dawn Sandquist dance to the song "Courts of the King" which was when God first inspired me to want to use my training and love for dance as a way to worship Him. Christopher said, "Oh, that's my 'Uncle Ted and Aunt Dawn'." He had more surprises for me, when he invited "Uncle Phil" to stop by. Legendary guitarist Phil Keaggy came to the signing that night. It was SUCH an honor to meet him.

My impressions after our first day on the road? Christopher and Wayne were a non-stop Saturday Night Live sketch. Jennifer and Amanda's gentle presences were a huge blessing. Bryan was an organized navigator with a wealth of patience and a sense of humor that continued to surprise me.

We pulled in late to Christopher's editor's home. I collapsed onto the air mattress on the living room floor and the next thing I knew it was morning. Jodie made us a wonderful breakfast, and then it was time to hit the road again. This first night of hospitality demonstrated what we would experience each night of our journey - warm and wonderful people opening their homes to us, feeding us, encouraging us, and just loving on us.


WayneThomasBatson said...

Sharon, I am SO loving your account of the Tour. Reliving it is such fun. Hard to believe it's already over.

Can you say, Fantasy Fiction Tour 2008? Has a nice ring to it. ;-)

Pais Charos said...

YES!! I hope I can spend more time with y'all next year!

Justin B. said...

Good things come and go fast. Such as summer vacation!

Rel said...

Lots of fun watching your all from across the Pacific, Shazza!

Roheryn said...

Ih! and next summer, if ya'll come this way you should spend time in Jersey!

and I'm laughing as we go over this!