Monday, July 16, 2007

God's surprises

For clear and chronilogical updates on our east coast book tour, visit the Fantasy Fiction Tour website. You can also view the video diary for each day (Christopher and Jennifer have been editing on-the-fly and posting everytime they have a hook-up).

Today I have a moment at my host home's computer and want to share some delightful surprises in all-mixed-up order. Since I've been living out of suitcase since July 5th, and have been in more cities than I can count, "mixed up" is my middle name. :-)

Last night we were at a Barnes and Noble in Ellicott City (Wayne's hometown) and a huge crowd gathered to chat with the authors and get books signed. As a woman approached the tables, I reached out my hand and said, "Hi! I'm Sharon. I'm from Minnesota."

Her grin was full of mischief as she said, "I'm Gail, from New Jersey. Your cousin." Then my Aunt Helen stepped out from behind her. HOW COOL!!!!! I haven't seen them since my wedding 28 years ago. Of course we had a good laugh about me introducing myself to Gail.

What's extra cool was that it had been a long day and I'd been missing family a lot. When we pulled up at the store, Bryan's daughter and Christopher's wife (who have been traveling with us and had spent the day relaxing) came out to meet them, and Wayne's wife got out of her car to hug him. I stood in the parking lot feeling one of those "poor me" waves of lonliness. How amazing that God had an uplifting surprise only minutes away for me. I knew that my east-coast relatives were at a Bible camp this week and none could make any of the events. But Gail made arrangements and surprised me.

Speaking of mixed up, at a store in Richmond, I was chatting with a woman and asked where she was from. She said, "Richmond." and I said, "How cool! We're going there next." She gave me a funny look and said, "um, that's where you are NOW." Sigh.

Saturday night was another one of those gifts from God. We'd been stuck in horrendous traffic coming up from Richmond (I think) and arrived at the store late. When we got there, dozens and dozens of children who are fans of Bryan and Wayne were waiting in line with their books in hand. I didn't spot anyone needing me to sign a book, so I asked Michelle and Donna where the restroom was. They took me back into the employee area, and when I came out, they each hugged me and told me they'd read The Restorer and how much it meant to them. I've been feeling fairly upbeat most of the tour - excited by the folks I met, the enthusiasm we were all seeing for Christian fantasy, the fellowship of the amazing tour members, and God's many treats along the way. But that night my head was throbbing, I was beyond exhausted, and I needed those encouraging words more than I can say.

The staff had created a rack behind our signing table for our swords to hang while we signed, had a row of endcaps from one end of the store to another featuring our books (TONS of them!!!) swords on the floor to lead people to the signing, and four beautiful banners created just for us (which they gave us each to keep). But more than that, they spoke to me about the value of what I'm doing and that they saw and appreciated the sacrifice involved and were supporting me through prayer. It ministered to my heart in an incredibly deep way.

Just a few glimpses of the amazing surprises that have been meeting us at every turn. There's so much more to tell, but I need time to sort out all my impressions and organize my thoughts. My sinus infection thingy is ALL better and my throat has stopped hurting. Considering the primary food groups in our van have been Cheetos and Pepsi, and that sleep has been a rare commodity, it's amazing how quickly I've recovered. Last night I was up off and on through the night with some stomach probs...so those of you praying for my health, please direct prayers that direction. :-)

I think the best thing about the tour has been feeling a refreshing in my spirit and new strength in my faith. The vagabond life is rich with opportunities to need to trust God in new ways, and it has rattled me out of my comfort zone in good ways. I've also enjoyed being in a setting of "community" with our tour group. Hearing each of them speak Sunday morning to a youth group in Washington D.C., I marveled at the beautiful souls and diverse gifts that God created in them, and felt so honored to be having this adventure with them.

Today we have three events before we finish the day in Delaware (I think)and tomorrow we're in New York city. Keep praying! Thank you to all who've prayed. I'm so grateful.
Hugs, SHaron

11 comments:

Pais Charos said...

That's awesome that your cold is gone, Sharon! I'll be praying for your stomach now :D

I understand those feelings of lonliness - I felt that when I left y'all Sunday evening. But being able to chat with y'all online makes up (a little) for not being able to be with you in person.

Love ya!

Chawna Schroeder said...

Hang in there, Sharon! You're over halfway through. You will make it and will look back and wonder at all the amazing stuff that happened, as the bad stuff fades away.

Valerie Comer said...

Hugs...and consider the prayers prayed. Over and over.

Pais Charos said...

Sharon - I think I've just lost it myself. I got to work today and I had to write down the date on something, and I completely blanked. I could not remember for the life of me what today's date was, and I had to look at my emails for today to get the date. This weekend flew by so fast, I wasn't even paying attention to dates!

*Hugs* I miss you guys!

Merrie Destefano said...

I'm so glad you are finally feeling better, Sharon. And I know what you mean about losing track of things (like your identity) when you are on the road. Usually by the end of a large conference, I have forgotten my name, my job title, and where I live, although usually not all at the same time.

Once while traveling by plane (granted I had taken something for motion sickness), I watched as my two companions went in different directions at the airport. After they had disappeared, I realized that they had all my luggage, my purse, my plane ticket, my cell phone, or in other words, every clue to my identity. I didn't even know what hotel we were supposed to stay at. I just decided: A) they were my friends and B)if I didn't find them, they'd look for me.

Ha, this is funny. While I am trying to encourage you, I just accidentally erased half of my message! I have a feeling I better quit before I destroy everything and you don't even know that I stopped by to say hello.

God bless you! Many hugs and prayers and I am so glad you have had the opportunity to meet some of your readers. This is an exciting time! I love those sword banners. I am so happy for you and the guys. I can't wait to hear more of your "on the road" stories!

Many hugs and prayers,
Merrie

Roheryn said...

Well, on the bright side, the cold ish gone!

and I know the mixed up feeling... the black board out at the stable ish always a couple of days behind, so I NEVER have any clue what day it ish... as a matter of fact, I believe it still says Friday the 13th....
And as to where I am? I sometimes need a map to find my way around town... and my town ish only 1 sq. mile big...

Can't wait to see all ya'll in NY!!!! *bounces around house*

Deena said...

Sharon, you know I adore and admire you. Today, I want to say thank you for all the creative effort and hard work you put into each of your novels in order to share them with all of us. I thank God for the day I met Becky, because she introduced me to YOU. Love you, dear friend.

Justin B. said...

Had a great time! You and the other authors are really awesome! My mom is currently reading the Becky Miller books. I'm finishing rereading Dragonknight by: Donita K. Paul in anticipation for Dragonfire.
Thanks again!
Justin

Pais Charos said...

Roh - you will fall in love with Sharon. I know I have :)

I'm loving The Restorer, Sharon! I can't wait till I get a chance to purchase the Becky Miller books - but I don't know when that will be. This weekend I bought enough books to keep me going for a while, so I might have to wait until my birthday or something:P

And I miss you lots! *hugs*

everlastingscribe said...

To quote one of my friends who was a nursing student and is now a nurse, "Keep on keeping on sister-soldier, I'm right there with you."

Btw, finally got some photos posted, didn't have time for the library today, but will have time for it tomorrow. I am determined to get these photos up (though perhaps not all 153) so you can enjoy and remember how Christ met you on my leg of your trip.

Deborah said...

ahhh i wanted to go up to richmond so bad but I had to work that day :(
maybe next time you'll tour va beach....:)

i just finished the restorer. loved it!!!!! can't wait to the sequel.