Conference Gifts from God

I’m no longer a newbie! I now have my first writers conference under my belt and can’t wait until it’s time to attend another one. Just imagine — two days crammed full of instruction and inspiration, meeting new people, fellowship, good food, networking, giving and receiving advice, and building relationships. What an overall wonderful experience — as long as I don’t count the Dallas traffic and several episodes of getting lost :)

I have more experiences to share than you have time to read so let me just give you the highlights. On day one, as soon as Jeneal and I walked into the dining hall where everyone was gathering, I heard someone with surprise yet certainty in her voice say, “Cheryl.” I turned to look, and there was Renae (pictured above) coming towards me with arms outstretched. “You look just like your picture!”

Believe it or not, Renae and I “met” through the blogging world, as a result of comments left on Jean’s blog (both Renae’s and Jean’s links can be found to the right). During the past few weeks, we discovered through our blogs that we were both going to the NTCW conference. We immediately began looking forward to meeting in person. What a joy it was to get to talk face to face, learning more about each other and encouraging one another. A fun Internet relationship got the chance to blossom into a sweet, in-the-flesh friendship. How amazing is that?!

And while we’re on the topic of amazing, get ready for my next highlight: I won one of the writing contests! Everyone attending had the chance to enter pieces in six different categories, and I won the non-fiction article category! There were 136 entries in all the categories, and I’m not sure how many entered the one that I won — but I do know that others entered because I heard remarks later like “why did you have to win my category?” :) The prize? I was awarded $50, a copy of Frank Ball’s book (Eyewitness, a chronological compilation of the gospels and related scripture), and a certificate. The main prize, though, was the honor of winning. My traveling partner and long-time friend is now having fun calling me an award winning author :)

Another thing that ranks right up there with these other highlights is a meeting I had with one of the conference faculty. I had the opportunity to show a multi-published author a book proposal I’m working on, and she gave me very positive feedback on both the idea and the writing itself. I think I must have floated out of the room after that and could barely contain myself until I had the chance to spill the news to Jeneal.

Of course, just getting to go to the conference with Jeneal was a blessing in itself. Lots of good girlfriend catch-up time as well as moral support during my first conference experience. All of these highlights, all of these blessings, were gracious gifts from God, and I thank Him for each one. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…” (James 1:17a).

How has God blessed you lately? What gifts has He showered down on you? Share with a comment — let’s all rejoice together!

**Renae has just found out that her dad, James, has cancer. Please pray for him, Renae, and their entire family.

**9/19 – further news: Renae’s aunt was killed in a head-on collision this week. Please cover this precious family in prayer!


  1. Congrats Cheryl!!!! I’m so glad the conference went well. It sounds like your “on your way” to the top!!!

    I will also be praying for Renae’s dad.

  2. Cheryl, what a fun trip! And, several people took samples of my artwork. One offered to show them to her editor/friend, and another has asked me to do some for her next book, so she can show them to her editor.

    I learned a ton at the conference, and had a great time doing it. And it was so good to get in a good long talk with my friend the award-winning author!

  3. Thanks, Lisa! And “Anonymous”, I’m wondering why you’re feeling anonymous tonight :) What a great experience we had — so wonderful how good things happened for us both!

  4. How exciting! If it were’nt so “unchristian” I’d be jealous!


  5. Hello Cheryl,
    You made my day when you stopped by my blog and said “nice to meet another writer.” I’ll take that encouragement! My question is this…when does one who sings get called a Singer. Or one who writes get called a Writer? A rhetorical question I have always pondered.

  6. Sounds like the conference was great. 1 day, when I see your book at the store, I will say – I knew her when….she blogged.

  7. Jean, it WAS exciting. A prize, a great meeting with a publishing professional, and even meeting a blogging buddy! Just think how wonderful it would have been if you had been there to meet up with Renae and me, too. Maybe one day…

    Beverly, so glad you got a kick out of remark on your blog :) I’m not sure about the answer to your question. Maybe it’s when one gets serious about writing and really starts working at it or starts sharing it with others and getting published…

    Thanks, Annette, for the vision of you seeing my book in a store — very exciting! I’ll be pressing on until it happens!

  8. Hello Cheryl! Congratulations on your win! You’re a fantastic writer- I’m sure you’ll go further than you can imagine!

    Some blessings He’s showered on me lately is His opening doors no man can open! He has made a way in the desert for me to get closer to those that are dear to my heart…family!

  9. Congratulations Cheryl! I’m so glad you had a great time – nothing like getting away with God in the arena He’s called you to, to give you a refreshed spirit and fresh vision.


  10. Tabby & Melinda, thanks for the congrats! So glad you both dropped by today!

  11. Cheryl,
    I just loved reading about your conference. It brought back fond memories of my first one this summer. I am so glad you had a great time and came back refreshed and renewed to write. Can’t wait to see what you have planned next.

    Congratulations on winning the contest! Way to go.

    And also, congratulations on your blog anniversary. Who ever thought this blogging thing could be so much fun…and be a wonderful ministry as well?!


  12. Thanks for the prayers, Cheryl.

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