Rod, my husband, walked in the door at 6 p.m. from working a twelve hour shift. I had the car loaded and car keys in hand thinking he would be too tired to drive for three hours. “I’m fine,” he said. Reluctantly I dropped my keys into my purse hoping he really was fine. He had been up since 4:30 a.m. When we reached the interstate, I realized I’d forgotten to write down the mileage, deductible since this was a business trip to sell books at the annual Women’s Unlimited Conference in Alexandria, Louisiana. My math whiz husband calculated how far we had driven and quoted a figure to me.
Driving the interstate at night is like driving in a barrel. The solitude made it a great time to talk, and I unloaded my concerns. Several ministers, who were in the book, allowed me to read excerpts and sell books after their services. All of my options to sell Finding Faith in the City Care Forgot would cease by the end of the year. At this point, I have three ministries to visit and see no prospects for invitations in the future. There are a lot of festivals in the area, but the Louisiana Book Festival yielded few sales compared to sales at a church function. There is nothing my husband can do, but I felt better.
Street lights appeared as we approached Baton Rouge and traffic grew thicker. I am a cautious driver. My husband drives as though everyone knows how to drive. As long as he is in the right-of-way, he is not bothered by anyone two inches away from him or that I’m whispering a prayer with my eyes shut. Our children, now adults, gave us few problems. Most of my grey hair comes from Rod’s driving. After twenty-eight years of marriage, you think I’d have learned to trust him. We have never been in a wreck.
Safely on the other side of the city, I pulled out the turkey wraps I’d prepared so we would not have to stop. Full and every subject of discussion exhausted; silence filled the car. Rod turned up the radio. I pulled out my Ipad and listened to 70’s music while I played Phase Ten, quickly tired of playing a computer with no human error to take advantage of I switched to Spider Solitaire. Two games later, Rod changed to the Fox News Channel. Talk radio is not my favorite. I grow weary of listening to people criticize, nitpick and slander leaders of nations. I opened a book to occupy my mind.
We arrived at the hotel around 10 p.m. I decided to visit the conference center. Sonya McLean, Director of Women’s Unlimited, was still in the center making last minute adjustments. “Where should I set up my table,” I asked. She pointed to an empty area behind the chairs, “Anywhere back here.” I cringed. I would be in the area people were worshiping God and praying. I have problems selling books in a church, especially while people are praying. At a previous church, the pastor had instructed me to set up in the sanctuary. I requested to set up in the foyer, thinking as people were leaving they could buy books, which turned out to be a bad idea. The church met in a gym. After service, no one left. They stayed to eat and fellowship. The service was long, and I could not stay until the fellowshipping was over. After that experience, I had purposed to trust God and simply do what I am told.
The next morning, I found a place by the main exit door. Rod set up my table. While we stocked it with books, I unloaded my frustration. “I really should not be in here. I should be in the foyer with the other merchandise. This is a bad place.
I won’t sell books here.”
“Keep a positive attitude,” Rod admonished as he walked out the door. Five minutes later, a woman walked in and purchased a book. A few minutes later Sonya said she would introduce me several times during the conference. I looked at the agenda and noted that her first speaker, Julie Jefferies, was the subject of “Miracle at St. Rita’s” in Finding Faith in the City Care Forgot. I knew that would be a good selling point but only if Sonya introduced me before Julie spoke.
At the end of the first session, Sonya was giving some concluding comments and said, “I wasn’t going to do this now, but, Teena, come up here.” I stood by Sonya’s side as she introduced me and talked about “Like Any Normal Day”, which recounted her son’s experience when he witnessed the destruction of the Twin Towers on 911. I interjected, “And your next speaker, Julie Jefferies, is also in the book.” Sonya handed me the microphone to talk about Julie’s story. I walked back to the table. Sonya dismissed in prayer, and I instantly had a line at my table. After lunch, more ladies visited my table to purchase the book before Julie spoke.
Sandy Cash joined me for the evening session. She was working in Alexandria, and I owed her book for contributing her story, “Is That All There Is”. We were chatting when I looked up to see Rev. Doug Fulenwider standing near my table. He had endorsed my book, so I tapped him on the shoulder to say hello.
He smiled. “How are the books selling?”
“Better than expected,” I responded.
“Let me have a book,” he said. “I’ll bring it back.”
I handed him a book wondering what he planned to do. He had come to offer a few words of greeting to the attendees of the conference, which he did. Then he held up my book and endorsed it, calling the book refreshing. I was humbled that he gave me an endorsement for the back cover of the book, stunned that the Louisiana Superintendent stood before several hundred women and publically endorsed it. Rev. Fulenwider returned the book to me and I thanked him for his kindness. “I liked the book,” he said as he walked out the door. Now those are words I can believe since he backed it up with deeds.