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My husband walked in the door at 6 p.m. after working a twelve-hour shift. I had the car loaded and 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 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. 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 wonderful time to talk, and I unloaded my concerns. My options to sell Finding Faith would cease by the end of the year. At this point, I had three ministries to visit and saw no prospects for invitations in the future. There are a lot of festivals in the area, but the Louisiana Book Festival had yielded few sales compared to a church function. There was nothing my husband could do, but I felt better.

Streetlights 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. If he is in the right-of-way, he is not bothered by anyone two inches away from him or that I’m calling on Jesus with my eyes shut. Our children, now adults, gave us few problems. Most of my grey hair comes from Rod’s driving.

Safely on the other side of the city, I pulled out the turkey wraps I’d prepared so we would not have to stop. Stomachs full and every subject of discussion exhausted; silence filled the car. Rod turned up the radio. I pulled out my iPad and played Phase Ten, but quickly tired of playing a computer with no human error. 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 anyone they find disagreeable. I opened a book to occupy my mind.

We arrived at the hotel around 10 p.m. and saw Sonya, the Director of Women’s Unlimited, in the conference center making last minute adjustments.

“Where should I set up my table?”

She pointed to an empty area behind the chairs, “Anywhere back there.”

The other tables were in the foyer. My table would be in the area people were worshiping God and praying. An image of Jesus driving money changers out of the church flashed in my mind. Technically, we were not in a building dedicated to the worship of God, so I decided to sell books before and after the service but never during the service.

The following morning, 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.”

“Keep a positive attitude,” Rod admonished as he walked out the door.

Five minutes later, a woman walked in and bought a book. Then Sonya stopped at my table to tell me she would introduce me several times during the conference. I looked at the agenda and noted that her first speaker was the subject of Miracle at St. Rita’s. 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 gave 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 told her son’s experience when he saw the destruction of the Twin Towers.

I interjected, “And your next speaker 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 bought books before Julie spoke.

Sandy joined me for the evening session. I owed her book for contributing her story Is That All There Is. We were chatting when I looked up to see the superintendent for the state of Louisiana 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 he stood before several hundred women and publicly endorsed it. He returned the book to me, and I thanked him for his kindness.

“I liked the book,” he said as he walked out the door.

Those were words I could believe since he backed it up with deeds. Thanks to his deeds, I almost sold out my inventory that weekend.


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