Unpacking

speak up

I wish that we could sit together at my kitchen table with some coffee and chat. Since, that is not possible, I thought this was the next best thing. I encourage you to take a few moments and watch the video.

If you happen to have attended the Speak Up Conference this last week, I would love to connect with you. Please leave your name and your take away from the conference in the comment section.

Conference Preparations: 5 Tips

Conference session is in full swing. Since I have attended and helped with several, I thought I would share a few tips with you today. Don’t leave just yet. I think you will find a tidbit or two that will be beneficial, even if you never plan on attending a conference.

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1. New hair cut or style

The whole idea of a new hair cut may seem a little silly to you, but stick with me. If you are more confident in your appearance, then it will shine through in your actions. You will be more willing to go up and introduce yourself or even ask questions during a session. Not to mention the impact it will have in your speaking critique groups or publisher/agent appointments.

photo 12. Notes/Schedule/Bible

These items may seem a little obvious, but I assure you when you are trying to not only get your stuff together, but everything for your family lined out something maybe forgotten. You want to be prepared. Therefore, keep your speaking or writing notes together in a folder or on a thumb drive along with your conference schedule and Bible. Go ahead and put them in a briefcase or shoulder bag that you will not leave the house without.

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 3. Conference Binder

I’m certain there must be at least one person reading this blog thinking, “you’ve have got to be kidding me. This lady is taking this a little too far.” Hear me out and then decide. After attending a few conferences, I found myself constantly flipping through my purse and bag to find a business card, one-sheet or my notes. It was embarrassing, especially when you factor in the importance of a good first impression. Therefore, I now utilize a small three ring binder for all my conferences. I use baseball card holders for my business cards, placing 3-5 in each slot on two sheets. The first row on the second sheet I leave open for the cards I will be receiving. I also use the 8 1/2 x 11 sheet protectors for holding my one-sheets for publisher appointments as well as placing one in the front sleeve of the binder to potentially peak someone’s interest in my book. An additional copy of the conference schedule is placed in this binder. Everything I need is all in one location, right at my fingertips.

photo 3photo 24. Packing

Obviously, you are going to need clothes, shoes and accessories, but how do you decide what to choose? I would suggest you have a friend or spouse give their input on your possible choices to help you determine what to bring. My suggestion would be an assortment of comfortable, yet professional shoes and clothes. It helps if you can mix and match pieces, to cut down on luggage space. A quick tip on keeping your accessories straight – Ziploc bags. After trying on and selecting, not only the outfit and shoes, but also the jewelry; I will hang the clothes together until they go in the suitcase with the accessories for that particular outfit in a zip bag hung on the pant/skirt hanger. You can use this same idea when packing for a vacation with the kids – putting their socks, hair ties and jewelry in one.

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5. Prayer

I saved the most important tip for the end – prayer. You need to be praying for the event before the first session even begins. I also encourage you to ask your family and friends to come beside you and pray with you. Dear friends, make no mistake there is power in prayer. Whether you are attending a writing/speaking conference with hundreds or a little league game, you need to bathe it in prayer. God longs to be actively a part of your life. Prayer is the best way to not only talk to Him, but also listen to His still small voice as He graciously guides your steps.

Your Turn: Do you have a conference/travel tip that you would like to share today? If so, please leave it in the comment section. Also, if there is something I can pray for with you, please leave that as well. I do ask that you would keep me in your prayers over the course of the next few days as I travel to Grand Rapids to attend the Speak Up Conference.

Can you hear me now?

prayer picture

It amazes my children that when I was their age I did not have a cell phone. The look on their face shows such disbelief. They begin to think I have to be as old as dirt. In the world they are growing up in it does seem foreign not to see people talking or texting on cell phones.

Although they have downsides, I must admit as a parent it is very comforting to be able to reach my daughter, who is away at school, at any time and she can in turn respond from anywhere on campus about anything that is going on in her life. It makes the distance almost melt away.

Do you realize that you have access to something even better than 4G coverage and service? It is prayer.

Dear friends you can come to God at any time of day or night – He doesn’t have select “office” hours. You can also pray anywhere. It doesn’t have to be at church on Sunday or at the dinner table before meals. In addition, we can bring anything to God in prayer. We must keep in mind that prayer doesn’t have to be long or complicate. It is simply a conversation between you and God. Therefore, just tell Him exactly what is on your heart – the victories as well as the struggles.

Dear Heavenly Father, I come to You with a thankful heart today. I know that no matter what circumstance I am facing in my life You promise to be right by my side. I have the confidence to know that I can come to You at any hour of the day and that You will not only hear my prayer, my cries for help, but You will answer. I long to draw closer to You this week. May I silence the shouts of the world around me to hear Your still small voice. In Your Precious Name, Amen.

Your Turn:

Today, spend some time connecting with God in prayer. I would appreciate it if you would pray for me as I make the final preparations for attending the Speak Up Conference later this week. I will be attending several sessions as well as meeting with agents and publishers to pitch my latest book. I don’t know what God has in store, but I am laying it all at His feet.

I will gladly pray for you as well. Please share your request in the comment section