Wednesday, September 25, 2013

ACFW - Conference Indianapolis - 2013 _RECAP_

THURSDAY EVENING SURPRISES and GOD AT WORK IN US AND THROUGH US

       If you read yesterday's post you'll see that my passenger, Peggy Bennitt, and I made it to Indianapolis and with just moments to spare to get our ACFW Registration Packets before going to our rooms.

       I'd been praying ever since I registered that God would meet with me in Indianapolis in a very REAL way - a way I had  no doubt was Him, His message or word just for me. I'd been complaining about spending money for a rental car and bemoaning the fact Jerry wasn't able to keep those diligently-earned vacation days to cart Peggy and me to the conference.

      Once we got to the conference and the car had been parked in Valet Parking, I figured it would sit there burning parking money for the entire weekend. Another thing I'd whined about.
       I'd only been in my room a few minutes and knew I was expected to meet up with the STITCHES THRU TIME GROUP BLOG WRITERS - at least any who were able to gather for supper - so I hurried through freshening up and the phone rang. It was Lena Nelson Dooley. She'd posted on the Main ACFW Loop that she needed someone to purchase a specific food item that she'd not be able to carry inflight. I emailed her and made the arrangements to buy it and transport it in a cooler and deliver it to her room when she was ready.
      I told her of my evening plans and I told her I'd call her when I got back to the room. I was on my way to meet those in person I'd only ever met online and was getting more excited by the minute. I'd finally get to meet my room mate, even though she was expected to be with the Hartline Agency dinner instead of with our group and got another phone call. Jodie Wolfe, my room mate was stranded in the Baltimore, MD Airport. A lightning strike had taken out the tower- computers and all - flights were cancelled all over. She gave me a message for her agent and told me the earliest it appeared she'd be joining us would be on Friday mid to late afternoon. We were both disappointed. I went to find her agent and managed to meet Crystal Barnes, Jodie's crit partner and  Co-founder of the Stitches Thru Time Group Blog. Linda informed me that Jodie had just reached her by cell phone and Crystal and I gathered with a couple Non-group blog members and talked them in to joining us since our numbers were low. We headed across the Skywalk from the Hyatt to the mall and stopped to take pictures outside the diner we'd chosen to eat at. Jennifer Uhlarik opted to take pictures with several cameras and I think her friend Ruth even took some - yes - there were a lot of cameras.
The Thursday Night Supper place - 50's Diner - STITCHES THRU TIME GROUP BLOG MEMBERS




L-R - Jennifer Fromke, Crystal Barnes, Mona Hodson, Michele Morris & Joy Avery Melville  


 
L-R: Mona (from Arizona) Joy and Jen Fromke
 REMEMBER:

WE HAD EACH TRAVELED FOR AT LEAST A PART OF THAT DAY
Either. . .FLYING. . .or. . .DRIVING

We had a blast getting to know one another, sharing tid-bits about our home-lives and writing-lives. I found out two of our table-mates were past Michigan residents moved south . . .oh how I wish they'd stayed put. They're such sweeties. 
      







 L-R: Michele Morris,
          Ruth G.(pronounced Green)
          Jennifer Uhlarik -(My surrogate daughter - Gem)



  It didn't take any of us long to find out how filling the food was either. Good stuff. We sat and conversed for awhile and headed back to the Hyatt Regency. I knew I needed to get in touch with Lena soon.

Seconds from having taken the first one.
Check the traffic and the pinks in the sky
On the way back over the Skywalk Crystal and I looked out over the city street and to the West. Clouds broke and the sun was 
setting. . . 


 Three of us had gotten as far as the escalators - not my favorite part of the Regency -(going up- ok - going down - not so much) and my phone rang - IT WAS JODIE. . . She could get a flight into Indianapolis but the airport shuttles stopped at 11pm and she wouldn't be in until after 12:30 am. . .oh dear. . .what to do . . .what to do . . .oh wait. . ."Jodie, I have a car. I'll meet you at the airport - get that flight out. We talked a few more seconds and I hung up, walked rode the escalator to the bottom and it hit me (not the escalator). . .we were downtown INDY and I had NO IDEA WHERE THE AIRPORT WAS! I turned to Michele Morris on my right and said. . ."I'm going to the airport after midnight, and I have no idea where I'm going or how to get there." I started to say PRAY and before I got out the word,  Michele responded, "Already on it." Love that kindred stuff, don't you? I HAD to get to my room and call Lena so she didn't go without her delivery so I told the gals I was headed for my room. IF I REMEMBER RIGHT. . .Crystal Barnes went with me and stopped at the check-in desk, asked for a Mapquest map and directions to the airport and we talked and joked about the situation with those in hand on our way to my room. I'd only been in the room for a short time, called Lena, got her stuff together and got a call from a Michigan gal ,wanting to know if she could come up. I told her to come on up and before I'd hung up Michele Morris knocked at the door and she had a gal with her she introduced as Andrea Nell. A beautiful tall gal and just as sweet as those others I'd met over the few hours I'd been in Indy. Michele said, "I overheard Andrea say she has a room mate coming into the airport about 1:00am and needs a ride and she'd love to go get her but has no car. Joy?"  WHEN MICHELE PRAYS - WATCH OUT - I GUESS. . .
I'm sure I screamed at that point as the door was opened to allow Peggy Wirgau, the gal who called me, entrance. I was so excited. "YES, YES, YES! I'd love to have you go with me to the airport to get your room mate. Mine will be coming in about a half hour before that. Only problem is . . .I have no idea where I'm going. We picked up this map at the desk, but it's like Greek to me." Andrea just smiled her gorgeous smile.  
       I left the room after telling them to all make themselves to home - I had a package to deliver a floor up. I got a HUGE blessing when I got to see Lena again. I'd met her in person in St Louis in 2011, but we'd not talked a lot at that conference. She introduced me to her traveling companion, Margi, another writer. It was such a treat for me. Lena started to pay me for the package I'd gotten for her and I told her it was just too good a chance to spend time with her for me to pass up and the blessing was ALL mine. She went over to a bag, reached in, and asked if I had the three books she held out to me. NOPE - I have some of hers, but not those. She OFFERED THEM ALL TO ME and then in her sweet humble TX twang asked, "Would you like them signed or unsigned?" Are you kidding me? Seriously? "Signed, of course."
       I got back to an empty room with three books in hand.':D 
       
       Andrea and I met at the check-in area at midnight or shortly after, went to the Valet station and I handed the head Valet my ticket. He asked if we were checking out or if we'd be back yet that night. We both said, "We'll be back." I added that we were going to pick up to delinquent writers. The guy must hear it all. . .he just grinned. 
       While we waited for the car, Andrea took the map and directions and asked the guy if there were simpler directions for getting to the airport. He waved the Mapquest page away and stated, "It's easy. Go out the drive take a sharp left go straight on Capital and it goes up into I70 and stay on that to Exit 68 and take a right into the airport." Andrea and I laughed and I said, "I think I can do that one." There was little traffic, the weather was PERFECT and the road was OURS.  Thank you, Lord.
        It was easy peasy. . .got there just as Jodie called to say she had her luggage and would we be able to meet her at the SOUTHWEST AIRLINE DOOR - we were right there. We loaded her and her luggage and had to wait for Terri (or it may have been Terry) she phoned to say they were running just a bit behind. We weren't allowed to sit in front of the door areas so we began taking VERY SLOW CIRCLES out of the Arrival area and down around to right back to the Arrival area - VERY SLOW CIRCLES and if I'm not mistaken it took about seven times around. We joked about not having trumpets with us to blow on the seventh time around. Even waiting for Andrea's room mate the three of us got acquainted and got to laughing and giggling as though we'd known each other forever.
         Once we got Terri/Terry's luggage packed in the car and headed back, we found it was as easy going to the hotel as it had been going to the airport. LITTLE DID I KNOW AT THE TIME. . . THAT would be very important information!  

I didn't moan, groan, complain, gripe or whine about having a rental car OR that the car was parked in Valet Parking for the weekend again. . .I DID confess and ask forgiveness for a bad attitude and I PRAISED HIM for using me. I GOT TWO THURSDAY BLESSINGS and THE CONFERENCE HAD YET TO BEGIN.

I DO wish I'd gotten pics of Andrea, the car,  the airport and our room mates. . .didn't know at the time, I'd be blogging about the experiences there.

Tomorrow's post:  FRIDAY IN INDY. . .


 

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