Sunday, January 28, 2007

My Weekend at Planet Wisdom

I just finished one of the busiest weekends I’ve had in a long time. After speaking at NCA, I drove over to my church and followed a bus full of the teenagers from my youth group all the way up to Lakeland. I had only 2 hours of sleep (to be explained later) so the 2 cans of Mountain Dew that I grabbed from the Youth Group cooler really helped. Here are some of the highlights from the trip:

Watching the bus tire blow up: Well, first I wanted to call my youth pastor to let it know that I didn’t quite like the sparks flying out from underneath the bus, but I didn’t have his phone number. Then suddenly, POOF! Black smoke and flying pieces of rubber tires blew out from under the bus, hitting my windshield. Let’s just say that I no longer needed the Mountain Dew to stay awake. Hey, did you know that if you follow a bus close enough, you get caught up in the bus’s drag, and you save on gas money? It’s not such a good idea if the bus’s tire decides to blow up, however.

Mark Matlock, Sean McDowell, Jillian Windham & the Skit Guys: All the presenters at the conference were awesome—especially the Skit Guys who made my stomach hurt from laughing so hard at their British Comedy impersonation. I especially liked Mark Matlock’s message about concentrating on the essentials of Christianity—you know, the love God and love your neighbor commands that we Christians often forget while we’re protesting abortion and gay rights. Way to go people. Let’s show the world God’s love through condemnation. Anyway, it was a great, timely message. And my friend, Jillian Windham, did amazing, I must say. She’s an actress who did these little video spots that really showed how frustrating and confusing figuring out what we are supposed to do as Christians can be.

The Adventures of Michelle, Kyle, and Richard: I got to pick up one of the speakers, Sean McDowell (more on him later), from Tampa International Airport, at 12:05 Friday night. (This on two hours of sleep. I was well beyond Mountain Dew by that time, folks.) I brought along Kyle and Richard to meet him, and I think we had more fun getting there and trying to find the hotel than actually talking with Sean. (No offense, Sean, if you’re reading this.) Here are some highlights of our adventures:
  • Deciding not to get gas at Bob’s Gas Station with the black Monte Carlo full of gangsta’s filling up next to us.
  • Discussing Beckham and Posh moving to the USA.
  • Talking in the elevator for, like, 5 minutes until we realized we had to push a button to make it move.
  • Pushing a wheel chair around, calling out for its imaginary rider.
  • Holding up a yellow sign for some guy we’ve never seen before, hoping we were at the right spot.
  • Trying to find an ATM machine at the airport that worked.
  • Pulling into a franchised gas station (I think it was Hess) on mere fumes.
  • Driving up to Sonic just after it closed.
  • Having to call our youth pastor up at 1:00 in the morning to find directions to our hotel.
  • Passing civilization twice before finding the sleepy little village our hotel was located in.
  • Totally missing our hotel because we were so focused on Checkers.

I think that was the best little side adventure I’ve had in a while. We didn’t reach the hotel until 3:30.

Sean McDowell: Josh McDowell is a well-known author whose books have not only been an inspiration to my teaching and my novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, but also an author whose books have cemented my faith in God. His son, Sean, was one of the speakers at the conference, and when my youth pastor and Jillian found out about my idea for a non-fiction book (to be kept secret for now) and knew he had expertise in the area, they arranged for me to pick him up at the airport and have lunch with him. First, it was great to meet a fellow author and discuss the difficulties of waiting for the book to be published after we got the contract. Just knowing that other authors go through what I’m going through with all the waiting was so encouraging. Second, I was able to ask Sean how he developed a speaking career, and he gave me some really great ideas. Third, even though we are both too busy right now to collaborate on the kind of project that I have envisioned, I left with the impression that both of us respected and appreciated the other’s ministry. And again, it was just great to talk with a fellow author.

Kendall’s cookies: Kendall, even though you won’t give me the recipe, I must say that there is nothing better than coming back from a fun adventure to Tampa International Airport at 3:00 in the morning after only two hours of sleep the night before than sitting down and eating one of your cookies right before my shower. You Rock!

For more information on my debut novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, check out my website at

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