We-ell… Holley and I didn’t exactly… hobnob. Not in the way my Walter Mitty mind played out the scenario as it might have been …
🙂 Ring ring. I pick up the phone. “Hey, Pam, It’s Holley! I’m going to be stopping by to visit soon…”
Or no… a little too off the wall. Maybe…
“Hey Pam, It’s _____ book editors calling. We picked your name randomly to be Holley’s Holiday Visitor Guide while she’s in our beautiful area!”
Plans start swirling even as they are relaying this news! I know just the perfectly quaint, fun spots to take her… those off-the-usual-guest-route places friends wowed me with so many years ago when I was still just a newbie here. She’d just love the little beach town charmer with all the cool shops and bed and breakfast cottages and the fabulous known-for-it’s-homemade CHOCOLATE and ice cream waffle cone parlor, I muse. Or how about that lovely old church-turned-restaurant with its striking stained glass still in place — and the feel of long ago praises echoing somehow in the air? Or… wait a minute… a tour of the dunes from a pontoon off shore!
Ummm… So goes my Walter Mitty alter ego, as I pull the store event invite card from my mailbox… 🙂 On this humdrum, cram all my errands into Saturday, I’m stunned. Who’d of thought I’d ever find this inspiring and fun author I’ve “met” online… the lovely lady who has taken time to even make a warm comment here a time or two… right in my own back yard? Not something I’d ever really contemplated. Not because I think of her as impossibly far off or of celebrity status. Rather… though she pops into my email box regularly with encouraging words and heart that chimes to mine… she’s just not someone I am likely to meet walking down a nearby street, because she lives and writes and cheers from states away.
Yet… I’m continually awed by how God weaves our storylines in and out, a dot and dash moment here or there, sometimes lines of dialogue more, in such an unexpected small, small world way! (I picture Him grinning over that one. Because I’ve known Him to coincide my life with others I’d never in a guzillion years have imagined before in His God-sized dream way. And I continually want to be looking more expectantly for those Divine appointments…be they for a guest character paragraph in my book of time — or His writing me into someone else’s — or more…)
Actually though, silliness aside, I didn’t really think of her being here as a possible split-second Divine appointment, until a friend used that phrase when I mentioned Holley’s coming. So, pondering that while driving to the bookstore that night, I asked Him.
“Lord, is this a Divine appointment in any way? Is there anything You are thinking in this? I don’t expect to do more than just say ‘Hi, I’m that ‘apples of gold’ blogger who sent you that email…'”
At that moment, a thought of another such time when I met someone even more incredulously out of the blue flashed in my memory. And something He led out of what I know now could only have been an encounter arranged by Him, meant to encourage us both...
Hmmm… an idea percolated as I pulled into the parking lot to Ladies Night Out with Holley.
Feeling a bit harried.
Snatching a sandwich of time in between another place I really wanted to be at the moment, planning to pop in here and then get back to that treasured celebration still underway… I wasn’t sure I would be bold enough to ask the thought formulating now, but looking to His lead.
Praying for that ease that comes across in writing, even between strangers who love to encourage. Especially those who share His penchant for heart to heart connection…
Stepping inside the bookstore, a descriptive phrase befitting a cliche novel zipped into my mind at the sound of twittery happy women floating towards me: The atmosphere tingled with anticipation… And there…between a makeup tips spin-a-wheel display, a sample tasting buffet of mouthwatering Lindt chocolate bars and a stage area charmingly set with a comfy leather chair and side table awaiting Holley… it really did.
“We’ve decided to start off a little differently,” announced the events coordinator, welcoming all to the chocolate and makeup areas, to sampling some gourmet desserts on the way… and concluding with a living room chat with Holley. “And if anyone wants to catch her early, she’ll be happy to sign books before as well as after…”
Making my way over to a tall round table where she stood, early signing a book or two, I greeted Holley, exchanged hellos and nice to meet yous. She told me of how she’d come for a writer’s meeting, agreed to this speaking event. Asked if I lived close by… mentioned how her hosts planned to take her and her husband to a well known nearby town on the weekend. (Not the one of my earlier Walter Mittying thoughts…but similarly fun.) “That’s my guy…over there,” she smiled, pointing to her husband…
Enjoying a bite of some scrumptious chocolate, strawberry and whip cream torte that certainly looked and tasted both gourmet and homemade, I staked a chair in tonight’s cozy event area where each place held a fun notepad gift, chatted with a couple of others… until lights went down and Holley took her chair and welcomed us in to her book talk of God-sized dreams for you and me.
I loved how she expressed it. “Many hear that term and think — oh, I’m too ordinary or too humble or too small to have one of those…,” she opened brightly, enthusiasm bubbling, “but a God-sized dream is really one that God has tailored just for you, to the size of your heart, and who He has created you to be…”
How she encouraged every dream, however big or small. That it really isn’t about our interpretation of big or small. “Maybe you think, oh sure, I can make fabulous brownies…but what good is that?” she sparkled. “But God wants to shine His creativity through each of us in so many ways…”
How she spoke of all women…whether physically a mother or not…as being a Mama (a particularly moving thought to me), created to “give birth” to something beautiful in this world, straight from God’s design in who He made you…and me… To nurture and grow it in the ways and glory-giving light of the Lord that shines Him to a longing world…even if that simply means your own family, friends or neighbors…then multiplying out…
How she told us of the roots of her own God-sized dream to write and uplift women. Of her insatiable love of books as a child (stacks and stacks of them, reading in her grandparents’ Christian bookstore). Of how she had seeds of an encourager and a greeting card writer in her even back then, when she’d find herself presenting her friends with handwritten lists of “10 Reasons Why I Like You.” 🙂 (And how her words spoke to my own life dreams that seem to dovetail in so many similar ways of being an encourager, a reader, a writer…since girlhood.)
How, as an accredited Life Coach, she led us to beginning an exercise this night, one to carry home in our own prayer times. To pen one word descriptives in those gift notebooks on our chairs… “dream clue” words encapsulating one of our strengths, then one of our skills, and on to whom we may be called to serve. Asking ourselves, What is it that brings me joy when I do it – because it seems such a part of me? “Being a dream-chaser,” Holley inspired, “means waking each day and asking, ‘Lord, how can I bring You joy today?'”
And how she finished with a challenging nudge to taking bold baby steps towards uncovering and following those dreams He has for us that will also touch others… And, in not leaving “without letting me hug on your neck,” as she invited in her warm Southern Hospitality style.
Wanting to catch her once more before scooting back to my other event for the evening, I managed to reach her ahead of the signing deluge. Just.
“Have a great time during the rest of your visit this weekend,” I said again. Then…taking her advice about being bold… took a breath and said it.
“I know you have your own far-reaching blog,” I began, thinking of all of you readers here who might have loved pulling up your own chair this fun Ladies Night Out evening. “But I had a thought on the way over tonight. Would you be interested in doing an interview on my blog?”
Without a pause, she met my eyes. And said — Yes!
Not wanting to hold up the line forming behind me, I grinned and stepped away… “I’ll be in touch on email, then,” I finished on a wave. “Your talk was wonderful!”
Thank you, she mouthed, turning to the next in line.
🙂 And even then, I was thinking of what I might ask her… and of inviting you each to stay tuned with your cups a warming… as I get back to her for that upcoming Apples of Gold heart to heart with Holley.
Sooo… No… we didn’t exactly hobnob. But… you might say we shared a bite or two of chocolate (a passion of hers and of mine) in the same room together! 🙂 And the promise of a piece that will make you feel like you’ve been hobnobbing too…
© Pam Depoyan
Imperfect Prose at Emily Wierenga’s place