Yesterday I went to another Christian Authors Class at Samford, the second one that I had signed up for… This time specializing in writing memiors and children`s books. The second half of the day, after lunch, we meet with Ellen Maze, to tell us how to get our books published. Lots of information, lots of it over my head, but the main part of the day was spent with these sweet Christian ladies, trying to help all the students with their dreams of being published one day. There were lots of smiles, friendly hello`s and lots of encouragement from one to another. There were some new faces, some old faces from last time I was there, but a great feeling to walk into…
The class started, introductions were made and as our teacher, Denise George, was starting off, she held up a few published books, just to show us the different ways to publish your book and the covers of some books. When she mentioned about one particular book that the husband of Patty Donalson had just gotten published, my mind went back to the Patty Donaldson that Mother knew from Lakeshore. I wondered if that was the same one, one of her pool buddies that went up there three times a week to “Puddle” in the water, as Papa would call it. After our first break, I went to the sweet, little white haired lady, and asked if she was Patty, then told her I was Jane Lazenby. Before I even got out , “Louise Lazenby`s daughter,” she said, as she threw her arms around me to give me a hug, “Oh yes, Louise was such a dear friend to me, always such an encouragement. I hope you are here to write about her story cause it needs to be told”
Wow God, you set this up for me? To run into Mother`s sweet friend, to encourage me, to listen to her as she remembered the friendship she had shared with Mother. She said how much she loved Mother and wished she had known her years ago so they could have been together longer. That pool group was so special to Mother. I knew most of the names casue she would talk about them so often but didn`t know all the stories that went with the names. Patty`s husand was a professor of law at Samford for 35 years. So I asked her about a few more of Mother`s friends that were connected to Samford and she knew them, all good friends for a long time. So she had those friends in common with Mother and I didn`t even know… We had a good talk and it was nice to remember for a while.
After our morning break was over, one of my CBS girls in my class this year came down to see me. I had come in at the last minute and didn`t even see her there. Sweet, Kristi! With 17 in my class, it is hard to talk to each one in a personal setting, so I enjoyed visiting with her. The neat thing about Kristi, is that she had just shared her story with us in class last week, about her being a 8 year survivor of breast cancer. She was pregnant when she found out the news about her breast cancer. She soon lost that sweet baby, then had treatments, chemo and radiation. When she didn`t know if she would be able to have another baby, God provided a precious 2 year old little girl, through fostering then adoption. I was still in awe of her story and how she had shared in class and now to see her here, wanting to see what direction God was leading her in to share in a bigger way. I just know that there are many ladies who will be encouraged by hearing her story. It was a faith journey during the cancer and now, a praise journey for her and her family. I loved seeing her there. I am already anticipating what platform God will give her to tell her story.
When the afternoon session started, we were privileged to see Tom, a regular student at these Boot Camp Classes, be presented his newly published book. He had been diagnosed with cancer a while ago and now, the cancer has spread all over his body. His prognosis is not good. It has been his dream to have his book published. With the help of these sweet ladies, it has now been taken to press and as a surprise to him, the finished book was there for him to see yesterday. As he went down the steps, ever so slowly, anticipating each step with pain, to accept the framed copy of his book, there was a hush in the room. We all stood to our feet to give him a standing ovation. In the midst of the toughest battle in his life, God showed him a huge silver box to open yesterday, what a gift…. He said that 8 years ago he was on the outside looking in at all the Christians of the world, then for the last 8 years, he has been among the Christians, walking with Christ. What a great testimony to the faithfulness of God.
The excitement was not over yet… another student fell down the last two steps onto the stage. She tried to get up and sit back down for the last session but the pain was too great. She was helped out of the room and an ambulance was called to take her to the hospital. We stopped, Denise prayed for her, for the doctors and for God`s comfort and peace for her. Where else can you be in the midst of a group of strangers and feel so at home? Only in the presence of God, that is what the common thread was in this room.
My “thoughts” may never make it out of my notebook or one day they may. But whether they do or not….. I was blessed to be able to open the gifts that God had picked out, just for me….on that beautiful Saturday in April, at Samford..in the Boot Camp for Christian Authors”.