Saturday, July 30, 2011

A brand new experience

8:16 p.m. Today's project was to participate in my first book signing as a newly-published author!

The Lord used Tate Publishing to put this first event together, and two more coming up in August. The concept of doing a book signing seemed very much "out there" for a person who has been a local public figure in the past (an elected school board trustee of the Riverside district for 3 terms), but hardly the type of celebrity whom people sleep out overnight to have their book signed by.

I'm just a person who has followed the Lord's leading in studying, teaching, and writing about the Bible; furthermore, a sinner saved by grace like multiplied millions of other born again believers.

I hadn't asked my marketing rep what I was supposed to do at Kraemer's Koffee Bistro from 1-3 p.m. today, so these questions came to my mind this morning:

  • Do I stand up at 1:00 and make a few introductory remarks?

  • Do I tell the history of the book, the way it began as hand-typed lessons in the 1980's?

  • Walk over to greet those who come in, or wait to see if they may just be there for a coffee?

  • Or do I combine the conversation of a small gathering with individual conversations?

  • How do I ask for the money? How much change should I bring?

  • What do I write to the purchasers? (I jotted down some verses from Galatians on a scrap of paper which got buried in my tote bag, so Heather ran out to get her Bible).

  • What kind of pictures would my daughter Heather take?

My dad left our house a few minutes before 12 p.m., so soon Steve and I were on our way down Arlington toward the Brockton Arcade with 14 books I had bought at the author price, and 9 books I'd borrowed from the Calvary Chapel Moreno Valley bookstore in case I ran out. It was sure hot! We put up the reflective shade on the windshield and went through the shady breezeway and into the shop.

Ken the great counterman told us to set up our books on any table. It was very silent in there, because his lunchtime rush comes pretty early. "Uh-oh," I thought. But we had prayed earlier, and for months before, so the Lord would bring the turnout He ordained. I related to what a long-time friend who came in later in the afternoon said, "I'm certain in my uncertainty!" No sense freaking out, especially an hour before the event began! God ordained the writing of this Bible study, and the creation and publication of the book Galatians: An Exploration of Faith & Freedom. If He didn't want anyone to read it and learn to know Him and better understand His plan of salvation as a result, God wouldn't have brought it to the point of publication! Isaiah 46:9-10 says,

...For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, "My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure."

Steve, Heather and I ate a lovely lunch and got everything ready to wait for book buyers.

My friend Joyce came in, telling us that 6734 Brockton is actually across the street! Heather checked it out, and the coffee shop has the same address as a hair salon. At least the name isn't the same! She visited with us all and then bought a book signed to her friend, a woman who gives her life to help others. Galatians 6:9 seemed to be appropriate for her:

And let us not become weary of while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Two or three at a time, people came in, some specifically for the signing, and others I met on the spot. Conversation came easily, with Heather and Steve participating also. My two oldest sons' counselor from North High, Connie Decker came in, amazingly at the same time as our florist Cheryl and her high school senior daughter. They met Connie and will be able to benefit from Mrs. Decker's private college counseling business! Info was exchanged...

Two people came in who wanted the book to start Bible studies at their church or for a home group. Heather took photos of me with customers and friends as the event went on.

The leader of our Riverside Office of Aging Caregiver support group, Darlene, a published author on eldercare issues herself, came in with her husband. She actually got to meet my Steve, whom she's heard so much about in our classes. She and her husband Steve and the three Kruckenbergs had a really fun conversation. Darlene is a godsend of encouragement to so many! My note in her copy of Galatians to her said as much--she helps us have hope in what could be a hopeless situation, of living with a loved one with Alzheimers.

Later on, friends I hadn't seen for a decade or more came in, and joyous reunions took place. I ended up selling half of the books I brought, and more will be ordered from the publisher for Bible studies still to be formed. I'll be returning the borrowed books tomorrow, and now I have a copy to send to Calvary Chapel Distribution for review. Pressing forward, always forward, as God would have us do, reflecting and learning from the day's events but not camping there.

As I look forward to the next signing on a Saturday morning, my dad's birthday, August 13th here in my Mission Grove neighborhood, I anticipate not just sales, but more incredible divine appointments!!

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