The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

Sunday – 7/8/07 –trip for ICRS Conference

I was able to sleep in a bit today to be over to the luncheon by noon. AWSA held the Golden Scroll Awards. The organization gives awards to publishers, editors, etc. It’s a time to visit, eat, worship and hear a speaker as well as honor the awards recipients.

Last year I had the honor of meeting author and speaker Janice Chaffee, as she shared tears with her AWSA sisters over her battle with cancer. Though I had not known her, it was an emotional time last year as it took all the strength she had to get there. She passed away in February.

According to Christian Etailing, "A crowd of around 120 attendees listened intently as singer Bonnie Keen recounted Chaffee’s last moments, including being presented with the Member of the Year Award shortly before her death."

"When I brought out the award, Janice opened her eyes and lit up. ‘The AWSA award. Look," Keen said. "She brought herself to a painful sitting position, had her hair brushed and posed for one of the last photos of her life."

Bonnie Keen also has an amazing gift of both her voice and her music. Some of you may remember her from First Call. She and I had a chance to talk and follow up on a conversation from last year and she’s going to be our next HopeKeepers Magazine cover story about her battle with depression.

Sadly, it was announced to us that Barbara Johnson, author of Splashes of Joy, passed away Sunday morning after a battle with cancer. (Splashes of Joy also happens to be the name of one of our groups that the founder Kat named it when it started.)

Despite the sad moments, it definitely reminds us that we are all just dust blowing in the winds. It doesn’t matter if you have letters after your name, an agent, a publisher, or high heels. All we do is simply a second in time compared with the God’s plans for this world. It was a nice luncheon and founder, Linda Evans Sheppard said, "Jesus came."

I got to give Allison Bottke a hug, my "God Allows U-Turns" friend. And I was able to meet and talk to Jo Franz for awhile. I’d never met Jo, but she had a very nice article in our first issue of HopeKeepers Magazine. She has multiple sclerosis and a new book coming out! Soar Unafraid. I plan to order it for our Comfort Zone Bookstore soon.

I had hoped to have time to maybe go see the Martin Luther Kind Museum, but by then it was nearly 4 pm. I headed on over to ICRS where I could register and get my badge. Last year I was registered as a buyer because I didn’t have a publishing house or anyone sponsoring me. This year I got a "yellow" badge that said "Author." How fun. . .only no goodie bag. When you are a buyer you get a bag of lots of promotional flyers and a few little gifts and it helps you see some of the new booths and items. I asked the man in the goodie bag booth if I could even PAY him for a bag, as I was a buyer too and really wanted to see what the buyers were getting. He said, "No, ma’am." He glanced down at my tag and said, "They told me absolutely no one with a yellow tag gets a bag–no exceptions."

I smiled. He was joking right? "Seriously?" I ask.

"Yes, Ma’am." He was serious.

I sat down and flipped through the magazine to see the map, the events. I would have loved to have attended the 8 a.m. meeting Monday morning but I decided to pace myself instead. I made friends with a few gals beside me and one eagerly took my card for a friend who had a chronic illness. It’s so fun when people genuinely say, "My friend will be SO glad!" or "I’m so excited to share this!"

I went back to the hotel and called my husband. Josh had just fallen asleep so I didn’t get to chat with him. They’d spent the whole day at Sea World so they were both tired. I went to eat dinner downstairs and edited our Top 100 Christian books for those with chronic illness list to be able to show bookstore owners what we’d be sending them next week, when I sign books Monday and Tuesday. Then I came back up and put my changes into the computer. The words blurred, I was so tired, but I emailed it downstairs around 12:30 and the front desk clerk printed it out for me (for free – not $.99 per minute like she should have charged me! How nice.)

Then I packed boxes to take over to ICRS tomorrow. I’m not sure how I’m going to manage it all. I have my cart, 2 boxes of books, my computer bag on wheels to put stuff in and my purse. I tried to not bring the purse but I think I need the space. I finally crawled into bed about 2:30 a.m, setting the alarm for 6:30 a.m. (ugh!) Thanks goodness for the extra prednisone, but still. . . the body is aching. I just hope SOMEONE shows up for my book signing tomorrow. Little secret: I’ve never done a book signing other than when I occasionally speak and have books available afterward. What if no one comes? … I’ll just hustle people in the lunch line or something I suppose.

No humor tonight. Just exhaustion… and peace.

God had gotten me this far. Surely He’ll take care of all my concerns from too many bags to frizzy hair (Atlanta’s humidity is not helping this girls mop-head!)

Thanks for all your responses that have said this blog has been somewhat fun to read and experience alongside me, as well as your prayers. I’ve talked to so many people about you! Volunteers – HopeKeepers leaders – and just everyone of you that reach out to another person, whether it’s through a chat, a forum, a yahoogroup, whatever. Thank you for making Rest Ministries such a family I am honored to be a part of.

Lisa Copen

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