Page 319 began with the early morning prayer, cleaning, and building prep routine before loading the truck with all the prayer ministry display material for the missions conference. After the building was ready for the day and the truck was loaded, I headed home to clean up and finish packing some things from home. By the time I left home, it was raining steadily so I ignored my GPS directions that wanted to take me through Chicago and instead headed south before making my way west. There is something about rain that makes bad traffic areas even worse and I didn’t want the frustration of sitting in traffic when there were other options. It took almost two hours before my GPS quit trying to route me back through Chicago, even though it kept telling me there were longer and longer delays on that route. Finally after about the fifth delay update, it told me it had a quicker route and when I selected it; it was the route I was intending to take that kept me well south of any Chicago traffic mess.
My chosen route did take me past a Sam’s Club, so I stopped for “convention bait” and took the opportunity to stretch my legs a bit. Sometimes the secret to getting people to even stop at the display and see what I have, is the right combination of chocolate. 🙂 After the stop, it was back on the road driving through more steady rain. The rain kept up until I was almost to my destination. As I stopped for lunch on the edge of town, the rain had quit and the sun was trying to break through the cloud cover. By the time I came out from lunch, the clouds were gone and the sun was shining brightly in the afternoon sky.
My first stop was at the convention center to unload all the display material and begin the initial setup. It usually takes a few attempts before I get it to look like I want. It seems like each convention I set up at includes something new in my display, so I can’t just “do it like the last one”. Today’s photo is of my first attempt as I set the banners up for the backdrop and then set the display tables at an angle with a small round table front and center. After I took this photo, I made my way to the hotel to check in and used the time to let the image of this particular setup simmer in my mind. I say “first attempt”, because I didn’t like it. The extra height of the round table made it seem out of place to me, so I eventually took it down and set up the display table along the front of the exhibit space where they allow for a greater visibility of all the banners.
There will probably be some minor tweaking tomorrow morning before the exhibit hall opens, but I have the display all set up and the current version will simmer in my mind tonight as I relax and consider possible changes. With a early afternoon lunch that was filling, I’ve been trying to decide if I’m going to get anything for dinner. While I’m trying to make up my mind, I decided to sit down and write today’s page so I’ll be ready for bed early in preparation for some long days ahead. I am excited to see what God will do through this conference and the connections and people He will arrange for me to talk with. I already had one of those connections as I was setting up this afternoon. One of the convention center workers stopped to see what I had and asked about materials to use in working with recovery ministries. I recommended a couple of the 31-day devotional journals, and after looking through them she took one with her.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- Preparation may not be all that exciting, but it is very necessary.
- Sometimes the “fastest” route isn’t the quickest way to get somewhere — there are a lot of real world variables that a normal GPS can’t account for.
- They say you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. I really don’t know why you would want more flies, but chocolate seems to be fairly effective with most people.
- Seeing something isn’t always the same as imagining it — sometimes the real thing is better than you imagined and sometimes it doesn’t live up to your imagination.
- While first impressions mean a lot, I have to let the visual image of things simmer in my mind to get a full impression of what I like and don’t like.
- I think one of the reasons I’m exhausted by the end of a conference like this is because I work hard at deliberately talking with people. Today included conversations with convention center workers and two elevator conversations with hotel staff — I know, some people find that easy and relaxing but I’m not one of those. 🙂
- I believe my lack of an outgoing nature is part of the reason God has called me into this particular ministry as it becomes very obvious that His hand is what is at work in all I do that amounts to much.
- God wants to work in each of us in ways that He will be the one who receives the credit and glory.