Two Trips–Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky and ACFW Conference in Denver

I usually try to blog once a week, but this time it has been three weeks since I blogged due to two trips this month. From Sept. 7-11, I spent five days on my annual spiritual retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani. It was a wonderful time of prayer, Bible reading and also digging into some other Christian study books, along with several quiet walks and meals. Gethsemani is a silent retreat center run by Benedictine monks. A wonderful place.

Then from Sept. 16-20, I was in Denver for the 8th annual American Christian Fiction Writers’ conference. My return connecting flight was delayed due to a plane malfunction so I spent an unexpected night in Memphis, TN and didn’t get home till Monday afternoon. So, I feel like I’ve been a day behind all week, but I wanted to post some highlights from the conference along with some pictures.

Our first speaker was Donald Maass of Writing the Breakout Novel fame. His class was as good as his book and gave me several ideas for making my manuscript better before submitting it to an agent. Our keynote speaker was Debbie Macomber who has sold over 100 million copies of her books in 23 languages. I got to assist at her booksigning and found out she is more humble and sweet than you can imagine. She was also such an encouragement to all the writers at the conference with her own story and her admonitions to persevere! She is wearing the red sweater in the first picture.

We had many other classes, meetings with an editor and agent and wonderful worship services, but my favorite part of conference is always meeting up with writing friends, both old and new, so I will share a few pics of some of these special people. My roommate was JoAnn Swearingen whom I had met at another conference and got to know much better at this one. She is a great writer and also a talented artist. (She’s wearing a gorgeous pink top in our picture.)You can check out her site at

Kim Sawyer, another friend who happened to win the Book of the Year award (yea, Kim!), and I always try to catch up on each other’s lives and take a picture at the annual conference. (she’s in the black) Check her out at

Another fun meeting and picture event was with the other three authors who have joined me in proposing a Christmas anthology for Barbour–Jeanie Smith Cash (who came up with the idea), Deb Ullrick (in the back), me and Jeri Odell. Prayers for this project to come to pass would be muchly appreciated. I love and collect Christmas books, and this has been such a fun group to work with!

I think four pictures is about all my dialup will download without timing out, so check back in a few days for more conference photos.

This entry was posted in Abbey of Gethsemani, ACFW conference, Deb Ullrick, Debbie Macomber, Jeanie Smith Cash, Jeri Odell, JoAnn Swearingen, Kim Sawyer. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to

  1. Thanks for the great wrapup!

  2. Amy Barkman says:

    Thanks for sharing the conference with us. The pictures look like everyone was enjoying themselves.

    I kept looking for the “Abbey of Gethsemeni” pictures but couldn’t find them. I love the Abbey but haven’t been there in years.

    Thank you for all you do for Jesus and Christian writers.
    Amy Barkman

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