Thank you for the Ride! 

How one Lion Made a Difference

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                                 Bev Kennedy volunteered for a road trip

 

I had been planning to attend the Author Open House at Springdale Free Public Library near Pittsburgh, PA since June. Surely I could find a ride in the two months before the event.  My brother and I had agreed not to leave my delicate, eighty-six-year-old mother home alone for long. So that left my brother out of the equation. I asked around but without any luck. Still, there was time. I was confident something would work out. 

As the week of the event arrived with still no ride, I had to concede defeat. It wasn’t going to happen–again. A few weeks earlier, I had missed a multi-author event two hours in the opposite direction. Discouraged, I posted an update on my author page explaining that I would have to sit the event out. 

That’s when Bev Kennedy, a member of the Lions Club, stepped in and offered to take me. 

I messaged her. “You don’t understand. It’s out of town.”  

She countered,”I’m up for a road trip.” 

Just like that, I was in again! 

She arrived at 7:45 am and off we went. I didn’t know Bev all that well, though she was my sponsoring Lion. But we got to know each other better on the way to Springdale. 

I felt a little guilty making such a big fuss over attending a 2-hour event.But I knew a lot of effort had gone into making this possible. Also, I hated missing opportunities to meet up with other authors and get my book out there. 

With Bev’s trusty GPS, we found the library in plenty of time and we were able to set up my table early.  Bev wasn’t only good at driving, she also set up my easel and helped me arrange my table attractively. Here’s a shot after we finished. 

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                      A close-up shot of Bev and my author table

Dee Clark, the organizer, put in a lot of time behind the scenes to get the open house in front of local readers. This write-up  appeared a week earlier. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t sell any books that day but I did connect with several interesting authors. 

Here I am with Pittsburgh Poet Arthur Erbe
                      Here I am with Pittsburgh Poet Arthur Erbe

It was also fun to connect with these two authors (below) and I learned about Sky Publisher, a publishing company that focuses on authors with disabilities.

Was God opening a door with this information? I’ll have to follow it up to find out!

Brynn Chapman (Young Adult Historical Fiction) and Scott Schafer, children's author and illustrator.
YA Author, Brynn Chapman, and Scott Schafer, children’s author and illustrator

Bev made herself at home in the midst of all the authors. She connected, too, and thoroughly enjoyed herself. “It was fun,” she said, “I had a ball.” 

On the way home, we continued to get to know each other. I shared how being a vision-impaired author had its challenges when it came to getting out and connecting. She offered a few suggestions. We also talked about our faith and individual personal struggles as well as the people and things that mattered most to us. That ride showed me that becoming a lion was only a starting point. We had more in common and more to learn. God often brings people together that complement each other.  

Late that afternoon Bev pulled into my driveway and helped me unload. Just before she left, I paused and made a quick decision.  I pulled off one of the bracelets I wore my wrist. “I want to give this to you,” I said. “It’s a fish bracelet made from recycled paper beads in the Philippines by a member of a livelihood program. The fish is, of course, a Christian symbol.”  

Bev took the fish bracelet and put it on. She smiled. “Thank you,” she said, touching the beads lightly. “This is so unique.” She seemed to really like it. 

I waved goodbye as Bev left and thought about the personal memento we both now owned. How strange that I grabbed two bracelets on my way out the door this morning and how right it felt to take one off and give it to Bev. I didn’t know what the day would bring when I left the house but when God is in the center, there is always some kind of growth. 

a fish bracelet crafted by a member of a livelihood program in the Philippines
         a fish bracelet crafted in a livelihood program in the Philippines

God calls us to be fishers of men and to live out our faith every day. What that looks and feels like varies greatly from situation to situation and person to person.  I was happy that a ministry from across the world captured what it felt like for me that day to thank a sighted person who made the time and means to help a vision-impaired author reach her goals. 

Thank you for the Ride!
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4 thoughts on “Thank you for the Ride!

  • August 23, 2015 at 12:48 am
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    Sounds like it was a wonderful event.
    🙂
    I will definitely have to check out Sky Publishing.
    What a kind thing, to go and offer her one of your bracelets, as a thanks for her help that day.

  • August 23, 2015 at 12:32 pm
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    Hi Kerry,
    It was a good networking event. I was kind of shocked that more people from the community didn’t show up. But I guess it’s not all that surprising. Libraries are really struggling nowadays. And it wasn’t downtown Pittsburgh; it was a suburb. A lot of planning went into it. I hope this Sky Publishing turns out to be a winner for both of us. I’m going to check it out today!
    Amy

  • August 23, 2015 at 9:32 pm
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    Hi Amy,

    It’s amazing how God used Bev to take you where He wanted you to go. I know it can be disappointing at times not to sell any books at an event. It’s happened to me before, too. But I’ve learned that being where God wants us to be is not contingent on book sales. It’s more about meeting people, meeting fellow-authors, and sharing and receiving God’s love. But, on the the other hand, I just gotta say, speaking as a Baltimore Ravens’ fan, I’m not sure if God really wanted you hanging out in PITTSBURGH. LOL

    Glad You Had A Great Time,

    Matt

    P.S. I’m trying to get all of the “gottas” out of my system before I start class. lol

  • August 30, 2015 at 2:18 pm
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    Hi Matt,
    Yes, I think you’re right. But it sure is disappointing not to sell a single book. On the other hand, I enjoyed the event so it was worth it. Ha ha! Re: Pittsburgh, you crack me up!
    Amy

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