It's a Moment
It’s way too easy to rush to the destination, set up shop, sign some books, and move on. I’d much rather keep my eyes open along the way.
The wind howls as I write this in a hotel in the middle of Nebraska. I’m wrapping up a business trip that included a book signing at a craft and trade show, followed by a meeting with a publisher I work for as an editor.
Beyond all the business stuff, I tried to pay attention to what was going on around me because those moments often become the most important parts of traveling.
Things like …
The coffee shop in Kearney, Nebraska, that’s inside a yellow caboose with red trim called Java Junction. And they serve dole whip (which looks a lot like ice cream to me). Coffee and ice cream? Yes, please.
The flags that lined the street leading to the convention center, reminding passersby to not forget prisoners of war.
The sign on my hotel that proudly said, “Welcome to Kearney!! Sandhill Crane Capital of the WORLD.”
The sticker on my bathroom mirror in that hotel that included a hotline for human trafficking. It looked like someone had tried to peel off that sticker, reminding me that the battle against evil is real. So I stopped and prayed that the sticker would be somebody’s lifeline in the future.
The smoking hot salsa that should come with a warning label but doesn’t at a Mexican restaurant called Margarita’s.
The Rise Coffee Company coffee truck inside the auditorium where the event was held that includes this tagline: “Coffee is not just a drink, it’s a moment.”
The wonderful daylong conversation I had with author Diane L. Winters who graciously shared the booth with me. By the way, if historical fiction (set in the middle of Nebraska) is your thing, check out her latest novel: City Girls to Prairie Girls.
The young girl who visited our booth who talked her mom into buying Diane’s book after her mom said the book seemed like it was for adults (it’s a clean, historical novel). The girl got her book. When a kid wants to read, you put the book in her hands.
The man in the booth next to us, Marty, who is a woodworking master. He told me he feels the presence of Christ when he creates sometimes. He had a piece of art for sale that was in a small wooden square with three crosses in the middle, surrounded by the words, “He is risen! He is risen indeed!” A woman stared at the piece and got emotional. And he said that’s what makes it all worth it.
The back roads I took from Kearney to Stromsburg, Nebraska, for my business trip. I intentionally avoided the interstate because I wanted to drive 25 miles per hour through small towns and notice the way they live. I recorded a video about that if you’re interested.
It’s way too easy to rush to the destination, set up shop, sign some books, and move on. I’d much rather keep my eyes open along the way. Life is in the details.
As we were breaking down our booths at the convention center, I chatted with Marty. He knew enough about writers to know that one of his stories might end up in my work at some point.
“Let me know if you use any of my stories,” he said. “You’re welcome to, if you want.”
So now I owe Marty a phone call. And I’m looking forward to it.
You never know where God might show up. In this collection of personal essays, you’ll read about him showing up in a nursing home during a Christmas caroling excursion, in a bowling alley during a rock concert, in the contents of a family Bible, in a restaurant as two elderly people seek the company of strangers, and so much more.
Here are some tidbits you might find interesting this week:
At one of the hotels I stayed in this past weekend, they had a sign by the elevator on each floor that said, “Please observe quiet time: 10PM - 7AM.” I don’t know if it works, but I’ll give them an A for effort.
“If you don’t have time to do what matters, stop doing things that don’t.” -Courtney Carver
The art of noticing by Jim Magruder, is worth noticing this weekend.
I’ve added Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam to my TBR pile. Here’s a summary: “Bowling Alone surveyed in detail Americans’ changing behavior over the decades, showing how we had become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and social structures, whether it’s with the PTA, church, clubs, political parties, or bowling leagues.”
I’ve arrived late to the party, but Dire Straits is growing on me. I don’t know the first thing about the band, but something about their storytelling and Petty/Dylan-esque vibes intrigues me.
When Lee isn’t writing essays, devotional books, or Christmas novellas, he is a freelance editor, as well as a freelance journalist who has written hundreds of articles for various newspapers and magazines. He’s also a fan of NASCAR, baseball, tennis, books, movies and coffee shops.