Bring Forth the Blessings

Recently, I embarked on something new. Our devotional book prompted the decision. It was not the only reason, but it was the primary reason. My co-author and I decided to attend the National Alliance on Mental Illness Conference, better known as NAMICon 2024. The conference was held in Denver, Colorado, this year.

Sharon and I could not afford an exhibitor table, so we packed 20 books in our suitcases and did what any desperate author would do: peddle!

The conference lasted only a few days with over 1,800 people in attendance from almost every state. Attendees included mental health advocates, professionals, and those with a mental illness – the perfect blend of readers.

The conference agenda was packed with a variety of breakout sessions, plenary speakers, and a couple of social gatherings. Sharon and I were armed with books, business cards, bookmarks, and promotional cards. We also carried a money pouch with change so we could whip out a $5 bill at a moment’s notice.

Before the event, we prayed that God would open doors, touch hearts, and shine His glory through our efforts. We encountered numerous blessings throughout our short trip. The following is a list of some of those blessings:

Where There Are Blessings, There Are Distractions

Upon arriving at the Birmingham airport, I dropped Sharon off and searched for a long-term parking space. I circled and circled and circled some more. A sense of panic began to take seed. It was past time to be checking in. Finally, I saw some openings, but they were on the far end of the deck, and I needed to be on the opposite end of the airport. Thank goodness I left the luggage with Sharon. We checked in and breezed through security. Whew! Boarding was in process, so we found our seats and buckled in. Thank You, Lord, for the blessing of getting us here in time.

Sharon zoomed in on the woman beside her, handing her a promotional card. Within minutes, our first book was sold! We were off to a good start.  

NAMI CEO, Daniel Gillison

We successfully caught an Uber in Denver and headed to the hotel. (Thanks for the added blessings, Cindy B. and Kathy M.)  Sharon and I readied for the welcome reception, hoping to network. Almost from the get-go, Satan reared his ugly head. He knew our message of goodness brought hope. As we spoke, an older woman across the table tuned in. She asked to talk to me one-on-one. I made my way towards her and immediately felt tension. She said she was uncomfortable with the promotion of our book since it was a Christian book and she was Jewish. She asked if the book was affiliated with FaithNet, an entity of NAMI. It was not. I chose not to be rattled by her negativity.

Ironically, Judy showed up often and purposely blocked our conversation with crucial personnel. Like an armored soldier, I remained patient and poised. Sharon and I recognized our enemy and persevered. Chalk it up to another blessing. Judy became more cordial throughout the conference, asking how our promotion was going. She even purchased a book! (It must have been my effervescent kindness.)

With each book sale, there was a potential ripple effect. But more than that, we had the satisfaction of knowing that one more person was helped and they possessed a book filled with hope.

In one session that Sharon and I attended together, we saw a woman sitting in a scooter reading our book in the back of the room. A flush of warmth swept over me. Thank You, Lord, for the blessing of confirmation.

One of the greatest blessings we received was the opportunity to gift a book to the CEO of NAMI, Daniel Gillison. I had 30 seconds to make the handoff. I was able to grab a photo of him holding our book. What a prized shot!

Sharon and I often attended different sessions. While she was at one, I headed for another, but the room was at capacity. I decided to continue canvassing the exhibitor booths, sitting at one promoting skin care. As the sales rep massaged my neck with the thermal wand, I engaged in conversation. Andra and I discovered numerous commonalities. Few people were mulling around since most were in session. This gave Andra and me time to connect and forge a fast friendship. Before it was over, we both made a sale, racking up another blessing!

Another vendor gave me a ministry contact, which may turn into a good fit.

More blessings could be enumerated, but you get the idea. When we look for blessings, we will find them.   

Karen Allen

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Ewe R Blessed Ministries / Karen O. Allen

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