Color me flabbergasted.
I attended the West Branch Writer's Conference in Jersey Shore PA (try to write that address in the GPS without confusion!) It was fantastic, and I made a lot of new friends as well as contacts.
It was the closing ceremony that was truly the whipped cream icing on the dark chocolate cake for me though- I'd forgotten that I'd entered several of the writing contests weeks before.
I was happily going over my paperwork and plethora of business cards when I heard the announcement.
"And the first place winner for the Blog Post contest is...When Superman Cannot Fly!"
My ears perked at the familiar title. Tears sprang to my eyes as they read the post I'd written just two days after my husband's accident just over a year ago. It was really hard not to let those tears flow. But many other writers did cry.
"This award goes to...Beth Brubaker!" Applause as I stood up (still not crying) and sat down again. But Nooo...they wanted me to go up front and get my award. A sob escaped me. "You people are going to mess up my makeup!" making many giggle as I limped to the front (yes, my knee is still a bit wonky). I also got to pick a free book from a selection as my prize.
I made my way back to my seat when they announced the next set of awards. "Third place award for Children's Story is....Four Pigs Planting by Beth Brubaker!"
I stopped. What? I won again? I looked at the announcer, still not sure, and she grinned at me- I turned right around and accepted my second award- and another book.
This was unreal!
My table greeted me with grins and pats of appreciation as I sat down, dumbfounded. At least until I heard yet another of my titles.
"First Place for Advanced Poetry goes to...Lament to Sugar!" A professional poet read it, almost laughing because he was reading it for the first time. It also made the audience crack up! They didn't even have to announce my name at that point for me to feel great- I was just so dang happy I got people to laugh!
"The award goes to....Beth Brubaker!"
By this time people were looking at me with a mixture of joy and 'How is she doing that?' as I made my way up to the front once more. This was crazy!
I sat down, feeling both elated and incredulous. I had entered only four submissions and three won prizes! Can anyone ask for more? Then everyone looked at me in surprise as my last entry was announced. "Second place for Personal Experience goes to....Mischief Managed, Lesson Learned by Beth Brubaker!"
What?!? The cheers were bigger this time as I collected my award and another book. The biggest cheer was from my friend Angela Schans, aka Christian Barbie, the wonderful lady featured in the winning submission!
I sat down for the last time, basking in the glow of many happy faces as they finished the announcements. One lady (whom I didn't know was also one of the judges) whispered jokingly in my ear 'You might want to let someone else win now!' I laughed and whispered back 'I have to- I didn't submit anything else!' Both of us had to stifle our snickers, and we traded business cards.
Four submissions. Four awards. Two of which won first place. Who does that? Even as I sit here I still have a hard time accepting it! Angela and I had prayed that morning for wonderful surprises, promising contacts and new friends, and boy did He come through!
I sometimes wonder just what God has in store for me, and that maybe what I have in talent amounts to a pile of horse poo. But if God has His way, the horse poo can become the best fertilizer, making everything around it flourish and grow! I hope that if I ever feel like my writing is headed for the pasture again, I'll remember to look on my wall and remember this day.
God is good!