The Celebration of Story

God is so good. Through a surprise chain of events and only HIS provision, I found myself heading to the airport on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016. Ten weeks after my left (and final for a *while*) hip replacement.
O'Hare's airport for my connecting flight beat my feet up, but even that exhausting walk from Terminal C to Terminal E (all on time, praise the Lord!) could not deter my excitement.
I would be meeting so many dear friends and fellow book lover nerds (#bestillmynerdgirlheart) in a matter of hours. My fairy godmother Carrie of Reading is My Superpower and co-facilitator/inventor of the Christian Fiction Reader Retreat picked me up in Nashville and was my first hug. She gives THE greatest hugs.
Tucked into her car with the brave Singing Librarian navigating, (Sydney! How did I not get a photo with you?) we departed for the Nashville home Carrie rented for the week. Less than an hour later she gets a text that Laura Frantz is popping by to pick up some things of Bonnie's--another fearless leader and faith-filled soul who dreamt up the retreat.
THE Laura Frantz. Granted I could write THE next to  everybody's name I got to meet. But um, her novels are freaking amazing and Pepper still fangirls over her, so. I'm allowed.
She comes in all sweetness and light and gasps, "Meghan! Ohh I'm so glad you're here how're you feeling?!"
First "Be still my nerd-girl heart" moment. Props to Rachel/The Bookworm Mama for coining such an apt catchphrase.
And the rest of that first evening was spent with much laughter, lots of hugs and just such surrealness of being amongst my people. My tribe. Mikal finally got back to the house and burst in with a, "WHERE'S MY MEGHAN?!" with the sweet Rachael Wing tagging along beside her--a roommate and fellow fangirl who carried my bags for me up the steep flight of steps.
That first evening was somewhat of a blur, to be honest--my feet were screaming and the airport trekking was exhausting. But that did not fade my excitement at meeting Rachel Dixon (two Rachel's made for a fun time in more ways than one!), her friend Abi and fellow indie author Sarah Monzon. Who saved my feet with band-aids.
The next day dawns hazy, hot and humid--I felt right at home. Upon reaching the Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville the next day armed with my three books (two fiction, one strictly for autographs because of carry-on size luggage restrictions), we sign in and not five minutes later I hear a sweet foreign accent go, "I know you!" and it's THE Kara Isaac. #FreakingOutandFlailingAbout
Another "Pinch-Me" moment (I'm going out of order here. Bear with me) was when out of the corner of my eye during a session with Mary Connealy and Ruth Logan Herne, I see a flash of raven-black hair and Rachael dashes off with a muffled squeal. I turn and look and it's THE Pepper Basham in the doorway. Luckily I'm in a farther-back row and slip out and half-run over to her on my swollen feet. This woman has been (whether she intended it or not or perhaps I'm just that needy ;)  ) a light in my life, such an empathetic encourager and a constant source of inspiration--pointing me back to the Ultimate Author and Finisher of our faith. Both in the stories she writes, and just who she is. Getting to hug this dear woman for the first time was such a treasure.


To sit amongst like-minded bookish souls, and under the Spirit-led authors who shared their testimonies, participated in panel discussions (including the smooching panel that was so much fun to hear about--how to write fictional kisses!), and who all poured out so much of themselves.
It was a privilege.
Despite the amount of introverts in one room, no one knew a stranger. One activity was Author Speed Chats/Dates. The authors would rush around to cluster groups and we'd have five or so minutes with them to ask them anything and get to know them better. SO fun. And an ingenious idea. There were times of praise and worship and prayer and stories of how authors came to writing--tales of how God called them to Himself, and to writing--left me with tears in my eyes for the sheer grace of God.
Just...it was amazing.
The entire day. The heart and hard work three (incredibly modest!) women--Bonnie, Carrie, and Annie--did to put on this joyous day was felt in every minute that went off without a single hitch. There was such a current of empathy, encouragement, and genuine, transparent love throughout the day that I couldn't help but be moved to tears at times, smiling until my face hurt and just shaking my head at what God can do with willing hearts with a story to tell. And those hearts with a love of stories that point back to HIM.

I found in beginning this three-part series on my time in Nashville that I could write/talk for hours about the days there, the memories made and God's fingerprints over every second of every day. So I am hitting the high points, and continuing to ponder all of these things in my heart as real-life and "adulting" kick in now that I'm home sweet home.
Stay tuned tomorrow for when I share some photos and fun times lobby-lingering at THE ACFW conference!
Meghan Gorecki
Meghan Gorecki

Words, history, and grace color my days here in The Burgh where I seek out the perfect coffee and red lipstick.

15 comments:

  1. My sweet Meghan, you brought tears to my eyes even as I smiled through this post! LOVE these memories and LOVE you!! <3

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  2. Meghan....I MISS YOU!!!! Beautifully written. I can't wait to read more, and I pray that the Lord will cause our paths to cross again! #bestillmynerdgirlheart ❤

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  3. As I as I read this, it was like I was back in Nashville at CFRR. Thank you for capturing the memories so well. I'm so happy I was able to meet you. :) I fangirled a lot that day, too.

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  4. Sweet! I love being with and knowing other Christian sisters who love stories!

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  5. I love you!!!! You don't know what a sweet blessing it was to meet you in person and now to read this!!!! You girls make my life so much sweeter!!

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  6. You are adorable! I wish we'd been able to connect more! What a fun, engaging, and Christ-infused time that was--the whole weekend, from Wednesday through Sunday.

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  7. I love this and I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU FIERCELY!!!!! <3

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  8. Oh, wow, thanks for sharing this. It's not often that someone shares in detail their conference experience and since I couldn't attend the reader's retreat this was sooooo much fun to read!!!!! Looking forward to the next installment.

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  9. What a fun post! And I know. I totally realized I do not have a photo with you! How did this happen?!?!? There was one I saw floating around of a bunch of us on a couch in the lobby at AFCW and I am in that one with you though... Good times. So glad I got to meet and hang out with you!!! :D

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  10. Dear Meghan, I love everything about this post, especially the heart behind it. 💛 When I met you in Nashville I was overcome with emotion that you would travel so far to come south & bless us your joyful presence in such memorable, God-breathed ways! You are one of a kind & a true sister in Christ! So much love in your words & these pictures. Thank you.

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  11. Of course I still fangirl over LAURA FRANTZ!!! She's LAURA FRANTZ!!!!!!

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  12. Oh, Meghan - thank you for this beautiful post. You echoed my sentiments, I could write/talk for hours (perhaps even days) about my time spent in Nashville, LOL!! It was one of the most inspiring, encouraging, and wonderful weeks of my life. There's just something indescribably beautiful about the joyful fellowship between book-minded people who love God.

    I'm thrilled I had the opportunity to meet and spend time with you, especially as a roommate for one night at the Omni, and that CFRR was so meaningful to you and many others - truth be told, I spent a lot of my time in Nashville in tears also because of the many acknowledgements from people blessed by CFRR. My eyes continue to moisten as I read beautiful online posts about it also - such as yours. However, I shouldn't be surprised CFRR was such a wonderful experience as God gave the vision and led in the planning and provision, from beginning to end - His plans are always perfect. I'm so blessed He allowed me to be part of it!!

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  13. Lol, Dr. Pepper! 💛 Fangirling right back! #freakingoutandflailingabout

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  14. I have been so crazy busy with "back to school" stuff that I only just saw this now! Meghan it was awesome to meet you and I wish we had more time to chat! Thank you for bringing a book AL THE WAY for me to sign, that was so special! God bless!

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  15. Great meeting you there in person Meghan! And great getting a hug and a picture!

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Pull up a chair, grab a cup of something hot or cold to drink, and enjoy. I love making new friends!