Mount Hermon Report 2008, Part 3

It’s taken me a while to get back to the report, but that’s because there’s been so much to discuss, what with a hot blog tour, a book to review, a meme to answer.

As I remember, I left off with arriving at MH and meeting L. L. Barkat (who just so happened to be the one who tagged me with the Odd Job Meme). For the life of me, I can’t remember what I did that Thursday night. There was an early bird workshop led by Tim Riter called something like “Maximizing the Mount Hermon Experience,” but I didn’t attend.

The next day, however, I do remember. At breakfast I sat at the same table with freelance writer and conference speaker Louise M. Carey who “just happens” to be working with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Guatemala and knows some of the missionaries I worked with years ago when I did a three-year teaching stint there. How cool is that?!

Brandilyn Collins at Mount Hermon, 2008After breakfast, I went to the central lounge (Common Ground) to work on the critiques I still had to complete for my mentoring group. I scanned the crowded room (with fire in the fireplace and coffee flowing into cups) for a vacant seat. I thought to pull an unused chair against the wall or somewhere out of the way, and work off my clipboard. I approached the table where Brandilyn Collins worked and asked if the available chair was in use. The other woman at the table said something like, it was free but at that table, they were working. In other words, no chit chat. Well, that worked for me, so I plopped onto the chair and went to work right there.

Only later, when there was a break in the action, did Brandilyn graciously introduce me to the other woman—her editor, Zondervan’s Sue Brower. On top of the introduction, Brandilyn said very nice things about me and my writing. To which Sue replied, We’ll have to tell Andy about her. And then I had to say, Uh, Andy Messenheimer? He’s already rejected my proposal. Bummer!

One of the good things about being around for a while is you get to know people, but on the negative side, they all get a chance to reject your work.

It’s interesting how I look at these things now. Once, I would have considered sitting at that table with Brandilyn and Sue as a divine appointment that was opening a door for me to be published at Zondervan. I still believe it was a divine appointment, but I’m no longer presuming to know why God put those women in my path (or me in theirs). I do know I decided to attend Sue’s seminar later that day, in large part because of our conversation. And I’m glad I did. But that will have to be for another post.


  1. Mount Hermon (2007) is probably one of the best experiences I’ve had as a writer, on so many levels. The breadth of information communicated, as well as the relationships cultivated in such a short period of time, was astounding and humbling.

    I too looked at it as a series of divine appointments, but not necessarily with the publishing powers that be. Rather, I found myself so often in the right place at the right time, meeting lifelong friends and learning lessons that I’ve taken with me on my writing journey.


  2. Hey, I had one of those divine appointments with Brandilyn. I was in a long line at the crit tables and I was praying I’d get Brandilyn because I think she’s such a good writer. And I did get her. And then she said something about my opening pages that jiggled something in my brain and I got the opening line for my book (not just perfectly dropped in, but I mean I knew what it had to deal with and how it would take care of Brandilyn’s complaint and create a great hook at the same time).

    I’d been trying to nail down that opening for eight months!

    It felt so much like a gift from God.


  3. Thanks for sharing. It reminded me that I can get so wrapped up in “my work” that I can forget why I write. God does not set up divine appointments for my enjoyment, though, like any parent, He may do so because He likes doing good thing for His children.
    It’s humbling to remember that my universe does not revolve around “me.” And because of this, I keep reminding myself of Phil 1:18.

    Michael A. Heald


  4. Madison, you described my experiences at that conference beautifully.

    Great example of how God uses others, Sally. Now just imagine if you could have spent more time talking to Brandilyn instead of rushing so your friend could have an appointment with her too!

    Michael, because I believe God is sovereign, I guess I see all appointments as divine, but some He lets me peek into the why, whereas others I see no earthly reason for—probably because there’s a heavenly one I won’t understand until I’m with Him.



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