I'm at the International Christian Retail Show this week. It's always a lot of fun connecting with retailers and getting to hug friends. This year was more than just fun though--it really brought home to me how important affirmation really is.
i'm an encourager. It's just part of my personality. Affirming other people just bubbles up. I'm the oldest of 4 kids and I picked up that mothering instinct early in life. I know it can be highly annoying but I can't seem to help it! :) But yesterday it was MY turn to be affirmed and it impacted me more than I can say.
The first event was early. I had a brief meeting with a lovely gal from a radio station. Her smile beamed out and she came toward me and said, "I'm so thrilled to meet the legendary Colleen Coble, just to know you really exist. I just love your books." Me? Legendary? It's pretty tough to make me speechless but she did it! I floated around the floor all day on that one statement. I mean, I knew I was getting rather long in the tooth in the Christian fiction world. My first book was bought 15 years ago, and while that doesn't sound all that long ago, there wasn't nearly as much Christian fiction back then as there is now. But legendary? That sounds so much more attractive than ancient!
The 2nd encounter was at the Christy Awards last night. Liz Higgs was recognizing our new publisher Daisy Hutton, and Liz looked at her and said, "Colleen Coble just loves you." Daisy straightened and flashed me a smile. After the awards she told me how much my belief in her has helped her confidence. Affirming her actually affirmed me too. Isn't that funny how it works?
Then last night after the Christy's we were sitting with Allen Arnold. Daisy and Katie had just toodled off to bed. A young man named Dave came up to hug Allen, and it was clear they were close. Dave shook my hand and said, "You were always Allen's pride and joy." Whoa. I grew about ten feet in that instant. As we all went off to our rooms, I was struck again with how the words we say may seem inconsequential, but they can impact us all so much. You can use your words to build up or tear down, but they always leave an impact. And isn't that what life is all about? How we all impact each other is what builds community. The day was a great encouragement to watch my words and try to lift up others.
How about you? Who have you affirmed lately and what impact did it have, even if the visible impact was on YOU?
And oh yeah, Denise's Smitten novella is a finalist in the ACFW Carol Award and Lonestar Angel is a finalist in the romantic suspense category! :)