Sunday, September 30, 2012

2012 ACFW Conference: Reflections

ACFW Conference: Reflections

The truth of the matter, I hadn't experienced many positive aspects in the publishing industry since becoming a self-pub author over a year ago. It almost felt like I encountered more negative aspects of publishing, than positive ones. Mentally overcoming the negatives became as routine as waking up in the morning. That's partially the reason I started my blog; to try to spread a more positive spin on the publishing process that can sometimes be difficult to find on the Internet. 
Although the self-pub world is growing at a rapid rate, it still has that stigma that screams, you're not one of them! "Them" meaning you're not an "author" in the true, traditional, and historic sense of the word. At the other end of the spectrum, I was convinced there were too many negative aspects with traditional publishing (or so I was told and made to believe by many in the self-pub world). My mind had already been influenced to believe that traditional publishers were nothing more than a closed-knit community filled with greedy, out-of-touch, and non-caring people. However, this is not at all what I experienced or witnessed at the ACFW conference. I was completely overwhelmed and amazed by the nurturing, kind-hearted, Spirit filled people that I met. I saw an industry that DID care about their authors, AND the industry as a whole (even the self-pub segment of the industry). Yes, I'm sure there are bad apples out there, as is true in any profession. But the ACFW conference really changed my mindset about Traditional Publishing.
I had the misconception that a traditional publisher was comparable to the likes of Darth Vadar in the Star Wars movies.  Originally I felt all alone in this industry. I had already somewhat distanced myself from the self-pub community as the negative tone of many authors was too much for me to handle. And I was influenced to believe that traditional publishing was not the best option. But after attending the ACFW conference, I definitely had a change of heart! And thank God for it! I know that it was only the Lord that lead me to the ACFW conference. The conference has forever changed my mindset on traditional publishing and its affiliates. I admit I had anxiety about attending and debated whether I should go. I believed they wouldn't accept me into their world. I was wrong! They not only embraced me, they "adopted" me and made me feel like I was one of them. And not just at the conference, but made me feel like I had been one of "them" all along!!  I left the conference with such a renewed spirit. Full of hope and possibilities about my future in the publishing industry. I continued to thank the Lord for allowing me to see and witness another side that I had neither known, been told, or experienced.
Yes, when the enemy comes, the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). I am convinced the enemy never wanted me to know about the positive side of traditional publishing. The enemy tried to keep me in the dark. But I thank my Heavenly Father I serve a Master that has conquered the enemy, and all the darkness that comes with him!  
I look forward to returning to the ACFW Conference again and again!! I look forward to returning to a conference, and a community of people, where I felt a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose, who were on fire for God, and had hope and expectation for endless possibilities!
God Bless,
T Denise Clary

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New Bible Verse ~ Tuesday, September 25th

New Bible verse posted as of Tuesday, September 25th. Have a great week!

James 1:2-4 (NLT)

2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. 

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Monday, September 24, 2012

2012 ACFW Conference: Day 4

Note: I'm a little behind on posting. I made it home from the ACFW Conference completely exhausted. I'm finally rested enough to update my blog.

ACFW Conference: Day Four (Sunday)

The ACFW Conference officially ended  around 11:45a.m. on Sunday. However I had an early morning flight, so I was unable to attend the final moments of Conference. I found myself missing it the moment I left, but I was happy to be going home to see my family and share with them what a wonderful experience I had.

I arrived home and to my surprise, my husband had a full spread (breakfast) laid out on the counter, along with a clean kitchen (confession: I had left it a mess in my rush to get to the airport) and house. Wow! I need to go away more often. LOL! It is such a blessing to come home to such a supportive husband. He is my number one cheerleader . . . and I'm his number one fan!

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Flying home from Dallas.

Will be landing soon.
"Welcome home!"
Nice spread prepared by my hubby! He's so great!!
Lots of food!
. . . and more food!
. . . and more. . . pancakes!
. . . AND waffles!!!!
Pancakes and waffles . . .Yum!
In the words of Dorothy from the movie Wizard of Oz, "there's no place like home!" :-)


2012 ACFW Conference : Day 3 - Part II

Note: I'm a little behind on posting. I made it home from the ACFW Conference completely exhausted. I'm finally rested enough to update my blog.

ACFW Conference: Day Three (Saturday) - Part II

Later in the evening we attended the Awards Gala. A great night filled with well dressed people, excellent food, and awards given in recognition for the outstanding work of individuals, in their respective fields, in the publishing industry. I didn't stay for the entire Gala because I had an early morning flight, but I lasted through dinner and the announcements of the Editor and Agent of the Year. Nicole Resciniti, the same agent I had pitched to earlier in the day, won for 2012 Literary Agent of the Year. I was happy for her and all the award recipients.

After leaving the Gala, I went back to my hotel room and reflected on what a great time I had had at the conference. I prayed and thanked the Lord for leading me to such an inspirational event with so many wonderful, inspiring, and positive people. I cannot wait to return next year!

Here are some pics from the Gala . . .

I'm relaxed, refreshed, and ready for the Gala. The last event I attended before returning home.
Me with Writer Aimee Jones.
Writers Aimee Jones Nichole Sims.
I'm standing between Author Roseanna M. White (left), and Writer Rachel Wilder, who dressed to look like a character in her book.
Author Roseanna M. White (left), and Writer Rachel Wilder, who dressed to resemble a character in her book.
Author Keisha Bass volunteered to be door greeter for the Awards Gala.
Authors Keisha Bass, me, Janice Olson, Patty Green, and Marji Laine.
I'm posing with fellow Writer, Peggy Consolver. She was so sweet!
Me sitting between Writers Nichole Sims and Aimee Jones.

Our fantastic meal for the evening!

2012 ACFW Conference : Day 3 - Part I

Note: I'm a little behind on posting. I made it home from the ACFW Conference completely exhausted. I'm finally rested enough to update my blog. 

ACFW Conference: Day Three (Saturday) - Part I
Day three of the conference was another exciting day of educational sessions, workshops, networking, the Awards Gala, and another interview - but this time with a literary agent.

The day began, as it had been, with the General Session breakfast along with Praise and Worship from the worship team. I was amazed by the continual presence of the Holy Spirit during the morning sessions and never did I leave without feeling refreshed, renewed, inspired and confident!

I took that confidence with me throughout the day. . . well up until the time of my interview with Literary Agent, Nicole Resciniti, of The Seymour Agency, located in Canton, New York. For some reason, about ten minutes prior to the interview, anxiety crept into my mind and body and I began to tremble even worse than I did the previous day. I mistakenly thought that pitching my book idea would be easier the second time around. NOT!! For some reason I was not as confident this time around and initially thought the interview was not going well. I was nervous, trembling, rambling, emotional - yes, I said emotional!. WTH?!?!! I'm not sure what was happening to me! I think all the anxiety that had built up over the past few days, even weeks, preparing for this conference was beginning to show during this pitch session. I was embarrassed!! I kept apologizing. Ms. Resciniti was very gracious and reassured me I had nothing to apologize for. I felt awkward as I silently sat while she read through my manuscript! After a moment of complete silence between us, Ms. Resciniti looked up at me and told me she really liked what she had read. She requested I send her a another copy of the manuscript to her, via email, as well as another manuscript that I had talked about during my bouts of rambling . . . wow, I was actually comprehensible?!?! LOL. Another interview complete without being rejected! Yay!!! I was thrilled . . . and relieved!!

The interview ended and I hurried back to my hotel room to retrieve both manuscripts on my laptop, skipping my last scheduled workshop. After a few tweaks and numerous re-reads, I submitted both manuscripts electronically to Ms. Resciniti. Done. Yay!!!! Now I was able to relax and get ready for the Awards Gala happening later that evening. I didn't take many photos prior to the Gala. The next post, Day Three - Part II, will show the pics from the Awards Gala later in the evening, but for this post, here are a couple of pics.

General Session breakfast with Authors Patty Green, Marji Laine, and Janice Olson.
Literary Agent Nicole Resciniti from The Seymour Agency.
(Photo taken from the ACFW webpage)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

2012 ACFW Conference - Day 2

ACFW Conference - Day Two (Friday)
Day two of the ACFW Conference was another jam-packed day filled with Continuing Educational Sessions, Workshops, and networking. It was also one of the most exciting and important days of the conference for me! Why? Because this was the day I was scheduled to have my very first interview to "pitch" my manuscript/book idea to an Acquisitions Editor with Zonderkidz, an imprint of Zondervan. Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins, is one of the largest Christian publishers in the country.

I was a bundle of nerves as I entered the room and met with Editor Kim Childress of Zonderkidz. I only had 15 minutes to convince this total stranger that my book would be a good fit with their company. Although she probably didn't notice (or maybe she did, LOL), but I felt as though my body was shaking throughout the entire interview. I also felt like I stumbled over every word that came out of my mouth. Well, I must have done a decent enough job because Ms. Childress requested a copy of my manuscript and stated that she really liked the entire concept I presented to her. She also stated that she would discuss it with another Editor at Zonderkidz and have someone contact me within six weeks. If I don't hear from someone within that time frame, she advised me to call her directly. Yay!!!!! Words can't even describe how elated I was!!!! I'm not sure how many other attendees she told that to, but the simple fact that I didn't get a rejection and thrown out of the interview was enough for me to celebrate!! Yay! Especially after I tipped the table a bit with my clumsy body after the interview was over and spilled a little of Ms. Childress' coffee! YIKES!! Thank the Lord it was not spilled on her! Let that be a lesson of what NOT to do when you are interviewing with someone really important!!!! LOL!

OK, time for me to finally get some sleep. It has been another long and exhausting day, but I thank the Lord for it! I am truly having such a great time!! Below are just a few pics.

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Me sitting in a CE course with some Authors that "adopted" me into their group. 
From left to right: Author Keisha Bass, Me, Author Beth Shriver, and Author Patty Green.
Keisha Bass and I.
Keisha is one of the Authors featured in "Chicken Soup for the Soul"
Acquisitions Editor, Kim Childress, of Zonderkidz.
And NO, I wasn't bold enough to take a pic of her during the interview. LOL. I found this pic from the ACFW website.
I couldn't resist posting this, lol. Look how well they feed us at this conference!! Our dessert at lunch, and it was delish!! :-)

2012 ACFW Conference - Day 1

ACFW Conference - Day One (Thursday)

I didn't get an opportunity to post after my first official day at Conference (which was Thursday) because the schedule here has been so hectic. The typical day at the ACFW Conference starts at 8:00a.m., and depending on if you choose to attend all of the sessions they offer, ends around 9:30p.m., or even later. I can tell you that although I am truly exhausted, I've been having the best time. Actually, this has been the BEST conference I have ever attended. Considering that I have only attended legal conferences (this would be my first writers' conference), I have never experienced anything like it! I have been so amazed and overwhelmed by the energy of this event. Everyone has been so friendly, caring, welcoming, even nurturing, as well as possess such a fire for God.
I am going to keep this post as short as possible because like I stated previously, I'm exhausted, and I still want to blog about day 2 (Friday).  I wasn't able to capture, with pictures, all the aspects of the first day at Conference, but I will let the pics I did take tell some of the story.

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

I am sitting in the "First-time Attendees" Orientation meeting. There are a lot of other "Newbies." Yay!! :-)
I met and had lunch with award-winning Author, Editor, and Writing Coach, Susanne Lakin. She gave me a lot of great tips and introduced me around to other well-known Authors, Editors and Agents.
Attending our first General Session dinner. As you can see, this conference is well attended.
Keynote Speaker, Michael Hyatt, at our first General Session meeting. Michael Hyatt is the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers.
I befriended Hannah, aspiring Author, and a fellow "Newbie." 
Powerful and uplifting praise and worship team.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

2012 ACFW Conference - Day of Arrival!

ACFW Conference - Day of Arrival!

I arrived! And I thank the Lord for a safe and smooth flight into Dallas for the American Christian Fiction Writers'(ACFW) Conference.
I must really look like a newbie here, because a lady on the shuttle ride from the airport to our hotel, who was sitting next to me, asked if I was nervous about attending the conference for the first time. LOL. She was very nice and made me feel more at ease. Little did I know (until I saw her picture in the conference magazine) that she is a known Literary Agent with the Steve Laube Agency. Wow! I wasn't even at the hotel yet and already I run into a Literary Agent.
When I arrived at the hotel, there were so many Agents, Editors, and Authors that I recognized from the Internet, it was truly amazing! There was only one problem. They all seemed to know one another, while I know absolutely no one. Talk about awkward! But I am hopeful that I will get to know some of the attendees as the days go on.
Well that's all to report for today. There was nothing really happening, with the exception of checking in and mingling with other attendees. I decided to skip the mingling aspect and opted to retreat directly to my hotel room. Not because I was trying to avoid the crowd, but because I wanted to start preparing for the Agent/Editor interviews I had just been granted upon arrival. For Friday, I was granted an interview with an Editor from Zondervan, one of the top publishing companies in the country. And on Saturday, I have an interview with an Agent from the Seymour Agency. I am super excited to be able to pitch my book to these two individuals, and the companies they represent. Wish me luck and keep me in your prayers!
Here are some pics from today...

My nice hotel room.

I took a pic with my conference badge.
My conference badge...I'm a NEWBIE!!! lol
View from my balcony.
God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

American Christian Fiction Writers' Conference (ACFW)

Tomorrow I will be traveling to Dallas to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers' (ACFW) conference. This will be my first time attending a writers' conference and I am super excited, and a little nervous!
Just to give you a little background, the ACFW was organized in 2000 and has over 2500 members worldwide, consisting of authors, editors, agents, publicists and aspiring writers. The ACFW hosts an annual national conference that, "has become the premier event among Christian fiction writers and other industry professionals." Although I took this quote directly from the ACFW's website, I can attest that I have heard many people in the publishing industry mention the same thing. The ACFW has become known for its great networking opportunities and the quality classes that are offered. I have heard of authors who have found their agent and/or publisher at these conferences, as well as agents/editors/publishers who have found their authors. 

Because of the tremendous networking opportunities available at the conference, I have been preparing for a couple of weeks now. I have been polishing up my manuscript and query letter in the event I run into someone that may be interested in seeing them. I'm not holding my breath that someone will be interested in my work as there's really not a market for picture books right now--or at least I have heard and have been told several times. But at least I will be prepared in the event that there's a slight chance of something like that happening.

I found two helpful blog posts (listed below) in preparation for this conference, and any other conferences I may attend in the future. If you plan on attending the ACFW conference or any writers' conference, I hope this information is helpful to you as well.

Prepare for Conference Early

How to Pitch Agents at a Writers' Conference
OK, wish me luck and say a little prayer for me...well, say a prayer for my anxiety, LOL! I am taking my laptop with me in hopes that I will get a chance to update my blog on a daily basis while there. 

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Sunday, September 16, 2012

New Bible Verse ~ Sunday, September 16th

New Bible verse posted as of Sunday, September 16th. Have a great week! Oh, and happy Rosh Hashanah to my friends in the Jewish community. I wish you a sweet and blessed new year! Shana tovah u'metukah! :-)

Hebrews 10:23 (AMP)

So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word.  

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Guest Blogger: Editor Jennifer Moody "Be an Inspiration to a Young Writer"

Be an Inspiration to a Young Writer

A few months ago my daughter’s 2nd grade Teacher asked me if I would be a guest speaker for her class to discuss writing and editing with her students. I showed up with the book “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves” and we all sat in a circle on the floor and read through some of it. After discussing the importance of editing (in between giggling over the book’s examples), we moved on to the topic of being/becoming a Writer. I showed them a few magazine articles I’ve written and they thought it was cool that I had a by-line. I told them that unlike other career choices, you don’t have to be a grown-up before you can start. Anyone, any age, can be a Writer. Of all the things I talked to them about that morning, THIS one was the topic that would not be dropped. They were fascinated … they could be a Writer right now? Even though they’re only 8 years old? …Yep.
“The expert at anything was once a beginner.”
The kids were more into it than I thought they’d be. Several of them shared with me that they write, or like to read, etc., but there was one particular little boy who asked me a dozen questions. The Teacher said, “That’s my little Harry Potter reader right there.” He was a sponge, asking questions, sharing his love for reading and writing. I left there hoping, praying, that I made some kind of impact on the kids, this boy especially, because he so clearly has a love of the art. (Maybe he’ll be famous one day and dedicate a book to “Mrs. Moody who came to my 2nd grade class and told me I could be a Writer.”)
The Principal (who stopped in to hang out for some of my visit) asked me if I’d come back to guest speak to other classes. She said higher grade levels do creative writing and she thought having me visit with them might boost confidence and get the creative juices flowing. I happily agreed, not only because I want to help, but because of a past experience…
When I was in the 9th grade, my English Teacher told us we were going to do a three week long poetry project. I was beyond thrilled. I had been writing poetry, secretly, for a few years. After class I shared my secret with her, and she asked if she could read my work. I had never shared my poems with anyone, so this was a big deal for me that someone actually wanted to read my work. The next day I brought my folder of poems to school and gave them to her. I had zero confidence in myself back then, and I think I said something like, “They’re not very good, but here they are.” I walked into class every day and waited expectantly for her to give me some feedback. After two weeks I asked her about them and she said she hadn’t had a chance to read them yet. The next day I walked into class and saw my folder on her desk. I was excited and nervous to hear what she thought of my poems. She called my name and when I got to her desk she handed me my folder without saying anything. Working up all my courage, I asked her if she liked them. She dismissively said, “Yeah, they’re good.” I knew, without a doubt, that she was lying – she hadn’t read them, or hadn’t read much. I was crushed.
Looking back, I can see that she was probably just busy or distracted. I’m sure she has no idea the impact she had on me. But it would be ten years before I shared a poem with anyone again, when I wrote my Mom a poem for Mother’s Day. Even though it was my mother, I was terrified to give it to her. She read it, hugged me, and through tears said, “This is the best Mother’s Day gift I’ve ever gotten.” That was a turning point in my writing confidence. (Thanks Mom.)
As an Editor I am sometimes asked by Writer friends to read their work and give my opinion. Some Writers are trying to break into the Editing field and ask for my advice. I help everyone as much as I can—whether they’re asking for suggestions on building up an editing business, or requesting pro-bono editing for their seedling novel—if I can do it, I do it.
If you’re a more seasoned Writer or Editor … contribute, inspire, encourage. Look at a beginner as a potential comrade, not competition. The world of greatness has plenty of room for all.
"Keep away from people who try to belittle your dreams.
Small people always do that, but the really great ones
make you feel that you too, can become great."
~Mark Twain
Be a “great one” to a young writer. I promise you that one day that beautiful karma will come floating right back to you.
Be blessed, y’all.
Jennifer Moody is a Professional Editor and the Owner of MoodyEdits. To learn more about Jen, visit her website at You might enjoy her take on living a happy life, on her blog “Editing My Life One Day at a Time” at And if you wanted to be nice, you could like her Facebook page at

Sunday, September 9, 2012

New Bible Verse ~ Sunday, September 9th

New Bible verse posted as of Sunday, September 9th. Have a great week!

Psalm 86:4-5 (NLT)

4 Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to You. 5 O Lord, You are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for Your help.

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Summer Blog Series - "Labor Day Camping Trip"


Labor Day Camping Trip - Nightmare or Not? The Verdict is In!

Although the actual season of summer is not officially over until close to the end of September, the Labor Day weekend marked the end of summer for me as the kids have already gone back to school and things are finally beginning to return to some sort of 'normal' around the house. I have quiet time again! Yay!! Since my summer has officially ended, this post will be my final post in my "Summer Series." I have definitely enjoyed blogging about my adventures with my kids over the summer, but now it's time for me to get back into the "book world." But before I dive back into books, I'll tell you about my Labor Day camping weekend experience with family and friends.

Well, I had a lot of anxiety about the Labor Day weekend because we had decided to go camping. Now I have been camping before. I grew up camping with my parents and siblings. Growing up in my family we started out tent camping (what you call, "REAL CAMPING"), then it progressed to a mini-camper, then a pop-up tent trailer, and finally to a 40 ft. RV. Although I hadn't been camping in years, at least I can say that I have been camping. Unlike my husband, he had NEVER been camping before, not even when he was a cub scout years ago as a child. He comes from a family that has never been camping. My anxiety levels were high because I was dealing with a person that had never been camping before, did NOT want to go camping, couldn't understand the point of camping (i.e. in his words, "why would anyone want to leave their house to live as if they're homeless..?"). The camping trip was my idea because I can remember the days when I was young and my parents took us camping, we had such a fun time. I wanted our kids to experience that same type of fun and outdoor adventure that I had experienced growing up. Out of my 3 kids, only my son had been camping when he was a cub scout years ago. My other 2 kids had never been before. Unlike my husband, all 3 kids were super excited to go. I too was excited to go, however, I was also a little nervous as I knew that if this trip was not successful, we would never go camping again as a family.

The Labor Day camping trip would also mark our third attempt at going camping this year. Our first attempt was during the kids' Spring Break back in March earlier this year, but we had to cancel that trip because of severe thunderstorms and flooding. Our second attempt was during the Memorial Day weekend, but lack of communication between all the attendees caused us to postpone yet again. So our final attempt for this year was Labor Day.

After much preparation, hours of shopping and packing, we finally headed out on the Friday of Labor Day weekend at 4:00p.m. in the afternoon. Not a smart choice considering traffic. We tried to head out earlier, the plan was to leave no later than 2:00p.m., but that didn't work out obviously. So the first part of our trip was met with a lot of traffic and disagreement between my husband and I over which direction to travel to avoid the traffic. My husband allowed me to win that argument, but as the traffic was just as thick in the direction I wanted to travel, I was left to hear my husband's snarky remarks and expression on his face as if to say, "I told you so!" LOL. So our trip didn't exactly start off on the right foot. We finally got through the traffic, however, my anxiety only doubled when halfway to our destination we encountered severe thunderstorms, with the Weather Channel predicting the city we were traveling to was also under a thunderstorm watch. Ugh!! To make matters worse, my father had severely miscalculated the distance to the campground. My parents (who were also joining us on this camping trip) had stated that in their estimation, the campground was only about 1-1/2 hours away. Well we discovered it was more like 3 hours away and with traffic and the stormy weather we encountered, it took over 4 hours to arrive at the campground!!! Double Ugh!!  At 8:30p.m., we were the first of our group to arrive at the campground. It was dark (more like "pitch-black") and drizzling, with the only thing we could see from our headlights were swarms of bugs flying around our car. We made our way in the dark and found the campground office...WHICH WAS CLOSED FOR THE EVENING!! Triple Ugh!!!!!!!!!!!!

So after driving over 4 hours, in stormy weather, and disagreements over which direction to travel, we couldn't camp anyway (or so we thought) because the office was closed and wouldn't re-open until 8:00a.m. the following morning. Definitely NOT a good way to start a camping trip. Oh, and I forgot to mention, we also had no cell phone service to inform the others who were also traveling there that day. We had to travel back down a dark road and find the nearest gas station for cell phone service. Thank the Lord for our cell phones because we also used our phones to find the nearest lodging. We settled on a La Quinta Inn about 11 miles further down the main highway.

And there you have it...our first night of camping was at the La Quinta Inn, LOL. Actually it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because there was no way that we could have pitched our tents and set up camp in the dark, with the not-so-great weather, and mystery bugs flying amongst us.

The following morning we were refreshed and renewed and ready to head back to the campground. We arrived once again at The Texas State Railroad Park & Campground in Rusk, Texas (a.k.a. Rusk Depot Campground) and were FINALLY able to check-in and set up our camping site! Yay!! I also need to add that the weather was beautiful the following morning!

Here are some pics from our Labor Day camping trip, I will let the images tell the rest of the story...

Loaded down and ready to go!

My youngest daughter lounging on the sofa at La Quinta after a LONG trip on the road.
Texas State Railroad Park & Campground check-in office in Rusk, Texas.

Texas State Railroad & Park.
Setting up camp.

We called our campsite, "Our Village," LOL. With family and friends.

Here's our tent.

Wait, is that a smile I see on my husband's face?? LOL

The Rusk Depot Station. We boarded the train at this station located at the campground.
My kids in front of the Texas State Railroad, getting ready to ride the train!

The Texas State Railroad.

We rode in the "open air" car.

Riding the train!

Arriving at the Palestine Depot Station in Palestine, Texas. Our pit-stop.

My sister and niece in line for the box lunches they serve during the pit-stop in Palestine, Texas.
This is where we ate lunch while on the train pit-stop in Palestine, Texas. Under the shady trees.

The kids enjoying their time during the train pit-stop.

"All aboard!"

Heading back to Rusk, Texas.

Back at camp, my son is building a fire.

Making S'mores.

Lounging and telling ghost stories...

One of the first to fall asleep.

Next day, the kids enjoyed the campground's splash pad.

My husband and daughter, "Let's go fly a kite!"

Family pic in front of our tent.

Capturing some of the beautiful sites of the park.
There was also this cute little church on the park grounds.

Very scenic!

All loaded up again.

On our way home.

All in all, we had a great camping experience, despite the original trouble we encountered. We were initially suppose to stay 2 nights (Actually 3 days, 2 nights) camping, but with the late start and arrival, we only were able to stay one night (with the other night being at the La Quinta Inn). Now to the verdict on my husband and his thoughts about the whole thing...DRUM ROLL PLEASE...

...He actually enjoyed it!!!!  He even commented that he would do it again next year!! WoooHoooo!!! Success!!!!!  Thank you Lord! ;-)

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials,
for we know that they help us develop endurance.
Romans 5:3 (NLT)