As a book reviewer for Booksneeze (Thomas Nelson publishers), I was one of a number of bloggers who received two free tickets to attend Women of Faith in Seattle at the Key Arena last weekend. I’d like to tell you about it (mostly, because that was the “deal” when I agreed to go and, partly, because I formed some definite opinions from the experience).

Friday was a gorgeous Seattle Fall day; overcast with scattered rain intermingled with breezy wind that blew leaves off the trees. It was wonderful to walk toward the Key Arena past the amazing fountain.

Sorry fountain, I didn’t catch your name but you were built for the World’s Fair.

We practically walked under the Seattle Space Needle whom I consider a dear friend (I first met you when I was 12 on that trip from New Mexico to Seattle with my dad. As I ate, I let my finger slide along the windowsill as we slowly rotated inside of you. Remember?)My friend Lynette joined me on this great adventure and it was a good thing she did because apparently I needed a lot of help with my driving :-). In spite of her “suggestions” for improvement we still smiled all weekend (she’s the beautiful one on the left).

Women of Faith was a well organized event. I was impressed by the number of volunteers available to help us find our way through the stadium to our seats. The lines into the arena went quickly.
Women of Faith began each session with an incredible worship team of four women. It was certainly an emotional and uplifting experience to praise the Lord with 5000 other women!
Patsy Clairmont spoke first thing Friday morning and that little feisty red-haired old lady was wonderful. She made us laugh but her message was solidly Christian and spoken with a firm faith. I enjoyed her.
Patsy was followed by Andy Andrews who was a bit over-the-top (you like how I snuck the theme in there?) with his extremely energetic style but he, too, was solidly Christian and very entertaining.
We were blessed to hear music by the incredibly talented Mendesa and Selah. My big thrill was hearing and seeing Sandi Patti. She’s an icon in the Christian music world(she’s been around a long time!) and I felt like I should bow to her:-)! She also came across as very authentic.
Brenda Warner spoke. I’ve reviewed her book (I titled it “How not to live your life”...can you tell what I thought of it?) so I was hoping that hearing her in person would change my mind. Unfortunately, Brenda Warner in person confirmed my impression of Brenda Warner the co-author. I found her to be skin deep with very little to say about her walk with God.
Other speakers/authors there this weekend were Katherine Everett, Lisa Whelchel and Marilyn Meberg. I wasn’t familiar with Marilyn but, after hearing her speak, I’m interested in reading her books. She is a thinker.

I am a little slow on the uptake but I did finally realize that Women of Faith is a very well orchestrated book and music tour. Everyone who spoke or performed at the event was being showcased and promoted by Tyndale publishing house…which was all right with me because while they were marketing their authors we got to hear and see some talented and articulate people.It was like a really showy book tour.

The booths all along the concourse were stocked full of Women of Faith products and I saw thousands of women happily buying lots of books. All of that was fine and dandy….but both Lynette and I had a real problem with the promotion of the Women of Faith Visa card. If the event was really trying to build up women and strengthen them in their marriages and families, why market debt? Sure, sell the books and bags and key chains but stop at the Visa card. I know there is huge money to be made with credit cards but don’t make it off  Christian women especially when you are sharing messages about living differently than the world (that’s my opinion Thomas Nelson! Please take note!).

Lynette and I enjoyed lunch times out by the fountain (boxed lunches were part of the event; basic but tummy filling). We met some new friends…some of them feathered…

(Lynette sharing her lunch with Nellie the sea gull..Nellie just flew in from some exotic place to attend Women of Faith but got sidetracked by all the yummy crumbs being thrown her way.She said she’s always struggled with her weight.)

Here’s Nellie. Isn’t she sweet? She was much more polite than all those pushy male gulls.

Oh, and we met some other wonderful ladies! Here’s Lynette with Joanna (from the Tacoma Washington area). We shared dark chocolate covered raisins and pink Kleenex with Joanna when we all got a little weepy.

All in all, it was a wonderful time. I am glad I got the opportunity to go. I would recommend the event to anyone with the caveat to beware of going “over the top”(I did it again:-) with too much spending.

I’ll also continue to tell other bloggers that it felt pretty good to walk by those booths full of books knowing that I can read them for free because I get them from Booksneeze!
**Update!

I do want to add that I was impressed with the way that WOF advertised World Vision and encouraged all the attendees to “adopt” a child. Several of the speakers/authors had been sent to third world countries by Tyndale in order to experience “World Vision”. They had some very real experiences to share with the audience which were heart rending and emotional. What a wonderful way to help the audience realize how many children need a sponsor!

***My friend Lynette (highlighted in the above article) wrote (and published) a post about our weekend at almost the exact same time as I published my own post. Our observations are very similar! Great minds think alike!