Tuesday, November 9, 2010

once upon a time...

Once upon a time there was a Kentucky girl who fell in love with her dark-haired hero in Washington State...

Thus begins my own story:) Only I want to hear yours! Thanks to Sylvia, a dear reading friend and blog buddy who suggested this post, I guess I'll go first. This photo looks so old to me though it's only been sixteen or so sweet years. Randy is a little grayer and heavier and I'm... Well, nuff said!

He really is my hero. And only God could have brought us together because it's such an unlikely match. But He knows our hearts and where He wants us, including who he wants us to end up with. And sometimes His best plan is for us to stay solo. I nearly did.

I was fresh out of college and waitressing at Lake Crescent Lodge in Washington State one summer. Randy was working across the lake at Log Cabin Resort in the boat house (sounds like a Lorna Seilstad novel!) but strangely, we never crossed paths. I finished my stint at Lake Crescent and thought I might need to stay a little longer before returning to Kentucky. So I applied for a job at the local rural school. Lo and behold, I met Randy who hadn't graduated yet. He was a little young and not nearly as tall as I liked, but there was a genuineness and humility about him that I loved. Since I worked with elementary students as a teaching assistant, he would stand with me on the playground during recess duty and talk to me. And soon it didn't matter that he was sorta short and rural and had been to Kentucky only once. For two years we simply stood and talked on the playground. No kidding! It was the longest, strangest courtship that wasn't a courtship I've ever experienced.

And then he graduated and I decided to return to Kentucky. Only I decided I really liked Washington and wanted to get a post-graduate degree first. So I left his vicinity for 7 years. No phone calls. No letters. Nada. Zip. Nothing. I'd convinced myself that he was too young. Too unworldy. Too short. Not educated enough. He didn't even like to read!

But God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7.

At the end of that seven year silence something strange happened. I decided it was past time to return to Kentucky. And he, at this very same time, contacted an old friend of mine, got my address, and wrote me a letter. A love letter. His first and only. He wanted to marry me, you see. So there you have the rest of our story:)

I'd love to hear about your romance ~ or that of your parents or grandparents. Or visit author friend, Shannon Vannatter's wonderful blog where she highlights true love stories of authors and writers! I'm so thankful God is the author of romance, whether in real life or in books:).


  1. Oh Laura - LOVED reading about your love story! And thank you for sharing the pic - lovely couple. :) This post was a wonderful start to the day!

  2. Hi Laura,
    Wow, I loved your story. How sweet, the playground courtship. I can't believe y'all went seven years with no contact. So after the letter, did y'all date any or just tie the knot?

    Thanks for mentioning my blog. So see you've already written one post that could go on my blog.

  3. Laura, what a beautiful story. I love how Randy contacted you seven years later and poured out his heart in that letter, one I'm sure is a treasure you'd attempt to save if your house were on fire. How romantic! The picture is great.

    And, wow! I hadn't seen the new cover. What a great job they did.

  4. What a great story. Randy sounds a bit like my Dan in that he doesn't like to read!

    Opposites attract. It's goot in a way, to be different. We balance one another.

    You make a lovely bride...more lovely than Lael!

  5. What a wonderful post-thank you for sharing your love story! :) As s single woman it makes me so hopeful to read examples of things happening in His perfect timing, not ours!

  6. Thanks so much for reading, Ruth:) A little romance always makes a day better, whether in real life, movies, or books!

  7. Shannon,
    Thanks so much for stopping by. I love the way you honor courtship and marraige the way God designed it to be on your blog.

    After that "out of the blue" letter, we did date for 8 months which was a bit strange after all that time apart and just having a friendship. But we were planning oru wedding at the same time:) The Lord really tailor-made our courtship as I didn't date in high school or college. I was actually very shy and uncomfortable around men/boys. So the slow playground start was truly God-designed to get this late bloomer ready:) Looking back, I can see how wise God was to do that. And Randy, being quite reserved himself, was quite fine with how it all unfolded.

    Bless you for reading!

  8. Oh, I love this photo, and yours and Randy's story. Romantic! I can only imagine how it must have hit you to get that letter after seven years. I have the same question as Shannon. What did you do between the time you got his letter, and the day depicted in your photo?

    And you do look very Lael-like. :)

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful personal love story and wedding photo : )

    I have come to believe that our “fate or luck” is determined by our choices. Once we make a choice, the fate that was predetermined by that choice will then follow through. However, I strongly believe in first love and second chances. Once that true love is embedded in your heart, it is there to stay. No matter how you try to deny it, or work around it, it is immovable. True love partners, separated for whatever reason, can come back together and grow as individuals as they grow together as a couple. Your soulmate is worth a lifetime wait : )

  10. The picture is gorgeous and what an interesting courtship! LOL.

    You want to hear my love story? It all started with a shoe. A clog actually and I knew he was the one for me when he curled up inside it! He was laying claim at the same time he raised pleading puppy brown eyes up at me. "Pick me! Pick me!" Knowing I couldn't very well walk out of the breeder's home without my shoes...and him snuggled up in one! What a clever ploy! How could I resist? Eight years later we are sublimely happy.

  11. Britt,
    I'm thinking your Dan is like Randy - all action - a wood chopping, tree planting, hunting outdoorsman to a T. He doesn't sit down much but always has a project going! Whew - give me a good chair by the fire any day...

    Thanks for the compliment:) I loved being a bride and as they say, happiness is the best cosmetic! And Randy is coming around. He did read TFD and liked it but hasn't picked up another book since!

  12. Keli,
    So glad you're here:) Thanks for the cover compliment ~ they really did get Roxanna just right! And the locket is central to the plot. Love the way she's has it in hand...

    YES, that letter is such a treasure. I remember opening it and just where I was when I read it (in disbelief!). I'd never stopped thinking about him but guessed he'd moved on and might have even married, etc. I would truly try to rescue it if my house was burning! So glad you're a romantic at heart like me:)

  13. Liz,
    I was thinking of you readers who are single as I wrote this, praying for God's best for each of you and that you would all be praying for the right mate in His perfect time, as you said so very well.

    If we just let God handle all the details or our tailor-made romance, we won't stress about meeting "THE ONE." Another thing, God is so very creative in how he brings people together. You can rest assured it won't be how you're picturing it!

    Bless u for your comments:)

  14. Virginia,
    I understand your thoughts here so well. Sometimes love eludes us and we have real heartaches through our choices. Especially love choices. I am trying to teach my boys how the thoughts and choices they have/make as very young men can span years and carry consequences.

    Bless you for such thoughtful words!

  15. Lori,
    So glad you like the story/pic:) It's so grainy and poor quality but we were poor and couldn't afford a good photographer, something I regret now. Love that you think I look like Lael! My hair was very long then but not quite knee-length:)

    I was working full-time when we dated for those few months and planning for our wedding. He was working and had bought the land we live on now. Looking back, I can see how everything came together at just the right moment. God is never late!

  16. Kav,
    I LOVE your story:) And I have so many friends who say they prefer a faithful feline or canine to a husband any day! I hope you got a pic of all that shoe curling! Eight years of companionship is a beautiful thing. My boys often ask if there will be pets in heaven as they're so attached to our menagerie. I think of the verse, "The lion will lie down with the lamb..." (loose paraphrase). Surely there are dogs and cats up there somewhere!!

  17. Forgive my typos this morning, all! Once again my fingers are way ahead of my brain...

  18. Laura, that's a beautiful wedding picture. And what a cool story! He was so brave to send you that letter after all that time.

    Steve and I worked together in a summer daycare between college semesters. He was even my boss one summer. And I still married him. :D So we talked and joked around on playgrounds too.

  19. Sally,
    Love your real life romance! And on a playground similar to mine, to boot:) Something about those humble beginnings that make for enduring romances... The name Steve has always been a favorite of mine and should be used in a novel. I think one of Kaye Dacus's upcoming heroes is a Steven or Steve.

    You mentioned something that struck me at the time he sent the letter - that it was a very brave thing to do. Since that wasn't his usual modis operandi, it was truly a godsend, no pun intended:)

  20. Oh wow, that was so beautiful! Talk about a real life love story that is enough to take my breath away.

    I am a-hem, not married. Not dating. And nothing in pants in easy sight. Though I will be VERY picky, for sure! :)

    My parents love story is kind of funny as in they met in a Bible class, Mama walked in and Daddy thought, "oh, I could marry her." WHAT??? Talk about a thought out of the blue. :) They have been married 26 years now. So I guess it was a match made to be. :)

    Thanks so much for sharing this Laura, your photo is simply lovely!

  21. Oh, Laura, that story is just beautiful! I'm single, going-on-thirty and have never dated at all. This story just gives we who are single a little hope that there might still be someone out there for us.

    One good thing about your courtship is that you two probably knew each other waayyyy better than alot of couples that marry. At the beginning you all didn't have all the physical emotions to get in the way of getting to know one anther better.

    You two look beautiful in your picture. Did you say one time that your bridesmaid dresses were pink, floral patterned?

  22. What a precious story. He may be younger, but I hear women have a longer life span so it may balance perfectly. My grandfather is younger than my grandmother and they are both in their 80's.

  23. Such an awesome story Laura and loved how it all worked out! Yes, God knows better than we do the way it is meant to be. I hope you have that special love letter framed and kept in a special place. Looking forward to seeing you in just a few short weeks! Hello to Randy and the boys! :)

  24. What a lovely story Laura! It is so sweet!! I love a good, sweet romance. Someday I pray God will bless me with that special person he has picked out just for me. Right now I am (trying) to patiently wait but God blessed me with two wonderful cats who along with my family and friends make my life whole right now. Thank you for sharing your heartwarming story!!

  25. Aw, this is such a great story! I love how it was such a tailor made courtship for you, all ending with an epic letter.
    I met my 'hero' when I was 21 ;) we probably would have never met if it wasn't for figure skating, lol. I had always loved skating and when i was in college I worked basically to do nothing but train and take lessons and buy ice time. I was in love, but it was with the ice ;) I was certainly not a college party girl and had no interest in being one!
    I met a girl through skating and she invited me to her birthday party. I almost didnt go because I was working that evening (I worked at a garden center and we tended to get really sweaty and dirty and icky, not the best for going out afterward) but I managed to go home and change and go to this party.
    As luck would have it, Will came too, although he'd forgotten about it and had to be called and reminded ;) he was this girl's husband's best friend. Through the night I was introduced to many people, Will among them. However I got him mixed up with another person and thought he lived in Kansas! So I figured I'd never see him again.
    When I finally went home, Will 'pretended' he was going too and walked me out. He asked me if I'd like to go out and I said "well, ok, but don't you live in kansas?" lol....luckily, he didnt!
    We had our first date at a bookstore :) we sat and had coffee and really talked, like most people dont talk when they first meet. It was nice.
    Just three months later we were engaged! 13 months after that, we were married. And we just celebrated our 6th anniversary on Oct 29 :)

    So that's me!

    I love this photo of you two. You look beautiful and so happy! Its also very timeless, no cringing about hair or dress. Its beautiful!~

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  27. Oh, what a beautiful true love story! (And I love the picture too.) Thanks for sharing it with us.

  28. I agree - it IS a gorgeous picture! My story is over on Shannon's blog, so I won't share here, but I'm so glad to have read YOUR story! You need to work that into a book someday!

  29. Laura, it was truly a pleasure to read your love story. I love how Randy wrote you the letter 7 years later. That is so special.

    I don't have one of my own to tell, since I'm still single. I will tell my parents and grandparents though.

    My grandparents met in high school. This would have been in the late 1940's, just after WWII. They met at Pikeville High, and at that time the high school had a boarding house for students who lived in the county. My grandparents lived on opposite sides of the county, so I doubt they would have met otherwise.

    My mom and my stepdad also went to high school together. They graduated in the same class, but they never dated in high school. They married 28 years after they graduated, and my stepdad's younger brother was the one who set them up. They celebrated their 16th anniversary in May.

  30. I love your story, Laura! What a great story to be able to share with your children. God was truly at work in your relationship.

    I was one of those single women who wondered if I would ever marry. I dated a man for 2 years and thought we would marry. I was head over heels in love with him. When things didn't work out, I was pretty upset. I moved to Houston to be near my family and started over. I didn't date for a few years and just focused on God. It was such a sweet time in my life. I am so thankfully that I was able to focus on Him alone.

    Three years later, I met Dan. We met through a Single's bible study at church. At first, I didn't care for him, but he grew on me. We are opposites too. I am outgoing and love to be involved in everything. Dan is very reserved and is content to be alone. It was only God who could make our relationship work. I love my husband! He is the perfect one for me. WAY better than the first guy who I wanted to marry. Isn't God amazing?? :)

  31. What a great story!!!

    Well mine was a long time in the making. I met my husband when I was eleven and he was twenty-two. He moved up from Phoenix to be our youth leader at church. There was nothing between us, of course, for about ten years. He went off to do a Ph.D. for two years, then when he came back, I went off to college for two years. So we hadn't seen each other for four years, and when I got back, something had changed for me. It took him much longer to realize I wasn't little Krissy anymore.
    After months of pining for him, I told God that if He wasn't going to do anything with these feelings then to make them go away. The next day, Dave asked me out.
    We started dating in March, engaged in July, and married by February of the next year. Now we're approaching seven years. Yippee!!

  32. What a precious photo, Laura! Thanks for sharing the picture and your romance and courtship story. It's always inspiring to hear that God brings to folks exactly what fulfills their hearts and in His perfect time.

    And I love it that when we find our hope in Him, we can look at another person's life, no matter what situation we're in, and rejoice at what God has done for her! I guess we women just always respond to stories of how God brings people together--whether we're married or single, young or old, content or hoping for more.

    Reading your unconventional playground courtship reminded me of this . . . "There are three things which are too wonderful for me, four I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky; the way of a serpent on a rock; the way of a ship in the sea; And the way of a man with a maid!" (Prov.)

    Great love story! Especially since it's true!

  33. Laura, Thanks so much for sharing your story. I really enjoyed reading it. I was the same as you, shy.

    I hope you don't mind, but I wrote you a book here...Its always fun walking down memory lane, though.

    Chris and I met the first week of college, but I thought he was interested in my roommate. My roommate was an athlete and had a lot of male friends. My family was about 40 minutes from campus, I went home for the first weekend. When I came back it was "visiting" hours (times when people could visit the opposite sex dorms) and my roommate was in the lounge with a whole group of people (mostly guys). There was a cute blonde haired blue-eyed boy among them. I had brought back a whole bunch of birthday cake as we had a birthday party for my grandfather. My husband doesn't like cake (so I still joke about him not eating my cake :). Well, he kept coming to the dorm and I would talk to him here or there...but since I was so shy I would talk to him for a few minutes then go to the library or out with my girlfriend. Plus he kept coming, so I thought he was interested in my roommate, but turns out he kept coming over for our "little" conversations and getting frustrated at how I would leave.

    So we were friends for a while, then when break came up we emailed every day...and I think that cemented it. After we'd known each other for a few months Chris showed me his Bible. He told me ever since high school he had bookmarked Proverbs 31 and would pray for his future wife. Then he told me he was removing his bookmark.

    Many highlights of our relationship have been around reading & writing. We loved taking lit courses together and analyzing Shakespeare's plays and we used to critique each other's work at Starbucks. We've talked about writing a book together for fun but we've been unable to figure out how to combine our interests: speculative & women's fiction :)

    Because of financial aid and our parents wishes we dated throughout college and then married 2 weeks after my graduation.

  34. So we were friends for a while, then when break came up we emailed every day...and I think that cemented it. After we'd known each other for a few months Chris showed me his Bible. He told me ever since high school he had bookmarked Proverbs 31 and would pray for his future wife. Then he told me he was removing his bookmark.

    Many highlights of our relationship have been around reading & writing. We loved taking lit courses together and analyzing Shakespeare's plays and we used to critique each other's work at Starbucks. We've talked about writing a book together for fun but we've been unable to figure out how to combine our interests: speculative & women's fiction :)

    Because of financial aid and our parents wishes we dated throughout college and then married 2 weeks after my graduation.

  35. Love your story, too, Julia! I can just picture you being too shy to notice your husband-to-be was falling in love with you. You have to write a book together--that would be perfect!

  36. Laura,

    Thank you so, so much for sharing this! Your love story is amazing, and I just love that picture!

    I'm so encouraged by the fact that you had a seven year separation and still ended up together! (It was obviously "meant to be.") :D

    Not that it's easy wherever I am, but it can be hard here at a Christian college to see so many people falling in love, dating, and getting married. I've never had a boyfriend, but I'm glad that I haven't yet. Like you said, sometimes God's best plan for us is to stay single. I don't know if staying single for the rest of my life is His plan for me or not, but I am heartened by the fact that so many Christian romance authors have the longing of their hearts met. ;)

    Do you consider Randy to be your "soul mate," so to speak? Did you ever feel before your seven-year separation that you were meant to be together, only you later convinced yourself that you had been mistaken because he didn't contact you for so long? Hope you don't mind me asking! :)

    Thank you again for everything, Laura! This post is so beautiful!


  37. *Sigh* I LOVED your story! I love stories where people court through letters! Even though you guys didn't really establish your love through letters, that one letter just started it all again didn't it?

    It's sad but I don't think I personally know one person other than my Gram who writes letters! I think it's becoming a lost art. :(

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    XOXO~ Renee

  38. Oh my goodness--look at you. What a gorgeous couple you make!

    What's wild is that we lived in Washington and Kentucky too.

    We met the summer I lived in Hilton Head, SC even though we attended college together in Ohio.

    So does he like to read now? Mine doesn't much either.

    ~ Wendy

  39. Casey,
    That's so neat about your mom and dad!! I think sometimes we just "know" pretty quick when it's to be or not. Though like Stacey said, sometimes love grows on you:)

    I think it's great that you're solo and seem to be enjoying it for now. Waiting on His timing is so critical. For me, that came at age 33 when I married Randy! A spinster, for sure, at least in my books:) But it was so worth the wait...

    Bless u in all you do!

  40. Sylvia, My bridesmaids, bless them, looked like wallpaper:) Those big pink cabbage roses tend to do that! But back then I loved it (still do) though I think it's definitely suited for you younger folks...

    Take heart if you're a late bloomer like I am or was. I didn't think I would marry, actually, as I was so wed to my writing! Didn't marry Randy till age 33. And you make such an insightful point. All that playground talk day after day really resembled an old-fashioned courtship in which things were taken s-l-o-w-l-y. I remember the first time we held hands when we dated years later - we nearly had a double heart attack. It was just heavenly... Going slowly has its rewards, that's for sure. The Lord knew that was right for me given my skittish nature.

    Bless you for such thoughtful comments!

  41. Adrienne,
    Neat about your grandparents:) I've often thought the same thing - that women tend to outlive men. My granny was a widow of 30 years as she lived to be almost 100! I'm always surprised when I come across couples in history who have an age gap and the woman was older. It happened more often than not! Bless you today.

  42. Mark/Rhonda! Can't wait to see you all! Randy and the boys are getting so excited. I just say "deep fried turkey" and they're all ready to go - lol! You have a bday coming up:) Will bring your present with me. See you soon, dear cousin!

  43. Cassie,
    You have a beautiful attitude - suffused with thanks for what you have right now. Two cats, family, and friends makes for a very full life! Prayer is so important when considering a life's partner. Glad you are doing that:) I think how fun it will be to keep up with you all and see what the Lord has in store for each of you, individually!

  44. Heather, Happy 6th!! Love reading about you and Will and how it all began. Chuckling about the Kansas mix-up and his pretending to leave and walk you out just to be with you 5 minutes longer:) BTW, I love the name Will. It was my great-grandpa's name and I'm dying to use it in a story! And book store dates rank pretty high on my list!

    I am so intrigued with your ice time. I think you must be a very fine skater! Too modest, though, to admit it. And I think Little Miss A is following suit which is a wonderful gift to give her. You are a person of many, many talents!!

  45. Brenda and Regina, Bless you both for stopping and reading - must be a writing break for you both!? I need to spend more time on Shannon's blog as I want to read your romances and I think the 2 of you are featured there with your men:) I did read Lynn Cote's and that was so interesting - also Lorna's! Romance is in our blood...no matter we write about it:)

  46. Michelle, Your mom and stepdad's story sounds very similar to my mom's and stepdad. They went to school in Berea and he asked her out, but she turned him down as he was too short (sound familiar?) so they met 20 plus years later at a Berea reunion and the rest is history:) Love hearing about your Pikeville roots. It means a lot to me when families stay in one place. In your case, one county. You are the little bird that flew away to the big city, I guess. Like me! But you didn't go far and I hope you never do!

  47. Stacey,
    I always wondered if you were reserved like Dan or more outgoing ~ and now I know:) He sounds like the perfect counterpoint for you. I know Randy has really helped me in many ways as he is so steady and I tend to be more emotional.

    So glad you've shared here as it's a great life story about how our first loves aren't always best. And the "one" we overlook can turn out to be a prince in disguise. When I think of some of my near misses during those 7 years of "waiting" for Randy I almost shudder. God really does know our hearts. Thanks so much for sharing yours:)

  48. Lovely, Laura ~ thanks for sharing :)

    My Steve and I had the whole love/hate thing going on! I first met him at Orientation week at Uni (college) when I went to investigate Christian groups to join and ended up at The Navigators room. Saw this tall (sorry, Laura - he's 6'2"!) dark and handsome guy and thought, wow! Then I met his friend and I quickly forgot about Steve as a prospect - LOL! Anyway, for about 12 months a group of us became really close and socialised although none of us went out (dated) despite many of us wishing we did ;-) I maintained my crush on Steve's friend and Steve just drove me crazy. He is one of the funniest guys I have ever met but his silliness used to drive me nuts. One night after Bible Study, I went home and told my mum I was never going back to the Navs because of Steve - hahaha! God had other plans.

    Steve and I were asked to organise the banquet night at our the Navs' May retreat and we had to work closely together - we discovered later that everyone else saw our potential before I did! A month after that Steve told me he had been interested in me for about 9 months and I had just found him irritating - LOL! We went out for the years I was at Uni and I did Arts/Law so it was a 5 year course. Finally, he asked me to marry him after composing and singing me a song with his guitar (sigh!) and 12 months later we married. (Long engagements are difficult but still achievable however I will be advising my daughters to have a short engagement! ;-))

    We celebrate 18 years of marriage (not all wedded bliss!) in January and I am very thankful for him despite our significant differences. He's the extrovert and communicator in our relationship :)

    Anyway, I have waxed on long enough!


  49. Kristen,
    That's a wonderful story ~ I always think it's almost magical when a couple grows up and discovers each other in a new way! I can just see you as Krissy and the adjustment he had to make to the young woman he fell in love with. That belongs in a novel! He sounds like a terrific guy and I so like his youth pastor background.

    You said something so interesting - that you prayed God would take your deep feelings away...and then things started happening. I did the same thing with my writing right before I got my contract. Hmmm. Must be something to surrendering our heart to Him. I'll be thinking about that...

  50. Laura you look so beautiful!! And, your love story is TOO CUTE! Thank you so much for sharing it with us :) What a testimony of God's faithfulness to have brought you and Randy together 7 years later! And with no contact in between! It sounds like something out of a novel! Makes all us single girls wonder if we're being though of at the moment ;) And, dear Randy even wrote you a love letter *sigh* I think it was wonderful that you were friends first, too, before anything romantic. Tamera Alexander said it best: "The most fertile soil for love is in the heart of a friend."

    Not that I know from personal experience, LOL, but it does sound nice and seems to be true ;) I've never had a boyfriend. Some days it's a blessing, other days... well, I don't feel so blessed... But, I'm not interested in dating just to date. I want my first date, first kiss, first boyfriend to be my future husband. When I give my heart away it's going to the one God created it for, and he's going to get it whole, not in pieces... even if it kills me! For now my heart safely rests in the loving hands of Jesus, waiting for the day it can be entrusted to the man God is preparing for me and preparing me for. He certainly does make all things beautiful "in His time" :)

    Your story has truly encouraged me and strengthen my resolve to wait on the Lord. Praying you have a beautiful week in Jesus, dear friend :)

    Amanda Stanley

  51. Renee Ann,
    Love the Scripture you quoted. It truly is a mysterious thing! Right now I'm reading Song of Solomon for my current WIP and there are some incredibly beautiful passages. Very fitting for the romance I'm writing. Without giving away too many spoilers, I'm writing from the perspective of a young woman with no religious background and a believing man. Since I grew up in a Christian home this is proving quite a challenge. He woos her with Scripture in the novel and it's wonderful to watch it unfold.

    Your comments always enrich these posts so much. Bless you!

  52. Julia,
    I LOVE your and Chris's story!! I've always wondered how you met and am so glad you shared it here. The Proverbs 31 part melted my heart... You must have fallen in love with his integrity and his seriousness about his faith. I can SO relate to your being skittish, though. Some of us are just born shy and will die that way:) At least around men! I also love that you went to Colonial Williamsburg on your honeymoon as you've mentioned in the past. I'd love to know how you came up with that. Maybe your mutual love of history?

    Bless you, Julia! No comment is too long, my dear! I love all the details as I'm that kind of gal:)

  53. @Julia- I loved your love story! :) And, I thought it was so beautiful that Chris was praying for a Proverbs 31 woman (for you!)- waiting for the day the Lord would bring the woman described in those pages into his life! I'm so blessed for you, my friend :) I've always prayed for my future husband, too. Sometimes it's actually surprising to think that your future spouse is alive right now, living a life separate from your own, yet the Lord is preparing the paths you both walk and knows exactly when and where they will connect. I was very encouraged and blessed by your story. Thank you for sharing it here :)

    Amanda Stanley

  54. Amber,
    I am really blessed by your questions and love to answer...so please ask away! YES, when I first met Randy and during those 2 years of simply talking, I remember having the distinct feeling that he was very different and that my feelings for him were very unique. This did hold true over the years as during that 7 year separation I did date and everyone else came up lacking. Now I can only think God put that special feeling in my heart so that I would not "grow weary" and give up. I really did feel hopeless of finding someone like him and then he "reappeared." Divine coincidence, I now know. Many things had to happen during that 7 year separation before we were ready to marry. God was very busy:)

    I know it must be hard watching so many around you match up. My brother and sister-in-law met at a Christian college and later married. If you do meet God's best for you, you're in a fine place to do that. But if you're meant to remain solo, that will play out also and be His best. You have a wonderful attitude!

  55. Debra, Welcome to my blog! I've certainly been enjoying yours:) "Sigh" says it all. Speaking of sighing, isn't it about time to watch North&South again. Episode 4 in particular, I'm thinking! Bless you for coming by. See you over at your place:)

  56. Renee,
    I'm heartened to know your granny writes letters. I do, too, and feel, sadly, that it is a lost or dying art like you've said here! I always love when novels contain love letters as part of the story line. You've given me a wonderful idea...:)

    Bless you for finding our story romantic. I sometimes forget how unusual it is that we're actually together. It's wonderful to walk down memory lane as Julia says.

    I'll have to think of a reason to send you some good old snail mail as I have your addy (I think)!

  57. Love it! what a fantastic picture, and the romantic story to go with it! Have a blessed day, Laura

  58. Laura,

    Thank you! :D I'm blessed by your responses and your encouragement. I know I can "talk the talk," as they say, and declare that it's fine being single. But it's hard at times. I'm so glad, though, to remember that God has a plan for our lives and that He does know what's best for us and WHEN it is best for us. :)

    I might send you an e-mail soon as a follow-up, if that's alright. :)

    Have a great evening!


  59. Wendy,
    Little did we know during our Indy lunch that we had more in common than our love of books:) I went to college in Ohio, too - Denison U. And I love knowing you have KY/WA ties!

    Hilton Head has to be one of the most romantic spots in the world... I hope you two can go back there if you haven't already. I'd sure love to visit:)

    And yes, Randy has ramped it up in the reading department just a bit ~ he likes magazines now! He did read TFD but hasn't gotten around to Morrow's story yet. I think it might be the pink dress...

    So good to have you here, Wendy. Hope the writing is going wonderfully well! And all else!

  60. Amanda,
    Bless you, Amanda, for enjoying the pic and post! I think all brides are beautiful on their wedding day:) It's the happiness factor, I'm sure! I sure felt lovely that day.

    Love the Tamera quote. So true! The bedrock of a happy marriage is a firm friendship. Those romantic feelings wax and wane but the friendship remains, or should.

    Your waiting and desire to honor God and your future husband with all that you are is a beautiful thing. Believe me, it will be well worth the wait, however long (or short)!

    Reminds me of something Paul Newman said of his beautiful wife, Joann Woodward. Although I'm not into Hollywood or movie stars, he was one of the old classic stars and I'll never forget this...
    When asked why he never strayed from Joann's side he replied, "Why should I settle for hamburger when I have steak?" The same principle applies when waiting for His best.

    It's an amazing thing to think that there might be someone out there walking around who is tailor-made for you! Sigh...

  61. Rel,
    I think some of Steve's humor has rubbed off on you as I sure got a fine chuckle reading your comments!! And I think the Lord must have been mighty amused when he put you both in charge of that banquet:) I would have loved to have witnessed that develop! It sounds like a great contemp novel...

    I am so fascinated with your legal background. I was accepted to law school and almost went that route - research attorney was appealing to me. But researching novels is more my forte. You do a wonderful blend of both!

    Love how proactive you were in seeking out Christian groups then. I wish we'd had something like that on my campus. Bless you for taking time here. It always, always blesses me, dear friend!

  62. Colleen,
    So good to see you here. I've really missed you since Indy! I loved hearing your story while there. I can never get enough of romance. I was writing the "first kiss" scene in The Ballantyne Legacy today and thought how wonderful God is to let those of us not in the first flush of youth enjoy the Christian romances of our beloved characters:) Sigh... Hope your writing is going well as I'm praying, thinking about you.

  63. Amber, I remember how lonely I felt during college - not one date! All I did was study, study, study ~ and write, read Jane Eyre countless times, and think Mr. Right was out there somewhere missing me! I will look for your email. Bless you for sharing your heart!

  64. Thanks for listening! It was fun to share and I loved listening to yours!

    And thanks for the encouragement on being shy. Sometimes it bothers me that I am "relieved" to come home from a large group gathering...when you shared about ACFW I felt a bit relieved.

    As for Williamsburg, yes, we both love visiting historical places...and we had a friend that told us about timeshares there. I'm excited because I think our next trip will be Boston which is the first place we ever went together (on a college trip, so not really together).

  65. I LOVE snail mail but I honestly can't think of the last time I got a handwritten letter in the mail. With programs like Facebook, Twitter and email it's almost like writing is not needed anymore. And postcards? Well it seems like it's easier to send an email from the laptop while on vacation than actually taking the time to drop someone a line via the postal service. It's sad to think *sometimes* progress and invention aren't always good things.

    XOXO~ Renee

  66. @ Amanda, Thanks and I know since you are waiting on the Lord your life story (whether you marry or stay single) will be a beautiful one. Good reminder to pray for my children's spouses although I get teary eyed just thinking about them leaving :)

  67. Laura, I just wanted to apologize to you and everyone else for my comment last night. Reading through it again today I sound a little self-righteous and judgmental. I didn't mean to imply that if you've dated before that you can't give your future spouse your whole heart. Whether a heart has a few cracks or is shattered to pieces, I know God can restore anything and make it beautiful. I'm so sorry if I offended you or anyone else here, that was not my intention at all! And, I also didn't mean to imply that I'm standing all tall and sure of myself because I know am I very capable of falling. Reading through my comment again brought 1Corinthians 10:12 to mind and it convicted me- "Wherefore let him that thinketh he stand take heed lest he fall." I pray that I will always rely on the strength of God and trust in His promise and wait on His perfect timing. But, I'm also well aware of how human I am and that it's only through His grace and power that I can do anything. Again, I'm so very sorry.

    Praying you all have a beautiful day in Jesus :)

    Amanda Stanley

  68. Amanda,
    I thought your comments were beautiful! Not a stray word or wrong impression - that never crossed my mind! But it's so thoughtful of you to follow-up here with another comment.

    I know how hard it can be to communicate just what you want to say, in the right way, with the right heart, and then second guess yourself. I do it often! And I've deleted things upon a second reading when they sounded different than I intended. Please think no more about it.

    I think your comments always add so much and aren't misconstrued. Love you - and them! Have a wonderful day, Amanda, resting in Him!

  69. Julia,
    Boston sounds wonderful!! Can't wait to hear about that when the time comes:)

    So true about progress and invention. We've lost a lot in the art of finesse and communication and elegance, etc. I could go on and on and on...!

  70. Laura-
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful love story! I met my husband in college, through the early music ensemble. Then he moved out to California for grad school, and I didn't see him for a year. We kept in touch that year, and absence truly does make the heart grow fonder! We were married 2 years later. :)

  71. Patty,
    So good to hear your own love story - I especially like the music ensemble part as my son plays the violin:) I imagine you both exchanged letters during that time apart. If so, I hope you still have them. As an incurable romantic, I love love letters!

    I have to tell you how touched my mom was by your previous comment about prayer (as I was). That was so wonderful of you to share that and I'll never forget it. Hope you have a wonderful week, Patty!

  72. Thanks, Laura! I hope you have a wonderful week as well. I couldn't sleep that night until I had mentioned to you the difference that prayer has made in my life. Never doubt impact you can have in the lives of your readers, whether or not they ever mention it. I'm just so glad I did. :)

  73. Patty,
    I'll never forget it because it was such a critical moment for me when writing the book. I think the Lord brought us together here for that very reason, so we'd both know it wasn't in vain. Bless you, bless you, bless you.