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Why We Renewed Our Vows (+ Valentine’s Giveaway)

DSC04306This past October, Hubby and I celebrated our 25th anniversary by renewing our marriage vows in front of family & friends at our church.

We chose to renew our vows for one simple reason–we wanted to reaffirm those promises we said so many years ago…years that have been shaped, refined and molded by laughter, by tears, and by standing together to face the many challenges that came our way.

Our courtship was quite unique. We met in May 1988 when Hubby came into the family restaurant where I had been working as a waitress for the summer. The moment I saw him, I knew my life was about to change. He had a presence about him and the way he carried himself that exuded confidence…he still has it. We became friends, and we communicated long distance for a couple of months by writing letters. Then he came home on leave, and we started dating. By that time, I was so in love with this man who made my heart swoon. I knew he was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

We talked about a traditional wedding, set a date, and started making plans,. I even picked out the most beautiful wedding gown. Then we realized we didn’t want to want another six months to get married.

Wedding photo copyWe chose to elope three weeks after getting engaged. I wore peach, he wore gray, and we promised to love, honor and cherish one another in front of a judge, two friends, and the judge’s secretary. I tell people it may not have been my dream wedding, but I married the man perfect for me.

Like most married couples, our relationship hasn’t always been the fairy tale. We experienced challenges that could have broken us, but we refused to give up. Instead, we worked hard to turn those trials into triumphs. We’ve used the life lessons from our mistakes to help us to become a stronger couple and better parents to our incredible sons.

The beauty of the past twenty-five years is knowing the young love we first shared has matured into a deep-seated devotion that will outlast anything life hurls our way. Each day I spend with him is an incredible gift, and I’m so blessed.

 ~*~

I’m teaming up with fellow Love Inspired authors Jill Lynn and Jill Kemerer, fellow Books & Such client Jennifer Major, and romance author Jen Turano for a Valentine’s Giveaway.

Valentine's Giveaway finalThe giveaway includes:

  • After a Fashion by Jen Turano
  • A Recipe for Romance collection by Jill Kememer
  • Falling for Texas by Jill Lynn (her debut novel–Yay!!)
  • Lakeside Redemption by Lisa Jordan
  • Hand-stamped cards
  • Chocolate
  • $10 Starbucks gift card

Enter here for your chance to win: 

Lisa Jordan
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Why Marriage Matters: Building Up Your Husband

Why Marriage Matters graphic

Therefore encourage one another 

and build each other up, 

just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

Quite a few years ago, I “vented” to my then sister-in-law (she and my brother-in-law have divorced since then) about something my husband had or hadn’t done. I said, “I don’t mean to complain, but…”

She replied, “Yes, you do, but you’re frustrated.”

Her response floored me.

I meant to complain? No, I wanted to vent. There’s a difference. Right?

No.

Venting equals complaining. By doing so, I was tearing down my husband. 

Quite honestly, I get quite annoyed by male bashing because I’m the only female in my house. By lumping all men together, I’m saying my husband and my two sons are part of that group of men who can’t do anything right. 

And that’s not the perception I want any of them to see from me.

I saw a quote on Pinterest stating, “Don’t talk bad about your husband to anyone. Ever.”

I have to confess and say I was convicted by that statement. 

Yes, I get frustrated, but it’s my choice how I deal with that frustration.

I want my husband to feel like the most important person in my life. I want him to know I have his back. I want to build him up so he’s the man God created him to be. 

Here are my simple tips for building up your husband:

  • Pray daily. Pray for his spiritual walk. Pray for his parenting skills. Pray for his job. Pray for his health. Pray for his attitude. Pray for his devotion in your marriage.
  • Speak truth. Tell him how much you love him every day. Let him know what a good father he is. Share something about him that you love. Every. Single. Day.
  • Love always. Love is a choice. Love is a commandment from God. Love is essential to every marriage. Say “I love you” daily. Show how much you love him by doing something that pleases him, even if it’s something little like making his lunch or keeping his laundry washed and folded. 
  • Honor him. You made a vow to honor him for the rest of your life. A promise. When the marriage gets tough, don’t be so quick to end the marriage. 
  • Choose peace. Frustration happens because our insecurities surface or our expectations aren’t being met. If you find yourself becoming frustrated with your husband, consider why. If he didn’t take out the garbage like you asked, is it worth getting on the phone and griping to your best friend? Maybe he did forget. Instead of lashing out, let him know how you feel and what expectations you had in a way that strengthens your bond instead of biting his head off. 
  • Model Godly behavior. If you have children, you are modeling behavior. They notice when Mommy and Daddy fight, when they show love and how to have a strong marriage. Model the kind of Godly behavior you want your son or daughter to share with their future spouses. Instead of calling Daddy an idiot, make sure your child knows about Daddy’s intelligence or kindness. If you’re in a spiritually mismatched marriage, your Godly behavior will be noticed by your husband.

Building up your husband takes purposeful thought and effort, especially if you’ve fallen into a negative pattern. If you’re struggling in your  marriage, take it to God in prayer. Every marriage is different and no couple is perfect, but with God’s help, you can have the kind of marriage you desire. Building up your husband daily will go a long way in creating a marriage that lasts a lifetime. 

If you would like to write a guest post about Why Marriage Matters, please email me via my contact page, and I’ll be in touch. For Why Marriage Matters guest post guidelines, click here: Why Marriage Matters guidelines

Your Turn: If you’re married, how do you build up your spouse? If you’re not married, how do you see others build up their spouse? Share examples. 

Tweet to share: Are you building up your husband? @lisajordan shares Why #Marriage Matters: Building Up Your #Husband http://ow.ly/j8WVN 

Lisa Jordan
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When Infatuation Becomes Real Love: Reasons Why I Love My Husband
Hubby & I in Sanibel, FL.

Hubby & I in Sanibel, FL.

When I was nineteen, I fell in love with this sexy Marine. From the moment he walked through the door in that blue and white striped shirt and blue pants (Miami Vice era), I was captivated by the way he carried himself with confidence. 

Once I started talking with him, I was intrigued by his kind heart, quick smile and wonderful sense of humor. 

Since that fateful summer’s night, we’ve been married for almost twenty-three years. Some people said our marriage wouldn’t last. At one point, it nearly didn’t, but I married a true real-life hero, whom I thank God for on a daily basis. 

At the beginning of the week, Fawn from Happy Wives Club contacted me and asked me to be a part of her Happy Wives Club Link Up Party for Reasons Why I Love My Husband. 

Listing reasons in my head is easy, but to put them in a post, I wanted to articulate what my husband really means to me.

  • He loves me unconditionally. He is my true real-life hero who refused to allow a dark time ruin our marriage. He loves me in spite of my flaws, wrinkles and broader curves.
  • He makes me feel secure. Hubby is 6’1″ and I’m 5’5″. When he wraps his arms around me, I feel secure physically and emotionally. I know he’ll protect me. He gave me security when I needed it most. 
  • He is a wonderful father. We have two boys, and one looks like him and the other has his traits. They have been shown what a strong marriage looks like. Of course, there are things every parent could change, but he is the right father for them.
  • He is my Voice of Reason. I am quick to make decisions with my heart, but he takes the time to process the information and helps me to reason out the best decision.
  • He has a strong work ethic. When Hubby lost his job a few years ago due to economic downsizing, he decided to return to school to get his degree. He graduated with honors, then spent months searching for the right job. About nine months later, God rewarded his efforts, opening a door that uses his degree while giving us steady pay and decent benefits. 
  • He is financially responsible. Hubby is our home’s chief financial officer. With one eye on the future, he pays our bills on time and has money set aside for retirement. Even while he wasn’t working, we were able to meet our monthly outcome and pay off debt. Yes, at times, I stress a little about money, but God has been meeting our needs.
  • He supports my writing. From the first moment I told him I wanted to be a writer, he supported my dream. Once I signed my first contract, he has been my biggest cheerleader. When my books came out, he kept signed copies in his truck to sell to friends and co-workers. He rejoices in my successes and gifts me with things that show how much he cares about making my writing a success.
  • My "postcard" to Hubby while I was at a retreat in S.C.

    My “postcard” to Hubby while I was at a retreat in S.C.



    He is creative. Hubby is an artist in his own right. With his big hands and large fingers, he’s able to tie intricate flies for fishing, using quality materials. Yes, those hooks with bits of fur and feathers will get dunked in local streams and rivers for the trout and bass to feast, but they are true works of art. He ties professionally for local stores, and his name is known in fly tying circles. He attends fly tying conferences like I attend writers conferences.   
  • He makes me laugh. One of the most special things about our marriage is we can laugh about little jokes no one else would understand. It adds a rich layer to our relationship. His dry wit can make me smile even when I’m cranky and not fit to be around anyone. 

I can spend hours waxing my hubby’s qualities, but I’ll end with this. I may have been infatuated with Hubby when we first met, but through the years, our love continues to deepen into a lasting emotion that goes beyond fairy tales and romance novels. Like any marriage, there’s always room for improvement. But we have a love that has been challenged, a love that has been showered with tears, and a love that has been lifted with laughter. I don’t doubt his love for me because he tells me and shows me daily. Each day is ripe for new beginnings and new memories to be made. That’s real love. And I thank God daily I share that kind of love with Hubby. 

I’m linking up with the Happy Wives Club Link Up Party. Be sure to click on the graphic to read the other posts in this party! 

Why I Love My Husband

 

If you’re married, what’s one thing you love about your spouse? If you’re not married, what is one trait you’re looking for in your future spouse?

Lisa Jordan
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Guest Author Krista Phillips: Why Can’t My Guy Be More Like a Romance Novel Hero?

I’m thrilled to have my fellow agent-mate Krista Phillips back as a guest author today. She was a guest author back in August with her wonderful post, Until…it is you.

I had the privilege of spending a little time with Krista at the recent ACFW conference and did a happy dance at seeing her book in the ACFW bookstore. 

Krista writes inspirational romantic comedy. She believes a sprinkle of laughter (and a wee bit of chocolate) makes everything a little better! She blogs regularly about life as a wife, mother, follower of Jesus, and mother of a child with a rare congenital heart defect at www.kristaphillips.com. Her debut novel, “Sandwich, With a Side of Romance,” released in September, 2012.

~*~

I love my husband.

That’s a pretty good thing, huh!

I LOVE writing romance, but one of the common things I hear from Christians who do NOT love Christian romance is that it creates an ideal in relationships that is unachievable.

To a point, I agree.

That perfect hero… six-pack abs, swoon-worthy manners, isn’t tempted in the least to look at another woman, and loves our heroine to distraction regardless of her faults. Oh, and he has a fabulous job and can easily support our heroine.

*sigh*

Why can’t MY husband be like that?

While I am madly in love with my husband, I’ll readily admit that he isn’t one that I would write as the hero in a book. He’s super quiet, work his fingers to the bone in a not-so-sexy job to put food on our table, has a little pudge around his middle, and his sweat isn’t quite as appealing as our heroine’s obviously feel like our heroes sweat is.

But he’s mine.

And I’m head over heels in love with him.

To expect him to live up to the standards of a romance novel is pretty insane.

And as a woman who reads romance, even Christian romance, I agree that to lust over fictional characters is just as bad as doing so over a “real” person.

So does this make Christian romance wrong? Lead us to temptation?

Maybe. If it does, then honestly, don’t read my books. I won’t mind.

But my real hope is that my readers won’t want my hero for themselves.

Instead, I hope…

  • For my single readers, that they will realize the importance of waiting for the man GOD wants for you, and how GREAT the romance can be when you do.
  • For my married readers, that just maybe the romance will remind them of the spark with their own spouse that sometimes needs a little kindling from time to time.
  • That we’ll remember that the ultimate romance between the bridegroom (Jesus) and his bride… US! 

Your turn: Do you feel romances (Christian or secular) create an idealistic view of romance? Why or why not?

~*~

She moved to Sandwich, Illinois, in search of a new life, but ended up in a giant pickle. 

Sandwich represents hope for twenty-year-old Maddie Buckner and Kyle, the eleven-year-old brother Maddie wants to spring out of foster care. Then she loses her new job after less than a day. It’s all Reuben-the-Jerk’s fault, and she’s determined to make him right the wrong.

He does so, reluctantly, by giving her a job at his restaurant, The Sandwich Emporium. Then crazy things start happening at the restaurant, and Kyle’s foster parents apply to adopt him. To stop it all, Maddie must learn the art of humbling herself and accepting the help God has arranged, risking her heart to Reuben in the process. And she’d rather eat a million corned-beef on rye sandwiches than do that.

Available for at…

Amazon.com
Christianbooks.com
barnesandnoble.com 
Booksamillion.com

or ask for it at your local bookstore!

Lisa Jordan
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Guest Blogger Pat Trainum: Foundation of a Lasting Marriage

Please join me in welcoming one of my writing support group friends–Pat Trainum. Pat is a woman of many talents. In addition to her writing, she is also a potter who crafts beautiful jewelry and mugs. I’m thrilled to have a one-of-a-kind Pat Trainum mug sitting on my desk. Pat writes romantic suspense under the name of P.T. Bradley. She is represented by the Mary Sue Seymour Agency. Her short-stories have been published in Woman’s World. Although she isn’t published (yet), her manuscripts have won or finaled in several contests, including the 2009 Maggie (Inspirational Category), 2nd Place in the 2011 Touched By Love contest, semi-finaled in the 2011 Genesis and bronzed in the Frasier. She is also an abstinence/healthy relationship speaker and have spoken to many students…and adults. When she’s not writing or speaking, she throws mud on a wheel and tries to make something beautiful. Learn more about her by visiting her site at www.ptbradley.com

~*~

I’m one of Lisa’s unpubbed friends. We met at Susan May Warren’s very first Deep Thinkers Retreat in Melbourne, Florida. Right away I knew she was one of those Happily Ever After (HEA) types. She just gives off that sweet aura.

Now me, normally I kill people. Now don’t get me wrong, I love romances, especially Lisa’s Lakeside Reunion and Lakeside Family, but when it comes to writing, that’s what I write. Romantic Suspense. Actually suspense with a little romance thrown in. Before that, I taught teens how to have healthy relationships which hopefully would lead to healthy marriages. 

Huh?  I’m sure you’re asking how one goes from teaching how to have a HEA to writing about murder. I’m so glad you asked, but Lisa didn’t ask me to do a blog for her on murder. Her blogs are all about love and marriage and relationships and weddings. You’ll have to come over to my blog for the one on romantic suspense.  No, today I want to talk about some things you might not know about love and marriage and weddings.

First, I want to ask if you have any idea what couple currently holds the record for the longest marriage in the United States. I’ll wait while you Google it. …….Yep, if you found Marshall and Winnie Kuykendall, you’re right. Eighty-two years. Theirs is an interesting story.

I tried to find out about wedding costs when they wed back in 1929, but couldn’t find any statistics. I did run across a lot of interesting facts about weddings today. Like, did you know June is the most popular month for weddings, then August, followed by September and October? Or that 2.3 million couples wed every year in the US. And the average couple spends $20,000 for their wedding. That fact blew me away. When I got married, I didn’t know you could have that many zeros behind a dollar sign.

The average age of a bride today in the US is 25.3; Winnie was 20. The average cost of wedding rings for the bride and groom are $1,016. That’s considerably more than the thirty-five dollars Marshall paid for his bride’s.

It’s no wonder that the wedding industry is a 72-billion-dollar industry. In the US, that’s 72 with 9 zeros behind it. Another 19 billion is spent on wedding gifts and 8 billion on honeymoons. All this for one day. Or a week if you count the honeymoon. In my classrooms, I always told the students that the wedding lasted only for a day, but the marriage was for a lifetime.

When Winnie was asked how they’d been able to stay married so long, she replied that their elopement was a foolish act of kids. It was not great planning that built the foundation of a lasting marriage. (“We didn’t have a bit of sense,” she says.) It was the daily decisions they made for each of the 82 years that followed. “Being good to each other, I guess.”

Your Turn: If you’re married, how old were you when you said, “I do”? What advice would you offer to newlyweds…or even oldlyweds?

Lisa Jordan
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Guest Blogger LindsAy Harrel: Five Ways to Intentionally Connect With Your Spouse

I met LindsAy Harrel online through my blog hopping. She read my first book, but mentioned I misspelled my main character’s name–LindsEy. So since then, I’ve made sure to emphasize the correct spelling in LindsAy’s name. LindsAy is a sweetheart with a love for Jesus and her husband. 

Since the age of six, when she wrote the riveting tale “How to Eat Mud Pie,” Lindsay Harrel has passionately engaged the written word as a reader, writer, and editor. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication and an M.A. in English. In her current day job as a curriculum editor for a local university, Lindsay helps others improve their work and hones her skills for her night job—writing inspirational contemporary fiction. Lindsay lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband of five years and a golden retriever puppy in serious need of training.

~*~

My husband and I have been married for five and a half years, but it hasn’t taken us long to figure out an important truth about marriage: it’s much easier to drift apart than stay connected. 

Oh sure, when you first get married, it’s easy to stay connected because you want to spend every waking moment together. But once the honeymoon is over, you simply can’t. There’s work (bummer!), maybe school, church, volunteer opportunities, you name it—and it’s easy to start drowning in the sea of responsibilities.

That’s how it was for us. Nine months after we got married, Mike started law school. Talk about busy! Pretty much the only time we saw each other that first year of school was maybe fifteen minutes a day when we scarfed down dinner so he could get to the library and study.

Then, during his third year of school, I decided to go to grad school in the evenings and work during the day.

Needless to say, we were busier than we’d ever been. And our relationship suffered.

No, we didn’t fight a ton and duke out our differences. Instead, we didn’t talk much at all. We were too busy. But that was the problem. Our goals were noble and our intentions were right, but we weren’t prioritizing one of the most important things in our life: our marriage.

With the encouragement of our mentors, we realized this and did something about it. Here are some things we did—and continue to do—to stay intentionally connected to each other:

Eat dinner together. It sounds simple but just taking 30 minutes out of your day to be a family and talk about what’s going on in your life is huge in staying connected.

Meet annually with mentors for a “marriage checkup.” We are fortunate to have a mentor couple we meet with once a year who ask us questions about all aspects of our marriage in order to get an honest picture of how we’re doing. It takes a lot to be vulnerable in front of someone else, but it also has helped to prevent some issues that could have blown up.

Plan creative dates—and put them on the calendar in advance. Mike and I alternate who plans the dates, and we do them once a month. These don’t have to be expensive at all. The emphasis is on creativity. In my opinion, date nights are one of the most vital things for a marriage. Fight for that time! Do everything in your power to make it happen. And once the dates are on the calendar, don’t let anything get in the way.

Do something special for your anniversary. Obviously, whatever you do depends on your budget and your situation, but whether you stay overnight at a hotel, cook a fabulous meal at home, or eat out at your favorite restaurant, do something special to commemorate the vow you took.

Pray for your spouse. Almost nothing I do makes me feel as close to Mike as when I pray for him. Nothing.

Last August, I finished school. Finally, we’re back to both “just working day jobs.” Of course, I’m still pursuing my dream of writing and we haven’t even had kids yet, so life has the potential to get really busy again.

But now I can say, regardless of how busy we get, we’ve got a plan to stay connected. And I indeed to stick to it.

Question For You: What tips do you have to stay connected to your spouse? If you aren’t married, what awesome examples have you seen from those you know who are married? 

Lisa Jordan
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Guest Author Dineen Miller: Loving God Helps Me Love My Husband

Dineen and I are kindred spirits in many ways–we are both new authors, we share the same agent and we understand the challenges of having a spiritually unequal marriage. When I met Dineen and her ministry, I realized I was not alone. I treasure her friendship. I hope her words bless you as much as they’ve blessed me. 

In addition to writing for Spiritually Unequal Marriage, Dineen Miller has won several prestigious awards for her fiction. She’s also a C.L.A.S.S. Communicator and has been featured on the Moody Radio Network, Family Life and Focus on the Family Radio. Married for 24 years to a guy who keeps her young, she lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two adult daughters, who surprise her daily with their own creativity.

Meet Lexie Baltimore, who is in the supernatural battle of her life. In obedience to God’s calling, Lexie uses her art and dreams to help others. But will she have enough courage to help herself when she becomes torn between her atheist husband and a godly man?

A widower and a father, Pastor Nate Winslow is drowning in darkness. Will he resist his treacherous assignment to win Lexie’s heart, or give in to the attraction between them?

As events unfold, Lexie becomes entangled in a twisted plot. Can she overcome the evil assailing her, or will she yield to the dark side? View The Soul Saver trailer, then purchase your copy of The Soul Saver!  

~*~

I will tell you, in all honesty, that I cannot love my husband in my own strength. It’s not possible. I tried to for a many years and would do fine for a while, but inevitably I would run out of steam. Resentment would seep back in and these feelings and thoughts more often had to do with how little I perceived to be getting back in the relationship. That was my own selfishness creeping in. To truly love my husband requires unconditional love that’s centered in Christ, not me.

Especially since he doesn’t share my faith. My husband and I are spiritually mismatched. Marriage in itself is fraught with challenges, but add a spiritual disconnect and you have an additional conflict, which bleeds into everything else.

First, I had to ask God to help me love my husband the way He loves him. To put a love in my heart for my spouse that far exceeds what I am capable of. God answered that prayer and keeps answering it faithfully, but it truly starts in my love for God. The more we love God—the more we live for Him—the more we are able to love others unconditionally.

Take a look at Matthew 22:37-39:

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

First, and foremost, we’re told to love God with everything we’ve got. THEN, we are to love others. Maybe, like me, you thought the part about loving God came first, because God wants to be first in our lives. You would be right, but I also think it’s because that second part isn’t going to happen unless we grasp the first.

Jesus boiled down the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, to two commands. Love God first, then love others. In that order. God never seems to have only one reason for anything He says and does. He is the most efficient being there is! He doesn’t just tell us to make Him first in our lives, He’s also telling us that in order to be able to love others like this, we have to love Him first.

Loving God first opens the door for God to love others through us. That is how we love sacrificially. This is especially crucial in my own marriage because this is the love that wins a heart to Christ. And that is my calling in my marriage, to love my “prebeliever” with a love that comes from God so that he can get a taste of who God is. In my love for my husband, I can be a sacred influence in his life.

The truth of the matter is, loving your spouse, or anyone for that matter, means loving sacrificially. And the only way to love sacrificially is through Christ. 

Your Turn: If you’re married, how has God helped you love your spouse?  If you’re not married, how has God helped you to love others?

~*~

I have a special gift for anyone who signs up for my occasional newsletter. They will receive a free copy of my ebook, The Making of The Soul Saver. It’s a 38 pages of extras, like the special features DVD that comes with your favorite movie. You can read about the stories behind the story, my on location research, the cast of The Soul Saver if it were a movie, an interview with Lexie Baltimore and three brand new Soul Saver scenes! I’m thrilled to share this with you! And I promise not to abuse your inbox. 🙂

 

Sign up here: http://authordineenmiller.com/news-press/

Lisa Jordan
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Guest Blogger Wendy Paine Miller: Sickness & Health—Before the Vows

While visiting different blogs, I came across a blog called Thoughts That Move. The posts spoke to my heart and made me think. This writer had a powerful way with words. Imagine my delight when she became an agent mate! Wendy Paine Miller and I are represented by the fabulous Rachelle Gardner. I met Wendy in person for the first time at the 2011 ACFW conference. Meeting her was one of the highlights of my conference experience. I’m thrilled to have her as a guest blogger today. 

Wendy Paine Miller’s works have been published in anthologies and on numerous websites. Having completed eight women’s fiction manuscripts, Wendy is just getting started. She feels most alive when she’s speeding in a boat, reading, writing, refurbishing furniture, laughing, running, and trusting God. Wendy lives with her husband and three children. She’s represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary Agency. Wendy appreciates connecting with readers. She’d love for you to visit her blog: http://thoughtsthatmove.blogspot.com/ or follow her on Twitter @wendypmiller.

~*~

If you were to ask me the moment I knew my husband and I were going to be in it for the long haul I’d tell you it was not at all when I expected it to be. Not when he got on one knee. Not during the ceremony. Before all that…

Picture this: I’m sitting in an impressive well-polished boardroom in Bellevue, Washington, receiving official news of my promotion to a corporate account manager and instead of beaming, I’m sinking on the inside. Two minutes before the meeting I’d heard from my OB/GYN’s office. They wanted me to come in that afternoon for another ultrasound.

“Can it wait?” I urged, whispering into the phone, thinking about my wedding less than a month away. Wondering what could be so pressing.

“No. We found a tumor and we need you to come in today.”

Stop here. Tumors and me, see, we don’t get along so well. Ever since I was thirteen and I learned of the cancerous astrocytoma in my sister’s head, the word kind of freaks me out to no end.

But they had—found a tumor that is. A big one. And it needed out ASAP. Which meant I needed major surgery within a month of my wedding. Which meant my stomach would be sliced and I’d have to endure a lengthy recovery process.

Confession: Above all things I was most scared to tell my fiancé, Steve.

In follow up consultations we were told we might not be able to have children. A month before our wedding. We were warned of the consequences. He knew all he was getting into.

And I feared he’d think it was damaged goods—I was damaged goods.

I’d been informed going in I’d either have a laparoscopic surgery or a more invasive one, depending on what the doctor found as she operated. The drugs kicked in and I slipped into la la land, only to wake up and immediately ask Steve, waiting by my side, “Was it the big surgery or the little one?”

He smiled at me. “The big one.” Smiling? After I regained full consciousness I could feel it, the ache in my lower abdomen as though someone carved at me like a pumpkin. The big surgery meant increasing our risk of being able to conceive.

I began my arduous recovery, feeling an overall pervasive embarrassment. Embarrassed to be so weak. Ashamed to have lost such control of normal functioning (God bless the nurse who cared for me. I’ll never forget how kind she was). Afraid Steve would no longer want me.

I began this post saying there was a specific time it registered that my husband and I would grow old together. That’s not entirely accurate. There were moments and many of them came in these days of learning about my tumor and during my recovery.

The second I woke up and saw his face.

The grin he gave even though he was well aware of what my surgery could mean for us.

How he took my hand and helped me walk the room.

How not once, not even once, did he look at me with a defeated look, but instead, through every painful second he held the same adoration in his eyes for me. For me, maimed. With a long road of healing ahead. For his wife to be.

Steve also demonstrated his love by all he didn’t say or do.

And I knew.

I knew we could make it through anything.

Your Turn: If you’re married, what challenges have you faced with your spouse to know you’re in it for the long haul? If you’re single, have you faced a similar situation with a loved one or significant other? How did you handle it?

Lisa Jordan
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Guest Author Keli Gwyn: Shifting into Romance

Keli Gwyn is one of the most encouraging people I know, who is quick to promote others. We became friends through the blogophere, and we share the same agent, Rachelle Gardner.  

Keli writes stories that transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life, peoples them with colorful characters, and adds a hint of humor. A California native, she lives in the Gold Rush-era town of Placerville at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. Her debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, set in the heart of the Gold Country where she lives is currently available. When Keli’s fingers aren’t hovering over the keyboard of her newfangled laptop, she enjoys strolling past stately Victorian houses in her historic town, burying her nose in reference books as she unearths interesting facts to include in her stories, and interacting with other romance readers. Her favorite places to visit are her fictional worlds, the Coach factory outlet store, and Taco Bell. To learn more about her, visit her website

Widow Elenora Watkins is determined to provide for herself and her daughter without relying on anyone else. Can she run a successful business after falling for the competition? Miles Rutledge finds himself willing to do anything to keep Elenora in town. But can he win her heart while putting her out of business?

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Is your guy into cars? Mine is.

Judging by the malespeak heard during the fellowship time after church on Sundays, many men have a thing about their vehicles. We have fellows who are into British cars, a guy who’s getting his Cobra back on the road, and Jeep owners who are rock crawling enthusiasts.

 

Gwynly owns a ’68 MGB roadster he’s had since 1970. His pale yellow sports car, Midge, brings him a lot of pleasure. He likes working on her engine, polishing her until she gleams, and taking her for a spin.

Because I know how much enjoyment Gwynly’s blonde British beauty brings him, I’ve worked to develop an understanding of his bond. I’ll never be as attached to Midge as Gwynly is, but for his sake, I searched for ways to share his interest and found five.

1. Shift my focus. Rather than thinking about how I’d like him to romance me, I’ve realized that if I put his hobbies and interests first—in this case his car—I can romance him.

2. Learn some car talk. Since Gwynly spends upwards of half an hour each Sunday talking with his male friends about cars, he must be as into them as I am into writing. Thus, it’s important that I expand my vocabulary. For example, over dinner recently he mentioned how much better his gas mileage is since his mechanic adjusted Midge’s SUs. That might not mean anything to you, but to the wife of this MG enthusiast that means Lawrie changed the mixture in the carburetors so the “B” is running leaner and cleaner.

3. Wax eloquent about his set of wheels. After Gwynly’s spent hours applying polish and rubbing it off, I run my hand over the shiny surface and tell him how nice Midge looks. If our guys have been hunched under the hood for half a day replacing a part, we can ask them to show us the results of their hard work and thank them for it.

4. Put the brakes on the complaints. There were days early in our marriage when I was jealous of the time Gwynly spent with Midge. I’ll admit that I wasn’t very understanding or supportive. OK, I was downright grumpy. I griped and complained and whined and wheedled because I wanted his time and attention. These days I park my tongue when I’m tempted to moan and groan.

5. Enjoy the ride! Making the effort to connect with our guys by showing genuine interest in their cars can pay off. We can rev their romance engines with a compliment or a word of gratitude about how well they maintain their fleets, fueling their desire to romance us in return. And we can literally enjoy going on rides with our guys. I’ve found Gwynly relaxes, opens up, and converses freely when he’s behind the wheel. Put him in the driver’s seat of his B with the top down and his gal by his side, and the romance shifts into high gear.

Your Turn: Do you compliment your guy on his car and his car care? Do you enjoy going on rides with your guy? Do you know what your guy’s dream car is?

Keli is giving away a copy of A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California. Leave a comment for a chance to win!

Lisa Jordan
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Guest Blogger Jessica Patch: Nothing Says I Love You Like Dog Poo

I met Jessica R. Patch online through her hilarious, yet spiritually moving blog, What Are You Doing Here. She’s one whom I can’t wait to meet in person. Her posts make me LOL and nearly bring me to tears. And I always leave with some nugget of wisdom. 

Jessica R. Patch writes inspirational contemporary romance with plenty of mystery and suspense. A passion to draw women into intimacy with God keeps her motivated, along with heaping cups of caffeine in the form of coffee. When she’s not hunched over her laptop or speaking to a women’s group, you can find her sneaking off to movies with her husband, embarrassing her daughter in unique ways, beating her son at board games and contemplating how to get rid of her irksome dog (she hasn’t attempted any of them…yet). She is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Agency.

~*~

I woke up early, on purpose. Bible study, coffee, and reading a few blogs before Zumba and work. My husband was ten minutes to giving me my morning kiss and heading off to his job.

Naturally, my dog gets up when I do. I don’t know why. I’m an animal tolerate. I want to be an animal person. I’m just not.

I let her out to do her morning biz and proceeded to the brewed heaven. Before I had the chance to take a sip, Sarah (my dog) is at the door, nose to the glass ready to come in. But I notice something about my little Schnauzer/terrier mix. Something is clinging to her backside. A lot of something.

Oh. My. Gosh. I can’t let her in! But…

I go into the bathroom, hubby is standing at the sink–khakis, bare chest, a smidge of shaving cream still lingering behind his ear. “The dog has poop stuck to her butt.”

He looked at me through the mirror. “Ok.”

He makes no mention to help me out. I go back to the kitchen grab a wad of paper towels, roll up the sleeves to my picked, but favorite robe and step outside. “I hate you,” I muttered. I tried to pull it off, but it smeared into her fur. I gagged. Wiped.

Then puked all over my patio.

I came inside, turned on the water, rinsed my mouth and hubby came in and saw me. He was already running late. I fell against the wall, pulled a perfect Lucille Ball….waaaaaah! “I didn’t sign up for this!”

He went outside, got the dog and brought her in. Then he washed away the filth, cut off some funky hair and said, “I didn’t either. But I love you… Throw the scissors away.”

I sniffed, wiped my eyes and kissed my husband good bye.

And I realized the honeymoon is over, but my husband is still deeply in love with me. What else could it be?

And then I thought about God. Isn’t that the kind of love He has for us? When no one else wants to let us in because we’re full of filth and stankiness, He does. He loves us enough to not puke on the patio. To cut wash us clean, and to cut away funky “hair.”

When the poo hits the fan, that’s when love it tested. Or in my case, when the poo hits my dog’s butt.

Your Turn: What has your spouse or loved one done for you to show real love?

Lisa Jordan
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