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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

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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 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.

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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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Who Supports Your Dreams?

I received a phone call at the end of June letting me know Lakeside Reunion is a finalist in the ACFW-sponsored Carol awards! I was thrilled, excited, overwhelmed, humbled, then slightly disappointed when the contest coordinator said I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone.

“No one? Not even my editor or agent?”

“No one.”

“Wow.”

“Well, you can tell your husband, but that’s it. You can’t share the news until the finalists are announced in July.”

I received that phone call two hours after I had received the call from Hubby’s new company offering him a job. I couldn’t wait for Hubby to get home–first to hear about his job offer details (I had texted him so he could call the HR office), then to share my news. 

He was thrilled for me.

Hubby has been a huge supporter of my writing dream since he learned I always wanted to be a writer. Without his support, I couldn’t succeed to where I am today. He helps pick up the slack around the house when I’m on deadline. He’s an impressive Errand Boy. He supports me emotionally when I’m going through a writer rough patch. 

I’ve heard stories from women and men whose spouses or significant others don’t get their writing. They are unsupportive and the writer feels so alone in an already solitary journey. 

My heart aches for those writers because support on the homefront is critical to have a full-bodied dream become reality.

Hubby doesn’t always get my writing, but he appreciates it. He gave me the greatest gift when he read my first novel.  

I can’t grow as a writer if I don’t have his support.

Your Turn: If you’re married, in what ways your spouse support your writing dream? If you’re single, who supports your writing?

Lisa Jordan
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