Review: The Potter’s Lady by Judith Miller

potters ladyABOUT THE BOOK

In the beautiful rolling hills of West Virginia, Rose McKay seeks a measure of success–in business and in love.

When Rose McKay convinces her brother, Ewan, to invest in a pottery business, she’s determined to assist him in making the endeavor a success. A recent graduate of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, she believes she can design pieces that will sell well. Rose also reconnects with Joshua Harkness, who oversees his own family’s pottery works and promises to help her.

Rylan Campbell has never liked change, but the new owners of the pottery seem to be decent folks. He just wishes Rose wouldn’t insist on changing the way they do things. Then McKay Pottery begins to lose business to the Harkness company, and Rylan suspects Joshua may be secretly taking advantage of Rose.

When Franklin Hotels announces a design contest, it could be the opportunity McKay Pottery needs to achieve recognition and clients. Rose and Rylan work together to create something magnificent. With Joshua’s company as their main rival, can Rylan convince Rose her trust in Joshua may spell ruin for them all?


The Potter’s Lady is the 2nd book in the Refined By Love series. I highly recommend reading The Brickmaker’s Bride (book #1) first. It isn’t entirely necessary to read book #1, but it will give you a deeper understanding of the family dynamics that come into play in The Potter’s Lady as well as some of the references that are made to past family history.

Personally, I love this series for its setting in West Virginia. I lived in the rolling hills of Calhoun County (not connected to the book in any way) for almost 10 years. The town of Grafton, which is where The Potter’s Lady is set, is about 5 miles or so from where my husband spent a lot of childhood summers with his grandparents. 🙂 From what I’ve studied about West Virginia in the late 1800s, the story is very true to the cultural history. For the working family, the wages were low, and education for children was almost a luxury.

Like the first book in the series, The Potter’s Lady follows a predictable story line. What you think will happen, happens. It’s a typical romance with very little suspense. However, with that said, author Judith Miller is a skilled writer who writes in such a way that the reader doesn’t want to put the book down. (I read it in 2 days!)

This book (and the series) is appropriate for high school readers and potentially older middle school / junior high readers depending on their maturity and reading level. There are hints about s*xual activity between two characters but no details given. If you have a younger reader, I would definitely read the book first to decide if your child can handle certain scenes.

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for an honest review.

We’re under construction

Ramblings-n-Writings is a blog that I started in 2007. I kept it active until 2012. I dabbled with some other blogs when I decided to try blogging again. However, no place felt like home. In August 2015, I started Ramblings-n-Writings again. Unfortunately, I had to start from scratch, import old posts from various places, etc., so we are definitely under construction. Pardon the work {you will likely see some odd formatting and maybe a different look when you visit next time}!

Review: In Good Company by Jen Turano

ingoodcompanyABOUT THE BOOK

After growing up as an orphan, Millie Longfellow is determined to become the best nanny the East Coast has ever seen. Unfortunately, her playfulness and enthusiasm aren’t always well-received and she finds herself dismissed from yet another position.

Everett Mulberry has quite unexpectedly become guardian to three children that scare off every nanny he hires. About to depart for Newport, Rhode Island, for the summer, he’s desperate for competent childcare.

At wit’s end with both Millie and Everett, the employment agency gives them one last chance–with each other. As Millie falls in love with her mischievous charges, Everett focuses on achieving the coveted societal status of the upper echelons. But as he investigates the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the children’s parents, will it take the loss of those he loves to learn whose company he truly wants for the rest of his life?


From the very first chapter, I was captivated by Millie Longfellow. The way author Jen Turano crafted Millie’s character was refreshing. Millie isn’t the typical female character that graces a lot of historical fiction pages. She has a lot of spunk, sometimes to her detriment, and manages to navigate whatever curveballs life throws her. I loved her enthusiasm for learning new words as well as her somewhat humorous attempts to use the new words. Because of Millie’s zest for life, the relationship between Everett and Millie is equally fun to follow. It’s not the typical romance storyline either.

Overall, In Good Company felt like a breath of fresh air in the historical fiction category. Besides being a romance with fascinating characters, there’s a touch of mystery and suspense as well as a lot of conflict, both internal and external.

I received this book free from Bethan House Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review: Goodbyes and Second Chances

Some mistakes create accidental blessings.

Jillian (Jewels) Whitman lives with her mistakes and tries to move past the biggest one of her life – Dillon Bleu – rocker and once best friend.

After saying goodbye to the lakeside trailer park of his youth, Dillon sets out to make something of himself only to discover all he needs is his Jewel. After hitting it big in the music industry, Dillon heads back to ask for a second chance.

Only… Nothing is ever as easy as it seems…

A southern tale of rags to riches where a man’s worth is ultimately found in his heart.

Rarely do I find myself wanting to go back and re-read all or part of a book. This is one of those books. The start of the book is incredibly slow and I almost gave up a few chapters in, but I am so glad I didn’t. My advice? Go find a copy of this book and read it.

While parts of the book were somewhat annoying (mainly the continual dwelling on the white trash / trailer park trash mentality), I found the author’s skill at foreshadowing and red herrings to be intriguing. Of course, at the time, I didn’t realize the foreshadowing or red herrings until I reached the end of the book. The main reason I want to go back and re-read is to see if I missed a subtle detail here or there since I read the book in one sitting. Plus the author created a beautiful love story about goodbyes and second chances that now that I know the whole story, I want to re-read it with that knowledge.

Unlike most books which cover a short time span in the main character’s life, Goodbyes and Second Chances covers years of Jillian’s life. The reader gets to watch her develop from an awkward teenager to a responsible adult who deals with the curve balls that life sends her way. Did she always make the best choices? Probably not, but who does?

As far as the “annoying” part of the book, I realize that setting the stage for who Jillian is and where she came from in life is essential to the storyline; however, I think the growing up on the wrong side of the tracks (or in this story – the lake) bit was mentioned too much. To me, it almost became a major character flaw that in real life would make the story ending unrealistic.

This is one of those books that the story will stick with you. I’m not sure what exactly makes it so memorable to me, but I know it is one that I won’t forget considering I read it months ago and still think about it. I believe it is appropriate for older teenage girls to read and could be a good conversation starter about relationships, life after high school, etc.

Review: Taken by Dee Henderson

An investigator who knows tragic loss firsthand,
and his new client, missing far too long…

Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has some unfinished business to attend to. She might have enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time.

When Shannon contacts private investigator Matthew Dane, a former cop, to help her navigate her reentry into society, he quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn’t mean her troubles are over. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they’ll stop at nothing to silence her.

If justice is to be done, and if Shannon’s life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to discover exactly what happened to her–even if it means stirring up a hornet’s nest of secrets.

Would it be a sufficient enough review to say “I loved it”? Seriously. This is hands down one of my favorite books of 2015.

First, a bit of background …. Author Dee Henderson has been one of my favorite authors since I was introduced to her books via the O’Malley series about 15 years ago. Then, for a number of years, Dee took a hiatus from publishing new books. A few of her older books appeared in new packages, some with new titles, but that was it. In 2012, Full Disclosure, the first book in this “series” (and I use that term loosely), appeared. A new book has followed each year.

Is it necessary to start with Full Disclosure and read the books in order before reading Taken? No. Each of Henderson’s books are created to stand alone. However, and this is where the “series” part comes in, the characters do overlap in the individual stories and the story plots follow in sequence in the order they were published. So, if you want an in depth understanding of the supporting characters in Taken, definitely read the “series” in order.

Now, about Taken … I’m still living on the “high” of having finished an excellent book late last night. I can’t put my finger on one or two specific things that made this book really good or that I disliked, so I’ll randomly spout off a few things that stood out to me.

First, the story is told completely from the perspective of Matthew Dane. No head-hopping mid-scene or learning too much too soon about a character. Everything the reader senses, hears, sees, feels is all through Matthew. To write such a powerful, well-rounded story through the eyes of one character takes true talent.

Second, God is present in the story, but there aren’t any church scenes. That might sound like an odd observation, but rarely do Christian authors skip the church scenes because they give the author an opportunity to “preach” at their characters. Author Dee Henderson doesn’t do that. Going to church is mentioned, but no sermons to read. By not “preaching” I think Dee gives the perfect opportunity for her readers to share her books with those who may not read Christian fiction simply because of the preachiness of some authors.

Third, and this is totally random, the back cover mentions that Shannon spent the 11 years following her abduction assisting the Jacoby crime family. When we meet Shannon in the beginning of the story, she had already escaped the family. She slowly reveals her 11 year history to Matthew who subsequently involves the FBI, etc. During the process of revealing information, Shannon never mentions the Jacoby name for certain reasons. Well, when she does reveal the family name for the first time a good ways through the story, no one reacts! I expected Matthew to call Paul Falcon, the FBI director in Chicago, with the name. Or for something to be said along the lines of “Oh, now we have a name to look in to.” Nope. Nothing. Nada. Maybe I missed it somehow, but I remember thinking as I was reading that it was kinda odd that no one reacted!

And finally, I found this book to be intriguing on so many levels. I loved how Dee took me into the mind of a kidnapping survivor, without my actually being in Shannon’s mind – it was all from Matthew’s perspective. In light of this story line, I couldn’t help but think about the true story out of Cleveland, Ohio, in 2013 about the 3 women who gained their freedom after years of captivity and how those first few months must have been so strange to them. I also found myself wondering who the people are that Dee knows that help her get so deep into the mind of FBI agents, investigators, victims, and survivors. I’m sure she does a lot of research, but to go so in depth like she does with Shannon, it is something research can’t give.

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey


Finally returned home, Reef McKeena finds his beloved Alaska facing its greatest threat.

Growing up, goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and troublemaker Reef McKenna were always at odds. Now, working together as search-and-rescue for Alaska’s arduous Iditarod race, a growing attraction seems to be forcing aside old arguments. Then Reef catches Kirra sneaking from camp in the middle of the night.

Kirra’s uncle, a musher in the race, has disappeared. Kirra and Reef quickly track the man, but what they discover is harrowing: Frank’s daughter has been kidnapped. Kirra and Reef, along with the entire McKenna family, are thrown into a race to stop a shadowy villain who is not only threatening a girl’s life–but appears willing to unleash one of the largest disasters Alaska has ever seen.


Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey is the final book (#5) in the Alaskan Courage series. The series revolves around the McKenna family, 5 siblings who grew up  and live in Alaska and pursue professions in outdoor venues (think camping, search-and-rescue, diving, mountain climbing, etc.).

Each book in the series could easily stand alone, but I admit that I did start with book #1 and read straight through the series in preparation for reviewing Sabotaged. 🙂 Personally, I felt that I couldn’t fully understand a book without reading the previous four in the series. However, my thoughts were unfounded because I didn’t need to know anything from the previous stories to understand the characters and plot of Sabotaged. Only when I reached the epilogue did I find my knowledge of the other siblings to be beneficial as the epilogue tied up the minor loose ends from the entire series.

Enough about the series. Let’s talk about Sabotaged.

Sabotaged is a relatively fast-paced romantic suspense novel complete with a kidnapping, dead body, mysterious pasts and everything else that makes a good suspense story.

Reef McKenna and Kirra Jacobs have been acquainted with each other since childhood. When they are thrust together as part of the Iditarod race staff, their past interactions with each other make it hard for them to believe the other could have matured and grown up. Author Dani Pattrey skillfully uses the circumstances to make Reef the protector of Kirra when she sets out to find her missing uncle. And once the protector…well, it’s hard to step out of that position. 🙂

One of the things I loved about this book is it deals with my husband’s line of work in the oil and gas industry. While I know that doesn’t appeal to most, I found it intriguing. I immediately understood the gravity of the potential disaster, not to mention the imminent danger the various characters were in.

Another part that I liked about the book was the serious issues that the author tackles in relation to Kirra’s past. Her storyline reminded me that we have no idea what the people we cross paths with every day have dealt with in their lifetime and what burdens they are still carrying. I loved how Kirra’s healing evolved in front of the reader too.

Overall, Sabotaged is a well-written romantic suspense novel. If you are looking for an exciting beach read for spring break or summer vacation, pick up a copy. What could be better than reading about the Iditarod race in arctic temperatures in Alaska while basking in warm sunshine?

On a sidenote, while Reef had a somewhat important role in one of the previous books in the series, nothing from that story is really necessary for understanding his character in Sabotaged.

As far as the whole series goes, I definitely recommend it if you are a fan of authors Dee Henderson or Irene Hannon. If you liked Dee’s O’Malley series, you will enjoy the Alaskan Courage series. There are plenty of parallels between the two series and, in fact, you might think you are reading a book by Dee. My only “complaint” about the series is that the romantic portion of each story became repetitive and predictable by the 3rd book. Otherwise, very well written and definitely worth the time I spent to read the whole series!

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for an honest review.

No one needs mommy

I’ve found myself in a weird place during the past week. I have more time on my hands than I know what to do with. And I’m honestly not sure what to think of it. It’s one of those things that mommas dream of happening, but when it does, it is just downright weird.

For the past 4 years since the twins were born followed by MoMo 2 years later, my days have been consumed with changing diapers, refereeing, entertaining, refereeing, feeding, refereeing, washing, ref… well, you get the point. Suddenly I find myself sitting and wondering what happened because I am left … are you ready for it? … alone. {gasp!}

Like all 3 kids occupied for more than 2 minutes.

Happily playing.

No one defying gravity.

No one biting, hitting, kicking, pinching, pulling hair, fussing, crying, fighting, whining.

Just downright peace.

It’s almost terrifying! {Ha!}

Don’t get me wrong, LoveBug and Smiley have always been great playing with each other. They go through spats of she touched me or she took what I wanted – what kids don’t? But as these loooong winter months have dragged on and on, the girls have spent hours a day in their imaginary worlds playing. Sometimes I don’t see them for an hour or better when they emerge from their room looking for a toy or needing to use the bathroom or when I get suspicious of the quiet and peek in their room. I occasionally have to smooth over their squabbles and soothe hurt feelings, but for the most part, they entertain themselves.

While having 2 kiddos the same age can be challenging, the huge difference has actually been MoMo, who is 20 months old. She has always been momma’s girl. Mommy was her world from day 1. I had to be by her side constantly or her world would crumble. Over the past 5 months as her verbal skills have exploded, she has gradually spent more time playing with her sisters. They played with her before but the natural communication barrier was there and MoMo’s response to things she didn’t like was to fuss or scream at the top of her lungs. What 3 year old likes playing with a screaming toddler? Definitely not her sisters!

Now MoMo is talking in short sentences. {And LoveBug and Smiley get a kick out of teaching her how to say things!} With her increased verbal ability seems to have come the slow realization that she doesn’t need mommy by her side every second of the day. Last week she realized that if she needs mommy, all she has to do is holler until mommy appears. This makes it safe for her to leave the room mommy is in and go do her own thing.

Now I find myself with nothing to do. No kiddo to watch over. No one needing mommy. No one stuck to my pant leg.

For 4 years I spent so many hours playing, reading books and playing some more during the day that  the only personal time I had was during an episode of Mickey Mouse or Daniel Tiger. Now on more than one occasion I’ve found myself sitting on the couch wondering what on earth I am supposed to be doing!

Part of me finds this free time so strange that I’m almost afraid it is a temporary thing. And as a result of that fear, I fail to do anything productive {interpret that as I read my Facebook news feed}. I think the reason for my lack of productivity is that I’m afraid of getting involved in a project and then being needed 5 minutes later.

Another part of me realizes that this might be our new normal. A normal that this momma is soooo ready for. It is what I have longed for and dreamed of for the past year or so as I have struggled with my sense of identity. I am beginning to realize that the past 4 years of being heavily involved in LoveBug and Smiley’s daily activities and teaching them how to play, what is acceptable behavior, and how to treat each other is slowly bearing fruit.

I’m sharing this to tell you, weary momma, that it is worth it. Taking care of your little ones is your most important task at hand. Slowly teaching those little hands and feet what is acceptable and what isn’t is worth every second of “mommy time” that you lose.

Now I just need to figure out what I’m supposed to occupy my new found freedom with!

Review: Beyond All Dreams

Anna O’Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across the baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea. Thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help.

Luke Callahan was one of the nation’s most powerful congressmen before his promising career was shadowed in scandal. Eager to share in a new cause and intrigued by the winsome librarian, he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship. Opposites in every way, Anna and Luke are unexpectedly drawn to each other despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglements with members of Congress.

From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation’s finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they’ve ever dreamed for their futures?

The first word that comes to mind about Beyond All Dreams is “captivating.” From the very first page when the reader is dropped in to the Library of Congress to the last page, author Elizabeth Camden keeps the reader’s attention. This book has all the structural elements of a good story – realistic setting (both physical and historically), believable characters, intriguing storyline and a bit of mystery.

One of the things that stood out to me is Elizabeth Camden’s characterizations. The hero and heroine are complete opposites in every sense possible. Anna is quiet and reserved; Luke is loud and boisterous. Their interests are equally varied. And their childhoods were dramatically different as well. I found myself wondering if they would be compatible or not with each other.

Going beyond the characters of Anna and Luke, the book has about a dozen other reoccurring unique minor characters. Somewhat surprisingly, I found it easy to keep the characters separate. I had no confusion over which character was which.

Overall, I really enjoyed Beyond All Dreams. I love how the author dropped the story into a unique setting which allowed for a lot of subtle historical detail. I love the characters, and most of all, I love the author’s writing style. Mix in a cover up conspiracy, international tensions, volatile family members, and a strong cast of supporting characters, and you have the makings of a true gem and 5-star piece of historical fiction. Not much more I can ask for in a good book!

A list of excuses

One of the cardinal rules of blogging is to blog often or at least have posts scheduled to appear on a regular basis. Um, I think I broke that rule!

Imagine my surprise when I realized two months {Yes, 2 complete months!} plus a few weeks passed since I last wrote. Gulp! I knew it had been awhile because I’ve been thinking about needing to turn on the laptop and start writing. But 2 months? Oh dear.

So here’s my list of excuses… 🙂

  • November started out with a new kitten. Then the kiddos inhaled someone’s germs and it wasn’t pretty. I think I’ve mentioned a time or two that I don’t do sick kids. I don’t know what it is about sick kids with yucky noses and nasty coughs who can’t sleep at night and turn into little devils, but I just can’t handle it. So, all order and organization quickly vanished. On the bright side, we did have some nice snow accumulation during the month! Then came Thanksgiving and a visit from my parents.
  • December somehow quickly arrived on the heels of November. Think Christmas shopping, decorating, sick family {again!!!!!!!}, and a trip to the ER for child #1. And I need to confess that our Christmas tree was up for exactly 9-1/2 days. I’m not a Scrooge by any means, but with a 5-month old kitten and a 20-month old child who thought the Christmas balls were real balls and there for her entertainment and plucking off the tree, I’m surprised the tree lasted as long as it did. Oh, and I should probably mention the almost 4-year-old that tried to climb the tree on more than one occasion because she saw Miss Kitty climbing the tree too.
  • Enter January. Breathe a sigh of relief that we survived the holiday season {and the previous year! Woo-hoo!}. My parents and my aunt and uncle visited over New Years which meant a few day trips. The youngest kiddo prompted another visit to the doctor for a flare up of whatever upper respiratory thing she had the previous month. And then the dreaded winter layoff began for the Pipeliner. It wasn’t supposed to happen with this company but it did. Any hopes of returning to writing were dashed at that point simply because of the emotional toll of a layoff and the stress of making the very few pennies of partial unemployment {or low earnings as some call it} stretch as far as they possibly can for an undetermined amount of time. And all of the stretching comes after 6 weeks or so of irregular paychecks thanks to winter weather and unpaid holiday time off. But now we’re back to work {different company while we wait on a callback from the other company} so life can return to a routine.
So, what do you think? Are my excuses good enough? Honestly, no excuse is good enough to not write. I’m hoping 2015 will be the year of writing, but only time will tell.
I would launch into a list of what I have planned for The Purple Pansy in 2015, but I honestly have nothing planned other than doing some book reviews. Life is chaotic with three kiddos under age 3 {although 2 will turn 4 in less than a month} and reading a book after everyone is in bed is about the only thing I can count on.

As I’ve been writing this post, I’ve had ideas cross my mind about some of the wacky things that have happened, such as the aforementioned ER visit. {In case you were wondering, child #1 was hit in the eye with a metal picture frame by child #3 resulting in a minor scratch to the eye. This makes child #1’s 3rd visit to the ER in just over a year for various freak accidents.} But I know that there are some more serious topics to traverse, but I’m still contemplating and waiting for a prompting on what to write about. 🙂

Here’s to a good year in 2015!

Our First Date

So, this post won’t win any awards for a creative title, but I couldn’t think of anything better. Three months ago, I wrote a post called My Love Story. And, you probably already guessed, this is the continuation of that story.

I think it was on a Thursday that I had thrown my fleece before God asking him to show me if I was to contact the Pipeliner. As you read in our love story, God said yes. We made plans to hang out on Saturday after he got off of work and go catfishing at a pay lake. {Today, the Pipeliner would tell you that he almost said “no” when I asked him to go fishing and almost backed out again that Saturday. My, how life would be different if he had!}

The only problem was the weather forecast wasn’t the greatest for Saturday. Being the optimists and wanting some fresh catfish, we loaded up our fishing gear anyway and set off on our way in the late afternoon.

When we got close to the pay lake, the sky looked a bit ominous in the distance. We decided that since the lake was a no-refund place, that we wouldn’t go. Instead we stopped for dinner at an Applebee’s.

Five years later I don’t remember our conversation topics from that night. We did broach the subject of my relationship with my (ex)husband and at that point, I was not planning on filing for divorce and was still trying to restore my marriage. I had my wedding rings on and would continue to wear them for another couple of months.

I remember noticing a couple of things early on. I noticed how polite the Pipeliner was to the waitress and people at the tables around us. And he treated me like a lady. He opened my car door, held doors for me, pulled out my chair, guided me through a crowd, etc. {His momma raised him right. 🙂 } Those probably seem like weird things to notice, but it was the opposite of what I was used to.

The other thing I remember is that we were comfortable with each other although I do think we were both nervous. The Pipeliner and I had been casual friends for about a year but had met when I first moved to West Virginia five years before. By meeting, I mean that we were introduced to each other but that was it. One of those “Hi, nice to meet you” conversations where you smile pleasantly. And the crazy thing is that out of all the new people I met when moving to a new state, I have a snapshot in my mind of the first time the Pipeliner and I were introduced. I even remember the bandana he was wearing. How crazy is that? Even crazier is after my (ex)husband and I drove away, the Pipeliner told the person he was with that I was the woman he was going to marry some day. Yep, it’s true.

Anyways, back to the current story, for that previous year, my (ex)husband and I had been hanging out at the Pipeliner’s house off and on, and rather steadily in the weeks leading up to my (ex)husband’s exodus since the Pipeliner was the neighbor to the “other” woman. {Yes, I willingly entered the lions’ den for all those months hoping to win my (ex)husband back.} So we weren’t complete strangers to each other but actually knew very little about each other. {And I should probably rephrase that to say that I knew very little about him but he likely knew far more about me than I knew that he knew at the time!}

So, we ate our dinner and decided to go to a movie because the sky still looked threatening. The movie of choice was The Proposal, mostly because everything else playing wasn’t interesting and the ticket counter guy recommended The Proposal. We both still love that movie! And both of us, unknowing to the other, tucked our movie tickets away that night and still have them today.

During the movie, the ominous clouds from earlier in the night opened up with a loud thunderstorm so we had a good laugh over what would’ve happened if we had gone fishing! After the movie, we sat outside his house and talked for hours … and hours. I think I got home about 3 or 4 a.m. I realize that for some people, that’s nothing unusual, but the fact that we talked for hours and hours illuminated how comfortable I was with him. If you know me in real life, you know that I don’t talk for hours and hours except with a select few people, and by select few I mean I could count them on one hand.

I could bore you with all of the details from that night, but I won’t. It was the night that started a thought process for me that would lead to my filing divorce papers a few weeks later. Some marriages can be repaired and restored. Others can’t, especially when one of the partners is obviously unwilling, and I came to that understanding after a multitude of rejected phone calls, blatant lies, and so much more.

I can honestly say that at the point where I filed divorce papers, my friendship with the Pipeliner had no bearing on my decision. Our conversations helped open my eyes to the abuse I had endured and I knew I couldn’t go back, but I had no recognizable feelings for the Pipeliner then, at least not that I realized.

The Pipeliner’s work schedule kept him away from home during the week so after that first weekend, it was another week, maybe longer, before we saw each other again. I really don’t remember. We had a couple of phone conversations, but honestly, both of us were scared of the future and being hurt again.

In retrospect, I see how patient the Pipeliner was with me. He was already in love but keeping me at a distance until I was ready. I had a long way to go. My life was a mess and 2009 continued to throw some major obstacles at me. Through it all, he never pushed me in one direction or another. We talked through things a lot but he was always one to play devil’s advocate, some times to the point of infuriating me, and make me think about both sides of a choice.

On New Years’ Eve, just over five months from our first date, the Pipeliner wrote me a little note with a promise ring attached. {Yes, dear, if you are reading this, I still have that note!} That night I realized that he had reached the point of commitment, something that was also a long road for him, and I had to take a risk and make the same choice. Everything about us felt right and I knew deep in my heart that God had ordained our being together, but it was still a huge step at the time. Ten months later we were married. 🙂