Seventeen years really isn't that long in the scheme of things.
It's not even half my lifetime thus far. Not two decades. Nowhere close to how long my grandparents were married.
And yet, with each passing year, I'm pleased how our number keeps getting larger.
Tomorrow is our 17th wedding anniversary.
Our marriage has in no way been perfect--are any? But it's been filled with tons of sweet moments, leaning on each other through hard times, learning lessons together, crying and laughing together, and more moves than either of us expected when we started this journey.
So many times, we remember the big moments in our relationships. The ones that were life-altering like a first date or first kiss or proposal. But author Peyton H. Roberts is our guest today, and she's talking about the magic that happened BEFORE that moment. Read on. It's super sweet.
My favorite part of any love story is found in the unexpected, sweet moments that lead to a first date. I’m fascinated by the convergence of location and circumstances that bring two lives together at just the right time for magic to swirl in and change everything.
For my husband Nick and I, that moment unfolded several months before our first date. As high school seniors finishing up college applications, momentum was shifting from our current normal at home with parents and siblings to our next big steps out into the world.
That year, Nick and I were serving as leaders in a large, social church youth group. If serving sounds like work, it didn’t feel like work, because 30 of our closest friends were along for the ride.
Finishing high school before social media and texting meant if you wanted to know what was happening, you had to show up places. Consequently, everyone came to everything. Over the course of senior year, our class of student leaders became a tight-knit group of friends. We sat together in the cafeteria, spent weekends at lake houses, and traveled in packs to sporting events and concerts.
I love this man so much. When I agreed to do life with him, it's a decision I've never regretted, nor will I. That being said, he's not "my everything."
Are you shocked?
I scroll through social media and see people posting about how their guy is "my rock," "my life," and "my everything." And I cringe. It's not that they aren't being sweet. I just think that's a good way to be let down.
Can we be brutally honest for a minute? Seriously. Have you noticed that all the romantic things are aimed at women?
Okay, okay. I get it. Women WANT romance. But you know what? Guys need to be treated special, too.
No. They probably don't want jewelry or flowers or sappy romcoms. But that doesn't mean they need to be left out, either.
I've noticed this trend in our world where it's like everyone expects women to be treated better than men. And I, for one, hate it.
So, what to do about it?
When you think of romance in relation to rooms in the house, I can almost bet you won't think about the laundry room. But our guest today does. Read on to find out how Shannon Taylor Vannatter found romance in her laundry room.
So, in our house is a tiny bedroom. It should have been 10 foot by 10 foot. But since the furnace and washer and dryer were in the hallway, they moved the wall into the bedroom. Which made the bedroom 10 by 7. In the early years of our marriage, we had a twin bed in there for guests. But since guests usually came in twos—my husband’s dad and step-mom or my two cousins—it didn’t work very well.
For 10 years, I was a hairdresser. For 7 of those years, I had a beauty shop at my house. Once I quit doing hair, we turned my old shop into a bedroom and it eventually became our son’s room. When guests come, he sleeps on the couch in my office or spends the night with a friend. The tiny bedroom became a junk room – a catch all for seasonal use items, craft supplies, and stuff we didn’t use anymore but was too good to throw away. Eventually, there was a path through it.
When our furnace and air conditioner called it quits a few years ago, we got a heat pump, air conditioner unit. A few months ago, we turned the old furnace nook into a linen closet. And finally after planning to do it for four years, we recently cleaned out the junk and I now have a tiny laundry room.
I love it. I REALLY love it. I painted it yellow because if I’m doing laundry, I want a bright, happy color surrounding me.
We can shut the door when we’re watching TV and not have to turn the volume up so high. I can run the washer and dryer at night and we can sleep without hearing zippers clank. There’s a folding table, so I don’t have to haul the towels to the bed to fold them. I have a drying/wrinkle free rack. There’s room for extra canned goods and craft supplies. There’s room on the wall for a fold down ironing board—even though I never iron. And there’s storage. Storage is one of my love languages since clutter rubs my OCD the wrong way.
My folding table used to be the countertop in an old general store in our tiny town. When they tore it down, my husband asked the owner if he could get a few items. We got the old store countertop and a wooden shelf with bins. A marking on one of the bins says: Velvet 5 cents. The shelf stores gift bags, paint, light bulbs, cleaning and pool supplies, an extra crockpot etc. My husband is planning to build doors for the shelf with chicken wire and fabric, per my design, to hide the clutter. I love chicken wire. And I love fabric.
I bought cute signs to put on the wall. The curtains are some I made several years ago for my kitchen. But we remodeled and opened the kitchen into the family room and went with more neutral colors, so they didn’t work there anymore. I’ve always loved them and they fit my laundry room just fine. The blocks show wood rocking chairs, wicker furniture, tea pitchers and geramiums. It says, front porch sittin, screendoor views, sweat tea sippin, neighborhood news.
And sewing is a whole other thing. My sewing desk is supposed to arrive in a few days. In front of the window will be my sewing nook. I don’t sew clothes, but I love making curtain toppers and comforters. I’ve always had to haul everything to the kitchen table to sew. Very soon, my sewing machine will be ready to use any time. I’m excited about that. Especially since I have a trunk full of fabric I’ve bought over the years for various projects or just because I liked it and couldn’t leave it on the bolt.
And the nook in the hallway where the washer and dryer used to be is now a coat closet. It’s big enough to hold all our coats in a centralized location in the house. And there’s floor space for storing all those seasonal items. And more storage on a shelf above.
It’s not all finished yet. There are still items strewn about the house, waiting to go to our shed, friends, or goodwill. For a while there, it looked like the junk room exploded into the rest of the house, which really pinged my OCD. There aren’t doors on the coat closet yet. My cute signs aren’t hung up yet. My ironing board isn’t on the wall yet—I do all my ironing in the dryer anyway. I haven’t stained the storage cabinets to match the folding table yet. But we’re getting there.
Why am I sharing this on a blog about romance? Because my husband tore down walls and cabinets, moved stuff five times, redid plumbing and electrical, and put down flooring to make it happen. He hates home improvement projects. But he did it. Because I wanted it. And he loves me. To me that’s the height of romance.
For a chance to win a copy of Shannon's new book, A Texas Bond, leave a comment below. Have you ever found romance in a room that might not be considered romantic (keep it clean, please)?
Award winning author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter writes contemporary Christian cowboy romance and has over a dozen published titles. A romance reader since her teens, she hopes to entertain Christian women and plant seeds in the non-believer’s heart as she demonstrates that love doesn’t conquer all—Jesus does.
She gleans fodder for her fiction in rural Arkansas where she spent her teenage summers working the concession stand with her rodeo announcing dad and married a Texan who morphed into a pastor. In her spare time, she loves hanging out with her husband and son, flea marketing, and doing craft projects.
Connect with her:
Recently, Shannon joined Scrivenings Press as co-owner/acquisitions/content editor.
A Texas Bond
(Book 3: Texas Hill Country series)
Finding his family is only the beginning…
He came to find the children…
Will he stay to win her heart?
Learning he’s an uncle shocks Ross Lyles—but after years of handling his brother’s bombshells, at least this surprise is a blessing. A pair of five-year-old blessings Ross is determined to meet, if he can convince their aunt to give him a chance. Fiercely protective, Stacia Keyes is worried he’ll try to take the children…and lassoing her trust is harder than he ever imagined.
Available at Walmart from mid-Feb to mid-March. Or online:
A Texas Bond - ChristianBook
A Texas Bond - Amazon
A Texas Bond – BarnesandNoble
Twenty years. That's a long time, right? Well, on February 7th, it was our 20th "date-iversary."
Maybe not everyone knows the day of their first date, but I do.
You see, it almost didn't happen. It had been spontaneously scheduled the semester before, right after my now-husband broke up with another girl. But we didn't know each other that well then. When we came back after Christmas, we started hanging out more. And by the time February rolled around, we'd decided maybe this date meant something after all.
Then, his car broke down.
My daughter is six. Recently, she's found our wedding album, and is completely obsessed with looking through it, finding people she knows, exclaiming over how young everyone looked (thanks a lot, kid). And, of course, that leads every so often into a discussion of what she might have at her wedding. Something I'm totally not ready to think about yet.
The picture above is her at age three, wearing my wedding dress. It was a fun pinterest idea of something we can pull out at her own wedding and display, if it doesn't completely embarrass her.
My four-year-old son is evidently now engaged to two different friends, who are both three. One asked him to marry her, and the other just declared that they were going to be married when they grew up.
So, what's the point of all this?
Do you consider changing diapers to be romantic? You might be surprised. Guest author, Ann Brodeur is joining us today to talk about finding romance every day of the week. See if you agree.
My husband and I met when we were in our thirties. By then, I’d given up hope of ever getting married or having kids of my own. When we finally met, it was a whirlwind romance. From the time we met, dated, got engaged, married and had our first babies, it was a grand total of sixteen months. Barely time for flowers, chocolates or expensive dates – those typical things when thoughts of romance come to mind.
He was never a romantic in the sense of showering me in gifts, or even remembering special dates (though now with technology, he records those dates in his electronic calendar so he never forgets!). But he is truly a romantic in the everyday things.
My husband cooks (he’s French and I don’t mind admitting his cooking skills are on a whole different level than mine – he makes even scrambled eggs into a gourmet meal). My husband does laundry (he lived on his own for over a decade so his laundering skills are excellent). My husband changes diapers (he had to learn pretty fast with having twins as the first of our brood to come along) and plays with our kids.
Who is writing your love story? Fellow author Allison Pearl is my guest today, talking about who she wants writing hers.
You make memories. You make friends and careers and plans. You make love. You make a future. You make a life. And you do it together. But life isn’t all scrapbooks, barbeques, holidays, and fun. Life is hard. Life can suck.
For every amazing moment my husband, Daniel, and I have had in our twelve years of marriage, there’s been a heartbreaking one too. And for two kids raised in church who thought they’d approached their marriage just right, this was a shock. It was more than a shock, it was an embarrassment. One we tried to hide, even from each other. We thought we’d failed. After all, none of the other couples we knew seemed to have the same problems.
Do you believe in love at first sight? I am not sure I do, but I do love hearing stories about people who connected quickly. My fellow Anaiah Press author, Dena Netherton is my guest today, telling the story of how her marriage started and why it's her favorite love story.
I’d been living the glamourous, but not necessarily God-honoring life of a singer/actress/pianist in San Francisco. At one low point in my life, I asked God to help me live for Him and to bring God-worshiping people into my life.
The next month found me on a plane travelling east to study for my Master’s degree in music at the University of Michigan. On the first evening at my new place‑a graduate student co-op—a guy named Mark gave me a tour and introduced me to his friends. But the tour ended abruptly when he introduced me to this tall, lean, good-looking jazz percussionist named Bruce. It wasn’t instant attraction, but Bruce had the kindest way about him, and that drew me. I was so lonely and ready to make a change in my life.
Bruce asked me about my life in California, but before I could answer, an inaudible but authoritative voice inside my head said, “This is the man. No need to look further.”
Believe me, when you’ve gotten to know the Lord, you learn how He talks, and no one but God talks like God.
As I was pondering what I’d just heard inside my head, Bruce stood up and announced, “What you need is a hot cup of Earl Grey tea. He made me a pot of tea and listened while I told him about my difficult day and how confusing the huge university campus had been for me.
After we’d sipped and conversed for a while, he screwed up his mouth and narrowed his eyes as if trying to figure out how he could help me. “I think what you need next is a long walk in the snow with me.”
This is a place for me to share thoughts and ideas not just related to writing. Thoughts about what's going on in my life, about an idea I got that I thought shareworthy, or just a funny anecdote.